Shops Replacing San Jacinto Stone, Just North of the South-of-the-Heights Walmart

Here’s a parking-lot view — what you’d see from Yale St. — of a 125,000-sq.-ft. strip development planned for the site of San Jacinto Stone, immediately north of the Washington Heights Walmart going up just south of I-10. San Jacinto Stone measures its stoneyard at 4 acres; the proposed 8-acre development taking over for it appears to include a few adjacent properties to the north, including frontage along the new I-10 feeder road and White Oak Bayou.


A tipster reports that the stone company has agreed to sell the property, and also claims that LA Fitness, Bed Bath & Beyond, Fresh Market, and DSW Shoes will somehow all be tenants of the new development — but that may more likely turn out to be someone’s wish list. The long 2-story, east-facing building depicted in the rendering of the Yale Street Market may or may not jibe exactly with the site plan, which shows a rooftop parking garage in addition to a vast lot accessible from Yale and a pad site at the corner of Yale and Koehler:

Images: The Retail Connection. Photo of San Jacinto Stone entrance off Koehler: Charles Kuffner

66 Comment

  • Waiting on the “STOP THE HEIGHTS LA FITNESS!” signs to go up.

  • Fresh Market?

    Would that be the first one in Texas? It’s an east coast version of Whole Foods (that I fine a little better). The nearest one I know of is in Baton Rouge.

    Consider this an olive branch to those few easily offended Walmart hating Heights residents.

  • Fresh Market, yep first one in Texas. I like the addition of this. Gives a little competition to Whole Foods other than Central Market.

  • What will I do for a neighborhood fix of stone, mulch, and soil projects? Is nothing sacred in the name of strip mall shopping?

  • Congratulations Innerloopers. You have now paid three times more to live next to a suburban strip mall.

  • How dare this not fit my wishlist of urban planning buzzwords and cryptic unicorn gestures!

  • We may be paying more, but our land is, and will continue to be, worth the investment.

  • I wonder if anyone has told Fresh Market that they’re building a store in Houston. It’s certainly not listed on their site yet:

    Regardless, the traffic is going to be a nightmare! At least in suburbia they plan for strip malls. Best of luck to anyone living on or near Yale.

  • iMidget, or you could have bought a 3,000 sqft home in the burbs for $250,000 and put the $500,000 you saved in an investment that has a return that is better than 3%. Not to mention the money you had to spend putting a couple of kids through private school. The idea that residential real estate is a good investment is not supported by the data during a time of record low interest rates. Once the fed starts to raise rates again you are going to have trouble selling those homes that sit on expensive land for what you have in them. The only people that made off like bandits in the last decade in Houston were those who bought a single family home on a 7,000 sqft lot and replaced it with several single family townhomes.

  • I will miss San Jacinto Stone. They have a really nice selection and take care of individual consumers as well as contractors.

  • ” including frontage along the new I-10 feeder road and White Oak Bayou.”

    Is there actually a timeline for finishing this now? They’ve moved down to shepherd and have started tearing up the feeder before finishing any of this. I-10 inside the loop is a mess if you’re entering or exiting!

  • Are we sure it’s The Fresh Market (the grocery) and not Fresh Market (the caterer with locations in West U and Galveston)?

    The Fresh Market is a good option for a small infill grocery – I wish it were up on 11th street and not in the chaos that could be Washington Heights (which we need to all remember is not actually the Heights, but a formerly industrial wasteland between a freeway and a strip of bad bars)

  • Echoing heightsite, where will we find San Jacinto Stone? They’re always so helpful.

  • Swank,
    Kids. Good one. That explains it all. They live in the suburbs.

  • One of the great benefits of living inside the loop is not having live around people like Dave Swank.

  • Strip malls landing in the city center is a good thing. It means normal people, not just the high toned ones, are able to live in town.

  • I hope that San Jacinto is relocating rather than going out of business. They’re good people and have been in business a long time.

  • Ugly people stores. =(

  • Dave Swank, you’re about right concerning the difference in house prices and how the money could be invested, and the suburbs are a good fit for a lot of people. However, there are those of us who have no interest in a 3000 sq. ft. house and no interest in living in the suburbs. Even with the new crappy development on Yale, my wife and I still prefer the quirkiness, personality, and interesting architecture of the Heights and our smaller house (we paid $240K), over the boring, homogenous, and sanitary suburbs. To each his own.

  • Strip malls landing in the city center are not a good thing. It means that demand for office and multi-family really isn’t that strong and that developers and financiers still see Houston’s inner core as only worthy of low-cost short term development.

    But there will definitely be more for you strip mall fans. Survey markers went up around parts of the parcel on the NW corner of Yale St. and I-10.

  • Dave Swank – I am not surprised that a suburbanite thinks we all send our kids to private school. Of course we do, right, because of our “inner city” schools are full of crime and other horrible things. None of which you have, right? Also, your example is funny. Are you suggesting that someone would seriously consider buying a $750K house in town and a $250K house out of town? Of course your houses are cheaper, but that is a serious downgrade in living style. But maybe you chose those numbers because they help convince you that you made a good choice. Finally, I don’t know about you, but I place a lot of value on being able to get from my house to my office in 10 minutes. That means breakfast and dinner with my kids everyday, never late for kids after school events, etc. etc. etc.

  • Oh Larry –

    Like the Pet Shop Boys Say:

    “We were never bored because we were never being boring”.

  • Larry,

    Wait a minute! You mean where/how you live isn’t solely a black and white economic analysis??? Far out, man…

  • Via La developement!!!!

  • HeightsGirl:
    Traffic on Yale already sucks due to feeder road expansion and f-ed up light timings at I-10.

  • Dave Swank – is the idea that everyone in the inner loop is irrational to spend an extra $500,000 to live there versus the suburbs; that we’re all subject to some mass delusion that you have somehow penetrated and overcome? The fact is, $500,000 is the market price for living in the loop versus not living in the loop. That price represents the basket of benefits of living in the loop versus not, which on an individual level can include a preference to commute 15 minutes versus commuting an hour; a preference to live in an architecturally interesting house versus living in an indistinguishable stucco box; and a preference to eat at diverse and cutting edge restaurants, versus stockpiling $500,000 for bottomless pasta bowls at the Olive Garden.

    Look, that’s kind of mean, and for that I apologize and second Larry’s comment of “to each his own.” But, the point is that if you are still looking at your home (not your house, or your real estate investment, but your home) as a purely financial decision, you are stuck in the last decade. For those of us blessed enough to even make this decision ($500,000 loop versus $500,000 pasta bowls) we should be grateful for what we have instead of applying crap logic to pass judgements.

  • I live in the Woodland Heights and my kids go to HISD because my wife and I are too selfish to care about their educations. To hell with them – they are gonna be in therapy anyway so I might as well enjoy myself. I will probably vote Democratic which means that I am really selfish and want the Federal Goverment to take care of my kids since their HISD education will not prepare them for a future.

  • I’ll take my 1800SF townhome in Montrose (that I used to live in that I bought for the low 200’s) over any 1000000 SF place out in middle of nowhere.
    I totally get how people like having huge huge new homes with big yards even if it means a commute and not being by anything fun. However there are also people that don’t mind trading down home size for location.
    And regarding appreciation: The townhome I bought for the low 200’s in Montrose sold last year for almost $300k. I don’t think I’d have seen that appreciation out in burbia. (Not hating on the burbs, they’re just not for me — or for many others)

  • A Fresh Market selling groceries. A Wal-Mart selling groceries. 2 Krogers selling groceries. A Whole Foods selling groceries. A Target selling groceries. Man, people around this area sure must eat a lot!

  • Yeah, it would be so awesome to live in a 3000 square ft house, because I don’t pay enough for electricity and I love cleaning vast stupid spaces big enough for 8 people. Plus, it would be totally awesome to sit on a freeway every day for an hour or so to get to work.

    Oh, and I paid 1/3 what you think I did, just a couple of years ago.

    Have fun!

  • I warned most of my neighbors about the evils of putting in feeder roads on I-10 inside the loop. I told them once the feeders are in look for the strip centers to show up. Now we are stuck with all the finery of suburban living; nail salons, check cashing stores, and the ubiquitous pre-paid cell phone store, so I can make that untraceable call to my mistress or dope-dealer. Classy. Thank TXDOT for the feeders. The icing on the cake is the Walmart, lord knows we need another place to buy Chinese plastic and have our cars vandalized by the 47%ers.

  • @jost. Of course to buy into that argument you have to accept on blind faith that HISD schools are worse than schools in the suburbs which of course is not necessarily backed up by the data. The top elementary, middle and high schools in Harris County are all HISD schools. In fact the top HISD elementary is the 3rd best in the State, the top HISD middle is the 2nd best in the State and the top HISD high school is the 3rd best in the State.

  • You can still find twnhms $350k. Their are people that want to live inside the loop and those that want the burbs. I always amazed at the Commanders of everyone to be the Master Architect of all real estate in Houston and how everyone else should live their life like the philosophy they have chosen to adopt is all knowing.

    Premium properties are always going to demand the best price. If you review what’s happening development wise inside the loop, well the facts speak for themselves.

    And hey the energy corridor is also onfire, that’s not inside the loop.

    Thank God we are in Houston, TX, where there is a market.

  • Annie, anything on Yale or Heights Blvd north of Washington Ave. is technically in the Heights. This IS a Heights Walmart.

    Go look up the original suburban masterplanned of the Heights that Carter & Cooley design and developed. This area of the Heights was and industrial/commercial area of the Heights.

  • Noooooooooo…I love San Jacinto Stone. They have inventory and expertise for every need, plus the remains of the two very old houses on the other side of the wooded bayou tributary. And as Angostura points out, getting out of the Heights on Yale and Heights Blvd stinks now that the feeder is open. More strip mall will make it worse. I’m not happy.

  • Yale traffic already much worse with the feeders. And china-mart hasn’t even opened yet. Sorry to see San Jacinto go—I’m a regular customer.

  • What a waste of reading most of these comments. The majority of us in the Heights have long moved on from this issue. But there will always be people who need to be divisive, clueless of the facts, and envious of what they do not have.
    I am happy to live where I live because I choose to live here. Life is good here in the Loop!

  • The owners of SJS also own all those small rent houses to the west of their main property. I, too, will be sorry to see them go; I buy lots of materials from them. But, it’s been in the works for a long time.

    The owners really are good people and I’m pretty sure they’ll take care of their long-time employees once this deal finally goes down. Judging from the stock they had on hand when I was there yesterday, it might be a while.

  • The Heights has morphed into something really different from when we move here. Homes torn down and replaced with $800,000 houses with all kinds of neat stuff I want in my house, but can’t afford. There are still the trailer parks and some really beat up Heights rental properties, but there are no deals. If you have kids, it’s a tough call. Have a bigger house and a decent yard 12 miles away or be squished in a bungalow home and have your kids dodge cars in the streets. oh well, peace love and soul.

  • Nope, not the heights. At least not to anyone that has been here for 40 years. North of 10 is the heights, regardless of what some 100 year old plat may say.

    Next, you folks are crazy if you think it’s a 15 minute commute if you are in the loop. I live in north montrose and to downtown it’s still a 15 minute commute. That’s only one and a half miles. Those of you in braeswood, west u, north heights, etc are either crazy or go to work before 7:15 if you’re claiming that sort of commute time (or don’t work downtown). That said, the commute inside the loop still kills the commute outside the beltway.

  • Not a tough call for me and I have 2 kids.

  • That is a solid point jgbiggs.

  • Do you folks really think that the Walmart and Ainbinder 380 had anything to do with the feeder expansions?

    Have you ever known TxDot to act so quickly?

    Please, these feeder roads were in the works long before Ainbinder ever inked the 380.

    And as for HISD schools, if your kid is smart enough to get into the Magnet or Vangard program, they’ll get a much better education than a mainstream school in the ‘burbs. If your kid isn’t smart, well, guess you’ll have to pay or move.

    I worked with far too many people, in downtown Houston, who thought their kids would be better educated out in Spring (in the 80s) or Kingwood or Woodlands than in HISD. Ha on them. Most of theirs ended up doing drugs and not finishing HS. Mine, all of them, completed college and are happy, contributing members of society. Being exposed to ALL kinds of people, in all of society, is better for kids than being isolated or contained in a classroom full of “acceptable” students.

    Oops, should add, IMHO.

  • PYEWACKET2 is right.

    These feeder roads have been in the works since the late 90s. They were axed as part of the Katy Freeway/West Loop projects. Since the schematics and plans were done and Obama wanted shovel ready projects, this got the go ahead because, well, it was shovel ready. Thank the stimulus package for these feeder roads. TxDOT wouldn’t have built it on their own.

  • HTownproud,

    Below is a link to the original 1985 development plan for the Heights.

    Anything between Yale and Heights Blvd to Washington is in the Heights. Addresses along Yale had Heights address even though it was technically out of the Heights city limits (remember, Heights was not Houston back then). So yes, these developments are in the Heights.

  • rom jgbiggs: “The icing on the cake is the Walmart, lord knows we need another place to buy Chinese plastic and have our cars vandalized by the 47%ers.”
    lol, I spit up a bit of coffee laughing at that comment :)

  • with as many regular customers they have just in the comments section here, I’m surprised San Jacinto Stone isn’t a fortune 500 company.

  • Htownproud, I live in Woodland Heights… it takes me 6-8 minutes to get downtown and park in my garage. I used to go in at 8, and now I go in at 9. Occasionally a wreck or something will cause me to be delayed and it takes around 15 minutes. Coming home takes between 5 – 12 minutes. (If traffic looks light I hop on 45, otherwise I just cut down houston ave.)
    When I lived in Kingwood area, (very close to 59 too), it took at least 50 minutes house to work everday if I drove… about the same for when I did the park and ride. 1 Hour to get home either way, and that doesn’t include waiting 15-30 minutes on a bus with room. At least once a week a wreck delayed me significantly. When I moved to the city I got about 1.5 hours of life back per day. Never again will I settle for a long commute.

  • On 1-10, between I-45 and 6-10, there are 5 exits (Taylor/Sawyer St, Studemont, Heights/Yale, Shepard/Durham and TC Jester). This stretch of I-10 is 5 miles long, giving us an exit every 1 mile. Of these 5 exits, 4 of them have grocery stores.

    MAP claimed this area was UNDERSERVED for grocery stores and gave out a combined 10 MILLION tax payer dollars to Ainbinder and Kroger to build. Way to go MAP!! Unfortunately it is painstakingly obvious that the only thing underserved here is your common sense.

    I am guessing the economic model MAP and her administration follows is “$ given to developers = Money in my pocket”.

    My expectation at this point is that the next article will relate to how MAP is going to give SJS and the developer 6 million to build.

  • WTF, I’ve been cloned!

  • “From Old School:

    Strip malls landing in the city center are not a good thing. It means that demand for office and multi-family really isn’t that strong and that developers and financiers still see Houston’s inner core as only worthy of low-cost short term development.

    But there will definitely be more for you strip mall fans. Survey markers went up around parts of the parcel on the NW corner of Yale St. and I-10.”

    Other than the massive apartment complex at the corner of Yale and Washington, the new complex going up at Yale and Koehler, and the redevelopment of the complex at Heights and Washington…yeah, you may have a point.

    As for CommonSense, well, you display none. The Ainbinder 380 is facilitating upwards of $100 million in development between I-10 and Washington. This 8 acre development, in addition to the Walmart, Ainbinder and Orr developments, as well as the apartment complex being built on Heights, will collect millions of dollars annually for City coffers in both property tax and sales tax revenue. Revenue that will keep your property taxes from rising. The $6 million investment is proving to be a wise business decision by a mayor for whom I care little. For all of the bitching and moaning, this 380 will reap more tax dollars than all the bicher/moaners pay combined.

    Put your money where your mouth is.

  • kjb434: not sure why this issue hasn’t been settled yet — although the Heights moniker may be appropriate given the Washington Heights development serves the Heights community, the portion of the development on which Walmart is located has never been part of the Heights. It’s tract #22 on the map you shared. The city limits of Houston Heights ended 50 feet west of Yale Boulevard — it used to be the railroad spur that extended north from the existing tracks north into the Heights.

  • Dave: do you even know how the 380 agreement works? All the increases in taxes over the next ten years goes to repay the 6 mil with interest. And given the fact that the city did not care whether the developer had any financial need for the 6 mil, the 380 agreement was really a transfer of public funds to private interests for things the developer could have and should have funded (like paying the city to abandon utility right of way). Thus, the 380 agreement actually represents a net loss of tax dollars.
    The Aindinder/Orr/San J Stone sites represent over 30 acres of land being developed with only 280 residential units going up on the old sons of Hermann site. About the same number of apartments were demo-ed for Ainbinder’s strip mall. That means 30 plus acres of land being developed with not net increase in housing or office space in an area that should be booming with that kind of development. There are no other 30 plus acre tracts west of Downtown that have the same development potential as this site did. It may be one step forward to replace vacant land with strip malls. But it is two steps back when you consider what a City Centre style mixed use development would have done for the area. It would have generated way more in tax revenue and made property values in the immediate west end neighborhood shoot through the roof. Instead, we are getting the lowest possible tax revenue generating development that will cost six million in future tax revenues. It is like being happy when your kid gets a C minus in school. It is better than getting an F and graduating is better than dropping out. But if your kid has the potential to do A plus work, then the C minus should be a huge disappointment. Those thirty plus acres had the potential to be one of the most significant developments in Houston. Instead, it is going to be the same development that gets put in on cheap land in the burbs when a new housing development goes in. If my tax dollars are going to be thrown at wealthy developers, I want to get every dollar’s worth and will not be happy with anything other than the most productive use of the land. Developers who will not deliver that can pay their own way.

  • Old School is right. And the “promises” that were made by the City aren’t quite coming true. Wider sidewalks – yes, part of the sidewalk is about a foot wider. But they have completely removed the sidewalk in front of San Jacinto Stone. So, less sidewalk.

    Thicker trees – no. Not at all. And they removed quite a few 22-year-old live oaks that they plan to “mitigate” into Walmart’s parking lot.

    Ainbinder said they would build with or without the 380.

    The 380 is just a hand-out to the developer to mostly benefit Walmart.

  • The 380 is a tool for walmart haters to rally behind. Understanding what it actually does, how long it will take to recover the 6 million, and the spur of changes that are indirectly linked to the ainbinder 380 are clearly ignored. I think they removed 8 live oaks, not nearly the raping of the forrest people try to claim it is.

  • caneco – why don’t you enlighten us? What, actually does the 380 do? How long will it take to recover the 6M? How many live oaks were removed (hint – it’s more than 8).

  • With all the changes happening, can anyone say what entity is finally going to take down the railroad bridge fragment over White Oak Bayou, parallel and just a few yards west of Yale?

  • Jules, you display a fundamental ignorance of the 380 when you ask “How long will it take to recover the 6M?” The City has not given a dime to Ainbinder. AINBINDER is spending the $6 million. The City has agreed to pay Ainbinder back if he will front the money TO the City.

    This is why the Walmart haters are so funny. They scream and cry, yey do not even understand what they are screaming about. By the way, if you look closely at the proposed development planned for the stone lot, you’ll see that not only will the sidewalk be replaced on Yale, but sidewalks will also be put in around the entire development, where previously there were none. We are GAINING sidewalks, not losing them.

    Are you outraged at new sidewalks, too?

  • Dave, I was asking caneco to answer a question he acted like he knew the answer to – he said “The 380 is a tool for walmart haters to rally behind. Understanding what it actually does, how long it will take to recover the 6 million…”.

    I understand that Ainbinder has spent the money and the City will repay that with interest 15 months after the Walmart grandopening.

  • Miz Brooke Smith:

    “With all the changes happening, can anyone say what entity is finally going to take down the railroad bridge fragment over White Oak Bayou, parallel and just a few yards west of Yale?”

    It will be a long time. They can’t take down anything in the Bayou without a major study on the flood impact to the areas down stream of that bridge. Any increase in flooding potential would have to be mitigated before the bridge is removed.

  • We are about to drastically improve a very blighted 50+ unit midtown crime haven. So how can we sign up for some of this sweet 380 action?

  • The property owners of San Jac Stone have never agreed to such development, WAKE UP PEOPLE! Parker’s Walmart destroyed SJS Live Oak Trees, Parker has been in SJS to walk property and now the city/development has plans for property that’s not theirs?!? This IS disturbing? Neighbors are angry and pissed off, but can only empathize for SJS feeling about this!

  • Neighbor, a quick look at the property records makes me think the owners of the stone company property have been preparing for this day for years. Why else would they have put everything into corporations, and then transferred the land to a company named Koehler Properties in January 2010?

    I wonder why you think the property would be developed against the will of the owners. Absent some sort of eminent domain thing, there’s no way the City can force the stone yard to be redeveloped. i can see not wanting to pay the taxes on a piece of property that is now worth over $3 million, but that’s not any sort of forced development.

  • The Retail Connection is leasing retailers for the SJS site. Go to theretailconnection . net and look for Yale St. Market for the leasing brief.

    Looks like another opportunity for the City to bulldoze trees and waive drainage detention for a giant paved site and flood the neighborhood downstream.

  • @chuck: That is the same pic as the one that is up on the Retail Connection. You can only assume that Ponderosa is the developer that is looking at building on that site.