Bayou-Side White Oak Village Hopes To Woo Cyclists, Ninja Warriors, Coffee Shop to Antoine Dr.

Proposed White Oak Bayou Village redevelopment, Antoine Dr. at W. Little York Rd., Near Northwest, Houston, 77088Livable Centers plan, Near Northwest, Houston, 77088

Plans are in the works to give the shopping center at the southwest corner of Antoine Dr. and W. Little York Rd. a thorough redesign and rebranding as White Oak Bayou Village. A spokesperson for Nankani Development tells Swamplot that the group is seeking both tenants and ideas for the center’s redevelopment, which will be geared toward drawing bicycle traffic. So far, plans include an about-face for the bayou-side building in the back of the shopping center (labeled Building B above) by way of new glassy storefronts opening toward the White Oak Bayou greenway now running behind it; the developers claim the center would become the first private development to cater explicitly to the expanding bayou trail system.

Per preliminary plans, car access to the back of the shopping center would be blocked off. Former parking spaces along the back Building B (currently home to Northwest Beauty School) would be made over into a covered patio leading to the bayou trail. For the pad site of the burned-down former restaurant next door, the development group is considering a park-like events plaza that could host a bi-monthly farmer’s market — along with a giant chess board, maybe, or even a bayou-side zip lining station. “We are open to anything at this point,” writes the Nankani rep.

Hoped-for tenants for the center currently include a coffee shop-slash-electric bike rental joint, an ice house-style music venue, and an outdoor obstacle course and adult gym — possibly from Sam Sann of American Ninja Warrior fame, who trains contestants at his Iron Sports gym in Cypress.

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The White Oak Bayou villagers are working to get the center designated as an official greenway trailhead, and hope to have B-Cycle rental stations in the area. As for aesthetics, the group says they are “thinking of cactus, rocks, repurposed items such as barrels, shipping containers, an old Volkswagen, etc.,” along with native wildflowers.

The shopping center falls within the ellipse of land slated for redevelopment as the White Oak Five Bridges area in the Near Northside Management District’s Livable Centers master plan (shown in the top red circle below)

Livable Centers plan, Near Northwest, Houston, 77088

The management district’s broader plans for the area call for commercial redevelopment, increased green space, and improved transportation infrastructure along Antoine, from just north of Victory Dr. to south of Tidwell Rd.  From top to bottom, the 4 black pointers in the aerial above point to the Five Bridges area, a planned linear park called White Oak Gardens, the planned redevelopment of DeSoto St. into White Oak Bayou Boulevard, and the proposed White Oak Station transit hub at Antoine and Tidwell Rd.

Images: Nankani Development (site plans), Near Northwest Management District (map and rendering)

 

Bayou Turnaround

33 Comment

  • Fairly inexpensive rehab of existing strip center that makes it bike-friendly and conceivably attracts the SWPL crowd to consider Inwood Forest. Minimal downside, YUGE upside. What’s not to love?

  • Well they managed to crop out the big sewer treatment plant. But not the sea of C class apartments that the redevelopment at the center of the redevelopment, they are going to need more than one ninja warier, on this side of town. Probably an entire battalion of them.

  • What’s not to love? How about I have to have a concealed carry if I’m going to go there…much less bike there!

  • Gross apartments surrounding otherwise nice ranch house neighborhoods. The story of Houston.

  • This is revolutionary…they will make a building FACE the bayou, rather than back up to it with a solid concrete wall lined with putrid dumpsters. I have been waiting for this day for decades! To my knowledge, the only business in Houston that has proudly claimed its bayou-ness is Brenner’s on the Bayou (I’m sure there are others, I just can’t think of them right now). I bike many of the trails in Houston’s bayou network and still marvel at how segregated the trails are from city life. The stretch along Brays through the med center is the worst – it is a gallery of the backs of parking garages, 2 sewage plants, security fences and sheer walls on high rises. It’s so barren and inaccessible that hospital employees go there to secretly smoke their cigarettes (some hospitals fire their employees for smoking now, so it’s a big deal to not get caught).

  • Check out Google Earth of the area north of W. Little York, south of Victory Ln, east of Antonie Dr, and west of Vogel Creek. Is that a neighborhood? Looks like the streets are plated, curbs are installed, but there’s only a half dozen homes built. Anyone ever been there?

  • I remember touring some empty apartment complex (like, condo style) about 8 (?) years ago. Maybe less. Anyway, all I remember is it was off Antoine. I was walking in and out of the empty boarded up units.
    .
    Some cops came by and said “WTF ARE YOU DOING HERE??”. I guess that area was so dangerous that when fire/medics come, they don’t wear uniforms since they’ll be shot at.
    .
    I actually tried to buy that place but they wouldn’t seller finance it and there was no way a bank would loan on it in it’s current state.
    .
    damn, now I want to search my e-mail and see if I can find where it was and find out what happened to it :)

  • I think the chances of a Bcycle station there are about nil. If you look at a map of Bcycle stations, they are mostly clustered between downtown, Montrose and the Museum District. They benefit from a network effect–you rent one then bike to another station and park it there. The way it works, you can pick up a new bike at every station for no extra cost, which makes it nice if you want to stop for lunch or go to a museum. (See https://houston.bcycle.com/station-map)

    The problem for them is that Little York and Antoine are very far from any other Bcycle station, so there are no possible network benefits. There would have to be several stations in the area to make it work.

  • Ah, it was on De Soto… Off of Antoine. Oh crap. Like right at that middle circle. They wanted $10k a unit about 3 years ago. 200+ units.
    .
    Oh how fast things change. That’d of been a good buy.

  • No need for the haters of change. This is an outstanding proposal, no doubt that the immediate area leaves something to be desired if you call from the overly gentrifies areas of Houston Heights or the distant hinterlands of Montrose. Hats off to the redevelopers for having the courage to be advocates for change, I wish you the best and please post signs for “No Open Carry or Concealed Weapons”
    Btw, @Native Heights Girl if you are more than 10 years old, you know all to well that your barrio ain’t always been so rosy.

  • I live not far from there and I don’t think the bulk of folks that are going biking for entertainment and like to shop organic are going to be all that comfortable in that area. Don’t get me wrong… it will only help my property values but it’s going to be a long slog into upcycling that area.

  • All this is is colored pencils on a aerial. They dont even show the floodplane.

    I would be willing to bet the group claiming they will do these wonderful things doesn’t even own all of the properties above.

  • Walker that was a subdivison it’s called Arbor Oaks. Most of the houses were bought out after Allison what you see is all that left.

  • For those who didn’t already know, over half of the run down apartments in this area have been torn down within the last year and a half. The other half have been extensively rehabbed into B + class apartments. Also, the old golf course has been purchased by the City of Houston and transformed into a 222 acre city park with jogging trails, disc golf course, butterfly gardens, etc.

    The area has changed a lot very recently, but I guess a lot of people aren’t aware of this fact….

  • @Steve, thanks! I’d never heard of such. http://www.chron.com/news/article/Arbor-Oaks-residents-resigned-to-home-buyouts-2085632.php

    @Superdave The Houston Ballet building downtown faces the bayou.

  • Near Northwest?…cute…so in 5 years from now are we gonna be calling this place NeNo?

  • @Bocepheus – Those colored pencils on the aerial are my work :) I have a floodplain map if that would make you feel better, btw, most of the improvements on the property are completely out of the 100 year floodplain thanks to the recent re-dredging of White Oak Bayou. Also, I have no idea what sewer treatment plant you are talking about, I have never seen this and I work here onsite everyday. It must be hidden well.

    And yes for the record, we own all the buildings on this site plan with the exception of Walgreen’s and O’Reilly Autoparts. It’s a total of about 17 acres and 166,000 sf of rentable space comprised of four buildings.

  • This is awesome news! I’m a native Houstonion and a Realtor who is working a brand new subdivision in the area. With this coming in the pipeline and more brand new homes in the works this is destine to be a hit. Looking forward to seeing it completed.
    For those inquiring visit http://www.lasierrahouston.com

  • The folks living in Oaks of Inwood will really frequent and appreciate this project!

    @JoeDirt: lol. that’s pretty good.

  • Amazing idea.

    I live in Oak Forest and love taking the bayou north.

    If you cross over Antoine and keep going there is a very cool old wood bridge and really cool trails through Inwood Club Estates.

    Definitely a hidden gem of an area and an anchor like this would lure many bikers from the more genteel sections of TC Jester Park.

    I could see it being a popular half way resting point for once the network is built out to Cypress like I believe is currently planned.

  • As an Inwood Forest resident and cyclist, this is great news! I will go there often and bring my friends as well. Kudos to the developers!

  • @walker That subdivision was built in the flood and abandoned

    @Joanna
    Forgive me for my skepticism, but I have seen may a real estate development on paper, that never materialized into real life. Are all of the brown buildings apartments?

    As far as the sewer treatment facility, the address is 422 Randon Rd

  • The area Continues to change. There are some very motivated people to change the area. The developers should be applauded.
    It’s a brilliant idea. I live in Inwood Forest. I’m not paying 500k plus a house in the Heights. We get great house, land, old golf course to walk, cycle with access to bike trail. Inwood is a hidden gem and I used to live in the hot spots. Yes, the city needs to continue to help with the apartments and Antoine and they should as they allowed it to get into the Ness in the first place but it’s changing. This proposal is exactly what’s needed. I hate people commenting when they don’t know the area…

  • This is a great idea … about 6 miles to the southeast along the trail.

  • Yikes this area is seriously sketchy, I should know I live in Oak Forest too, it’s mainly the apartment complexes along antoine/tidwell, where the problems are the neighborhoods are relatively quiet, though you couldn’t pay me to live in Inhood I mean Inwood. The schools however are abysmal, Oak Forest Elementary being a slight exception to that. It’s a good place for renewal however those apartment complexes will continue to deteriorate and attract the wrong people to the area, tons of section 8 drugged out zombies in the area, and gunfire isn’t all too uncommon either. Best of luck with that from a fellow first wave gentrifier.

  • @cm Thank you for telling it like it is. I’m surprised that no one has jumped all over your case yet… I grew up in Inwood and couldn’t have said it any better…

    So the Inwood shopping center that borders Acres Homes is going hipster…wow. Before it got run down, it actually used to be a nice shopping center with Bealls, Showbiz Pizza/Chucky Cheese, another Walgreens, Tempo Fashions (and maybe a Rice grocery store and Palais Royal).

    I would have named it after the neighborhood that is in, but maybe “Inwood” or “Acres Homes” isn’t PC enough. I think that if it was dead in the middle of Garden Oaks or Oak Forest, they would consider using the neighborhood name.

  • @Inwood OG – No, we are not “going hipster”, obviously that would never work in this area at this point in time. We would however like to set the foundation to attract “hipsters” and millenials from Oak Forest, Garden Oaks, The Heights, and so forth, but we are also working to preserve the authenticity of this area and adjacent Acres Homes (technically this shopping center is NOT in Acres Homes, but right next to it on the other side of T.C. Jester). We have a great mix of locally owned (by the way, we give in house incentives to mom and pop locally owned businesses to move in here) and National credit tenants right now, and want to grow with more. What we are NOT trying to do is gentrify the area, because obviously that wouldn’t work here anyways. We would love to see a transformation akin to Montrose or the other end of White Oak Bayou, a nice mix of original area businesses and new to the area businesses. Whatever happens to this area will take it’s own course, but again, our goal is to see a nice flourishing authentic mix, which is something that can’t be duplicated by contrived commercial developments! Think Brooklyn NY.

    As far as not jumping on the Inwood naming bandwagon, well, the Near Northwest Management District has been working hard towards re-naming the area as Five Bridges, so we also wanted to start fresh and give it a new, non-Inwood, name to go with the new improvements.

  • The last 2 comments are crap. Yes, it’s sketchy with apartment but I moved from Oak Forest 2 years ago due to the crime. City stats show Oak Foeest with higher crime rates than Inwood. Better ro help an area get better than post crap on an area that is being paid close attention to. Who wants to pay over the odds for an Oak Forest house. I made my money and profit, moved to IF and its the best thing I ever did…

  • As a resident of Antoine Forest Estates, this article is very exciting! Can’t wait to see the changes unfold.

  • It’s a hood surrounded by good in early transition. The location is good so the apts are doomed eventually to be dozed but that may be a decade or two away. Hempstead hwy area is gradually getting hipsters and hempsters (and a few hampsters, or possibly gerbils) along with Spring Branch so Inwood will start replacing its gangsters and monsters with other types of sters soon as well. With all the focus always on the Inner Loop the Mid Loop is quietly being remade piece by piece right under our noses.

  • I think this is a great idea and I hope it works out! You have my support! I currently live in Forest West and I think this would be an extremely positive change for the area.

  • Gotta agree with SuperDave. TMC is the worst. As a regular TMC bike commuter, I throw PAC’s (premature atrial contractions) when I ride the S. Braeswood “Gaunlet” from Wyndale to Pressler. TMC Mobility study suggested a new bike-ped bridge on HCFCD land adjacent to S. Braeswood Bridge. If this were Eindhoven, Netherlands, one might see 20 mph speed limits and a two-level roundabout at the S.Braeswood/Pressler intersection with connections over Braes Bayou between MAIN and MID complexes and future TMC3. If you need a good laugh (or cry), watch the TMC employees scurry in the dark across S. Braeswood Gauntlet (bridge) in the dark between the 4213 space surface parking lot and MAIN complex.