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.
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)
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)