Plans are in the works to give the shopping center at the southwest corner of Antoine Dr. and W. Little York Rd. a thoroughÂ redesign andÂ rebranding as White Oak Bayou Village.Â A spokesperson for Nankani Development tells Swamplot that the group is seeking both tenants and ideas for theÂ center’s redevelopment, which will be geared toward drawingÂ bicycle traffic. SoÂ far, plans include an about-face for theÂ bayou-side building in the back of the shopping center (labeledÂ Building BÂ above) by way of new glassy storefronts opening toward theÂ White Oak Bayou greenwayÂ 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.Â For the pad site of theÂ burned-down former restaurant next door, the development group is considering a park-like events plazaÂ that could host a bi-monthly farmer’s market —Â alongÂ with a giant chess board, maybe, orÂ even a bayou-sideÂ zip lining station.Â “We are open to anything at this point,” writes the Nankani rep.
Hoped-forÂ 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 — possiblyÂ fromÂ Sam Sann of American Ninja Warrior fame, who trains contestants at hisÂ Iron Sports gym in Cypress.
The White Oak Bayou villagers are working to get the center designated as an official greenway trailhead, andÂ hope to have B-Cycle rental stations in the area. As for aesthetics, the groupÂ 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 theÂ White Oak Five BridgesÂ area in theÂ 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 ofÂ Victory Dr. to south of Tidwell Rd. Â From top to bottom, the 4Â black pointersÂ in the aerial above point toÂ the Five Bridges area, a planned linear park calledÂ White Oak Gardens, theÂ planned redevelopment ofÂ DeSoto St. into White Oak Bayou Boulevard, and theÂ proposed White Oak Station transit hub at Antoine and Tidwell Rd.
Images: Nankani Development (site plans), Near Northwest Management District (map and rendering)