Armed with a camera, two enterprising Swamplot readers set out to document the retail carnage along South Shepherd, between 59 and the Shepherd Curve:
The sheer number of businesses that have disappeared along Shepherd in 4 months has been stupefying. This is with a large, new, empty Weingarten development at one end â€¦and the chronically empty Shepherd Plaza at the other. Hell, we have gone from 4 Starbucks to 3!!
That’s a 25 percent reduction in mocha lattes alone. How about in some of the other sectors?
Granted, there have been some new businesses, a Hallmark store, a dance studio, and something seems to have filled the lingerie place at Welch and Shepherd, but the vacancy rate now stands at 22%!!! We counted 172 retail â€œunitsâ€ and found 37 of them to be empty. As recently as February, I remember only about a dozen vacancies.
What are the sights?
There’s that empty former Starbucks building on Farnham:
Our correspondents continue:
The sea change in the balance between landlord and tenant here has been simply amazing. And this is in the solar plexus of Houston with the street rolling through both 77098 and 77019.
The former J.Jill on West Gray:
And that new piece of the River Oaks Shopping Center:
Bottom line? Savvy retail tenants in Houston will now start demanding NNN rents damn close to Zero for quality space. Even in the best inner loop locations (Kirby, Shepherd, Richmond, Westheimer). Why? With so many landlords around town having trouble paying the lights, insurance, and taxes, they are glad to get somethingâ€¦anything to pass through expenses and stay alive.
Awww, c’mon. Are things really that bad?
A few notes:
Wow. Why can’t more Swamplot readers send in projects like this?
We were honked at twice for slowing down or stopping and nearly got in an accident in the Shepherd/Westheimer Randallâ€™s parking lot.
Okay, but it’s worth it, no?
Photos: Swamplot inbox