- 212 W. 32nd St. [HAR]
Here’s a view from last week of the former Express Wheel & Tire kiosk in Oak Forest, in the midst of its transformation into a yet-to-be-identified coffee drive-thru along Ella Blvd. at W. 34th St., at the eastern end of the shopping center redo Revive Development is working on at that intersection’s southwest corner. Demo crews are removing the overhang connecting the front canopy to the small building behind it. Renderings of the finished development on the Revive website show the canopy is meant to remain — to shade a few prime parking spaces at the eastern end of the development:
More details on the planned Yale Marketplace development centered around the 365-branded mini Whole Foods planned for Independence Heights (but picking up the Garden Oaks moniker) come this week from Adolfo Pesquera, who posted the rendering above over at VBX of that companion strip mall planned just to the north of the grocery store. The structure looks to be slated for the narrow parcel of land where the long, low, industrial-slash-office park that until January hosted the Potter’s House Christian Church still stands.
Pesquera also reports that Houston Heights ER has officially signed on as the urgent care clinic that’ll be stuck to the side of the 365 (to the left, in the rendering below):
ALDI TAKING THE YOGA COLLECTIVE’S SPOT IN GARDEN OAKS; OTHER NEW TENANTS IN THE WORKS Betsy Denson confirms this morning that an ALDI will be that “something bigger” taking over the endcap space in the N. Shepherd Dr. shopping center north of 38th St., once the Yoga Collective is booted out. (The German grocery chain will also take over that long-empty vacuum shop space next door). Hartman Management rep Danny Morales also tells Denson that a few more large tenants are likely headed to the strip center, and that just under 5,000 sq. ft. of new freestanding space is currently under construction. The space marked for ALDI is right across Garden Oaks Blvd. from the Sears complex that Weingarten previously had its eye on. [The Leader; previously on Swamplot] Photo of 3839D N. Shepherd Dr.: Yoga Collective
Update, 5/2: Yep, it’s an ALDI. More here.
The end of the 95,000-sq.-ft. N. Shepherd Dr. strip mall just south of Garden Oaks Blvd. is being cleared out shortly, a handful of readers tell Swamplot. Endcap tenant Yoga Collective announced recently that the studio’s lease is being terminated at the end of June, and has been hinting on social media that something bigger is taking over the space (and possibly a few other adjacent spaces in the row). The nearest spot in the strip appears to have been vacant since about 2015, when the domestic-minded shop next door (apparently operating now as A&B Vacuum and Sewing Machines) moved further up N. Shepherd, and out from under the since-removed VACUUM & SEWING CANDLES signage:
Several readers reported this morning that the Garden Oaks-Independence Heights border location of construction equipment rental shop Neff Rental, on the northeast corner of Yale St. and the North Loop, has been clearing out this week. That’s a prerequisite step before any new construction equipment can be moved back onto the site, to start work on the 365 Garden Oaks store Whole Foods has planned for the property (as rendered above).
Plans for the corner depict the mini-store accompanied by both attached and freestanding retail spots, 3 of which have pending leases with a dentist, a cellphone company, and a medical business respectively, according to the marketing materials trying to hawk the remaining space (highlighted in yellow):
ReVive’s plans to redo the shopping strips at the southwest corner of 34th St. and Ella Blvd. in Oak Forest look like they may keep a few existing businesses in the center, though some shuffling about may be involved. The rendering up top comes from the redeveloper’s leasing flier for the corner, which shows a makeover of several existing buildings along with plans for a few new pad sites. The flier depicts Surfhouse surf and skate shop (currently in a building next door slated for demo) snuggled into the spot recently evacuated by T-Shirt Works. The door next to that is marked with the logo for Pop & Pan (the eventual new name of Houston Panini & Provisions, pictured above in its current location facing 34th).
The siteplan included with the renderings clarifies some of the changes that might be carried out — the 2 existing buildings that form the L-shaped center rendered above are seen below on the left:
New colors and signs now herald the coming of Prince’s Hamburgers to 3425 Ella Blvd., north of 34th St. between “Wash Me” Car Wash and the Kar Hospital. Prince’s former dominion near 59 at Weslayan is now under the rule of not-quite-an-emergency health clinic MedSpring Urgent Care, though the 1930s restaurant chain still maintains another freewayside outpost in the former Murphy’s Deli spot on I-10 between N. Kirkwood Rd. and Tully St. Prince’s underground holdings Downtown have also been relinquished, along with the diner location on N. Post Oak Blvd.
The newly marked territory on Ella shares its western border with the Waltrip High School track. Across the street from the coming is Ella Plaza, formerly home to yes-that-Swayze Swayze School of Dance and recently worked over by serial redeveloper Braun Enterprises. Looking from the strip center’s parking lot to the south, the Shipley’s donut sign can be spied rising over the horizon, as can the Sunbelt Jewelry & Loan pawn shop’s commanding sign:
What’s the story behind the tiny question marks that recently appeared at the end of the low-dangling “DEED RESTRICTIONS ENFORCED” signs on at least a couple Garden Oaks welcome-to-the-neighborhood markers? More than just your usual neighborhood grumbling and graffiti-ing, it appears.
Here’s the southernmost end of the newest work from the Art Guys: the designation of an existing ‘designated natural area’ in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest as part of their series of situation sculptures. The grassy median strip along Wheatley St. between Pinemont Dr. and Tidwell Rd. is evidently one of the no-mow zones labeled by the city’s parks and recreation department that spurred complaints in 2011, when area residents alleged that newly planted trees had blocked sight lines and created hazardous driving conditions. According to the city’s website, the zones are carefully placed to “help promote the natural regeneration of the urban forest.”
As for techniques employed by the artists: per their other pieces in the series, the duo appears to have left the area alone. They have, however, provided GPS coordinates and a Google map to help visitors avoid losing their way.
Remodeling is underway at the former Primary Purpose Alcoholics Anonymous meeting space, as Suite D of the strip center at 1203 W. 34th St. is converted into Slowpokes wine, beer, and coffee bar. The new business is busy building its digital presence as it rehabs its physical space just south of the corner with Alba Rd.
The bar’s Instagram page shows the above photo of a screenshot of a rendering of the suite under renovation, which depicts a large patio spreading out into what is currently the strip center’s parking lot. Photos of carpet removal and wishful floor-taping have also been posted as interior construction begins:
A scheme to demolish the 1949 Sears building at 4000 N. Shepherd Dr. and the Pine Forest Business Park behind it and replace it with an “Americana”-themed shopping center headlined by a new Sears store and a supermarket is only part of an unsolicited proposal sent to the national retailer, a representative of Weingarten Realty tells Swamplot. A brochure describing aspects of the proposal, which would replace the Streamline Moderne department store between Garden Oaks and Independence Heights with a higher density shopping center that the body copy implied would be styled in a manner akin to the residential designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, was posted online by the publicly traded REIT earlier this week.
Update, 2/19: Weingarten says the brochure was a “vision book” that was released to the public in error.
“The time is right for redevelopment” of the Sears at 4000 N. Shepherd Dr., declares a brochure published online earlier this week by Weingarten Realty. The brochure, which appears to be part of a proposal to Sears, which owns the 11.7-acre western portion of the site, says the REIT plans to partner with the retailer to turn the sleepy department store and the Pine Forest Business Park directly to its east into a “wonderfully connected and designed retail shopping destination for Garden Oaks, Oak Forest and neighborhoods around it,” including a new grocery store and restaurants.
No site plan is included in the presentation, but Weingarten notes that it plans to keep “the 2nd longest operating Houston Sears” open in some form throughout the redevelopment. “Weingarten’s vision is to acquire adjacent land,” then “temporarily relocate Sears into an existing building” — the Family Bingo Center at 641 W. Crosstimbers — before scraping and redoing the whole site.