COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE SIGHTS OF MONTROSE “Look at those pictures! The cityscape in Houston is so beautiful that I sometimes want to cry. I love the setbacks, the crumbling streets, the large signs, the little bit of grass, and oh man oh man those two lonely palm trees. This is the part the Houston that I want to show off to my friends. After a nice dinner at Uchi, I love to take everyone on a stroll around my beautiful city!” [Duston, commenting on What’s Arriving Now at the Sleepy Corner of Westheimer and Montrose]
Stop being a hater and a pessimist, why on Earth would you take a guest to this location to show off Houston? How about Hermann Park, Memorial Park, Buffalo Bayou Park, Rice, River Oaks et.al? You must be a barrel of laughs at a party—-and not much of a tour guide–keep your day job.
So let’s recap:
A retail center which was built in Houston eighty years ago
Which is owned by a company founded in Houston sixty years ago
Leases space to a tenant that started in Houston thirty years ago
And we’re upset because of what our out-of-town friends will think when we take them to an Austin sushi joint that’s been in Houston since… two years ago.
Never change, Swamplot.
I guess you don’t understand sarcasm much do you Shannon — YOU must be a real barrel of laughs at a party…
I like to take my out of town guests on a drive down Westheimer heading west from the Galleria to look at the staggering number of title loan shops lining both sides of the street. It is obvious that Houston is the nation’s leader in title loan stores. Let’s make it a tourist attraction!
Because they were eating across the way from this. and one would naturally look around at their strategies.
Other cities, especially Austin, Dallas, and Atlanta, have managed to grow very rapidly while maintaining some semblance of order and aesthetics. Houston’s libertarian ideology governing development only helps the bottom dollar, which is fine as long as you can look at the results.
Dom, I don’t think you’ve really looked around Austin. Drive the entire length of Burnet Rd. and Lamar (except near Windsor Rd), and Airport Blvd, and you’ll see some of the worst looking city landscape in the country. It’s horrid. Austin’s city medians are landscaped solely with weeds and trash, whereas many of the prominent medians in Houston are now landscaped with nice trees, shrubs, and flowers (certainly not all though). We don’t have that in Austin except along the river downtown (which is indeed very nice).
No city is perfect. Dallas has liquor row on the border with Irving, caused by inane liquor laws, and Austin makes you put your light switches at waste height in new construction lest someone in a wheelchair move in fifty years later.
You’ve obviously never read a comment of mine on Swamplot if you think I don’t get sarcasm. Moving on….I agree parts of Austin and Dallas are as uglier or even uglier than the worst part of Houston. East Austin his hideous as is most of North Central. I always say, if you can afford to live on the Westside in the hills, great, otherwise the city looks worse than Bakersfield. Austin is without a doubt the most over rated city in the nation. Awful congested freeways system decades behind growth, not one world class museum (no the Blanton and Ransom don’t cut it), no real Zoo, no professional sports team, the Arts are a joke. It’s absurd to ever compare Austin to Houston. It’s like comparing Leeds to London.
It’s not “libertarian ideology” that made Houston ugly. It was 25-ft setbacks and mandatory parking minimums that made the retail strip center prominent.
Dan Denson’s right, Austin is a barren hellscape of weeds and trash. His memories of what Burnet, Lamar, and Airport maybe once looked like are totally accurate. Don’t consider moving there.
Truth be told the exterior of Uchi is not much to behold either.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s I lived a few blocks west of this intersection. Since then I visit the area about once a week, usually to eat at one of the restaurants. I’ve often thought someone should fix up that strip center, but I’ve never thought it reflected poorly on Houston’s “cityscape”. This is, after all, the corner of Montrose and Westheimer. This is the place to be for homeless teens. This used to be the place to be to get designer drugs when they were cheaper and safer. This used to be the place to start looking for some sweet ink or other body mod. This is where I was asked to help a gentleman determine the gender of a potential “date” for the evening.
The neighborhood didn’t deteriorate around Uchi; the owners of Uchi picked this spot.
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA…!!!
I nominate a Mattress Firm store for the design cliché category in the 2015 Swamplot Awards.
No eff’ing way. This is a joke right? No. Mattress Firm is NOT moving in that spot.
This confirms that I know nothing of real estate or economics. I just don’t get it….
Okay, after reading the other story it makes sense. The owners want everyone out so they can rebuild. You have a few long term lease holdouts (specs/books) so rather than leave the rest of the building empty while these two companies ride out their lease, you find someone that is willing to go in on a short term basis so you can make some extra income.
Make sense. And it makes sense why it’s a company like Mattress Firm. They can move in and setup shop pretty quickly, easily, economically. And when they gotta go, they take down their sign and move on.
If you think about it then, I guess it’s Specs and 1/2 Price Books that are keeping that old center hanging around. I can’t believe the owners and those shops couldn’t come up with a buyout agreement that worked for all parties. You’d think the owners would have been quite motivated to him them gone. And since their lease were not going to be renewed anyway, you’d think Specs/Books would have been pretty receptive to a buyout offer.
@Cody: I imagine the difference between what Spec’s and Half Price are currently paying and what they would have to pay if they moved out is huge. Big enough that the owner can’t make it worth their while.
What I don’t understand is how the owner got into this position in the first place. Didn’t they read the lease terms before they bought?
yeah, i can’t imagine half price books or specs is wanting to let their leases go at any costs. you’d think this would be the last stand for half price books and once they lose this lease they’re out of the montrose forever unless they can land in katyville. specs can afford to find another place, but certainly not in such a prominent and well-traveled location.
remember seeing the mattress firm going in two weeks ago when using my burger king coupons and didn’t faze me at the time. seems like a good play for all involved parties and it doesn’t detract from what is an already gruesome corner, even if the sign is obnoxiously oversized. would rather see these places filled up with something than sit empty.