Staples to Weingarten Realty: Don’t Gut the Alabama Theater for Us, Thanks

In a letter published in today’s Chronicle, the PR director for Staples goes beyond her previous “we do not have a lease” statement and says the national office-supply chain is done with the idea of putting one of its stores in the vacant former Alabama Theater on South Shepherd at West Alabama — for now, at least:

. . . we are not currently considering a store at this site. We typically don’t comment about sites unless and until leases are signed, but we understand that this property represents a unique situation of local concern.

So what prompted theater owner Weingarten Realty to have a local architecture firm draw up plans for a complete interior scraping of the 1939 Art Deco theater — and arrange for at least one local construction firm solicit demolition bids based on it?


Staples was invited by the owner to consider leasing the Alabama Theatre location. We showed interest because the area has a dynamic community with numerous growing small businesses. As is customary, we looked at the property and provided the owner with our prototypical plans to review, in order to provide us with an idea how the property might be adapted for our use.

Amy Shanler indicates Staples is now “pursuing other opportunities in the area” instead.

Photos: Flickr user photine (Bookstop interior [license]); Chris Adams (exterior)

11 Comment

  • Good for Staples. I wish Barnes & Noble had adopted a similar attitude.

  • Staples knows full well not to tread in an areas and piss off potential customers. Staples overall doesn’t have a big presence in Houston compared to Office Depot and to some extent Office Max. The last thing you want to do is expand in a market with the locals not liking you.

  • Staples just got a new customer in me.

  • I applaud Staples for this move.

    On another note, I’m hoping that the move by the Alamo Drafthouse is more than just a PR stunt. It’s not helping that all members of the Alamo to the Alabama facebook group received a “special discount” that expired that day (act fast!!!). They were also sure to point us towards their facebook site, where we will have access to more special offers!

    They were sure to add a sentence saying they’d keep us up to date of any future developments. That was nice of them.

  • I would patronize this location. The garage at Edwards Weslayan is a nightmare and Edwards at Silber is full of screeching tweenies, no matter what the movie is.

  • Good for them…

  • Seconded, Emme. Thank you Staples.

    I would absolutely patronize an Alamo Drafthouse at this location, and I believe the inner loop in general would welcome the local chain with open arms.

  • Cd,

    FYI: the Alamo coupon was not specifically given to the Facebook group. It was just a link to a special that was available to anyone. They offer one coupon per day from local businesses (e.g. pay $10 and get $20 worth of product–merch, food, services, whatever).

  • Would be great as an additional stage for legitimate theatre in Houston.

  • From what I’ve heard, Weingarten doesn’t want to use it as a theater venue (live or film) because the other tenants there are concerned about what effect the increased parking load would have on their businesses.

    Maybe some sort of after-hours theater/lounge arrangement would work?

  • Let’s consider who the other clients are that Weingarten (aka SHIVA) claims to speak for-another sushi stop for R.O. wannabes ,a chain pet food store & the giant sink -hole provision co.The Drafthouse concept has merit though.