RALPH BIVINS: BULLET TRAIN DEVELOPERS HAVE THE NORTHWEST MALL UNDER CONTRACT (BUT IT’S ALL A BIG MISTAKE)
Veteran real estate writer Ralph Bivins reports that Texas Central already has the Northwest Mall site it proposed for Houston’s bullet train station under contract. Only a few retailers are open now in the shopping center, including the Palais Royal department store and Thompson’s Antique Center of Texas. A gas station and Burger King also sit at the northeast edge of the mall’s parking lot on the corner of W. 18th St. and the busy West Loop S. — which Bivins worries is about to get busier: “Why would anyone think it’s a good idea to be dumping an additional 10,000 or 20,000 train riders a day into the Northwest Mall area? The dumping ground that could really use them, he says, is getting snubbed: “Where is the dream for a world-class train station in downtown Houston? It should have restaurants, retail, hotels, nearby residential – and connections to light rail, buses and commuter rail.” [Realty News Report, previously on Swamplot] Conceptual rendering of bullet train station on current Northwest Mall site: Texas Central
The current East Downtown home of startup kickstarter Start Houston is on the market at the moment, as the organization looks for a new space to host its growing techie crowd. A rep tells Swamplot that the group can’t say yet where the new digs will be — but the old digs at 1121 Delano St. are currently listed for sale at around $795,000. The 1963 building’s features include the human-robot peace wall facing Dallas St.:
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Starting Again Elsewhere
The land at the northeast corner of Shepherd Dr. and Bissonnet St. (not far down the street from closing-this-weekend Kay’s Lounge) has been sold to an entity using the La Porte corporate address of traditionally freeway-hugging Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen. The mid-1980s convenience store (formerly a Sunrise Grocery) and its 0.35 acre property were put on the market at the start of the summer; the sale closed a little over 2 weeks ago. Word through the NextDoor grapevine is that the building won’t be a Gringo’s, but might be replaced with a 3-story retail-office-space combo once the convenience store’s lease runs out around Halloween.
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LAST CHANCE LOOMS TO MAIL ON YALE Regular customers of the seriously-named Heights Finance Station US post office at 1050 Yale St. got an early Christmas present this month: a letter from management, tucked into each P.O. box with care, informing them that the branch is shutting down at the end of the month. The facility will dispense its last book of stamps at 5 P.M. on December 30; come 2016, Heights-area postal operations will be consolidated at the remodeled T.W. House Carrier Annex at Bevis and W. 19th St. in the distant wilds of northern Shady Acres, a 2-mile drive northwest from Yale station. The 6,161 sq.-ft. Yale building is for sale; the property occupies an acre of central Heights turf, standing across W. 11th Street from neo-diner Lola and across Yale from open-any-day-now ice house 8 Row Flint. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox; Notice: MKultra25 via HAIF