12/21/16 11:15am

Triple Chicken junction on S. Rice, Gulfton, Houston, 77081

The density of fast-food chicken options at S. Rice Ave. just south of 59 is increasing precipitously, a couple of readers note. The most recent addition: the newly-constructed Chik-Fil-A at 5325 S. Rice Ave. (visible above on the right, just south of Pollo Loco and across the street from Raising Cane’s). The Chik-Fil-A is not yet officially open for fowl distribution (though it does appear to be giving away prizes on Facebook. The Pollo Loco and Chik-Fil-A represent the fulfillment of the Wal-Mart Supercenter version of the Shoppes at Uptown Crossing site plan, passed around back in 2014; the Marriott Town & Place shown on that plan has since come to be as well:


Flocking Together in Gulfton
12/22/15 9:45am

Spring Town Center, Kuykendahl Rd, Spring, TX 77389

38 miles of Grand Parkway are expected to open early next year — NewQuest Properties is prepping Spring Town Center for the anticipated additional traffic by adding five new pad sites to the retail complex, located off of Kuykendahl Rd. south of FM 2920. Grand Parkway Segments F-1, F-2, and G — running between US 290 and the Eastex Freeway — are kind-of-sort-of nearing completion following a flood-heavy 2015, and are expected open in the first quarter of 2016.

The new additions to the shopping center are highlighted in yellow in the map above, and the zoomed-in section below along Kuykendahl:


Coming This Fall to Spring
04/23/15 12:00pm

Landry's Proposed Post Oak Hotel Complex, 1600 West Loop South, Galleria, Houston

“Remember, I’m the guy that took the old fire station and made it an aquarium,” Tilman Fertitta explains to Nancy Sarnoff. “I took the old Flagship and made it the Pleasure Pier. I took an old fishing village and made it the Kemah Boardwalk.” All of which might help explain the simple concept behind the Landry’s CEO’s latest venture: taking a surface parking lot next to the Landry’s corporate headquarters near the Galleria and turning it into a 35-story hotel-apartment-office-tower with a 2-story auto showroom in front, then filling out the rest of the 10-acre site with a parking garage and couple of pad-site restaurants facing the West Loop southbound feeder.

A row of 4 large lit-up diamonds facing east across the freeway will festoon the forehead of the Gensler-designed tower at 1600 West Loop South. Fertitta calls the not-really-a-sign a “subtle message.” It’s meant to stand in for the 4 diamond shapes in the Landry’s logo — dining, hospitality, entertainment, and gaming — though until a few pesky laws can be changed not all can be offered on site.


Landry’s Post Oak
04/20/15 3:15pm

Framing of Galleria Jewel Box, 5085 Westheimer Rd., Houston

Framing of the new “Jewel Box” on-garage drive-up pad site Galleria add-on has begun. A reader sends in this view from above, showing how the building has been perched onto the next-to-top level of the Blue Garage, which underlies the mall’s parking-lot approach from Westheimer. Westheimer runs from left to right at the top of the photo.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Drive Up Luxury
02/10/15 11:00am

Construction of Galleria Jewel Box, Galleria, Houston

Construction crews have begun digging into the surface parking lot along Westheimer in front of the Galleria for the construction of the fancy new pad site building mall owner Simon Properties is referring to as the “luxury jewel box.” Foundation work for the structure, which will sit in front of the Cheesecake Factory and house as many as 3 high-end retailers (Cartier and Chanel are portrayed in renderings of the structure from early last year), will be a little tricky — because underneath the surface parking lot lies the Galleria’s multi-story Blue Garage.

A Swamplot reader sends in the above photo showing the scene as it appeared yesterday; here’s the same view with a bit more of a zoom-out:


Digging Deep
07/27/10 8:05am

Will construction of a new Walmart off Yale St. just south of I-10 and the Heights require any variances from the Planning Commission? This sign appeared over the weekend across the street from where Koehler St. ends at Yale, just south of Dirt Bar. It appears to refer to the proposed extension of Koehler St. to Heights Blvd. shown on the Ainbinder Company site plan for the property. That’s not for the portion of the property Walmart will be occupying, but for an adjacent tract.

By Sunday night, though, the sign had been taken down. According to Kent Marsh of planning firm Marsh Darcy Partners, it was removed “erroneously” and should be reinstalled soon. Meanwhile, a separate set of signs are up along Koehler and on the other side of Yale, closer to where the Walmart is likely to go. But they appear to be for the Yale St. pad sites in the Ainbinder plan. And they aren’t for variances:


07/15/10 2:50pm

Walmart has not completed its purchase of 15 acres of the former Trinity Industries steel fabrication site on Yale St. just south of I-10 and the Heights, but an executive with the Ainbinder Company, which has owned the property for 3 years, has been quoted as saying it is no longer negotiating with any other potential buyers (H-E-B was one), and that the deal should be complete within a few weeks. A site plan obtained by the Chronicle‘s Nancy Sarnoff shows 2 bank-style pad sites and a park-in-front strip center facing Yale, in front of the 152,000-sq.-ft. Walmart’s 664-car parking lot. Also shown in that plan, as part of the proposed development: a sprawlerrific future for the current site of the Heights Plaza Apartments to the northeast of the site, featuring a strip center along Heights Blvd. and a “bank” site just to the north, at the southern edge of White Oak Bayou. Yet another strip center is shown on the back side of the bank site, facing Yale St. to the west.

Ainbinder has the Heights Plaza Apartments at 205 Heights Blvd. under contract. Speaking at a meeting organized by city council member Ed Gonzalez, Michael Ainbinder said he expects to close on that property this fall and include the land in the retail development, bringing its total land area to 24 acres. Nicgk, who took extensive notes on the meeting and included them in his blog, They Are Building a Wal-Mart on My Street, reports that the developers are claiming that the development will not be “a ‘typical suburban’ project.” Nicgk reports an Ainbinder representative noted the

‘warehouse’ type of architecture; they noted the ‘Core’ apartments, and ‘Berger Iron Works’ on the corner plot of land. They intend to keep that type of neighborhood feel to the development
-It was described as a more modern warehouse/urban type of feel . . . Ainbinder assured that the infrastructure of the land, and surrounding, would be brought up to appropriate specs to support.

Below: a few photos of the site from a larger set and scouting report by another neighborhood blogger, Charles Kuffner.


07/01/10 5:19pm

We have a correction on the location of the new Walmart headed for the area just south of I-10 and the Heights. Our source was off by a block: The property in question is bounded by Yale on the east, Koehler on the north, Bonner on the west, and the railroad tracks to the south. That’s a much bigger site than the former Sons of Hermann property a block east. A proposed development plan obtained by Nancy Sarnoff at the Chronicle indicates there’ll be plenty of pad-site fun in the project too. The site plan from the Ainbinder Company and Moody Rambin Retail shown above also shows a much-fattened Bass Ct. connecting the development to a new east-bound feeder road along I-10.

The plans show a 152,000-sq.-ft. Walmart (that’s almost 3 1/2 acres of floor space, but who’s counting?) and a 664-car parking lot. according to Sarnoff. “A Wal-Mart spokeswoman confirmed the company’s interest in the site, but would not provide additional details,” she writes.

A 25-acre Trinity Industries steel fabrication plant was the last development at this location. A portion at 107 Yale was home to the Heights Armature Works, where flickr photographer meltedplastic caught these cozy scenes, featured on Swamplot last year:


05/26/10 3:48pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOUSTON PAD SITE JUNKIES, JONESING FOR ANOTHER FIX “Woo hoo! Hopefully the other site will be a Chase. I’m in desperate need of more banking solutions. If not I can settle for an Arby’s.” [jb3, commenting on Swamplot Street Sleuths: Nestled ’Neath the Costco Oaks]

01/29/09 9:14am

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON PAD SITE MASSACRE Yesterday featured separate announcements of retail closings from Starbucks and JPMorgan Chase: First, 36 out of 111 Houston-area Washington Mutual branches will be shut down by March; the remainder will be converted to Chase Bank locations. That’ll leave only 220 Chase Bank locations around town. Next, Starbucks says the company will close 300 coffee shops worldwide, including 200 in the U.S. No word on how many will be leaving the Houston area, but last year 11 stores in this region closed after a 600-store cut. For the surviving locations, there may be a longer wait for decaf after lunch: “Company officials say demand for decaf falls off significantly in the afternoon, and Starbucks will brew decaf in the afternoon only at a customer’s request. It takes about four minutes to make a fresh pot. Last year, Starbucks started brewing fresh pots of coffee every 30 minutes.” [Houston Business Journal; previously]