07/16/12 3:28pm

Last night at the Fiesta on Dunlavy was the last night at the Fiesta on Dunlavy. Photographer-about-town Sarah Lipscomb, who began shopping at the store on the corner of West Alabama back when it was a Safeway, grabbed a few shots of the grocery store’s interior as she strolled the aisles there one last time:


06/29/12 12:11pm

“I like how this view makes it look like Fiesta is exploding,” writes engineer and Metro board member Christof Spieler of this photo he snapped last night at dusk. No fire clouds are expected, but the Montrose Fiesta Mart will be closing for good on July 15th — to make way for a Finger Companies apartment complex on the site. Spieler’s photo was taken from the shelter of the half-year-old H-E-B across Dunlavy, just south of West Alabama.

More building-turnover photo fun:


06/26/12 11:18pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: PACK THEM IN “Swamplotters crack me up. If this site were home to a bunch of crack houses and Fiesta wanted to tear them down and build this exact strip center (with or without decades of deferred maintenance) with a giant parking lot out front, every one would be up in arms about because it’s not dense enough, or urban enough, mixed use enough or pedestrian friendly enough. I see an eyesore going away, just [like] that dump that used to be across the street. I see $40-50 million of additional tax base that will toss another $1 million each and every year toward HISD and local government. I see room for 500-600 new residents in Houston’s core who will drop countless millions of dollars into bars, restaurants and retail stores and help Houston become an even more dynamic and vibrant city. I see progress. And I like it. Companies are hiring in Houston. People WANT to live in Houston. I say we accommodate them rather than force them to the next mile of empty prairie in the suburbs while letting our own city rot from the inside out.” [Bernard, commenting on Montrose Fiesta on Dunlavy Will Close Forever in Less Than a Month]

06/26/12 1:35pm

Fiesta Mart announced today that it will shut down its store at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama — across the street from the newly built modern H-E-B Montrose Market — on July 15th. Developer Marvy Finger plans to build a 6-to-8-story “Mediterranean-style” apartment complex on the 3.68-acre site, which he bought last fall. Fiesta has operated the former Weingarten grocery store on the site since 1994.

Photo: Candace Garcia

01/13/12 11:21am

Apartment developer Marvy Finger tells Nancy Sarnoff that he’s the developer who’s buying the Fiesta Food Mart on the corner of West Alabama and Dunlavy — and planning to build a 6-to-8-story complex in its place. Finger says the closing is scheduled for February, and that he’s looking to fit 390 apartments onto the 3.68-acre site. Finger has charged architects Wallace Garcia Wilson with designing something “Mediterranean” — presumably a structure dressed up in that style will fit the neighborhood better than Lake Flato’s new H-E-B Montrose Market across the street, the modern Menil Collection campus nearby, the many bungalows and brick homes surrounding the site in Lancaster Place, and the occasional new gallery along West Alabama. “We’re going to try to create something really beautiful,” he tells Sarnoff.


12/28/11 9:18pm

ST. STEPHEN’S LOSES APPEAL; MONTROSE H-E-B BEER AND WINE SALES BEGIN THURSDAY A judge today denied an appeal by St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, allowing the new Montrose H-E-B on the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama to begin pouring beer and wine for customers tomorrow at 2 pm. Earlier this month, County Judge Ed Emmett ruled that the St. Stephen’s building within 300 ft. of the new store’s property line at 1755 Sul Ross St. did not itself qualify as a private school under state alcohol rules, in part because fewer than 100 students attend courses at that particular location. [Prime Property; background; previously on Swamplot]

12/05/11 2:09pm

Over the weekend, variance signs were posted at the dead-ends of Sul Ross and Branard St. near the Menil Collection and in front of the bank of antique shops facing Dunlavy. The notices are the clearest indication yet that some big new development is being planned to replace the Fiesta Food Mart at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama in Lancaster Place. Last month, Swamplot posted a reader’s report that the property had been sold and that a 6-or-7-story “West Ave-style” mixed-use project was planned for the 3.68-acre site.


11/22/11 11:41am

Survey stakes have gone up around the Montrose Fiesta Market on the southeast corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama, directly across the street from the brand-new H-E-B Montrose Market.

What could that mean? A source who is not a party to the transaction claims that the survey is connected to a sale of the property, which is already under contract for “‘crazy money’ — something on the scale of $85-$90 SF”:

The reputed use will be for a 6 to 7 story multi-use development — something on the order of West Ave or the Read-King chimera promised for the SWC of Alabama and Shepherd. . . . Personally, I find the land purchase price to be pretty hard to believe . . . because market value of land in that area is $40 – $50 max or maybe $60 at a stretch. Fiesta’s lease expires in 2014 with no renewal and either they or the owner has an early out option. The other tenants in the center all have short lease terms with no renewal.


11/18/11 5:45pm

A Swamplot tipster is claiming that H-E-B’s Montrose Market, which opened earlier this week without a liquor license, will have difficulty obtaining one — unless some strings are pulled. Before the opening, H-E-B had announced plans not only to sell packaged beer and wine in the new store on the former site of the Wilshire Village apartments at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama, but to allow customers to order drinks by the glass and take them to the store’s outdoor patio as well.

But the license did not come through by the opening date. H-E-B Houston president Scott McClelland told Chronicle reporter David Kaplan on opening day that he expected it to come through in 4 to 5 weeks. A company spokesperson tells Swamplot that until the license is approved by the TABC, the store has stocked its future liquor department with other items for sale. What could have caused the holdup?


11/16/11 10:50am

What’s the difference between the new H-E-B Montrose Market on the site of the former Wilshire Village Apartments at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama and the Buffalo Market — designed by the same San Antonio architects — the company opened last year? Well, at 75,000 sq. ft., the new store is a bit bigger and has wider aisles, and the site it sits on is a bit more storied. Plus, photographer Candace Garcia notes from her preview tour, the doors on the milk coolers seem more sleek and contemporary. And the new store carries Philosophy skin-care products. Clearly, the Menil influence shows.

In front, below a couple of preserved trees, are several outdoor-eating and gathering options:


11/08/11 10:46pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHEN THE NEW H-E-B MARKET OPENS ACROSS THE STREET “I shop at the Dunlavy Fiesta fairly regularly. To brace themselves for the new competition, the staff just got spiffy new uniform shirts, and they’ve put out a banner that says that location has housed a neighborhood grocery store for 60 years (indeed, my grandmother shopped there decades ago when it was a Safeway). I keep wanting to ask the employees if anyone is moving over to the HEB, because if I were running HEB the first thing I’d do is hire away the best Fiesta employees. But I’m sure it’s a touchy subject. I love HEB and will probably shop there, too, but I’m going to feel like a traitor.” [Carol, commenting on Meanwhile, on the Former Site of the Wilshire Village Apartments]

10/20/11 11:42pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE DESIGN SHOPPER “Call me crazy but I believe architectural style and design matters. This is why I’ll be doing my grocery shopping here and not at my boring Garden Oaks or Heights Kroger.” [MericaRulz, commenting on Meanwhile, on the Former Site of the Wilshire Village Apartments]

10/19/11 3:52pm

From photographer Candace Garcia: recent construction pix of the Montrose H-E-BMarket, designed by San Antonio’s Lake Flato Architects (with a little local help on the roof design), and going up at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama, across from Fiesta. Scheduled completion date: uh, sometime soon?


05/23/11 10:34am

The familiar contours of a vast supermarket parking lot are already beginning to take shape on the 7.68-acre grounds of the former Wilshire Village Apartments at the southwest corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama. You’ll see the trees that have already disappeared from this site — or more likely, a few of their younger relatives — appearing at various sites around the neighborhood, promises a sign announcing the coming Montrose H-E-B market: