That Garden Cleanup at Memorial and Westcott

A reader wants to know what’s happening on the south side of Memorial Dr. between Birdsall and Knox St., just east of Westcott: “In mid-September a garden store opened in the warehouse-type building and then shut down just a few weeks later. Just last week a demolition crew tore down the warehouse [see photo above]. Also last week, there was a crew salvaging some building fixtures from the abandoned restaurant building next door (used to be La Mia). Will this building [on the left in the photo] go next? Any idea of what the site is being used for? There has been a lot of development in the area recently (Black Walnut Cafe) and more is on the way (a storage facility and older apartment complex on the north side of Memorial is about to be torn down for multi-family housing).”

Photo: Swamplot inbox

24 Comment

  • Interested to hear responses to this. The area is really perking up from its formerly shabby self. Although the old Hartz’s Chicken still looks a little rough around the edges, the new Pollo Bravo in that building has done a great job with the inside. It’s a sit down restaurant with wait staff and wine service and terrific food, so don’t mistake it for another fast food joint. Too bad Gelato Blu didn’t hang on for the transformation.

  • I’ve been told the building was torn down for more parking for the larger building and the property owner is working on a restaurant deal.

  • I heard Randall’s owns the property, or maybe holds the lease. Sad about the 57 Off Memorial apartments being torn down. The little strip of “Downtown Rice Military” is changing again.

  • In my opinion, this is a dangerous area. Cars are driving down memorial 45-60 mph, joggers everywhere, bicyclers, and the strip center with starbucks has a ton of traffic in and out of it, and it’s dark. just a matter of time before a jogger gets run over. Maybe the city could put up more flashing yellow lights and declare that a slower speed limit area or possibly some street lights. Memorial park to Shepard. Everyone talks about Houston not being walkable, the reason is cars are doing 50 mph through there and this could be a neat spot for local residents to walk to some businesses.

  • Yeah let’s install speed bumps and pull in parking on a major thoroughfare. All those new trees can get extra carbon dioxide from all the idling cars in Memorial Park!

  • 2 weeks ago, it was pumpkins, flower pots, and a reasonably nice looking flower shop. Strange they’d go to all that trouble and money only to have it demolished. Looked initially like they were going to tear the whole building down, but strangely on the adjoining shop was taken down. The restaurant known as La Mia used to be Golden Hunan a favorite stop of the late Marvin Zindler — and their 1970’s interior was legendary in it’s tackiness.

  • The speed limit on that section of Memorial, west of Shepherd but east of the park, is only 35. Eastbound, it doesn’t increase to 50 until the Shepherd exit splits off, and westbound, it doesn’t pick up to 40 until after the light at Westcott.

    No need for lower speed limits or tongue-in-cheek speed bumps. Just enforce the limits that are there.

  • @ Googlemaster,
    Thanks for the clarification. My point is that the area could be walkable if traffic was at a reasonable speed. People drive 50 in right hand lane only 3′ away from joggers on the park running trail. if there is ever a wreck it will be messy for the joggers. Maybe police could set up a speed trap and use the money collected to back another hotel downtown so we can get a superbowl and the hotel would be full for a week or two.

  • Did Gelato Blu close? I usually have my eyes glued to the road down that strip of Memorial, so I don’t always notice the comings and goings.

  • Read King Commercial Real Estate is handling the brokerage work for the owner of the property. 713-782-9000

  • I’m happy to report that Gelato Blu has a downtown location – near the corner of Main and Walker. They are just around the corner from Bombay Pizza.

  • This is essentially the last tract available in this portion of Memorial Drive for redevelopment.

  • @mrk456
    You are right about that. This means it has to be something special and I can’t wait to see what these professional businessmen have in the works. It will be something for the books!!!

  • Here we go again. Self promotion.

  • I would support a speed trap if the funds would go into rebuilding Memorial’s 50 year old concrete. Unfortunately that is the most wishful of thinking.

  • I live on the strip between Shepherd and Westcott. I occasionally walk Memorial to go to Schtarbucks or Specs, but the cars really do zoom through there. I can sit outside at night and count the number of tires I hear squealling against a curb, and sometimes a car will wind up on the grass or sidewalk. One night a truck was going too fast, ran up on the median guard, and flipped over. Just like most everybody else, I don’t like speed traps. But I sure think this would be a sweet spot to nab some of these crazies who think they can do 60mph around those curves…

  • @ David,
    I couldnt agree more. I dont like speed traps BUT if you want to tame Houston and make it walkable the drivers habits will have to change. This is a great place to start, there are tons of young people in Rice military that can walk and the strip center hunington manages that starbucks is in has a ton of upside. I think that several Flashing yellow lights with a sign: “high pedestrians area” or cones in between lanes and a 30 mph zone from memo park to shepard bridge. If they set up a speed trap they’ll just end up giving every resident in the area a ticket and pi$$ing off the locals, but something has to be done if this area is going to change. Everyone talks about density, walkabliity, convience, and this is a PERFECT area to start!

  • I see cops in the Spec’s Liquor store parking lot looking for speeders quite a bit.

  • I would like to add that improvements to memorial park are a gift to the actual taxpayers. The people who jog, bike, walk at the park are not welfare deadbeats. these taxpaying citizens are alpha types with jobs that are driven by success and living a healthy lifestyle. as many people that use memorial park, I cant believe that it is such a piece of $hit. I am so tired of watching this city spend hundreds of millions to try and fix up blighted areas and prop up downtown. Why not drop $10 mill and clean up the park that the tax base uses??? Guess what? Blighted areas are blighted becasue of the quality of people that live there! These were once nice areas that turned to crap so everyone with money or the means left. I hope to see the memorial park tennis city and those nasty bathrooms on the Swamplot Demolition list one day. The water fountains barely work, what does this cost to fix?? maybe $2000 each?? and the ones along buffalo bayou work about 50% of the time and are super nasty. of course the grant money will fix them but it’ll take until 2017 or whenever hell freezes

  • Actually the cops that sit in the Vallero/Specs/Shandy’s parking lot watch for people stopping in the intersection blocking cross traffic (which is a very expensive fine) and not as much for speeding though they should as it goes from 50 at Shepherd down to 35 as you round the curve on Memorial headed west.

  • La Mia is now torn down, what’s going up here?

  • Why is everyone complaining about the traffic on a blog and story in which folks asked what is suppose to be going up where the building was torn down? So, does anybody know what is going to be built? And, what is being built where they tore down Birdsall Storage on the north side behind Valero?

  • So does anyone know what’s going up there yet?