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About DrFood

  • Birthday 12/20/1955

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    Westbury---Houston, TX

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  1. I agree completely about Mr. Antonini. This is actually the second time he has attempted to develop the land in the last 3 years. The first time the Civic Club officers went bonkers that anyone would think about building townhomes on the hallowed ground of Westbury Square. They viewed the development potential as potentially being a blight on Westbury. I still don't see anything wrong with building townhomes as long as they are valued at greater than $400K and they are required to pay dues to the Civic Club. The biggest issue with redeveloping Westbury Square is the entire piece of land bounded by Burdine/W. Bellfort/Chimeny Rock. There are multiple pieces of land owned by multiple entities and the layout is wonky. There's a fairly simply solution, but no one seems to want to think logically. Well it's simple to me. Others might agree with all or part. Here's my plan. It would require someone with strong COH ties like Ed Wulfe or maybe Weingarten Realty. 1. The entire triangle sans Home Depot (they evidently own the land the store sits on) needs to be combined into a single plat with a single owner. Then you can do Steps 2 and beyond next. 2. Buy out the Westbury Townhomes and Valero station. Bulldoze for new development. The majority of the townhomes are not owner occupied from what I have been told. 3. Buy Westbury Square and bulldoze. 4. Buy 99 cent shopping center and bulldoze. 5 Buy Chase building and bulldoze. Now this all sounds radical, but let me continue. 1. To clean up traffic flow realign Burdine to run behind Home Depot. Relocate the bridge to the new intersection. The current Burdine would be closed at Belrose. The a new housing development would be built where the old street was and run to W. Bellfort. 2. Close the existing fire station and relocate to the new plot of land created by realigning Burdine. Face the new Burdine/Chimney Rock intersection. 3. Since Meyer Branch library is slotted for closing and relocation. Build the new library next to the new fire station. 4. Relocate the Platou Center next to new library and build a city park on the remainder of the land. 5. Given the new alignment of Burdine this would give access to a new shopping complex on the property formerly occupied by Chase and the shopping center. The new retail complex could have a parking garage with first floor retail like Starbucks and the like. Build a new HEB marketplace, PetSmart, Academy, Chase branch, Red Robin, Panera Bread, etc on the piece of land. I don't know if it is completely feasible. But someone needs to use some imagination in SW Houston to do something better than nothing.
  2. Update on Westbury Square and Centerette The link below is to one of the signs that appeared on Friday afternoon on W. Bellfort. Al Antonini is attempting a spec development on the land currently occupied by Westbury Square's shell. Becky Edmondson, WCC President, told me yesterday she had lunch with him on Thursday and learned of his plans. I didn't count the number of residences he proposes. Becky did tell me the plan is to make it a gated community. There's not a whole lot of information available about the project. Hopefully this week at the Civic Club meeting someone will have some details. I do know there is strong opposition by a number of folks in Westbury to this type of development. Why has never been made clear to me. I've owned a house less than a mile from the Square and welcome this type of development as long as it is in the say $400-700K range. Yeah I know I'm a snob, but since home prices are now approaching the $500K range in Westbury I don't see a reason to let lesser priced residences be built. I'll post updates as I learn anything. https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNJP0MLluoZRUfmb6fPF7Vwd1FIxs-uNpWoi6zVyxVCUQocTdvq_KhxflcjT4ZMVw/photo/AF1QipPED9-aUsWfRCqcBQtFXi8hyF5w8OVh-akRZQns?key=QS1lYVB5dTJSalpQcHVxR2xIQm9IYVlJeWhjU2xR On the subject of the Centerette demolition. Yes it is gone and the land is cleared off. Now the problem is nothing is planned to be built there. The land owner says LA Fitness will not be built there and they are looking for something to replace those plans. In my opinion they went about it all wrong. You've got 3 major problems still with that land. 1) Autozone and Pizza Hut make it a weird shape, 2) cell tower, 3) access is weird as well. If they had planned to demo the PH and AZ and move them into the ground floor of the parking garage that would have made so much more sense. And if the owner and civic club had worked wiht the COH and redone the intersection at Chimney Rock the current right turn lane could have been melded into the land to make it a less weird shape. It's frustrating as a 20+ year resident to see a lack of imagination on anyone's part to solve issues like Westbury Square and the Centerette land.
  3. I am looking for a fence contractor to remove an old cedar fence and then install a new 8 ft fence on 2 sides of my backyard. The rear fence was replaced after Ike by a you man who did a great job using 5/8 inch thick cedar. Unfortunately he recently passed away so he is not an option. I really would prefer not to use a major fence company because of the quality of the work and materials I have seen around the neighborhood recently. Any suggestions on reputable contractors who are hungry for work and will do a great job are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  4. There was a Venture at Beechnut and Bltwy 8. I think it is now an Asian grocery. It's across the street from HEB. Also, there was a Venture at Hwy 6 and Westheimer. It was next to the Builders Square that was there. Can't remember if it is the flooring store or the building next to it. The Meyerland Target is on the site of the old Venture/K-Mart. When they elected to put a Target there about 80% of the building was destroyed to build Target. The foundation was not totally removed. If you walk the front aisle between the cash stations and the merchandise you will see the flooring falling apart and uneven. A real estate friend tells me the foundation is cracked and Wolfe didn't disclose to Target until too late to demo the foundation. So Target is living with it until they build a new Target to replace it. Venture was not a fit for Houston and when Kohl's moved to Houston a lot of people thought it would go the way of Venture. These were mid-west companies trying to break out of their mold. Venture failed, Kohl's succeeded.
  5. The complex you are referring to had an official address of 10201 Westheimer. My dad worked there from the late 50's until the late 80's. When they were tearing down the building my dad worked in we tried to get a brick by were not allowed on the property. Brief history--no dates sorry. Complex housed Southwestern Industrial Electronics--purchased by Dresser Industries I believe in the early 60's. My dad started at SIE over on Post Oak near where KPRC used to be. Then they moved over off Hillcroft and Bellaire Blvd. behind what used to be Luby's. Then they moved out to the Westheimer location. Lane Wells--If my memory serves me correctly they were the well logging company that Dresser purchased in the early 60's. Dresser Measurements--this was the division that built meters for pipelines and gas wells etc. Dresser Credit Union In summer 1974 and 1975 I worked for Dresser Measurements as a summer job. It was great because we got overtime and I was riding to work wiht my dad so we saved money on gas. The complex opened when Westheimer was just a 2 lane FM road. Westchase didn't exist that land was Bob Smith's cattle land. Where the Randall's is at Gessner was a golf course (maybe a country club). Gessner did not run through until the late 70's. Fondren didn't exist until the early 70's. In the 1980's the office building that is now at the corner of Bltwy 8 and Westheimer was built. I was really hoping when they tore down the complex the tower would go too. It symbolized the beginning of the end for the complex....just took a little longer than expected. Also, the tower downtown that is now the MW Kellogg tower was originally built as the Dresser Tower. I think it was built in the early 70's. Litton purchased Dresser or at least the part my dad worked for in the mid-80's. One Monday morning in 1988 (I think that was the year) he walked into the building to go to work and was met by a security guard and escorted to the lunch room. In the room were all of the guys he worked with since graduating from college. Not sure of the number but it was probably 30-50 guys in the mid to late 50's. This was the history of all of the operations on Westheimer. They were all told they were being let go and each was walked to their office and a guard stood by them as they loaded 1 box with personal stuff. Any other items would be shipped to them. They were walked to the parking lot and the guard stood as they loaded the box into their car and then were timed to leave the complex. All had to leave through 1 gate and not stop. Very sad day for these guys as they never saw it coming. There was an effort to get a class action lawsuit for age discrimination against Litton but Litton told them they would loose all of their benefits if they pursued it. So they all just kept quiet. Litton was generous with their separation benefits and to this day my mom and dad still have benefits that were put into place when it happened. I believe Western Geophysical then bought the divisions from Litton in the early 90's and then it all ended in Halliburton or Baker Hughes hands. The land on Westheimer was far more valuable than keeping a bunch of 2 story mfg building so they sold it off and destroyed a bit of Houston history. I can still remember the smell of those building and the great people who worked there. Everyone was like family and when kids were born you were shown off as a trophy and when deaths happened everyone grieved for everyones family.
  6. May 4 Update Drove by this evening and saw Kohl's sign was up. Opening date I believe is September 25. All of my sources are still saying the following-- Wal-Mart is closing in 2012 and will be demolished. One of 2 things may happen--Mid-rise retirement center or possibly mid-size box store. Academy is coming in early 2012. Still working out details on lease. Chili's will be demo'ed Blockbuster center is either going away or being renovated HEB is in negotiations with developer to have a 99 yr land lease. The deal is bogged down because HEB wants a gas station and car wash, but the developer does not want this. If you recall when Randall's was being remodeled a while back their site plan had a gas station. But it was killed at the last minute by the developer for some reason. At least 3 new restaurants will be built. Rumors right now are for Johnny Carno's, Cheddars, Olive Garden or Red Lobster. I am also hearing rumblings of a CVS being built and possibly a Petco. A lot depends on HEB I think. All of my sources are speaking in unofficial roles as employees. Rumors come true 98% of the time they say. The strangest thing about this whole process is the developer still refuses to answer questions to the Willow Meadows, Meyerland, and Westbury Civic Associations. I know they don't have to tell anyone anything, but this will impact traffic flow and crime in the area. It looks like the developer would want to be a good neighbor and keep the citizens informed of the exciting events taking place. Another interesting development is rumors from Trader Joe's personnel that they are shopping the area for a location.
  7. No the grocery store in Meyerland Plaza was a Henke & Pilot and later became a Kroger. Then an antique store. Yes you are correct about the 2 locations on Bissonett
  8. Here are the locations I recall in Houston. It was interesting that a lot of the "anchored" Weingarten's were also in shopping centers with a Walgreen's. 1. Memorial City. The location is now where the Ice Rink is. The store was huge and could be accessed from the parking lot or the mall. It also had one of those "bucket" systems to send groceries out of the parking lot loading zone. When malls started getting rid of grocery stores it became "United Jewelry and Distributing". 2. Hillcroft and Beechnut. The space is now a Foodarama. I lived in Braeburn Terrace until I was 11. We would actually walk to the store and get our groceries. We had 1 car until I was 10, very normal for families in the early 1960's. When they had the grand opening my mom filled out a card for free groceries. We went in there one day and she had won a ton of stuff. It seemed like it took forever to load the car and unload at home. 3. N. Braeswood and Chimney Rock. The store which is now Belden's was a Weingarten's. Originally the section which is now a wide sidewalk in front of the stores was a mini-mall which went from Walgreen's to Weingarten's and was air-conditioned. 4. S. Gessner and 59 (between Beechnut and 59). I can't recall exactly where in the shopping center it was. The center was anchored by a Handy Dan and the theatres at the time. This was the very first grocery store in Houston that had electronic cash registers and then became the first to have scanners. I remember going in there marveling at how modern the place was. THe registers spoke the price to you. 5. Fondren and 59. The store was in what is now Loehmann's. When Woolco and Weingarten's were running that shopping center was extremely busy. 6. Bellaire Blvd and Kirkwood in Alief. Another one of Weingarten's "mini-malls" connecting Weingarten's and Walgreen's. There was a Goodyear tire center on one end. And in the parking lot was a Tenneco gas station. Many times in 1979 I drove out there after work to stand in line on my "day" to buy gas. Don't recall is I was "odd" or "even". 7. Fondren & W. Bellfort- The store is now a Fiesta. 8. Target Grocery locations-Sometime in the late 1070's Target decided to get out of running/owning the grocery stores connected to their stores. In Houston Weingarten's took that over from them. The 3 locations I can remember this happening were the store on 59 just north of Bellaire Blvd (now a resataurant supply), Katy Freeway between Bunker Hill and Lantern Lane (now Marshall's etc), and S. Loop between Griggs and Wayside (building became and Auchan's briefly). 9. Hillcroft & Westheimer-South side in shopping center where 99 cent only and Office Depot are. Store was somehere in the middle of the shopping center. I remember my mom had her favorite stores that we were only allowed to shop at. These were her top 4. 1. A&P 2. Weingarten's 3. Sacco Bros. 4. Henke & Pilot Then as the landscape changed so did her list. 1. Lewis & Coker 2. Piggly Wiggly 3. Rice Food Market She was never really enamoured with Randall's. She said only "rich" people shopped there. She did not like Kroger after she said they destroyed H&P. She went to school and grew up with the kids of the H&P family. When Safeway made its failed attempt to come in she refused to shop there because the stores were filthy and they were from California and we knew what came from California.....fruits and nuts is what she said. I love my mom dearly but she just lived in that generations world. Now she and my dad almost exclusively shop at Foodarama.
  9. I was in BCS from 1974 to 1978 for undergrad and then 1980 to 1984 for grad school. Here are the stores I recall at that time. Weingarten's in Bryan on Texas Ave at the curve. Weingarten's in College Station in the shopping center next to Post Oak Mall. The store was very upscale when it opened. They had gourmet food like Central Market does, a coffee bar, and a huge candy/nut bar. They had a bakery that today would rival Central Markets. Being a Weingarten's they had the only Kosher section in the Brazos Vally. It then became another name when Weingarten's sold out on the verge of bankruptcy. I don't know what it is now, I think a Toys-R-Us. The Tractor Supply on Texas in CS was a K-Mart and it originally had a grocery run by K-Mart but then sold to Lewis & Coker who then went bankrupt and Piggly Wiggly took it over. Skaggs-Alpha Beta (aka Skaggs) on the corner of College and University. Biggest memory there was you could not wait until the Satursday or Sunday before a Chem 111 lab to go buy things like Epson Salts. Randall's which was where the Albertson's on University is now. The Kroger on Texas in CS was built in 1981 if I recall. I lived in the Redstone Apts right there by it. Sunday evenings included going to Chucky Cheese and playing Centipede and Millipede the doing the weekly grocery shopping at Kroger. Also Fed-Mart had a great grocery store. Fed-Mart was on the hill on University just across the street from the Hilton. Someone referred to Jewel on Texas in Bryan. It was originally opened as a Jewel-T. If you've ever been in an Aldi's where all the items are stacked on pallets and in cases this was Jewel-T. My folks would make a special trip from Sharpstown to go to Jewel-T because they had some items that were only sold there. One of those midwest chains who invaded for a while then simply sold out and went belly up. You folks in CS don't know how good you've got it now to not be limited on your grocery choices like we were when I was in school.
  10. Does anyone have any official word on what is going on at Meyer Park shopping center. Luby's is building a new location as a pad site in front of their current location. The AMC theatre is now a pile of rubble except for the front wall. Employees at Randall's say they are going to be unemployed in 2011 because that store is closing. I am hearing rumors from the Willow Meadows folks that Wally World is going to build a new Super Center there. Also from Westbury and Meyerland Civic Clubs there is a reponse "we've heard rumors" to the Super Center. I've asked several real estate folks and they are worried about the impact on property values if this rumor is true. Can anyone find anything official as to what is going on there? Thanks.
  11. Today (Friday the 23rd) I come home and bring in the mail and what do I find, my letter from HCAD regarding my tax protest. I am nice and happy that I get to protest and exercise my right to question their over valuation. Lo and behold I open it up and find that they scheduled my informal hearing for July 19 and my board hearing for July 26. I have never done the board hearing and from everyone I have talked to who does the board does zero to change the appraisal. Plus I cannot go on the 26th because of work issues. I want to do the informal 1-1 with the appraiser. The letter is dated July 9 which is a Friday. No idea why it came today, 2 weeks after they dated the letter, or when HCAD actually mailed it. Has anyone ever run into this situation? If so were you able to still get the informal hearing? Thanks for advice.
  12. Curious if anyone on here works for Metro or knows the best contact to actually get something done about modifying a route to make more sense. At least to me as a layperson it makes more sense. W. Bellfort is now completely through from Highway 6 to Fannin South. The last segment between S. Main and Buffalo Speedway was just opened. The currently bus line on W. Bellfort is the Number 8, South Main, route. It takes you down W. Bellfort to Stella Link and up Stella Link to S. Braeswood to S. Main to TMC Station to Wheeler Station. Now am I just not thinking logically. Wouldn't it make a whole lot more sense to run the route from W. Bellfort P&R (or wherever the inception of the route is) to Fannin South and then back out W. Bellfort? I do not see the purpose of a bus running to TMC and then Wheeler on a parallel route to the LRT. If you dump the riders at Fannin South they can take the LRT to TMC or Wheeler or wherever they need to end up. I know it would certainly cut some wear and tear on the busses and on S. Main. Also, you would not have busses dumping folks at Wheeler who trample the grass simply to get on the LRT. The same thing could be done once Willowbend is opened up to Buffalo Speeway. Like I said I'm no transit expert but it appears the use of a "hub and spoke" type system feeding the LRT at various centers such as Fannin South and TMZ and Wheeler would make a lot more sense than running bus routes to the stations and then parallel to the train just hopping and skipping stations. Are we that freaking lazy we can't walk an extra block? Course of I had my way they would simply run light rail down the middle of W. Bellfort from Hwy 6 to connect with a system to Hobby airport. W. Bellfort has HUGE esplanades with room to run a system on it.
  13. Both Globe and Sage started off as membership type stores. My dad's employer, Dresser Industries offered their employees memberships via the credit union. I don't have many details on exactly how the membership worked. But Globe eventually stopped requiring a membership card to enter the store. Sage never stopped requiring the card until the bankruptcy. Sage had locations in Houston and Austin. It was locally owned. The departments inside the store were leased by different companies. An example was the housewares department. Arnie of Arnies on Hicks family owned the housewares department "franchise". At one point late in the life of the stores Lewis & Coker owned the franchise for the grocery department. Globe had locations nationwide if I am not mistaken. Globe was owned by Walgreen's. Sage went belly-up in the late 80's during the oil bust. Globe went belly-up in the mid to late 70's. Walgreen's wanted to focus on their drug store chain. Locations Sage Department Stores Beechnut & Loop 610. The building was used by Builders Square for their store when it was there. When Lowes purchased the land they demolished the store and built a new building. The current McDonald's and Ihop replaced the gas station/auto center for Sage. Beltway 8 & I-10. Currently the site of a detention pond for the newly constructed I-10. The structure sat empty for years until someone tried to put in a flea market. Never worked. I do not recall a gas station at this location. They did install tires in the auto center that was built into the store. I-45 & College. Building still exists and is a school if I am not mistaken. The auto center was out in the parking lot close to I-45. They did sell gas at this location. I do not remember the Austin locations. Nor do I have information on their fate. Sage Drug Stores Bellaire & Ranchester. The store was converted to a Walgreen's with the bankruptcy and then was converted as part of the center with the now Asian grocery store (formerly a Lewis & Coker). When in High School I worked at this location in the Camera Department and was the manager of the department the summer after my freshman year in college. Westheimer & Stony Brook. Currently Guitar Center. Only 2 drug store locations opened. There are some that claim 1 was opened on the north side of town. I've dug into telephone books from the mid-70's and can only find 2 listing. If anyone can find evidence of other stores I would love to know where they were. Globe Shopping City (official name)--Tag line "Everything Under the Sun for LESS" and they used a smiling sun as a "mascot" Bellaire Blvd & Hillcroft. Currently is the Fiesta Mart. Previous to Fiesta was a Fed-Mart. Another membership type store that converted to a non-membership format. They had an automotive center that did most mechanical stuff and sold gas. If I recall they had 12 pumps. The building still stands and is where the pawn shop and restaurants are in the parkling lot. I-10 & Gessner. Structure demolished. Currently is the location of the Memorial Herman robot tower. Previously was home to Oshman's Super Store and before that a Mervyn's. I do not recall an auto center or gas at this location. Woodridge between I-45 and 610. The building was demolished to build the Lowe's currently at that location. The store was behind Frizzell Pontiac, home of a "Whale of a Deal". This particular Globe store caught fire during the late 1960's if I recall correctly. The news media reported that fire fighters could not advance on the fire because of ammunition and paint cans exploding inside the store. The store was rebuild and reopened very quickly. Mervyn's took over the location after the closing. Then the building sat empty for years. Until Ed Wolfe bought Gulfgate and rebuilt the area. I remember an auto center and gas station, but I do not recall the exact location. Sage was kept up a bit better than Globe. But I would never characterize Globe as a dump. My family spent many many many MANY dollars at both stores.
  14. Unfortunately I did not make it to the Civic Club meeting last night. Hopefully there would have been some discussion about the court date of Westbury Square. Also, an FYI for folks in Westbury. There are evidently plans for the shopping center on the SW corner of W. Airport and Chimney Rock. There is supposed to be a variance sign being erected by the city. The owner of the center was supposed to be at the civic club meeting last night to discuss the plans. If I find anything out on this I will let the group know. And thanks for listing sevfiv. Wow, brings back some memories of when life was simpler.`
  15. Update on Westbury Square legal case. City Attorney informed civic club the case has been moved to sometime between July 27 and August 7. I don't have the details, when I do I will let y'all know.
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