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Northline Commons Shopping Center Developments


citykid09

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Feb. 2, 2005, 6:37AM

Investors want to switch Northline from regular mall to open-air center

By NANCY SARNOFF

Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

Sometime next year, Northline Mall, one of the oldest enclosed retail centers in Houston, could be a thing of the past.

A new ownership group has plans to demolish the struggling mall to make way for an open-air shopping center filled with big-box retailers like Target, Wal-Mart and Best Buy.

By early 2006, the new owners expect to be building nearly 900,000 square feet of new retail space along the perimeter of the 77-acre property. When that's done, they will tear down the mall for parking space.

Before going forward, the new owners need to bring in the new tenants. And some real estate observers say they could have a hard time persuading national retailers to open stores at Northline because many of them already have locations nearby.

Eastbourne Investments, a New York investment firm, has purchased a 50 percent interest in Northline from the original developer and owner, Berenson Associates of Boston, which will retain the remaining stake in the property.

They hope the mall's current stores will relocate to the new center

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Although this new-look mall and future MetroRail line probably won't attract much in the way of urban gentrifiers, for the near future anyway, it will at least begin the process of lifting that area up from the ranks of the super butt-ugly.

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I agree, the Northline area is due for major revitalization.

Just short of carpet bombing the area an rebuilding it is needed (scarcastic).

Any developer that ventures in just like Gulfgate would want something that will last. With the history of Gulfgate and don't forget Meyerland Plaza done by they developer, it looks like Northline is in good hands.

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I would like to see them pull this off with Northline, and they should get some new stores. On the other hand if this is turning into another Gulf Gate, Houston has no idea how to build cities. For goodness sakes. This area will be the future stop for the next light rail line. If anything they should make it an urban atmosphere with street lined shops instead of another strip mall like Gulf Gate. Then they could probably have light rail running pass the shops. But oh well, I guess something is better than nothing for Northline, because the area desperately needs help.

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I hate to cite Dallas as a city that did something right, as I hate Dallas. However, I do like their Mockingbird Station and think something like it would do well at Northline. True, Northline is no University or Highland Park, but over time it could improve.

Unfortunately this rail stop will be overlooked both in its potential and in any investment around it.

The money will go North of here I believe probably to Greenspoint.

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Gunspoint would be a better bet for revitalization, though, since it is located near those offices and such.

Poor old Gunspoint, they tried all that cityview renovation with the apartments behind it. The whole concept was modeled after a successful redo Lincoln Property Company did in Dallas. Unfortunately it flopped here. It seems like Greenspoint is too far out for more urban people, and with so much retail, etc at Willowbrook & on 1960, has little to draw people past all that from the North. The reputation is just too ingrained it seems.

I would like to see something more inspired at Northline, but since I am currently living in Lindale Park & even basic retail is at a minimum around here, I would be thrilled to have a Target and a Gulfgate-esque type HEB just to have something close. I know we are supposed to demand better development, but at this point I will take any improvement I can get!!!

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I would like to see something more inspired at Northline, but since I am currently living in Lindale Park & even basic retail is at a minimum around here,  I would be thrilled to have a Target and a Gulfgate-esque type HEB just to have something close.  I know we are supposed to demand better development, but at this point I will take any improvement I can get!!!

With a basic, working class, colorfully designed Gulfgate-esque center at Northline, Lindale Park in the middle and if some of the revitilization plans for the Near North materialize, along with the MetroRail tying it all together, that stretch was a decent chance to re-invent itself over the next 25 years.

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Poor old Gunspoint, they tried all that cityview renovation with the apartments behind it.  The whole concept was modeled after a successful redo Lincoln Property Company did in Dallas.  Unfortunately it flopped here.  It seems like Greenspoint is too far out for more urban people, and with so much retail, etc at Willowbrook & on 1960, has little to draw people past all that from the North.  The reputation is just too ingrained it seems. 

I would like to see something more inspired at Northline, but since I am currently living in Lindale Park & even basic retail is at a minimum around here,  I would be thrilled to have a Target and a Gulfgate-esque type HEB just to have something close.  I know we are supposed to demand better development, but at this point I will take any improvement I can get!!!

I also live in the Lindale park area and I do think that is a good idea because really there are no places of any convenience to shop. The only Wal-mart that is around is on 45 at West road and that place is a nightmare, overcrowded, poorly maintained and usually understocked. And forget finding a Target or a decent grocery store close by.I like you will take what I can get. I see anything as an improvement.

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  • 1 month later...
I would like to see something more inspired at Northline, but since I am currently living in Lindale Park & even basic retail is at a minimum around here,  I would be thrilled to have a Target and a Gulfgate-esque type HEB just to have something close.  I know we are supposed to demand better development, but at this point I will take any improvement I can get!!!

Lindale's location is what is holding retail back. To the south and east you have a warzone. The north is transitional. To the west you have the transitional cavalcade area (Whitney Houston crack central). To the east there is PLENTY of empty space, however the empty warehouses, trains, unkept lots, old plants (sandblasting, creosote,etc) just are not condusive to retail development.

It's kind of reminscent of Eastwood. They have NO retail there and are begging for it. They had a new HEB pantry, however that closed. Developers are looking further north, yes further north to the Navigation area.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Poor old Gunspoint, they tried all that cityview renovation with the apartments behind it.  Unfortunately it flopped here.

Hi. I'm new.

I don't think that the CityView project flopped because it was too far out. I don't think there was any follow-through with the project to develop retail, entertainment or any other fill.

In fact I don't know if I would really call it a flop at all. It has succeeded in a comprehensive rennovation of 15 properties, all of which were in need of major help. I haven't seen the financials, but I would think that central administration of these properties has proven to be a pretty efficient model.

The problem with developing a pedestrian community in that area is that the existing retail market nearby is so saturated that it isn't cost effective to build new retail among the existing residential.

I think a major repurposing of Greenspoint Mall would make great synergy with the properties at CityView (none of which, by the way, have a city view), but it's not going to happen for another decade or two, until the train gets there.

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Hi. I'm new.

I don't think that the CityView project flopped because it was too far out. I don't think there was any follow-through with the project to develop retail, entertainment or any other fill.

In fact I don't know if I would really call it a flop at all. It has succeeded in a comprehensive rennovation of 15 properties, all of which were in need of major help. I haven't seen the financials, but I would think that central administration of these properties has proven to be a pretty efficient model.

The problem with developing a pedestrian community in that area is that the existing retail market nearby is so saturated that it isn't cost effective to build new retail among the existing residential.

I think a major repurposing of Greenspoint Mall would make great synergy with the properties at CityView (none of which, by the way, have a city view), but it's not going to happen for another decade or two, until the train gets there.

I hate to sound negative, but I would definitely call Cityview a flop. Actually, apartment industry insiders pretty much considered it a flop as well.

Cityview had two things going against it. One was the Gunspoint stigma. No amount of marketing could erase it effectively. the other was the timing. It is next to impossible to reposition and upgrade apartments, especially on such a massive scale, when you are in such a soft apartment market. They tried to be real strict with qualifying criteria but in this market you just can't be.

I have repositioned a number of apartments in my day by tightening criteria and raising rents. Those were things that were not real feasible in this market. Then you would have the flooding issue at some of the properties. What they envisioned for that area was not what they ended up with.

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Fair enough. I would say, however, that what they ended up with is far better than what they had to begin with.

Maybe the project's goals were too much of a reach, but the condition that the area was in last time I was over there is far better than it was immediately before CityView.

I'm not in the industry, so I can't and wouldn't try to argue or even disagree with your points about repositioning. It's my sense, however, that the area will get its turnaround when (if, really) the lightrail to IAH passes through.

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i think you may be right about greenspoint turning around when (if) the light rail is expanded, and that is what residents of the northline area are hoping for as well. i grew up in that area and my parents still live in the same house my grandparents bought back in the early 50's. when i was a kid northline mall was exciting, and when i was a teenager greenspoint mall was even more exciting. but the few restaurants or retail shopping places that were built afterward were substandard and a complete disappointment. pawn shops, dollar stores, auto parts, beer joints, nails and occasionally a liquor store or washateria. never a starbucks, jason's deli, michael's, best buy, lowes, target, petco - i think you get the picture. not that living by any particular retail can make or break your experiences, but after awhile it gets old having to go far away just to get a good cup of coffee. people in the northline area deserve good neighborhood-oriented retail shopping and eateries, i'm just not sure developers believe the area will make a solid comeback. if the rail extension ever becomes a reality, it just might happen.

deb martin

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I guess I am the lone naysayer, and I hope I am proven wrong because I think it would be good for the whole north/northwest area for Greenspoint to turn around, but I don't forsee that turnaround in greater Greenspoint unless they actually demolish a number of the complexes and replace them with office space or something.

It is going to be several years before light rail ever makes it out there, and a lot will depend on what happens and how well it holds up between now and then. The Cityview stuff is being sold to a company called GFI I believe, which will pull the current management away from Lincoln Property Company. Personally I don't have as much faith in GFI as I do Lincoln, so I don't see any positive changes on the horizon. While Cityview looks considerably better than pre-renovation, I don't think demographically it has moved up that much. With Lincoln's pending departure & a continuing soft market in the B & C class apartment market, IMHO it will stagnate or even slide back down some as the newness of the renovations wear off.

Once rail comes into the area, if the area has slid at all, then who is going to move into an area of 5000+ lower income units just to be near the rail? Will there the mass influx of people with more disposable income to support increased retail in the area? To support an overall "turn-around" in general? How many people would you need to turn around an area with so many units in such a small area?

There are apartments west of the astrodome area that are near rail, but I don't see the rail dramatically improving that area. Even if you had new owners that wanted to renovate a complex in Greenspoint post-rail installation, it is stilll very hard to impossible to pull up one complex in a sea of bad ones.

I would love to agree with those who see a rosier future for Greenspoint, I hope you are right, but I'm not seeing it <_<

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I guess I am the lone naysayer, and I hope I am proven wrong because I think it would be good for the whole north/northwest area for Greenspoint to turn around, but I don't forsee that turnaround in greater Greenspoint unless they actually demolish a number of the complexes and replace them with office space or something.

It is going to be several years before light rail ever makes it out there, and a lot will depend on what happens and how well it holds up between now and then.  The Cityview stuff is being sold to a company called GFI I believe, which will pull the current management away from Lincoln Property Company.  Personally I don't have as much faith in GFI as I do Lincoln, so I don't see any positive changes on the horizon.  While Cityview looks considerably better than pre-renovation, I don't think demographically it has moved up that much.  With Lincoln's pending departure & a continuing soft market in the B & C class apartment market, IMHO it will stagnate or even slide back down some as the newness of the renovations wear off.

Once rail comes into the area, if the area has slid at all, then who is going to move into an area of 5000+ lower income units just to be near the rail?  Will there the mass influx of people with more disposable income to support increased retail in the area?  To support an overall "turn-around" in general?  How many people would you need to turn around an area with so many units in such a small area? 

There are apartments west of the astrodome area that are near rail, but I don't see the rail dramatically improving that area.  Even if you had new owners that wanted to renovate a complex in Greenspoint post-rail installation, it is stilll very hard to impossible to pull up one complex in a sea of bad ones. 

I would love to agree with those who see a rosier future for Greenspoint, I hope you are right, but I'm not seeing it <_<

Apparently, high concentration of low-income units has brought down many areas including Gulfton, Sharpstown, Alief, Greenspoint etc. Is this phenomenon unique to Houston or can be found in other cities? I wonder if zoning would have prevented it by restricting the number of apartment complexes that could be built within a certain geographical region.

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Guest danax
Apparently, high concentration of low-income units has brought down many areas including Gulfton, Sharpstown, Alief, Greenspoint etc. Is this phenomenon unique to Houston or can be found in other cities? I wonder if zoning would have prevented it by restricting the number of apartment complexes that could be built within a certain geographical region.

It's just market driven and zoning or no zoning, the housing has to appeal to the demographics or it will just sit there. I think the Cityview project, which I admit I know nothing about, sounds like they were trying to attract a higher-income renter by sounding urbanesque and perhaps playing on the miniature skyline there but you just can't fool people.

The area is really too far from the city and, rail or no rail, urban types won't want to live way out there. There's no retail in the immediate vicinity except the mall, hotels, which are useless for residents, and restaurants. To the south you have the typical shabby Houston taqueria/dollar store zone and to the west is the freeway, then sparse, low level suburbia.

Unless they worked nearby, why would anyone making 50-100K want to live there?

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It's just market driven and zoning or no zoning, the housing has to appeal to the demographics or it will just sit there. I think the Cityview project, which I admit I know nothing about, sounds like they were trying to attract a higher-income renter by sounding urbanesque and perhaps playing on the miniature skyline there but you just can't fool people.

The area is really too far from the city and, rail or no rail, urban types won't want to live way out there. There's no retail in the immediate vicinity except the mall, hotels, which are useless for residents, and restaurants. To the south you have the typical shabby Houston taqueria/dollar store zone and to the west is the freeway, then sparse, low level suburbia.

Unless they worked nearby, why would anyone making 50-100K want to live there?

Since apartments are commercial properties, I would imagine that zoning could control their development. Since zoning dictates land use, it could dictate how much land in an area could be use for apartment complexes. However, that's just my guess. That is why I asked if other large but zoned cities experienced the same phenomenon, that is, glut of low-income apartment complexes causing the decline of an entire neighborhood.

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Guest danax
I think what will happen is this:

Investors are already eye-balling the Greenspoint area. Actually, everything from North Main all the way to JFK blvd is being drooled over by zealous investors that can't wait for the rail to be built. I think once the rail comes through, they will start plucking those complexes in Greenspoint off one at a time, and turning the parcels into modern developments. Be it new townhomes, shopping centers, office buildings, a northside medical center.. You name it, and I'm sure there is someone, somewhere, right at this very moment that you are reading this, thinking about how they can turn a buck on that strip of real-estate.

I think we'll see some serious changes in Houston as the light-rail is built.

Well, it will be interesting, if nothing else, to see what the holy grail/rail will do for that strip. Between Lindale and Greenspoint, it's your basic, butt-ugly, third world mish mash. I need to check to see what the proposed rail line route, with the airport extension, will be. Airline perhaps? From the flea market (will there be a stop on Airline there, maybe give it some posh name like the "mercado station") to the feeder road furniture peddlers, if the rail can transform that then we need to put rail lines everywhere.

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I tend to agree with that 27. The Inner Fifth Ward does seem to be a difficult proposition, mostly because there is a definite void between it and downtown that's hard to link and which would make revitalization much more difficult. Atleast with upper Third Ward, it is located in an area that would bridge the gap between downtown and the "universities", making it a more desirable area for re-development.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well if you pay attention to Houston, retailers such as Wal Mart, and Target, don't like building stroes right upon each other as they do out in the Suburbs. It's funny how the article states that the major reaitlers are about 7.5 miles North at the BW8 45 junction, however where I live I have over 5 Wal Mart Supercenters within a 8 to 10 mile radius. Northline needs something, I think a Gulfgate look would be nice for the area.

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Concerning Houston apartment agglomerations vs. zoning--

I think that those groupings would have happened with or without zoning. Case in point--in Charlotte, the eastside is nothing BUT apartments, and most of them are marginal at best. Looking at a map of Charlotte, it would be a triangle formed by US 29, WT Harris Blvd., and US 74, so it's a pretty big chunk of the city. It's so bad that residents all gather at city council meetings for potential rezonings and have quotes in the newspaper talking about how they need no more rental housing. I think that the planning staff is also more leery about rental units in the area now. Now that I think about it, the eastside may be the closest thing Charlotte has to a Sharpstown or a Gulfton--a 50s-60s era suburban area of ranch homes that got overwhelmed with apartments in the 1970s and 80s. In fact, I was looking at an apartment there after I got my bachelor's and the land lady basically told me how "we have to look out for each other" regarding crime and riffraff.

So that's a long way of saying that I don't think zoning would have made a difference.

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  • 8 months later...
  • 1 month later...

IT'S A GREAT IDEA!

SOMETHING LIKE THE VILLAGE THAT HAS BIG NAME STORES, GAP, EXPRESS ETC.. WOULD BE A TREAT. GREENSPOINT NO LONGER HAS AN EXPRESS AND NORTHWEST NO LONGER HAS A NEW YORK OR OLD NAVY. MAKE THIS THE TRENDY HOT SPOT. MAKE THIS A HUGE CONVINIENCE FOR PEOPLE OF ALL AGES. LET GO THESE SMALL TIME RINK-A- DINK SHOPS. FLOW WITH VARIETY AND I'M SURE IT WOULD NEVER GO WRONG. THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE IS ON SITE....MAKE THIS FUN.

-THAT'S MY OPINION.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...
I also live in the Lindale park area and I do think that is a good idea because really there are no places of any convenience to shop. The only Wal-mart that is around is on 45 at West road and that place is a nightmare, overcrowded, poorly maintained and usually understocked. And forget finding a Target or a decent grocery store close by.I like you will take what I can get. I see anything as an improvement.

HELLOOOOOO.....Is it me or nobody has noticed that they just bought a HUGE land on Taylor street near the heights and just finished building a new Target. they are also going to make a bike trail and a bunch of restuarants and retails stores including 2 banks..?? and its only like 3-4 miles from northline

heres the link...Sawyer Heights Village Target

Edited by deliriouz
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I still live by Northline Mall and I agree that something does need to be done with it.

Its kind of sad when the only thing a mall has to offer you is tennis shoes and a burger king.

Yeah it is pretty bad I call it the "Hallway"

QUOTE(Artgirl @ Friday, February 4th, 2005 @ 3:42pm)

I also live in the Lindale park area and I do think that is a good idea because really there are no places of any convenience to shop. The only Wal-mart that is around is on 45 at West road and that place is a nightmare, overcrowded, poorly maintained and usually understocked. And forget finding a Target or a decent grocery store close by.I like you will take what I can get. I see anything as an improvement.

Yeah that Walmart and the one off of Dunville or just nasty. I heard the rumor of a Walmart or Target going up where it's being demolished. Does anyone know if anything is set in stone open air market, walmart, target or yes more parking?

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  • 1 month later...
How come there is no Starbucks in the Northline area or in the mid to lower income level areas? Everyperson, regarding of income likes coffee.

Yeah but not everyone regardless of income is willing to shell out X amount for a cup of coffee when you can get your cup from home or a corner store for much cheaper. Starbucks caters to where the starbucks drinkers are or could be if there is a need there will be.

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Usually it's because no one from the area has bought a franchise yet. These companies are eager to expand into all sorts of new areas, but usually can't (or won't) do anything until someone decides to take on the task. If you're looking for a career change, it could be a good opportunity. From what I've read, new franchisees tend to get a lot of help from the company setting up.

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Usually it's because no one from the area has bought a franchise yet. These companies are eager to expand into all sorts of new areas, but usually can't (or won't) do anything until someone decides to take on the task. If you're looking for a career change, it could be a good opportunity. From what I've read, new franchisees tend to get a lot of help from the company setting up.

I thought Starbucks didn't franchise....so it said on there site a couple years ago. That's why I bought some stock, I haven't really kept up with the company :blush:

Edited by JGraspo
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I thought Starbucks didn't franchise....so it said on there site a couple years ago. That's why I bought some stock, I haven't really kept up with the company :blush:

Well hopefully a Starbucks coffee comes in to these areas. I heard that they are tearing down Northline Mall and turning into a retail strip center. Hopefully Starbucks becomes one these retail stores.

I as a professional, have grown up in the Northeast Houston and want to stay living in the inner city. I just hope one day the Northeast Houston will get the attention that other inner parts of the city have been getting lately.

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but they do have at least one company partnership. The Gulfgate Starbucks is an Urban Coffee Opportunity store - a partnership with Magic Johnson.

http://www.johnsondevelopmentcorp.com/starbucks/index.html

There are many Coffee Kiosks / Vendors that may not be Starbucks per se but they still sell Starbucks coffee. But if you see a store with the name Starbucks on it then it is owned by corporate.

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There is a Starbucks not too far from Northline. It's on the North Loop at either Airline, North Main, or Shepherd/Durham I think. Needless to say, I was surprised and impressed to see one there.

There is also a Starbucks down on I-45 and the West road area in front of Best Buy.

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  • 1 year later...

Don't know if there's a thread on this so here it is. Feel free to merge if there is.

I went to Northline Mall the other week to get a haircut. At "Mikes" (looks outdated but cheapest, fastest, best bald fades in town, the chicas there aren't too bad either). Anyways I noticed just about everything there was closed or no longer there. The only places still there besides Mikes was some shoe stores and HCC.

I asked the lady cutting my hair what was going on. She said that Nortline Mall is no longer Northline Mall, that it's going to be the Northline Shopping Center. And that everything will get leveled. I'm sure most have seen the "open air" shopping or group of strip center's going up. What I didn't know was that their will be a Walmart going up aswell.

I'm really not too happy about that. For the most part because of how the other Walmarts around town have gone to crap. Sure the over all change and additions can't be any worse than what's there now, can it?

Maybe the light rail stopping there might make the developers want to make the Northline Shopping center shine. One can dream ;)

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  • The title was changed to Northline Commons Shopping Center Developments

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