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longcat

Downtown West U Changes

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Sad story in the examiner about the auto repair shop on Edloe being forced out. I can't imagine what a developer would want to do with that location since JMH is already sitting there idle and no one has stepped up to redevelop that location. Makes we wonder what is to be the future of "downtown". If there were more cafe/restaurant/shopping options we would walk over there a lot more often, but it's such an isolated location I don't think it can support all that with competition from the village being so close.

examiner story

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Anyone know what his past exploits are?

Jim Reid runs RabonReid Real Estate Services with his wife, Jennifer Rabon - they aren't into the "older" part of West U it seems (they live in one of the early-onset rebuilds from the late 80s).

These two urls go to the same page, which is just a placeholder:

http://www.reidpropertyadvisors.com/

http://www.rabonreid.com/

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I bet it Starbucks opened up there, they would do gang buster business.

I bet they would, too, but I think someone has already had that idea and got shot down due to WUP's local ordinance against national chains within it's city limits. I think. Maybe I am misremembering, but I think it all went down 6-8 years ago when I was living in Bellaire.

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I remember taking music lessons at the "University School of Music" on Edloe back in the 60's. The studio moved out on to Bellaire Blvd. near Renwick later on. "Downtown West U" :lol:

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Anyone know what his past exploits are?

He owns and manages several properties around the West U area. I think he's more concerned with building a presence in the community and creating a name for himself, rather than actually making money. None of his ventures appear to have been very successful.

Case in point: he bought the JMH grocery store, which was deeply saddled with debt from its 2002 renovation, and was rapidly losing marketshare to the new Kroger on Buffalo Speedway. He then poured more money into additional unnecessary renovations, not realizing how thin the profit margins are in the grocery business. After trying to keep the store afloat with personal funds, he wrote this pathetic letter to neighborhood paper in which he unwittingly admitted his financial stupidity and begged the neighborhood residents to shop there.

I'm sorry to see that he has purchased the Matthews Motors building, and is forcing them out. They are a long-term tenant and a stable revenue generator, but I guess they don't fit with the yuppie image he is trying to create.

While the commercial center of West U is surrounded by valuable real-estate and wealthy demographics, it lacks the visibility and ease of access that many businesses want. All attempts at revitalization have been somewhat lackluster.

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It's interesting to hear the term Downtown West U. I have only heard it referred to all these years as just West U Village.

You are speaking of 2 seperate areas correct? :)

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Yes.

"Downtown West U" refers to a small commercial area on Edloe, Rice Blvd, and University Blvd in the middle of West U.

"The Village" is roughly bounded by Kirby Drive, Morningside Drive, University Blvd, and Tangley Street. "The Village" is not in West U.

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Big writeup on Reid's plans for the Matthews Motor Co site in the HBJ. Very strange to me to essentially retry the JMH formula a half block away from JMH on a site with much less parking. Kudos to him for trying though.

HBJ Link

Reid describes the future Matthews Market, located at 6203 Edloe, as an upscale, small-town grocery store that will serve as a gathering place for the community. He says the store will offer convenient items people may run out of at their homes as well as a selection of gourmet food items.

I was kind of hoping for more of a cafe/wine bar/coffee shop use for the old JMH, although that seems more and more unlikely at this point.

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They are opening up a new super HEB across the street from the super Kroger. I seriously doubt people will go to a gourmet place instead of those two grocery stores. Really, its not more than 5 minutes from anywhere in West U. They really need to make the whole place more like a town square type place. JMH was a great place for ice cream but not really to go grocery shopping. And now that the new Costco is so nearby, a lot of my West U neighbors go there to grocery shop as well.

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Don't forget Randall's & Whole Foods on Bellaire Blvd, plus the Randall's on Weslayen. The grocery market in the West U area is already saturated; when the "super Kroger" opened, it took a lot of business away from the Weslayen Randall's. The new HEB will probably put the nail in the coffin for the Weslayan Randall's, as it is the oldest grocery store in the area, and was designed to 1980s standards.

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JMH is still abandoned. But they did have a West U Elementary "garage sale" in there last weekend. The old auto mechanic shop is closed and I heard the owner of the property is trying to get the city to rezone it for something like a restaurant. There is so much potential there if someone would just have some freaking vision. Every weekend that area is packed with Little League, Softball, Soccer, boy scouts, and people just hanging out using the West U Elementary's playgrounds, that there has got to be a better use of that strip.

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JMH is still abandoned. But they did have a West U Elementary "garage sale" in there last weekend. The old auto mechanic shop is closed and I heard the owner of the property is trying to get the city to rezone it for something like a restaurant. There is so much potential there if someone would just have some freaking vision. Every weekend that area is packed with Little League, Softball, Soccer, boy scouts, and people just hanging out using the West U Elementary's playgrounds, that there has got to be a better use of that strip.

There was an update on that project in the Chronicle recently:

Chron Link

Set to open by Aug. 1 at 6203 Edloe St., the site of the former Matthews Motor Co., the store will be called Matthews Market. The 6,200-square-foot space will include a grocery store and restaurant with patio.

Reid, 49, said he wants to bring back the small-town, old-time feel of JMH Market at 3636 Rice Blvd., which served the community for more than 60 years.

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West U for the most part, hates Jim Reid and everything he has done. JMH was doing just fine before its renovations. Matthews Motor's was doing just fine before he bought it. He also owns that whole strip of renovated shops on University and Edloe. The only thing I like on that whole block is Edloe Deli, but apparently it has changed a lot in the last couple of years.

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Instant news west u has a story up on Thompson & Hansen's plans for the Tiny Boxwoods they want to put into the old JMH location. I can't quite seem to get the insert link function to work, but here is the url: http://instantnewswestu.com/2010/06/23/10609/

Looks interesting - they propose to add a little patio area for outdoor dining, and make some aesthetic improvements to the parking lot. The electric shuttle idea seems a bit outlandish, but I hope they can get their liquor license and pull off the core concept at least. Between this, Edloe Street Deli and Matthew's Market, that area will have a nice range of options.

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Instant news west u has a story up on Thompson & Hansen's plans for the Tiny Boxwoods they want to put into the old JMH location. I can't quite seem to get the insert link function to work, but here is the url: http://instantnewswe...10/06/23/10609/

Looks interesting - they propose to add a little patio area for outdoor dining, and make some aesthetic improvements to the parking lot. The electric shuttle idea seems a bit outlandish, but I hope they can get their liquor license and pull off the core concept at least. Between this, Edloe Street Deli and Matthew's Market, that area will have a nice range of options.

I know a lot of residents who are really pulling for them to get that license. That place would make tremendous profits with that location.

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Instant news west u (http://instantnewswestu.com/2010/10/05/12593/) has a story up about the "west u town center" plans which include a 4 story parking garage and ~33k sq feet of retial under ~95k sq feet of office space along Edloe from Rice to University. This appears to be the aspirational result of some committee's efforts at how this area should be developed, but there are existing viable businesses and buildings in this strip, so I don't really so how this is at all feasible.

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