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South Main Innovation District in Midtown (Former Sears)


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Have we chosen a name yet for this area of Midtown? I miss the days of Swamplot. 

 

I'll start.

 

SoMid--that's South Midtown. Or SoMid(dle of the road and uninspired and full of transients that are being heralded as the new urbane Houstonians but stay less than a year and have trash tastes)

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Found some recent photos of inside with the floors cut out and skylight/tarp installed.       

Fiesta to become "Greentown Labs" a green energy incubator.    

Posted Images

4 hours ago, HOU_huckster said:

Have we chosen a name yet for this area of Midtown? I miss the days of Swamplot. 

 

I'll start.

 

SoMid--that's South Midtown. Or SoMid(dle of the road and uninspired and full of transients that are being heralded as the new urbane Houstonians but stay less than a year and have trash tastes)

 

It'sstillpartofgreater3rdwardyouyuppiescum has a nice ring to it!

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4 hours ago, HOU_huckster said:

Have we chosen a name yet for this area of Midtown? I miss the days of Swamplot. 

 

I'll start.

 

SoMid--that's South Midtown. Or SoMid(dle of the road and uninspired and full of transients that are being heralded as the new urbane Houstonians but stay less than a year and have trash tastes)


SMID - South Midtown Innovation District

 

...or maybe SoMID?

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17 hours ago, Big E said:

 

Isn't there another grocery store near Midtown? Pretty sure there is. Maybe they are doing more brisk business?

 

The closest grocery stores to Fiesta are Kroger (1.5 miles), HEB (2 miles), HEB (2 miles), Randalls (1.5 miles). That doesn't sound far, but that is 20 mins on the bus or 30 min walk each way. This is the closest store for me to bike to and it takes around 5 mins to get there, but I am limited on what I can purchase.

 

Those other grocers are offering delivery services, which may be leeching clientele from Fiesta.

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2 minutes ago, phillip_white said:

 

The closest grocery stores to Fiesta are Kroger (1.5 miles), HEB (2 miles), HEB (2 miles), Randalls (1.5 miles). That doesn't sound far, but that is 20 mins on the bus or 30 min walk each way. This is the closest store for me to bike to and it takes around 5 mins to get there, but I am limited on what I can purchase.

 

Those other grocers are offering delivery services, which may be leeching clientele from Fiesta.

 

There is Whole Foods 1 mile away...

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8 minutes ago, BeerNut said:

There is Whole Foods 1 mile away...

 

I did preface my original comment with affordable and left that descriptor out of the last one, so I forgive you for suggesting Whole Foods.

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Slightly off topic and total speculation, but I don't see how HEB doesn't plant a huge Central Market or HEB in Midtown in the next 3-5 years with the amount of luxury housing and quality development U/C or proposed in Downtown, Midtown, and Museum District.  This corridor becomes more walkable and livable every year. I'd be shocked if HEB isn't engaging in early discussions for a  destination store likely a part of a grander development - maybe the South Main Innovation District?

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1 hour ago, clutchcity94 said:

Does Rice plan on making this area strictly commercial or will there be residential too?


my understanding is that they are planning at least one residential tower

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Two things: 1) that fiesta has had a full parking lot all day with just regular joes cars, no big trucks with equipment, so I guess the community knows and is trying to get some deals; and 2) this morning I saw some bros in suits walking around the lot. Its hot outside for a suit right now, so I'm assuming this wasn't just some randoms walking around with suits in that area, lol. Strange day. 

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Posted (edited)

Fiesta says homeless was the reason but a blind and deaf man knows why - why even lie?

 

Once you head east there are no grocery options outside of an old Kroger on Polk I think. The next Fiesta is way on Griggs or the Wal Mart off Wayside

 

can someone explain why the homeless found that place to be popular from the past? Was it always a problem in the 60s and 70s?

Edited by hbcu
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Posted (edited)

these places:

Randalls on Louisiana

Kombat Kroger

Fiesta on Wayside

HEB in Gulfgate

Fiesta on Mikawa at 610

 

brand new HEB on 288/McGreggor (replaced HEB on Scott/OST)

Walmart on Wayside has been a thing for a number of years now

 

if you consider smaller places, there's an Aldi on OST, a Sellers Bros on Canal near Wayside, La Michoacana on Lawndale at 75th, and so many smaller places.

 

east of 288, south of buffalo bayou, and inside the loop (and including Midtown) is sparse for grocery, but we aren't wanting, there are options, the loss of this Fiesta is not going to be noticed.

 

and yeah, if I were asked why I didn't shop at this Fiesta, number 1 reason on my list would be homeless.

Edited by samagon
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That is a *huge* area you're talking about. That Fiesta absolutely fills a need - I shopped there pretty regularly when I lived nearby simply because it was nearby and *good enough.*

 

Without it there, there are no grocery stores south of Elgin until you get past the Medical Center. Partly this is a question of scale - these are urban neighborhoods, and part of the benefit of an urban neighborhood is walkability. For that to be sustainable, you need someplace to go to get groceries. That doesn't have to be an HEB - Michoacana, Phoenicia, or even more of a hipster bodega like Revival works, but right now there is nothing. 

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

these places:

Randalls on Louisiana

Kombat Kroger

Fiesta on Wayside

HEB in Gulfgate

Fiesta on Mikawa at 610

 

brand new HEB on 288/McGreggor (replaced HEB on Scott/OST)

Walmart on Wayside has been a thing for a number of years now

 

if you consider smaller places, there's an Aldi on OST, a Sellers Bros on Canal near Wayside, La Michoacana on Lawndale at 75th, and so many smaller places.

 

east of 288, south of buffalo bayou, and inside the loop (and including Midtown) is sparse for grocery, but we aren't wanting, there are options, the loss of this Fiesta is not going to be noticed.

 

and yeah, if I were asked why I didn't shop at this Fiesta, number 1 reason on my list would be homeless.

 

This helps prove it is a food desert. Most of the options are miles away. Randalls is more expensive than average grocery stores. The new HEB is probably the best option. Going to Fiesta or Walmart on Wayside, HEB in Gulfgate, or Fiesta by NRG are not great options. 

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9 hours ago, hbcu said:

can someone explain why the homeless found that place to be popular from the past? Was it always a problem in the 60s and 70s?


IIRC, the San Jacinto St. Fiesta opened in 1989. The homeless were already firmly ensconced in that neighborhood, due to sheltering under the 59 overpass, proximity to organizations that provide aid, and Sears, which provided both toilets and washrooms.
I've walked into Sears men's room to discover people in various states of undress, using hand soap to scrub armpits, and balancing on one leg to wash their feet in the sink.
IMO Fiesta itself has little to do with homeless people gathering in the area. It's just that it's located in a sort of No Man's Land featuring vacant lots and few permanent residents to issue complaints to HPD.

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

brand new HEB on 288/McGreggor (replaced HEB on Scott/OST)

The new H-E-B suffers from that common Houston problem; it's close, but you can't get there from here without a car.
For pedestrians or METRO riders, it may as well be in Pasadena (OK, slight exaggeration but the point remains).
There are few residences within walking distance.
Although METRO provides a sort of shuttle service, it's a minivan taxi that operates whenever the hell they feel like it, and is a COVID breeding grounds (the day I took it neither the driver nor the other passenger were wearing masks. And forget social distancing in a minivan).
In contrast, the Midtown Fiesta is located directly on the 25 Richmond/Wheeler bus line, and is three blocks from the Wheeler light rail station. For some people, that's an important consideration.

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On 7/8/2020 at 10:18 AM, CREguy13 said:

Slightly off topic and total speculation, but I don't see how HEB doesn't plant a huge Central Market or HEB in Midtown in the next 3-5 years with the amount of luxury housing and quality development U/C or proposed in Downtown, Midtown, and Museum District.  This corridor becomes more walkable and livable every year. I'd be shocked if HEB isn't engaging in early discussions for a  destination store likely a part of a grander development - maybe the South Main Innovation District?

I'd be thrilled with H-E-B replacing Fiesta.
Location, location, location, quality and selection is great, their prices are competitive, and they would likely take a more proactive approach to shoppers' safety concerns. It would attract shoppers from downtown, Midtown and Montrose.
True, Montrose already has an H-E-B but it's so popular that it's sometimes inconvenient. As Yogi Berra put it, "Nobody goes there anymore - it's too crowded." 

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12 hours ago, hbcu said:

Fiesta says homeless was the reason but a blind and deaf man knows why - why even lie?

 

 

1 hour ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Where did Fiesta say the homeless were the reason?

 

Well the store manager was at City Council meetings complaining before they fenced off the area under 59.  In the one meeting I remember him saying that he constantly had to call police and the shrink was very high.   Maybe corporate decided the high shrink and possibility of bad PR from constant police interactions wasn't worth it.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Because for most people Whole Foods isn't affordable

 

and Phoenicia as well.

 

Specs has a great little grocery section too.

 

the wife and I will do our grocery at Phoenicia least once a month, but I wouldn't classify it with Fiesta on the affordability scale.

 

2 hours ago, dbigtex56 said:

The new H-E-B suffers from that common Houston problem; it's close, but you can't get there from here without a car.
For pedestrians or METRO riders, it may as well be in Pasadena (OK, slight exaggeration but the point remains).
There are few residences within walking distance.
Although METRO provides a sort of shuttle service, it's a minivan taxi that operates whenever the hell they feel like it, and is a COVID breeding grounds (the day I took it neither the driver nor the other passenger were wearing masks. And forget social distancing in a minivan).
In contrast, the Midtown Fiesta is located directly on the 25 Richmond/Wheeler bus line, and is three blocks from the Wheeler light rail station. For some people, that's an important consideration.

 

Randalls on Louisiana is a few blocks from the downtown transit center station LTR stop, and all the bus routes that go through the downtown transit center. so I would say that there are still options close to downtown that offer more options to people without cars. sure, there's one less option now, but it's not like Fiesta was the only option.

 

driving, I would rather go to any other grocery store in the loop, because their parking solution sucks, but walking, it is quite convenient, and if you weren't worried about homeless hassling you for cash in front of Fiesta, you won't be bothered with it at Randalls.

Edited by samagon
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Posted (edited)

awesome!

 

here's a direct link to the map:

 

and here's the map

vlPtm9b.png&key=41a9af9e1e8811db62339166

 

note the grey circle overlaying Houston Zoo represents the new HEB, the purple circle overlaying the Children's Museum represents Fiesta that is going away.

 

as I mentioned on the other topic, there's a Sellers Bros on Canal near Wayside.

Edited by samagon
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Let’s not forget that the Mexican Consulate across the street is also closing. This area is about to explode! 

18 minutes ago, corbs315 said:

Has the Fiesta closure been confirmed anywhere besides Nextdoor? Just checking :)

 

Oops, answered my own question: 

 

Yes it has

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1 hour ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Let’s not forget that the Mexican Consulate across the street is also closing. This area is about to explode! 

Yes it has

The Houston Mexican Consulate is closing? Is that for good? Where can I read up on this?

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On 7/7/2020 at 6:48 PM, ZRFkris said:

Innovation district?

Okay I think it should just be midtown, I like the thought of having downtown, midtown, university park and then Texas medical center and then NRG we don’t need more sub districts along this line we already have so many. 

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, HoustonBoy said:

The Houston Mexican Consulate is closing? Is that for good? Where can I read up on this?

It's moving to the southwest side of town but the Museum District office is closing.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Mexican-consulate-moving-to-southwest-Houston-to-14905843.php

Edited by hindesky
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4 minutes ago, HoustonBoy said:

The Houston Mexican Consulate is closing? Is that for good? Where can I read up on this?

 

TXDOT bought them out. They're moving to Westchase

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We also have Northside and Eastside, buffalo bayou(nerlartown to some) but either way if you compare us to somewhere like Atlanta I think we should stick with Midtown for the entirety of the area and let Midtown be grand. 

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12 minutes ago, HoustonBoy said:

The Houston Mexican Consulate is closing? Is that for good? Where can I read up on this?

They're moving to I-10 and the Beltway. We have most of our consulates there. 

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4 hours ago, samagon said:

if you weren't worried about homeless hassling you for cash in front of Fiesta, you won't be bothered with it at Randalls.

I see your point. The area within about a block of Randall's is just fine. 
My route requires me to cross Main St. at Hadley, and the sidewalk outside Cle' is a popular hangout (usually 10, 12 people, no exaggeration). It's like walking through someone's living room. 
Six of one, half dozen of the other.

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11 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Where did Fiesta say the homeless were the reason?

 

Due to a drop off in customers, a manager told ABC13 they have made tough decision to permanently close its Midtown location this week.
On Tuesday, management said business has been difficult with all the homeless people in the area. A manager said they tried putting up a fence around the property to discourage them from coming on site.

 

https://abc13.com/business/iconic-houston-fiesta-location-permanently-closing-this-week/6304620/

 

Real quick edit: if you're losing business as a grocer during COVID, things musta been real bad. I know at the MPNA meetings people would wish that they could to that Fiesta without the homeless issue, people made it seem like it was the only thing standing between them and patronage of that Fiesta. As I said, I shop there regularly, but I can see how some people could feel uncomfortable. 

Edited by X.R.
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I shopped there regularly when I lived in Riverside Terrace, and I used to still stop there on the way to work to pick up a few things prior to cover work from home. 

 

The homeless never affected my shopping. However, I would see how people who are uncomfortable with them would avoid the area because of the sheer number of them. 

 

Especially after the fence was put up, you wouldn't see many actually on the fiesta property, but there would be a sea of them around it. They never asked me for money or bothered my shopping experience so I didn't care like I said, but walking through them would definitely be unnerving to a lot of people.

 

It's just the optics because as @dbigtex56 said that area on main near the Randalls is just as bad. But that area is more built up and landscaped so they are not as conspicuous to someone going to Randalls.

 

Randalls and especially whole foods are not everyday shopper stores though. Saying that it's ok fiesta is closing because whole foods is right down the street is like saying it's ok the Wendys is closing, you can always go to the Mortons steakhouse across the street.

 

People who are suggesting that everyday regular Fiesta shoppers  go to whole foods have either never shopped at whole foods or doesn't appreciate the struggle many fiesta shoppers go through to make ends meet. 

 

On the bright side, combining the news that the ION may open full with the closing of fiesta hopefully might mean this plot might get developed sooner than planned

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According to KTRK Channel 13 News at 11, Fiesta is closing TODAY.
(and yes, the anchor mentioned the homeless - not sure if she was quoting a Fiesta official or just expressing her own opinion.)
edit: Link to Houston Chronicle article

Edited by dbigtex56
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On 7/9/2020 at 11:30 AM, mls1202 said:

how is nobody mentioning Whole Foods that opened in the Pearl??

WF has a totally different demographic. They don't target lower income people like Fiesta does. It's the same with Randalls. They are an upscale shopping experience.

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2 hours ago, dbigtex56 said:

According to KTRK Channel 13 News at 11, Fiesta is closing TODAY.
(and yes, the anchor mentioned the homeless - not sure if she was quoting a Fiesta official or just expressing her own opinion.)
edit: Link to Houston Chronicle article

I live downtown and I’ve been to this Fiesta a couple times and the homeless isn’t more of an issue than the Randall’s I frequent in midtown. Also the gas station across the street where I fill up before getting on the spur, I’m literally harassed every visit by someone asking for something so I doubt the homeless had anything to do with it. Besides the article cited sales decline. 

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