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This was a topic I was originally gonna ask months ago until I did research myself. This vacant building served as ALCO and 99¢ Only Stores in recent years but I wanted to confirm if it was also an H-E-B Pantry store. After all, it's about 30k square feet and would be about the right size for a Pantry, besides, [url=http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/stories/2003/03/03/daily19.html]this article from Bizjournals indicates that the Kempwood H-E-B replaced THREE Pantry stores, and I'm sure this was at least one (one of the other ones for sure is the Central Market Central Kitchen to the east on Kempwood). However, Google Earth also indicates that the building has been here since at least '78. Anyone have more insight on this building?

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It certainly looks to be the right size, and location for a Pantry Foods. Can't find anything for sure online though. As ArchMemoH mentioned it was a Pricebuster. If you check out HCAD it was owned by Lucky, up until 2000 when it was sold to a Flea Market. The Flea Market is still is business, which leads me to wonder if this location ever was a Pantry Foods.

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3 hours ago, SpaceGhost said:

It certainly looks to be the right size, and location for a Pantry Foods. Can't find anything for sure online though. As ArchMemoH mentioned it was a Pricebuster. If you check out HCAD it was owned by Lucky, up until 2000 when it was sold to a Flea Market. The Flea Market is still is business, which leads me to wonder if this location ever was a Pantry Foods.

The flea market obviously isn't in business anymore, it was a 99¢ Only Stores and later an Alco. However, knowing it was owned by Lucky means that it was almost certainly an Eagle supermarket, and I know at least that a store closer to Greenspoint they did hold onto the lease long after Eagle left Houston, up to the point where it was owned by Albertsons (American Stores bought Lucky, Albertsons bought American Stores). 

Despite the fact that it looks like a Pantry, it must have been Price Busters for at least the first half of the 1990s...a little research shows that it as a discount food store owned by Rice Food Markets with 14 locations in 1993. Rice pulled the plug on it in 1998 but by that time, there were only six stores left open of which the Gessner store was not one of them. It's possible that H-E-B Pantry opened fairly late in the game...the one on Barker-Cypress that was closed in 2007 and has been abandoned since opened in 1999. It's not out of the question if a Pantry lasted only four years there, and generally, Internet records for addresses can only be reliably found for tenants within the last 10 years.

EDIT: I'm not sure where this "flea market" listin from HCAD is coming from. Here's another article where it talks about it, and the building went to a California investor group in 2003. Nothing in the article about its previous life. http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2003/05/05/daily9.html

 

Edited by IronTiger
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1 hour ago, IronTiger said:

The flea market obviously isn't in business anymore

They still are in business, but they have moved over to East Houston. Also checking the 3D view in Google Maps, you can tell that the current facade was added later. I think this puts the final nail in the coffin for the Pantry Foods theory.

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9 hours ago, SpaceGhost said:

They still are in business, but they have moved over to East Houston. Also checking the 3D view in Google Maps, you can tell that the current facade was added later. I think this puts the final nail in the coffin for the Pantry Foods theory.

It's the old "start writing a post before I finish the research problem". Disregarding the HCAD data, and whether it was a Lucky-owned Eagle or not, at least part of the 1990s has the building completely unaccounted for, since by 1998, Price Busters was definitely closed. In 2003, the building was owned by an investment group (not the flea market) and changed hands to a different investment group so it could be converted to a 99¢ Only Store. The problem is, the article about the new H-E-B was also published in early 2003 and refers to three Pantry stores, and therefore, it couldn't have been an existing H-E-B Pantry if it was being converted to a 99¢ Only at the time.

EDIT: Having looked at the ownership some more, I do see our data lines up, though Lucky 7 and Lucky Stores are not the same thing. I had found a Lucky 7 ad in the papers in the late 1980s, they were an independently owned Houston based chain (seems like Minimax, really). Lucky Stores was a chain out of California. That still doesn't make sense, if it was sold in 1988, why would Lucky Stores want anything to do with it since they already had dispensed with Eagle by that time? It's still a mystery, but I think I at least confirmed it WASN'T an H-E-B Pantry.

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  • 3 months later...

When I left Houston a few months ago, I could see activity at the old ALCO. I didn't get to see the front of it, but it looks like they're relocating AutoZone (currently a tiny building in the parking lot) to the main building (new stripes on outside) but I'm not sure if they take the whole building or not.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Yes, this building was an Eagle grocery store in the 1970's similar to their location on San Felipe where the Briargrove Pharmacy is now located. Then the building was vacant for many years after Eagle closed.  It just sat there abandoned and derelict.  In front of the Eagle store, there was a spray-it-yourself car wash that was demolished just a few years ago so the Auto Zone could be built.  That is fairly new building. The new super-sized store will be Auto Zone's third location in this block.  The Eagle store had a giant tall sign you could see from Longpoint, miles away. But it never had much business.
 
The shopping center directly across the street originally only consisted of two large stores. One was Rice Food Market which later became Gerland's Food Fair then it was a linen outlet and now it is a thrift store.  The building next door with the great natural river stone wall was a large for the time Madings drug store.  Then it became Fernie's Art Center and later it became an Auto Zone. Now it is a modern furniture store. The smaller stores to the sides were added in the late 1970's.
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12 hours ago, SpaceAge said:
Yes, this building was an Eagle grocery store in the 1970's similar to their location on San Felipe where the Briargrove Pharmacy is now located. Then the building was vacant for many years after Eagle closed.  It just sat there abandoned and derelict.  In front of the Eagle store, there was a spray-it-yourself car wash that was demolished just a few years ago so the Auto Zone could be built.  That is fairly new building. The new super-sized store will be Auto Zone's third location in this block.  The Eagle store had a giant tall sign you could see from Longpoint, miles away. But it never had much business.
 
The shopping center directly across the street originally only consisted of two large stores. One was Rice Food Market which later became Gerland's Food Fair then it was a linen outlet and now it is a thrift store.  The building next door with the great natural river stone wall was a large for the time Madings drug store.  Then it became Fernie's Art Center and later it became an Auto Zone. Now it is a modern furniture store. The smaller stores to the sides were added in the late 1970's.

So, it never became another grocery or a new flea market? I thought it was a Pricebusters at some time...

 

The strip center always a bit mysterious, and I did find Value Village was a Gerland's Food Fair. Never knew that iDeal Solid Furniture was a drug store, though!

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It could have become a Pricebusters briefly after Eagle. I didn't consider those major brands and did not pay much attention to them.  It was a flea market for a short time as well, after the long period of being vacant. The 99.9 cent only store came soon after the flea  market. The building was completely renovated for the dollar store.  Is it the lack of visibility that has caused this to property to have not been more successful?

 

The center at 2600 Gessner sat vacant for many years as well. The shell was built about 1969 but the store fronts never installed for about a decade or more.

 

The center where HEB is now located at the SW corner of Gessner at Kempwood also had a difficult start.  A major grocery store was partially constructed then left incomplete for many years. It may have been a Handy Andy and the center was going to be similar to another built at Gessner and the SW Freeway.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Wasn't there a Sak N Save in that building? This would have been in the late 80s or early 90s.

 

If I had the money I'd buy that Value Village. I've never been inside but I've loved the outside since the days when I used to bug mom for Andie's mints at Monterey House.

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