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Westbury Square


Aland11223

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So sad. I have such fond memories of the place I don't think I could see it in person. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

My mom said the same thing..."I prefer to remember it the way that it was".

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She may have held several teaching positions. There was also a teacher named, I think, Mrs. Leverenz. (Spelling just a guess). The Little Red School House taught kindergarten and first grade. It was on the west side of the square. Mrs. Deats was my teacher there for first grade. I was there in the '64 to '66 time frame. After that, we moved to the Maplewood subdivision and I went to St. Thomas More. It's amazing how a really good teacher affects your life!

The '60s were a great time to grow up in that area. My Dad and I used to ride bikes to Westbury Square several nights a week. I'd give anything for the chance to go back for a hamburger at Brittain's and a haircut next door with Mr. Behunko.

I now live about 60 miles north of Fort Worth, but I'm planning to take a trip down there on the motorcycle when the weather is nice. I'd like to visit the area and reminisce. I'll probably be found crying in the Westbury Square parking lot, or maybe in jail after relieving myself on Home Depot! ;)

Hey, I was in Ms Deats 1st grade class in 66'. She wrapped my arm in newspaper to stop me from sucking my thumb. I think that was also the year they put in a bunch of new play elements in the school yard. Don't know why but I remember some names: Kimberly, Lauren, Jeremy, Paul, Stuart, Tod. Any sound familiar?

post-7896-1236121391_thumb.jpg

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Man, I didn't know there was anything left of WS. My best memories are of the

candle shop, the basket store, the jewelry store and the best; Village Inn when

Freddie Powers and the Powerhouse were playing there. (He worked with Willie

Nelson later, if I recall.) The place was packed on the weekends.

Here's a picture I found of the Square in the good days:

westburysquare.jpg

Edited by mwest
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Man, I didn't know there was anything left of WS. My best memories are of the

candle shop, the basket store, the jewelry store and the best; Village Inn when

Freddie Powers and the Powerhouse were playing there. (He worked with Willie

Nelson later, if I recall.) The place was packed on the weekends.

Here's a picture I found of the Square in the good days:

westburysquare.jpg

Cool picture.

Hello all. Although I currently live in the med center, I grew up in Westbury for most of my life. I am a more recent grad of Westbury High (class of 2002) and as many can surmise was a far experience from its glory days.

In any case, during college I became somewhat politically active and interested in the idea of helping clean up Westbury. I will sum up the information and experiences I had:

One of the first things I did was contact an acquaintance of mine, David Wallace the former mayor of Sugar Land. The reason being is that he has extensive experience with construction. One of his upcoming projects is known as Waco Town Square which you can read about on his Wikipedia page. But getting back to the story. I went on a car tour of Westbury with him and showed him the area around the Centrette building, and of course Westbury Square. He was appalled by what he saw, and he gave me some suggestions of things to do, in order to get the ball rolling on cleanup.

I contacted the appropriate council people, and got to dead end after dead end. I even went so far as to contact the management company of the Centrette who told me that the owner is basically an absentee deadbeat who mostly lives in Florida. What a POS he is.

After many hours spent I can't say that I did much good. As a general question though, I would be interested to hear ideas from people on how political pressure can be put on the borderline criminal owners. to clean these areas up. I also understand the owner of W.S. is / was in jail for some time. I personally think there should be enforceable laws that prohibit people from leaving property in sub par shape. At the very least W.S. could be demolished and turned into a dog park, an extension of the community center, there are countless things that could go there. I know that its nice to have some sort of memory of a once great place, but I truly wish there was a way to fight these slums and start getting Westbury to look the way it deserves.

Edited by AmericanPsycho
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The owner was in jail for tax evasion several years ago. He's a well known slum lord that owns a lot of property in Houston, all of it run-down. I dealt with him briefly in the 90's over a high rise he owned that was in very bad condition. He's a MAJOR asshole that does not care about his properties or tenants. Until the City of Houston grows some balls and takes over neglected properties like this I'm afraid nothing can be done. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening.

I will say he was not single handily responsible for the WS demise. A group out of NYC owned the square for a while in the late 70's, early 80's and that's when the neglect started and the place began to deteriorate.

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The owner was in jail for tax evasion several years ago. He's a well known slum lord that owns a lot of property in Houston, all of it run-down. I dealt with him briefly in the 90's over a high rise he owned that was in very bad condition. He's a MAJOR asshole that does not care about his properties or tenants. Until the City of Houston grows some balls and takes over neglected properties like this I'm afraid nothing can be done. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening.

I will say he was not single handily responsible for the WS demise. A group out of NYC owned the square for a while in the late 70's, early 80's and that's when the neglect started and the place began to deteriorate.

I agree, the City needs to grow a pair. Since however they are unreliable as I found out, even at the council level, there are probably some things that we can do.

Other more knowledgeable people can jump in if I'm mistaken about this, but I think in the last several years there have been some anti-graffiti rules put in place where citizens can call 311 and report graffiti. Then the city contacts the owner of the property and said owner has a certain time frame to clean it up, and if they don't the city puts industrial grey paint on the walls in violation. This might be a start at least in terms of getting the city's attention.

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Again, the problem with Westbury Square is that the owner has no desire to fix the place up. I've lived in Westbury since 1994. The Westbury Civic Club and COH have been working to get the problem fixed. The problem is the absentee owner. There's more to the story about the current owner but I won't type it in public forums because who knows who reads these things.

Last year before Ike the COH gave the guy 30 days to fix up the property. There was a public hearing where I believe all member of City Council and the Mayor and if I recall about 20 folks from Westbury showed up and the owner was told fix it or we will. Then Ike hit.

I drive by the square 2x a day as I have for the past 14 years. I've seen it go from a mess to a bigger mess.

There are some plans on paper to bulldoze the square and the shopping center w/99 cent only. The discussions included the following.

1. Building a Harris County Library on the site.

2. Building a new fire station to replace the one on Chimney Rock.

3. Build a small police storefront

4. HEB has wanted to build a large format store since they closed the Pantry back in the late 90's (now 99 cent only). They are still interested.

5. Build some combination retail/loft style apartments or condos.

6. Tie Home Depot into a shopping village.

7. Petsmart and Petco have both expressed a desire to have a store in the area. Ideal location.

I don't remember the rest of the plans that were discussed, but all that needs to happen is bulldoze the square and progress can happen.

There are plans there, we just have to figure out how to get the COH to move the current land owner.

^Yeah, I think the answer here is to report as much as possible and try to get more attention to the property.
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Hey, I was in Ms Deats 1st grade class in 66'. She wrapped my arm in newspaper to stop me from sucking my thumb. I think that was also the year they put in a bunch of new play elements in the school yard. Don't know why but I remember some names: Kimberly, Lauren, Jeremy, Paul, Stuart, Tod. Any sound familiar? I've got a snapshot of her at a picnic at the Battleship Texas. That was the big trip of the year.

There was a gate at the back of the Little Red School House that always seemed to be the entrance to another world. When you went through that gate you knew you someplace special. I always thought it had been there forever and looked so old.

We stumbled across it in 2005 and it was certainly in sad shape. Had coffee in the new/now defunct coffee shop though. I noticed in the recent pics that the fountain statue inside the belfort entrance is gone and the iron work on the roof of the arch building is gone. They were there in 2005. It seems that the place is just fading away.

We used to go to the Village Inn Pizza to watch Paul Buskirk play banjo in 71-73. Johnston Jr High did their football victory parties there after every game. I thought they had the best pizza anywhere.

Later in 1974-75, I worked in the Fun Shop. I think it was in the old Electric Paisley shop because the there was a "Black Light" room about 10x10 for the velvet posters. I sold alot of majic and posters along with gag gifts and masks. It was a cool gig for a 15 yr old. The best part was closing the store to run down to Village Inn for a take out cheeze pizza.

Wow...I need to stop now.

Cheers to all.....

post-7896-1236121391_thumb.jpg

Ahh, it's a small world indeed. I vividly remember the trip to see the Battleship Texas and the San Jacinto monument. I remember Kimberly too. I'm pretty sure her dad was a state senator, last name Ogg. If you remember Steven and Susan, send me a PM sometime. My wife and I are going to take a trip down there this fall and get some pictures before it's all gone.

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Ahh, it's a small world indeed. I vividly remember the trip to see the Battleship Texas and the San Jacinto monument. I remember Kimberly too. I'm pretty sure her dad was a state senator, last name Ogg. If you remember Steven and Susan, send me a PM sometime. My wife and I are going to take a trip down there this fall and get some pictures before it's all gone.

Kim Ogg was the Executive Director of Crime Stoppers, and a Harris County prosecutor before that. She's in private practice as a lawyer now with her father.

Ogg Law Firm

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Ahh, it's a small world indeed. I vividly remember the trip to see the Battleship Texas and the San Jacinto monument. I remember Kimberly too. I'm pretty sure her dad was a state senator, last name Ogg. If you remember Steven and Susan, send me a PM sometime. My wife and I are going to take a trip down there this fall and get some pictures before it's all gone.

Can't seem to do a PM. Shoot me an email at tpeddie@austin.rr.com

Cheers..

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My husband and I drove around the remaining parking lot yesterday and it appears that someone still lives in a second floor apartment facing W. Bellfort. I thought all residents had been instructed to leave but there are plants and a small outdoor grill on the balcony as well as a couple of cars parked in front. We plan on touring on foot and taking a few snaps before 'the end' comes. My husband grew up in Bellaire and remembers Westbury Square as the coolest and hippest place in Houston during its heyday. B)

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Again, the problem with Westbury Square is that the owner has no desire to fix the place up. I've lived in Westbury since 1994. The Westbury Civic Club and COH have been working to get the problem fixed. The problem is the absentee owner. There's more to the story about the current owner but I won't type it in public forums because who knows who reads these things.

Last year before Ike the COH gave the guy 30 days to fix up the property. There was a public hearing where I believe all member of City Council and the Mayor and if I recall about 20 folks from Westbury showed up and the owner was told fix it or we will. Then Ike hit.

I drive by the square 2x a day as I have for the past 14 years. I've seen it go from a mess to a bigger mess.

There are some plans on paper to bulldoze the square and the shopping center w/99 cent only. The discussions included the following.

1. Building a Harris County Library on the site.

2. Building a new fire station to replace the one on Chimney Rock.

3. Build a small police storefront

4. HEB has wanted to build a large format store since they closed the Pantry back in the late 90's (now 99 cent only). They are still interested.

5. Build some combination retail/loft style apartments or condos.

6. Tie Home Depot into a shopping village.

7. Petsmart and Petco have both expressed a desire to have a store in the area. Ideal location.

I don't remember the rest of the plans that were discussed, but all that needs to happen is bulldoze the square and progress can happen.

There are plans there, we just have to figure out how to get the COH to move the current land owner.

Thanks for the updates, did not know any of that.

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  • 1 month later...

The latest news about Westbury Square.....

There is a trial scheduled in Harris County Civil Court against the owner(s) of Westbury Square. The trial has already been scheduled a couple of times before and keeps getting postponed. Gotta love attorneys. I do not have the details. You might contact the Westbury Civic Club to get further details about the trial or look it up in the Harris County Courts web site.

The sno-ball trailer that has been located in the parking lot since 1994 (that's when I moved here, it might have been there before) has not reappeared this year and the electric meter that has been used by them is no longer on the pole in the parking lot. Not sure if they've decided not to come back this season or not.

All of the awnings facing W. Bellfort have been taken down. From what I can see the roofs still have no shingles on them.

Due to the economic conditions the retail that had been planned for across W. Bellfort (townhomes were torn down) is on hold.

Located east of Westbury Square at W. Bellfort/Chimney Rock is the old Westbury Centerette. The Centerette is scheduled to be torn down. It appears that the only structures to be left will be the Pizza Hut and AutoZone. The remainder will be demoed and replaced. Including the old Exxon station that was abandoned.

Any other news?
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The latest news about Westbury Square.....

There is a trial scheduled in Harris County Civil Court against the owner(s) of Westbury Square. The trial has already been scheduled a couple of times before and keeps getting postponed. Gotta love attorneys. I do not have the details. You might contact the Westbury Civic Club to get further details about the trial or look it up in the Harris County Courts web site.

The sno-ball trailer that has been located in the parking lot since 1994 (that's when I moved here, it might have been there before) has not reappeared this year and the electric meter that has been used by them is no longer on the pole in the parking lot. Not sure if they've decided not to come back this season or not.

All of the awnings facing W. Bellfort have been taken down. From what I can see the roofs still have no shingles on them.

Due to the economic conditions the retail that had been planned for across W. Bellfort (townhomes were torn down) is on hold.

Located east of Westbury Square at W. Bellfort/Chimney Rock is the old Westbury Centerette. The Centerette is scheduled to be torn down. It appears that the only structures to be left will be the Pizza Hut and AutoZone. The remainder will be demoed and replaced. Including the old Exxon station that was abandoned.

That's great news, I'm going to contact the Civic Club. I want to make sure I have all the details on this. Is Anthony Antonini the current owner?

Edited by AmericanPsycho
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Yes, that is the owner. At least he's the last I knew of. Seems the ownership changes periodically when there is legal issues. At least that is what I've been told. I don't know much more than what I'm told by the members of the civic club board.

That's great news, I'm going to contact the Civic Club. I want to make sure I have all the details on this. Is Anthony Antonini the current owner?
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  • 2 weeks later...

99 Cents Only was in the process of closing all stores in Texas due to economic conditions in the whole nation. I have seen a few close in Pasadena and hopefully the one in Westbury will go as well somtime in the near future. Actually, my mom is friends with one of the cashiers there and has already got a job lined up for her if the store is closed. They were supposed to close before the end of 08 but decided to keep some open and hold on.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/99_Ce...xas_stores.html

http://losangeles.bizjournals.com/losangel...02/daily26.html

Now the sort of confirmed thing I know from speaking with a manager at Home Depot is that the Westbury store is not doing so well and might be phased out because the full size Home Depot opened up near Hillcroft and the Beltway. This is speculation and nothing is known for sure.

I was the one that took all of those pics in 07 in this thread but I have not been back to the sold WS since the hurricane. There are for sure people still living there because you can see cars from the street. I also called the theater in WS for ticket info. and they say there are no plans to close at all.

http://www.companyonstage.org/

What I would LOVE to happend is for the entire parcel of land from the Home Depot to the Chase bank to sold to a developer and single family homes to be built. Just connect to the existing streets on the other side and build a small neighborhood of 1600-2100 sq ft homes; no giant McMansions sitting on small lots. Home sales are soft now but this location is under 5 minutes from the loop, 15 minutes to the med center, and under 30 minutes in weekday morning rush hour to downtown. The homes would sell in the $180-220K range if built with basics and upgrades were left to the owner.

I think the square is way beyond repair as a whole but maybe the theater building could be saved if the city partnered with them to somehow reduce costs of major renovations through some program. A giant HEB would be a money maker but the traffic would be a nightmare.

BTW, any updates on what is going to happend with La Peak Apartments on Gasmer?

The place looks like a warzone. Al Antonini is the onwer of this place as well.

At least the city put stop to that cell phone tower that was going up on his land behind the HFD station on Chimney Rock.

Edited by LarryDallas
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Larry and other interested parties.

I spoke with Managers of 3 Home Depots in the area....Hillcroft/Bltwy 8, Pin Oak (610/59), and I-10 Spring Branch. Not one of them have heard anything about Westbury HD closing or even having business issues. In fact 2 of them say that Westbury is one of the top performing stores in Houston. And about 3 months ago I talked to a HD district manager and his response was anyone that thinks Westbury will close is crazy. I'm planning on visiting the store next week and talking to folks there plus calling Atlanta and asking.

As for the 99 cent store there. Business is down about 50% since Ike (per a friend in the retail area) and they have reduced the size of the store. I also have been told their lease runs out in 2009. Hopefully they will close the store at that time.

Westbury Square may have residents, however the City of Houston has virtually condemned the place. That is why there are legal proceedings against the current owner. I drive by the square 2 times a day and never seen anyone there. There is no security lighting for residents if there are any. The roof is nothing but tarpaper from what I can tell.

I have no idea about the theatre. They never seem to advertise or communicate with the residents. They certainly do not seem to be very interested in promoting themselves.

As for the future of WS, HD, 99 cent store center, and Chase bank building. There is zero desire by anyone to demo these to build single family homes. Part of the reason would be traffic impact. The impact would snarl Chimney Rock and W. Bellfort. Plus the added burden on services in the area. In addition, because the homes would be zoned to Westbury HS, Fondren MS and Anderson Elem I doubt there would be many folks wanting to purchase them. These are all considered to be substandard schools by most folks.

Both Harris County and the COH would love to have the WS land to do something with such as I have mentioned. A new county library (county libraries are totally different entities vs COH libraries) and new fire station plus a police/constable station.

HEB has definite interest in building a store in the Westbury/Meyerland area to replace the old Pantry store that used to be where 99 cent is now PLUS the store at Chimney Rock/S. Braeswood. They are interested specifically in the land at W. Bellfort/Chimney Rock if it ever became available. Petsmart has also indicated an interest as well as CVS.

And finally the old Westbury Centerette is going to be demoed. Finally. And I have been told it will be a retail village and housing. Details are still being worked out on the development.

You asked about the La Peak apts. My understanding is they are slated to be demoed. I have been told that they are owned by a woman in California. Originally she had looked at turning them into condos, but the cost of renovation was prohibitive. So it is cheaper to demo them and wait for better financial times.

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Hummm...........I saw some pics of a woman on her balcony in one of those apartments. There were also lots of plants, so I assume she was living there. Could she be paying rent to someone or do ya think she could be a squatter? If she was a squatter, wouldn't somebody have run her off already?

If someone is charging her rent, I would hope it's not too much because surely she isn't getting her moneys worth.

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The HEB pulled out of that center because of shoplifting and other pretty crime. I know that for a fact because my neighbor's niece used to work there when she was in high school around 1998ish. They told them of the store closing and why a few weeks before they shut down. A giant HEB is a multimillion dollar investment and I am hoping they do not go for it. The only one in a bad area I know of is the one outside of the Belt on Beechnut. Although people who live in Westbury know it is not bullets and crack cocaine everywhere most people who don't live here think it is a rough part of town. The big HEBs are usually in newer McMansion development areas or heavy traffic older business/residential areas.

Ever since Meyerland Auto moved to S. Post Oak that center seemed to have just gone further downhill. The ACE check cashing place is also a bad thing. What's next a pawn and smoke shop?

The center was very nice when tennants were HEB, Meyerland Auto, the private and small 99 cent store, Eckerds, and Blockbuster.

The only good thing to occur has been Advance Auto moving in. The store is immaculately clean and the employees are all very helpful.

I kind of worry about 99 cent leaving and then some store like Save A Lot moving in. It is wishful thinking but if that entire center was demoed and wild grass grew on it like the Gillman Honda/Mitsubishi lot in Sharpstown I would prefer it.

Although the Centerette was more of an eyesore, it was at least not a contributor to traffic and crime. In fact, that mechanic shop near the Discount Tire with all of the junk cars parked inside the fence had somewhat of a southern charm to it. But, I am glad to see it all go. You mentioned it will be a mix of retail and housing. Will it be a midrise building or at least 5 floors with apartments on top and retail at ground level?

I can't see how retail would be successful there because the strip mall next to AutoZone was in good repair for years but just failed. The only store to hang on until about 5 years ago was the Sports trading card shop. Until about 2007 the spaces were all for lease but no one moved in. Then the plywood went on. I had been hoping that CVS would come back to the area and open a full size store on that land because they maintain their properties very well. Maybe a Quizno's or Subway shop could open next to Pizza Hut if CVS took the large parcel of land behind that corner.

Edited by LarryDallas
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Hummm...........I saw some pics of a woman on her balcony in one of those apartments. There were also lots of plants, so I assume she was living there. Could she be paying rent to someone or do ya think she could be a squatter? If she was a squatter, wouldn't somebody have run her off already?

If someone is charging her rent, I would hope it's not too much because surely she isn't getting her moneys worth.

Those people have electricity and some have satellite dishes. To get those you need to verfiy residence and get permission from the owner/landlord for the dish to go up. I don't think they are squatting.

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There is limited electrical service to Westbury Square. I was over there this afternoon and could only find 1 apartment unit that had a good electrical meter. It is probably some friend of Antonelli's or something like that. The rest of the square except the theatre group and the school house has no electricity unless they have hidden the meters.

It is interesting that you mention crime around the shopping center. I spoke with 2 HPD officers this evening and they told me that the shopping center has very little crime. Not sure where anyone gets information to the contrary. Westbury as a subdivision has very little crime. And I do not appreciate anyone spreading talk that there is a crime problem. I have lived here since 1994 and have monitored the crime reports periodically and there is not a crime problem in Westbury. Take a look at the HPD stats versus areas like Spring Branch or Montrose or Midtown or look at Bellaire's crime stats. It is unfair to paint Westbury in the same brushstroke as places like Sharpstown or Fondren Southwest or Mission Bend or the east end.

The auto repair place that is there now is an independent and very nice guys. Much nicer and I feel very honest vs Angels (Burdine/Chimney Rock). You are correct we DO NOT need 2 check cashing places in the shopping center. But right now these are the cards we are dealt. I think these type of places are simply a cancer that has infested all areas of town including Kingwood, Clear Lake, areas of Memorial, and the Heights. The sooner Congress passes legislation regulating them the sooner we get rid of them. My understanding is that Weingarten still owns the shopping center through one of their off-shoot companies. A commercial real estate friend tells me they have several branches that they lease their "lower tier" shopping centers via. I may be wrong, but that is based on information from several real estate folks.

Now I know for a fact that the HEB where 99cent only is now was not closed due to crime. A very close friend of mine is in a very high level management position at HEB's corporate office in San Antonio and the reason the store was closed is 2 fold. 1. They had planned to open a new store at W. Fuqua and Beltway 8 within 1 year of closing the W. Bellfort store. This plan was scuttled because Chimney Rock would not be put through, being replaced by Ft Bend Tollway. HEB's plans were to have a HEB Plus concept there and since the CIty of Houston had planned to run CR through they would have access to Westbury & Meyerland residents. They would then close down the Chimney Rock/S. Braeswood store. Secondly, the W. Bellfort store was also closed due to Weingarten's greed. They wanted to raise the rent significantly on HEB so HEB chose to close the store when their lease expired. Many in Westbury knew of the stores closing months before it closed, not days. Another contributing factor to the closure was HEB's decision to end the Pantry concept in Houston. This W. Bellfort store was smaller than the S. Braeswood store and could not be easily converted into a "regular" small footprint HEB. (Just an FYI, it appears the HEB in Bellaire will be closed when the HEB on Buffalo Speedway is opened)

As for demoing the shopping center and letting it grow over. The civic club would not let that happen. There is enough political clout these days with Mayor White and Councilperson Clutterbuck that it simply would not be allowed to happen. I think Anne is gathering enough political steam to be like Martha Wong when she did a lot to update parts of Fondren SW before leaving office.

The plans for the centerette are communuted due to Pizza Hut and Auto Zone. The entire block bounded by Cedarhurst/Moonlight/W. Bellfort/Chimney Rock will be demolished EXCEPT Pizza Hut and Auto Zone. There will also be a 're-engineering' of the NE quadrant of the intersection to smooth out traffic turning from W. Bellfort (westbound) to Chimney Rock (northbound). My understanding is that CVS will build a new standalone store on the parcel and there will be a shopping area with 2-3 stories of residential units above that. I'm trying to get someone to take the old Centerette sign and repair it and relight it with the clock once the new center is opened. Time will tell.

Once we get past the economic problems there are some other projects that are very exciting planned for the area including covering the drainage ditch running in the middle of Chimney Rock. And I believe the COH is looking at the storage tank at Kinglet and Chimney Rock to "rightsize" that facility. I'd love for them to build a nice water tower like at Bellaire Blvd and S. Gessner and let Westbury put its logo on the tower.

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There is limited electrical service to Westbury Square. I was over there this afternoon and could only find 1 apartment unit that had a good electrical meter. It is probably some friend of Antonelli's or something like that. The rest of the square except the theatre group and the school house has no electricity unless they have hidden the meters.

It is interesting that you mention crime around the shopping center. I spoke with 2 HPD officers this evening and they told me that the shopping center has very little crime. Not sure where anyone gets information to the contrary. Westbury as a subdivision has very little crime. And I do not appreciate anyone spreading talk that there is a crime problem. I have lived here since 1994 and have monitored the crime reports periodically and there is not a crime problem in Westbury. Take a look at the HPD stats versus areas like Spring Branch or Montrose or Midtown or look at Bellaire's crime stats. It is unfair to paint Westbury in the same brushstroke as places like Sharpstown or Fondren Southwest or Mission Bend or the east end.

The auto repair place that is there now is an independent and very nice guys. Much nicer and I feel very honest vs Angels (Burdine/Chimney Rock). You are correct we DO NOT need 2 check cashing places in the shopping center. But right now these are the cards we are dealt. I think these type of places are simply a cancer that has infested all areas of town including Kingwood, Clear Lake, areas of Memorial, and the Heights. The sooner Congress passes legislation regulating them the sooner we get rid of them. My understanding is that Weingarten still owns the shopping center through one of their off-shoot companies. A commercial real estate friend tells me they have several branches that they lease their "lower tier" shopping centers via. I may be wrong, but that is based on information from several real estate folks.

Now I know for a fact that the HEB where 99cent only is now was not closed due to crime. A very close friend of mine is in a very high level management position at HEB's corporate office in San Antonio and the reason the store was closed is 2 fold. 1. They had planned to open a new store at W. Fuqua and Beltway 8 within 1 year of closing the W. Bellfort store. This plan was scuttled because Chimney Rock would not be put through, being replaced by Ft Bend Tollway. HEB's plans were to have a HEB Plus concept there and since the CIty of Houston had planned to run CR through they would have access to Westbury & Meyerland residents. They would then close down the Chimney Rock/S. Braeswood store. Secondly, the W. Bellfort store was also closed due to Weingarten's greed. They wanted to raise the rent significantly on HEB so HEB chose to close the store when their lease expired. Many in Westbury knew of the stores closing months before it closed, not days. Another contributing factor to the closure was HEB's decision to end the Pantry concept in Houston. This W. Bellfort store was smaller than the S. Braeswood store and could not be easily converted into a "regular" small footprint HEB. (Just an FYI, it appears the HEB in Bellaire will be closed when the HEB on Buffalo Speedway is opened)

As for demoing the shopping center and letting it grow over. The civic club would not let that happen. There is enough political clout these days with Mayor White and Councilperson Clutterbuck that it simply would not be allowed to happen. I think Anne is gathering enough political steam to be like Martha Wong when she did a lot to update parts of Fondren SW before leaving office.

The plans for the centerette are communuted due to Pizza Hut and Auto Zone. The entire block bounded by Cedarhurst/Moonlight/W. Bellfort/Chimney Rock will be demolished EXCEPT Pizza Hut and Auto Zone. There will also be a 're-engineering' of the NE quadrant of the intersection to smooth out traffic turning from W. Bellfort (westbound) to Chimney Rock (northbound). My understanding is that CVS will build a new standalone store on the parcel and there will be a shopping area with 2-3 stories of residential units above that. I'm trying to get someone to take the old Centerette sign and repair it and relight it with the clock once the new center is opened. Time will tell.

Once we get past the economic problems there are some other projects that are very exciting planned for the area including covering the drainage ditch running in the middle of Chimney Rock. And I believe the COH is looking at the storage tank at Kinglet and Chimney Rock to "rightsize" that facility. I'd love for them to build a nice water tower like at Bellaire Blvd and S. Gessner and let Westbury put its logo on the tower.

This is all very good news, Dr. Food. Thanks for the updates. Westbury is such an enormous, solid residential area that is can clearly support new retail. CVS, HEB, these would all be terrific additions to the neighborhood. It would be great to see some more mom & pop-type local establishments open, too, though I guess that's unlikely these days.

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This is all very good news, Dr. Food. Thanks for the updates. Westbury is such an enormous, solid residential area that is can clearly support new retail. CVS, HEB, these would all be terrific additions to the neighborhood. It would be great to see some more mom & pop-type local establishments open, too, though I guess that's unlikely these days.

Yes, thank you. DrFood for all of the updates. I understand your frustration with people spreading rumors about the crime in Westbury. However, I can't fully blame people for thinking this. When people drive by and see WS, and all run down junk we have around, its only natural to assume the worst. That's why it's so important to get this stuff out of here. I hope Clubberbuck gets on the ball, I was never able to get a hold of her a couple of years ago, so far I'm not impressed.

Does the closing of the Centrette include getting rid of the boarded up area that used to be a rehab center, and I think a laundry place?

The theater is an interesting group, they basically seem to get by on word of mouth. I've been meaning to go see some shows over there, some of them are pretty good. I agree that they could do more to get to know the residents as to not appear snobbish.

Lastly, what's the deal with the Cozy Corner, that is next to the old Post Office. That place has been around for years, I'm assuming its a bar? Such a weird location, what type of people hang out there? -- any friendly neighborhood folk?

Edited by AmericanPsycho
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My frustration really gets the best of me when folks try to equate Westbury with Fondren Southwest as far as crime and liveability. And these are typically folks who don't know jack about Westbury or have heard from friends.

I agree until we can get Antonelli and his group booted from WS there is a perception problem. But we keep fighting. The COH has been after him since Cathy Whitmire's days in office. He just seems to have the ability to not do anything. Hopefully with Clutterbuck and White we can finally get the place demolished. I've contacted El Franco Lee's office (our County Commissioner) and there is absolutely zero interested in helping Westbury. He inherited this area when Tom Delay's henchmen in Austin redrew the legislative boundaries a few years back.

If you ever need to get hold of Clutterbuck the best way to do so is via her aids Barbara or Tim. I've never had a problem getting through to her when I contact them first. In fact usually Tim can get things done easier than Clutterbuck can. You know what they say about political assistants, they typically have more power than the politicians. :-)

The centerette buildings are to all be demolished. If you look at the block bounded by W. Bellfort/Chimney RockCedarhurst/Moonlight, the only buildings that will be left standing will be the AutoZone and Pizza Hut. Gas station, strip center facing W. Bellfort, strip center facing Cedarhurt (with the washteria), old gas station, and the 2 story brick building on Chimney Rock.....all to be demolished. Evidently Pizza Hut and AutoZone own their parcels of land is why they are not involved.

The theatre needs to do more to get the community involved. They could advertise in the Westbury Crier (our monthly newsletter) and post to the Westbury yahoo group if they would only contact someone. I can tell you in 14 years I've never seen one single advertisement or any inclination by them to let residents know what is going on. I would almost be afraid to go into the building knowing how badly it is maintained. The walls or ceiling might collapse due to rotten wood or something.

As for the Cozy Corner. Yes it is a very interesting place. And yes it is a bar. There was a Houston Chronicle article about it a year or so ago. I can't find the link but I know it is there. They've put the porch on it recently to accomodate smokers. I'm not sure it is legally meeting the city ordinance or 25 feet from the entrance. My understanding is that Friday night is karaoke night. Never been myself. I am allergic to smoke and I'm pretty sure the place still reeks of smoke even now that you can't smoke inside. Not sure how it stays in business with the church just a few feet away. I thought there was a state or city or both law about alcohol service within X feet of a church. I know Vien Thai (Thai restaurant on Long Point) in Spring Branch can't get a liquor license because of the church in the same strip center. All persuassions of folks are welcome. I've heard on weekend nights there are a lot of gay/lesbian couples from the neighborhood there hanging out. And no it's not some gay/lesbian pick-up bar for those of you weird conservative folks who think "oh no the gays want me or are going to molest me" everytime they hear gays go someplace.

Glad a couple of folks are following the discussion. If you've got other questions or comments post them. I check here about once a day.

Yes, thank you. DrFood for all of the updates. I understand your frustration with people spreading rumors about the crime in Westbury. However, I can't fully blame people for thinking this. When people drive by and see WS, and all run down junk we have around, its only natural to assume the worst. That's why it's so important to get this stuff out of here. I hope Clubberbuck gets on the ball, I was never able to get a hold of her a couple of years ago, so far I'm not impressed.

Does the closing of the Centrette include getting rid of the boarded up area that used to be a rehab center, and I think a laundry place?

The theater is an interesting group, they basically seem to get by on word of mouth. I've been meaning to go see some shows over there, some of them are pretty good. I agree that they could do more to get to know the residents as to not appear snobbish.

Lastly, what's the deal with the Cozy Corner, that is next to the old Post Office. That place has been around for years, I'm assuming its a bar? Such a weird location, what type of people hang out there? -- any friendly neighborhood folk?

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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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Hello. I am new to this forum. I Googled Westbury Square and found this site and was thrilled to read so many posts from several years back now on the topic. I haven't seen WS since going there as a child and am sad to see that it has deteriorated. I remember going there from '70 to '76 (I was five in '70) when my parents decided we needed a bigger house (hence we moved to Fleetwood on Memorial off of Highway 6 - what a culture shock that was). If memory serves me, wasn't there a little shop that sold imports from Holland in WS? I still have a pair of earrings from that store that I have kept all these years. I think there was also a candy store? I remember the glass store. Wish I could remember the names of these places.

This is somewhat off topic, but I have also been trying to research a place that I remember going to as a kid in elementary school. I grew up on the edge of West U on Bissonnet right across the street from the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in a row of townhomes there. I attended West U Elementary and I remember going on field trips to a place that I think was called "The People's Place of Houston" - my closest comparison of it would be a mini-Epcot inside a building with different "countries" that we kids visited to learn about their culture. If anyone can confirm this for me, I would love it and if I am not off base, would love to hear any stories you have about it that might help jar my memory.

My mom passed away recently and I began making notes of things that I fondly remember as a child and these places are some of those wonderful memories.

Look forward to checking back for more info.

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....Not sure how it stays in business with the church just a few feet away. I thought there was a state or city or both law about alcohol service within X feet of a church....

I imagine because the Cozy Corner was there years before the church. The Cozy Corner

has been there since the 60's. I never gave it much thought, but I'm guessing the

church came along in maybe the late 80's at the earliest. Might have been in the 90's.

So obviously the church knew what they were getting before they moved in.

I used to go to Cozy Corner some in the 80's or so.. Along with Classic Era which

was in between Bull and Anchor and China Cottage in the square.

But it was a totally different crowd from what is there now.

Cozy Corner has always been fairly quiet as far as bars go. I bet

they have had very few police calls over the years compared to some

other places. So I don't think they have had many complaints from

the neighbors around that area.

The Cozy Corner is one of the oldest businesses in Westbury I bet.

It's up there on the list anyway..

It was there when I moved here in 69, and wasn't brand new even then.

They have had a few owners through the years, but it's always been open

all through those years basically unchanged. Except for the porch, which

I hadn't even noticed yet, it's not a lot different than it was 40 years ago.

I doubt you will see me there much.. I rarely go to bars any more..

Heck, I rarely drink any more.. I might toss back a couple of cold ones

when I'm up at my get-away place up at Lake Eufaula OK, but that's about it.

Up there, I'm out in the woods, so if I start barking at the moon, no one can

hear me.. :rolleyes:

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If memory serves me, wasn't there a little shop that sold imports from Holland in WS? I still have a pair of earrings from that store that I have kept all these years.

Probably the "Holland House Import Co." listed above.

Welcome to the forum!

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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.`

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Hello. I am new to this forum. I Googled Westbury Square and found this site and was thrilled to read so many posts from several years back now on the topic. I haven't seen WS since going there as a child and am sad to see that it has deteriorated. I remember going there from '70 to '76 (I was five in '70) when my parents decided we needed a bigger house (hence we moved to Fleetwood on Memorial off of Highway 6 - what a culture shock that was). If memory serves me, wasn't there a little shop that sold imports from Holland in WS? I still have a pair of earrings from that store that I have kept all these years. I think there was also a candy store? I remember the glass store. Wish I could remember the names of these places.

This is somewhat off topic, but I have also been trying to research a place that I remember going to as a kid in elementary school. I grew up on the edge of West U on Bissonnet right across the street from the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in a row of townhomes there. I attended West U Elementary and I remember going on field trips to a place that I think was called "The People's Place of Houston" - my closest comparison of it would be a mini-Epcot inside a building with different "countries" that we kids visited to learn about their culture. If anyone can confirm this for me, I would love it and if I am not off base, would love to hear any stories you have about it that might help jar my memory.

My mom passed away recently and I began making notes of things that I fondly remember as a child and these places are some of those wonderful memories.

Look forward to checking back for more info.

Prob. way before my time, I was born in 83'. But I would be really curious about the mini Epcot-esque place you speak of was -- anyone have a clue?

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Prob. way before my time, I was born in 83'. But I would be really curious about the mini Epcot-esque place you speak of was -- anyone have a clue?

I was teaching in the 5th ward in the early and mid 70s and there was an elementary school near the area, I believe it was Anson Jones, that had a multi-cultural center that was set up for elementary field trips for young students from all over HISD to learn about cultures from around the world. I think they also had teachers of different ethnicities there to guide and inform the students about their particular cultures. Could this be what you remember?

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I'm not sure if I've posted this information here before, but here's the 1976 listing for Westbury Square:

mw6pur.jpg

hey thanks for the westbury square history. my dad had a shop there in the clock tower back in the late 80's. as i recall at that time they were trying to revitalize the square and made him a sweet deal on sqaure footage. i remember the couple from holland, they used to give chocolate bars to my son, who was around 2 at the time. there was a father & son tailor/menswear place called "cromwell's", they customized suits. also the red school, tuesday morning, a community theater and unfortunately quite a bit of empty space. my dad's business was called "collector's showcase, his business was movie memorabilia, original movie posters, lobby cards, stills and rare lp's, 45's & 78's. he shared the space with a card dealer who sold rare and new sports cards and collectibles. unfortunately the square never quite made a comeback at that time and we had to relocate. my dad's original location was the outskirts of the village, bissonnet & greenbriar, i think where "murder by book" later went in.

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The movie reel and it's jazz number, Kitirik & the Batmobile (Pow, Zap, Bamm) are what I remember the most.

BTW, did you notice the cat drinking out of the fountain? (I'm a details person). ;)

Nice collage.

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  • 4 weeks later...
The BBQ place east of the tracks was called Mels, I believe. Burger King has come up quite a bit in this thread. now here is a question. Sometime before or after Burger King was built, the Walgreens building at Willowbend and Post Oak had a very similar resturant next door to it. It was not there that long but did have a sandwich I believe was called a Yumbo with ham in it. I know what the name of this place was. Does anyone else know. I know LunaticFringe knows, so don't answer :unsure:

See you at Rumplheimers...

I wish I could remember the name of the place next to Walgreens. I can't. I do remember that Walgreens expanded into that space.

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This is somewhat off topic, but I have also been trying to research a place that I remember going to as a kid in elementary school. I grew up on the edge of West U on Bissonnet right across the street from the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in a row of townhomes there.

Wow small world. My family used to rent at the Belmont Apartments that were a stone's throw from the Coca Cola place. They were right behind the red brick apartments that were built around 1992 on the Bissonnet side. I lived there between 1995-1997 and they rented a 2 bedroom 1 bath for $525 with a shaded parking space and all bills paid. Those were good times. The area was super nice and clean plus the lawns and trees were huge in that property. These days a similar apartment in that 77005 zip code costs well over $1500 and you pay your own bills while living in a cramped space where you see just concrete and walls when you look out your window.

The Belmont apartments were torn down in 1997 not from a lack of maintenance but the sale of the property. A giant retirement place sits on the land now and they cut down all of the trees.

Do you remember that Mercedes/BMW/Porsche repair shop on the Coca Cola side of the street about a block up to the east on Bissonnet? It had been there for at least 20 years but I recently drove past that area and saw that a restaurant called "Mateo's" has gone up.

I've been in Houston about 30 years and the townhomes are exactly the same as they always have been.

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Fond memories of Corkies. Even though it was not around very long. They had the great thin sliced ham sandwich with hot melted cheese. Around Christmas of 67 or 68 Walgreens had a display of 3 or 4 minibikes right after you checked out. Next to the wall on the way to the exit door. Never was so excited to go to a Walgreens when they had those up for sale. If memory serves correct right across the steet was a mini strip mall with a bunch of different businesses. Catycorner or behind the Esso station. I used to get haircuts there for 4 bits or so at a place that had a real revolving red, white and blue barber pole. A couple shops down was a slot car track place where we would go to race on the weekends.

Corkies for sure was feeling the heat from Burger King and Jack both close by.

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