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Hearing that Kickerillo's new center across from HP (249 & Louetta) will include a Central Market along with Pottery Barn and other anchors (with whispers of a Nordstrom's or Neiman Marcus).

How good a source is the person you're hearing this from? I definitely wouldn't mind another Central Market - just surprised it would be so far out there.

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they're basically just a souped up h.e.b. trying to compete with whole foods out of austin.

I found that Central Market was much better than Whole Foods. Of course, my only Central Market experience has been the one on Westheimer, but I've been to Whole Foods outlets across the country.

IMO Central Market concentrates on the quality of the food period, while Whole Foods is trying to bring in the granola crowd first while quality is second.

Of course, both are better than any Kroger I've ever been to.

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I was a student at UT when the first Central Market opened in Austin. Love at first bite.

Back then, Whole Foods was just a hippy mart...I'd say Whole Foods has done more to emulate Central Market lately...

Regardless, I love Central Market. I love the new HEB's. They blow the crap outta of what we have now (Kroger and Randall's).

Edited by mrfootball
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I was a student at UT when the first Central Market opened in Austin.

Back then, Whole Foods was just a hippy mart...I'd say Whole Foods has done more to emulate Central Market lately...

Regardless, I love Central Market. I love the new HEB's. They blow the crap outta of what we have now (Kroger and Randall's).

strangely, since moving to fm 1960@i45 area, there is a lack of anything BUT kroger. over the weekend i went to a kroger (i think) in sw houston, and they had upgraded it with a nice new entry-way and ZERO (0) products. i was just buying a newspaper, but it looked nicer than any kroger i'd been in up to that point.

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strangely, since moving to fm 1960@i45 area, there is a lack of anything BUT kroger. over the weekend i went to a kroger (i think) in sw houston, and they had upgraded it with a nice new entry-way and ZERO (0) products. i was just buying a newspaper, but it looked nicer than any kroger i'd been in up to that point.

Over the years the grocery stores kept moving west. There used to be a Randalls where the Louis Shanks Furniture store is, then it kicked out the Fiesta at Kuykendahl & 1960 & moved in there, then closed altogether and just left the Champions Village store. There was a Safeway at one time too at 1960 & Kuykendahl, and a Gerlands at Ella. That one was always kind of hokey.

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yeah, and i guess everything is moving west of where i am 'cause there is only one grocery store that i know of and that is the kroger right there at fm 1960 right by compUSA @ i45. i guess if i were inclined i could drive to the super walmart (or whatever they call it) at fm1960 @ (is that ella?), but i so dislike the crowds that store attracts i just skip it altogher.

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yeah, and i guess everything is moving west of where i am 'cause there is only one grocery store that i know of and that is the kroger right there at fm 1960 right by compUSA @ i45. i guess if i were inclined i could drive to the super walmart (or whatever they call it) at fm1960 @ (is that ella?), but i so dislike the crowds that store attracts i just skip it altogher.

no that's T.C. Jester. There is a Super-Target at Cypresswood & 45 that I think has a grocery store. The only other options are Randalls at Champions Village III or Kuykendahl & Louetta has a couple of options. The Food Fair at Ella will work in a pinch. Are you in Cypress Station?

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Champions has a nice center over at 1960 & Champion Forest Drive.

However, the area I'm talking about is smack dab between Klein & Cypress, directly across the street from Hewlett-Packard on 249 at Louetta. A beautiful, heavily wooded piece of land that I'm sorry to see have to get developed. However, if it had to happen, at least they're going to make it worthwhile:

http://houston.bizjournals.com/houston/sto.../20/story5.html

Interfin heads to suburbs for piece of HP land marathon

Allison Wollam and Margaret Allen

Houston Business Journal

June 17, 2005

Just weeks after selling the ritzy Uptown Park retail center to AmReit for $68.8 million, Interfin President Giorgio Borlenghi has joined a partnership to develop a new lifestyle center on the former Hewlett-Packard Co. property in far-flung northwest Houston.

Houston-based Interfin is part of a newly formed group that includes home builder Vincent Kickerillo's Kickerillo Cos., Walter Mischer Sr.'s Mischer Investments, and developers Jimmy Hill and Perrin White.

A separate group formed by Kickerillo and Mischer called V&W Partners this week closed on 462 acres of excess HP property it contracted to purchase in April. (See "HP sells large parcel of land to high-profile developers," April 8, 2005.)

V&W Partners has plans for a $1 billion-plus, master-planned community on the land.

That master plan calls for development of a 650,000-square-foot lifestyle center on 84 acres on the southeast corner of Louetta Road and State Highway 249. The center will be developed by the newer partnership that also includes Borlenghi, Perrin and White.

Borlenghi, known for developing upscale properties mostly in close-in areas, says the open-air shopping center, which will be known as Vintage Park, will include retail, entertainment and dining.

"My vision is to create a retail environment that becomes a destination -- the center of gravity for the northwest area of Houston -- much like what Uptown Park is to the Galleria/Uptown Houston district," Borlenghi says.

Despite the close timing, Interfin spokeswoman Helaine Abramson says the company did not use money from the sale of Uptown Park to secure this deal.

Construction on Vintage Park is set to begin next summer, with the opening scheduled for Fall 2007.

Interfin will manage the project in-house.

Meanwhile, as part of a bigger picture, V&W Partners is outlining a master-planned community of nearly 640 acres that will include custom homes from $450,000 to $2,500,000, a hotel, lofts, apartments, office buildings, banks, a medical/pharmaceutical campus, retirement housing and more than 100 acres of lakes.

V&W Partners purchased the first piece of land for the project -- 170 acres at the northeast corner of Highway 249 and Louetta -- from HP last May. That parcel will be developed into a high-end residential neighborhood called The Vintage.

Kickerillo says homes are currently under construction and should be available for occupancy within the next year.

Also this week, approximately 25 acres of HP land was sold to Sueba USA for a commercial retail center and a high-end two-story townhome apartment project. Sueba also acquired another 25 acres from HP for development of a second apartment complex of about 300 units.

"All of the players, who we consider to be the very best-of-the-best in their fields, have really come together to make The Vintage one of the most fulfilling projects of my career," Kickerillo says. "This project is going to be an icon and could be our legacy."

Kickerillo says it took him about 30 minutes to hammer out the deal with Borlenghi and 15 minutes to form the partnership with White and Hill.

He says work on the entire master-planned community will be under way within the next year.

The land became available after Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP merged with Houston-based Compaq Computer Corp. and began consolidating operations. HP still maintains a large campus in the area.

Cushman & Wakefield of Texas broker Dave Cook, who represented HP in the sale along with co-brokers Jeff Peden and Marshall Davidson, says there is not another tract of undeveloped land of this size in the area.

"This is a huge development," he says. "There's not a true lifestyle center in that market."

Edited by mrfootball
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Hearing that Kickerillo's new center across from HP (249 & Louetta) will include a Central Market along with Pottery Barn and other anchors (with whispers of a Nordstrom's or Neiman Marcus).

Kickerillo isn't developing the retail center--the Interfin Companies are. They developed Uptown Park, Villa D'Este, Montebello, and are also building the Granducha. As I understand, Uptown Park recently sold to AmREIT for about $450 per square foot, the highest-value retail transaction ever in Houston. When Interfin is involved, you know they aren't going to skimp on quality. They might create a gaudy simulation of an alien culture completely out of context with the surrounding neighborhood, but they won't skimp.

Along those lines, I'm not surprised by the rumor of a Central Market. In order to make their 750,000sf lifestyle center/grocery/theater concept fly, they were going to need a Central Market, Whole Foods, or equivalent.

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The Central Market will benefit from a large daily walkup crowd consisting High Tech professionals (located across the street at the Hewlett-Packard campus). You'll also find that the area (Champions/Klein/Cypress) has some of the highest avg household incomes in Harris County after River Oaks/West U/Bellaire/Memorial, comparing favorably to The Woodlands. Demographically speaking, its a solid area lacking in this type of amenity. Should do well.

Edited by mrfootball
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I have to agree with mrfootball. I live in this area, and the Spring/Klein/Champions area has some very wealthy neighborhoods. Although, there is nothing worth while going up in the area. In between I-45 and 249, there has been nothing but cheap shopping plazas being built that essentially contain all the same things: a Mexican restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, a dry-cleaners, a nail salon, and a tanning salon. It is quite ridiculous and disappointing, so I think the Vintage open-air shopping plaza will do very well. I have a question, what is happening to the Champions area? Its always been pretty upscale, do y'all think it will maintain its prestige?

Edited by Klein Kid
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I live in this area. I agree that most of the development along 1960 is just garbage. Cutting down the forest with crappy shopping centers that are an eyesore. It seems to me that unfortunately this area may be headed toward a decline. There are lots of low priced neighborhoods and apartments being built all over the area. That being said Champion Forest is still there and there are some other fairly upscale neighborhoods in the area around Louetta and Spring Cypress. So this Vintage Park development may work well.

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I live in this area. I agree that most of the development along 1960 is just garbage. Cutting down the forest with crappy shopping centers that are an eyesore. It seems to me that unfortunately this area may be headed toward a decline. There are lots of low priced neighborhoods and apartments being built all over the area. That being said Champion Forest is still there and there are some other fairly upscale neighborhoods in the area around Louetta and Spring Cypress. So this Vintage Park development may work well.

How do you think the Champions neighborhood around the golf course will fair? I know they keep on knocking down a lot of the older houses and putting up new ones.

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I still would like to know the source, if any, that Central Market has chosen the Champions/Willowbrook area for another store. I find it a little hard to swallow. Not that it isn't a great area...it's nice enough, esp the area near Container Store, etc...but I just don't see it. Maybe I'm wrong, who knows...I can't even get Central Market to answer questions about the Memorial area, they are very tight-lipped about their ventures.

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There are a lot of million dollar homes in the area and large developments with thousands of $200k-$750k homes. This isn't FM 1960, its located b/w Klein and Cypress. Longwood, Lakewood Forest, Cole's Crossing, Rock Creek, Champions Forest, Gleanloch Farms, and dozens of custom-home gated communities.

I think its location across from Hewlett-Packard will be a winner with a built-in walkup crowd, moreso now with Exxon-Mobil leasing 2 buildings on the HP campus.

Edited by mrfootball
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I have to agree with mrfootball. I live in this area, and the Spring/Klein/Champions area has some very wealthy neighborhoods. Although, there is nothing worth while going up in the area. In between I-45 and 249, there has been nothing but cheap shopping plazas being built that essentially contain all the same things: a Mexican restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, a dry-cleaners, a nail salon, and a tanning salon. It is quite ridiculous and disappointing, so I think the Vintage open-air shopping plaza will do very well. I have a question, what is happening to the Champions area? Its always been pretty upscale, do y'all think it will maintain its prestige?

I grew up over there... I remember when Louetta and Stuebner-Airline were both two-lane roads, and only three traffic lights on Louetta between I-45 and 249 (back then it was FM 149). Yeah, most of that has really gotten ugly - another clump off woods falls down on Louetta every day, and it is getting crammed with crummy buildings. Traffic has become a nightmare also.

I think it has some staying power though. Look at the high-priced homes still going up - the new gated expansion of Champions Forest, for example. Millionaires are still willing to live there. If you want to compare it to something, look at how ugly Westheimer became between 610 and Beltway 8... but people didn't flee Memorial, did they? Out here, Cypresswood is kind of like the Memorial Drive, and Louetta and 1960 like Westheimer and I-10. Those two streets can get as ugly as two streets can be, but as long as you have Cypresswood with all those beautiful parks and golf courses, people are going to stay.

Edited by H-Town Man
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A queston for consideration:

If you were the management at HEB and were opening one (1) new Central market in Houston, where would you locate it?

- This site across from HP

- The Woodlands

- Sugarland

- Katy

- Somewhere else (where?)

And why would you select that location?

I think it is a tough question to answer, but interested in what you have to say.

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Depends on what the competition is.

At the HP site (NW Harris County) you have a large number of transplants from places like Austin and the West Coast who provide a daily walkup crowd for the Fresh Foods area, as well as an easy dinner solution for returning commuters coming home on 249.

Along with the relatively high household incomes ($100,000+), larger area population than The Woodlands with similar demographics and relatively little competition in that market.

It would open up right next to a neighborhood with $400k-$2.5 Million homes, close to a dozen other neighborhoods which feature million dollar homes which is surrounded by thousands of $200k-$300k+ homes.

You figure that most families in NW Houston don't have the time to travel back into the city for fine dining, a higher-end grocery store is the perfect answer for the suburban chefs and outdoor grillers.

Very little competition. Good Demographics. Built-in daily lunch crowd, evening take-home crowd.

Other areas: I think West Memorial (Beltway & Memorial Drive) would do quite well too, and I would imagine they'd put one there at some point. (They've already got one in The Woodlands, hybrid store)

Edited by mrfootball
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  • 2 months later...
Is that HEB going to be a Central Market or just a regular HEB Store?

I've heard Central Market, but I suspect it will be a big hybrid store something like the Woodlands Market.

Vintage Market?

Edited by mrfootball
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yeah its really getting bad around 249 with the clear cutting...its too bad more of an attempt to conserve the natural landscape isnt being made in the development all over NW houston. the woodlands is doing a pretty good job, they should follow that model more than their wallets...or at least try to compromise

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Mediterranean architecture in a pine forest. What a joke.

I guess I'm not the only one who thinks it clashes. IMO, the Mediterranean/Tuscan stuff works best in treeless areas like Katy. I think they need to rethink this and permit other classic styles (in the neighborhood area).

What I would've loved to have seen was a classical European (German)-architectural style shopping center, which would fit in well with the forest as well as linking it to the cultural past of the area which was settled by German farmers back in the mid-1800's.

Regardless, I think the plans look good, I don't mind the European (Italian) style for the shopping center especially if its like Uptown Park. My main criticism is reserved for the residential section of this new development, and Kickerillo's myopic love of Mediterranean-style -- forcing it upon homebuyers. They need to loosen it up and allow any classic European style. I think that would sell like crazy. Right now, I think they're limiting themselves.

Edited by mrfootball
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im trying to get a idea of the type of stores Interfin is trying to get in the center. Is he going to try to poach the nicer stores from Willowbrook or go more in the direction of the Woodlands Town Center in store makeup. Also has anyone heard if it is a HEB or a Central Market.

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It is being billed as an upscale center, I've heard Pottery Barn will be one of the tenants.

I'm thinking its going to be more like Town Center.

Personally, I would really like for them to put an Escalante's and a Maggiano's in.

As for the HEB owned project. I've heard Central Market, I've heard Big HEB. Personally, I think something like the Woodlands Market - a hybrid would be well received.

Call it "Vintage Market"

Any HEB folks out there....you can have that one for free. ;)

Edited by mrfootball
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thats what i was thinking, z gallerie, pottery barn, and stuff like that mixed in with upscale clothiers, and specialty shops. The furniture stores help reduce parking spot demands in the development so there are usually alot in town center developments. I truly think there is a great opportunity for stores like J.Crew, Brooks Brothers etc. to move into the market. The area is growing very rapibly and there are thousands of $300's+ homes going up in the area. I agree that restaurants like Maggianos and others would be a great asset to the area. This development has one huge advantage over many other town center developments in the United States. It has a 10000+ employee campus(HP) located across the street to create a steady lunch crowd. This i believe will spur alot of restaurants in the development.

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Add to that the fact that the HP Campus is now beginning to lease office space to corporations like Exxon who are going to fill that Campus back up to its pre-merger heyday employing 20-30,000 people. People don't realize that we actually have a Town Center already...the HP Campus, which will become home to more and more different corporations.

The plans for the Vintage Park area include a significant plans for a Pharmaceutical campus and other corporate facilities.

Per the Loren Steffy blog article about the project:

Vincent Kickerillo shared his unique vision with Walter Mischer: a master-planned community of nearly 640 acres complete with large home sites for luxurious custom homes priced from $450,000 to more than $2.5 million, a high-end open air retail center, a hotel, lofts, apartments, office buildings, banks, a medical/pharmaceutical campus, retirement housing, and over 100 acres of lakes.

Ladies & Gentleman...town center NW.

Edited by mrfootball
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I guess I'm not the only one who thinks it clashes. IMO, the Mediterranean/Tuscan stuff works best in treeless areas like Katy. I think they need to rethink this and permit other classic styles (in the neighborhood area).

What I would've loved to have seen was a classical European (German)-architectural style shopping center, which would fit in well with the forest as well as linking it to the cultural past of the area which was settled by German farmers back in the mid-1800's.

Regardless, I think the plans look good, I don't mind the European (Italian) style for the shopping center especially if its like Uptown Park. My main criticism is reserved for the residential section of this new development, and Kickerillo's myopic love of Mediterranean-style -- forcing it upon homebuyers. They need to loosen it up and allow any classic European style. I think that would sell like crazy. Right now, I think they're limiting themselves.

I agree totally - German would look fantastic there. How come of all the stylistic ripoffs you see in today's architecture, none of them is German? Is it just harder to convincingly create that wood-beam and stucco look with today's building methods?

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I warm to the idea of seeing smiling blond, large breasted women, schlocking large glasses of beer around...

This IS my vision for the community. This is my dream. :wub:;)

lindau_02.jpg

Seriously...though...I think the whole Spanish, Italian thing has gotten tired. I'd like to see us do some German or Czech stuff. This area is filled with them. It represents the historic heritage of the area. Let's embrace it. Why not, you know the Germans build things to last at least 100 years...some builder could capitalize off this...

Edited by mrfootball
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The problem you have is Interfin is doing the project. Borleini(sp) creates some gaudy stuff but he usually attracts top of the line tenants. There are a couple of certain things he will create something extremely nice although out of place for the area. No mutch we can do bout it though

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("What I would've loved to have seen was a classical European (German)-architectural style shopping center, which would fit in well with the forest as well as linking it to the cultural past of the area which was settled by German farmers back in the mid-1800's.")

I think this is a refreshing idea, and I think it would look pretty cool.

My only thing to add to it would be that the original German architecture in this area was, as you say, farmhouses and so on. So it may be tricky to integrate stylistic elements of the rustic/old-fashioned German farmhouses with something on the scale of a modern shopping plaza...but I think it could probably be done. I think it would be fascinating to see whatever the result was.

I've heard of a few preserved historic German places in Texas. These could definitely be used for design inspiration. I think I've heard of several churches, for example. I think they're west of here, maybe closer to the Hill Country. And of course there are some farms preserved in this area.

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The drawings for vintage park show a movie theater. Does anyone know what type of theatre they are trying to get involved in the development. I was thinking since the development is supposed to be top of the line maybe something like an alamo drafthouse or some type of indie theatre

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There's a 19 Screen IMAX Silverado theatre going a couple miles down on 249 towards Tomball. Add to that the additional Drafthouse-style theatre that's going in at the old Home Depot location a mile up 249 towards FM 1960.

Lots of theatres going in.

Edited by mrfootball
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  • 2 weeks later...

The new flyer is up at the CBRE website. The project is now a go and they are starting work. It will include a 90000+sf HEB(not sure what type). Plus a village style 324000sf ground level and 32000sf second level upscale retail. The streets will be cobblestone and drive up parking for visitors. (if the picture they show in the ad is what they are planning on this place looking like it will be the nicest looking shopping center in Houston.

http://www.loopnet.com/Attachments/5/4/6/5...0D4AE3DEA37.pdf

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The new flyer is up at the CBRE website. The project is now a go and they are starting work. It will include a 90000+sf HEB(not sure what type). Plus a village style 324000sf ground level and 32000sf second level upscale retail. The streets will be cobblestone and drive up parking for visitors. (if the picture they show in the ad is what they are planning on.) This place looking like it will be the nicest looking shopping center in Houston.

http://www.loopnet.com/Attachments/5/4/6/5...0D4AE3DEA37.pdf

Edited by tman
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