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Oak Forest Is Getting A New Shopping Center


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Finally they are going to tear down the strip shopping center on W. 43rd at Ella and re-build. This center has been mostly vacant and an eyesore for many years.

Word is tenants just found out last week that they have to be out by March. Owner says it will be a year before new center is ready for move in. This leaves the few tenants there in a fix.

Radio Shack is moving inventory to their W 34th St. location. The 99 cent store has reduced prices to 89 cents (hurry in for your big savings). Hallmark is probably getting the hardest hit. They have been in this center for at least 20 years and had the nicest spot. They are hoping to relocate in N. Shephard.

I feel bad for the business owners but I am thrilled that they are finally doing something. Maybe we can get some good retail to come into the hood.

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Finally they are going to tear down the strip shopping center on W. 43rd at Ella and re-build. This center has been mostly vacant and an eyesore for many years.

Word is tenants just found out last week that they have to be out by March. Owner says it will be a year before new center is ready for move in. This leaves the few tenants there in a fix.

Radio Shack is moving inventory to their W 34th St. location. The 99 cent store has reduced prices to 89 cents (hurry in for your big savings). Hallmark is probably getting the hardest hit. They have been in this center for at least 20 years and had the nicest spot. They are hoping to relocate in N. Shephard.

I feel bad for the business owners but I am thrilled that they are finally doing something. Maybe we can get some good retail to come into the hood.

This is the part of the center just East of Kroger, right? Any idea what they hope to put in there?

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

If you can grab a copy of the Leader, there was a front page article about the new center.

That shopping center has been there as long as I can remember-I'm 53.

It looks like there might be a restaurant or two in the new center.

My wishfull thinking would be for them to build it out to the street with parking in the back-for a change!

It would also be a good fit in case Palais Royal wanted more space.

native_Houstonian: This is the part of the center just East of Kroger, right?

Yes. The original grocery store was Weingartens which was about the size of Kroger's produce dept. ^_^

B)

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  • 1 month later...
If you can grab a copy of the Leader, there was a front page article about the new center.

That shopping center has been there as long as I can remember-I'm 53.

It looks like there might be a restaurant or two in the new center.

My wishfull thinking would be for them to build it out to the street with parking in the back-for a change!

It would also be a good fit in case Palais Royal wanted more space.

Yes. The original grocery store was Weingartens which was about the size of Kroger's produce dept. ^_^

B)

Any new news on this? Does anyone know what is going in here or across the street where they tore down the old bank?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I remember the old Weingartens. I liked the grill/diner that was on the west side of the store. While my folks would shop I would watch them make the donuts. For some reason I liked to watch them drop, fry as they floated in a circle, get flipped to do the other side and then scooped out to drain. We shopped the nursery everyspring that was on the corner of Oak Forest and 43rd. Most of the groceries came from the Minimax store that was where the Eckerds is now at. I can't remember the name of the little ice cream shop that was next door to the Minimax. It was directly on the right side of the Minimax where the sidewalk makes the 90 degree turn. Of course I was 5 or 6 then. For some reason I think the ame had "Village" in it. The biggest treat though was when we had some extra money. We would go to SS Kreske's across the street and get hamburgers to take home. There were quite a few businesses that called that center home. There was the Western Auto to the left of the Minimax, a bowling alley was there to the left (I believe) of where the Hallmark is now. It stayed vacant for quite a while and then the Gordon's jewelers took that space. Probably my favorite place though was the Midgit Market. It was between the Dominos and the Red Wing store on Ella and 43rd. We used to run to the big chest that they sold the drinks out of and jam our hands into the ice. Dr. Pepper was 10 cents a bottle with a 3 cent deposit. We bought ice there in brown paper bags that were filled while we waited.

Ahhhhhh......i can almost see it all again.

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I remember the old Weingartens. I liked the grill/diner that was on the west side of the store. While my folks would shop I would watch them make the donuts. For some reason I liked to watch them drop, fry as they floated in a circle, get flipped to do the other side and then scooped out to drain. We shopped the nursery everyspring that was on the corner of Oak Forest and 43rd. Most of the groceries came from the Minimax store that was where the Eckerds is now at. I can't remember the name of the little ice cream shop that was next door to the Minimax. It was directly on the right side of the Minimax where the sidewalk makes the 90 degree turn. Of course I was 5 or 6 then. For some reason I think the ame had "Village" in it. The biggest treat though was when we had some extra money. We would go to SS Kreske's across the street and get hamburgers to take home. There were quite a few businesses that called that center home. There was the Western Auto to the left of the Minimax, a bowling alley was there to the left (I believe) of where the Hallmark is now. It stayed vacant for quite a while and then the Gordon's jewelers took that space. Probably my favorite place though was the Midgit Market. It was between the Dominos and the Red Wing store on Ella and 43rd. We used to run to the big chest that they sold the drinks out of and jam our hands into the ice. Dr. Pepper was 10 cents a bottle with a 3 cent deposit. We bought ice there in brown paper bags that were filled while we waited.

Ahhhhhh......i can almost see it all again.

How old are you?

B)

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How old are you?

B)

Much younger than you :lol: ... he graduated Waltrip in 75. Hope you know I'm just givin you a hard time.

And you are right, it would be great if Palais Royal moved into the new strip and got somemore room, but somehow I doubt that will happen.

Change of subject...are you going to the Get together tomorrow at Berryhill? I'm going to try and make it.

Bob, your memory is so different (or better) than mine. I do not remember the ice cream shop or the bowling alley, or the grill at Weingartens.

Update: the shopping center is really starting to come down now. The fronts are all of the buildings (except Eckards) and some of the dividing walls are gone.

I'm getting anxious to see what the new place is going to look like...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all.

Yep I'm still a "youngster" at heart.

I recall the bowling alley and the ice cream shop because they were new things to me. A neighbor when we lived on w43rd took my sister and I to the ice cream shop where we had our fist Sundaes. The bowling alley we went to once because my dad's cousin's wife wanted my mom to join the ladies league. My mom wasn't interested in bowling though. The grill in the Wiengartens was just to the left when you came in through the west side entrance. Matter fact that is right where the do-nut fryer was.

I recall the Midgit Market a lot not only because of the soda chest and getting ice in the brown sacks but the guy that worked there (we called him Mac) had a cottontail rabbit in the back. Another item I just remembered is the area behind that row of stores. Up until I got out of first grade or began second there was a open ditch that went from behind the Oak Forest bank to maybe halfway to Althea. Ionly went up about as far as Lamonte and then cut through a backyard to get home. It was quite deep and always had water in it. I remember trying to scoop minnows out of it. My mom did not like me going down into it but it was more fun for a little kid to do that than walk along 43rd.

Of course I can recall w43rd being two lanes. I recall the city limit sign at Shepherd and Pinemont. I could bring up Tiny Tim's Toys that used to be about where the HPD storefront is now. That's where I bought my Hot Wheels and some of my plastic model kits. Do y'all remember Oak Forest Elementary had an oyster shell parking area on the 43rd side of the building? It was enough to get the cars off of 43rd. How about when the brick pond in front of Oak Forest was not choked with weeds and still had gold fish in it?

I don't know why I can remember these things about these places. Maybe it is because I did'nt have a care in the world way back then. I bet if I get a chance to kick back and relax and let my mind go back I can recall a few other things. Here's one I just remembered. On the corner of Oak Forest and 43rd where the bank is now. There used to be a Mobil gas station. Embedded in the curb at that corner was a brass surveyors mark. Speaking of gas stations there were four. The Mobil with a Gulf on the Theater Suburbia corner. On Ella where the Taxaco is there was a Sinclar station. The Exxon has always been there. If I remember right it was run by a guy named Whiddon. I could also say where the UTotem and the 7-11 used to be.

Maybe it is because I was 5 when we moved to Garden Oaks and everything was new to me. Maybe it is how kids today relate to malls. This was where we shopped and spent a fair part of our lives.

bob

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The sign out front says "Shops of Oak Forest" .

I just hope they get some good tenants. Wouldn't an Ice Cream shop be great? I'm really hoping a good restaurant takes a spot. My dream would be la'Madeline. But that is most unlikely.

If you could pick , who would you want to be there?

I was sitting in the drive thru line at Kroger Pharmacy a few days ago and the huge crane was taking out chunks of Eckards. It's a weird feeling to watch it come down. Like when they knocked down Kroger after building the new one.

bob h, you're right..we did spend a lot of time at that shopping center. Heck, I still do. Most weekends I never venture out of Oak Forest.

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From Ms. Nancy Sarnoff's column in Sunday's Houston Chronicle:

Updating shopping center

The new owners of an aging shopping center in Oak Forest are demolishing the property and building a newer one to better suit the image of this up-and-coming area.

Wellington Development Co. bought the property at the northwest corner of Ella and 34th earlier this year and has signed letters of intent with retailers to fill about half of the space.

Principal Chris Hotze won't say who the tenants are but said interest has been strong from banks, coffee shops and a fitness chain.

Page Partners is leasing the center.

The older property had been there since the 1950s and had not been maintained well, Hotze said.

"I saw it as an opportunity to really make a statement," he said.

The other corners of this busy intersection are occupied by a bank, a drugstore and another retail center, but in general, the neighborhood is underserved, Hotze said.

The company discovered its potential after realizing a nearby Kroger grocery store was one of the strongest performers in the chain.

An informal survey of the neighbors spoke volumes about the area, too.

"The story was always the same: We need this or that, and it's just simply not here. There's just no retail anywhere close," Hotze said.

The area is on an upswing, with an influx of new residents.

Home prices in Oak Forest went up about 6 percent last year, according to a study from Crawford Realty Advisors.

Wellington expects to start construction in August on

the 45,000-square-foot

project, called the Shops at

Oak Forest.

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Great info. Only thing is the location is Ella and 43rd. But it's obvious that it's the same shopping center.

My wishfull thinking would be for them to build it out to the street with parking in the back-for a change!

I can not visualize this. Can you give me an example (another shopping center) that is built this way?

How would the traffic flow from the Kroger parking area to the new parking area if the parking is in the back.

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Great info. Only thing is the location is Ella and 43rd. But it's obvious that it's the same shopping center.

I can not visualize this. Can you give me an example (another shopping center) that is built this way?

How would the traffic flow from the Kroger parking area to the new parking area if the parking is in the back.

I can't give you a specfic example but I could see the traffic flowing on the old alley ROW to Ella. I'm assuming they are not attaching to Kroger because of th Rx drive through...???

B)

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  • 9 months later...

I've heard second-hand that Starbucks has signed on for the new development. Rumor is that the holdup had something to do with a possible Kroger expansion across property lines that Weingarten has nixed.

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I've heard second-hand that Starbucks has signed on for the new development. Rumor is that the holdup had something to do with a possible Kroger expansion across property lines that Weingarten has nixed.

Yeah...that's the same story somebody posted on the Oak Forest boards...

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looks like the center is having a few crime problems. robbers are following elderly home and robbing them. 13 interviewed a lady who was a victim who felt grateful to be alive. when HPD was questioned, they admited at least 6 more cases have been reported. watch out!

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I was told today that Starbucks is confirmed and will begin construction shortly. Also, the Page Partners website shows Berryhill as a pending tenant. It will be good to have a new dining option or two in the area. Hopefully more tenants will commit since Starbucks has committed already and things might start moving along.

Edited by Peppermint
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  • 7 months later...

Well the Starbucks finally opened and it appears the center is making some progress. I checked Page Partners website last week and it looks like there are a few other tenants that have signed leases in the center. Of course, they will be building a free standing Washington Mutual between Kroger and Starbucks. Other confirmed leases are Massage Envy and a nail salon.

According to the center's marketing flyer, they are in negotiations with a restaurant for the end-cap space closest to Ella. Let's hope it's something good. They claim to be in negotiations with a wine bar for the oposite end-cap space near Kroger. I am pretty excited about that, lets hope it works out.

I just hope they don't put any more dollar stores in the center, there are already two across the street. I am hoping this will be a little more high-end.

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Anybody know what is going in at the southwest corner of 34th and Shepherd? A foundation has been poured, but there are no signs. There was an old gas station before, but it doesn't look like it is going to be. I am sure it will be a bank branch of some sort.

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Anybody know what is going in at the southwest corner of 34th and Shepherd? A foundation has been poured, but there are no signs. There was an old gas station before, but it doesn't look like it is going to be. I am sure it will be a bank branch of some sort.

Rumor on the Garden Oaks mailing list is that it will be a bank branch....Washington Mutual I think they said...I can't remember for sure...all those big banks just run together in my head.

Edited by jm1fd
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Washington Mutual

Hmmm...I know they are putting a free standing WAMU branch in the shopping center at 43rd & Ella. Seems silly that they would be building another WAMU branch at 34th & Shepherd (I guess if they are in fact building 2 new branches less than 2 miles from each other, they have done their research and the think they will make money, in which case it would not be silly for them). I hope this is not the case, though it would not suprise me.

If it has to be a bank branch, I wish it was going to be a Bank of America. I hate having to go to the other side of the freeway to the drive-thru branch on Hackett Dr.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that it is going to be a Chic-fil-a, though I know it won't be. I just like to think that it will be.

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Anybody know what's up with foodland on ella @ judiway? Looks like it was boarded up and the sign was taken down as of sunday. Maybe a facelift or closed for good?

The store is closed but I've heard differing stories as to why. One story has it that they were losing money, the other story goes that they sold the land for 6 MEEEELION dollars. I find the losing money story more plausible....6 MEEELION sounds high.

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I used to frequent that area before I was shipped out of Houston for my job....so the old Mobil is gone at the corner of 34th?

I used to frequent the chinese fish market next to the foodland on ella but was mad when it burned down as they had the best shrimp fried rice in the area..it reopened as a fullscale chinese restaurant I think but I never been in it since it reopened...

I also loved the shipley's...best I've ever eaten

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the other story goes that they sold the land for 6 MEEEELION dollars. I find the losing money story more plausible....6 MEEELION sounds high.

I doubt it, $6,000,000 would be extremely high for the area. The site is 2.98 acres and a $6,000,000 price tag for the land would be $46.16 per square foot before any adjustments for demolition. The only land sale remotely comparable within a 3 mile radius is a 3.3 acre site on W34th that sold in February of 2007 for about $10.00 per square foot. If you were REALLY generous and applied a $15 per square foot price tag on the dirt you are looking at around $1,950,000 for the land.

I doubt someone bought it for the improvements, you're talking about a dilapidated supermarket built in 1960 at the end of its economic life. In Houston there are vacant supermarkets built in the 1990s like Albertson's that aren't selling for more than $50 per square foot. $6,000,000 for the 32,596SF supermarket would be equal to $184 per square foot. There's no way.

I'm with jm1fd, I believe the losing money story. Not buying the $6,000,000 story.

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I used to frequent that area before I was shipped out of Houston for my job....so the old Mobil is gone at the corner of 34th?

Yeah....at that corner we've now got a shady looking car repair place, a shady looking used tire store/car wash, a shady looking used car lot, and a rather un-shady bright orange Cuban/Mexican food place (el Rey) which is actually quite tasty.

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Any word on foodland...I would love love love an HEB!!!!! That would be AWESOME!!!

There is not enough land to build a decent sized HEB, no bigger than the one at Ella & W 18th. The Food Land site is only 3.3 acres. Your medium sized HEB stores are around 80,000 square feet and due to their parking needs generally require an 8 to 10 acre site (new HEB Plus! stores are around 100,000 sf). I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for any new HEB stores inside the loop due to the lack of available sites and high land prices.

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There is not enough land to build a decent sized HEB, no bigger than the one at Ella & W 18th. The Food Land site is only 3.3 acres. Your medium sized HEB stores are around 80,000 square feet and due to their parking needs generally require an 8 to 10 acre site (new HEB Plus! stores are around 100,000 sf). I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for any new HEB stores inside the loop due to the lack of available sites and high land prices.

I wonder how they will fit the proposed HEB at Buffalo, between Westpark and Bissonnet. I know that Molina's is moving and Luby's has been gone for a while. Still, I can't see it.

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  • 1 month later...
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I have been hoping for a Chick-Fil-A..so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. But we need a decent restaurant.

The new bank is Wachovia. I like their building style, but we do not need ANOTHER bank in that block. Makes me think the banks making the BIG bucks these days.

Next to Starbucks in Message Envy is going in...or at least their sign went in.

With the current turn in economy I'm concerned about this shopping center. Tenants do not seem to be committing. The Starbucks does not seem to be busy enough. Even though I'm about to make a run for an Ice Tea myself.

My latest gripe about Oak Forest is that TACKY TACKY Pawn Shop sign on Ella across from Shipley's. Did they really need the Huge sign? Why is it so low that it is All you see when you cross the RR Track. Seems like there should be some regulations on size and height of signs.

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  • 3 weeks later...

it's sad to see so many of the smaller shopping centers fall...i remember so many of the stores everyone's mentioning at the other oak forest shopping center (at one time that place was REALLY hopping)...and not just from the 45's at talleys - i remember going there too H2B...weingarten's was there too...western auto...palais royal...

as for the shopping center on mangum, there was TG&Y (one of the kid's shows promoted TG&Y as the place to get the toys on their show)...the drug store was Dugan Drugs back in the late 50's...Smitty's hamburgers was down the street before DQ went in...i can't remember the name of the grocery store there, but i know it became a randall's eventually...and swonke's grocery was right down the street...i don't remember any of the other stores in the center...maybe someone that went to catherine smith es

down the street would know... :rolleyes:

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  • 4 months later...
Yes. On Shepherd near 43rd. The combination SEARS sign and bus stop out front is the best part.

Can someone tell me what the condition is, of the Sears on Shepherd? Does it look like the one on S. Main. (bad re-model)...is it still open? Does it look like all the new ones?

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Can someone tell me what the condition is, of the Sears on Shepherd? Does it look like the one on S. Main. (bad re-model)...is it still open? Does it look like all the new ones?

I'm like 99% sure it's still open, but I can't comment on the inside...haven't been in there since the 80's. I think it still has a cool red neon retro-ish sign outside

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I'm like 99% sure it's still open, but I can't comment on the inside...haven't been in there since the 80's. I think it still has a cool red neon retro-ish sign outside

It's still open, and it seems to do a decent amount of business. It doesn't look like the new ones on the inside, but I'd probably characterize it as more of a so-so facelift than a bad remodel. Up until a couple of years ago, they still had the original escalator signs warning people to be careful which had been there for at least 40 years.

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It's still open, and it seems to do a decent amount of business. It doesn't look like the new ones on the inside, but I'd probably characterize it as more of a so-so facelift than a bad remodel. Up until a couple of years ago, they still had the original escalator signs warning people to be careful which had been there for at least 40 years.

Cool - glad it's still open! I drive by it at least once a week...next time I'm going to go in and take a peek. I remember they had a candy counter on the bottom floor in the 80s

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It's still open, and it seems to do a decent amount of business. It doesn't look like the new ones on the inside, but I'd probably characterize it as more of a so-so facelift than a bad remodel. Up until a couple of years ago, they still had the original escalator signs warning people to be careful which had been there for at least 40 years.

That makes me sad to think about those signs, and what happened to them. To many people they would be "just junk".I need to get over there and take some pics.

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We've purchased major appliances at that Sears a couple of times over the past year. It's nothing fancy inside (pretty much your standard 90's Sears remodel) but the staff have always been helpful.

Does anyone know what the bldg. exterior looks like? 1950's refacing, or newer remodel? And who was the architect on this one? year built? Just thought I'd ask... :P .

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Does anyone know what the bldg. exterior looks like? 1950's refacing, or newer remodel? And who was the architect on this one? year built? Just thought I'd ask... :P .

The only thing remarkable about the exterior is the SEARS sign/bus shelter combination out front. The rest of the building is big, boring, white and boxy.

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