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Crane going up this weekend according to the FAA filing.  

Well since these models have been revealed, I guess I can probably post the renderings...

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I've heard that the new Whole Foods flagship store isn't doing as well as expected and that they have even gone as far as warning employees about possible cuts. Can anybody substantiate or add to this? Geez, it's only been open a little over 2 months.

 

I can attest to that! I live and work on post oak, so I go there daily and at different hours (open for breakfast, midday for lunch and night after work or just before close to grab something quick) etc and there are never more than 1 to 4 checkout lanes open and its always dead compared to any other store I have or do go to. honestly I am shocked but maybe we are more of a Randall's and HEB community than I thought! wow (for the record I love my whole foods!)

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Possibly Barracuda. Hopefully WF isn't hurting so bad they don't last until the other 2 residential towers come to BLVD Place, and more people move into the current Hanover tower. Too bad work isn't happening (yet) on the Uptown BRT line. That would bring more people to the area

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Unless you work within walking distance, why would anyone shop there? 

 

Traffic is terrible at all hours of the day and there's garage parking? No thank you.

 

It's only going to get worse when the Whole Foods on Voss opens in the former Randall's space. 

 

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tony food store, located upon one of the more toniest districts in houston... not doing well financially?  something's amiss...

 

If you live on the other side of 610 (River Oaks/Afton Oaks), chances are you'll shop at the WF on Kirby or Waugh.

 

If you live in Southampton/West U/Bellaire, you're likely to shop at the Kirby or Bellaire locations

 

If you live in Memorial, Briargrove, or Western Tanglewood, the Woodway store (soon to be replaced by Voss location) is a better bet than dealing with Galleria area hassles. 

 

The only way this store was going to draw folks was to go BIG. That was the original plan. Then they scaled back. The new store doesn't offer enough to make people want to grocery shop there. It simply isn't worth the hassle. I was curious to try it out but 100% of the reviews were along the lines of "it looks pretty cool but there's no way that could become my go-to grocery store." My curiosity died within a week and I likely will never step foot in that store. 

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I don't get how the parking garage is a negative.... Similarly to the flagship whole foods in Austin, the garage makes parking infinitely more convenient. It's dedicated to the store, it's covered and climate controlled, it has parking space indicators and you're rarely more than 100' from the entrance.

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I don't get how the parking garage is a negative.... Similarly to the flagship whole foods in Austin, the garage makes parking infinitely more convenient. It's dedicated to the store, it's covered and climate controlled, it has parking space indicators and you're rarely more than 100' from the entrance.

I hear you...sometimes it seems like there's a special constitutional amendment for Houstonians protecting their rights to surface parking. And no liberal company from Austin can take that away from us!!!

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Um, the Flagship Austin store is a destination. It's 25,000 square feet larger than the BLVD Place store. It's also located on downtown Austin's street grid making it the go-to store for the thousands of folks who live just blocks away and for the tens of thousands who work and play there daily. 

 

This isn't about Houstonians not wanting to park in garages; it's about Houstonians having the option to avoid the hassles of Galleria area traffic and doing so. 

 

I'll say it again, this store's only chance was to go-big. That was the original plan. It was scaled back in size drastically making it essentially the same as several other Whole Foods Markets located nearby that aren't so intimidating. 

 

 

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I think even something on the scale and glitz of the flagship store in Austin would fail in this location - this was a real head-scratcher to me from the very beginning.  There is no market for this type of store here, at least not right now, and the nearby WF's serve to only cannibalize what little market this thing has... that said, I have no doubt that dropping this store in the Waugh location and it'd be a huge success.  I fear this WF will be gone in 12 months unless the foot traffic in the overall BLVD place development picks up exponentially, like on the scale of City Centre.

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I guess if WF closes a much smaller Trader Joes can move in, and use the rest of the space for other shops to make BLVD place more of the retail destination it was originally planned to be. It seems to be becoming more obvious that this area is not the best location for a major grocer. Post Oak isn't residential enough for something that big. As others have pointed out, this WF is bookended by other WFs to the east and west. Not to mention there's a Target half a mile down San Felipe, across 610 that sells most of your typical groceries, for residents of Highland Creek District and River/Afton Oaks. And a brand new HEB Plus opening up a mile down San Felipe to the west of WF Post Oak, to serve the people who live in the more residential parts of "Uptown".

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I guess if WF closes a much smaller Trader Joes can move in, and use the rest of the space for other shops to make BLVD place more of the retail destination it was originally planned to be. It seems to be becoming more obvious that this area is not the best location for a major grocer. Post Oak isn't residential enough for something that big. As others have pointed out, this WF is bookended by other WFs to the east and west. Not to mention there's a Target half a mile down San Felipe, across 610 that sells most of your typical groceries, for residents of Highland Creek District and River/Afton Oaks. And a brand new HEB Plus opening up a mile down San Felipe to the west of WF Post Oak, to serve the people who live in the more residential parts of "Uptown".

I think the recession is to blame. Blvd Place was supposed to hold on to Hermes, have a +700ft Ritz Carlton, and probably trying to draw in the retaiers River Oaks District is now boasting. It's still a nice project but far from its original glory. ROD also suffered the same fate but it didn't turn out to be the nicest strip center in the city (like Blvd Place).

Edit: I don't know if a trader joes would do well here. It's a less expensive WF.

Edited by Montrose1100
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Yeah the recession definitely messed things up. RODs success drawing in all the big name tenants isn't helping..

It's not so much that a Trader Joes is a less expensive whole foods (of course that trendy factor is part of the allure), it's that their stores are 10-15,000 sq ft, vs like 80,000 or w/e WFs is. There obviously don't seem to be enough people to sustain an 80,000 sq ft grocery store, but maybe one substatially smaller could work.

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I'll say it again, this store's only chance was to go-big. That was the original plan. It was scaled back in size drastically making it essentially the same as several other Whole Foods Markets located nearby that aren't so intimidating.

Not only that but the original master plan of the whole complex became smaller and very disjointed. And to me, disjointed is the way it appears today. I mean a very sleek looking grocery store here, then a nice but rather random high rise next door (is it, is it not part of the center) and a smaller random strip across a vast empty lot. There's a severe lack of connectivity. The developer probably would have been better off building the majority of the complex all at once, much like River Oaks District is doing. High rise residential towers may help to bring in some much needed pedestrian retail traffic but without cohesion (like the Hanover Tower), the center as a whole will suffer. If the once proposed (probably now dead) Apache Tower(s) were to have been built without integration into the complex as I last saw on the master plan, then I'm glad those tower(s) won't be built. This complex could have been similar to City Centre especially being at such a prime intersection, something that ROD lacks IMO.

Edited by intencity77
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I'm sure once the 7+ residential highrises planned along Post Oak are built the store will have a larger customer base.

The residential buildings planned for Uptown Park (not sure how many residences that will be once it's redeveloped and built out), Astoria, The Bellfoire, the 40 story highrise planned across San Felipe from Whole Foods, the 2 other residential highrises planned for BLVD place besides the Hanover tower which isn't at full capacity, the multifamily highrise planned for Ambassador Way & S. Post Oak Ln, the Gables high rise planned next to the BBVA building, the Galleria residential tower.

Just give it some time, I'm sure the future urban dwellers of these towers will shop at the store and keep it packed, eventually.

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  • 2 weeks later...

update...the whole foods has been jam packed lately at lunch with just about every register open! its been awesome to see more business there.

and in other news the Italian restaurant on the south side of the building looks ready to open any day now! (behind the new Verizon Wireless super store at Blvd Place)

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update again, stopped by North and while it looks like it could open today, they said they are still training staff etc so look for the grand opening to be March 6th! not only does it look amazing inside (cool, casual and great lighting and style) there is a huge bar inside and on the outside of the building they have a long counter set up with barstools where windows will open up to the bar! so you can sit at the bar but outside on nice weather days! super smart and cannot wait to frequent this spot! (they are handing out menus as well (lunch, dinner and brunch with pricing between 6 to 10 for appetizers, 10 to 18 for pizzas/entrees and then 16 to 24 for specialties)

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I agree that WF probably screwed up by downsizing this location.  Originally, it was planned to be as big as the flagship WF in Austin.  I was looking forward to something akin the the flagship store, which would have filled the void left by Eatzie's demise.  

 

Personally, I find the underground parking convenient if/when I drive there after work.  Other times, when I walk, I find it odd that the developers made access so unfriendly to pedestrians -- all the access routes are designed for car traffic.  The shortest route for a pedestrian walking from the north requires cutting cross-country through the cheap ligustrum hedge or else going further to contend with automobile traffic at the entries for them.

 

I do shop there anyway, because it is closer to my home and my office.  However, I actually prefer shopping at the WF on Alabama or the one in Montrose.  Ultimately, I will go to the Central Market in Highland Village more often (despite the crowds there, which I don't like) because they have a better selection.  CM has a much better selection of stuff that I like to buy, such as breads and Spanish and Italian hams.

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Personally, I find the underground parking convenient if/when I drive there after work. Other times, when I walk, I find it odd that the developers made access so unfriendly to pedestrians -- all the access routes are designed for car traffic. The shortest route for a pedestrian walking from the north requires cutting cross-country through the cheap ligustrum hedge or else going further to contend with automobile traffic at the entries for them.

They must have felt confident that there would never be pedestrians on Post Oak Blvd through the usable life of the store. Which was stupid of them.

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So, as many of you know, I live two blocks away.  While I have walked to WF several times, I generally drive since the underground parking is outrageously convenient (seriously, this is the number 1 feature of the location, and I cannot overstate the greatness of the design).  That said, I have a huge issue with the store.  Regardless of the time of day or day of the week, there are never enough people working the registers.  Without exception, I spend 10+ minutes in line, each time, every time.  The weird part is... it doesn't matter how many people are in the store.  The store can be empty... I still wait 10 minutes.  The store can be packed... I still wait 10 minutes.  Why bother when I can go to any other grocery and not wait in line.

 

Also, what's the deal with the prepared foods?  Again, there are never enough people working there.  The point of this location should be flow... get in, get out.  Instead, it's easy to park, but then you get trapped inside with no one to help you.  Hire some more people... I'm begging.  I want this place to be a success. 

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interesting comment...I live on post oak and work 2 blocks from Whole Foods...I go in (almost) daily either at 815am or at 515pm to grab something to eat or drink etc and never wait more than 1 person or 2 in line at the "express" checkout so I haven't had to deal with a regular check out lane yet....maybe try a little different time of day than you usually go or maybe I am just lucky that I never actually shop for more than 10 items haha! it has been nice to see this place get a little busier because I too love my WF! (I will note that there is one express check out worker who is VERY slow...she moves in such slow motion that its almost like she is moving backwards in time haha...so I always avoid her register ;) )

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Good comments Gene.  Since I'm usually buying beer, I'm too lazy to walk to the far end where the express is.  I will say... I went there Friday at 5pm sharp.  No express checkouts were open, only 3 registers working.  I just don't understand their business plan.

 

When people are buying basket-loads of single-item prepared foods, you need more people working the stands.

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I know it's weird to say but this project has become a letdown, even with the future towers.

This was going to be so much more dense and cohesive.

Unless they get the perfect tenants, how will the space on Post Oak lane survive with no Post Oak Blvd and San Felipe visibility. Maybe I'm overstating the disappointment. They still have an opportunity to redesign the unbuilt spaces and make it into a place more like CityCentre.

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I know it's weird to say but this project has become a letdown, even with the future towers.

This was going to be so much more dense and cohesive.

Unless they get the perfect tenants, how will the space on Post Oak lane survive with no Post Oak Blvd and San Felipe visibility. Maybe I'm overstating the disappointment. They still have an opportunity to redesign the unbuilt spaces and make it into a place more like CityCentre.

upon my view, RIVER OAKS DISTRICT just came out of nowhere, and grabbed basically every ounce of momentum / thunder that the BLVD PLACE had going for it.  let us please remember, some of the tony boutique's that are now headed for ROD, were at one time pinpointed as per BLVD PLACE.  

 

it certainly seems to me, that BLVD PLACE is now trying in earnest to reposition itself.  where is that gorgeous proposed RITZ CARLTON that we all know was once slated for this development?  why is it now so very sparse, as opposed to it's once promising and yet ambitious plan of high end retailers and such?  we shall all just have to wait and see... as well as pray... 

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upon my view, RIVER OAKS DISTRICT just came out of nowhere, and grabbed basically every ounce of momentum / thunder that the BLVD PLACE had going for it.  let us please remember, some of the tony boutique's that are now headed for ROD, were at one time pinpointed as per BLVD PLACE.  

 

it certainly seems to me, that BLVD PLACE is now trying in earnest to reposition itself.  where is that gorgeous proposed RITZ CARLTON that we all know was once slated for this development?  why is it now so very sparse, as opposed to it's once promising and yet ambitious plan of high end retailers and such?  we shall all just have to wait and see... as well as pray... 

 

You are right about the tenants, but I am just speaking from a design perspective mainly.

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other major cities have multiple luxury retailer clusters.  timing has a lot to do with where a store is ultimately located; delays and alterations in design at blvd place may have lost them a retailer or two.  (all that really matters is that tom ford is coming to houston.)

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(all that really matters is that tom ford is coming to houston.)

Yes I was running out of places to buy $700 sunglasses. Just kidding. I think it's also significant Dolce & Gabanna is returning. Wikipedia states the first one in the US opened in the Galleria, but later vanished.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't get how the parking garage is a negative.... Similarly to the flagship whole foods in Austin, the garage makes parking infinitely more convenient. It's dedicated to the store, it's covered and climate controlled, it has parking space indicators and you're rarely more than 100' from the entrance.

 

Exactly, I can't think of a better plus. Wait until summer when it is 100 degrees and raining (at the same time!!), your car is in the shade and protected.

 

I can't believe all the negative posts here. WF has only been opened a few months and already people are citing its demise (some comments a month ago). It does take some time to readjust and fine tune the program, give them a break.

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I just wanted to let everyone know that North Italia http://northitaliarestaurant.com/locations/houston/ opened up the other day and i LOVE it! great food, good prices (3 to 6pm happy hour m-f and ALL DAY SUNDAY!) i really like the decor, then the atmosphere and the food is really great (margherita pizza, the roasted artichoke and the olive oil cake are all favorites so far...) but its the STAFF that really makes the place...the bartenders especially are personable and cool and have had a blast a few times already sitting at the bar and hanging out drinking, eating and meeting some super cool people. check it out! (south side/middle of the building)

 

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I just wanted to let everyone know that North Italia http://northitaliarestaurant.com/locations/houston/ opened up the other day and i LOVE it! great food, good prices (3 to 6pm happy hour m-f and ALL DAY SUNDAY!) i really like the decor, then the atmosphere and the food is really great (margherita pizza, the roasted artichoke and the olive oil cake are all favorites so far...) but its the STAFF that really makes the place...the bartenders especially are personable and cool and have had a blast a few times already sitting at the bar and hanging out drinking, eating and meeting some super cool people. check it out! (south side/middle of the building)

ok.  thanks gene for the heads up regarding north.  their foods look fresh / handmade / and simply remarkable!  i shall definitely be heading that way for sure...

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  • 1 month later...

Apache tower moving forward:

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/breaking-ground/2015/04/permit-filed-for-apaches-new-tower-in-the-galleria.html

 

A building permit for a long-discussed Galleria-area tower for Houston-basedApache Corp. (NYSE: APA) has been filed at 1770 Post Oak Blvd., valuing the high-rise office building at $172 million.
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A building permit for a long-discussed Galleria-area tower for Houston-basedApache Corp. (NYSE: APA) has been filed at 1770 Post Oak Blvd., valuing the high-rise office building at $172 million.

The filing of a permit seems to indicate the company plans to move ahead on the tower, although representatives from Apache declined to comment on the permit and said the company has no immediate plans for the site. Apache's current headquarters is nearby at Post Oak Central, where the company occupies nearly 500,000 square feet.

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/breaking-ground/2015/04/permit-filed-for-apaches-new-tower-in-the-galleria.html?ana=twt

 

urbannizer beat me 

Edited by Mab
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