May 25, 2007
Get ready to say Good-bye to the River Oaks Shopping Center

The end is near for the River Oaks Shopping Center.

Preservationists gathered at a city hall trying to block the renovation of the historic River Oaks Shopping Center.

The shopping center is 70 years-old and for generations it has been a fixture on the edge of the posh River Oaks neighborhood.

Now Weingarten Realty has unveiled plans to renovate at least one section of the center. Preservationists suspect it is the first step toward rebuilding the entire center, including the historic River Oaks Theater.

"It would not prevent their demolition, but once again it would be a statement as to the value of these properties and reinforce it before city council, and that's really who we're playing to at this point," said David Bush, one of those working to preserve the shopping center.

Shoppers visiting the center today see many empty storefronts left behind by businesses that have moved out a section of the center.

And people who work in the Black-Eyed Pea, which has been located here for a quarter century, told 11 News they are closing their doors on Friday.

That would be today. I'll try to get some demolition pictures when it happens. Speaking of which, whatever was on the small lot immediately north of the center on Shepherd was bulldozed in the last week or so. Looking at the schematic of the new center here, I don't think that has anything to do with the upcoming renovation, but it's an interesting coincidence.

On happier preservation news, Matt Stiles gives an update on the effort to protect the Old Sixth Ward. It's still a ways off, but it's in progress and headed in the right direction.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 25, 2007 to Elsewhere in Houston