Where’s Wal-Mart?

Wal-Mart has bought a tract of land near the Heights.

The store would be part of a larger development just south of Interstate 10 near the northwest intersection of Yale and Center.


A development site plan obtained by the Houston Chronicle shows a 152,015-square-foot Walmart flanked by a parking lot for 664 cars and additional retail spaces for a bank, fast-food restaurant and other stores.


Retail sources said the new Walmart likely would be one of the chain’s Supercenters, which average 185,000 square feet and combine full grocery and general merchandise, according to the company’s website.

In addition to serving residents in the Heights and other surrounding neighborhoods, the new store would seek customers from a growing population around the Washington Avenue corridor.

Swamplot and Prime Property have more on this. Here’s the question I have: How are people going to get to this place?

Google map view of the area

Google map view of the area

Here’s a link to that Google map; click the thumbnail for a larger image. The only real access to this site will be via Yale. The freight train tracks to the south completely cut off traffic except at Heights, Yale, and Patterson off to the west. Note that Bonner, the west end of this site, dead ends at the tracks. You can’t walk there from Heights Blvd except from Center. Koehler, to the north, only connects at Patterson. How are people going to get there?

You could, I suppose, connect the two pieces of Bonner, which would help. (Would the developer pay for that, I wonder?) You could also connect Bonner and maybe Bass Court to the eventual I-10 service road extension that will link Durham/Shepherd to Watson/Sawyer. (Note that as of today, you can only access Yale from I-10 on the westbound side.) I don’t know what the timeline is on any of these things, nor do I know if such connections are part of TxDOT’s plan. I do know that if you’re depending on Center Street to move traffic, I’d be worried. Center is a narrow little road on which traffic flow can be impeded by someone parking, and it’s used by a lot of trucks because of the various industrial sites that remain in the area. I figure the developers have a plan for all this, I just can’t quite picture it myself.

Finally, I have to wonder what the Super Neighborhood 22 folks think of this. It doesn’t seem to fit in with their vision for the Washington corridor. I’m getting an Ashby Highrise feeling about this. Typically, there’s already a Stop Heights Wal-Mart Facebook page. I don’t much care for Wal-Mart and don’t foresee myself shopping there – our Costco membership and the Target on Sawyer meet our needs quite nicely, thanks – but it doesn’t offend me that they’re looking at this parcel. I just don’t see how they’re going to make it work.

One more thing:

H-E-B said it recently made an offer on the Ainbinder parcel but was later informed that a counteroffer from Wal-Mart Stores was accepted, spokeswoman Cyndy Garza-Roberts said.

“We will continue to look for sites to bring an H-E-B to the Heights,” she said.

No question that there’s a crying need for a grocery store around there. If the Wal-Mart in question includes groceries, that may ameliorate the complaints somewhat. But the questions about how do you get there from here would remain had H-E-B won the bid. Marty Hajovsky and Nancy Sarnoff have more.

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7 Responses to Where’s Wal-Mart?

  1. Jeff says:

    I wish HEB would put in a store like the one they opened on Buffalo Speedway near Bissonett. That thing is awesome.

    I just can’t see a Wal-Mart that close to Target and in that spot. Yale is already clumsy when getting around and Heights is divided by an esplanade making entrance to the parking lot only from the south bound side. It just looks like a cluster you know what of epic proportions just to cram a Wal-Mart in there. Getting in and out of there, nevermind getting there in the first place, is going to be a disaster.

    Also, how ridiculous would it be that a Wal-Mart opens across the street from the Art Car Museum Classic.

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  3. Barry says:

    I think I-10’s frontage road is being expanded to intersect with yale and heights to provide access to this property.

  4. Pingback: Mayor Parker on the proposed Heights Wal-Mart – Off the Kuff

  5. Irfan says:

    There is already a pretty big negative reaction in the West End neighborhood by all the hundreds of folks who bought houses in the area in the last 6 years because of expected decrease in property value near a Walmart and increased traffic volume on the narrow roads connecting the area. I dont know anyone in the West End who likes the idea of a Walmart in their neighborhood. Yale is the primary corridor for neighborhood sections West of Yale, East of Heights, and on Center St to reach Washington or the Heights. A small grocery store is all this area can support.

    Additionally, Yale is not big enough to accomodate all the traffic and it is below grade at this section so all the traffic will be diverted via Koehler intersection is above grade creating an even bigger traffic nightmare. There is no access to this property from Washington Ave or Center St or Heights Blvd except through Yale because of the railway track. Bonner and Bass are very narrow residential neighborhood streets with closed off throughway access.

    Also, I don’t see why the City of Houston would be thrilled about lower tax revenue than they would get from mix-use developments. This basically kills off mix-used development on Heights Blvd and nearby area in favor of low tax strip malls.

    Yes, it does change Super Neighborhood 22 vision quite a bit and I am pretty sure rest of the surrounding neighborhood and lower part of the Heights is not thrilled about lower property value and increased suburban style traffic.

  6. bobette says:

    With the change in demographics the whole area is experiencing, I can’t imagine a Walmart working. Target, yes, but not Walmart. It’s becoming a whole lot more upscale than that. Plus, a brown field at least allows water to soak in. We are looking at a huge amount of concrete in an area that already has flooding issues. Are they going to mitigate that enough? If the mayor doesn’t see real, legitimate problems with this, I am worried about who we elected.

  7. Pingback: A view of the “Heights” Wal-Mart site – Off the Kuff

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