Howdy Folks, and welcome back to some retail news at the corner of Highway 6 and Westheimer. It seems that two shopping centers, at the crossroads, are coming closer to 100% occupancy again for the first time in nearly 20 years! This intersection has long been considered to essentially be a no-mans lands in terms of retail. Beyond West Oaks Mall’s initial success which is long gone, the two power centers sitting catty corner both managed to maintain decent tenancy, but have more recently struggled. With the Village at West Oaks (Northwest Corner) losses included longtime anchors Barnes & Noble and Bed, Bath & Beyond both in 2020. In what appeared early to be a temporary setup, interactive art exhibit Sesimique opened the former BB&B space, leaving the former bookstore sitting empty for nearly a year. However, over the summer, plans news was broken here on HHR about Exclusive Furniture’s plans to expand from their existing out parcel location to the former Barnes & Noble space. Well the store has opened, and new tenants are popping up, even some spots visited in my recent restaurant trip at the same corner are being revitalized. Oddly, the former in store Starbucks was walled off, but otherwise left untouched.
Next, let’s take a look at the Southwest Corner, which started out as a Venture/Builder’s Square center. After a multitude of tenants that never lasted more than a few years, in 2020 the center was finally fully occupied, save for a few gaps in the strip center portion. Alief ISD purchased the former Venture/Big Kmart/Burlington. Floor & Decor and a Jumping Playground split the former Builder’s Square. Goodwill and American Freight take up a former Service Merchandise/Office Depot. This left two final glaring vacancies. A former Taco Cabana which closed early 2020, and a Walgreens that has been mostly empty since 2017, save for a Halloween Pop-up Shop, and more recently a Walgreens COVID Testing site. It looks like the two sites have found new purposes. According to tax records, both sites have new owners, and permits filed have revealed what is going on at these two sites. The Taco Cabana has been purchased by a real estate holding company connected to the MINT Dentistry company, and renovations are underway to the existing structure. As for the former Walgreens, tanks have been buried, and a canopy is being built. It’s become obvious a gas station is forthcoming. It appears at this point that the Walgreens building we be repurposed, rather than demolished. The gas station seems to be associated with Khawar & Sons who operate among other brands Now and Forever a gas station consisting of 3 locations on Houston’s Westside, with plans to open at least two more, including this former Walgreens and a now demolished Gulf Station at Highway 6 and Beechnut.