Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today, I have some sad news. An “Upper Kirby” landmark, the Antique Pavilion, and surrounding businesses will soon be demolished as part of a redevelopment of the block. Before we talk about the building’s future, let’s first discuss its past. The current structure at 2311 Westheimer was initially built by Randall’s in 1965. This location was not built by the Randall’s you’re probably thinking about, but rather the original Randall’s founded in 1946 by A.P. Randall. At that time, the chain was purchased by Blocker Martin, who expanded the single store into a chain with the help of his son-in-law Robert Onstead. In 1962, Mr. Martin would unexpectedly pass away, leaving the chain in the hands of his family, who were somewhat overwhelmed. By 1964 the family members agreed to let West-Texas-based Food Mart Inc. purchase their stores. The company had recently purchased Evan’s Grocery Stores, a chain operating in Galveston and South Houston, and planned to merge the two, with all stores taking the Randall’s name. As a part of this push, expansion would once again begin, leading to the construction of this store. By the end of 1965, Food Mart Inc had been acquired by a competitor who rebranded all its stores under the Piggly Wiggly banner. Coupled with multiple issues, Piggly Wiggly would not last long in Houston, selling off its stores, with this location going to Rice.
Under new ownership, this store would last until 1982. At this point, the other remaining Randall’s/Piggly Wiggly locations Rice had purchased would become Cash Saver Warehouse stores. Instead, this building would be utilized by Hart Bros. Antiques, the first of many Antique Centers to use the building. As for the future of the lot, it seems that multiple proposals have been set forth dating back to 2018. Varying from mid-rise apartment complexes to suburban-style strip centers, lots has been proposed, but nothing has been done. That is until now, with the tenants all quickly and quietly moving out earlier this month, the site seems to be being prepped for demolition. Swamplot Hivemind, and all-around good guy, Hindesky has been keeping track of the situation over on HAIF. Currently, the current proposal seems to be a 13-story mixed-use tower, most residential with ground-floor retail. Permits have begun to be pulled, and an article lists long-time Houston developer Trammel Crow as being involved with the project, so it seems that this is real. Until demolition occurs, the parking lot is largely be used by customers of a’Bouzy, which despite looking very upscale, is, in fact, an old Wendy’s.