Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. Today, we’re taking what will likely be our final visit to the Wilcrest ex-Foodarama. As is customary, this is a post-closure post taking a look at the remains of the former store. Towards the end of the article, we’ll even discuss what’s upcoming for the corner lot. As mentioned in our first post, this building started in the 1970s as a Safeway. It was a unique pickup for Cox’s Foodarama; as a Safeway, it closed in 1987, seemingly a few months before the AppleTree developments began. While it would not be the only ex-Safeway Foodarama would operate out of, it would be the only one the company picked up directly from its California-based competitor (at least the only Safeway store, as Foodarama has landed in a couple of ex-Randalls since their buyout). While this was a unique store, it was no doubt old. While the store had been upsized at least once during its Safeway years, it still had limited options compared to its nearby competition. It’s likely not a coincidence that this store was not kept for AppleTree, as it didn’t fit the full-service image the chain was shooting for early on. While this wasn’t good enough for the nearly-named Texway Foods, Foodarama was able to make good use of the facility, that is until it was recently sold.
While I have not officially heard from Foodarama, it’s not unlikely the lease was not canceled by them but by the property owner. The rationale for this is the plan to demolish the supermarket and replace it with a large gas station and shopping center. In my opinion, this is quite the downgrade. Many community members have also echoed this sentiment, stating how much Foodarama meant to them. While there’s no direct gasoline competition on this corner, multiple stations exist only blocks away in each direction. As for shopping centers, they exist on every corner of Wilcrest and West Belfort. As mentioned in my previous post, this Foodarama was the closest Full Line grocery store to Meadows. Options are now a Walmart on the other side of 59, Food Town in the former Auchan to the North, or an Aldi to the West. This leaves us with one final question: will groceries return to this corner? Well, the answer is probably not, and if yes, not anytime soon. Despite being an area that took years to fill out (remember the giant empty fields surrounding Auchan), as of the 2010s, it really has become filled out on the Houston side. Meadows has a decent amount of free land but is comparatively strict with zoning. This means that land value is continually rising, and grocers tend to rely on cheap leases, which are vanishing before our eyes. While grocery could eventually return to this corner, it would likely take a great deal of effort.