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Mayor Parker on the proposed Heights Wal-Mart

Hair Balls has an update.

Walmart spokesman William Wertz told Hair Balls that Walmart is considering the expansion at this time but no plans have been approved.

“We can confirm that we are looking at this site, but discussions are preliminary, and we aren’t ready to say any more at this time,” Wetz said.

Mayor Annise Parker is also emphasizing that plans are tentative, in a statement to Hair Balls:

This is not yet a done deal. The property has been assembled for a major retail venture. When that moves forward, there will be careful review for impact on traffic, mobility and city infrastructure. I encourage Wal-Mart, or any other retailer interested in the property, to open dialogue with the Greater Heights and Washington Avenue Super Neighborhoods 15 and 22 as well as other neighborhood groups and civic clubs in that area.

You can count me as being interested to hear what the Super Neighborhoods have to say. The rest of the story has a bunch of dueling quotes about the merits of Wal-Mart and the character of the area. I’ve got to say, I dislike Wal-Mart as much as the next urban elitist, but even I find some of the concern about its construction at that location to be overblown. The site in question is basically a brownfield. It’s not like they’re looking to build on 19th Street. I’m not particularly worried about the effect a Wal-Mart there might have on Heights boutiques, I’m worried about the effect it may have on traffic in the area. I still don’t think Yale can handle the demands of having a Wal-Mart right there. It’s possible that impact can be mitigated, but I’d need to see the details, which would include that “traffic, mobility and city infrastructure” review the Mayor mentions.

Honestly, I’m not sure why this is being called a “Heights Wal-Mart”, even as I use that terminology myself in the title of this post. Technically, the Heights extends as far south as Washington, but let’s get real – nobody thinks of Yale at Center as being “the Heights”. With all due respect, it’s not “the Heights” that will be directly affected by a Wal-Mart there, it’s the Washington corridor. Has anyone asked the people who live in those apartments on Washington and Center just west of Yale, in whose back yard this thing would be, what they think?

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6 Comments

  1. kheatherg says:

    There is a petition to stop this Wal-Mart from being built: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stopthehoustonheightsareawalmart/

    There’s also a facebook page:
    http://www.facebook.com/stopheightswalmart

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dan Joyce. Dan Joyce said: Mayor @AnniseParker on the proposed Heights Wal-Mart http://bit.ly/ahHkNO (via @offthekuff) […]

  3. chasman says:

    i am clinging to the kuff and his opinions on this one. though i think the heights should be thought of as extending down to washington. as i am assuming the impediment that initially cut off that segment of the ‘heights proper’ was the construction of the 10 freeway. and it irks me that the city fathers that ushered through freeway constructions like the 10 and the 610 seem to have planned things out with little thought to the general public or various near-town neighborhoods (with the exception of river oaks and the memorial area, of course). for example, the wonderful, potential-laden swath of memorial park (the old ‘archery range’) that the 610 west loop amputates from the larger segment to the east. unforgivable. and i don’t care what the conservancy’s master plan purports to have down the road for that section, its use will always be limited due to its having a major freeway running between it and the remainder of the park and its network of trails and sideways.

  4. Matt says:

    This seems to be a similar story to one in our Austin neighborhood – although here it was already approved by the city before anyone in the area found out about it. It seems like Houston’s lack of land-use planning makes it unlikely than there’s anything the city or neighborhood can do about it other than “encourage dialogue”. For the full story on how it turned out in Austin, see:

    http://impactnews.com/northwest-austin/239-local-news/8834-scaled-back-walmart-alters-northcross-mall

    http://www.rg4n.org/learn-more

  5. Mary A. Lacy says:

    Build it. These people that are complaining don’t know a thing about economic development. Why don’t they give some consideration to how many jobs the new Wal-Mart will provide.

    I am a native of the Heights, age 77. I am totally familiar with the Historic District, since my parents bought their first home in the Heights in January of 1933. This tract of land has never been residential but always commercial and/or light industrial. The residents of the Heights will continue to shop the small mom and pop shops and the merchandise they purchase at Wal-Marts is not what they would buy in an antique or collectibles shop. I will still continue to shop at C & D Hardware. Lowes and Home Depot are actually just as close to me. HEB had the opportunity to purchase the old Laufman store (now Regents Bank). Instead they closed their business, at that location, and moved out of the Heights proper. Big mistake.

    I welcome Wal-Marts and feel it will be an improvement to the community, just wish we still had our K-Mart on 18th Street.

  6. […] that calling this area part of “the Heights” is silly. I’ve been saying that from the beginning. I’ll also agree that whatever ultimately gets developed on this site will have little to no […]