Showing posts with label residential. Show all posts
Showing posts with label residential. Show all posts

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Tradition at Northgate

The road doesn't go much further than this.

"The Tradition at Northgate" (301 Church Avenue) began construction in 2000 with the parking garage construction in 2001. It likely opened in about 2002, as that's when most of Second Street closed off and became a pedestrian promenade, the remaining part of it turning directly into the Northgate Parking Garage (picture taken May '14). Prior to the Tradition, it was formerly a church, with the 1989 tenant being United Campus Ministry (likely something else prior).

(This post is updated and split off from what is currently called "Northgate: Church Avenue" at press time).

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Southgate Village Apartments

Here's an Eagle ad from December 1971, subsidized even back then.

Originally part of the Luther Street and Wellborn Road article to undergo major changes as of this writing (accounting for the huge new apartment building replacing the entire block), the Southgate Village Apartments were built in 1970 and is a HUD subsidized apartment (even going into foreclosure in early 2012).

Street View image, 134 Luther Street

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Café Eccell's Former Domain

Taken by me, on the last day Café Eccell was legally operating on the city's lease, January 14th, 2014

A few years ago, I showed you the former Luby's, which as of this writing isn't updated yet (when it is, I'll do a quick update on this page to remove that disclaimer), which is where Eccell is located today.

For a number of years, though, Café Eccell was located at the corner of Church Avenue and Wellborn, 101 Church Avenue. The building of Café Eccell, as plain and kind of ugly as it was, used to house the city's first city hall and jail back in the 1940s (built 1947). The city hall moved out in 1970 when a new building was built, and I'm not sure of what it was used for later (the police station was also in Northgate during those days, though not that building). The city held onto the lease and in 1989, it reopened as a restaurant, Café Eccell, which featured a classier, "adult" atmosphere and food that the rest of Northgate lacked, and still tends to lack today.

The first incarnation of Café Eccell closed permanently in March 2014 a few months after its lease ran out (why the city never locked them out is unknown). The restaurant opened in 1989, and after changing of hands to the Dallis family completely around 1991, the restaurant continued for many years. The food was also plagued by inconsistency in its latter days as well as the drama involving the Dallis brothers (a.k.a. Eccell Group), the developers, and the community as a whole.

A few months later the building was wrecked for The Domain at Northgate apartment building, which is only four stories, occupies the whole block, and includes retail opportunities, though only one is currently open (4.0 Cuts Barber Salon, opened spring 2016). The building itself was ready in time for the fall 2015 move-in season, and for a time had a leasing office in the former Cycles Etc. on University Drive.

Of course, the Domain was not the first development to try to redevelop CE, it was to house "Gameday Centers College Station" circa 2004, a large multi-story tower (about 7-8 stories). Gameday Centers was largely doomed to begin with: the company was building luxury condos for big-money donors to stay in on game weekends, but the asking price of $500,000 a condo was too much* (it would be a better value to buy a house in the Traditions subdivision, which is what many have done), negotiations with the city broke down, and rather than a first phase done by August 2007 and completion by December 2008*, it was canned. The center would've had 10,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space and had even signed a 10-year lease with Café Eccell as part of the agreement*.

*Unfortunately, since this page was originally published, one of the links I had for this page has gone dead and I have been unable to relocate it, as the Batt link is dead and does not have it. Likewise the links for the other links seem to be lost.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Goodbye to 711 University, So Long to the BB&T...

Since I didn't get a picture of the bank before it became a big hole in the ground, we'll have to do with this.

I love punny titles, and what better way to do that would be to mention the demolition of the old University Bank Building?

This was (going past tense here) a rather large and rather old bank that was a Citibank until very recently when it changed to BB&T. Before the page was removed, Brazos CAD says it was built in 1961 and from what I confirm that is absolutely true. Besides the many transactions at the bank itself, here are the major transactions in terms of name changes and all.

1962: College Station Bank relocates to this building from a previous location.
1963: The name is changed to University National Bank.
1990: After a long run as University National Bank, it is acquired by Don Adam to become First American Bank (officially acquired that year)
2005: Citigroup acquires the bank chain, rebranded to Citibank
2014: BB&T purchases 41 Citibank branches including this one and rebrands them.
2016: BB&T relocates to The Rise at Northgate; building torn down, thus beginning and ending its life with relocation.

That being said, there are two more things I want to hit:

The bank property also included an adjacent space, which was 707 University, BCAD link here which was a two-story office building with a small footprint. My records show this was used for non-bank space as early as 1974 (with the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co.) and my 1989 phone book mentions "The Personal Computer Store" (with the ad mentioning it was "since 1984"). This became MicroAge by 1993, and starting in 1999 moved out to their current home (now known as Avinext) on East University Drive. I don't think anything has occupied the space since.

711 University was also where food trucks congregated (or near the now-defunct Notes-N-Quotes next door). Since I graduated a few years ago, I can't list all the more recent food trucks and trailers there, though here are a few I remember:

Wafology - Seen spring 2014, this was a waffle food truck which had chicken and waffles and a few others. The waffles weren't great, they were more of the standard "using pancake batter in a waffle iron" that I've seen everywhere except for home cooking. I think it returned for fall 2014. It is now known as MESS Waffles, but it doesn't even involve a food truck anymore, they opened a permanent location at Century Square.

Vittles - This was seen summer 2014. It was a trailer operated by Gumby's serving sno-cones, pizza rolls, and chicken legs (the latter two obviously prepared off-site).

Chef Tai's Mobile Bistro - Moved inside campus due to a contract.

Southern Comfort Road Trip - The old Village Foods food truck which in fall 2013, was the new home of Hebert's Cajun Food dishes. Their already-borderline prices had gone up, but it still felt like it was putting the universe one step closer to being back in balance.

Mr. Chinese Burger - I wanted to like it, but the burgers I had needed reheating...and they were shut down by the health department at least once. Still, I was amused by the (possibly deliberate?) broken English menu ("One Chinese Burger", "Two Chinese Burger", etc.), they sold pulled pork on chewy steamed buns.

Today, of course, it's yet another student housing residential tower, known as Aspire College Station with 16 stories (including parking levels) and 800 beds. BB&T actually moved back in. By 2019, it got Fajita Pete's, Which Wich, and All Phone Toys. APT occupies a forgotten space on facing Church Avenue.

UPDATE 2/25/19: Removed BCAD link, added links for MESS Waffles and Gumby's, and replaced the last paragraph with the new building.
UPDATE 8/15/19: Added additional tenants

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Nightlife at Doux Chene Apartments

See those stairs leading up to the second level in the main office building? That's the focus today here. (Google Maps Picture)

I originally wrote this in August 2014 and the text below reflects that, as well as an email/addition I got from the owners at the time. In April 2015, however, all this would change when it was sold and was rebranded as "Flats on 12", which so far over a year and a half later (August 2016) looks like the typical game apartments have run in town, change the name, give a repaint, cheap remodel, jack up the rent. This also added a lighted sign on the front of the building and also changed the entrance to the former restaurant/nightclub area (I think it's supposed to be a clubhouse now). This is a bit disappointing because Doux Chene was famously the holdout in these sorts of shenanigans. And now back to our original post...

First off, this is not an apartments review site. Nor is the title supposed to be some sort of snarky joke. Most of the content here is long out of date. If you came via Google looking for information regarding the actual apartments as they stand today, move on. Or not. I could always use visitors here. So, Doux Chene Apartments (I think it's pronounced "doe shane", though I'm not entirely sure, and the translation is "sweet oak") is one of your typical run-down apartment complexes from the 1970s, except it's more than that.

First off, Doux Chene was designed to be trendy, trendy enough that they would actually advertise themselves as "country club apartment living", and trendy enough to be the first true mixed-use building in the City of College Station.

From circa 1974 to late 1970s, it was "Mansard House". Mansard House, despite being the upper level of an apartment complex on the edge of town (sure, why not?) was one of the really nice places in town. Live entertainment, seafood, lobster, lamb, and more were all on the menu.

This was the kind of apartment complex Doux Chene used to be, and apparently wasn't one of a kind...the Chateaux Dijon apartments, known for when George W. Bush lived there in the early 1970s, was also the same theme and layout, but unlike Doux Chene, managed to upkeep itself quite nicely.

By 1980, while Doux Chene was still successful, Mansard House had closed and was replaced with Studio 2818, an actual discotheque.

Source: personal collection

Later night clubs included Dallas: The Night Club...

...and finally, Scandals.

Most of these are sadly relatively undocumented, only whispers across forums and other sources, including stories of ladies' nights with male strippers, with men being let in after the women had several drinks. Perhaps it's better that some of the craziness that went on is better left unsaid (I'm sure there were many regrettable nights).

Doux Chene of course is also a rather unlucky apartment complex, such as a tornado in 2006 striking a building, necessitating its demolition, or the fact that the building caught fire some months later due to improper wiring (it's also worth noting that anytime I read about an apartment complex fire, it used to be that there was a good chance it was Doux Chene).

If there are any restaurants/clubs I missed, or you have any memories of them, please write in the comments.

Since writing this post, we (I) was contacted by a management representative of Doux Chene Apartments, whose name has been redacted for identity purposes.

"While your account of the history of the complex is mostly accurate, I take issue with the assertion that Doux Chene has not 'managed to upkeep itself.' While the property did fall into a state of disrepair in the late 80's to the early 90's, the current management has put a lot of effort (and money) into repairs and renovations and enhancements. While there is no hiding the fact that the property is 40 years old, it is in very good condition for a property of its age.

Doux Chene has indeed encountered more than its share of challenges.

A lightning strike destroyed 4 apartment units, severely damaged a dozen others. No injuries, a quarter of a million dollars in damages.

Severe hail required the replacement of nearly a dozen roofs, another quarter of a million dollars.

The tornado in 2006 actually destroyed two buildings, damaged several roofs, caused water damage in nearly 80 apartments, required replacement of over 160 central air conditioning systems. Total casualty loss, just over $4 million.

And then the small fire that happened shortly thereafter... The fire marshal initially indicated it was electrical, but upon further investigation it was found to be caused by a resident's cigarette butt rolling into a gap at the edge of his balcony.

Through all of this, we have been blessed in multiple ways. Firstly, there have been no injuries as a result of any of these incidences. Also, our insurance company has consistently paid in a timely fashion, and we have been fully made whole. We have also been given the reassurance, that no matter what we face, we will be able to come through it. I won't get all preachy here, but our faith in God has been strengthened through these difficulties.

Some ads were also sent as part of this, including Doux Chene hosting some wild parties (it's hard to imagine even the student-oriented apartments specifically hosting a keg party today)

As wild partying obviously upset the neighbors, a nearby apartment complex offered a shotgun as among the freebies you could get for signing a lease.

- 9/3/14

Monday, August 11, 2014

Circle Drive-In and The Things That Replaced It

I'd probably be facing the screen at this point (if a long way away). Picture by author, August 2019.

In the planning process of the blog's current layout, I had considered deleting this post in favor of the dedicated Circle Drive-In post I had written in 2012. However, I noticed that even though it was a later post, this page (originally on Newport Condominiums) had far more views, and thus better SEO.

The Circle Drive-In of College Station, Texas, was located near the corner of modern-day College Avenue and University Drive. Still whispered about on the Internet and unrelated to the Circle Drive-In in Waco, mostly intact but now a flea market, the Circle Drive-In was so named because (like its unrelated Waco cousin) a traffic circle was nearby (which is now gone). In the old Circle Drive-In page of the blog, I added three pictures from Mapping Historic Aggieland from 1964, 1979, and 1983. The address is officially unknown, some say 402 Nagle but I can't find a proof of that. More accurate is the opening from 1952, but even Cinema Treasures, which often lists the first movie(s) shown at a new theater, does not have much information on it.



Picture credit: Historic Aggieland

It disappeared entirely between 1979 and 1983 (probably closed soon after the time University Square came into existence, which had a movie theater of its own) and was quickly forgotten.

Both North Ramparts (400 Nagle) and Newport Condominiums (402 Nagle) were built in 1981. Newport met its end in 2013, either because St. Mary's bought it or because of questionable structural integrity (note in Street View, the siding is missing). Despite that, they were still leasing as "The Lodge at Northgate" a few months before demolition. The apartments were built on a modified pier and beam layout where the parking was below the building about half a floor down, which is admittedly somewhat unique for College Station, but buildings aren't worth saving on being unique alone. One comment I received (in August 2016) had some rather unkind words to say about the building, even back in the late 1990s: I lived in Newport Condominiums in 1998-99 [in] a three bedroom unit. The rooms were very small and narrow. The management didn't seem to clean the units for new residents. And it seemed like the management also did not like to repair things, paint either the interior or exterior, etc. The place was going downhill fast. I do remember it was cheap and the location couldn't be beat, as far as proximity to campus.

Most of the theater ended up becoming the "Mud Lot", a cheap dirt parking lot owned by St. Mary's, though when most of it was converted to actual parking for the church, the other half closed (and some of the land was never even used as parking). This would remain untouched for well over a decade until construction started on "The Stack at Legacy Point" (711 Church Avenue) which was in conjunction with redeveloping University Square (a project that is stillborn as of this writing), which seems to be relatively decent for those who actually lived there. The apartments have only one ground-level tenant, a MedPlus medical clinic branch ("MedPlus at the Stack") which opened in February 2014.

Updated August 2019.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Marion Pugh Drive

Officially, this post has been removed from the site, but remains up for posterity purposes. Please visit the Index for current features.

I am well aware of Marion Pugh being a real person, but the story of how Marion Pugh Drive started to become a real road started not so much with the first tenant on the stretch (Marion Pugh Lumber Co. at 101 Jersey Street West, which dated to the 1940s) but rather Tree House Apartments at 205 Jersey Street West. This would turn part of an abandoned railroad right of way (International & Great Northern, from the 1960s) into a paved alleyway with parking for the apartments. These apartments were one of the first apartments (and remain so) catering to off-campus "non-regs", which started in the 1960s.

Treehouse is the ONLY thing that hasn't changed much since this time (Courtesy Henry Mayo)

Marion Pugh Lumber Co. would eventually give way to J. Arnold Construction Co., as Marion Pugh (a former football player and class of '41) would pass away in 1976 at the age of 57. J. Arnold actually had a small railroad crossing just to the south of Jersey, which you can still see today (venture a bit south of the McDonald's and around that area)

Just to the south of that was 102 Luther, Brazos Valley Concrete, and although the concrete plant and the construction company were right next to each other, neither of them had rail access of any sort nor was Marion Pugh even connected between them: only the unpaved right of way (undoubtedly driven on) connected Luther to Marion Pugh.

At 101 Luther Street West was Schaffhauser Distributing Co. (dealing primarily in liquor). Apparently, 102 Luther was once home to the National Guard building, as Fugate's comment is replicated here (seen here).

1 comment:
Grover Fugate said...
Yes Luther extended over the railroad. That road led to the dump. Right across the railroad was a beer distributor on the left. On the right was a National Guard building.
Right past the NG bldg was a place that made charcoal for a while. Maybe two hundred yards back was a pond that we played around as kids. You can get in touch with me via Anne Boykin. I would rather answer your questions via phone or a personal meeting. Ed Hrdlicka was my Grandfater. I lived in his house with my Mom and Dad. The house was right in front of the railroad crossing.
June 19, 2011 3:46 PM

In the early 1980s, the area was officially named Marion Pugh Drive but only extended to about Luther Street West, with Treehouse adopting the new address of 200 Marion Pugh. Treehouse II (400 Marion Pugh, but originally also 205 Jersey Street West into the 1980s) would build soon after next to it, with Treehouse Village (800 Marion Pugh) soon behind, building in 1985. This put a lot of cars crossing at Luther Street West's railroad crossing, which was steep and unsignaled and was even worse after Wellborn Road (until very recently at this time, "Old College Road") was widened in the early 1980s.

At first, this doesn't seem like a big deal--after all, the 1985 map shows how Holleman can be used instead of Luther Street West, until you remember that most of those connections didn't exist in 1985. Marion Pugh didn't extend to Holleman for nearly another two decades, and never did extend to FM 2818 (unless, of course, they used the old ROW as a dirt road like they did for what is now I&GN Road, but I don't have any proof of that).

So the crossing remained with signals but no road for several months until it was finally built in early 1986, and Luther would keep their crossing open until it too was closed off (at which time, I presume, traffic was finally restored between Luther and Marion Pugh).

Sometime during the 1980s, J. Arnold would shut down, but something else would take its place: Amtrak! Amtrak came into town with the Texas Eagle in 1988 and a new station. This train connected Dallas to Houston with only two stations between: College Station (restoring a train stop) and Corsicana. Unfortunately, the train only ran until 1995, when the line was cut. The mural in the train station was moved to A&M Consolidated High School, which unfortunately, I don't have a picture of.

Amtrak didn't last too long. (from an old calendar)

After the demise of Amtrak, the concrete plant (now abandoned) had a few buildings leftover: "Traditions Night Club" wanted to open in 1997, but the city reacted to the word "nightclub" even though by the prospective owners' words it was to be less "bar" and more "normal restaurant that serves beer and wine". It didn't even have a dance hall. Probably for the better as the location was still bad (only way in was George Bush Drive or way out from 2818 via Luther). The restaurant was doomed anyway by harsh criticism from area residents, including the Marion Pugh's widow Helen Pugh. Among the arguments was that "noise, trash, and traffic would be too close to College Station's historical district", never mind that places like the dumpy Piknik Pantry and Varsity II apartments were far closer, and furthermore, around that same time, a McDonald's would build at George Bush Drive (Jersey Drive's new name) and Marion Pugh.

I initially thought this McDonald's near Marion Pugh was a rather strange and ugly specimen. In a misguided effort to fit in with campus, the McDonald's (which was built in the mid-1990s, I'd say) featured a maroon-on-white mansard roof instead of a stock yellow-on-red mansard roof. It would've looked great if the colors were flipped, but they weren't, so McDonald's truly looked like the Aggies on an away team game. Around 2003 it renovated to what it is today. In summer 2011 it suffered a bout of bad publicity when a man ate a meal there and stabbed a little girl on the way out (her father was an employee). The restaurant was also robbed that same day, and said employee later sued because these weren't the only major incidents that happened during that time frame. Yikes. It seems to be doing better now, though. I wish I had a picture of that original McDonald's, though.

At around the same time all this was happening, a "five-story women's dorm" was proposed, this would turn out to be the co-ed upscale "Callaway House", which featured its own parking garage and was the first "upscale" student apartment complex. A few years later, Callaway Villas would build and destroy Luther Street West (or what remained of it) in the process and also extending Marion Pugh to Holleman. The road now featured Treehouse Apartments (in the late 1990s briefly named College Park - Treehouse), Stadium View Apartments (formerly Tree House II), Meadows Point (formerly Treehouse Village and the pre-2005 limits of Marion Pugh), Callaway House, and others. Finally, in 2011, U-Club Townhomes were built, which opened by 2012.

Marion Pugh Drive had been expected to extend all the way to Dowling, which is why another old I-GN segment between FM 2818 (Harvey Mitchell Pkwy.) and Dowling Road was named Marion Pugh Drive for a few years, before it was renamed Jones-Butler Road in 2005 to match the new 2004 Jones-Butler Road, and was ultimately closed after the Jones-Butler segment became Holleman.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Rise at Northgate

Not there yet...this view may be impossible in a few years when the apartments replacing BB&T get built.

I can still remember sitting on the "porch" of the A+ Tutoring and Fat Burger building (profiled here in this post, which is undergoing changes, but that's okay), looking out at the abandoned building that once held a BBVA Compass Bank (formerly Guaranty Bank until they were bought out) and United Realty. United Realty is now on Graham, and BBVA Compass moved out as well. I don't know when or where they took off too, but I'm pretty sure that BBVA Compass disappeared in 2010 or so.

They were to be torn down for a huge building known as 717 University. This was spring 2012. At first, I couldn't really comprehend a building being there. After all, the Plaza was coming down, and the Plaza occupied a much bigger footprint. I wondered if they would close off Church Avenue for additional space. Turns out they didn't. When they filed something in regards to the airport ordinance, I knew it could be good.

Initially, there was talk of a gourmet grocer (Whole Foods was the rumored choice, and supposedly they even signed a letter of intent), but that eventually fell through as the building was renamed The Rise at Northgate and ultimately CVS/pharmacy would take the place of the lower level tenant, which was just as well.

Early concept. It looks substantially different in real life. (snagged from local news site)

Over the fall semester, I watched from the Evans Library them build the large structure, adding a new floor every week or so before it was visible on the skyline.

Anyway, the bank was home Community Savings & Loan Association which surprisingly lasted from the 1970s until 1989. Later, it became Guaranty Bank and United Realty (sharing the bank), the former becoming BBVA Compass and moving out. By 2011, it was boarded up and vacant.

I know I had once parked my bike in the lot in the overgrown grass there, but didn't get any good ground pictures at the time.

Not too long before, this is what was there.

I don't live in the Rise, but a friend and I checked out the CVS and explored around. It's smaller than a real CVS...there's a selection of food that's generally better than a convenience store, and of course a full HBA (Health & Beauty Aids) department, something convenience stores don't have. The best thing, at least to Rise residents, is a little hallway in the back that links the elevator to the complex (and the parking garage) with the CVS, so in theory, you could make a midnight run for snacks...or at least, it would be midnight, if they didn't close at 12 (that might change in the future).

It's a bit of a bummer that they don't carry any fresh fruits or vegetables, as that would round out the neighborhood nicely. After all, just literally outside used to be the old Albertsons which did have not only a pharmacy since the early 1970s but all manners of produce as well. 24 hours, too. A sad day when it finally closed, as for the next 31 semesters, Northgate lacked a pharmacy (that's spring 1998 to spring 2013, for those keeping count).

A few more pictures that I took...

Due to the orientation of perhaps the parking garage ramps above, the CVS isn't flush with ground level, requiring going up a several steps or using a (rather narrow looking) ramp. Still, the potential is great: a huge (at least by College Station standards) apartment building, and streetside retail in a pedestrian area (something the Lofts lacked).

Around spring 2014, they replaced their bike racks with bike racks designed for the MaroonBikes rental bikes, requiring people to hook their bikes to trees or other things (way to screw over your main audience) but you could still hook it on a bench or a tree. As of 2016, they've posted signs not to park bikes in the vicinity but rather put them in bike racks in the upper levels of the parking garage, which made the CVS and its other tenants definitely less accessible.

The first tenant here was CVS/pharmacy (Ste. 101), the largest store, which opened September 29, 2013. It faces University and while it is a smaller CVS than most of its more suburban counterparts, it is merchandised to the neighborhood by having a mix of at least 50% food, though only has a very abbreviated mix consisting of a few dry foods, frozen foods, and a few other items, all priced higher than grocery stores. The best thing, at least to Rise residents, is a little hallway in the back that links the elevator to the complex (and the parking garage) with the CVS, so in theory, you could make a midnight run for snacks...or at least, it would be midnight, if they didn't close at midnight.

The second tenant is "YAKU Japanese Eatery" (Ste. 171), which replaced Great Wraps. Great Wraps opened in spring 2014 but didn't match up with its Houston counterparts. My quest for a good chicken caesar wrap on or near campus was foiled when the wrap was stuffed with croutons, and that was enough to put me off forever. By the end of 2014 it was gone, with YAKU taking its place next year. By the time YAKU opened, I was out of college, and while I was dubious of the sign offering chicken fingers and ramen (having put off by Happy Yogurt and their store-bought garbage), it has lasted until sometime around late 2017 when it was quickly replaced with Shun De Mom, another Asian restaurant.

The third tenant, located at the end, is the BB&T (Ste. 181), which opened August 2016. It has an ATM outside of it. The BB&T moved here after their old location was demolished. By late 2018, however, they moved back to their original address, this time occupying a ground level location.

July 27 2014 - Updated.
October 09 2016 - Updated a second time.
May 16 2019 - Updated a third time to account for new tenants and gone ones.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Building Formerly Known as Fitzwilly's

Courtesy of Project HOLD, a black and white photo. While not nearly as ancient as this suggests, it does represent a time gone by. 803 University.

This is titled "The Building Formerly Known as Fitzwilly's" because that's what this was for 19 years. For many years, it was the place of good burgers, good wings, and good times, and I was saddened when it closed, partially because it stayed longer than anything that had ever been there before.

Except one occupant.

From approximately 1930 up until 1979, this building once held apartments, titled "The Varsity" (a TexAgs thread mentions it was the Alamo Apartments, but I believe I've found differently). From second-hand stories on TexAgs, the building was dilapidated (at least in the later years), the manager was the same woman for 44 years, and the building had no air conditioning or central heating. It's worth noting, though a lot of dorms on campus didn't have air conditioning either (Walton Hall didn't get air conditioning until the late 1990s, at least). It also didn't have a phone line, which led it to be excluded from phone books in the 1970s.

The historic date and land use is backed up by city documents.

While the directory I have seen below is from 1939 (and a bit difficult to use since nearly every road name has changed, but the addresses have been renumbered).

Inspiring "Varsity II Apartments" on Wellborn, perhaps?

While I can't readily pull up an aerial from 1939 (they do exist, but not in a format I can readily use), the buildings on Northgate did retain the configuration until at least the early 1960s, and the buildings do align with the directory. In this picture, you can readily see where the Fitzwilly's building was.

Directly taken from the Citgo post

- The private residence to the southwest (where that Citgo station was) is the private residence listed (two addresses, possibly because of the two buildings).
- The Varsity is the no-telephone building where Fitzwilly's later was.
- The vacancy is where Dry Bean Saloon is now.
- The next building is where the former "Miranda's" portion of modern day Dixie Chicken is. The "main" building (originally Aggie Den) was built later, which created Bottlecap Alley——notice that in this era, "Bottlecap Alley" is enough to fit two rows of cars comfortably. Try fitting one car into Bottlecap Alley today. This is the original "North Gate Cafe" (there was a Northgate Café in modern-day Basil Whippet's in the 1990s, but they are unrelated)
- and finally, the building to the northeast is the famous Old Army "Charlie's Grocery", which finally disappeared in the 1980s after sub-dividing part of their store out to Texas Aggie Bookstore, which remains today (though in the 1990s had to make that "AggieLand").

In 1979, the building finally was converted into a two-story bar but I've been unable to secure the names of said businesses very easily (a 1985 city directory even listed "Edward Jones", which is at 303 EAST University Drive). Luckily, capn-mac has his own chronology (I've also learned "Bogie's" was there as there as the last bar to inhabit the building before the "renovation" mentioned). From what I have, in 1980, it was Alamo Bar & Grill, which probably (compared to the building layout today) a dump and far more obvious about its former status as a run-down apartment building it was before. There was also "Sebastian's Tavern" as well around 1982-1983, but Bogie's was in the 1983 phone book but not the 1984 one. It's possible that the building sat vacant for a bit before being renovated again (which would make since). The link posted above also mentions said "renovation" to the building, which is probably what made the building it is today: a skylight was added at about this point, and probably the interior was rebuilt to restaurant code. It was in this phase from the late 1980s (1987, perhaps?) that it was the Flying Tomato Pizza (the city directory lists it as "Flying Tomato & Pizza-N-A-Pan"). By other independent sources, they had a hot air balloon that dropped Frisbees and other prizes. I don't know how I came across this, but it wasn't from this location, as by the time my family moved here, Flying Tomato was now Two Pesos.


As for Flying Tomato, two comments I received (from "The Twice-Tasted Life" and James Durbin, respectively), mentioned a few things about it, namely the plants in the restaurant.

I remember the Flying Tomato very well. It was "Flying Tomato Pizza in a Pan" featuring square pizza slices in a variety of tasty flavors. I met my first wife there, and she was their "Flying Tomato" in parade marches of the day. They had a pool table or two upstairs and the mezzanine was lines with plants. The company started with a restaurant in Denton near the UNT campus. LOVE your blog, and I'd hate to see it go, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

The atmosphere was very nice when it was The Flying Tomato, with lots of plants, a fireplace if I am recalling correctly, and a big roomy space overall.

After Flying Tomato it became Two Pesos, a Taco Cabana knockoff (as briefly discussed here), which by all accounts was cheap and tasty. Two Pesos closed in 1993 following a Supreme Court case that affirmed that Two Pesos copied Taco Cabana's format too closely, and the restaurants ended up selling out to Taco Cabana, though there was already one there at the time, so it closed.

Two Pesos also had a turn at the building's facade: while we can't see what the building looked like in the days pre-Two Pesos, we do have this picture from a Northgate redevelopment plan...

Not in the Northgate color palette.

In 1994, it became what it would be known as for nearly the next 19 years: Fitzwilly's. Unfortunately, Fitz's, despite having good, cheap food (wings and burgers) fell out of favor with the Northgate crowd. Even when it wasn't crowded, service was slow (and also, food portions shrunk in the last year). It was still liked by an older crowd, but that's not what the Northgate landlords wanted, so the lease wasn't renewed and it went to the controversial Eccell Group, which has all but exited the Northgate area these days (Daisy Duke's has been sold, Café Eccell has moved, and La Bodega has closed as well).

While not in the gaudy "cotton candy" colors of Two Pesos, The Backyard seems a bit boring.

The Backyard is the name of the replacement, which has a far darker interior than Fitzwilly's, more expensive food, and other changes I didn't particularly like, and due to aforementioned color restrictions, the new owners just painted it the same dark beige tone we've seen everywhere else. I didn't take a picture of the back area of the restaurant--while Fitzwilly's had a few tables and some delightfully dated blinking incandescent lights, the newer facility's back area was significantly rebuilt. If you crave more Fitzwilly's pictures that are in color, you can visit the Yelp page. Since leaving college, I've heard The Backyard has revised its menu to add more sandwiches (the old menu was burgers and tacos).

In 2018, the Backyard, like Café Eccell opened a "co-branded" La Bodega outlet inside.

Update 8-5-14: Removed the first paragraph about the last post or so, and also took out mention of the contest, which nobody won.
Update April 2015: General maintenance to ensure continued relevance.
Update May 2019: Comment integration and slight update

Monday, May 27, 2013

303 Boyett

Back in the days prior to the 1950s, professors lived in houses on campus, from the place of the modern-day Memorial Student Center and parts south. Most of these buildings were not demolished, however--they were literally partially disassembled and placed in other parts of town. The house on Boyett and Church is one of them. Of course, a lot of them still have been demolished, but the one at Church and Boyett hasn't. I'm not sure of the house's history since being moved off-campus, but it has served as restaurants in recent years.

By the early 2000s, it was "Satchel's BBQ & Steaks". According to Restaurant Row, it was "a casual family style restaurant with a rustic ambiance, a fireplace, cozy booths and knickknacks placed throughout. The cuisine is traditional American fare with beef, turkey, pork, chicken, steaks, and seafood entrées. The bar serves domestic and imported beers, wines and mixed drinks. They offer a kid's menu, take out and catering."

From LoopNet, back when it was Fredriko's

By 2007 Satchel's was gone and it had become a Mexican restaurant called Fredriko's, which I ate at once (it was forgettable, and is now gone). Apparently it used to be another restaurant, as well, but I don't know of it. By 2011 (roughly) the building was "DC, Inc.": the headquarters for Dixie Chicken and other related restaurants (Dry Bean Saloon, Dudd's, Chicken Oil Co.), but by 2013 it moved again (former location of Alfred T. Hornback's) and started to renovate as restaurant space again: the Blackwater Draw Brewing Company, a brewpub owned by the same owners as O'Bannon's. Given the generally positive response to brewpubs I visited in Michigan, I had high hopes but was tempered by the lousy reputation of Northgate (Chimy's, I remember, was a huge disappointment). Reviews looked great though, and upon trying it (in November 2013, if I recall) I found the food to be very good, a decent value (more expensive than a typical campus lunch option) with good beer. The menu was a bit limited as was the seating. I always wished that they expand and open a larger location, taking the example of The Chimes in Baton Rouge, a popular bar/restaurant near campus, which ended up opening a larger, two-story location called The Chimes East away from campus with a ton of parking (for a restaurant, that is).

In December 2015, they did open a second location in downtown Bryan, but it was only to focus on beer production, and did not serve food. The Northgate location ended up closing in May 2018 due to rising rents in the Northgate area, replaced with another restaurant by fall, "The Spot on Northgate" which was more of the same in terms of Northgate food variety (burgers, beer).

During the Dixie Chicken Inc. days, a banner outside said "Come And Drink It" in the form of "Come And Take It" of Texas Revolution lore.

Updated May 2019.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Other Buildings Demolished for Northpoint Crossing

When the Plaza Hotel article was cut and re-edited, an allusion was made that I would be returning to the cut material eventually. All these buildings are gone, incorporated (well, most of them, at least) into the Northpoint Crossing development.

Represented by the 1 on the map was a gas station. It was originally a Gulf station, opening too long after the Ramada, with a garage. It was kept relatively updated, with the only known change being turned into a Chevron in the early 1990s, which gave it a re-do on the trim from red-orange tiles to the 1990s Chevron blue-and-gray. It was finally shut down in the mid-2000s and torn down circa 2007. I don't remember the garage specifically, however--it's possible that it was converted into a convenience store in the 1990s. Some older phone books refer 1to this as "Piper's Gulf (later "Chevron", of course) Service Center". The address of this was 420 Texas Avenue.

Courtesy "je"

[For #2, see Ramada Inn / University Tower / Plaza Hotel]

3 was built as a UtoteM convenience store, once extremely common across town and the state. It became a Circle K in 1984 with the buy-out of the chain. Later on by 2007, it became "Ink Dreams", and a few years later, "Oasis Pipes & Tobacco". The address was 1405 University Drive. I don't have the full history of the building, however. In July 2013, I discovered in 1995, it was listed as "Sterling Automotive". Since the lot of the former UtoteM is pretty small, it's likely that this was either just a showroom or the old parking lot behind it (as seen) was used for Sterling, and not for University Tower. Oasis moved to Eastgate after it was evicted.

4 was a Kettle at 1403 University Drive, dating back to at least 1980. Distinctive because the yellow and black P A N C A K E S sign, it closed sometime in the 1990s (It was open at least into 1998, so that's the date I'm going to go with) after being open since the early 1980s. While the Kettle signage disappeared several years before its demise, the PANCAKES sign (not unlike the Waffle House logo, which it's often confused with) was very distinctive.

Regarding these twoI have two Google Maps Street View photos, one from 2011 and one from 2007 (it shouldn't be too hard to tell which one is which). It also clearly shows the P A N C A K E S sign, so if you have any doubt that it was a Waffle House, you can dispel them, because we never had one and from the likes of it won't be getting one anytime soon (let's be realistic here).

Originally part of another development called North Park (and the building out of the rest of Meadowland Road), the Meadowland Apartments (6) were (likely) built in the 1980s and were owned by the same owners of University Tower at one time. I'm guessing these were closed in 2005-2006, but I don't know for sure. I believed them to be located at 701 University, but later evidence suggested that they had individual addresses per building, which I haven't found yet. Remarkably, a few still stand: I guess that Northpoint Crossing never managed to get all of them. At least one of them was demolished for the "Home2 Suites by Hilton" hotel.

As for North Park, 5 was the only remaining house left on the block, 125 Meadowland. This was taken out for the redevelopment. It looks like it had a second structure behind it: possibly additional bedrooms. I have buddies who live in Eastgate, wherein at least two live in the main house, and at least one lives in a shack behind the main house.

Finally, we have 7, a 1960s-era building has seen a few things come and go. The address was 100 Texas Avenue South.

The mid-mod building started out as the Dutch Kettle Snack Bar (*not* related to the Kettle restaurant on University) there at Hensel and Texas, and probably one of the first (if not the first) 24 hour eateries in College Station. Alas, while other 24 hours eateries benefitted from the Plaza implosion such as Fuego and Denny's, this did not, as had been closed for years (even as the donut shop, which was decidedly NOT 24 hours). Eventually, by 1990, it was a Schlotzsky's Deli location (confirmed), and from the mid-1990s up to the mid-2000s, it was "Snowflake Donuts", which closed without much notice well prior to the demolition of the area.

The leasing office for Northpoint Crossing sits here and has apparently taken the address for its own.

Not mine, originally from a Brazos County history book

There were still even more on this block...more motels, a restaurant that you may have heard of on this blog, mini-golf, and more. That can be found here

updated 11/18/13
updated 6/7/14 with 2

Saturday, November 3, 2012

University Apartments

Nobody's home.

During my time at A&M, I was thankful that I had enough sense to photograph many buildings on their way out in terms of demolition or extensive renovation. I didn't get enough pictures of the old Scoates Hall, and no inside shots of Dulie Bell, but did get pictures of The Commons, Zachry Engineering Center, Read Building, G. Rollie White, and of course, these.

Today, these are largely gated off as new parking garages and structures take the underutilized space, but this is about the space that was there, University Apartments. In here, I may mention Southside, which in previous versions of this post was presumed to be at the northeast corner of College Avenue and University, may not have been the case. I explore this in a section at the bottom of this post, and will talk about it at the end of this post. All the other mentions of Southside will be as my research has shown, thanks to research at the Cushing Memorial Library.

Originally rows and rows of two-level Army-style barracks filling up the diagonal-row roads in the early 1950s, with two complexes, College View and Southside, a federal grant in 1957 (to the tune of 2.5 million dollars, which would be about 20 million today) allowed more to be built.

In 1960, the Hensel Apartments (later Hensel Terrace Apartments) were built, and originally not air-conditioned (until likely the 1970s). The new College View Apartments, built in 1969, were built facing FM 60 and according to The Battalion were "cool, comfortable, and complete", being climate controlled at 70 degrees. The old College View apartments were later disassembled. Interestingly, because the new College View apartments were much denser, a good portion of the land was NEVER utilized again.

In 1989, Texas A&M acquired some 1950s duplexes in the Oak Terrace neighborhood, north of the University Square shopping center, with the buildings being on Dogwood, Cross Street, Milam Avenue, and Culpepper Drive. These were the "Tortilla Flats" duplexes (likely named after the run-down district in Tortilla Flat), a dilipidated collection of duplexes which were going at half the rate of the rest of the housing in the area (rent was $200/month) and in terrible condition: sub-standard plumbing, leaky roofs, rotting floors, and one can only guess how bad the wiring was. In 1991, Texas A&M evicted all 110 residents and demolished the homes soon after. They also said that the 13-acre tract would be put to use soon, and if not, sold. That didn't happen. It would be eventually leased to developers to build U Centre at Northgate, which would open in fall 2014...nearly two and a half decades later!

As time went on, the Married Student Housing became known as the "University Apartments", as it started to become known for international students as well. The maintenance of the apartments declined and the apartments started to deteriorate, but there wasn't any major trouble. Piecemeal improvements were made to the complex, including the addition of the Becky Gates Children's Center, a 1997 addition on Hensel that would have childcare for students married with children. Later on a community center and playground were built as well. However, it was an incident in 2004 that did change the University Apartments forever.

One day in July 2004, residents complained about a smell of natural gas in the Hensel Terrace Apartments. The maintenance worker responded but decided to not repair the leak until the next week (in fact, they told residents to close their windows, thus making the smell inside worse). Saquib Ejaz, a resident of those apartments, lived with his wife and daughter at Hensel Apartments. His parents were visiting from Bangladesh. While his parents, wife (who was pregnant with another child), and daughter were home, the gas somehow ignited and fire consumed the apartment's interior, severely burning all four. His wife and father survived, but his daughter and mother did not. Other apartments were damaged, as well, however; the structure itself survived.

Lawsuits were filed, and by 2005, a number of new improvements were announced, including new stoves, new detectors, and much better maintenance. This still wasn't "enough" maintenance, as the apartment complex was still falling apart, with the College Avenue Apartments on Ball Street having unleveled floors.

However, by fall 2006, a plan was approved to add the Gardens at University, which, instead of building it on the Tortilla Flats land, or the area closest to Meadowland, replaced Hensel Terrace. When I first wrote this article in 2012, two-thirds of the Hensel Terrace Apartments (including the rebuilt apartments where Ejaz's apartment was), had been torn down and replaced with the Gardens. Nothing else had been altered since then. One of the last pre-Campus Pointe demos came in 2011, when the College Avenue Apartments started to come down (finally "leveled", it seems--yes, bad pun).

In early 2013 Campus Pointe was trotted out again and approved. College View Apartments, Hensel Terrace Apartments, and Avenue A Apartments were marked for destruction--all residents had to move out. There were even stories of the mattresses being moved out first, so many had to make do with sleeping on the floor. Despite (presumably) assistance, the apartments all near campus had much higher rent, and both Northgate and Southgate had undergone some degree of gentrification.

The demolition for redevelopment seemed to take a long time, for months, the abandoned apartments (speckled with graffiti) stood, then for many more months with just vacant land. Sometime during all of this, Campus Pointe was renamed to Century Square.

A friend and I took these in May 2013, soon before eviction in summer 2013 (the picture at the title is also from that):
Avenue A Apartments, which has eight units per building, four of which are seen here.

There is so much open space here, great for large group games or tossing a Frisbee around. Too bad this will go away...

College View Apartments. These face University Drive.

Hensel Terrace Apartments. Most of these are already gone, including the unit that exploded in 2004. It's worth noting that the building wasn't actually destroyed. The apartments have concrete foundations and despite being old and run-down, are better built then similar apartment complexes of the same era.

The Gardens at University Apartments. These will stick around.

Interesting vents on the University Apartments Maintenance Building.

Special Thanks to the Cushing Memorial Library for archived news articles
NOTE 12/3/12: A footnote in Project HOLD ("Brazos Valley Chronology") mentions the last of the old Army surplus barracks were removed in '82...these were almost certainly the Southside Apartments.

NOTE 2 5/2/13: Minor updates

EDIT 3: 2015 Updates included Southside information, new intro paragraph, rewritten to past tense


There's been some confusion about where "Southside" is/was. I've flip-flopped on this issue sometimes, but I believe that "Southside" probably really was at University Apartments (my original opinion), with the reasoning being this.

There were originally houses at the corner of modern-day Wellborn Road and George Bush Drive, but they were far older than the post-World War II grants. They were the "project houses" built in the late 1930s for poorer students, allowing them to raise livestock (pigs, chickens) to pay their way through college (there was an article on this on one of the TAMU-affiliated publications, but I just can't find it!). According to the chronology linked, they were torn down in the late 1980s, which is why there exists a color picture of demolition in front of pre-2015 Kyle Field (R.I.P.). If the last of the army barracks were removed in 1982, then that means that those couldn't have been from Wellborn and George Bush. The reality is, I just don't know, and would appreciate if anyone could give definitive information one way or another.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Buildings of Luther Street and Wellborn Road

At one time, the block where Berkeley House is featured a fine dining establishment in a converted house (from Center Magazine)

This is one of the posts I've had for years on the blog and despite tons of rewrites still may come off as disjointed, and needs a bit of a proper introduction.

Today, the entire block features a large apartment building, Berkeley House (opened fall 2018), a student-oriented complex. It is impossible to take a good photo of it, as it comes up to the street, and I can't take a photo from the other side, as Wellborn has a curb next to it. As a result, Google Street View will have to suffice, though it is currently not updated yet, only showing the old thrift store that was there.

When I was a kid growing up in the mid-1990s, this corner featured a small convenience store that sold Chinese food, perhaps some of the first (Americanized) Chinese food I've ever had (that or Confucius Chinese Cuisine). Later on it became a thrift store but my father had an old 1940s map of the campus and surrounding area that listed the building as "Hrdlicka Café". What was this café, and how did it become a thrift store?

Over the years, through research and other help, these answers and more were revealed.

In 1919, a house at what would be 801 Wellborn Road was built by Ed Hrdlicka ("1" on the map below). Eventually, the house passed on to Ed's daughter Marilyn, and her husband Jack Fugate. In the late 1970s, the house was converted into a restaurant—Fish Richards Half-Century House. Fish Richard's menu featured seafood, lamb, and prime rib along with a selection of wines.

Apparently the reason that Fish Richard's closed was due to a divorce by the couple that owned it (some ads in the final days of Fish Richard's discussed a new future location), but the building burned to the ground in 1988, and the 801 Wellborn address went unused for years, until the construction of Berkeley House.

#2 on the map was 803 Wellborn, and wrecked sometime in the late 1990s, likely around the time of the demise of Piknik Pantry (below). This was the home of Fugate's printing press and laundromat businesses and later home to Fish Richards Bakery, the bakery operation of Fish Richard's, which sold a variety of baked goods all day, every day (except Sunday afternoons). I read somewhere (but lost the source) that this was the original supplier for Subway when it came into town in the early 1980s. Ad can be found here.

#3 on the map was 805 Wellborn. This was the likely site of the eponymous Hrdlicka Café from 1920 to the mid-1940s, a student beer joint, dancing hall, and storefront grocery store. "Uncle Ed" leased the store shortly before his death in the early 1950s and by 1957 it was operated by Ed Krolczyk, who tried to make barbecue from "any kind of meat" and claimed to make a great barbecued raccoon.

By the 1960s it was replaced with a convenience store, the Piknik Pantry with Amoco gas (certainly by 1972), though 1980 phone book says "811 Old College Road", indicating not only a rename later (likely holding over from the days when Wellborn and Old College were one and the same, as Wellborn did not extend to Villa Maria but instead curved to Old College) but a renumbering (or just an error). Piknik Pantry & Chinese Food (it sold Chinese food later, and research even shows that an old Chinese restaurant at 3030 E. 29th, Sing Lee, had the same owner) mets its demise in the late 1990s and was quickly replaced with 2nd Chance Resale Shop, operated by Twin City Mission. Based on Chamber of Commerce newspaper clippings, this probably first opened in late 1997 with Piknik Pantry meeting its demise shortly prior. Sometime in the mid-2010s (2016 I believe) it moved to a new location and in 2017, it was torn down for Berkeley House. According to a comment I received in 2015, it featured an all-you-can-eat buffet on Sundays (back in the '80s) for just four or five dollars. The same comment references the gas pumps as well.

There were two more businesses in that block that I haven't labeled.

At 809 Old College (location unknown) there was Astraptes, an "adult disco" nightclub. There's rumors on forums (where it was misspelled as "Astropates", among others) that this was the closest thing to a gay bar College Station had, and according to Houston LGBT History (link sort-of NSFW), it was, mentioning after closure it reopened in 1983 (if briefly--and it's the only Google result that spells the name correctly).

This one is from the 1980 phone book published by GTE.

There was a fifth business, the Peanut Gallery, at 813 Old College, and that seems to be based on what was there on aerials, that it was the metal building directly next to Piknik Pantry. By the 21st century this was just storage for the resale shop. Today, of course, everything described in this post is long-gone. The thrift store and everything around was leveled in 2017 for the aforementioned Berkeley House apartments. Officially it uses 805 Wellborn but some references use 801 Wellborn, site of the Hrdlicka/Fugate homestead.

Extensive update done August 2019

Thursday, January 13, 2011

University Square Shopping Center / Legacy Point

A still-standing reminder of what the center was. All but one was gone as of this when this photo was taken in 2012. The Junction pulled out in summer of 2012 and was replaced by "Piranha Fitness Studio". There's a smaller sign signed as Legacy Point closer to IHOP.

This was one of the more popular topics of this blog, and one of the first "requests" for a blog topic on this blog. This post began with telling the history of "Skaggs Shopping Center" and how it ended up as the sad "University Square" we know today. This all would all change, of course, when it was revealed that the center would be dramatically altered for a new mixed-use development, and now it looks completely different.

This post has gone under a lot of changes. The former Albertsons at 301 South College Avenue, I removed and moved to this link, so that's where most of the pictures that used to be here disappeared to. Speaking of disappeared, the old Albertsons is gone completely these days...another major change from the old post.

Another major error was "Skaggs Shopping Center" being the original name. As it turned out, "University Square" was always the name of this shopping center, which was previously believed to be Skaggs Shopping Center, which was an understandable mistake since all the ads for adjacent stores featured the [supermarket] Shopping Center (whatever was in the spot at the time) until the closure of the supermarket (c. 1997), at which point the University Square name came into more common usage. A more amusing example is when the coin & jewelry store was going out of business in October 2013 it referred to the center as the "IHOP Shopping Center". Ultimately, this ended up being bought and renamed David's Jewelry & Coin Exchange instead.

Since so many changes have been happening to the center (and Albertsons, which was the main feature of this post has been demolished), and the long list of running updates were getting too unwieldy, I've rewritten this post multiple, multiple times, and then later outsourced parts. Like I said before, it's still a work in progress, but I hope to get it under control.

As early as 2003, the city was looking to improve on the center (which had lost Albertsons by that point) as part of a largely far-fetched Northgate redevelopment that would see University Square (eventually) get developed into something else: a "Cultural/Science Center" anchor, citing the Exploratorium as a model (and THIS I did hear about back in '03), a think tank/business incubator, or a mixed-use project that would incorporate a variety of restaurants and a modern movie theater.

As you might have guessed, none of that ever happened (frankly, it was rather vague) and we're just starting with a redevelopment that's far less "out there", though across the street, Century Square is going up, which will be closer to what University Square will become.

303 University Drive
Most recently Traditions. I went in in spring of 2013, wondering when it would be demolished (at the time it was still open) but the next time I went by the area a few months later, it was being razed. Short shelf life, apparently.

As seen in the comment below by "buzzz", there was a Mitchell's department store here. I'd like to say thanks, but I had added in that comment myself anonymously in an attempt to aid further discussion, which was a failure (and it just made me look more pathetic). It wasn't a "real" department store, much smaller than even small-town Wal-Mart stores (unless it took up the space of both the future Hancock Fabrics and Rother's, in which case it would still be quite undersized).

I took a picture from an old TAMU yearbook (thus, the poor quality) that shows the logo.

Notice the Tandy Corporation logo--that was RadioShack's parent company (which later adopted the name of RadioShack). They had a much greater range in those days, and ran full companies. By 1992, the store became a McDuff Superstore (according to a 1992 ad that I have), also at the address and owned by Tandy. I read that there was a RadioShack itself even later here. Somewhere in the late 1990s or early 2000s, it became Rother's, which would remain (save for a rename) until its demise.

309 University Drive
There is no 305 or 307 because even by 1980, this was Hancock Fabrics and remained so until it closed (leaving the sign up) and eventually BCS Bicycles. BCS Bicycles even left the sign in the back up (like Traditions did to Rothers), which can be seen in the pictures below. There was however, a 306 College, which in 1979 was occupied with Webster's Catalog Showroom.

The Old Theater and Around It
The other side of the shopping center has a slightly taller roof. This used to be the Cineplex (later Plitt) III, a three-screen movie theater. It lasted through the various names of the supermarket, but closed around 1996 and was divided between an expansion of Hurricane Harry's (at 313 College Avenue, which dated back to at least 1992--well before the theater closed, it also shares the address with what was once simply "The Jewelry & Coin Exchange") became TJ's Laser Tag (315 College Avenue), which was around from maybe 1996 to 1999. That spot later became The Junction (a pool hall that didn't serve alcohol). The Junction eventually closed around 2012 and became Piranha Fitness Studio. There was also additional A+ classrooms at 311A College Avenue, but they're gone (even though the space is still standing). At one time, 313C (unknown what's there now, but the building is still there) was a restaurant called "Fred's For Lunch" which sold submarine sandwiches and Blue Bell ice cream.

The Restaurant at 317 University Drive
Speaking of hurricanes, the restaurant in the east side of the parking lot was Crazy Cajuns', created by Hurricane Rita evacuees (Lake Charles, Louisiana) and was on its second location, moving from a very small place in Wellborn (indeed, the sign on the building side still read "Wellborn, Texas" up until its closure). While I first went to the location in Wellborn (I don't know what's there now), which included only a large covered area with picnic tables (December 2006 is when I went), this eventually did end up being a favorite of mine, as I went in March 2011 to this location and had a blast. Lots of food for a good price. It was still spicy, and had been in this place since somewhere about 2008-2009. It went through a few changes in ownership, and steadily declined, notably in service first, then food, and health ratings, before finally closing for good in summer 2012. It shut down the same week as Hebert's did (sad time for Cajun food lovers). I expressed some hope that Hebert's would be able to move into the restaurant, and go from essentially a snack bar to a full restaurant where you could take your family, but that wasn't going to work.

There used to be a Thai place before it (the second incarnation of Thai Taste, and not a particularly great one), and before that a combo Mexican/Cajun place called Alicia's (thanks to HAIF user "keyser" for the restaurant history). The comments tell a bit more of the story. In fact, while wandering around around the 2012-2013 holidays, I found the canopy had some older names exposed...

Alicia's AND Thai Taste!

It started out as a Bonanza Steakhouse in 1973 (or 1972), which was more a cafeteria/buffet affair (rather than a traditional "steakhouse") and later served briefly as Cow Hop (before it moved back to the main strip on Northgate). But in 2013, nearly 40 years after its construction, it now serves as BCS Bicycles & Repair, which moved from their location in the strip.

Even though there was a bookstore (Rother's, later Traditions), a fabric store (later BCS Bicycles), two A+ Tutoring locations (one of which was in a stand-alone building, which it shared with Fat Burger), a "Jewelry and Coin Exchange", the city had their eyes to redevelop the property. I don't know exactly what was in the center before all that: some MyBCS topics refer to a pool hall/arcade/foosball place called "Tom Foolery" next to the supermarket.

Right now, Legacy Point is far from complete: the first phase, "The Stack" is being built in the old "Mud Lot" area, and two structures, the Albertsons building and the A+/Fat Burger building came down in late July 2012. BCS Bicycles and Traditions are to follow.

Other shots, taken January 2011 & surrounding buildings...

Regrettably, I was never able to get a picture of the interior of the Albertsons, or any other time: the windows were painted over, and my one shot of the interiors was kind of messed up by the flash, and while it did capture some of the interior in a blurry configuration that revealed rows of fluorescents and columns, it mostly created a reflection of me, which I didn't like.

The next shot is one that's not mine, but it's a great shot, with the old Hancock Fabrics sign visible. The second and third show older tenants, like Rother's and Hancock Fabrics. These were taken in May 2012 by me. I guess the businesses didn't bother changing the signs in the rear...

I had noticed there was a ladder behind Albertsons, so you could climb up on the roof (in theory, of course--you wouldn't actually be stupid enough to go up there, would you?) No matter, since there's nothing of Albertsons anyway.

Two Food Shacks
For years (since approximately 1991, if I recall correctly), there was a little Cajun food place called Hebert's Cajun Food. It wasn't that cheap, but it was fast, delicious, and worth it: much like a food truck. It closed on June 15th, 2012 with more pictures (not mine) here, and later moved to Village Foods, but it's not the same (drinks were cheaper, for one). On August 30, 2013, Hebert's left Village Foods, so don't go there if expecting gumbo. In October 2013, they were still looking for a new location.

There was also a coffee shop, "Java Jitters" just directly across it, which was a small shack operated by the same owners of Hebert's (the same guy ran both shacks, but obviously never simultaneously). Never went to it, it was only open in the mornings. The addresses of Hebert's and Java Jitters were 727 University Drive and 729 University Drive, respectively. You can see my pictures below.

Java Jitters, gutted.

725 University Drive
I also took the picture (a few, actually!) of the A+ Tutoring/Fat Burger building, which had both closed after the spring 2012 semester (the building was torn down in July 2012). Which was a shame, as I had gone to both buildings in the semester prior: trying to pass Organic Chemistry through A+, or hanging out in Fat Burger (not related to a chain called Fatburger, that's different--seems it's confused Yelpers), which had a fixings bar (which I went to fairly early in the day). It wasn't bad like Rev's American Grill (that was a disappointment, which I will never eat at again), and the place lived up to its name--offering the 1/3 pound "Fat Burger" and the full-pound Bevo Burger.

I didn't take the front of A+, nor Fat Burger at night, unfortunately (Fat Burger kind of had this half-burned out light, and A+ didn't light up at all). There was a picnic bench in front of both buildings. I know I remember (maybe circa 2003) that A+ actually had the "AT+" logo on the front, but it still must have ran afoul of TAMU logo usage, as seen below). In the pictures from June and July 2012 below, you can see a picture of the Albertsons interior taken by Stalworth (so it's not mine--my old cell phone would never be able to capture that resolution) and another ad, from December 1971 (the first Christmas of the grocery store). You can see those above.

According to a 1989 directory, the original tenant of A+ Tutoring was Music Express, a record store, and in the 1970s, was the site of Budget Tapes & Records, which was a popular music chain at the time. Later, a 1995 directory refers to the spot as "A&M Tutoring" (one of those TAMU related business names that ran afoul of the new usage terms: it's not clear if they had already changed their sign by that time).

They offer CHEM 227 and CHEM 228, just not at the time they painted this. Good thing, they did later...

Never thought to get Fat Burger delivered.

Old and less old.

The front of the building, taken in daytime by a cell phone camera.


Former condiments bar.

This location is gone, too.

711 Church Avenue
Announced as the first new addition to Legacy Point, The Stack at Legacy Point is a large, low-rise apartment building that is unfortunately cheaply built with far too few elevators and paper-thin walls. We'll add a picture at another time, but the Yelp! page has pictures of outside and inside.

The most intriguing part is that it does have retail inside, the first tenant being a MedPlus branch ("MedPlus at the Stack"), which opened in February 2014. By the way, that's the Rise in the background, not the Stack.

Here since the 1970s, this restaurant is open 24 hours whether you're visiting people who live on campus, a rotund local who eats here regularly, or totally wasted. I haven't eaten here since about 1999. My only other significant memory of it was when they were playing "Mr. Blue Sky" on the outdoor speakers, which was earlier in 2013.

A few more things to note: while the former Crazy Cajuns', IHOP (oldest continuously operating restaurant in College Station), Hebert's, Java Jitters, Scholotzsky's, and that tiny building that serves an ATM are part of University Square, the Taco Bell, Chipotle, and McDonald's are NOT and can be found elsewhere on the blog. For more information on Mr. Gatti's (later Schlotzsky's) and that tiny building, click here to learn more about them.

Most recently updated in June 2014.