Showing posts with label southside area. Show all posts
Showing posts with label southside area. Show all posts

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Few Demolished Southgate Area Houses


Back in spring 2011, I noticed that there were old homes at the northwest corner of the Welsh and Holleman intersection (catty-corner to the Checkers, of course) being razed for smaller, student-oriented-looking homes. Unfortunately, in my rush to screen shot the Google Maps Street View, I didn't accurately write down the address numbers even seen up there, but they were run-down duplexes nonetheless at this address. It would've been pretty cool if I could do a photo address map like does, but oh well. That's just the way things are.

I had made this post back in 2011 but didn't publish it, publishing it only now to get it out there, and to fulfill part of the purpose of this blog never really explored: to add houses, too. However, there's not a whole lot of houses (maybe a few) that are really notable of being added: there's a house in the Southwood Valley area with red pipes and other stuff, but that's about it.

The "raze and rebuild" trend has been accelerated in recent years as gentrification pushes south, but this is what I captured.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Travel Kleen and Summit

from Loopnet

317-321 Redmond Drive

Put this in the "forgotten Texas Avenue" file (and the "recycled post" file). Originally reported as part of the Aggieland Inn article when, according to the development list has lots 317, 319, and 321 Redmond Drive abandon their public right of ways. These used to be the "Travel Kleen" car wash and the Summit station, which were both demolished circa 2007. I thought they were part of a redevelopment, but it's not--today both have been cleared for a small strip mall under construction.

I've stopped at the Summit at least once (it was quite run-down) but never at the Travel Kleen--I wasn't aware there was a car wash even there (probably why they closed). Unknown to when either were built.

EDIT 11-6-13: A strip mall is up, featuring the area's first "Sleep Number by Select Comfort" and Aspen Dental. A third space is vacant.

EDIT 6-18-14: In the mid-1990s, this Summit was originally a Shell with a Zip'N convenience store. While a number of the older Shells did not make the conversion in 2003-2004 and had to convert to Summit stores, namely the two rural Shell stations profiled elsewhere on this site, the Shell here converted earlier. I'm not sure when this conversion took place. The Shell was at 321 Redmond (the same as Summit), and it was a Zip'N in 1989 (store #102) though it had been removed by 1993. The Shell signage remained up until at least by 1995.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


604 Holleman Drive

Today's post is about the gas station at Holleman and Welsh, or more accurately, what came before it.

This was the building in question.

While I was told it was a laundromat at one time (last tenant, prior to when it was demolished circa 1997-1998), it was actually a convenience store, which was built sometimes in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Built as a UtoteM and rebranded as Circle K in 1984, the store closed sometime later, but from reading everything about it, it wasn't a nice place. It never sold gas, had bars on the windows, and was once investigated by police for selling pornography near the counters that wasn't wrapped in any sort of plastic.

"Checkers", the gas station that replaced it was/is unique in a few ways. It's not any type of branded station, which is fairly unique in the landscape: Texaco, Summit, Citgo, Valero, Shell, Exxon, and Chevron are all common, but none I can think of is a truly unique name (but Googling the name strongly indicates it's a Texaco in all but name). The other thing that's even odder is the fact that there appears to be an obvious second level with windows looking out. Perhaps that someone lives up there--though even with locally owned businesses, "living above the store" is rare today, and personally, I doubt it, due to two reasons:

1) The windows never seem to be lit.
2) Given that three windows face the bright lights of the station, it seems rather...undesirable.

Still, I don't know if the space is for rent, and saying "I live above a gas station" is kind of cool where low-rise is king and mixed-use is almost unheard of.

There were "restaurants" in the gas station for years (mostly over-the-counter), going with a yellow sign for several years, all of them with names you never heard of. Mostly Mexican and fried chicken (current one is cajun, "The Remnant from Nawlins"), the only one I really remember was "El Taco Loco", which had a anthropomorphic hard taco with sunglasses, which was probably 7-10 years ago.

Circa 2011, they repainted their sign (gas station overhang) from green to white.

By the way, one more thing: there wasn't a stop here for years. A stop sign was added on Holleman in the late 1990s (with the eastbound on the light pole) but in the late 2000s (2009?) a stoplight was finally added here.

Tiny updates made on May 19th

Saturday, July 7, 2012

College Station Conference Center

From KBTX, which most definitely did not take it off from the city's Flickr account

1300 George Bush Drive

Yesterday (from when this post was made), College Station Conference Center was shut down...basically condemned due to concerns that the roof would collapse. And to me, that may be "well, it was old and needed to be torn down anyway for a more modern building", but to me it was kind of special.

For starters, it had the first permanent building off campus for the CSISD, holding first through 12th grade, built in ~1949. The high school would move out in the 1950s or 1960s and again in the 1970s (the latter building will be explored in a new post coming soon). It also had a green triangular overhang and a newer very 1980s wing built in front of it (which was there at the opening of the Conference Center in 1982), plus it was one of the few areas to use the "old" College Station logo, which has been excised practically everywhere else. It used to be on the water tanks, even in the pool at Southwood. Additionally, in the 1949 wing, it had wooden floors (carpeted) which was great: it gave the floor a nice spongy, comfortable feeling not found in newer buildings (the last major wood-floor building on campus, for instance, was Special Services Building). And more importantly, there I was volunteering at Project HOLD, which sadly eliminated its full time job position not too long after I worked here.

In 2010, I tried to get a volunteer job there, as I had done last year. Regrettably, they could not accept me, so I did the next thing: create my own archives. Do my own research. And publish what I found in an easy to view, easy to access format. This website that you're looking at, Brazos Buildings & Businesses, hosting on or possibly, is the result of that.

Here's another picture of the Conference Center (the newer wing), from the same Flickr page as the image on the top of the page came from. As you can see, it's solidly early 1980s. I do miss those hexagonal tiles, though.

When I originally published this post, I included a hand-drawn map of the building as I remembered it. Turns out the city had their own floorplan, which I saved since the original link is dead. I wasn't too far off the mark:

Anyway, in late 2012 or early 2013 it was announced that the building would not reopen, and instead it was demolished for College View Alternative School, hosting both Venture and Timber Academy.

Updated Nov/15 to merge updates and update something else.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

101 Fairview


I don't have a lot of information for this building. It was once a crummy old house at the corner of Fairview and George Bush.

However, in circa 2010, the building was renovated, a concrete parking lot built, and numerous other accoutrements were added.

Anyone know some more backstory to this?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

H-E-B College Station

Just to give you an idea of the store at 1900 Texas Avenue South.

A bit of a history lesson: prior to the year 1990, H-E-B stores did not exist at all (maybe a few tiny stores in the suburbs, called H-E-B Pantry) in the Houston market, which by extension included the College Station market. Instead, there was AppleTree (Safeway until the company had to divest the division), Randall's (at the time, a respected upscale-leaning independent), and Kroger. Those were the big ones.

Around 1992, H-E-B decided to launch a plan that would put it in the competitive Houston market by operating small, low-end stores lacking expensive-to-operate-but-otherwise-standard departments like bakeries, delis, and pharmacies. H-E-B essentially carpet-bombed the Houston market with stores like this, beating Food Lion (a similar operation) to the punch by several months (and Food Lion caught a lot of flack in Dallas for lacking pharmacies). The march to conquer Houston included a few stores in Bryan-College Station, two in Bryan, and one in College Station where DSW is now.

By 2000, H-E-B was ready to build full-line stores, and in less than a decade was second place just after Kroger, which had been established for decades. Absolutely brilliant. I had been in a "full-line" H-E-B before, a location in Waco, Texas at the corner of Dutton and Valley Mills, and in 2002, H-E-B closed its Pantry store and built their first full-line College Station-Bryan store on the corner of Texas Avenue and Holleman, but facing more toward the former, in March or April 2002 (I believe it was April). This blew everything in town out of the water at the time. Not only was it far bigger than the one in Waco (which closed down a few years ago) and had all of its departments (including a tortilleria), but also had a bakery (with bolillos), a pharmacy, a florist, a fish market, and more. The Pantry had a pretty good quality and selection for a store of its size, but the real H-E-B offered all that, and more, as it was at least twice as big. It even made the Southwest Parkway Kroger look small and dated (which admittedly it kind of was).

Up until 2015, the store's décor and layout remained largely the same, with some changes have gone on within H-E-B in the past decade. Originally, they had a video game section with a display in the middle that had TVs playing the Super Smash Bros. Melee trailer (hey, it was early 2002), and you could buy a portable PSOne there. This was gutted for more of the "general merchandise" selection they have today. Unfortunately, it was one of the earlier departments scrapped when it became clear what customer's buying habits were (Yelp likewise reports the brief time they carried Caribbean imported foods, though said reviewer is notoriously untrustworthy when it comes to restaurant reviews).

There's also a sushi-making kiosk and a gourmet food sample place that was added later. In the front, there were what appeared to be large sheds (they were later removed to accommodate more garden supplies), and there was also a Washington Mutual bank inside (which may or not have been the first bank there). Fortunately, H-E-B converted it to an IBC bank (removed circa 2012) before Washington Mutual collapsed completely.

All in all, the store (which, by the way, boasts warehouse-style ceilings, unlike the old Pantry) became wildly successful today. Despite the college students which tends to have the store carry some more downscale items, it let the store have a 24 hour/7 days a week schedule during the school year, so anyone can go in for cat litter, gummy bears, and soy milk at 1 am, something even Houston suburbanites can't do (but they have Auntie Anne's and a Greek restaurant, so...)

The parking is usually full and the store is popular, but due to the tight and hilly footprint the store sits on, it can't expand, which is a shame. It was curiously bumped to the bottom of remodeling lists, leaving it with all 2002 décor intact, and now already is starting to look small, dated, and downscale compared to other H-E-B stores I've seen (though again, it's hard to criticize your store when there are still dozens of stores floating around without even pharmacies). The presence of the store managed to clean up the entire block. The land value of the nearby homes on Park Place shot up (and even sparked a mild building boom). This was a part of a big Southgate revival, though in some cases, ended up demolishing decent homes that just needed a little love for dense, student-living oriented townhomes.

In 2015, the store began to remodel, tearing off the giant lettering on the sides of the colored walls (some glimpses can be caught of that), and is currently undergoing significant changes, namely moving the florist to the other side of the store near the pharmacy, making the produce area less of a maze, and a few other things. Obviously, it won't any physical expansions.

Enjoy these few pictures I took at H-E-B in June 2010, taken with my crappy old cellphone camera.





I have two directories from the store. The more colorful one is from the 2002 opening. See if you can see the differences...the later one is from 2005. Download them both here.

There's more stories to tell, even. The space before the H-E-B included the El Chico restaurant on the corner (which was a number of things before that, including the original Allen Honda location (newspaper clipping, MyBCS confirms it), which later became Bud Ward Volkswagen (Allen Honda must have moved to Southwest Parkway by that point, more on that later), "Charlie's Under the Water Tower" (a bar), and then El Chico (which may or may not have been a rebuild). It was torn down in 2007 for a Chase bank, which may or may have not been related to the Texas Avenue widening.

From John Ellisor comes this picture of Bud Ward Volkswagen, one of the car dealerships there at some point. I think I see the Holiday Inn in the background.

The old water tower that was behind it was dismantled around 2002-2003 for an H-E-B gas station and car wash, and connected to what was the El Chico was a shabby-looking maroon building (with wooden shingles if I remember right) with Early Bird Cleaners and Aggieland Printing. This, and its adjacent parking lot (a holdover from the car dealership?) can be seen below.

Both moved to a yellow building in the parking lot, though Early Bird Cleaners has since departed.

-rewritten may/15