Carbon-izer.com - The Katy Freeway Corridor

THE KATY FREEWAY CORRIDOR

Katy Freeway is (generally) Interstate 10 west toward Katy, Texas past Loop 610 (though the Katy Freeway goes almost into downtown). Home to a famouse late 2000s widening that made it the widest freeway in the country, it is still an interesting highway and worth reading up on. This page only covers from Loop 610 to Beltway 8. Hot on the heels of Version 7.0 is Version 8.0. It...

* adds Crowne Plaza, Village Medical Plaza (restoring the Pappy's Café section), Exxon/McDonald's (at Echo), Taste of Texas, Pappasito's Cantina, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, Exxon (at Wilcrest), McDonald's (at Wilcrest), Twin Peaks, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Ethan Allen, Taco Cabana, and Pappy's Cafe (new location).
* updates Holiday Inn Express (more on former restaurants and early history), 7 Square (more on the former Holiday Inn, format fix), Hedwig Place (expands former tenants), Pretty Please Gifts & Boutique (typo), Gateway at Spring Valley (typo), Echo Lane Shopping Center (update to the Chase and a new PDF), and Birons Youth Sports Center (nearby building demolished).
* restores Arrabella (former RoomPlace), Arlo Memorial, Mac Haik Chevrolet (with updates), Tully Shopping Center (former Kmart; with updates), Courtyard by Marriott, and Hyatt Regency (former Omni; with updates).
* integrates the new Memorial City Mall page link.

INTERSTATE 610 to ANTOINE DRIVE

This section picks up from the Loop 610 page.

Houston's First Baptist Church / 7401 Katy Fwy.
"The Loop" location of First Baptist Church was first built in the late 1970s (there's a plaque outside about the church's history) when it moved from downtown, and originally featured a two-story worship center with an L-shaped set of classrooms around it.

By 1989 it had expanded substantially, including a large gymnasium area and a six-story wing to the south with Sunday School classrooms. The gymnasium wing was a full-fledged fitness center, including racquetball rooms and showers, and also included a bowling alley.

Finally, sometime around in the late 1990s an addition wrapped around the building, though only through the second level (the first level is a direct passage into the courtyard).

The Forum at Memorial Woods / 777 North Post Oak Road
This retirement community and retirement home opened in fall 1989. More details at The Houston Files, where I previously wrote about it in 2018.

MARQ*E ENTERTAINMENT CENTER

Originally, where Marq*E stands today was very different, instead, the home to Cameron Iron Works, with about 85 acres located at the northeast corner of Silber Road and Katy Freeway (the very southwest corner appeared to be occupied by a bank). The Texas State Historical Association mentions the plant opened in 1946, but an article refers to the new plant at Silber and Katy as early as 1942 (1000 Silber Road according to what I can find). Before and after the war it primarily made oilfield-related materials (during the war, mounted gun components), with wartime materials also being produced prior to the Vietnam War. An economic downturn and restructuring ended up causing nearly half of the plant to be demolished (the side closest to the freeway). In 1983, there were 4,000 workers at the plant, in 1986, 1,000. From what I could tell, the plant shut down for good in the early 1990s shortly after Cooper Industries acquired the company. Today, the site is occupied by a variety of businesses, including Marq*E Entertainment Center, a Walmart, numerous restaurants, and townhomes. Marq*E takes up about 40% of the former site (including the aforementioned corner at the northeast section of Katy Freeway and Silber). A full overview of Marq*E and its history (particularly around 2011 when a good chunk of the center was removed and replaced with a parking lot) will come in a future update but I wanted to go over a few highlights. The map of the complex can be seen here and you can see what's up there by visiting the official site.

Crowne Plaza / 7611 Katy Freeway
In 1956, the site where this hotel would later be was Robinwood Motor Lodge / Robinwood Lounge, a restaurant and motel. In 1971, the motel closed and would be rebuilt into a six-story hotel and restaurant, though fairly early construction in the process, it was announced it would be a Red Carpet Inn rather than known as Robinwood Motel as the original plan was.

The hotel reopened in April 1972 with 260 rooms, two four-room suites, and "several" two-room suites, as well as featuring a formal dining room, a coffee shop, and a cocktail lounge. By the late 1970s it was known (informally) as Red Carpet Inn-West due to other Red Carpet Inns in the Houston area. After 1980, it became a Holiday Inn and after nearly fifteen years as Holiday Inn, became Four Points Hotel Sheraton in November 1995. The Four Points name didn't last long, and by November 1996 it became Ramada Plaza. It was Travelodge very briefly (2009) before being closed and renovated inside and out as a Crowne Plaza (Crowne Plaza Houston Galleria Area), which opened in 2012.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites / 7625 Katy Freeway
Since around 2002, this has served as a hotel, today a Holiday Inn Express (though might've served as Best Western originally). In the early 1980s, two restaurants were here, Pizza Hut (7633) and Kettle (7625), but my restaurant list for 1995 doesn't list their locations, indicating they may have already been closed since then.

Kettle was at 7625 Katy Freeway from 1976 to 1987, and by March 1988, it was known as a restaurant called Greens, then Bacco's (1991-1992), then (in 1993) Il Dio di Vin', run by local chef Augie Mariane. This doesn't have any references past 1995.

Jack in the Box / 7699 Katy Freeway
Jack in the Box opened in 1995 at the southeast corner of Silber Road and Katy Freeway. A renovation to the interior was completed in 2015.

Legends of Memorial / 915 Silber Road
Built as Chateau Memorial back around 1964 (advertising all the upscale apartment perks of the mid-1960s including weekly oven cleanings) and by 1967 was going as Chateau Memorial West, which it would keep for several years afterward. By 1989 it was going under the Villa Estates name, which included an update of the units (and based on a photograph, added a few sculptures for a vague Italian theme). The name didn't last long—Legends of Memorial first appeared for the apartment name around 1991.

The view from Katy Freeway isn't a pretty one, though. Originally, the north side of the apartment faced a Shell station at 7703 Katy Freeway. In 1984, it was listed as "Silber Road Shell" and residual Internet listings mention "Silver Shell Center", indicating that it had an automotive garage component. In 2015, a gated parking lot was built on the site (complete with a roll of barbed wire on top), with a large fence and green tarp between the lot and Legends of Memorial.

7 Square / 7777 Katy Freeway
Originally, this was the home of Courtesy Chevrolet (7777 Katy Freeway) and a Holiday Inn & Suites (7787). Both were demolished around 2005 as part of a land swap during the Katy Freeway widening and was replaced by Alexan Silber, a luxury apartment building completed in 2009. It was renamed 7 Square in 2014 following new management.

The Holiday Inn was opened in 1974 as a Ramada Inn (Ramada Inn West) and became a Holiday Inn around January 1996 (after Holiday Inn pulled out of 7611).

IKEA / 7810 Katy Freeway
California-based STØR (a furniture store similar to IKEA) opened in October 1991 but in 1992 IKEA purchased the company and closed the store down, reopening it that same year as IKEA. In 2004, a new building was built behind the original 1992 STØR/IKEA, which became the new IKEA with the same address (the 1992 building was torn down). There's no existing picture of the building as a STØR but it was photographed in 2004 (as an IKEA) shortly before demolition. The picture can be seen at Houston Historic Retail.

The original STØR/IKEA had no access to the freeway's frontage road. You could only get in through the main entrance from Antoine, or the back entrance, as Afton Street originally extended around the back of STØR/IKEA and crossed the railroad. The rebuild closed off Afton entirely just after Shavelson Street (and by then, the railroad was gone).
Since then, IKEA has renovated the building (inside) and added solar panels on top. The original STØR plat replaced 1002 Antoine, an apartment complex (from extensive research, it appears that this apartment complex did not have a name) dating back to the early 1970s. Additionally, built at the same time as STØR's construction and torn down around IKEA's rebuild was a strip center, 1020 Antoine Drive. One of the old listings has Supercuts as one of the tenants (Suite C).

CubeSmart Self Storage / 7825 Katy Freeway
Built in 1989 as Private Mini Storage, this self-storage place has seen little change except for a partial demolition owing to the freeway. It was still Private Mini Storage in 2005 when the front of the complex was demolished. Directly west of it was Wellesley Inn & Suites (see the link in the previous sentence for pictures). Opening in 1999, this short-lived hotel was closed sometime in 2005 and torn down for freeway widening (what's left of the area is now a retention pond). The hotel's heavily vandalized exterior prior to demolition can be seen at HoustonFreeways. Details of the hotel's opening and closing can't be found, other than a mention of a 2003 robbery where a million dollars worth of jewelry was stolen from a hotel room. The address of Wellesley was 7855 Katy Freeway.

Ranchero King Buffet / 1010 Antoine Drive
Built in the mid-1990s as SteaKountry Buffet, which offered American and Mexican dishes (always Mexican, even advertising in a Spanish-language section in the Houston Chronicle in 1997) but by 2017 was serving exclusively Mexican dishes. By 2018 it was Ranchero King Buffet, but whether this was a name change or an entirely new restaurant has yet to be determined.

ANTOINE ROAD to BINGLE ROAD / VOSS ROAD

7951 Katy Freeway
This strip mall was first developed in the mid-1960s as Howard Johnson's motel and restaurant with a slightly different address for what it later became (7953 Katy Road/7953 Katy Freeway). See Arch-ive.org (not my site) for more information and a post card. After it was closed in 1985 and demolished, it remained vacant for several years until a REI store was built and opened at 7951 Katy Freeway. This store opened in 1996 but by 2003 it had relocated to 7530 Westheimer Road owing to the construction of the Katy Freeway widening. In 2008, after the widening, a strip center was built here, which also took the place of 7955 Katy Freeway (Memorial 1 Motorcars, a small import car dealership).

It should be noted that it was mostly empty even into 2011. Tenants as of 2016 include Memorial Wine Cellar (B, I couldn't find A, unless it absorbed it), Dolce Ave Boutique (C), Era Thai Massage (D, since at least 2015, seems to have replaced "Mobile Tan Houston" and "Retreat & Relax"), Houston Bridal Gallery (E, website says it relocated here in 2010), J. Dall Hair Salon (F), Silly Silly Girls (boutique in G, opened 2012), Houston Dental Works (Suite I--couldn't find H), The Shelton Family Cleaners (J), Encore Caregivers (K, well at least used to be, closed between 2014 and 2015), That Cigar Place (L), Solutions in Pharmacy (M) Body Mind and Soul (N, since 2013), Nourish Pet Care (Suite Q, couldn't find O or P, nor does there seem to be space for it), Paradise Nails & Spa (R), Live Well Chiropractic & Wellness (S), and Boca2 Gastro Bar & Bites (T, formerly Il Mondo Della Pizza Ristorante, looks like).

9900 on Memorial / 9900 Memorial Drive
This opened in 1963 as Continental Square Apartment City (later 9900 Memorial Apartment City). In the early 1970s, it assumed its current name, though stylized as 9900 "on" Memorial. Today, this has the address of 772 International Blvd., the "international" being derived from the apartment complex's original six complexes-within-a-complex from the early 1970s (see this advertisement). While 9900 on Memorial eventually de-emphasized the six apartment styles, it still retains the original buildings.

Shipley Do-Nuts / 8135 Katy Freeway
This donut shop opened in 2017 moving from down the street. The complicated story of this pad site is described in detail below.

McDonald's / 8147 Katy Freeway
When McDonald's first opened at 8145 Katy Freeway in 1990 it was the former lot of Presto Buildings and the last in a line of commercial buildings stretching down from 7955 Katy Freeway (see the 7951 Katy Freeway entry). Next to 7955 Katy Freeway was a Whataburger (8009 Katy Freeway) built in the mid-1980s. Next to that was Denny's (8015 Katy Freeway), then La Quinta Inn (8017 Katy Freeway), and Steak & Ale (8135 Katy Freeway). La Quinta and Denny's stuck around until the end, but Steak & Ale (built in the 1970s) closed in the mid-1990s, Dixie's Red Hot Roadhouse opened here in September 1997.

The restaurant allegedly changed names to Dixie's Cajun Roadhouse in 2000, though newspapers still refer to it as their old name through 2001. Also, while this site is pretty dull otherwise (a personal website from the Web 1.0 days) it does contain a picture of the restaurant's exterior (showing a rather extensive remodel from Steak & Ale) as well as an awesome night shot of the sign.

Dixie's was briefly replaced by El Tiempo Cantina (from August 2001) but the was building was demolished by October 2005). None of these four lots were very deep (164 feet). Finally, next to Dixie's/El Tiempo was 8125 Katy Freeway (out of order address-wise). This restaurant opened as Uncle John's Family Restaurant opened in March 1981. By 1990, the restaurant space was home to Platters Seafood Bar & Grill instead. By 1995, the restaurant would become a location of 59 Diner before it was demolished for the freeway widening.

McDonald's itself was a victim of the closures, and by 2009, the lots of Whataburger, La Quinta, and Denny's had been completely wiped off the map. Only a small portion of 8135's parking lot was left, and most of the lots of 8145 (McDonald's) and 8125 (59 Diner).

Once the dust had settled by 2010, National Tree & Shrub opened at 8147 Katy Freeway, developed on the empty lots. In 2013, the garden center was downsized when the former McDonald's area was taken over by the expansion of the Exxon, with the old Tiger Mart convenience store being replaced with a modern Timewise, expanding it from 1,300 square feet to 5,000 square feet, and finally, after the 2014 season, NT&S closed and McDonald's took over the lot.

McDonald's actually sat on the old 59 Diner space but took the 8147 space. The old garden center space that wasn't taken by McDonald's remained empty until Shipley took it over (see above).

Exxon / 8155 Katy Freeway
In 1993, an Exxon gas station was built at the corner of Chimney Rock and Katy Freeway and survived the Katy Freeway widening. See above (the McDonald's entry) for more information.

Shell / 9120 Katy Freeway
Timewise built a Shell at Wirt and Katy Freeway in 2018, despite already operating the convenience store (Exxon) on the other side of the freeway.

CVS/pharmacy / 8201 Katy Freeway
This CVS was built in 2005 and opened in 2006 on the site of a Chevron (originally built as a Gulf, dating back to the late 1970s). The Chevron was not otherwise affected by the widening.

The Home Depot / 8400 Katy Freeway
This Home Depot store opened in October 2005. In 2007, new retail stores were built in front of it.

Shell / 8525 Katy Freeway
This Shell station (from 1983) is unique for its large, three-point base sign. It survived the widening and just updated the logo in the early 2000s. The canopy, which originally had two double hexagonal-shaped sections (seen in several Shell sites across the area), was changed in 2018 for a traditional one. The convenience store is Timewise.


BINGLE ROAD / VOSS ROAD to BLALOCK ROAD / ECHO LANE

Dad's Club Aquatic Center / 1006 Voss Road
Across the freeway from Old Voss Road, is another Voss Road (and not signed as "Old Voss Road"). This aquatic center (membership required) has been here since the 1940s (and slowly expanded). From the 1960s to the early 2000s, part of the site was donated to the Westside Family YMCA, which occupied its oldest building. The fact that the freeway demolition would take that building meant that the YMCA ended up selling their remaining land back to the club and moving to greener pastures. Since that, the aquatics center has continued to expand, including demolishing a building for a pool (or maybe just disenclosing it), as well as adding another pool.

Hedwig Place / 8731 Katy Freeway
This office building was once the location of the flagship Academy store, which sat roughly on this building's footprint (slightly east of it, the vacant space next to it was where the bulk of the building was). Located at a more-recently built corner of a strip mall (built in 1949), this was Farmer's Gas & Hardware Company in 1953 (the 1953 Google Earth aerial appears to show this section under construction) on 8723 Katy Road, predating the freeway (Katy Road was a divided four lane highway). By late 1965, it was a location of Southern Sales Stores, which carried an eclectic line of merchandise that was advertised in papers, including hiking shoes, glass goblets, tools, and others. In 1974, it was renamed as Academy Super Surplus Stores (and by this time, the address was 8723 Katy Freeway) under new ownership from a year prior, which continued to expand throughout Houston and points beyond. By 1987, the 8723 Katy Freeway store was the only store of the 18 Houston stores (including locations in College Station and Huntsville) that was open until midnight, with the rest closing no later than 9 pm.

In 1989, it was rebuilt as a modern two-story Academy store (likely taking out the 8721 Katy address) at 44,000 square feet, but in 2009, Academy Sports & Outdoors (with an ampersand as opposed to the plus sign they have today) finally closed at this location to move to 9734 Katy Freeway. With Academy gone, the space became the home of Fishing Tackle Unlimited, which was opened in 2012. This location moved from a location at 8933 Katy Freeway, and bragging the store was the "World's Largest Tackle Store" before moving again in 2018. That same year, the Academy building and most of the adjacent 1949 strip center was torn out for the five-story Hedwig Place, a five-story medical building at 8731 Katy Freeway, which welcomed its first tenants in early 2019. In April 2020, Federal American Grill opened in suite 150.

Most of the older buildings east of here were torn down for other reasons. To the immediate east of the former Academy (just after a driveway that led to additional parking in the back) was Memorial Antiques & Interiors. Located at 8719 Katy Freeway and originally opened in 2006, this was Kuehnert's Auction Gallery from around 1988 to around 2005. Just to the east of this building were additional strip mall tenants. From Memorial Antiques east (as of 2017) was Discount Awards (8713-B), E-Z Auction Stop (8715-A), South Texas Brick & Stone (8715-B), Gate Openers Direct (8713), and Bags & More (8711), the last one with the tagline of "Unique Boutique & Gifts".

To the immediate east of that waa a garden center replacing some older office buildings. "Beyond Organic" was the name at 8705 Katy Freeway, and operated approximately from 2013 to 2017. Finally, just east of that on the other side of Old Voss Road was Las Alamedas.

Originally opened in 1980, this Mexican restaurant (8615 Katy Freeway) entertained diners for years with its large building and leafy exteriors. In February 2009, following a long battle with their landlord, the restaurant closed permanently and eventually relocated to west Katy (however, it did not survive COVID-19). The building never found a new tenant and was eventually demolished.

There was something in Las Alamedas' spot from the 1950s to late 1970s but it isn't clear what it is, perhaps even a small "tourist court".

8775 Katy Freeway
This restaurant's former tenant, Sweet Tomatoes, closed in March 2020 "temporarily" due to the COVID-19 crisis a few months before the chain announced that the restuarants would not reopen. The buffet-style chain restaurant was opened in August 1998 (Grand Opening 8/3/98) in a purpose-built building.

Pretty Please Gifts & Boutique / 8791 Katy Freeway
This women's clothing boutique replaced a Citgo. It survived the Katy Freeway widening, but in 2014 it was torn down. Pretty Please opened in 2018 after the site remained empty for a few years.

Starbucks Coffee / 8819 Katy Freeway
Built in 2015 on the site of a Mobil that was torn down the previous year, this small footprint Starbucks still features Mobil's rounded-off rectangle sign.

Saltgrass Steak House / 8943 Katy Freeway
Built as a steakhouse by locally owned Steak House Associates in 1974, The Courtyard Restaurant originally featured what was described by Texas Monthly as an "inside outside" style, "complete with undies hanging from an overhead clothesline".

In the mid-1980s, faced with heavy competition in the steakhouse quadrant, Steak House Associates closed the restaurant for a few months and reopened as "Truffles!" featuring New American cuisine. In the late 1980s, Truffles! closed down and was eventually sold to new owners, which would reopen it as Saltgrass Steak House in 1991, but not before a major fire gutted the restaurant, causing the restaurant to be largely rebuilt inside and out. (Houston Chronicle helped out a lot for this section).

Goode Company Kitchen & Cantina / 9005 Katy Freeway
Prior to The Mason Jar (in 1970), Lee's Camping Center (RVs dealership) was here, with The Mason Jar building a restaurant here in 1973. The Mason Jar's only location wasn't here, in 1984, they also had a location at 12330 Gulf Freeway. The Mason Jar took off in 2017 for Katy but closed in October 2019, less than two years later. Goode Co. Kitchen & Cantina quickly reopened in the spot in December 2017.

9190 Katy Freeway
In 1984, this was listed as "Carousel Skating Rink" (not of the "ice" variety) in the directory and by 2001 it was St. James Furniture & Interior Design, with an exterior shot visible at TexasFreeway.com. Around 2005, the store was closed and the building partially demolished. By 2016, it was medical offices, including the home of Pedro M. Argüello, MD and Russel Williams, MD as well as Spring Valley Imaging LP (medical imaging). In the research of this building, I couldn't believe the St. James building was the same building trolling Katy Freeway travelers (as of 2016 anyway) with messages on the electronic screen like "Hemorrhoids? We can help!" or "Prostate checks".

Village Medical Plaza / 9055 Katy Freeway
A four story medical office building is at the southeast corner of Corbindale Road and Katy Freeway. To the immediate east of it was the old location of Pappy's Café at 9041 Katy Freeway, which was opened in 1983 but moved in 2018 and demolished a few years later.

Gateway at Spring Valley / 9090 Katy Freeway
Office building built in 2015, see Loopnet page. It opened with medical and bank tenants among them but also Peli Peli Kitchen, the lower-priced fast-casual version of Peli Peli restaurant, in suite 190. The site was on a strip center that was torn down for the widening. Where the frontage road is now was 1000 Campbell Road, the original site of Ciro's Italian Grill.

Peli Peli Kitchen ended up closing a few years later (a victim of 2020's COVID-19 closures), with Jonathan's The Rub opening in 2021.

9201 Katy Freeway
I first became aware of Georgia's Farm to Market back in spring 2016, which looked like an interesting farmer's market-type store, despite its small size. Alas, at the time, I was too poor, too pressed for time, and wasn't even on the right side of the road (Blalock was my exit, but I would have to circle around twice). When I returned in February 2020, the store was clearly closed, yet the parking lot was full of cars, and really nice cars at that. Hoping I wasn't stumbling onto something illegal, I poked my head inside to see a small class of people doing painting lessons in the gutted building. I didn't interact with them, I had completed my purpose, and I don't think they even noticed me. As for Georgia's, it moved and renamed in early 2018.

Georgia's had occupied the spot since 2013, when it was moved from a location at the former Kmart described lower in this page. (It was only supposed to be a temporary move but ended up being permanent). Prior to Georgia's, it was a granite and flooring store (though I'm not able to figure out the name as of this writing).

To see the Georgia's as it appeared in February 2020, please see my pictures here and here.

Exxon / McDonald's / 9303 Katy Freeway
This Exxon/McDonald's opened in 1996 as a Chevron/McDonald's (though the Chevron became an Exxon between 2011 and 2014, and "Timewise" eventually became the name of the convenience store). The McDonald's features a Playplace inside, and a car wash facility is in the back.

BLALOCK ROAD / ECHO LANE to GESSNER ROAD

99 Ranch Market / 1005 Blalock Road
Built as a large, suburban (and semi-upscale) Fiesta Mart in January 1990, this store closed in December 2007. The official reason was the construction cutting off a substantial part of parking but there were other circumstances believed to have been involved. In November 2009, it reopened as 99 Ranch Market, which looks to have reconfigured the floorplan by incorporating an Asian supermarket-style food court.

ECHO LANE SHOPPING CENTER

Echo Lane Shopping Center was built in the mid-1970s (probably a facade update in the late 1980s with Safeway/AppleTree's expansion), and a PDF site plan can be seen here, archived from here. An older 2013 plan can be seen here, which is also saved. It has Loehmann's on it.

9430 Katy Freeway
This office building (formerly 9430 Old Katy Road before the highway widening obliterated Old Katy Road) actually survived the widening, though the front parking lot was destroyed (and in effect, made the front door worthless, it's not even connected via sidewalks). According to old newspapers, one of its earliest tenants was R.M. Mayfield Constructors in 1982, with "Corporate Recruiting Unlimited Personnel Consultants" in Suite 100 in 1983. Another early tenant was the Houston West Chamber of Commerce (1986, suite 130). In February 2006, the building became the West Houston campus of Select Specialty Hospital (the building sporting a logo slightly different than the one seen online, featuring a logo on the west side of the building sporting sporting some version of Garamond but in 2016 the hospital closed permanently. Later it reopened as Trinity Hospital.

9440 Katy Freeway
Originally, this was home to an office building, with a 1984 directory listing a wide variety of businesses including Dr. James P. Boren, Butler Business, "Citizen Busns Mach" (Citizen Business Machines?), Cunningham Co., Ganz Construction, Herrington Chiropractic (also listed as Dr. H Herrington), Inter by Phyllis, Peugeot Motors Inc., Vanreenan International, Wallpaper Shoppe, Zener Electronics. It was demolished in 2005, and only retenanted in 2015 during the time the plat was redeveloped with iFLY (since then, additional buildings were built). The new Florida-based PDQ opened in May 2015. However, in November 2019, it closed down much like the rest of the PDQ restaurants in Houston a year or so prior.

Village Plaza at Bunker Hill / 9778 Katy Freeway
The massive Village Plaza at Bunker Hill at 9778 Katy Freeway (so says Google Maps, at least) is anchored by several huge stores and numerous additional smaller stores. At the east end of the main shopping center is H-E-B at 9710 Katy Freeway. It was remodeled around 2014 with a small addition to the southwest (it originally opened in November 2008) and the store (Houston 54 - Bunker Hill #109) is a top-of-the-line H-E-B store, including an in-store restaurant. Unfortunately, the large size doesn't necessarily equate to larger selection, with the produce/perishable area featuring extra space for the large crowds that are there all the time, with the "less-crowded" days not requiring law enforcement to direct traffic. Next to the H-E-B is Nordstrom Rack. Planned to open as a Circuit City (with the new "The City" concept) it never did, instead opening as TigerDirect's CompUSA (taking the name and logo from the recently-deceased retailer) in 2009. TigerDirect went out of the retail business a few years later (spring 2013) and by spring 2015, it opened as a Nordstrom Rack. The other stores heading west include a PetSmart (9718 Katy), Sam Moon Trading Co. (9726 Katy), Toys R Us/Babies R Us (9730 Katy Freeway and relocated from 9655 Katy), and finally, Academy Sports + Outdoors (relocated from 8723 Katy Freeway). The Toys R Us has been closed since mid-2018 (there are some pictures at Houston Historic Retail, but it doesn't say which photos are which), having been spared the first round of closures in early 2018 but going down with the rest of the chain later.

The McKinley / 9757 Katy Freeway
Mixed-use apartment tower built in 2021 at the southwest corner of Bunker Hill and Katy Freeway. Previous occupants in this plot of land include Charlie's Hamburger Joint (9747 Katy Freeway, operated here 1983 to 2008), a strip mall, a Texaco at the immediate corner (still a Texaco as of 2004), and a strip mall that was mostly boarded up by 2011. The only open by 2011 was Memorial Village Cleaners at 979 Ste. M (other businesses in the same building had different numbers).

Ciro's Italian Grill / 9755 Katy Fwy.
This moved here in the Katy Freeway widening (see 9090 Katy Freeway entry) but moved again (same address, new building) when the block was re-developed. See the Guadalajara Mexican Hacienda entry for more information.

Hotel ZaZa - Memorial City / 9787 Katy Fwy.
This hotel (see next entry) features "159 guestrooms, including Concept Suites and The Magnificent Seven Suites" and the Tipping Point Restaurant & Terrace. It also includes an apartment building (9789 Katy Freeway), the The McCarthy at Memorial City, which advertises that it shares amenities with the hotel (though has its own pool). The building has about 14 stories.

Guadalajara Hacienda / 9799 Katy Freeway
This address was first developed as Holiday Inn ("Holiday Inn - Katy West") in 1965 and was a typical 1960s motel-type Holiday Inn with a C-shaped building around a swimming pool and a restaurant on the premises. It appears that immediately adjacent to the hotel was a gas station, with the brand almost certainly being a Gulf, supported by this picture from 1974, showing a Gulf sign immediately behind Holiday Inn and the fact that Gulf Oil partnered with Holiday Inns during this era, with them taking a corner of the property. The gas station appears to have been torn down in the late 1980s.

Somewhere around 1990-1991, the hotel was rebranded as Days Inn (Days Inn West), then Quality Inn (by 1997), and even briefly served under the Howard Johnson Inn name by 1999.

Sometime around 2000, the hotel property was closed and torn down. A new restaurant rose from the rubble, with February 2001 holding the opening of Guadalajara Hacienda (taking the 9799 Katy Freeway address), a relocated version of Guadalajara Mexican Grille and Bar, previously located at Kimberly Lane.

Later, in early 2005, Denis' Seafood House relocated from Westheimer Road to a newly built store next to Guadalajara at 9777 Katy Freeway. 2005 also brought the end to a short-lived Verizon store at 9755 Katy (on the former Gulf station plat, likely built 2000 or 2001) for Ciro's, moving from its Campbell Road location to the address, occupying both the Verizon's plat and the former Holiday Inn (it's possible part of the Verizon building was retained and remodeled). It opened in August 2005. The three restaurants remained together for the nearly the next decade until Denis' closed and was torn down in late 2014 for new parking between the other two restaurants.

As Memorial City continued to densify, however, and by early 2016 the rear of the large parking lot was removed for a second Houston location of Hotel ZaZa (opened 2017, 9787 Katy Freeway), bringing the use of the space back to hotel for the first time in almost twenty years. In 2017, Ciro's Italian Grill began to build a larger location behind its existing location, with the 2005 building being demolished upon completion.

9900 Katy Freeway
Price Club opened here with much fanfare in early November 1992 at its first (and ultimately only, though a second store was planned at West Road and I-45 near PACE and Wal-Mart). Despite a heavy advertising blitz and a merger with Costco Wholesale (which opened nearly a decade later to the east), Price Club announced that due to competition from PACE Membership Club and Sam's Club they announced they were closing in September 1993. In 1997, Texas Commerce Bank (now Chase) purchased the building and converted it into a large call center, which is still there today.

Rooms to Go / 10000 Katy Freeway
Rooms to Go has several stores in the area, and this is no exception. Back in 1974, this was built Ideal Pool Corporation (10500 Old Katy Freeway), and came complete with outdoor models of the pools offered. By the late 1980s, the company (and the pools) were gone. Before the site was torn down for the expansion and redeveloped, it was CSI Collision Specialist at the address, though the building appears to have been rebuilt by that time.


GESSNER ROAD to SAM HOUSTON TOLLWAY

Gessner Road is where Memorial City Mall is, with Spring Branch to the north. You can explore Gessner Road from 290 to Westheimer by checking out this link, or look at Memorial City Mall directly with this link.

Office Depot / 10217 Katy Freeway
See next entry.

Birons Youth Sports Center / 10225 Katy Freeway

In June 1973, H.G. Wilson Co. of Baton Rouge, Louisiana opened one of two stores in Houston at 10225 Katy Freeway (the other at 6900 Southwest Freeway) as store #10 and #11. Wilson's eventually expanded throughout Texas before being bought by Service Merchandise in 1985. According to Funding Universe, 60% of the Wilson's merchandise mix was considered "incompatible" to Service Merchandise and due to the Katy Freeway location being among the largest of the stores, it was physically downscaled. Office Depot opened one of its first Houston stores in the area by the late 1980s (at the address of 10217 Katy Freeway) taking approximately a third of the space, but eventually Service Merchandise would declare bankruptcy and close the stores (likely around 2002). In 2005, a revamp of the building was completed with a new Sports Authority store. In May 2016, the Sports Authority went out of business shortly before the rest of the chain, and as of this writing (late 2019), it us now the home of Birons Youth Sports Center (relocated from 12163 Katy Freeway). The picture above, showing the building prior to 2005, may not actually be of this building and of 6900 Southwest Freeway, which has also has since been substantially modified.

When Wilson's was opened, it was part of two large stores in the same shopping center. Just east of the building was 10201 Katy Freeway (which was later turned into smaller stores), it was Homer's Home Centers was here in 1974 (likely built that year or the previous) and the building is still here today. It was a hardware store (huge by mid-1970s standards) that had locations elsewhere in Houston, and, from some Google searching, Austin and Dallas area as well. Note the "Old Katy Road" address, it's technically wrong as Old Katy was only the north side. Sometime around 2020, the building was demolished.

Pluckers Wing Bar / 10407 Katy Freeway
Pluckers Wing Bar opened in October 2016 but it was not the first restaurant to go here.
Originally, the whole shopping center plat that later occupied this space was built by Vincent D. Kickerillo as Heritage Air-Conditioning Inc., a facility built by a developer that installed HVAC units. It was a franchise of Friedrich air conditioners, and also included the Kickerillo Homes Information Center, a small house-like building that provided information and transportation to Kickerillo's subdivisions in the area. In the mid-1990s it was redeveloped as a shopping center with this address being used for Romano's Macaroni Grill at the end. (The first classified mentioned a need for opera singers, which was apparently one of the early gimmicks of the chain, and were still doing it by 1994). The restaurant appeared to be gone by the mid-2000s and replaced by 59 Diner by 2006, presumably relocating from further down Katy Freeway. It closed 2014 ahead of the rest of the chain.

Pappasito's Cantina / 10409 Katy Freeway
This Tex-Mex restaurant opened in 1992 and shares a parking lot with Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen.

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen / 10449 Katy Freeway
In writing these highway overviews, Pappasito's and Pappadeaux are often built at the same time and next each other, with near-identical arrangements on the South Loop and Northwest Freeway. In this case, Pappadeaux #9 opened in 1993.

Block 10 West Office Park / 10496 Katy Fwy.
In early 2002 (according to grand opening records), this opened as The Great Indoors, a warehouse-style chain operated by Sears with home décor items, including rugs, curtains, appliances, furniture, and electronics. It even had a Starbucks Coffee inside. The chain never reached its potential and was among the last nine to close, closing in early 2012 after Sears killed the remaining stores (a store near Willowbrook Mall had already closed several years prior). A parking garage was soon built behind the building to convert it to an office building, which took a while to reach fruition, but today has WDVG Petroleum Engineering Laboratories, INOV8 Orthopedics, and Envoy Mortgage.

Taste of Texas / 10505 Katy Freeway
This restaurant has been in this location since 1991 though dates back to 1977 (originally at Town & Country Village). It boasts steaks and an excellent salad bar, and even features a small retail portion where you can buy raw steaks and branded gifts.

CityCentre / 800 Town & Country Boulevard
To understand CityCentre, one must understand Town & Country Mall.

Town & Country Mall was built in 1983 as a partial redevelopment of the adjacent Town & Country Village, incorporating a Joske's department store opened in 1969. The other anchors were JCPenney, Neiman Marcus, and Marshall Field's, with the latter two having their second locations at Town & Country Mall after only being at The Galleria.

Unfortunately, due to the collapse of the oil market, Town & Country Mall never really met its full potential, and the construction of the Sam Houston Tollway shortly after the mall was built made access and visibility difficult. Joske's would become Dillard's in 1987 like the rest of the chain, and like the Marshall Field's at the Galleria, the Marshall Field's at the mall was also sold to Saks, which reopened it in 1997. Three years later, Saks Fifth Avenue would close the store. The next anchor to go was JCPenney, and in October 2003, the mall's oldest tenant, Dillard's, would close when it moved to Memorial City Mall.

The mall closed in summer 2004 with Neiman Marcus planning to stay as the mall got redeveloped. In the end, Neiman Marcus closed in 2005 and its building, still standing after the demolition of the rest of the mall, was also torn down. The only things to remain were the parking garages. CityCentre features office buildings with some offices and restaurants on the ground floor (as well as residential and hotel components). I did visit CityCentre once, and park in the parking garages that once serviced Town & Country Mall, with CityCentre's Studio Movie Grill having the dubious distinction of being, as of this writing, the last time I saw a movie in theaters. Technically, it was a superhero movie, but not of the Marvel/DC variety. Don't judge me.

SAM HOUSTON TOLLWAY to STATE HIGHWAY 6

In older versions of this page (v5 and prior), there were a few more entries that went "beyond" toward Katy Freeway. While not all of the former entries have been restored, and this section will be considerably sparser content-wise than the rest of the page, it does continue coverage of the freeway.

Arrabella / 10902 Katy Freeway
In 1972, Levitz Furniture began construction on a furniture warehouse (1009 Brittmoore) that featured a railroad spur crossing Old Katy Road. At some point, a showroom was built into the store. In 1996, Levitz was still operating it as "Levitz HomeMakers" but the store likely closed in 1997, with RoomStore operating the furniture store by 1998. All during this time, the railroad paralleling Katy Freeway was removed, but the railroad spur was removed ahead of that. According to a 1995 aerial picture, the spur to the store had the proper railroad crossing markings on the road, as did Brittmoore's crossing and another crossing at Old Katy Road near the Igloo facility. Those were left intact (with the railroad crossing being paved over and signals removed, of course) with the remnants still remaining until the construction of the freeway proper, but Levitz/RoomStore's was already paved over.

In early 2012, RoomStore closed down shortly before the parent company closed the remaining stores later that year. By 2013, the building was torn apart for Arrabella Townhomes, an apartment complex advertising itself as "luxury townhome rentals" (the development uses the same signage from RoomStore). Arrabella also used 10902 Katy Freeway as the address rather than the Brittmoore address. Ironically, Arrabella's clubhouse and main office is directly off Brittmoore while the RoomStore faced Katy Freeway.

Exxon / 11035 Katy Freeway
Originally, the Exxon and McDonald's (both built in 1994) were one structure until it was closed and rebuilt in 2016, with Exxon (Timewise) only remaining.

McDonald's / 940 N. Wilcrest Drive
This McDonald's was built in 2016, replacing their store in the Exxon. The gas station and the restaurant rebuilt on the same lot, however.

Arlo Memorial / 935 North Wilcrest Drive
As late as June 2019 this apartment building was known as The Slate but sometime later that year got its current name. Construction on The Slate began in 2014 with the demolition of several buildings on the premises, including Philips 66 (11103 Katy Freeway) at the corner, a small strip center building behind it with Sunny's convenience store (which moved across the street) and a flower shop, a La Quinta Inn (La Quinta Inn Houston Wilcrest) at 11113 Katy Freeway, a former Steak & Ale restaurant at 11109 Katy Freeway (likely closed in 2008 and was demolished in 2010), and a restaurant on the premises, last operating as "Brunch Kafé". It even had a website.


Twin Peaks / 11335 Katy Fwy.
Dirty's, a Houston-based restaurant with about two other locations, first opened here in 1994 and closed around 1999, replaced with Mesa Grill (Tex-Mex restaurant that had another location at 1971 W. Gray). In March 2001 it closed (the West Gray location remained open for a while longer) and was replaced with King Fish Market eleven months later.

A letter in the Houston Chronicle in early 2006 mentions that the bar was full of chain smokers, as even though smoking was still allowed (until September 2007), many restaurants banned the practice, leaving King Fish Market as a congregation spot. It didn't even last until the ban, and in 2007, the building became a location of DiMassi's Mediterranean Buffet. In 2009 it closed and remained boarded up for a few years before Twin Peaks opened in 2014.

Carrabba's Italian Grill / 11339 Katy Freeway
Carrabba's Italian Grill is a Houston original, though this location opened in 1993 as part of a partnership with Outback Steakhouse Inc. to expand the brand in Houston and in Florida (Outback's home state) before OSI purchased the chain entirely.

Ethan Allen / 11431 Katy Freeway
This store opened as Georgetown Manor in December 1994, a retailer featuring Ethan Allen furniture. By 1999 it was already rebranded as Ethan Allen.

Taco Cabana / 11441 Katy Freeway
Taco Cabana opened in 1995. Like many other Taco Cabanas, it has ditched the classic black-and-neon sign for a pink one and is not open 24 hours anymore (this one closes at 10 pm).

Mac Haik Chevrolet / 11711 Katy Freeway
Built as Tom Peacock Chevrolet in 1970, and eventually sold to Mac Haik in the early 1980s (rebranded to "Mac Haik's Peacock Chevrolet" in 1983 and eventually Mac Haik Chevrolet, though before 1988 as Wikipedia suggests), the peacock logo (suspiciously similar to NBC's long-running peacock logo) from the Tom Peacock days still is part of Mac Haik Chevrolet to this day. Nearby was Kirkwood Gulf, at the direct corner of Kirkwood and Katy Freeway. It opened in 1968 (11701 Katy Freeway). Kirkwood Gulf later became Kirkwood Chevron in 1987, and in 2006, it closed. Sometime around 2007, the gas station was demolished and turned into an expansion of Mac Haik with little trace left except the Chevron sign shape, now used as an additional sign for Mac Haik.

TULLY SHOPPING CENTER

Built as a large Kmart store (address originally being 12151 Katy Freeway, the current development has different addresses) at nearly 100,000 square feet (not including the adjacent Lewis & Coker space on the east side of the building), this Kmart closed in April 1995, after a major round of national closings announced in 1994 but before they pulled out of Houston entirely in the early 2000s (also announced in this 1995 closure was a store at the corner of Southwest Freeway and Beechnut and a store at Long Point and Hillendahl).

Today this is a shopping center with a variety of tenants. These will be covered in-depth in the future, but for now, here is the current leasing PDF, archived from this link. Unusually for redevelopments of this type, the garden center's semi-enclosed area was left alone and became a courtyard for the Hibachi Grill & Buffet.

Pappy's Cafe / 12313 Katy Freeway
Pappy's Café was known as a somewhat grungy restaurant coming off as a roadside cafe (part of their charm) serving steaks and hamburgers. Fearless Critic Houston Restaurant Guide gave them a C (between a D- and A+), despite congratulating them for homemade hamburger buns and bacon-wrapped foodstuffs. That was back in 2008 in their old location (described above, 9041 Katy Freeway). The new location opened in 2018 in a former Texas Land & Cattle restaurant (operated from 1999 to 2017). The building opened as a Shoney's, which operated from early 1995 to around fall 1998.

Courtyard by Marriott / 12401 Katy Freeway
Built as a Hilton Inn (presumed to be a lower-cost version of the hotel chain) and internally Hilton Inn West, like the Hilton Inn on the modern-day Beltway 8, featured a restaurant ("The Veranda") in its early years of operation. In 2002 it was renovated and reopened as The Courtyard by Marriott (better known as just Courtyard by Marriott).

Hyatt Regency / 13210 Katy Freeway
Opened in November 1983 as Hyatt Regency West Houston (one of the larger hotels in the metro, and the one farthest out), the Hyatt Regency, like many of the businesses on the north side of the freeway was on Old Katy Road, though in the case of the area around Eldridge, Old Katy had to be redirected around the underpass Eldridge had for the railroad, and around the time the Hyatt was built, Old Katy Road simply turned off to Dairy Ashford, which turned west and connected to Eldridge. For the hotel, Old Katy Road merely provided access to the hotel's parking and a small subdivision behind the hotel (which later had a buyout offer due to the expansion of Park Row and also flooded during Harvey, likely the remaining houses aren't long for this world). Additionally, a stoplight at Dairy Ashford also originally provided signalized access into the parking lot. In 1992, it became Marriott-Westside and in December 2000 rebranded again as the Omni Houston Hotel.

Moreover, due to the Katy Freeway rebuild it meant Old Katy had to be upgraded to the new westbound frontage road (allowing highway-side access for the first time) but making the former Old Katy entrance from Eldridge right in/right out due to that section of road needing to be rebuilt at grade due to the railroad underpass being removed. In the mid-2000s (2007?) the tennis courts, a feature since day one, were removed for reasons unknown.

In very late 2015 or very early 2016, the north part of the parking lot was reconfigured for the extension of Park Row behind the hotel. Finally, in 2021, the Hyatt Regency name returned to the hotel, becoming Hyatt Regency Houston West.

Although Interstate 10 continues nearly two miles toward Highway 6 (the official stopping point of this guide), it is the last business we will cover today. After that, I-10 continues to Katy proper and eventually to San Antonio, though due to the configurations of San Antonio's highway system, you have to take various side ramps and overlapping Interstate designations just to stay on I-10, and a result, the highway becomes US-90 heading west. The road eventually crosses into Mexico at Del Rio.

Highway 6 back toward 290 will be covered in the future.



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