Carbon-izer Presents Uptown Houston - Loop 610
Loop 610
Welcome to Loop 610, also known as I-610, which encircles the core of Houston. The Carbon-izer City Guide only covers a small portion of Inner Loop and does not go south or east at this time. (If resources were better available, a Baton Rouge link might be made, but no). Despite the whole loop, the focus will be on the western part of the Loop. As this page was made primarily to connect the US-290 pages and Westheimer pages together, and moves counter-clockwise. To that end, it starts at West 18th Street to maintain continuity with the existing pages here, even though the exits don't line up. Version 3.0 is a substantial update that adds the entire loop, rewrites the introduction paragraph, and...

* adds 1111 West Loop North (former Malibu Grand Prix), Northwest Transit Center (including the old antique mall!), Robbins Bros., Public Storage, 2425 West Loop South, CVS/pharmacy (at Westheimer), Brookdale Living Solutions (former Guest Quarters), 5133 Richmond (Best Buy), Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine (former Conn's), Houston Community College - West Loop Campus (former Incredible Universe), Lowe's (at Beechnut), 8715 West Loop South (former PACE Membership Warehouse), Whataburger (at South Main), Taco Bell, Arby's, Golden Corral, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, Pappasito's Cantina, Cavender's Boot City, Davis Chevrolet, Houston Grub Park, Direct Scaffold Supply, Sunoco (at S. Wayside), Love's Travel Center (at McCarty), Whole Foods Market (at Yale), Ventura's Bridal Fashions, Burger King (at Yale), El Rey Cuban & Mexican Cuisine, The Home Depot, Thomas Bar-B-Q, Denny's, Applebee's, and Sheraton Houston Brookhollow.
* restores Velvet Taco, Post at Afton Oaks, and 5005 Richmond (former Chick-fil-A)
* removes Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers and 3011 Ella (both integrated into top of Ella section)

WEST 18TH STREET to KATY FREEWAY

This is where we come in from Northwest Freeway.

Houston Garden Centers / 1700 West Loop North
This was Wolfe Nursery from 1988 to 1998, Houston Garden Centers purchased it in 1998 and still operates it to this day.

1111 West Loop North
Concrete plant for Williams Brothers Construction. In better days this was 1105 West Loop North and home to Malibu Castle (1979-1987), also known as Castle Fun Park, Malibu Grand Prix, and Malibu Family Entertainment Center (1105 and 1111 were both used by the late 1980s, presumably one for the go-kart track and another for the golf course). After a period as "Funwerks" around 2002-2004, it was closed and mostly torn down, briefly serving as Brazos Brick & Stone before the property was demolished in highway widening projects.

Goodwill Industries of Houston / 1140 West Loop North
The local Goodwill HQ (not a store). One of the few businesses that actually face 610 in this stretch.

Northwest Transit Center / 7373 Old Katy Road
The terminus of the HOV/HOT lane, a recent rebuilding of the center features a traffic circle instead of the old loops of the old center and new bus terminals for the new BRT line. Across the street is additional parking. This parking lot was the old location of 7200 Old Katy Road (later known as 1001 West Loop North). From a 1984 directory, this listed the following with all the same phone numbers for this address: Argo Sales Co., Phil Rich Fan Mfg., Rich Properties, Ventco Inc., H C Williams Mfg., and Windmaker Fan Company, but by 1991 it ceased manufacturing fans (presumably) and became Carolyn Thompson's Antique Center of Texas. In 2012 it moved to Northwest Mall and was demolished soon after. You can see some pictures of the building (closed by that time and awaiting demolition) at HoustonFreeways.com. One of the things that plagued the antique mall for the first six years of its life or so was the presence of a railroad that ran parallel to Old Katy Road, and with the east parking lot connecting to a one-way road going south and the south entrance to Old Katy Road also crossing the railroad (yes, they had a private crossing into their own parking lot), sometimes customers would get "trapped" inside the property with slow-moving trains.

KATY FREEWAY to POST OAK BOULEVARD

You can see the Katy Freeway section which starts from the top of the page or the Northwest Freeway page, which will start at the bottom.

Uptown Park / 1121 Uptown Park Blvd.
The directory of this outdoor shopping center can be seen here (archived link). As a personal note, I'm pleased to see a Van Leeuwen shop opening here. Maybe I can try some of that Kraft Mac and Cheese flavor they've been talking about. Other (former) stores of note include Chammps Americana (closed in August 2016 in a parent company bankruptcy), which opened in 1999 with the rest of the center, and University Co-Op, an Austin UT store that closed in 2017.

POST OAK BOULEVARD to WESTHEIMER ROAD

Drury Inn / 1615 West Loop South
Officially known as Drury Inn & Suites Houston Near the Galleria as it is known officially, recently renovated inside and out (old view, note the electronic price sign hadn't been used probably even before it went over $100). The property has always been a Drury Inn since 1995.

Ashley HomeStore / 4500 San Felipe Street
Circuit City #3233 opened in September 1996 and closed in early 2009 with the dissolution of the chain. Its replacement, Ashley Furniture HomeStore (as the chain was known back then) opened in summer 2010.

Jack in the Box / 4550 San Felipe Street
This Jack in the Box was opened around January 1997 and is open 24 hours a day, even when so many other establishments no longer are. (Drive-through only, though).

Royal Sonesta / 2222 West Loop South
Opened in 1984 as Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza (as the chain was known back then) and closed for an extensive renovation in the early 2000s for an InterContinental hotel (common ownership at the time), this has been Royal Sonesta Hotel since around 2012. Check out its page here, which contains a photo and map of the first level.

Robbins Bros. / 2101 West Loop South
Engagement ring store opened in 2006; has other locations. Repainted its exterior in the mid-2010s.

Public Storage / 2303 West Loop South
Originally Safeguard Safe Storage when it was built in 2000, and became part of the Public Storage chain a few years later. It is a single building with three stories.

2425 West Loop South
Office tower which most notably the home of Stage Stores Inc. (on the outside of the building), before it went out of business in 2020. It had already been struggling prior to COVID, with its attempt to convert all of its legacy brands it owned (Bealls, Palais Royal, Peebles, Goody's, and Stage) into the off-price Gordmans brand, but COVID-19 did it in. It is currently unknown when Stage Stores moved to this location.

WESTHEIMER ROAD to SOUTHWEST FREEWAY

You can find the Westheimer Road page here, heading west with at least 60 entries out to Beltway 8, and many more to come.

CVS/pharmacy / 4755 Westheimer Road
This CVS pharmacy is 24 hours and on the east side of the highway (the Westheimer portion that's not covered). It was opened in 2002, before they bought the Eckerd stores.

Velvet Taco / 2626 West Loop South
Located in the parking lot area of Joske's (later Dillard's) and built as a Roy Rogers Roast Beef around 1969, this restaurant survived the bankruptcy of its original franchisee, Ram-Hart Systems, but not for long, and it closed sometime in the 1970s. According to forums, it became Charlie's Hamburgers and later still, after a period of vacancy, it became Houston 420, a head shop, though a summer 2003 article refers to Houston 420 being a cyber café with no mention of its former use. I'm guessing this was a new business that moved in without bothering to change any signage.

Zone D'Erotica moved in during 2004 and for years, their location here was "celebrated" as an example of Houston's lack of zoning laws, but was an eyesore in what was real estate-wise an upscale area (the increasing homeless population milling around the area didn't help). In June 2019 it closed.

Velvet Taco opened in January 2021. Architecturally the building was restored closer to what it originally was, but Velvet Taco added garish colors like bright pink columns and green walls.

Brookdale Senior Living Solutions - Galleria / 2929 Post Oak Boulevard
This opened as Guest Quarters in 1978, an all-suite hotel (210 suites, 16 floors) and later known unofficially as Guest Quarters-Post Oak when a new location off of Westheimer in 1982. In 1984, however, this hotel closed and reopened as "The Hampton at Post Oak", a high-rise retirement home, in 1985. In 2015, The Hampton at Post Oak changed its name to just Brookdale Senior Living Solutions presumably due to a trademark dispute from Hilton...the current owners of Guest Quarters' successor name.

Post at Afton Oaks / 3131 West Loop South
Based on Google Earth, this modern apartment building looks like it was completed in very late 2016. The hotel that was here was demolished here was demolished in spring 2014, and had a long history. It was originally a Holiday Inn ("Holiday Inn West Loop" to differentiate from other Houston Holiday Inn hotels) from the late 1960s up until 1995, when it was converted to The Courtyard by Marriott ("Courtyard Marriott Galleria") in the fall of that year.

During 2006 it converted back to a Holiday Inn ("Holiday Inn Near the Galleria"), perhaps the last hotel to use the 1980s-era Holiday Inn logo, before being reflagged in 2011 as Hotel 31, which maybe lasted for a year before it closed the doors on the hotel for good.

5005 Richmond Avenue
This former Chick-fil-A (closed due to ROW issues) has gotten a dedicated page at this very site a while back, in the "Marie Callender's" update. Before it was Chick-fil-A (which I ate at in November 2016, for what it's worth), before it was Marie Callender's (which was torn down for aforementioned Chick-fil-A), it was an apartment complex before it was redeveloped with the Best Buy.

5133 Richmond Avenue
This Best Buy opened in 1995 but in 2012 the store was sub-divided to add a store-within-a-store (I believe it is connected interior-wise), Pacific Kitchen & Home.

From this point on in the list, we'll be covering only a few select objects (more select than the places already covered).

SOUTHWEST FREEWAY to SOUTH BRAESWOOD BLVD.

Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine / 5505 West Loop South
This was a Conn's Appliance store from 1999 to 2015.

Houston Community College - West Loop Campus / 5601 West Loop South
This building was opened in September 1995 as an Incredible Universe, a Tandy Corporation concept with 185,000 square feet of space all dedicated to electronics. Unfortunately, they pulled the plug on the chain in 1997 (couldn't make a profit despite being wildly popular), and within a few years, this reopened as a branch of Houston Community College, with little remaining but some exterior elements. Read up on the linked page to Houston Historic Retail--you won't regret it.

Lowe's / 4645 Beechnut Street
This served as Sage discount department store from approximately 1964 to 1983. Sage was a discount store that utilized a number of leased departments (Kmart also did in its early days, though not to the extent of Sage), and already by 1973 the attached grocery store (Sage Grocery) was going under United Food Centers (no relation to any existing company as far as this website can tell). The early 1980s also had the garden center department disconnect (first as "Sage's Red Barn Nurseries" then simply "Red Barn Nurseries"). The pharmacy still operated through the end of 1983, and the center seems to have liquidated in December 1983. By April 1984, the greenhouse still operated as Parade Nurseries (which had two other locations in Houston) though it closed in May. In July 1984, Home-Pro Warehouses out of San Antonio opened. By February 1985, it was known as Builders Square following the company's sale to Kmart Corporation.

It closed in 1999 with the rest of the Houston stores after the spin-off of the chain in 1997. In 2001 the site was demolished and Lowe's opened on the site in 2002, also closing off Indigo Street which ran to the south of the store.

8715 West Loop South
In October 1992, Kmart opened a PACE Membership Warehouse to complement Builder's Square to the immediate north. Lasting for just about 14 months, Kmart sold the chain a little more than a year later to Wal-Mart Stores, but this store was closed and liquidated with no replacement. Hobby Lobby opened in 1996 and takes up the left third of the building, K&G Superstore operates the middle half (opened 2000), and Planetary Cycles opened in 2012. More on the history in the building in a future update.

SOUTH BRAESWOOD BOULEVARD to SOUTH FREEWAY

Whataburger / 9955 South Main Street
Also known as 9955 Main Street, this Whataburger was built in 1989 and rebuilt in 2000. The corner is pretty sketchy though.

Taco Bell / 3155 South Loop West
This Taco Bell restaurant opened in January 1999.

Arby's / 3055 South Loop West
The 2010s had a renaissance of Krispy Kreme in the Houston area and construction began in 2015 for a Krispy Kreme in the parking lot of Golden Corral. However, for whatever reason, the construction was mostly finished but it never opened (rumors were something was wrong with the actual building) and after the delays opened up as Planned to be a Krispy Kreme but was never finished out after two years of construction. By January 2018 it opened as an Arby's (may have been open the last week of December 2017), store number 8610.

Golden Corral / 3155 South Loop West
Golden Corral (#2446) opened here in 2002 but as of this writing (November 2021), the restaurant has had operations temporarily suspended" and has been that way since at least March of this year. Will it ever reopen?

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen / 2525 South Loop West
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen opened its fourth location here in 1990.

Pappasito's Cantina / 2515 South Loop West
This Pappas-owned Mexican restaurant chain opened in 1991.

Cavender's Boot City / 2505 South West Loop
This Cavender's Boot City opened in 1990 and still has the original block-letter logo on the building itself (though the highway sign is the "smiling neon cowboy" mentioned in the Northwest Freeway page).

Davis Chevrolet / 2277 South Loop West
This car dealership moved here in 1993, and originally had some warehouses behind it that were part of another property built in the 1970s (these have since been demolished). Just to the east of it was AstroWorld, the real AstroWorld (not anything associated with a misanthropic rap artist that will encourage rowdiness and not care when eight people get trampled to death...we're not naming names here)...and before its closure in October 2005, the rides were easily visible from the Loop. You can see my page on it here.

Houston Grub Park / 1615 South Loop West
This food truck park is set up in an abandoned Sam's Club parking lot. The Sam's Club opened in March 1988 as Sam's Wholesale Club (later the "Wholesale" name was dropped) but it continued for almost thirty years in its 100,000+ square foot space. In January 11, 2018, this Sam's Club closed without much notice along with 62 other Sam's Club stores nationwide.

SOUTH FREEWAY to GULF FREEWAY

Direct Scaffold Supply / 6059 South Loop East
This building was built and opened in December 1969 as the very first Target store in the Houston area (but not the first store in Texas, a Garland store beat it by a few months). Like many discount stores of the time, it had an adjoining grocery store with the discount store name's but not operated by it, in this case, "Target Foods" was operated by Weingarten. It's shockingly low store number (T-15) was an indicator of its age with less than two dozen Target stores in the entire chain when it opened. In 1987, with Target as a chain grown substantially with 14 others in Houston alone, parent company Dayton-Hudson decided to close the store, citing that return-of-investment reasons (losing money, either through shoplifting or lack of business).

In November 1990, "Flea Market of America" opened at the site and by 1994 was known as Eastmart Indoor Flea Market. It was also sub-divided with 50-Off Store, which also occupied a space in 1991. 50-Off Store renamed to LOT$OFF in 1998 but it ended up closing soon after. In 1981, Target Foods (6063 South Loop East) became Weingarten, but Weingarten sold out in 1984, with Rice Food Markets taking over. It appears that Rice then closed the store in 1988 for its new concept, Price Buster Foods, which ran until 1996.

From September 2000 to May 2003 it was Auchan (which absorbed the Price Buster Foods space), but save for some temporary uses like FEMA using it in 2008, never saw use again until Direct Scaffold Supply in early 2016. This is the best that I can understand the building chronology. It's possible that Auchan and LOT$OFF may have co-existed at one point early on, and I'm not sure the chronology of the grocery store side, either.

There was also a Wendy's restaurant in the parking lot (6137 South Loop East) that operated from 1986 to around 2012, at which point it was boarded up and flattened a few years later.

Sunoco / 6155 S. Loop E. Fwy Sunoco gas station with Stripes. Stripes was built in 2005 (though a Chevron initially, converting to Sunoco around 2014-2015). It is still a Stripes as of March 2021 and has a Laredo Taco Company inside.

GULF FREEWAY to NORTH FREEWAY

I wasn't kidding when I said that the West Loop area would get better coverage than the rest of the loop, which is why about a third of the Loop only has only one entry. Sure, there's interesting parts like the Anheuser-Busch brewery and the East Freeway, which leads out to Louisiana but will probably never be covered by this site (the February 28 2021 site update mentions this).

Love's Travel Center / 3940 N. McCarty Street
Opened in 2004, this popular Love's sits on a bit of an odd, tight lot (it doesn't directly touch the corner of I-610 and McCarty) and features an Arby's inside.

NORTH FREEWAY to NORTH SHEPHERD STREET

Whole Foods Market / 101 N. Loop W.
Part of the Yale Marketplace shopping center, this store, still branded as "365 by Whole Foods Market" (before new parent company Amazon merged it in with others) opened August 2018 as a limited service version of Whole Foods with fewer service departments and lower prices. In its early days it offered an outlet of Peli Peli Kitchen and Juice Society, both through a program called "Friends of 365" that allowed local outside brands to operate within 365 stores. However, these have since closed down and replaced with a sandwich bar and juice bar, respectively.

The store officially opened August 22, 2018.

Ventura's Bridal Fashions / 102 North Loop West
Originally built c. 1980 as a warehouse for Ventura's Formal Wear (locally-based tuxedo shop, found in malls), this eventually became Ventura's Bridal Fashions (even as of 2011, "Ventura's Bridal Salon" and still advertising tuxedos on the sign).

Burger King / 2803 Yale Street
Burger King restaurant built in 1999. Prior to this it was a small used car lot.

El Rey Cuban & Mexican Cuisine / 233 N. Loop West
Opened in early 2017. Sells tacos and tortas, as well as a few other items.

NORTH SHEPHERD DRIVE to ELLA BOULEVARD

This section starts, with a page going north and south on North Shepherd.

Taco Cabana / 700 North Loop West
One of the earliest Taco Cabana restaurants in Houston, opened by April of 1992 (not sure when it originally opened) but it was built as a Taco Cabana as opposed to a certain Houston-based knockoff sold to Taco Cabana later.

Shell / 801 North Loop West
The old Shell station at 801 North Loop West dated back to 1975 and was torn down in 2018, remaining vacant for almost a year before construction on a new Shell station began in 2019 and opened later that year, anchored by a "Checkout" convenience store (the old station had a car servicing garage). It was a Texaco prior to a Shell (gaining the brand around 2003 as with other Texaco stations).

The Home Depot / 999 North Loop West
Despite confusing access from Durham and Shepherd, the Home Depot has been here since 1993. An expansion in 2005-2006 added a new expansion and pickup area to the south side of the store, though the expansion doesn't connect the parking lot to West 26th Street.

Thomas Bar-B-Q / 1503 N. Loop West
This barbecue restaurant has been here since 1988.

ELLA BOULEVARD to WEST 18TH STREET

I'd love to cover the first half mile or so of Ella in detail in a future iteration, but 3011 Ella is a story worth telling. It first opened around 1964 as Sekai Ichi ("world's number one") with "Oriental modern" architecture. Later known as Ella Square, the apartments were torn down in December 2010 with the exception of one palm tree that stood between Carl's Jr. (opened 2012) and Raising Cane's (which opened at the same time). The palm tree's fate may have been met with those ice storms earlier this year (as of this writing, summer 2021). Carl's Jr. closed around 2020 and reopened in 2021 as Dunkin' (which like many of its newer stores, has a Baskin-Robbins inside). The Raising Cane's at 3007 Ella (subdivided from the original 3011 Ella) opened in June 2012.

Denny's / 2120 N. Loop West
This Denny's has been here since 1975.

Applebee's / 2959 N. Loop W.
This Applebee's was opened in 2007.

Sheraton Houston Brookhollow / 3000 North Loop West
This hotel was built around 1979 and assumed its current name in 1998. I previously wrote about this hotel here at The Houston Files.

That's it! Loop 610 has made a complete revolution, or if you start here, can go the other way back up.


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