Houston Business Journal’s (HBJ) Landmark Awards recognizes real estate projects that make a significant impression on the Houston landscape. Recently, Alabama Shepherd Shopping Center shared the win for Historic Renovation with 500 Fannin Building. In order to submit a real estate project under the category of Historic Renovation, the rehabilitation or renovation of a historic place must follow the guidelines set by the Registry of Historic Places and must be registered by the national or local registry. The landmark Awards’ judges took under consideration the history of the project; significance to the Houston area; obstacles to overcome; distinguishing features; financial stability; as well as community and environmental impact.
Since our ownership in 1974, we are extremely proud we have been able to maintain and restore this shopping center while keeping to its original state as much as possible. Alabama Shepherd Shopping Center housed The Alabama Theatre which opened on November 2, 1939. The theater was closed as a movie theater and was converted to a retail bookstore, BOOKSTOP in December 1983. BOOKSTOP preserved many details while undergoing an exterior and interior renovation designed to preserve the Streamline Moderne architecture of the 1930s. The theater was reopened as the BOOKSTOP in 1984. BOOKSTOP closed in September, 2009 after 25 years as a bookstore.
The space was vacant until Trader Joe’s opened in September 2012. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market, both specialty niche grocers, selected Alabama Shepherd Shopping Center as a prime location for their entry strategy to the Houston area. The interior renovation by Trader Joe’s recognizes the significance of the building’s history with painted movie reels on the walls and iconic movie posters with a Trader Joe’s twist; Raiders of the Lost Ark is reimagined as Traders of the Lost Syrah. Original theater seats on the second floor balcony overlook the grocery floor.
At the HBJ’s Landmark Award ceremony, Gerald Crump spoke on behalf of Weingarten Realty to thank HBJ and the sponsors of the event. A special thanks was credited to our new tenant, Trader Joe’s, for their willingness and vision to take this unique space.
A big congratulation to all the Weingarten associates involved with the project:
- Brooke Harvey, Senior Leasing Executive
- Gerald Crump, Senior Vice President, Director Central Region
- Kenny Simmons, Senior Construction Manager
- Jennifer Roeser, Regional Property Manager
- Carrie Murray, Marketing & Communications Director
We take great pride in our shopping centers realizing the impact they have on the local communities.