UPDATE: The Houston Business Journal reports that Trader Joe's has also received a sales tax permit for 2922 S. Shepherd, which is the location of the Alabama Theater. It looks like plans for the Montrose incarnation of the grocery store in the repurposed theater are back on.
This proposed Trader Joe's location seems to place the grocery store on a now empty pad site that was once occupied by a Michael's. It's also directly across the street from an existing Randall's, and only a few short blocks away from a Whole Foods and a Kroger, so it's not as if the California-based grocery chain would be moving into a grocery-starved area. On the other hand, this location would place Trader Joe's smack in the middle of one of Houston's wealthiest concentration of residents.
This news runs contrary to an earlier scoop that placed Trader Joe's in the old Alabama Theater on Shepherd, between River Oaks and Montrose. But one thing hasn't changed: Although it's ostensibly a discount grocery store in many ways, Trader Joe's is trading on the wealthier parts of town as it moves into the Houston market.
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The first Trader Joe's to open in the greater metro area will be in The Woodlands, one of Houston's wealthiest exurbs. It's the same strategy the grocery chain practiced when it announced plans to move into the Dallas market, announcing it would open stores in Plano and on Lower Greenville.
The sales tax permit for the Memorial-area Trader Joe's was received on December 28; as of now, there is no word on when the store itself plans to open.