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Trader Joe's Has Its Eye on Alabama: Alabama Theater to Be Reborn as Grocery Store

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The Chronicle's real estate reporter Nancy Sarnoff got the scoop today that grocery chain Trader Joe's -- after much speculation -- has its sights set on redeveloping the old Alabama Theater on West Alabama near Shepherd. The currently vacant building would be the first Trader Joe's in Houston, and the second in Texas.

In the proposal to the City of Houston that Sarnoff obtained, Weingarten Realty and Trader Joe's outline their ideas for retrofitting the old structure, including new signage out front and above the rear entrance (above). The proposal also includes plans for much-needed updates such as new sliding glass doors and a corral for shopping carts, without sacrificing the historic integrity of the building, which was first built as a theater in 1938.

The site has been rumored as a possible location for the grocery store for several reasons: The proximity to neighborhoods such as River Oaks, West University and Montrose -- all of which are home to Trader Joe's target demographic -- and a surplus of available parking both made the Alabama Theater a strong contender. And the historic building itself fits with Trader Joe's model of being "your unique grocery store."

We guess this means that Weingarten won't be razing the old Alabama Theater after all. And fan or not, you can't help but thank Trader Joe's for that.


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