Houston Chronicle, September 25, 2013
The soon-to-open Sam’s Club in west Houston is not that much bigger than the one it will replace five miles away. But company officials say it will give customers a much nicer place to shop. The Sam’s that is closing on Thursday, at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Texas 6, is more than 20 years old, manager of public relations Mark Scott said.
He said the new store, which opens Thursday in a busy shopping center at 13331 Westheimer, is more energy efficient and “in an established retail area that we believe is more convenient for our members than the former location, which is off a busy interstate.”
The old property
But the relocation of a big-box store begs a question, McAvey said: “What happens to the old location?” Sometimes the property stays vacant for a while, she said, “but usually someone finds a use for it.”
In some instances, however, it can be a challenge to find a new use for a former big-box space, and it can stay empty for years, said Stacy Mitchell, senior researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit focused on strategies to strengthen local economies.
Former big-box retail buildings are often big windowless structures, she said, and not suitable for many prospective tenants. And in some cases the big-box retailer has specified with the landlord that the replacement tenant cannot be a competitor, she said.
Scott said Sam’s Club, which owns the site left behind at 1025 Texas 6 North, is in talks with a buyer for the building.
Other Sam’s Clubs that closed for a relocation were converted into a variety of uses, including commercial and governmental office space, Scott said.