Monday, July 20, 2015

New Owl haunt on West Alabama hooted as good omen for future of the Upper Kirby neighborhood

Has the owl escaped from Rice campus to build a new nest on West Alabama Street? 
Innerloopers are going to be wonder whether there is a connection, and perhaps the marketing strategy is to get them curious enough to look for the new Owl on Facebook. Barring that, the neighborhood is being enlightened right there and then -- while construction workers are still on site finishing the project -- that owl presence will do them good. A second theory is that the new Owl Bar is a reincarnation of the old one the Upper Kirby "super block" (Kirby at W. Main) that is now a huge vacant lot with sparse vegetation emerging from the dirt. 

An owl in your neighborhood is considered good luck
Owl arrival - good omen - portending well for Upper Kirby 
Whatever the story with the name, it's a good thing that the long fenced-in and moth-balled property East of Greenbriar is being re-adapted for use as a neighborhood hangout spot, -- and quite unrecognizeably so, with a good-sized wooden deck overlooking the street, no less. 
It's only the latest of the recent changes along that stretch of West Alabama, between S. Shepherd and Kirby Drive. 

The  new Owl Bar on West Alabama - To be ready for roosting soon 
Mission Burrito has morphed into Uberrito and Gables Upper Kirby is now ready for leasing, though there is still no sign of Ruggles Green making a come-back at ground level. 

At the intersection with Greenbriar, the space that used to be sorrel is now bollo, with bright red-white signage for visual appeal to match the UK coloring scheme for street name signs in the Upper Kirby district, and the paint store next door at 2220 with the neighborhood mural on the East side -- including an image of the Alabama Theater -- has changed its name to PPG. No reference to Pittsburgh any more. 

2200 West Alabama tenant sign: bollo wood-fired pizza,
River Oaks Wellness Center, MDOW Insurance Company 
Archival pic: Pittsburgh Paints with mural on east-facing side - Green sorrel awnings 

Not to mention that CVS has started operating its newest drug dispensary on the corner at S. Shepherd, were Ruchi's used to serve up Mexican fare all night long, while at the other end at Kirby, the swankier restaurant corner spot in the The Centre at River Oaks shopping center, in which BORDERS was once the anchor tenant, now promises salty air-dried fish, rather than Tuscan or other Italian cuisine. Look for Salt Air Seafood Kitchen

New CVS/pharmacy on Shepherd Corner 
Formerly BORDERS in Upper Kirby, now ULTA Beauty
and Texas Children's Pediatrics 
Salt Air Seafood Kitchen (June 2015 photo of restaurant)
Salt Air Seafood Kitchen in space previously occupied
by Brio Tuscan Grill 
The Centre at River Oaks in 2013 - BRIO Tuscan Grill 
Archival photo of BORDERS  Book Store - Kirby Drive side 

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