Blog » The Alabama Theater in Houston
We recently had the opportunity to shoot a very unique shopping center in Houston, Texas.
The Alabama Shephard Shopping Center is home to the historic Alabama Theater, built in 1939. Throughout its history, the theater's period cinematic elements have fortunately been well preserved by forward-thinking owners and tenants.
[caption id="attachment_3988" align="alignnone" width="550"] This picture was taken on the theater's opening night in 1939.[/caption]
For a time, the theater was used to house a Bookstop book store. Gary Hoover, one of the founders of Bookstop, stated that his architects set up the building's interior so that it could be easily converted back into a theater in case the book store closed.
In 2004, the Alabama Shepherd Shopping Center was acquired by Weingarten Realty, who hired us to do this shoot. Weingarten was interested in preserving the historic building, and as luck would have it, Trader Joe's was interested in opening its first Greater Houston area retail location in the theater.
At the time we photographed the shopping center, Trader Joe's was just settling into its newest location. We think it is so cool that both Weingarten and Trader Joe's opted to keep the old-timey theater marquee and other architectural details.
Like many old shopping centers, the Alabama Shepherd suffered low occupancy rates and threatened demolition prior to the Trader Joe's lease. But happily, due to the lease, the shopping center is now fully occupied. Due to the restoration of the old Alabama Theater, the Alabama Shepherd Shopping Center won the 2013 Landmark Award in Historic Preservation from the Houston Business Journal.
It was a pleasure to shoot this unique property. We truly relish our work! To see the rest of the photos from this shoot, visit the Alabama Shepherd gallery. And if you have a property (historic or otherwise) that needs its potential to be seen through a fresh lens, contact us!