01/28/15 3:30pm

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If you’re feeling a little tipsy as you tour this 1998 custom home on Lampasas St. in St. George Place (the Galleria-area neighborhood formerly know as Lamar Terrace) you might catch the kind of views of it that are featured in its listing, lending a bit of a Fun House vibe to the stately corner property.

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Tilt
01/28/15 2:30pm

Kirby Court Apartments, 2612 Steel St., Upper Kirby, Houston

The end of the year marked the end of residency for all tenants of the Kirby Court Apartments. Renters of the 2-story 1949 townhouse-style units fronting oak-lined Steel St. across Kirby Dr. from the Whole Foods Market were required to move out no later than December 31st. Houston-based Hanover Co. had a portion of the complex under contract, and was planning to complete the transaction early this year.

But funding for the apartment tower Hanover had planned for that parcel (marked down to 30 stories and 300 units at last report) fell through sometime in December, a company rep tells the Houston Business Journal‘s Paul Takahashi; since then, the company has been “scrambling to find new investors.” Hanover has now postponed completion of the purchase until August. The architect, Solomon Cordwell Buenz, is still reportedly working on the design.

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Funding Dries Up
01/28/15 12:45pm

A LIST OF 17 FASHIONABLE HOUSTON NEWCOMERS HEADED FOR RIVER OAKS THIS YEAR WHO’LL END UP ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS River Oaks District Under Construction, Highland Village, HoustonJohn Lobb, Akris, Kiton, Moncler, De Boulle, Giuseppe Zanotti, Etro, Chopard, Canali, Brunello Cucinelli, Brioni, Diptyque, Bonobos, Intermix. Haven’t heard of ’em? Well, how about Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli, and Dolce & Gabbana? They’re all luxury retailers who are new to Houston, and who’ll be arriving here about the same time that OliverMcMillan’s long-awaited (but not-so-accurately named) River Oaks District opens up on Westheimer between the Galleria and the Highland Village Shopping Center — only a mile away from the actual neighborhood called River Oaks — sometime this spring. [Real Estate Bisnow; previously on Swamplot] Photo of River Oaks District under construction: OliverMcMillan

01/28/15 8:30am

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Photo of Main St. downtown: jsulak via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
01/27/15 5:00pm

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Deep porches on an updated 1915 Eastwood home listed for lease look toward a residential street lined with similarly neighborly vantage points, all shaded by huge palm trees and live oaks. Behind the home run train tracks — and a tract promised for Lovett Commercial’s Harrisburg Crossing, a mix of retail and office space fronting Harrisburg Blvd. between Oakhurst and Lockwood streets. That juxtaposition also puts the rental home around the block from Metro Rail’s Green Line station at Lockwood.

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Fore and Aft
01/27/15 4:15pm

Julia's Bistro, 3722 Main St., Midtown, Houston

“What’s up with Julia’s?” writes the Swamplot reader who got a Main St. train to slow down enough to snap the photo of the unlit Midtown restaurant above. “It’s been dark and closed for weeks now. With all the new development and foot traffic from the new apartments across the street and new restaurants/bars in the area, everyone’s wondering: Is something new in the works for this premier midtown corner?” The answer is yes: A “new concept” for the restaurant space is being developed. In the meantime, Julia’s Bistro is closed for lunch and dinner, but available for private parties.

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Gotta Wait
01/27/15 2:15pm

UH LOOKING TO BUILD NEW CAMPUS IN KATY, BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE THE ENERGY IS University of Houston System at Cinco Ranch, 4242 S. Mason Rd., Cinco Ranch, Katy, TexasThe University of Houston has asked state lawmakers to begin work on a $60 million tuition revenue bond that would fund a new campus in Katy, including a 60,000-sq.-ft. facility on a not-yet-identified site. The new campus would be separate from the system’s existing facility at 4242 S. Mason Rd. in Cinco Ranch (pictured above). The move closer to oil and gas firms in the Energy Corridor is part of what UH vice president for government and community affairs Jason Smith tells Community Impact news is the institution’s goal “to become the energy university for the United States.” The Katy campus “would serve the oil and gas interests there, the companies and their campuses there,” he says. Separately, university president Renu Khator last week called the award of a multi-million-dollar grant for the establishment of a UH-led Subsea Systems Institute “the culmination of years of work to establish the University of Houston as the Energy University.” (Grant monies for that institute will come from payments made by oil company BP to the state of Texas after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.) [Community Impact News; UH] Photo of University of Houston System at Cinco Ranch: Directron

01/27/15 11:45am

Plaque on Wendy's Drive-Thru, 5003 Kirby Dr. at North Blvd., Upper Kirby, Houston

Oak Tree Stumps, North Blvd. at Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

Plaque on Wendy's Drive-Thru, 5003 Kirby Dr. at North Blvd., Upper Kirby, HoustonJaws have been dropping along North Blvd. at the intersection of Kirby Dr. at the sight of a prominently placed inscription that now greets drive-thru customers of the Wendy’s at 5003 Kirby Dr. Is this just one of those obliviously coincidental following-corporate-guidelines things, or is the management of this Wendy’s going out of its way to draw attention to the under-cover-of-night street-tree massacre it orchestrated late last year to clear away 6 oaks on the corner and that cost the franchise owners a well-publicized $300,000 settlement from the city’s legal department? Or is the assembly of words attached directly to the brick wall, which honors “SERVICE THAT DOESN’T CUT CORNERS,” meant to apologize for the hired landscaping crew’s actions — which y’know, really did cut a corner — and emphasize that the hardworking burger-makers inside are trying to do something . . . different?

In full, the signage reads, “QUALITY SERVICE THAT DOESN’T CUT CORNERS IS OUR RECIPE,” though the part about corner-cutting service in the middle is clearly meant as an add-on to the fast-food chain’s more famous “Quality is our recipe” tagline. For those of you who haven’t been following the saga closely enough to appreciate the . . . humor? chutzpah? contrition? obliviousness? involved here,  here’s the backstory:

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Corner Cutting
01/27/15 8:30am

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Photo of Marriott Marquis Convention Center Hotel: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
01/26/15 4:00pm

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Weathered to a driftwood finish outside, a secluded 1988 home clad in Cypress wood (and lotsa porches) overlooks Trinity Bay in Beach City, located off FM 2354 in Chambers County. Dark paint colors and stained craftsman-inspired woodwork inside formalize the waterfront property, though its 3 acres — and 400 ft. of bay frontage — are better described as near the water than on it (top).  A relisting earlier this month — after a 2-week break over New Year’s — marks the property’s first anniversary on the market. The asking price is $1.15 million, down from the initial ask of $1.3 million a year ago and a couple mid-run reductions.

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House of Panes