03/02/15 5:00pm

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Tended plantings have been a priority at a 1954 Braes Terrace property across from Brays Bayou’s southern banks and hike-and-bike trail. One cluster of trees near the sidewalk screens the updated home from passing traffic on the thoroughfare it fronts; another, closer to the home, adds a second layer of privacy (top) at the circular driveway. Dense ground cover, meanwhile, creeps across much of the shady lot, which is located near Bevlyn St., west of Buffalo Speedway. The interior is also well-groomed (above), though room purposes have been rotated:

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Plant Matters
03/02/15 3:00pm

HOUSTON PLANNING DEPT. LAUNCHES WEBSITE TO LAUNCH PLAN FOR HOUSTON Draft Vision Statement for City of HoustonEfforts to create an actual “general plan” for the city of Houston have revved into high internet gear with last week’s launch of the Plan Houston website. There, the planning department has floated its mission-statement-like Draft Vision for the city and is requesting public input before an April 17th deadline. In addition to the draft (shown here in full), there’s an only slightly meatier draft list of goals posted on the site (in this PDF) to mull over. (Later, the site is intended to host a mapping tool meant to allow users to look up all the plans on file for an area — capital improvement projects, parks, or TIRZ efforts, for example.) Can’t stand the phrase “resilient communities”? Think we should set our sights higher than “dynamic partnerships”? Now’s the chance to express yourself, before it gets down to the neighborhood nitty-gritty. A complete General Plan is expected to be completed by late summer. [City of Houston]

03/02/15 1:15pm

Greenway Gardens Apartments, 3131 Timmons Ln., Greenway Plaza, Houston

Greenway Gardens Apartments, 3131 Timmons Ln., Greenway Plaza, Houston

It sure looks like demolition is a-coming for the Greenway Gardens apartments at 3131 Timmons Ln. near Greenway Plaza. Either that or the 43-year-old 10-building apartment complex is undergoing a rather brutal first phase of a renovation — as portrayed in the photos shown here, which were taken late last week. The 3-story complex sits on 6-and-a-half acres between W. Alabama St. and Richmond Ave.

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Greenway Plaza Demo
03/02/15 8:30am

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Photo: Jan Buchholtz via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
02/27/15 4:15pm

WHY HOUSTON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE THINKS IT’LL DO JUST FINE, THANK YOU View of Downtown from Texas Medical Center, HoustonDeeply embedded Houston real estate reporter Catie Dixon comes back from a panel event sponsored by her employer with a clickworthy account of 5 reasons Houston (commercial real estate) will survive the latest oil bust. Included in the list: attractiveness to foreign investors whether prices fall or not; this boom wasn’t as big as the one before the last big bust; the industry doesn’t rely on short-term gains; industrial real estate is still healthy; and — yes — data centers! (But things will be tough for developers for a year to a year and a half, maybe.) [Real Estate Bisnow] Photo: Russell Hancock

02/27/15 3:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE SIGHTS OF MONTROSE Corner of Westheimer Rd. and Montrose Blvd., Montrose, Houston“Look at those pictures! The cityscape in Houston is so beautiful that I sometimes want to cry. I love the setbacks, the crumbling streets, the large signs, the little bit of grass, and oh man oh man those two lonely palm trees. This is the part the Houston that I want to show off to my friends. After a nice dinner at Uchi, I love to take everyone on a stroll around my beautiful city!” [Duston, commenting on What’s Arriving Now at the Sleepy Corner of Westheimer and Montrose]

02/27/15 2:45pm

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Cattle grazing, dairy farming, and crops of hay and vegetables have been the order of business at this updated 1860s German farmhouse property, designated a “Century Ranch” by the Texas Dept. of Agriculture for its continuous operation by a single family. (Actual reported time of tenancy by the Hillegeist family: more than 130 years.) The Tomball homestead, outbuildings, and pastures occupy 133 acres west of SH 249 near the Oaks of Rosehill area off FM 2920 (which places it about 20 miles west of the new ExxonMobil campus, in case you’re calculating). The property has been on the market since June 2014, for $6.64 million.

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Going Texan
02/27/15 12:30pm

Mattress Firm, Westmont Shopping Center, 1003 Westheimer Rd. at Montrose Blvd., Montrose, Houston

Mattress Firm, Westmont Shopping Center, 1003 Westheimer Rd. at Montrose Blvd., Montrose, HoustonThe formerly bedding-starved heart of Montrose can now rest easy: Mattress Firm has arrived. The nation’s largest mattress retailer has snagged a new location in the former Blockbuster Video spot at 1002 Westheimer Rd. in the Westmont Shopping Center — right at the prominent corner of Montrose and Westheimer. With a mere 98 locations in the greater Houston area, and only 14 in the Inner Loop, Mattress Firm was certainly fortunate to be able to find this prominent spot. Now customers in the dead center of Montrose daunted by the long journey necessary to reach the company’s other outlets — at the corner of West Gray and Montrose (three-quarters of a mile to the north), at the corner of Westheimer and Shepherd (1.2 miles west), or at 2625 Louisiana St. (a mile to the east) will have a place they can travel to more easily — and, of course, rest a bit when they get there.

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Mattress Firm Scores Again
02/27/15 8:30am

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Photo of Houston Food Truck Park, East Downtown: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
02/26/15 4:30pm

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Its spread wings don’t fly, but a horizon-hugging 1960 mod in Memorial — once known as the Lapin House — did rise to prominence in 2009 after a Good Brick Award from the organization now called Preservation Houston was bestowed on its humdinger of a renovation. Actual bricks on the property are mostly to be found on the street side of the home. Window walls in back face the poolscape, yard, and a bend in Buffalo Bayou, bringing the outside in. To reach the waterway, take the stone steps set into the slope backing the almost-an-acre property.

It’s located in the Willowick neighborhood of Hunters Creek Village, west of Voss Rd. and south of Memorial Dr. The original design by Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson (yes, the Astrodome architects) has a later addition attributed to architect Joel Brand. When listed earlier this week, the posh property’s asking price was $2.495 million.

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Adjusting the Horizontal
02/26/15 2:15pm

Survey Flags at Proposed Site of Regent Square, Allen Pkwy. at Dunlavy St., North Montrose, Houston

Remember way back in 2007, when excavators tore down portions of the Allen House Apartments in North Montrose to make way for GID Development’s massive mixed-use project known as Regent Square? Well, it’s okay if you don’t. Anyway, the thing hasn’t happened yet, though the nearby apartment tower that opened last year called the Sovereign (seen in the background of the photo above), which wasn’t included the original plans, is now cited as Regent Square’s first phase. What of phases 2 and above? Swamplot reader Mike Bloom reports there’s evidence of recent action on the now empty lot at the corner of Dunlavy St. and Allen Pkwy., dating from the middle of last month: little pink flags on stakes — the kind typically used for surveys.

Photo: Mike Bloom

Stakes in the Neighborhood