07/22/14 5:00pm

314-E-13th-04

314-E-13th-15-2

314-E-13th-02

Without its stylized pediment and lip of aging awning, a funky mixed use property in Houston Heights is just a boxy building, its stucco in fading 1984 hues of seafoam green and coral. Inside, though, a more modern vibe takes hold (top) above studio space occupying the entire ground floor (middle). In its listing last week, the updated work-live pad’s asking price was $665,000.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Paint it Black
07/22/14 4:15pm

ZELKO BISTRO: WE’RE NOT GONE YET Zelko Bistro, 705 E. 11th St., Houston HeightsWas the “for lease” sign (at right) posted and then removed this morning in front of Zelko Bistro at 705 E. 11th St. just part of a high-stakes lease-extension negotiation? Responding to reports that her restaurant is a goner from the Heights location and that the converted bungalow is available “immediately,” owner Jamie Zelko reports it’s all part of . . . the process? Here’s the latest from the restaurant’s Twitter account this afternoon: “Hello everyone. We are currently in negotiations to exercise our option to renew our lease. We should come to agreement soon!” [Twitter] Photo: The Heights Life

07/22/14 3:45pm

LOCAL DESIGN MAG WANTS YOU TO REINVENT HOUSTON’S POLICE HQ COMPLEX — IN MINECRAFT Minecraft Model of Houston Police Headquarters, 61 Riesner St., HoustonThe online and offline publications of the Rice Design Alliance have announced a design competition to “reimagine” the area surrounding the city’s 21-acre police, courthouse, and jail complex centered around 61 Riesner St. between the Sixth Ward and Downtown — within the virtual world of Minecraft. Models of a number of existing buildings in the area bounded roughly by Houston Ave., Washington Ave, Preston St., I-45, and Memorial Dr. have already been crafted in the video game’s distinctive blocky style for the venture (try this server address: 108.60.220.190:25565), including Kenneth Franzheim’s 1950 Streamline Moderne HPD HQ itself (above); the publication is still seeking help to model other existing structures, including the Ferris Wheel and Aquarium on the opposite side of I-45. But simply blockifying existing structures isn’t the focus of the competition; instead, the editors of Cite magazine and the Offcite blog hope beginning or experienced users of the gaming environment will be inspired to inflict their visions of the larger area’s possible future on the design jury of one — New York design critic Alexandra Lange. [Offcite; map of site] Rendering: JP Dowling

07/22/14 1:15pm

Former Houston Post Building, 4747 Southwest Fwy., Houston

Yesterday afternoon’s news came couched in pillowy fluff: Houston’s largest news-gathering organization will be moving to an exciting new state-of-the-art facility in the Galleria area! No, the Houston Chronicle isn’t leaving the heart of the city it covers: Key reporters will remain downtown!

But here’s a rougher-edged reading of the newspaper’s apparent retreat: The Hearst Corporation is getting ready to sell off one of its most valuable Houston assets — a block and a half of prime Downtown real estate — so it’s telling Chron editorial staffers to find room for themselves somewhere in or around the austere 440,000-sq.-ft. concrete fort where the company’s distribution, circulation, local sales, and press operations have been camping out, on 21 acres in the lower right armpit formed by the intersection of Hwy. 59 and Loop 610.

The former Houston Post compound at 4747 Southwest Fwy. (above), designed by Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson in 1970 as a stark Brutalist follow-up to their work on the Astrodome, was part of the booty obtained by the Chronicle when it bought out its rival paper in 1995. The announcement calls the complex its “future campus,” but the extent of renovations or any new construction planned on the site is unclear.

What about that downtown foothold the paper is promising?

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

A Newspaper Retreat
07/22/14 11:15am

ZELKO BISTRO IS SOON TO BE GONE FROM E. 11TH ST. Zelko Bistro, 705 E. 11th St., Houston HeightsA real estate agent representing the owners of the building at 705 E. 11th St. just west of Studewood tells neighborhood blog The Heights Life that the converted bungalow home of restaurant Zelko Bistro is available for lease, “effective immediately.” For the moment at least, Jamie Zelko’s restaurant is still open for business, but “Zelko will be moving out,” the blog reports. “[Berkshire Hathaway Suzanne Anderson Properties agent Mike Huff] doesn’t know when and can’t disclose much about why, but whether they close or re-locate is uncertain.” The for-lease sign that appeared this morning in front of the property (above) has been removed at the restaurant’s request. [The Heights Life] Photo: The Heights Life

07/22/14 8:30am

1500 westheimer

Photo of 1500 Westheimer Rd.: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
07/21/14 4:30pm

5006-n-braeswood-07-3

5006-n-braeswood-01-2

Like sharpened cuspids, a 4-pack of aligned and angled columns screens the entry of a 1960 modern home in Meyerland. Could a toothy grill off the circular driveway have been the intent of the long-term owner, a dentist? The home’s initial design is attributed to H. Oberdieck in architectural chatter about the property and its records. Listed earlier this month, the home’s asking price is $899,000.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Say ‘Ahhhhh’?
07/21/14 2:30pm

JUST SAY ‘OUI’ TO DRIVE-THRU BANH MI AT THE FORMER LUCKY BURGER SPOT Keys to Former Lucky Burger Building at 1601 Richmond Ave., Montrose, HoustonThe photo at right, posted to the Instagram account of Oui Banh Mi, a new venture from the Vietnamese-cuisine crew behind Washington Ave restaurant Les Givral’s Kahve and Kirby Dr. sweet outlet Oui Desserts, would seem to confirm Swamplot’s report last week that the group is planning a new drive-thru Banh Mi establishment in the recently vacated building at 1601 Richmond Ave — the barrel-shaped structure long occupied by the recently shuttered Lucky Burger. On the other hand, it could be that they’re just borrowing keys from the landlord for a little look-see. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Oui Banh Mi

07/21/14 1:30pm

Light Rail Station at Palm Transit Center, Houston

There’s still “some uncertainty” over the exact schedule, but all the pieces needed to allow Metro to open Houston’s second and third light-rail lines won’t be in place until late December, according to reports delivered to a committee of the transportation organization’s board of directors last Friday. Previously, an opening date sometime this fall had been projected for the Southeast and East End lines (though the far eastern end of the East End line won’t come on line until a newly planned overpass is built under over the Union Pacific East Belt freight rail line between the future Altic and Cesar Chavez stations). Delays in the delivery of trains aren’t the sole reason for the late openings, however.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Waiting for the Trains
07/21/14 11:15am

Rendering of 2229 San Felipe TowerA new lawsuit filed last week against the developers of the 2229 San Felipe office tower currently under construction between Shepherd and Kirby is a bit different from the one that a group of neighbors initiated against the same party back in February, a reader notes. The plaintiffs in the new lawsuit are the owners of a River Oaks home directly across the street from the construction site, and they appear to have studied the ruling issued in the Ashby Highrise lawsuit carefully. (Back in May, Judge Randy Wilson ordered the developers of that building to pay neighbors $1.2 million to compensate them for “lost market damages,” but denied their request to halt the building’s construction)

Unlike their neighbors who sued before them, the residents of 2237 Stanmore Dr. are not seeking to prevent or delay the construction of Hines’s neighborhood office tower. Instead, it appears they are only seeking compensation for both public and private “nuisances” created by the 17-story building, including pollution, noise, and ground vibration during its construction and the resulting loss of sunlight and rain on their property. The building’s vaunted peepage opportunities don’t please them either:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Pay Up
07/21/14 8:30am

i-10 at us-59

Photo of I-10 at US-59: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines