09/02/14 5:15pm

A CHICK-FIL-A IS GOING INSIDE PENNZOIL PLACE Pennzoil Place, 711 Louisiana St., Downtown HoustonIf there’s gonna be a downtown office building collecting a few fast-food drive-thru franchises in its basement — minus the drive-thru parts, that is — it might as well be one with some street cred, right? Last year, a Sonic moved into the basement of Pennzoil Place, the Philip Johnson-designed double-trapezoid building pair on the block bounded by Milam, Rusk, Capitol and Louisiana. The building’s owners are now about to carve out more space for retail on the building’s lower floors — though only one of the added slots (at the corner of Rusk and Louisiana) will actually have direct access to the street. Joining Sonic in the building’s underground tunnel zone — along with an expanded eating area, revamped escalators, and a few more lease spaces — will be downtown’s fourth Chick Fil A. But don’t line up quite yet: The projected $1.2 million in renovations necessary to create the new spaces won’t be complete until early next year. [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot; more info (PDF)] Photo: Flickr user telwink [license]

09/02/14 4:30pm



To create some buzz about an updated 1929 cottage with bumble bee trim tones in a section of the Heights dubbed Pinelawn, viewing of the property was put on hold until the weekend, several days after its listing last month for $437,500. Tiers of patios, porches, decks, and pavers help extend the living space outdoors. The fully-fenced corner compound is located up the block from Field Elementary School.


Clocking in at $437,500
09/02/14 2:45pm

BUYERS WILL RESTORE WEINGARTEN MANSION, EXPAND KITCHEN, CALL IT HOME 4000 S. MacGregor Way, Riverside Terrace, HoustonThe owner of a offshore-drilling-rig fabricating company in Baytown and his wife, a real estate agent, have bought the former Weingarten mansion at 4000 S. MacGregor Way in Riverside Terrace — and they’re announcing plans to restore the property with the help of architect David Bucek, whose firm was responsible for the redo of the Menil house. Darryl and Lori Schroeder tell Nancy Sarnoff they plan to live in the 1935 home and “keep as much original as we can” — but that apparently doesn’t mean holding the kitchen to its current size. Darryl Schroeder tells Sarnoff they bid full asking price, or $2.25 million, for the decaying estate designed by Joseph Finger for grocery-store magnate Joseph Weingarten. MLS records appear to show he’s being a bit modest, however: They record a sales price of $2.75 million, or $500,000 over the asking price. (The discrepancy might otherwise be explained by the Schroeders’ additional $500,000 purchase of the 1.58-acre property next door at 3932 S. MacGregor Way, though that property was listed separately.) Readers hoping the 4.73-acre property might one day find its way into the hands of the neighboring University of Houston, possibly as a house for a future president, take note: The 68-year-old president of Lone Star Energy Fabricating is a UH alumnus. [Prime Property; previously on Swamplot] Photo: HAR

09/02/14 1:30pm

2600 Block of Capitol St. with Signs from Veterans Memorial Dr., Houston

If you were wondering how a street-facing block of neat-in-a-row East Downtown townhomes might appear after being taken over by the opportunistic spirit exemplified by a bunch of north Houston strip-center businesses, rest your aching brain: Artist Carrie Marie Schneider has already done some of that hard a-visualizing work for you. Her mashup above combines signs from independent businesses along Veterans Memorial Dr. (the stretch between I-45 and Richey Rd.) with a row of recent townhomes on the 2600 block of Capitol St., between Live Oak and Nagle. The image, a projection of which constitutes a small part of her recently opened exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum, is one way to imagine a “real free-enterprise” conquest of more corporate-seeming block-by-block townhome developments. Blocks like the one pictured under all that signage “once seemed uncanny in Houston for their enforced coherence,” she writes in OffCite. “Now they’re difficult not to encounter.”

Image: Carrie Marie Schneider

Mixed Use Mashup
09/02/14 10:45am

The Chronicle’s Erin Mulvaney has thrown data from Apartment Data Services into this interactive Google map — to give you a zoomable picture of where all the new apartments are heading in Houston. The green pins show the 19,923 units (in 72 projects) that have opened recently; the red dots show the 23,781 (in 85 complexes) that are currently under construction; and the yellow dots indicate the additional 18,065 apartments (in 61 new developments) that are proposed — or at least the ones the data company is aware of.

Map: Erin Mulvaney/Houston Chronicle

Mapping New Construction
09/02/14 8:30am

1920 W. Alabama Street abandoned couch

Photo of 1920 W. Alabama St.: Molly Block via Swamplot Flickr Pool

08/29/14 3:30pm



Other than flyovers by the occasional drone or maybe a high-flying bird or 2, there aren’t too many privacy breaches that might threaten the penthouse level of Bayou Bend Towers, a tony, 1981 condoplex. A 3-level unit — featuring an expansive rooftop terrace and cushy private poolscape (top) — arrived on the market a week ago with an asking price just shy of $5 million. Showings won’t begin until after the holiday weekend, but here’s a preview of the palace-like place and its 180-degree views that sweep from downtown, over River Oaks (and its golf course), to the Galleria:


Luxury Living
08/29/14 1:00pm

VACANT-LOT VEGETABLE GARDENS FOR HOUSTON GARDENS A little more than halfway through its 2-month-long Indiegogo fundraiser, a Houston company’s plan to grow vegetables on vacant urban lots has chalked up a little more than half of the $35,000 it’s hoping to raise to begin the project. Edible Earth Resources, the landscape-gardening firm that created the gardens at restaurants Coltivare, Haven, the Brooklyn Athletic Club, and Pax Americana (among other spaces), says it will soon have official approval from the city’s Land Assemblage Redevelopment Authority to plant production gardens on tax-delinquent lots leased from the citywide program. With $35,000 in startup capital, the company says on its fundraising page, Planted:Houston would begin its urban farming efforts on an acre of land available in Houston Gardens, a “rurban” neighborhood northeast of the intersection of the 610 Loop and the Eastex Fwy. — including a spot at 7414 Sandra St. The for-profit enterprise would sell its produce to various restaurants in the city and to individuals through a subscription program that includes a donation component; 10 percent of crops would remain in the neighborhoods where the gardens are planted, either through donations or discounted sales to local stores. [Indiegogo; more info] Video: Planted:Houston

08/29/14 11:15am

METRO ADJUSTS ITS REIMAGINED BUS ROUTES Metro Reimagining Map WeslayanSo the reviews of the proposed “System Reimagining” of Metro bus routes are in and . . . generally positive, but a big bunch of letter-writers hated what the new layout might or might not do to public transit along Weslayan, Jones Rd. and Jersey Village, and the Louetta and Vintage Lakes area. So the newly revised map, which Metro unveiled at its board meeting yesterday, recommends some adjustments to proposed service changes in those areas. The new 48 line, for example, which formerly was planned to run straight down Weslayan to the South Loop, would now connect the Northwest Transit Center to Greenway Plaza, the Rice Village, and the Med Center; the new 10 route down Kirby Dr. would now extend further south to S. Main St. Don’t like these changes to the changes? A few alternative route adjustments were presented as well. If the new plans are approved at next month’s meeting, the new bus routes and schedules should go into effect next June. Here’s the whole revised reimagined network map in one big PDF. [Metro; previously on Swamplotall plan materials]

08/29/14 8:30am

Construction of Aura Memorial Apartments, Memorial Dr. Between Dairy Ashford and Eldridge Pkwy., Houston

Photo of Aura Memorial, on Memorial Dr. between Dairy Ashford and Eldridge Pkwy.: elnina via Swamplot Flickr Pool

08/28/14 4:30pm



Too late. The mid-summer rental-rate reduction to $4,495 per month for this renovated 1967 Meyerland home expired with today’s re-listing of the property. The ask is back up to the $4,600 per month of its original rental listing, dating from early July 2014. Or you could flat-out buy the place. The for-sale listing, pegged at $657,500, also popped up on the market today.


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