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
02/26/15 11:45am

H-E-B Nogalitos Market, 1601 Nogalitos St., San Antonio, Texas

H-E-B Bellaire Market, 5130 Cedar St., Bellaire, TexasThe new 70,000-sq.-ft. grocery store H-E-B is hoping to build to replace its current location near the intersection of Bissonnet St. and S. Rice Ave. in Bellaire (pictured in the bottom photo) may fit most of its parking space underneath the store. Speaking to Bellaire residents at a meeting earlier this week, officials from the company described an option that would require demolition of the entire shopping center at 5100 Cedar St. — including the existing 20,000-sq.-ft. H-E-B store and all adjacent stores. In its place would go up a 70,000-sq.-ft. store with parking underneath and in front. All shopping would be on the second floor.

To help describe the concept, officials showed images of the company’s store on Nogalitos St. in San Antonio (pictured in the top photo), which opened last month. That store, which is only 62,000 sq. ft., features a first-floor parking garage and a “travelator” (similar to one of the escalators installed to connect the garage to the entrance of the new Post Oak Blvd. Whole Foods Market) to move shoppers and their carts between levels. (The low structure in front of the building is a preserved section of the façade of the previous store on that site.)

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Upper Level Groceries
02/26/15 8:30am

Millennium Kirby Apartments Under Construction, 7600 Kirby Dr., Braeswood Place, Houston

Photo of Millennium Kirby: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
02/25/15 3:15pm

9231 Fordshire Dr., Woodshire, Houston

9231 Fordshire Dr., Woodshire, Houston

What’s been going on with that mod home renovation in Woodshire that was featured on Swamplot last September when it was aiming for a $775,500 sale price? Plenty!

The property appeared in a Chronicle featurette in October. Later, it went on a short holiday vacation from the MLS — interrupting a sequence of 6 separate price reductions and one relisting. It stood and beamed for a whole new portfolio of listing photos (shown here). And today, the home’s redesigner, Jamie House, has posted her own account of many of the decisions and efforts that went into the transformation of the 1956 property she worked on with Dave Seeburger of P&G Homes — along with an entirely different set of before-and-after pics.

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The Story Behind the 1-Story
02/25/15 11:45am

TREE-CUTTING SETTLEMENT BUYS NEW LANDSCAPING AROUND KIRBY DR. WENDY’S Wendy's Restaurant, 5003 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, HoustonCity council approved a measure last week to spend $300,000 from a special fund for Houston parks on the installation of 6 new live-oak trees on the right-of-way surrounding the Wendy’s drive-thru restaurant at 5003 Kirby Dr. That’s the now-mostly treeless corner of North Blvd. pictured here, where crews hired by the franchise owner, Mohammed Ali Dhanani of Haza Foods, removed 6 old live-oak trees at night last October. The budget for the replacement includes removing what remains of the 6 stumps, installation of irrigation and subdrainage systems, and a 2-year warranty for the new trees, which will measure between 14 and 16 inches in diameter. The allotted budget matches the amount Dhanani paid in a settlement to the city for the incident last year. Any amount left over will be used for “additional improvements within City rights-of-way or park lands” approved by the Houston Parks Board director. [City of Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox