09/22/14 4:15pm



The last time this 1952 River Oaks home attributed to Staub and Rather was on the market was about a decade ago. At the time, it sold for $2.875 million to business titan and philanthropist Jack S. Blanton, who died in December of last year. The 1952 corner property features an expansion by a previous owner back in 1998 — around the time it sold for $1.08 million. In its listing earlier this month, the home’s asking price was $4.85 million. What sorts of add-ons have accompanied the rising prices?


Still Rather Staub-Like
09/22/14 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOUSTON HAS NO TIME FOR THE PAST Running ManHoustonians do not look back at the past. They are so intent upon running into the future at break-neck speed that any glance into the past could lead to a disastrous fall. I will have you know that they are running with scissors.” [Bubba, commenting on The Real Estate Secrets Buried Around Market Square] Illustration: Lulu

09/22/14 12:00pm

Sparrow and the Nest, 1020 Studewood St., Woodland Heights, Houston

Sparrow and the Nest, 1020 Studewood St., Woodland Heights, HoustonOh, don’t worry too much about that for-sale sign out in front of the shop, note the owners of Sparrow and the Nest: “The shop remains open and we will be keeping regular business hours,” reads a note on the boutique’s blog. Expect just a few interruptions, maybe, commensurate with a non-stop open house atmosphere for the 1,344-sq.-ft. 1920 bungalow duplex at 1020 Studewood St. that Stephanie and Andrew Lienhard renovated a few years ago for their handcraft-retail venture — like last month’s week-long closure to paint the floors.

The residential listing posted over the weekend for the 2-bedroom, 1-1/2 bath structure calls it completely updated (there’s an ACK! mural on the side fence), and is asking $595,000. If and when the property sells, the Lienhardts plan to reduce the “retail aspect” of the business while growing its online presence. A smaller version of the boutique is planned for an unspecified location “a few blocks down the road.”

Photos: Houston Makerspace/Samantha Roberts (front); HAR (interior)

Bungalow Shop for Sale
09/22/14 10:30am

Proposed SkyHouse Main Apartment Tower, Main St. at Pease St., Downtown Houston

Atlanta’s Novare Group, known for planting glassy crowned apartment towers in Sunbelt cities, is about to build its third in Houston. If the SkyHouse Main the company is planning for the block surrounded by Main, Fannin, Pease and Jefferson (across the light-rail line from the Beaconsfield) looks familiar, that’s because the new 24-story, 335-unit project appears identical to the SkyHouse Houston building it just completed a block to the north. That means a multi-level parking garage on the east side of the block, and retail space on the ground floor, fronting the rail line.

SkyHouse Main would be the company’s third SkyHouse in Houston: SkyHouse River Oaks is currently under construction southwest of River Oaks, on the site of one of the former Westcreek Apartments just east of the West Loop.

Rendering: Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart

SkyHouse Main
09/22/14 8:30am

609 main construction

Photo of 609 Main construction: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

09/19/14 3:45pm



Despite a series of remodeling tweaks, this 1970 Thornwood contemporary’s rebirthing still has a way to go. Its listing earlier this week pegs the property’s status as ripe for renovation, and sets the ask at $345K. Several rooms already feature updates (and the pool got a redo back in that “watershed” year of 2008), but others show their age, work in progress, or the effects of what’s gently described by the listing agent as “recent moisture and plumbing issues.”

Can the home’s renovations be completed? Should they be? Look for clues in the photos below, or see for yourself at this Sunday’s open house.


You Complete Me
09/19/14 1:45pm

Demolition of Axis Apartments Garage, 2400 West Dallas St., North Montrose, Houston

Remember the fire back in March at those apartments under construction on West Dallas next to the cemetery that destroyed the whole complex except for the parking garage? No big deal if you don’t, because you’d need to adjust your memory anyway. A reader notes to Swamplot that the surviving parking garage is now being demolished as well, months after the singed stick-frame structures around it at JLB Parters’ would-have-been Axis Apartments were carted away. So now you can remember the fire so bad they had to tear the whole thing down — though it took them a while to give up on the garage.


On Second Thought, Scrap That
09/19/14 11:30am

Building Details at Block Surrounded by Preston, Prairie, Milam, and Travis, Downtown Houston

What tales of real-estate scandal are buried beneath the blocks surrounding Market Square? In 1988, the Bethje-Lang building at 316 Milam St., better known as the site of the Warren’s Inn bar, was torn down without so much as a permit by its new owner, Guardian Savings. According to an account enshrined on the Downtown District website, the soon-to-be-defunct S&L was able to wrest the building from its previous owner, Warren Trousdale, only after a multi-year campaign of harassment that included mysteriously cemented-up sewer lines. (Trousdale’s sister established the current Warren’s Inn, across Market Square on Travis St., in his — and the building’s — memory.) Guardian Savings was never able to build the development it planned for that site, but the parking lot it left behind was ripped out this past summer for construction of the 40-story Market Square Tower.

The block likely held the remnants of other storied escapades, but a Swamplot reader says it’s all gone now: “The entire site [was] bulldozed, excavated and historically sanitized in a matter of a few days. During the excavations red brick foundations were exposed to a depth of about 15 feet and destroyed. There was no sign of any archeological due diligence by the developer before or during the demolition.”

But if you like digging in Houston real estate dirt, there’s still plenty left to explore beneath an adjacent parking lot:


Unearth, or Let them Lie?
09/19/14 8:30am

Energy Center Five at N. Eldridge and Katy Fwy.

Photo of Energy Center Five at N. Eldridge and Katy Fwy.: elnina via Swamplot Flickr Pool

09/18/14 4:30pm



Crosswalks and No Parking signs related to Reagan High School separate an updated 1920-ish bungalow from the front of campus on 13th St. in the Houston Heights. The residential property includes 2 apartments, located on 2 levels of the still-accessible 3-car garage and its extra-extra wide driveway. The tidy compound backs up to an alley that splits the block, which is located in a section of the Heights East Historic District. Against the home’s recently applied bright blue paint, the freshened exterior’s white trim brightly pops, particularly on the porch’s newish old-style columns and balustrades. Listed on Wednesday, the triplex bears an asking price of $750K.


Compounding Interests