05/21/15 4:15pm

Vargos on the Lake Apartments, 2411 Fondren Rd., Piney Point Village, Houston Vargos on the Lake Apartments, 2411 Fondren Rd., Piney Point Village, HoustonThe old Vargo’s Restaurant, a lakeside steak house and wedding venue nestled between Piney Point Village and the Westheimer strip for 47 years, was torn down in May of 2013. Its replacement at 2411 Fondren Rd., a 5-story apartment complex, keeps the name (minus the apostrophe) and the lake, and maybe a peacock or 2 by the pool for photo ops. After 17 months of construction, Vargos on the Lake is ready for a grand opening shindig next Thursday followed by open houses the next couple of days.

Here’s a site plan of the revamped grounds, showing how the 276-unit apartment building (of 1- and 2- bedroom units) and 13 townhomes (all 3-bedrooms) have been arrayed around the lake: CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Apartment Openings
05/21/15 2:15pm

HOUSTONIANS THINK HOUSTON IS 63 PERCENT URBAN, KINDA Map of Urban and Suburban Zip Codes in Houston from FiveThirtyEightIn a guest post for ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight, Trulia’s chief economist trots out a bunch of maps and charts that purport to show that Houston, unlike the other 5 most populous U.S. cities, is actually only 63 percent urban. But among the lower-downs on that list, Houston isn’t the big suburban metropolis standout. Phoenix and San Antonio rate half of Houston’s urbanity, and even San Diego comes in at a sprawling 49 percent. Of course, there’s the small question of how anyone determines whether a place is urban. Trulia went with the old “know it when I see it” rule, rating a Zip Code urban if its residents called it urban, suburban if they called it so, and rural otherwise. But with only 2,008 responses to their online survey, the company had to resort to other measures to fill out its maps for Houston (above) and several other cities, including figures for the density of households within a particular Zip Code. [FiveThirtyEight] Map: FiveThirtyEight

05/21/15 1:00pm

Lightning Logistics and SpindleTap Brewery, 10622 Hirsch Rd., Northside, Houston

Beer and trucking: 2 great Texas pastimes will unite under one roof this September, once the brand new SpindleTap Brewery opens up its brewing operation and tavern inside the brand-new tilt-up warehouse at 10622 Hirsch Rd. built for trucking company Lightning Logistics (pictured here under construction in a photo from February). SpindleTap’s facility is taking up 10,000 of the building’s 70,000 sq. ft., reports the Houston Business Journal‘s Joe Martin. (It’ll also include an outdoor patio space and possibly a dog run.) Much of the remainder of the building, which is located just south of Little York, a superblock east of I-69, will serve as headquarters for Lightning Logistics’s 250-truck fleet.


05/21/15 8:30am


Photo of Greenway Plaza: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

05/20/15 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE RENT RUSH Drawing of Apartments“One of the reasons rents have gotten pretty high in the last decade is people finally realized that owning a house is not what it’s cracked up to be. You can have a pretty decent apartment inside the loop for $2k a month which will only buy you about a $200k house which means you get an old small house between the loop and beltway, or a decent new house outside of the beltway. Also, you don’t start building real world equity in the house until after year 7 and coincidentally average time people live in a house is 5-7 years. Renting also allows for extreme flexibility in case your job changes, you create little clumsy clones of yourself, or simply don’t like changes in your neighborhood. There was a study that showed that during the great recession there was a much higher rate of unemployment in Home Owner vs. Renters because after losing their job, Home Owners either were unable to sell or refused to sell their homes and simply move to an area with better job prospects.” [commonsense, commenting on Houston’s Most Expensive, Deadest Neighborhoods; The $10 I-10 Toll; Drinking from Lake Conroe] Illustration: Lulu

05/20/15 3:45pm

Demolition of Robindell Shopping Center, 6711-6751 Bissonnet St. at Beechnut, Robindell, Houston

Can’t get enough of that old-shopping-center-knock-down action? Here, courtesy of the Brays Oaks management district, is a view of the carnage currently in progress at the Robindell Shopping Center, where the empty hulls of a slew of colorfully named businesses arrayed from 6711 to 6755 Bissonnet St. are meeting dusty ends. Hello to a new Aldi and company. But before that, a goodbye to Bigwick Liquor, Libreria Cristiana El Resplendor, Ana’s Multi Services, La Sultana Pupuseria, Delta X-Ray, Cute-Cut Salon $5, Eyebrow Threading Salon, and Trudi’s Birria de Chivo. Your ice cream at neighboring Baskin-Robbins will be spared.

Photo: Brays Oaks Management District

Make Way for Aldi
05/20/15 2:15pm

Demolition of America's Best Value Inn, 9604 S. Main St., Westridge, Houston

If you’ve been staking out the demolition action around the Starbucks drive-thru at the corner of Buffalo Speedway and S. Main St., a block north of the South Loop, you’ll know crews have now knocked down the entire vacant strip center at 9714 Buffalo Speedway as well as the former America’s Best Value Inn at 9604 S. Main St. behind it. For the rest of us, a couple of pics sent in by a reader will help you catch up on what’s been going down to make way for a rumored townhome development from InTown Homes.


America’s Best Value No Longer
05/20/15 12:00pm

METRO KEEPING NEW BUS ROUTES UNDER WRAPS UNTIL AUGUST 16 Bagged Bus Stop Sign on Bellaire Route 2, Bellaire, TexasEvery route sign at every bus stop in Metro’s service area should now have a plastic bag over its head, the transit agency says. Printed on those bags: the same old bus route numbers that’ve always been there, along with a couple of helpful phone numbers. Info on how the route will be changed come late summer should appear on vertical add-on signs lower on each pole. The great citywide bus-stop-sign unbagging (revealing the sign makeovers hidden underneath) is scheduled to take place just before August 16, the day Metro’s revamped route network debuts. [Metro; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Metro

05/20/15 8:30am

Construction of Apartments at 4020 Koehler St., West End, Houston

Photo of Wood Partners apartments, 4020 Koehler St.: Swamplot inbox

05/19/15 4:15pm

SUB-BOURBON REVOLVER GUNNING FOR OUTLAW DAVE’S WASHINGTON AVE SPOT Patio of Outlaw Dave's Worldwide Headquarters, 6502 Washington Ave., Woodcrest, HoustonThe owners of fellow just-shut-down Willowbrook Mall bar Revolver are now in possession of the remains of Outlaw Dave’s Worldwide Headquarters, Houstonia’s Katharine Shilcutt notes. And a reader tells Swamplot the new owners are already busy making changes for an in-town Revolver revival: “Someone is doing outside renovations (tore down wood fence and pouring slab for patio) right now, and a truck with an exterior logo that reads ‘Revolver sub-BOURBON social’ has been parked outside for a week.” Revolver, which may or may not upgrade from sub-Bourbon to the hard urban stuff, is now aiming for a summer opening. Outlaw Dave’s went dark at 6502 Washington Ave just south of I-10 earlier this month, leaving a lit-up “Adios Bitches” signoff on its marquee. [Houstonia] Photo of Outlaw Dave’s patio: Outlaw Dave’s Worldwide Headquarters

05/19/15 12:30pm

Wortham Tower Parking Garage, American General Center, 2919 Allen Pkwy., North Montrose, Houston

A banner for Manhattan Construction is flying on the side of the Wortham Tower parking garage, just south of the Wortham Tower itself at 2919 Allen Pkwy. The company is adding on a few floors of parking to the massive structure. A Swamplot reader sent in these views, taken from the adjacent parking lot for the Whole Foods Market on Waugh Dr.


Wortham Tower Parking