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
09/18/14 2:30pm

Detail from Installation at Texas Artist of the Year Exhibition, Havel Ruck Projects

Sawzall-wielding housecutters Dan Havel and Dean Ruck have been carving up 3 condemned homes (from Midtown, the Museum District, and the Third Ward) to gather the raw materials for their latest exhibition, which opens tomorrow in the Art League of Houston gallery, on the occasion of their being declared the Art League’s “Texas Artists of the Year.” Collected wall parts will be stacked in a “bowl-like structure” in the complex’s main gallery (see photo above).


Havel Ruck Projects
09/18/14 12:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BUYERS WILL BE COMING TO SCOOP UP YOUR ENTIRE CONDO COMPLEX Condo Prospecting“I don’t know how it went for Park Memorial, but with these Post Oak Townhomes only some number deemed the majority had to approve it, and the hearsay is that there was a lot of misery and gnashing of teeth by those who did not want to sell. I am surprised there was not more media chatter about the sale of this complex. To me, it seemed flat out REMARKABLE that you could get even half to agree in a complex of that size. A big story + a harbinger of the future for aging condos.” [Harold Mandell, commenting on The End of the Post Oak Park Townhomes] Illustration: Lulu

09/18/14 11:30am

Proposed Tunnels and Land Bridge for Memorial Park, Houston

The landscape architecture firm working on a new master plan for Memorial Park is proposing to put portions of Memorial Dr. in tunnels to allow better connections between the long-separated north and south sections of the 1,500-acre space. Drawings shown at a public meeting Wednesday demonstrated a range of strategies Nelson Byrd Woltz is considering to link some of the 24 separate sections of the park so that they are freely accessible to visitors without hazarding traffic. Tunnels over the existing roadway would be covered by an 800-ft. long “land bridge” planted with grass and trees, reports the Chronicle‘s Molly Glentzer:


Land Bridges
09/18/14 10:30am

THIS COULD BE THE END OF THE HEIGHTS POST OFFICE Heights Finance Station Post Office, 1050 Yale St., Houston HeightsNote: This story has been updated. Late yesterday the US Postal Service announced it is “considering relocating the retail services” from the Heights Finance Station at 1050 Yale St. Under the proposed plan, retail services at the single-story building, which sits on more than an acre of land bounded by Yale, 11th St., and Heights Blvd. would be moved to the T.W. House Carrier Annex at the corner of Bevis and 19th St. in Shady Acres. Does the the announcement mean the Yale St. facility will be closed or sold? “Since the relocation of the station is still in the consideration phase and no final determination has been made, there is no available information about the future of the building,” local USPS spokesperson Dionne Montague tells Swamplot. If you’re seeking better answers, you might want to attend Monday’s planned public meeting on the topic, set for 5 pm at the city hall annex downtown. A 15-day official public comment period will follow the meeting. Photo: Swamplot inbox

09/18/14 8:30am

802 n. nagle

Photo of 802 N. Nagle: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

09/17/14 5:15pm




Over in Woodshire, a fifties-vintage neighborhood hugging the South Loop west of Stella Link Rd., a recently renovated 1956 mod returned to the market earlier this month. Its distinctive airplane-wing roof slants nearly to the ground above a brick exterior that’s now been whitewashed. Inside, a few structural changes have opened up the living space, removed a series of exposed ceiling beams, and restored a studio floating above the double-wide driveway. The home last sold in May 2013 — for $240K. After its overhaul and repositioning by P&G Homes — in collaboration with LynnGoode Vintage and Jamie House Design — the flip-ready property now carries a $775,500 asking price. What does the half-million upgrade get you?


Once Beaming, Now Gleaming