- 830 Jaquet Dr. [HAR]
Stainless fittings in the kitchen and steely paint can’t entirely conceal the hand of prolific Houston society architect John Staub, who designed this 1935 Regency-style home in Riverside Terrace. When the property popped up in the listings at the end of February, it did so with a $895,000 asking price — considerably lower than what a Staub home might fetch elsewhere in the city. During renovations back in 2006, which replaced the HVAC, electric system, plumbing, and gas lines, and made a few alterations to the structure and finishes, the attic proved to be a real treasure trove:
COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE GAPING HOLE IN THE GARDENING DEMOGRAPHIC “. . . before you try to do something different and figure out a way to provide space for small garden plots, you should look at the demographics of your renters first. I work in the ornamental horticulture industry, and trust me, this has been a subject of deep interest in my business the last 5 years. To summarize dozens of surveys, fruit and vegetable gardening appeals to people in 2 age groups, the first is the 20-30 demo, and the other is 60+. There is a great big hole in the younger boomers and the Gen X folks who are middle aged, who basically don’t garden at all. If your apartments primarily have tenants in the under 30 crowd, they would probably pay extra for that amenity. One last point is that edible gardening picked up substantially in the 2008 recession, and has not slowed down at all. Most other categories of ornamental horticulture sales are flat or down.” [ShadyHeightster, commenting on Comment of the Day: Gardens or Parking Spots?] Illustration: Lulu
If it doesn’t look like much of the 10-story building at 3400 Montrose Blvd. has been taken down yet, that’s because you’re looking at it (in the above photo, at least) from the front. Come around to the back side of the boulevard-facing office tower that featured Cody’s and later Scott Gertner’s Skybar on its top floor to see how far the demo has come along:
THE NEW BAKER HUGHES HEADQUARTERS NEAR THE NEW EXXONMOBIL CAMPUS “Sources” are telling reporter Catie Dixon that oilfield services company Baker Hughes is planning to build a new headquarters for itself far north of its current home (in the America Tower along Allen Pkwy.). A new 400,000-to-500,000-sq.-ft. building, she reports, appears to be under development on a piece of land “just south” of the site where Southwestern Energy has its new offices under construction hugging I-45 just north of the Grand Parkway. That’s just a bit southwest of the site of ExxonMobil’s new campus (where the first employees are moving in this month), as indicated in the older marked-up area plan shown here. Following Dixon’s description, the Baker Hughes tract would likely be the one marked “UC” (for “under contract”) just south of the SWN site in the plan. However, reps from Springwoods Village developers Coventry Development tell her that “Baker Hughes doesn’t have any property under contract in Springwoods Village, and declined to comment on any activity on the aforementioned tract.” [Real Estate Bisnow; previously on Swamplot] Map: Jones Lang LaSalle
Swamplot’s Daily Demolition Report lists buildings that received City of Houston demolition permits the previous weekday.
Now destroying: A tree house, some apartments, and a “tin” barn that helped put Houston on the art map.
Notice anything different about the vacant former city code-enforcement building at 3300 Main St. lately? Well, go around to the Travis St. side (at left) and you’ll see it: A sign indicating the property is for sale went up there quietly last month. So quietly, in fact, that there doesn’t appear to be any information about the sale on the website of the building’s owner, the Midtown Redevelopment Authority, which purchased the full-block property from the city in a curious deal 3 years ago for $5 million, and — as a public entity — isn’t required to pay any property taxes on it. “Everything real estate wise that Midtown does is very hush hush,” notes a reader who brought the sale to Swamplot’s attention.
DEMOLITION OF HOUSTON’S FIRST CENTRAL-AC MANSION KEPT GOING, LONG INTO THE NIGHT As a “tribute” to the former Bullock–City Federation Mansion at 411 Lovett Blvd. demolished by an excavator last night, the hosts of a late-night show on KPFT — the radio station whose broadcast studio is next door — entertained listeners from 2 am to 5 am this morning with the recorded sounds of the 1906 structure being smashed to bits. No word on whether “Julia,” the ghost that according to this lengthy narrative has possibly inhabited the structure since at least the mid-1980s has in the meantime found a new home. [The Chestnut Tree; Dreamcraft; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox
The Fresh Market grocery store that opened across Weslayan from Central Market at 3745 Westheimer Rd. last August will be shut down within a week or 2. The national chain galloped into the Houston area last year by moving into 4 former locations of Rice Epicurean. The company cited “meaningful profitability hurdles” in announcing the single-store closure, along with the closure of 3 additional locations in California. Still alive, apparently: plans to open a store at 1519 West Bay Area Blvd. in Webster this year.
Photo: John W.
THE MIDTOWN GARDEN PLOT THAT WENT FOR JUST SHORT OF A MILLION Craig Hlavaty’s writeup on the abrupt closing of the Midtown Community Garden has a few additional details about the fate of the 3-and-a-half-year-old garden space at the corner of Baldwin and Drew, in amongst his chronicling of the efforts of member gardeners to yank out their tubers before the property was shuttered: The 13,000-sq.-ft. vacant-but-for-vegetables lot that Swamplot reported on earlier in the week was sold to developer Urban Living for $975,000. (On MLS, the asking price was $799,000.) The company plans to build townhomes on the site. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Update, 11:30 am: According to this later version ($) of the story, 2 garden-friendly potential buyers of the property who submitted offers were outbid. Photo: Swamplot inbox
Why would patrons at Rita Wanstrom’s Roaring 60s bar at 2305 S. Shepherd Dr. — just north of Fairview — regularly retreat to the bathroom to put their pants on backwards? In the late 1980s, the site of the nightspot, along with a few neighboring buildings, was replaced with the Shepherd Place office tower pictured above (an enterprise that reportedly bankrupted former governor John Connolly and a few other investors in the project). But back in the uh, roaring sixties, the bar was a famed lesbian hangout — subject to regular police raids focused on female zipper placement.
Now catering to your every demolition whim: