04/10/14 10:15am

Demolition of 3400 Montrose Blvd., Montrose, Houston

Demolition of 3400 Montrose Blvd., Montrose, HoustonThe top-down demo of the 10-story building at 3400 Montrose has reached its moment of smooth-jazzy truth. Having taken care of the parking garage in back, demo crews are now hard at work dismantling the 10th-floor portion of the building, which formerly housed Scott Gertner’s Skybar — and before that, Cody’s. These views from across Montrose Blvd. and Hawthorne St. taken yesterday by a Swamplot reader show the south and west portions of the top floor are already gone, and come-aparts are headed for the corner. Hanover is planning to build a significantly taller apartment tower on the site once the 1953 stone-clad structure is gone.

Photo: polyester

The Cody’s, Scott Gertner Liftoff
03/10/14 1:00pm

Demolition of Office Building at 3400 Montrose Blvd., Montrose, Houston

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:


From the Rear
01/16/14 10:15am

A DECK POOL, BUT NO ‘SKYBAR,’ FOR THE NEW 3400 MONTROSE Rendering of Montrose Facade of Proposed 3400 Montrose Highrise, Montrose, HoustonNancy Sarnoff collects a few more details on Hanover’s plans for the 30-story tower to replace the vacant ‘Skybar’ building the apartment developer bought just south of Kroger on Montrose Blvd.. The new 3400 Montrose will contain a total of 330 apartments, the smallest of which will be 500 sq. ft. (keeping them out of the “micro-unit” category). The Montrose-facing driveway will serve as a garage entrance as well as an exit. On the ninth-floor open-air deck above the parking garage (just out of view in the rendering above of the Montrose Blvd. view) there’ll be “a swimming pool with private cabanas, grilling areas and a green lawn.” If downtown views from that level are blocked by the tower, they’ll be available from the Hawthorne St. balcony overhang Hanover hopes to gain approval for in its variance hearing next week. The company expects to take about 2 years to build the Montrose highrise, but hasn’t announced a start date for construction. [Houston Chronicle ($); previously on Swamplot] Rendering: Solomon Cordwell Buenz

11/18/13 11:46am

3400 Montrose Office Building, Montrose, HoustonSnooping around county records, HBJ reporter Shaina Zucker discovers that apartment developer Hanover Company has placed the long-vacant 10-story office building at 3400 Montrose Blvd. under contract. The developer wouldn’t respond to Zucker’s questions, but an officer of the Montrose Management District hints strongly that Hanover plans to tear down the structure across Hawthorne St. from Kroger and build — surprise! — “luxury apartments” in its place: “There’s no way they could remodel.” Scott Gertner’s Skybar — and Cody’s before it — once occupied the building’s top floor.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

3400 Montrose
11/14/11 10:46am

A stone panel from the 9th floor of the vacant 10-story 3400 Montrose office building crashed to the sidewalk over the weekend, according to a reader report. “Was at Starbucks [Saturday] morning and all was good. An hour later things had fallen apart,” Swamplot’s informant writes. One of the submitted photos shows a policeman looking up at the jumping-off point: a now blank dark space where a panel had been mounted, in the top left corner of the building’s Montrose Blvd. facade.


12/02/10 1:45pm

Skybar owner Scott Gertner has found a new space for his jazz club. It’ll be on the 3rd floor of Houston Pavilions — one block west of the House of Blues and Lucky Strike, and directly across the open-air mall from “swing space” originally planned for retail but now being leased as office space by an energy company. Scott Gertner’s Skybar, on the 10th floor of the office building at 3400 Montrose, closed over the summer, after Gertner tired of dealing with building maintenance issues left unaddressed by a new owner.

Houston Pavilions’ 3rd floor is pretty high up there, but Gertner says the new venue will drop the SkyBar name for the multi-level space (it’ll just be called Scott Gertner’s). At 13,000 sq. ft. (and a capacity of 700), it’ll be slightly larger than the old club too. He tells Chronicle reporter Joey Guerra the new interior, designed by Uptown Sushi architect Isaac Preminger, will feature 3 outdoor patios, an “arena-style” stage, and a full kitchen. Directly downstairs from the club, at the corner of Dallas and Fannin: BCBGMaxAzria and McCormick & Schmick’s, shown above.

Photo: Flickr user sabotai

07/01/10 10:57am

WHY SCOTT GERTNER’S SKYBAR IS LEAVING THE MONTROSE SKY Gertner says he’s now interested in opening up a new club somewhere near the Galleria. A company out of Waco called FH Properties bought the 10-story office building at 3400 Montrose that serves as a podium for the Skybar in February. After that, the bar owner and Grammy nominee tells the Chronicle‘s Joey Guerra, everything went downhill: “About five months ago, the building was purchased in auction. We tried over the past months to work out a new lease, but they kept putting me off saying they didn’t know what they were going to do. I started to see that the building was being neglected — even to the point that my staff would walk the entire four-story parking garage and lobby to clean it ourselves after the nightclub was closed — wipe the windows, clean the elevators, everything that my prior lease included that was the responsibility of the landlord. Big, orange, neon City of Houston stickers started to appear on all doors listing the permits were outdated. We had several visits from the fire marshal about the building and even thought they were going to shut it down two weeks ago. Nothing like closing us down on the second biggest holiday of the year. Skybar was always one of the best venues to view fireworks on the fourth of July.” [Peep; previously on Swamplot]

06/30/10 6:11pm

Note: Story updated below.

News comes from a reader that Scott Gertner’s Skybar, on the top floor of 3400 Montrose, will be closing for good this Saturday — “due to the building closing its doors.” We don’t have further information about why the entire 10-story office building across Hawthorne from the Montrose Kroger might be shutting down, but a Twitter-fed rumor is that it’s for “safety concerns.”

Scott Gertner’s Sports Bar, safely ensconced on the ground- (and only) floor of a parking-lot site on Fountainview just north of Richmond, is apparently in no danger of collapse, and will remain open. The complete message passed onto us from Gertner after the jump:


12/27/16 3:30pm

Painting by Ken Mazzu

Artist Ken Mazzu’s been back at the easel and back on the Houston demolition beat lately, finishing up some new works to be featured in next month’s building-themed art show at the William Reaves / Sarah Foltz Fine Art Gallery at 2143 Westheimer Rd.. The show will feature some of Mazzu’s paintings of ’round-town teardowns, along with works of 2 other Houston-focused artists (late photographer Jim Culberson and living painter Richard Stout). The gallery will even host Houston archi-historian Dr. Stephen Fox for a talk about The Changing City on the 14th.

Mazzu’s had a lot of subjects to choose from since a set of his demo-themed canvases went on display back in 2013; he sends over some previews of new pieces, including the scene above commemorating the disassembly of the former Downtown headquarters of the Houston Chronicle. Other recent works feature newly-parking-lotified 509 Louisiana St., the dissolution of the octagonal Solvay mid-rise, a pile of post-blow-up downtown Foley’s debris, and more:


New Works Retrospective
10/06/16 11:45am

Flag Man by 3400 Montrose, WAMM, Houston, 77006

The Hawthorne-facing apartment highrise at 3400 Montrose is now open for general business, as the orange sign recently added over the door declares in all-caps. Across the street at the edge of the Disco Kroger parking lot, another orange sign is also directing folks toward the entrance, a reader notes — as of yesterday evening, the decked-out flag man above was set up across from the tower’s main entrance as some heavy equipment work wrapped up in the street behind it. Here’s a close-up portrait:


Hawthorne St. Style
06/22/16 11:00am

Hanover Montrose, 3400 Montrose Blvd., WAMM, Houston, 77006

Rendering of Proposed 30-Story Hanover Apartment Tower at 3400 Montrose, Montrose, HoustonThe eastern face of 3400 Montrose Blvd. appears to be losing color this week as the building’s mid-August opening looms ever closer. A reader sends the above over-the-Walgreens shot of the Skybar-replacing apartment tower (which now looks to have most of its balcony railings in place as well), capturing part of the building’s patch-by-patch transition this week from concrete gray to previous-rendering white.

And anyone jonesing for some up-in-the-air views following the closure of the Chase Tower Sky Lobby can get a half-strength fix from this shot of Downtown, taken by the tipster earlier this spring from a ledge on the building’s 28th floor:


Almost Showtime by Disco Kroger
06/03/16 11:15am

360 Skybar Patio, 500 McIlhenny St., Midtown, Houston, 77006

Some things have changed in the last few months at the corner of Brazos and McIlhenny streets in Midtown, where scandal-embroiled nightclub Gaslamp appears to have shut down to make way for a newly-opened bar called 360. The Gaslamp sign is gone, and the building’s new Facebook page also lists it as located at Google-baggage-free 500 McIlhenny instead of 2400 Brazos (though the number 2400 was still in place over the door as of last week).

The former second-floor club-within-a-club Elysium space upstairs appears to have been redecorated as well, and to have picked up the name The Hamptons. Other things remain the same, however — for example, the photo posted last week of 360’s rooftop patio (above) is remarkably similar to a view from the rooftop previously posted to Gaslamp’s webpage (below):


Midtown Makeover
04/18/16 10:45am

3400 Montrose, WAMM, Houston, 77006

Windows are in on the Montrose side of Hanover’s 30-ft. Kroger-facing residential highrise at the corner with Hawthorne St. Those 2 rows of empty spots in the grid just below the former elevation of Skybar have been left intentionally blank and belong to the complex’s garage-topping pool deck, which looks to have its north-facing balcony already hanging out over Hawthorne.

The development’s leasing website lists August 1st as the planned date for the first round of move-ins, which leaves 3 and a half months to wrap up the majority of construction. The parking garage has yet to get its full modesty covering, per previous renderings from the Montrose side:


High on Hawthorne St.
12/30/14 11:00am

And here it is — the grand finale of the seventh annual Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. It’s time to announce the winners of this year’s competition.

This final unveiling caps an almost month-long process that began with calls for nominations in 7 separate award categories. Official ballots were assembled from reader nominations. Then voting was opened up — to everyone.

The award winners of the 2014 Swampies deserve to be recognized for their unique contributions to this city. It takes something special to stand out in Houston’s real estate landscape. Award winners: Houston real-estate fans have noticed you!

Also worthy of recognition: the many Swamplot readers who took time to nominate, evaluate, vote, and comment on competitors in each category. Your judgments, your descriptions, and your observations are featured below.

Does this honor roll of award winners — along with the list of runners up — provide an accurate snapshot of the year in Houston real estate? The lineup was determined by reader votes. It’s too late to vote, but do let everyone know how you think it all turned out!

The winners of the 2014 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate are . . .


The 2014 Swampies
12/12/14 5:15pm

What an embarrassment of riches! For Best Demolition, the second category of the 2014 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate, we had far too many contenders than available places on the ballot. So several valiant contenders for the title got knocked out of the running.

Thanks to your help, a terrific slate of candidates for this award remains, however. And with some additional help — in the form of your votes — we’ll all pick the winner. What qualifies a nominee to be declared Best Demolition of the year? Does it refer to the best act of demolition, the removal that produced the best results, or the best building that happened to be torn down? That’s up to you!

The voting rules for this year’s Swampies, which includes a slight tweak to our previous rules, are posted here. You can still vote in this category through each of 4 methods: in a comment below, in an email to Swamplot, on Twitter, or on Swamplot’s Facebook page. This go-around, however, we’ll only be counting votes submitted through the first 2 methods from voters who’ve signed up for the Swamplot email list. (If you haven’t done so already, you can through this link or the box at the top left of this page.) When you cast your vote(s), please try to explain why you’re voting for that particular nominee, so we’ll have plenty of entertaining comments to include in our roundup of the winners and runners-up.

And here they are! Or rather, here they were! The official nominees for Best Demolition of 2014:


The 2014 Swampies