07/21/17 4:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE MIDTOWN HOME OF DESTINY’S CHILD HAS MET ITS DESTINY “Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but House of Deréon is but a memory now, a pile of rubble.” [Fe Bencosme, commenting on Destiny’s Child Mural on House of Deréon Media Center Wins Midtown Demolition Staredown; more here] Photo of House of Deréon Media Center, 2204 Crawford St., Midtown Houston: Jordan

07/21/17 4:00pm

THE INVENTION OF UPPER KIRBY Among Houston’s grids, strips, and cul de sacs, let a million neighborhoods bloom! Perhaps the story of how the area around upper Kirby Dr. came to be known as Upper Kirby can form some sort of template for this city’s vast numbers of undifferentiated districts just waiting to be branded? “We weren’t Greenway Plaza, we weren’t Montrose, we weren’t Rice Village,” Upper Kirby Management District deputy director Travis Younkin tells reporter Nicki Koetting. It was a section of town that lacked identity. “This nameless neighborhood, Koetting adds, “was the sort of place you drove through on the way to other, named neighborhoods.” One helpful step along the way: Planting the shopping areas with red phone booths. “The authentic British phone booths are an homage to Upper Kirby’s acronym, and actually operated as phone booths for a few decades until cellphones became the norm,” Koetting notes. “Now, the telephone booths are lit from within and locked, serving today as a visual indication to visitors that they’ve arrived in Houston’s own UK.” [Houstonia] Photo: WhisperToMe

07/21/17 12:00pm

Sponsoring Swamplot again today: the Downtown District, so you can get another good look at the recently launched Downtown Houston web portal. Thanks for supporting this site!

Check out the new Downtown Houston website! It’s your destination for everything Downtown. The website should answer what most people want to know about heading into the city.

Curious about what events are happening? Check. Have an itch to discover hidden gems? Check. Hungry for good eats from a chef-driven restaurant, or looking for great brunch and breakfast spots? Check. Not sure where to find parking around your destination? Visiting for work and searching for leisure activities? Check and check.

The Downtown District’s new online platform aims to inform, educate, and entertain — so that residents, visitors, and commuters can enjoy the abundance of Downtown’s amenities and offerings: dining, playing, enjoying the arts, worshipping, and learning!

“The Downtown Houston website has always been a great one-stop shop for information about restaurants, parking, events, and more,” says Angie Bertinot, director of marketing and communications for the Downtown District. “With this major update, we have expanded our focus on living, working, exploring, and staying Downtown, as well as improving upon the resources that the public has come to rely on.”

In addition to comprehensive guide listings and an all-inclusive event calendar, the website features an interactive map that assists with parking (where to park, for how much, and an option to reserve spaces), while also letting visitors know what’s nearby and what events are happening that day — a feature you cannot find in a parking app or by using Google Maps alone.

The new site features portraits of Downtown’s unique and historic neighborhoods — as well as an editorial section with articles and videos highlighting Downtown lifestyles and area businesses. The content reflects the Downtown District’s efforts to support the growth of the residential population, provide a premier work environment, and attract locals and out-of-town visitors.

Your adventure begins Downtown!

Swamplot readers want to know what you’re up to. Become a Swamplot Sponsor of the Day and let them know.

Sponsor of the Day
07/20/17 12:00pm

Sponsoring Swamplot today: the Downtown District, to highlight the recently launched Downtown Houston web portal. Thanks for supporting this site!

Take a good look at the new Downtown Houston website. It’s your destination for everything Downtown. The website should answer what most people want to know about heading into the city.

Curious about what events are happening? Check. Have an itch to discover hidden gems? Check. Hungry for good eats from a chef-driven restaurant, or looking for great brunch and breakfast spots? Check. Not sure where to find parking around your destination? Visiting for work and searching for leisure activities? Check and check.

The Downtown District’s new online platform aims to inform, educate, and entertain — so that residents, visitors, and commuters can enjoy the abundance of Downtown’s amenities and offerings: dining, playing, enjoying the arts, worshipping, and learning!

“The Downtown Houston website has always been a great one-stop shop for information about restaurants, parking, events, and more,” says Angie Bertinot, director of marketing and communications for the Downtown District. “With this major update, we have expanded our focus on living, working, exploring, and staying Downtown, as well as improving upon the resources that the public has come to rely on.”

In addition to comprehensive guide listings and an all-inclusive event calendar, the website features an interactive map that assists with parking (where to park, for how much, and an option to reserve spaces), while also letting visitors know what’s nearby and what events are happening that day — a feature you cannot find in a parking app or by using Google Maps alone.

The new site features portraits of Downtown’s unique and historic neighborhoods — as well as an editorial section with articles and videos highlighting Downtown lifestyles and area businesses. The content reflects the Downtown District’s efforts to support the growth of the residential population, provide a premier work environment, and attract locals and out-of-town visitors.

Your adventure begins Downtown!

Let locals know what you’re doing: Become a Swamplot Sponsor of the Day!

 

Sponsor of the Day
07/19/17 1:30pm

The self-styled “House of a Million Parts” at 1225 Sawyer St. once known as Johnny Frank’s Auto Parts Company was torn to pieces last summer. Freshly applied to the chain-link fence surrounding the now-vacant lot: a new TABC notice, announcing to passers-by that an establishment named the Sawyer Ice House is hoping to sling cocktails on the premises before too long. The land is across the road from those arted-up rice silos on Sawyer St., which are across Edwards St. from the Shops at Sawyer Yards. It appears to be another of the projects in that neck of the woods that trace back to Lovett Commercial, which is working on parking lots and a slew of other developments in the area as well. Here’s what Sawyer Ice House might look like, per what appears to be the bar’s new save-the-name Facebook page:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Car Lot Reincarnation
07/19/17 12:00pm

Our sponsor today is the pair of new homes at 928 Adele St. in Sunset Heights. Thank you for supporting Swamplot!

These 2 modern homes were designed and constructed by the Ferguson Home Group. Each home is 2 stories, has 3 bedrooms and 3-1/2 bathrooms, and has a fenced-in yard in back. The main living spaces are on the first floor; the living rooms open directly to the back yard through a 3-panel “telescoping” sliding glass door (pictured at top) that disappears entirely into the wall when fully open — a neat way to open the indoors to the outdoors on beautiful days.

The kitchens have floor-to-ceiling modern cabinetry, pendant light fixtures, and bar seating at the island. You’ll find a vaulted stained-wood ceiling in the upstairs master bedroom of each home, as well as a signature claw-footed tub in the master bath.

You’ll find plenty of great places to eat nearby: The cheeses and treats at Houston Dairymaids are just a block away; Asia Market is just a few blocks south. The entire Heights 19th St. shopping district is just a 7 minute bike ride to the west.

To view more photos and find out more about these homes, view the property website. If you’d like to see them in person, come by this Sunday, July 23rd, for an open house scheduled to run from 1 pm to 3 pm. If that time doesn’t work out for you, contact the listing agent, Rogelio Olivetti, at 713.320.2867 to make a private viewing appointment.

Imagine your home featured here! Become a Swamplot Sponsor of the Day.

Sponsor of the Day
07/18/17 12:00pm

Today on Swamplot our sponsor is the renovated Midcentury Mod single-story 4-bedroom home at 13002 Kimberley Ln. in Memorial Plaza, offered for sale by Norhill Realty. Thank you for supporting this site!

This 1960 home with distinctive tall front windows has been extensively renovated. Sited on a 10,255-sq.-ft. lot on the corner of Wax Myrtle Ln., it’s zoned to Rummel Creek Elementary, Memorial Middle School, and Stratford High School. The shopping, restaurants, and nightlife of CityCentre are just a 4-minute bike ride away.

Inside, the plan is open, a brand new kitchen set back from the beamed and vaulted ceilings of the living and dining spaces that face the street. Behind the kitchen a den looks out to the landscaped back yard, which features a new concrete patio, a play structure, and half-a-dozen or so tall pines. Sprinklers and an automatic mosquito misting system have been installed. The master bedroom has views to the back as well; its bathroom suite has been completely redone and features double sinks, both tub and glass-enclosed shower, and a walk-in closet.

Do take a look at all the photos of this home in Norhill Realty’s property listing. If you’d like to see it in person, you’ll have a chance at the open house this Sunday, July 23rd, from 1 to 3 pm. Or contact Vincent Biondillo at 713-449-2416 or vincent@norhillrealty.com to set up your own showing. To keep up with Norhill Realty’s latest listings and real estate tips, follow the Norhill Realty Facebook page or check out the Norhill Realty website.

Got a nice home to share? Swamplot readers are just a Sponsor of the Day away!

Sponsor of the Day
07/18/17 10:45am

Does tearing down historic Houston architecture run in the family? The 1930’s house built for Harry C. Hanszen at 2945 Lazy Lane Blvd. (which showed up on Wednesday’s Daily Demolition Report last week) did in fact get the full knockdown treatment over the weekend, a couple of stunned readers tell Swamplot. The River Oaks home, designed by architect John F. Staub, was owned for a few decades by John Mecom Jr.; more recently, it was sold in 2014 to Matthew B. Arnold, per county records. The 5-acre-ish lot sits right across the road from Bayou Bend, and from the Lazy Lane spot where the historic home known as Dogwoods used to stand — before former Enron trader and experimental drone surveillance funder John D. Arnold knocked it down to make room for a boxy replacement. (Staub also designed Bayou Bend, and collaborated with Birdsall Briscoe on the Dogwoods design.)

It’s worth noting that the Hanszen house was majorly added-onto between 1979 and 1981, back when it was owned by the Mecoms — and it was largely stripped of its original interiors during that time, archi-historian Stephen Fox tells Swamplot. It’s now been stripped of its exteriors as well — which previously looked like this:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Bye Bye by Bayou Bend
07/14/17 5:30pm

Here’s a view from last week of the former Express Wheel & Tire kiosk in Oak Forest, in the midst of its transformation into a yet-to-be-identified coffee drive-thru along Ella Blvd. at W. 34th St., at the eastern end of the shopping center redo Revive Development is working on at that intersection’s southwest corner. Demo crews are removing the overhang connecting the front canopy to the small building behind it. Renderings of the finished development on the Revive website show the canopy is meant to remain — to shade a few prime parking spaces at the eastern end of the development:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

W. 34th St. and Ella
07/14/17 12:00pm

Today our Sponsor of the Day is Houston’s own Central Bank. Thanks for supporting Swamplot!

Central Bank has 4 (central) Houston branches available to meet your business or personal needs: in Midtown, the Heights, West Houston, and Post Oak Place.

Central Bank believes that change is essential to its success; the company actively pursues the latest in service, technology, and products. Central Bank aims to know its customers personally and to be their primary business and personal financial resource. The bank’s staff values relationships and strives to be available when you need them.

To learn more about how Central Bank can meet your banking needs, please call any of the following Senior Vice Presidents: Kenny Beard, at 832.485.2376; Bonnie Purvis, at 832.485.2354; Carlos Alvarez, at 832.485.2372; or Ryan Tillman, at 832.485.2307. You can also find out more on the bank’s website.

Swamplot sponsors get noticed! Maybe your company should become one

Sponsor of the Day
07/14/17 11:15am

NEXT XSCAPE HEADING FOR THE FAR REACHES OF KATY The second of the 2 Xscape multiplexes planned for the “Houston” area will land at the far southwest corner of Katy, reports Virtual Builders Exchange — in an update to its story identifying the Kentucky-based theater chain’s Woodlands location. A 12-screen facility (marked down a couple from the typical 14 of the prototype) and accompanying 540-space parking lot will settle down at 26616 FM 1093, just east of FM 1463, in the southwest corner of the Westheimer Lakes North subdivision and across from Cross Creek Ranch — if contractors get their bids in to the company by the August 1 deadline. The plans for the 51,968-sq.-ft. Katy building appear virtually identical to those for the Woodlands theater. [Virtual Builders Exchange; previously on Swamplot] Rendering of Xscape prototype: Patoka Capital

07/14/17 9:15am

MORE HOUSTON RETAIL BREAKUPS: ALFRED ANGELO BRIDAL CALLS IT QUITS Bridesmaid- and wedding-dress store Alfred Angelo appears to be shuttering all 62 of its locations nationwide, amid reports of a possible sudden bankruptcy filing. That would leave the Galleria-area Al’s Formal Wear all alone — it sits next door to the Alfred Angelo Bridal in the strip shopping center at 1801 Post Oak Blvd. It should leave the Al’s Formal Wear in the Baybrook Square shopping center kinda lonely too — it faces the Gulf Fwy. right next door to the Alfred Angelo Bridal at 1201 W. Bay Area Blvd. in Webster. The third Houston-area Alfred Angelo location — pictured above in the Commons at Willowbrook shopping center, across from the Willowbrook Mall at 7550-A FM 1960 West — is a little more sequestered from its tuxedo counterpart: Alfred Angelo sits between a DSW Shoe Warehouse and a Ross Dress for Less; the Al’s Formal Wear is wedged between a Panda Express and a Beck’s Prime on the opposite side of the shopping center parking lot. [abc13] Photo: Alfred Angelo Bridal

07/13/17 2:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE BIG THINGS YOU GET WHEN YOU LEAVE JUST A TINY SPACE BETWEEN HOUSES “The City of Houston’s codes are different for a ‘free-standing’ or ‘detached’ ‘single-family’ home, as opposed to a two- or multi-family property of some sort. Detention, lot coverage, building code, legal description, all different. So maintaining even the tiniest gap means you have a fee-simple, stand-alone property.” [dave102, commenting on Can You Beat This Townhome Gap?Photo of 3108 Baer St., Fifth Ward: HAR