02/16/18 4:30pm

OUT OF THE OFFICE FOR PRESIDENTS DAY Looks like it’s just about time for an executive day off. Swamplot will take pause on Monday to contemplate those who’ve occupied the oval room in the house this house looks a lot like. On Tuesday, we’ll be back with more news about what’s going where in Houston’s man-made milieu. Photo of Ross Sterling’s mansion, 515 Bayridge Rd., Morgan’s Point: HAR

02/16/18 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: A CLOSER GROCERY QUARTERS ON WESTHEIMER “Four grocery stores in the same mile of West Alabama is a pretty good selection. Reminds me of the Westheimer Supermarket Battle Royale near the Westchase area, where Fiesta, Phoenicia, HEB, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Target, and Whole Foods are vying for your food dollars in a 2-mile stretch.” [slugline, commenting on The Great W. Alabama Grocery Store Corridor] Photo of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, 12141 Westheimer Rd.: Farrah A.

02/16/18 12:15pm

THE WOODLANDS AT SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST THIS YEAR: ONE DAY ONLY The Woodlands is doubling the spending but seventhing the duration for its upcoming tour stop at Austin’s South by Southwest, reports the Chronicle’s John S. Marshall. “The Woodlands on the Road” will take place in the afternoon on March 15 and feature “live music, food & refreshments, yard games, art demonstrations,” plus a chance to win prizes including a trip to The Woodlands at an “expanded booth with a prime location” in Brush Square, a downtown park. The township announced earlier this week that 4 local sponsor organizations had stepped up to match the $35,000 the township had already budgeted for its sophomore showing on the seventh day of the festival. Last year, The Woodlands’ debut inside the Austin Convention Center also had an outdoorsy bent: the 2-man booth featured a pair of bicycles hooked up to teevees that screened a simulated ride along the town’s bike paths as guests pedaled. [Houston Chronicle; event listing] Photo of Brush Square during 2008 South by Southwest: George Kelly [license]

02/16/18 10:30am

Shake Shack has taken over the lease on the building Burger King left last month at the corner of Westheimer and Lincoln, a block west of Montrose. The fast-casual restaurant with 2 current Houston locations and one in the works signed off last week on at least a 15-year residency at 1002 Westheimer, next to Blacksmith. Behind the soon-to-be re-burgerized building’s frontage on Westheimer — shown above — a parking lot backs up to California St. along Lincoln.

Photo: MontroseResident

Fast Food Turnover
02/15/18 4:30pm

If the Platform Group has settled on a plan for redeveloping the corner of W. Gray St. and Stanford, it hasn’t made it known yet. An entity connected to the developer bought the white corner building home to the Traci Scott hair salon and the former Skinny Rita’s restaurant adjacent to it last December. The firm’s website now explains it’s “in the early stages of feasibility studies” for the pair of 2-stories at 615 and 607 W. Gray.

The 2 buildings share the parking lot visible in the snow-capped aerial above with entrances on W. Gray as well as one on Stanford, behind the hair salon. Not pictured is a narrow patio that runs along the chop shop’s Stanford side. A larger fenced-off seating area and upper deck currently front W. Gray outside the former restaurant, which closed last February after just under a year in the building.

Here’s a closer up view of Skinny Rita’s seating taken from the parking lot entrance between the 2 buildings just after the restaurant vacated the premises:

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Skinny Rita’s Plus One
02/15/18 2:00pm

The skeleton of a new strip center across the street from the Alexan Yale St. apartments — dubbed Heights Village by a banner attached to its construction fencing — is now rising on the corner of Yale and W. 5th St. Construction began on the just-under-an-acre parcel last month, reports the Swamplot reader who snapped the above photo of the site from outside the Alexan complex. The corner — on the opposite end of the block from where Better Luck Tomorrow opened last year — had been vacant since 2010, when a warehouse on the site was demolished.

The aerial rendering above from Cisneros Design Studio shows what an upper-story Alexan Yale St. resident might see out the window when the retail center is complete. Parking lots hug the building on 3 sides and include entrances on Yale, 5th. St., and Yale Ct. — a short dead end that runs behind the property. Patio seating is shown fronting the chamfered corner on the building’s northwest quadrant, and an elevated walkway runs along its storefronts, a few steps up from the lot.

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Yale Retail
02/15/18 9:30am

UH’S PHONE SURVEY POLLEES WANT TO MAKE FLOOD RECORD A GIVEN IN HOME SALES Here’s a tidbit from the UH Hobby School of Public Affairs’ new post-Harvey telephone questionnaire: 90 percent of Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria, and Montgomery County residents who responded think sellers should be required to disclose prior flood damage to their homes and prior flooding in the surrounding neighborhood. Aren’t sellers already obligated to reveal their homes’ flood histories? Well, almost. State law requires most sellers to spill the details — but only if their home was previously occupied (and not if it was foreclosed on or if they’re selling it to execute someone’s will). For developers selling newly-built homes — sometimes in entirely new subdivisions — the rules are foggier: not all surrounding flood designations need to be disclosed to buyers. Among those details that can be withheld: whether the home is located in a flood pool, an area of land prone to inundation when water builds up behind a reservoir dam like that of the Addicks and Barker, as Lise Olsen wrote in the Chronicle last year. [University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs] Photo of home at 8th St. and Arlington during Harvey: Swamplot inbox

02/14/18 4:00pm

Here’s a good spot for people doing business in both Cypress and Houston: new coworking space The Work Well. The 23,000-sq.-ft. shared workspace takes up the top floor of the 3-story office building shown at top on Wortham Center Dr., just off the northwest tentacle of Houston’s jurisdiction, which runs along the Northwest Fwy. and links the city to Cypress. The red arrow on the map above indicates where The Work Well sits at 13100 Wortham Center, east of Goode Co.’s Cy-Fair location and just inside the city’s territory. Nearly all structures beyond the red shaded zone — save for a few along other major roads Houston keeps for itself — are outside of Houston city limits and inside unincorporated Harris County.

The Work Well’s first business day was back in December. A grand opening is now planned for March.

Photo of 13100 Wortham Center Dr.: LoopNet. Map: Houston Map Viewer

The Upper Reach
02/14/18 11:45am

Braun Realty is gearing up to replace Johnny’s Gold Brick’s next door neighbor and redo the warehouse behind the 2 structures as part of a new retail development it has planned for the corner of Yale and Aurora. An entity connected to the developer snatched up the property on Yale — as well as a few adjacent parcels east on Aurora — last October. The site plan above taken from Braun’s leasing flyer for the complex now indicates all 3 buildings decked out with new adjacent patios. East of the buildings, a parking lot sports entrances on both Aurora and an alley that runs north of the site.

The photo at top shows the front door to Johnny’s Gold Brick next to the brown brick building that Lucas Craftsmanship contractors moved out of in 2015. Here’s the view from the corner of Yale and Aurora showing the 2-story structure that’s slated to replace the former construction office:

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Heights Corner Shake-Up
02/13/18 3:45pm

4 new restaurants of 4 different culinary persuasions are planning their migration to the Galleria’s coming chow center — beyond the curved wall that fronted Saks Fifth Avenue before the department store moved to a straighter-edged building just next door along Westheimer. Renovations to transform the building’s face into something new tenants could get behind have been in progress for the past few years. The site plan above from Simon Properties shows where Blanco Tacos + Tequila will arrive below Japanese restaurant Nobu, east of the building’s main entrance hall. West of the hall is where Fig & Olive as well as its upstairs Indian neighbor Spice Route will move in. They’ll go behind and in front of the new first- and second-story windows pictured at top — punched in the building’s facade last year.

Heavily blanched renderings put out by Fig & Olive show the patio fronting its 7,000-sq.-ft. interior:

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Multicultural Cook Off