12/05/18 3:30pm

Perched up in the parking garage of the Ashton on West Dallas apartments, a Swamplot reader has been monitoring recent progress on the empty field once home to a garbage incinerator between Allen Parkway Village and the Federal Reserve building. The new flat work shown at top across Gillette St. is the first man-made addition to the 6-acre site since renderings showed a few mixed-use towers including a Thompson hotel, condos, office space, and retail cropping up on it last year.

Crews began clearing the southwestern corner of the property for the new pad 3 weeks ago by busting up some older concrete that stood in its way. Next, they took their work underground:

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The Allen
12/05/18 12:45pm

Think your street’s drainage is bad? Listen to this: In 2015, Kris Handoyo was heading north on Travis St. in the backseat of a Mazda when the downtown storm drain cover pictured above came loose and punched through the floorboard of the car, severing half of his right foot. Handoyo, a digital content employee of the Houston Rockets, filed a lawsuit against the city asking for up to $1.25 million in recompense. And this morning the city voted to give it to him. Well, some of it: After mediation, the parties had settled on $200,000.

The drain in question — shown above in the Travis St. bus lane just north of Clay St. — is still there, although the particular grate that impacted Handoyo has been removed and patched over with concrete. Many of its relatives remain in their asphalt habitats however, where they’ve been since the late ’90s and early 2000s.

And where neighbors in Downtown and Midtown have been complaining about them for at least a decade:

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Drainage Lawsuit
12/05/18 9:45am

Last Wednesday, a new paintjob completely erased the blue and gold artwork on Reeve’s Antiques’ Taft-St. side. The whitewashing, Reeves owner Matt Reeves tells Swamplot, has created a blank canvas upon which a rotating series of new murals will appear over the next few months before a final, more permanent work takes their place.

He didn’t comment on the flying fish now levitating above it all:

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And Aerial Fish
12/04/18 5:00pm

The building that the Texas Junk Company left in 2016 is now home not only to a brand-new Verizon 5G broadband connection, but a whole array of gadgets designed to show off the service that the carrier launched in Houston a few months ago. Pictured above is the mock living room where for the next week, anyone can make themselves comfortable in front of a 4K resolution TV and a host of other mobile devices while they stream video through the telecom company’s new, purportedly higher-speed lines.

For a more immersive experience, try the virtual reality basketball range shown below off to the right:

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East Montrose
12/04/18 3:15pm

Nearly the entire block-face of Richmond Ave between Roseland and Stanford streets is now up for sale; altogether: just over 19,400 sq.-ft. for $4.2 million. The offerings include the 2-story former Drew’s BBQ house pictured above, the residential lot behind it, the eastern half of the Chapultepec Lupita restaurant next-door to it (the portion of the restaurant with a red awning has a different landlord), and the former notary shop between the restaurant and the Koelsch Gallery on the corner of Stanford St.

The restaurant’s lease on its building at 817 Richmond — shown below — runs until next April:

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Fitze Homestead
12/04/18 1:00pm

At least one new retail building is about to sprout on the vacant 2.6-acre strip of land across from the Wayside Dr. Walmart, according to a recent building permit filing. The rendering above shows the Good Stuff that could end up in the middle of the new building next-door to a More-Or-Less-occupied storefront that’s bounded by apastrophic endcap tenant Pete’s.

It’ll all be set back quite a distance away from Wayside in order to leave some room for a future building that’s planned directly east of the strip later on:

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Good Stuff Inside
12/03/18 3:30pm

Last Monday, Clear Creek ISD’s board of trustees put its stamp of approval on the design (shown above) for a new Clear View High School to be built on land adjacent to the existing one. The current building on S. Walnut St. is slated to be knocked down — but perhaps not entirely: According to a press release, the school district “is working with the City of Webster to salvage the art-deco entrance from the old building for a possible Visitor’s Center” that’d show up somewhere not visible in the rendering above. When architect Rudolph G. Schneider helped put the original entrance there in 1939, it was a standout piece of architectural flair for the tiny town. Its conspicuous forehead is flanked by a pair of reliefs depicting a discus-throwing athlete on the left, and a scholar mulling over a globe on the right.

Over time, renovations to the building (originally called Webster High School) did away with other portions of it that’d been around since the beginning. But a few more original features may still be present inside: According to Preservation Houston, “It is not clear how much of the Depression-era building was incorporated into later additions.”

Photos: Clear Creek ISD

Pre-War Webster, Texas
12/03/18 12:15pm

A flyer posted on the Marquis II at 2631 Bissonnet yesterday announces that the place is now closed indefinitely, leaving West University almost entirely devoid of bars (except for the one inside the Whole Foods on Bellaire Blvd.). The Marquis II’s predecessor, the Marquis, opened in the then-fledgling River Oaks Shopping Center in 1945. After the bar’s original owner died in the late 1960s, a pair of cocktail waitresses bought it and decamped to Bissonnet and Buffalo Spdwy., where the suffix became part of the venue’s name.

Following a stint at Bissonnet and Weslayan, the bar wound up in its current spot near Kirby in 1985. Houston architect Lars Bang had originally designed the building to house a branch of California donut chain The Big Donut, which it did until the 1970s when a gentleman’s lounge dubbed The Bunny Club blacked out the windows and took over. It left after a fire in the early ’80s, but not entirely: During the Marquis II’s last major remodel in 2011, workers uncovered a painting of a women wearing a low-cut outfit with a bushy tail that had been hiding behind one of the building’s walls, an unmistakable relic of the shuttered strip club. “Although badly charred,” according to the bar’s website, “the painting underwent a little restoration and still hangs proudly on our wall.

Photos: Marquis II

Last Last Call
12/03/18 10:15am

A Swamplot reader sends the photo at top showing new signage up on the eaves of the former Shadow Oaks Drive-In convenience store at Long Point Rd. and Conrad Sauer Dr. in Spring Branch West. And a little bit of zoom reveals what’s now being advertised: a new business called Lazy Oaks Beer Garden. That same moniker has shown up on a number of permits filed on the 10158 Long Point Rd. address over the last 2 months, as well as an application for a TABC license.

Built in 1958, the convenience store remained in the family for nearly 60 years until the death of its second-gen owner, whose estate sold the property last September.

Photo: Swamplox inbox

Spring Branch West
11/30/18 5:00pm

Images are leaking of the new tower Marathon Oil wants to build on a patch of recently-vacated land between CityCentre and the Katy Fwy. In an email sent out to employees on Tuesday, company CEO Lee Tillman set a tentative move-in date of 2021 for the imaginary building and wrote that its planned location was a plus partly because it’s closer to where the average Marathon employee lives, out in “west Houston and along the I-10 corridor.” The new whereabouts are just under 6 miles away from Marathon’s current ones in the eponymous Marathon Oil Tower at 5555 San Felipe, near the Galleria.

The rendering at top of the new building shows it looking a lot like the middle structure in this group of 3 that Midway proposed building on the site last year:

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On Deck Along I-10
11/30/18 2:15pm

An entity connected to Kaldis Development is the proud new owner of the Cameron Iron Works complex across the railroad tracks from the shuttered coffee plant on Milby St. And already, the developer — which has a thing for refilling old Houston buildings — is marketing its purchase for lease as The Cameron and promising to renovate it into something that restaurant, bar, and event venue tenants can get in on.

The 1.43-acre property at 711 Milby St. is home to 2 buildings: the 3-story brick one shown above with Cameron’s name set in stone above the main entrance, and a less eye-catching warehouse next-door to it, shown below from the corner of Rusk St.

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Forging a New Path
11/30/18 10:30am

FIRST PHILIPPINE BAPTIST CHURCH’S NEW NEIGHBOR: SPIKE SPORT VOLLEYBALL CLUB Site work is about to begin on a volleyball gym off the Fort Bend Pkwy. that’ll fill in the gap between First Philippine Baptist Church (shown above) and the Missouri City drainage ditch officially known as VIII-BI. The planned 8-court gym is the latest from Spike Club, which previously held court in a complex next to the post office on S. Gessner north of W. Bellfort. Since moving out of there earlier this year, its players and staff have taken temporary refuge in the Westbury Christian School’s athletic complex over on Fondren Rd. They plan to arrive in the Missouri City location sometime next spring. Photo: Southern Baptist Convention