05/11/17 5:30pm

The triangle of land holding Tila’s Restaurante & Bar has a for lease sign up these days, a reader tells Swamplot. That’s backed up by a listing currently up on the Wulfe & Co. website, though there’s no particular availability date mentioned in the leasing notice for the land. The restaurant sits on the irregular block created by the Shepherd Dr. curve between McDuffie and  and Newhouse streets:

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Up for Lease Around the Bend
05/11/17 2:30pm

Here’s your chance to see in first person what the city’s come up with for that under-discussion redo of Westheimer Rd. in Montrose. The video above flies viewers slowly through a flatly rendered Westheimer corridor east of Shepherd Dr. (complete with digital versions of all your favorite ex-clothing shopsstoried condo buildings, and paired Mattress Firms) with the new street plan in place. Reality check with the existing state of the roadways happens at a handful of the corridor’s intersections.

The biggest change: A drop down to 2 lanes of car traffic in most places (versus the 4 narrow lanes currently in place), beginning around Huldy St. and moving east. The road would briefly widen back out to 4 lanes around the crossing of Montrose Blvd., then back down to 2 until the name swap to Elgin St. at Bagby St. All that slimming down leaves room for wider sidewalks; the plan also includes some set-aside zones for bus drop-off, some left turn lanes, and a few stretches of parallel parking areas, highlighted in pink.

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Montrose Flyby
05/11/17 12:30pm

A siteplan and the latest renderings of Melbourne-based Caydon Property Group’s residential highrise, planned in place of the now-erased mental health building and lowrise mural canvas at 2850 Fannin St., show a bit more clearly how the 27-story structure might look amid its more squat Midtown neighbors (not counting that other highrise planned a few blocks down Main St.). The aerial view of the site shown here (tilted so that Main St. is horizontal, with Downtown off to the left) shows the building’s footprint in yellow, alongside the light-rail line and Midtown Park to the west.

One of the new drawings of the project also depicts what appears to be a closeup of the Drew St.-facing side of the building, with a good deal more than just the typical rendering entourage: the block across the street is shown with another multistory development in place of what’s currently a parking lot by the Art Supply on Main lowrise, and a section of the street itself is shown fully pedestrianized.

Neither of these changes make an appearance in any of the other zoomed-out renderings, however:

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Drawing Out Drew St.
05/10/17 3:30pm

In other grocery-apartment-midrise news, the 2-story hole for the below-ground parking component of the planned Pearl-branded apartment midrise with built-in Whole Foods looks to have touched bottom, and a tower crane on the site has reached its full height. Some of the construction site’s fence decorations have been swapped out with newer renderings, too — the latest drawings show a zoomier design and a new color scheme (this one falling more in the slatey-grey-brown range, compared to the doughy yellows picked out for the older drawings):

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Pearly Gates on Smith St.
05/10/17 11:30am

Remodeling along the lines of what’s depicted here is now underway on Amherst St. between Kelvin St. and Kirby Dr., according to a Rice Village District rep. A couple of newly released drawings shown here fill in details to some of the previously mentioned changes planned for the south side of Amherst, including the conversion of part of the roadway itself into more walking and sitting room behind some protective planters. And that narrow passageway in the building, running between Amherst and University Blvd., appears to be getting its own signage labeling it as The Alley (complete with light-up arrow directing shoppers inside).

The plans also call for some rooftop greenery and the chopping off of some pointy brick pediments — a swap which the District says will make all that 2-hours-free rooftop parking more visible, in the wake of the recent parking scheme changes:

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Retail Redistricting
05/09/17 5:15pm

A little more of the what’ll-go-where has been filled in lately for Midway’s H-E-B-footed midrise, planned at the corner of Waugh St. and Washington Ave. (and now under construction following the corner’s clear-out earlier this year).  The glassy box overlooking Washington from above the main H-E-B entrance will hold the structure’s office spaces, with the face of the parking garage visible a bit further to the left; an updated siteplan also shows that the sides of the development will also be insulated from the street and sidewalks with a layer or 2 of parking spaces:

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Buffalo Heights Close-Ups
05/09/17 2:45pm

The more-or-less repeating window patterns on the backs of the Buffalo Manor townhomes are currently on display as digging continues at 9339 Buffalo Spwdy. this week. That’s where Dallas-based developer Tradition Senior Living is setting up a 316-unit facility (about a quarter mile from the other senior living facility planned in the area, though this one doesn’t seem to have gotten a sharp-toothed cartoon avatar). All that dirt, once scooped, appears to be slated for a U-shaped mound on the segment of the irregularly-shaped property that reaches toward Main St., if this diagram of the site spotted by a reader is still up to date:

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Playing in the Dirt in Westridge
05/08/17 5:30pm

The early-nineties property known as the Blair House appears to be up for sale again (no, not that one — or that one — but the Grogan’s Mill home of attorney and Power of Attorney teevee litigator Nelda Luce Blair and her husband). The home was scheduled to make an appearance on the auction block in early April, with a minimum bid of $2 million. The 5-acre property is now listed for $3.45 million, down from $5.4 million back when the place went on sale in 2012. The latest shots of the home show off the extensive collection of ceiling murals in the foyer and living room (some in markedly  higher contrast than others); the curvature of the 2-story porte-cochère matches up with the curve of the foyer’s barrel ceiling:

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Off the Auction Block
05/08/17 1:30pm


The strip center nook at 5801 Memorial Dr. last occupied by fast-casual pan-Asian chain Express Rolls has been taken over by Peruvian-Mexican joint Pollo Bravo, which was previously shooed out of the since-pulverized standalone building just down the street at 5440 Memorial. Both properties are owned by companies connected to the Taghdisi brothers, who’ve also been collecting permits for the construction of a new retail mini-strip on Pollo Bravo’s former turf, as announced last fall. The new structure planned at 5440 Memorial looks like it’ll more or less match the general fashion sense of strip center at 5801, though it won’t fit as many tenants:

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Chicken Back In On Memorial Dr.
05/08/17 11:30am

The green-and-yellow speckled warehouse at 1005 Sawyer St. has a new blue leasing sign from Braun Enterprises tacked to its forehead, as regular real estate surveillor Chris Andrews noted over the weekend. Braun bought the mid-sixties building last month, per county records of the transaction; the 6,360-sq.-ft. structure sits north of Washington Ave. sports-nightclub Social Junkie (which Braun also bought early last year), under the watchful gaze of the 24eleven Washington apartment midrise (to the left below):

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Center St. Industrial Turnover
05/05/17 2:30pm

More details on the planned Yale Marketplace development centered around the 365-branded mini Whole Foods planned for Independence Heights (but picking up the Garden Oaks moniker) come this week from Adolfo Pesquera, who posted the rendering above over at VBX of that companion strip mall planned just to the north of the grocery store. The structure looks to be slated for the narrow parcel of land where the long, low, industrial-slash-office park that until January hosted the Potter’s House Christian Church still stands.

Pesquera also reports that Houston Heights ER has officially signed on as the urgent care clinic that’ll be stuck to the side of the 365 (to the left, in the rendering below):

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Independence Heights
05/05/17 11:30am

A little bit of tune-changing looks to have happened with respect to the University of Texas’s Houston data science campus idea in the month or 2 since UT formally canned the plans to pursue it.  At yesterday’s State of the City luncheon, where Mayor Turner asked a bunch of major regional universities to work together on making a data science research center happen after all, Lindsey Ellis reports that University of Houston board of regents chair and Landry’s CEO Tilman Fertitta also made some comments in support of the project. Fertitta (who back in March immediately issued a victorious press release when UT announced it would sell off the 300 acres of land it’d purchased) told the audience that UH would be “excited to sit down and collaborate” with other Houston and Texas universities on a campus, Lindsey Ellis reports for the Chronicle. 

The difference now (versus last spring when UH snubbed an invitation to join that task force working up potential uses for the land)? Fertitta says UT wouldn’t be able to single-handedly “come in and dictate” with respect to the final project; he also suggests that perhaps UT might like to donate the purchased property to whatever group of local universities might end up in charge.

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UT Houston Rematch
05/04/17 5:15pm

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is now promoting a crowdfunding campaign to host some kind of multi-day art-slash-music-slash-sports festival inside the Astrodome, perhaps as depicted in the trippy rendering above shown on the campaign’s online fundraising page. (The campaign is one of the so-called Cities Project projects being coordinated by the National Trust and beer multinational Heineken; other projects around the country getting similar treatment include fundraising for a documentary about the war memorial-slash-swimming-pool in Waikiki, and fundraising for the restoration of some glass sidewalks in Seattle.)

Materials for the campaign (which also has the backing of the Astrodome Conservancy) say the event would “preview the Astrodome’s future use” (assuming no laws that happen to prevent a certain aging Dome from getting remodeled pass in Austin this summer). Details on what such a festival would actually look like are scarce, though some good examples of what not to aim for have been floated recently.

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Prepping for DomeFest
05/04/17 1:45pm

Don’t feel like hopping on your bike to see how construction on that northern piece of the White Oak Bayou hike-and-bike trail is coming along? The click-and-drag-able digital map released this week by the Bayou Greenways 2020 folks may be a decent substitute for the real thing (depending on how often it ends up getting updated). Zoom in closer on the map above to check out completed trail sections (outlined in green), under construction spots (traced in dark purple), and areas planned for trail-ification at a later date (highlighted in a purple haze).

Here’s the area around Mason Park (where that double-V suspension bridge is under construction at the moment):

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Green is for Greenway
05/04/17 11:00am

The ex-service station sitting on the sliver of land edged by N. Durham Dr., W. 16th St., and Nashua St. is being remodeled and repainted, with signage already in place for burger bar Balls Out. The late-sixties space, home to the Guero Deluxe Car Wash before Re:Vive Development snapped up the property in 2015, was occupied by used car dealership Sabinas Cars and Trucks a few years before that.

The former service station’s canopy is still in place; the now-blank sign space on top previously served as a canvas for one of those Wiley LOVE murals:

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Heights Drive-By