APARTMENTS AND RETAIL FOR WESTHEIMER AND MONTROSE CORNER? NOT UNTIL HALF PRICE BOOKS AND SPEC’S SCOOT The owner of the once-Art Deco but now slathered-with-stucco shopping center at the southwest corner of Westheimer and Montrose says it’s willing to wait 7 to 10 years for the center’s leases to run out before building something new on the site. Unless, of course, they can negotiate an early exit (or time-out while construction takes place) for the Half Price Books, Spec’s, Papa Johns, 3-6-9 China Bistro and Jack in the Box currently on the site. If they can’t buy out the tenants, PM Realty’s Wade Bolin tells Shaina Zucker, they’ll start leasing out the still-vacant spaces in the former Tower Community Center, which the company calls the Westmont Shopping Center. “PM Realty Group did not share early design plans,” Zucker adds, “but several sources confirmed the mixed-use structure could include residential with retail on the ground floor.” [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot] Photo: PM Realty
Those of you waiting with bated breath for the renovation, redevelopment, or removal of the 1950s-era office building at 3400 Montrose Blvd. (across Hawthorne St. from the Montrose Kroger): keep on bating. The company that bought the vacant 10-story building last September has told its 500 Israeli investors that its operations in Israel and Houston are both “in dire financial straits,” according to a report in Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
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MONTROSE WILDLIFE Poet Mark Doty, while explaining Houston to the Travel set: “Here the city’s splendid tradition of patronage is on its best display, so the great old live oaks thrust their bowing branches out beside the Cy Twombly Gallery and the Rothko Chapel. The limbs dip perilously toward the ground, and the roots heave the sidewalks beneath them into little concrete alps, but since nobody walks anywhere it doesn’t make much difference. In summer the trees resound with cicadas, like electronic versions of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir chorusing an insanely repetitive song. Gangs of bronzy black birds—boat-tailed grackles—prefer smaller trees in busier areas; they like grocery store parking lots and the drive-through lanes at the Taco Cabana, and they shriek and holler long into the night, as if in avian parallel to the traffic below. They’re the loudest part of a plethora of urban wildlife: opossums, raccoons, the occasional snake slithering across the road, a sadly large population of stray dogs. Coyotes roam the cemetery north of Buffalo Bayou, where Howard Hughes is buried. All over town, tiny green lizards hold their heads up with notable alertness.” [Smithsonian, via HAIF]