09/18/18 3:00pm

As heralded by strange sensations earlier this month, crews have begun transforming the former Montrose Mining Company into Houston’s second Postino Wine Bar by stripping the covered patio shown above from the building’s east side. So far, the rest of its gray brick exterior remains unchanged, except a portion of the facade on Grant St. that’s recently gone yellow as part of the redo:

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805 Pacific St.
09/18/18 12:00pm

EMPTY LEELAND ST. FURNITURE WORKSHOP NOW HAS A WINE SIGN ON IT A reader tells Swamplot one of those TABC posters is up on the building at 3107 Leeland St., and the applicant it names: The Wine House, LLC. The last tenant Metamorphose Studios did double-duty in the 2,800-sq.-ft. space: dealing furniture and also guiding visitors in the art of refurbishing items themselves (“I recommend the chairapy class,” wrote the venue’s sole Yelp reviewer in 2016, adding that of the items for sale: “The hand painted and embellished cattle skulls are to die for!“) Despite its departure from Houston, the workshop lives on as part of an antique store up in Navasota. Photo: Metamorphose Studios

09/18/18 9:45am

Signage is down and a closure notice is up on Blast Fitness’s now-former 3936 N. Shepherd storefront, which lies within the northern portion of the strip that Aldi plans to take over. Pictured above is that portion — just south of Garden Oaks Blvd. — where Yoga Collective and a next-door vacuum shop took off previously to make room for the grocer. Blast’s turf was on the south side of theirs, near where retail signs and parking activity pick back up on the right in the image.

For those in need of a new gym, not to worry: Blast is letting customers transfer their memberships to any location run by its affiliate brand Fitness Connection. The nearest of that chain’s 14 Houston fitness centers? Eight miles away in Greenspoint Mall.

Photos: Dan Bradley

Clearing the Way
09/17/18 12:45pm

Most of the corrugated metal buildings that occupied the inner sanctum at 620 W. 9th St. are down now, but the hidden Heights compound’s still got its edge. “There are strange things poking up from the fence,” the same ones that have been there for over a decade — reports a reader — sticking up, “like heads on spikes.

Actually, not all the props on W. 9th St. east of Waverly are heads; torsos, full bodies, and skeletal figures appear as well, along with some more abstract metalwork:

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Neighborhood Fixtures
09/17/18 9:45am

Red hyphenated signage hasn’t yet put a name to the building, but you can see all the other makings of H-E-B’s second second-story Houston grocery store from above in the video at top. The footage starts off over N. Shepherd, then pans around the corner of 23rd St., offering a view of the former Fiesta site from the south.

Back in March a spokesperson for the grocer told The Leader’s Landan Kuhlmann to expect a “late fall opening,” meaning the store’s debut could coincide roughly with the 2 year anniversary of the dry zone modification its management pushed for prior to construction.

Video: Brandon DuBois

Doubly Decked Out
09/14/18 12:45pm

SPENGA’S UPPER-DECK GYM WILL JUT OUT REAL CLOSE TO ITS NEIGHBOR Just 8 in. will separate the cantilevered fitness studio’s eastern, over-the-edge portion from the eaves of the 1915 home adjacent to it — reports abc13’s Christine Dobbyn — which will soon house Arden’s Picture Framing and Gallery. The 15,700-sq.-ft. lot where the new retail building’s planned at 307 Westheimer is currently going up; Italian restaurant Michelangelo’s went to pieces on its west side last December (the east was all parking). [abc13; previously on Swamplot] Rendering of 307 Westheimer Rd.: Spenga

09/14/18 10:00am

The southeast corner of Richmond and Eastside is seeing some vehicle traffic for the first time since a 3-story office building and parking lot were demolished on it in 2016. Personnel from Van & Sons Drilling Service hit the vacant spot on Monday, taking care to protect the grass by sliding some wooden boards underneath their truck, pictured above. The just-under-an-acre property is the only patch of greenery present at the intersection; the rest is all ’60s-era office space.

Behind the corner parcel lies Levy Park. It’s bounded by a private street that runs past the vacant field, as well as the adjacent Primrose School of Upper Kirby and Kirby Grove office building. You can see the 16-story office towering over the school in the photo below, looking east:

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Richmond and Eastside
09/13/18 1:00pm

A FINAL FAREWELL TO THE FORMER HOUSTON PRESS BUILDING The former alternative newspaper HQ at 1621 Milam St. that’s also done stints as an auto dealership will be demolished, reports the Chronicle’s Craig Hlavaty.  Back when the Houston Press moved into it 15 years ago, the structure’s parking-lot sides were unadorned; artist Suzanne E. Sellers slapped her trompe-l’œil mural onto the north and east facades in 1994. Along Milam, however, things haven’t changed as much since the building’s first tenant Shelor Motor Company opened up in the ’20s — according to former Press staffer Abrahán Garza. Even its original 1920s glass windows — he reported — stayed put on the second and third floors through 2010. Now construction barriers are up around the whole block, and the property owner Chevron tells Hlavaty that a demolition permit is under review by the city. The oil company bought the 38,000-sq.-ft. structure in 2013, the same year Houston Press staff left it for a new spot on the corner of La Branch and McGowen. [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Capital Realty  

09/13/18 10:45am

 

The mark of Aldi now appears at 9525 Westheimer, smack in the middle of the strip where Batie’s Ace Hardware is going out of business. Liquidation sales began there on Tuesday — reports a Swamplot reader — with the goal of creating an 18,900-sq.-ft. hole in the portion of the building pictured at top, adjacent to Party City.

Currently about half a dozen Aldis are open inside the Beltway, with additional reinforcements scheduled to arrive soon.

Photo: Swamplox inbox. Map: Brixmor

Westheimer Near Gessner
09/12/18 9:30am

That’s El Rancho’s signage taking the place of Randalls’ in the photo above — which views the Keegan’s Meadow shopping center from the north along W. Bellfort. At 53,200 sq.-ft., the new Stafford store will be slightly bigger than El Rancho’s one other Houston location, opened along I-45 just inside the Beltway in June. There, all the typical grocery standards are present, along with a butcher shop, seafood counter, produce section, and bakery. Plus, there are some extras: a tortilleria and in-house Latin-American-style kitchen.

Two more El Ranchos are in the works, too: the first further up the North Fwy. on the outskirts of Spring, and the other in the old Oak Forest Randalls, gone from 34th St. since earlier this year.

Photo: Dennis Scipio

Supermarket Goes Supermercado