10/27/16 3:30pm

214 Voss Rd., Hunters Creek, TX 77024

The 5 master suites in this 6-bedroom home in Hunters Creek Village are tucked out of sight of the pool-surveying viewpoint above, on the second of 4 floors (plus or minus some splitting of levels). The listing for the 1980 home popped up yesterday sporting a $4.496-million asking price and no exterior photographs of the13,963-sq.-ft. structure, which sits on 1.3 acres of well-treed lot backed up against the Houston Racquet Club’s land to the east.

The downstairs wet bar is within easy striking range of the hot tub partitioned away from the main pool:


High But Not Dry
10/27/16 1:45pm

Crossing at Gillette St. and Allen Pkwy., Fourth Ward, Houston, 77019

Courtesy of a stripe-skeptical reader, here’s a partial walkthrough tour of the new parking scheme along Allen Pkwy. west of Downtown — these days looking a lot more like the flyover videos released of the planned changes last year. Those changes, including a lower speed limit for the rest of the roadway and and some strategic tree deployment, are intended to make the pseudo-highway into a “more urban environment” and to slow traffic down to next-to-a-park speeds. Also included in the deal: a series of crosswalks, like the over-then-over-again setup now striped into place at Gillette St. (seen above posing with the Federal Reserve Bank building, with the former city garbage incinerator site out of the frame to the left).

The new setup divvies up much of the turf formerly occupied by Allen Pkwy.’s westbound traffic lane into angled spaces — some almost long enough to “put 2 normal sized cars in each spot,” the reader claims:


Stripe Scrutiny
10/27/16 11:00am

210 Glen Park St., Near Northside, Houston, 77009

A few twists and turns up Little White Oak Bayou from N. Main St. and the White Oak Music Hall complex, work is underway on a bayou-side brewery on another piece of land owned by W2 development (and going by the name Black Page Brewing Co.) The city issued a few more permits for the brewpub this week (fast on the heels of the permit issued Tuesday for the music venue’s permanent outdoor stage — a few days after construction allegedly got rolling, though not quite in time for tonight’s planned outdoor The Head and The Heart concert). Owner Anthony Heins tells Swamplot the pub is just leasing the land from W2, which country records show bought the property in April of last year. And builder KUEHN Inc. has been snapping photos of progress at the former warehouse, which sits near the stretch of waterway where an area resident took those videos of chainsaw aftermath back in May; that area is down beyond the orange fencing below on the left:


Near Northside Neighbors
10/26/16 4:30pm

'Sharp' by Havel Ruck Projects, 6822 Rowan Ln., Sharpstown, Houston, 77074

'Sharp' by Havel Ruck Projects, 6822 Rowan Ln., Sharpstown, Houston, 77074

The now-glimmering interior of the former house at 6822 Rowan Ln. in Sharpstown is open to the public as of this weekend, and will be for the next 2 months — up until the scheduled demolition of the heavily fire-damaged 3-bedroom structure. Demolition artists Dan Havel and Dean Ruck (who these days sign their work as Havel Ruck Projects) recently converted the condemned building into another tunnel-through-the-living-room-style temporary art piece, though with much sharper lines than their previous Inversion House. Last Saturday’s opening reception for the new place (which is actually called Sharp) is part of the October-November-straddling Sculpture Month Houston campaign (which is setting up promotional events for other art installations around town through November 19, if you’re interested).

The pentagonal hole in the front of the structure matches the outline of the knocked-out front windows, as seen in these pre-conversion-but-post-fire listing photos of the demo-bound house:


Condemned Open House
10/26/16 1:30pm

Garage at 805 Franklin St., Downtown, Houston, 77002Garage at 805 Franklin St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Crews are digging in at the northeast corner of Milam and Franklin streets, a reader notes, where a 10-story parking garage is planned. The rendering up top (labeled as Powers & Brown’s) made a recent appearance at a city historical and archaeological commission meeting, following several months of deferrals and redesigns — including the addition of some ground-floor canopies and simulated window frames (which will have no glass “for flood reasons”). The application says the features are meant help the structure blend in with the surrounding buildings in the Main Street Market Square Historical District, including the Magnolia Ballroom across Milam, the Cotton Exchange building across Franklin at Travis St., and the Bayou Lofts building one block to the east.

Here’s the garage design originally submitted back in June:


Ground Floor Faux Retail
10/25/16 6:00pm

12020 Tall Oaks St Bunker Hill, TX 77024

12020 Tall Oaks St Bunker Hill, TX 77024

12020 Tall Oaks St Bunker Hill, TX 77024The house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for insurance company exec William Thaxton is back on the market again as of Friday, now listed at just $2.795 million. Wright designed the triangle-and-diamond-themed home with no air-conditioning system in 1954, though Thaxton and the builder eventually snuck some ducts into the red concrete floor; the mid-century space later got a classically-inspired makeover and circled the market drain toward lot-value sale and presumed teardown. But an early 1990’s buyer saved the property from demolition and removed the pineapple-shaped finials — while adding a high-ceilinged, right-angled extension which enclosed the almost-a-parallelogram pool in more of a central courtyard. (That extension contains a living room, lofted entertainment space, bedrooms, and a kitchen, meaning the occupant doesn’t have to spend time in the angular Wright portion of the building if they don’t want to. )

The new listing (the latest in an on-again-off-again series of market stints that started in 2010 at $3.5 million) includes a few new angles on the property, which (as seen from above) sits alongside a channelized ditch draining directly south from Memorial City Mall to Buffalo Bayou. The lights around the front door and entryway are equilateral triangles:


Mid-90s Modern in Bunker Hill
10/25/16 1:00pm

Market Square Tower, 777 Preston St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Just added: water for the cantilevered glass-bottom pool jutting out of Market Square Tower’s rooftop deck, some 41-plus-or-minus-the-penthouses stories above street level. Woodway is now advertising leasing availability for November, with some of the smaller one-bedroom units listed for $2,100 and up per month (and the largest of the penthouses, a 3-bedroom 3.5-bathroom 3-balcony affair, listed at $18,175) . The current floorplans available on the site now also suggest that the ground floor retail options will include a cafe, in addition to that CVS announced last month.

Those not enthused by the prospect of dangling over the downtown streetscape can opt for the other pool on the 4th-floor terrace, which overlooks Preston and Milam St.:


Filling Up Downtown
10/24/16 3:45pm

Former Palace Bowling Lanes, 4191 Bellaire Blvd., Cambridge Place, Houston, 77025

The Palace Bowling Lanes building on Bellaire Blvd. (which picked up the new moniker Bowl on Bellaire about a year ago) appears to have been closed since Friday, says a reader who “showed up [Saturday] morning for the youth bowling league to find that the locks have been changed and they are not open for business.” Katherine Feser confirms this afternoon that the property is still closed, though a note on the door says the tenant can have new keys if and when all the delinquent rent is paid.


Southside Displaced
10/24/16 12:30pm

Riel Restaurant under construction at 1927 Fairview, Montrose, Houston, 77006

French-Canadian-Ukrainian-Texan fusion restaurant Riel is still being installed at 1927 Fairview St., formerly home to Te House of Tea and Trudy’s Boutique Re Sale at the corner with Woodhead St. A reader snagged the shot above yesterday afternoon, showing the former mid-60’s retail strip dressed up in green construction fencing and still sporting that above-it-all street number signage. Ex-Reef chef Ryan Lachaine last said in September that the place should be opening some time next month.

Photo: Mosaic Clinic Dermatology

Fairview Preview
10/24/16 11:15am

3100 Smith St., Midtown, Houston, 77006

The former Social Security Administration office at 3100 Smith St. and its gorilla-hawking mural wall are no more, following some weekend excavator grazing. Demo permits were issued last week for structure, which sat north of Elgin on part of the planned site of developer Morgan’s next Pearl-branded apartment development (the one with the built-in ground floor Whole Foods).

City permission for the planned mixed-use building to cozy up to the street were approved in February; the project will also straddle that now-closed segment of Rosalie St. between Smith and Brazos onto a section of the previously cleared block to the north.  Here’s what the layout might look like from above, per the plans included with the variance request:


Rosalie Redecoration
10/21/16 1:30pm

Trail construction along White Oak Bayou near Leonel Castillo Community Center, 2101 South St, Near Northside, Houston, 77009

A reader caught some shots last week of the current trailblazing going on between the Leonel Castillo Community Center and the White Oak Bayou greenway trail in Near Northside. The new connector should hit the path roughly between the south end of the building and the nearby Thomas Street Health Center HIV-slash-AIDS service building, just north of where the Heights hike-and-bike trail crosses over the bayou and under the Hogan St. bridge to merge with the White Oak trail on the way into Downtown:


Closing Distance to Downtown
10/21/16 11:15am

Yale St. Commons Variance Request, Yale St. at 34th, Independence Heights, Houston, 77018

The name Yale Street Commons is currently sprinkled about the edge of the Pine Forest Business Center northeast of Yale and 34th St. in the form of a few variance request notices (like the one shown above standing by the abandoned strip of rail track running along the 36th St. side of the warehouse park).  That notice is for a request to merge 2 chunks of land within the rectangle made by Yale, 34th, 36th St., and the north-south line where E. 35th St. currently dead ends into the industrial-slash-office park, a few residential doors west of Cortlandt St.  The applicant also appears to be asking for permission not to extend E. 35th St. all the way through the property, which sits near the border between Independence Heights and Garden Oaks.  The 6-acre center, which in recent years has housed a variety of construction contractors, was sold in May to Stonelake Capital — currently at work on the Westheimer Oaks center and that Westheimer-fronting 5-acre make-it-a-park-for-now on either side of Mid Ln.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Yale Street Commons