11/16/18 3:00pm

Here’s an eastward look at the new office building that could tuck in between the District at Washington and Pearl Washington apartments along T.C. Jester Blvd. north of Wash Ave. Not pictured: the parking garage and adjacent parking lot that the developer proposes to build — both to the north along Schuler St. Last week, Houston’s planning commission deferred a variance request for the site, calling the 3 curb cuts the developer had proposed along Schuler St. “excessive” and recommending it get rid of at least one before resubmitting plans.

Marshall Construction’s office and yard complex occupies the site right now and includes a southeastern carve-out for a couple of townhomes along Detering St.

 

 

 

Off T.C. Jester
11/16/18 12:00pm

PHOENIX TOWER DOUBLING DOWN ON PARKING A new 8-story parking garage will be built next to the Phoenix Tower’s existing 8-story parking garage writes Ralph Bivins over at Realty News Report. The planned “garage annex,” he reports, “will adjoin Phoenix Tower’s original eight-story garage and also provide direct, covered access to The Hub,” the restaurant-heavy core of Greenway Plaza, between Buffalo Spdwy and Edloe St. Architect HOK has already signed up for the project, which the developer says should start before the end of the year. [Realty News Report] Photo: Parkway Properties

11/15/18 10:45am

A Swamplot reader sends these photos showing signage up a block north of the Waterway Ave. bridge in The Woodlands, where a new venue called Mahoney’s Texish Bar & Restaurant is picking up in place of Tsukiji Japanese Cuisine. The restaurant’s decision to mince words in its title, coupled with the presence of a shamrock on its logo suggests some sort of Texan-Irish fusion will be its focus. And according to trademark applications the restaurant’s filed this month, the phrase “We Are Texish,” and similar taglines will feature prominently on its employees uniforms.

Here’s what the space used to look like:

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By the Waterway
11/13/18 12:30pm

WHAT’S NEXT FOR HALLIBURTON’S EMPTY OAK PARK CAMPUS ON BELLAIRE? A newly-formed group of real estate experts is now brainstorming ideas for Halliburton’s 48-acre former Oak Park campus at 10200 Bellaire Blvd., just west of Beltway 8. Included in the brain-trust: architecture firm HOK and landscape and planning firm SWA Group — as well as Hines and Transwestern, which will handle property management and leasing, respectively. They’ve all been called in by a private investment group that bought the complex over the summer and that’s headed up — reporter Ralph Bivins has said — by longtime Sharpstown land huckster Lawrence Wong. Halliburton employees began trickling out of their offices in the bow-tie-shaped 1979 building 3 years ago, leaving behind the amenities (a basketball court, daycare center, and auditorium) and adjacencies (a conference center and 5-story garage) that the new owner is now touting. Photo: LoopNet

11/09/18 2:30pm

A Swamplot reader sends the photo at top showing a relative newcomer to the semi-circular metal retail structure in the foreground: Mattress Outlet. It opened for business 6 months ago at the corner of Hempstead Rd. and Post Oak southwest of what’s now the Northwest Mall (and what public and private officials say could become the Houston end of that Dallas-bound high-speed rail line.) The 2 huts have been there for decades were at one time neighbored to the south by 2 more of their kind — until that pair vanished around the turn of the century.

Signage isn’t up yet, but a custom hardwood furniture business is now on its way into larger, blue hut next-door:

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Cozy New Digs
11/09/18 9:45am

THE WOODLANDS CAVALRY UNITS ORDERED TO RETREAT FROM WALMART, COSTCO PARKING LOTS Effective January 1, mounted patrols will no longer be present at the 2 stores opposite each other on Hwy. 242 at I-45 — reports The Villager’s Marialuisa Rincon — although they’ll remain at Town Center and Hughes Landing. The Woodlands’ contract with the company that provides the equestrian detail, Alpha & Omega Services, previously made up 13 percent of the township’s $14 million law enforcement budget, reports Rincon. But unlike police officers, the riders “don’t carry guns and are prohibited from intervening if a crime is in progress — instead, they’re required to contact law enforcement if an incident merits police attention.” The cuts will save the town $470,000 a year until the contract goes up for renewal in 2020. They’ll also require Alpha & Omega to eliminate positions from its force for the first time since arriving 23 years ago in The Woodlands — which has become “our crown jewel,” said the company’s president, adding: “Every operation we have in the country, we bring our troopers here to train.” [The Woodlands Villager] Photo: Alpha & Omega Services

11/08/18 10:30am

Frenchy’s Chicken is gearing up to open a new restaurant on Scott St. so that it’s original — there since 1969 — can get out of the way of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church‘s planned expansion. (You can see the church’s slated roofing peeking out behind Frenchy’s in the photo above.) The restaurant’s new location: 2 blocks south of the current one, in the former O’Sat Auto Detail shop pictured at top on the northwest corner of Blodgett St. There, a spate of building permits filed within the last few months reveal Frenchy’s management is about to get started on renovations.

It’s a bit of a detour from the chain’s original relocation plan. Last May, Frenchy’s top brass Percy Creuzot III (the son of the chain’s founder Percy “Frenchy” Creuzot, Jr.) told the Chronicle‘s Cindy George he’d staked out a spot 5 blocks north of the current one where Alabama St. ends across from UH’s indoor football practice building. Sure enough, Creuzot’s business partner Anthony Gaynor consolidated several adjacent lots he owned at the southwest corner of Alabama and Scott 2 into a single property last year — and a few months afterward, demolished the building it that’d done stints on it as number of different barbecue joints:

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Third Ward
11/07/18 5:00pm

How’s this for dockless bike-share pricing: $15 for unlimited rides? Too bad though, the offer has already sold out.

Remember the fleet of nearly 100 bikes from MoBike that mysteriously vanished from The Woodlands last month? MoBike itself, it turns out, pulled them off the streets starting in October and put them in 2 self-storage rentals: one at Amazing Spaces on I-45 just north of Vision Park Blvd., and the other 5 miles down the freeway at the U-Haul Moving and Storage center near the Rayford-Sawdust Rd. exit — which the company used as a repair shop. But no announcement was made and the great bike-share vanishing was kind of mysterious. Residents who called up the township to ask where the bikes had all gone — according to The Villager’s Jeff Forward — were told that the township hadn’t received any communication from MoBike about what had happened.

Then . . . the bikes showed up on Craigslist:

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No MoBike in the U.S. of A.
11/07/18 1:30pm

THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF THE WOODLANDS’ DOCKLESS BIKE FLEET The sudden disappearance of dockless bikes from their usual hangouts in The Woodlands left staff at the town’s newspaper scrambling to figure out where they all went last week: “A Woodlands Villager reporter drove to four areas where the popular ride-sharing bicycles were routinely located and found no bikes,” writes editor Jeff Forward. When reached for comment, township official Nick Wolda told him that the Chinese company behind the fleet, MoBike, became tough to get a hold of starting in July. But the 100-or-so bikes it handed over last year were still there: “In August, we were rocking and rolling and ridership numbers were good. Then, all of the sudden, the bikes started leaving. We were starting to field calls from residents about them, asking where they were.” Wolda never received word from MoBike that the company planned to skip town, and the only mention reporters could find of the firm’s intentions was a note a former employee wrote on his LinkedIn profile: “Mobike decided not to pursue the Houston market — my position was eliminated as of July 2018.” Officials are now holding the few stray bikes that have been spotted since the vanishing act for safekeeping. “If the company wants to come get them, that’s fine,” Wolda says. [The Woodlands Villager; previously on SwamplotPhoto: MoBike  

11/07/18 12:30pm

League City’s city council voted to relegate the Chester L. Davis Sportsplex on I-45 to a less prime spot on the other side of the interstate so that a whole bunch of buildings — collectively dubbed Epicenter League City — can take its highway-adjacent place and hopefully, “make League City a dynamic cultural center and national destination,” according to the official press release. (The map above shows the plans with east facing up.) Freeway exposure for it all is limited by the pair of car dealerships — Mac Haik Toyota and Clear Lake Nissan — situated right up on the northbound feeder road. But behind them lies the 106-acre development’s urban nucleus, a shop-lined central green space bookended by some kind of water park and an opposing “Live/Work Village,” with an outdoor entertainment complex and convention center to the immediate north. Beyond that core, things give way to the parking lot, retail, and office hodgepodge that’s more of a familiar sight.

While a private developer has signed up to fund the Epicenter’s construction, League City officials appear to have their work cut out for them on the new, larger sportsplex — which they want to look something like this:

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The Epicenter off I-45
11/07/18 10:30am

The art venue formerly known as galleryHOMELAND has selected Bayou City Cycles‘ old shop at 1303 Cullen Blvd. for its new exhibition space, headquarters, and — as shown in the rendering above — curbside landscaping. The 6-year lease it’s taking across from Kroger should allow it to make a new name for itself as Space HL, a rebranding that Glasstire‘s Brandon Zech explains is supposed to call attention to the organization’s new focus on stuff besides art, like lectures, experimental performances, and other programs. About 1,000 sq.-ft. of the building will be for exhibitions, reports Zech, but don’t discount the backyard — which could host outdoor events, or you never know, he writes, maybe even “built-out shipping container projects spaces.”

That’d be a new one. The gallery’s last location across in the industrial row across Commerce St. from Tout Suite was a shared parking lot. It’d flirted with relocating from there to a quarter portion of the Imperial Linen & Cleaners building on Harrisburg Blvd. that’s slated to get redone as something retail- and restaurant-ready but changed its mind when the building took on Harvey damage, writes Zech.

What’ll become of the paint-job Bayou City gave its building when it took over from El Miramar Bar in 2016?

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Eastwood Micro Galleries