05/12/16 12:30pm

604 Westheimer Rd., Lower Westheimer, Houston, 77006

The previously white house at the northwest corner of Westheimer Rd. and Stanford St. now has an edgy new look, along with some some city permits issued to an entity called Beijing Assassin Tattoos in April. The permits mention a tattoo parlor and retail setup in the building, which was bought in 2014 by a legal entity of the Katz family (of never-closes deli fame 2 doors down to the west of Vinoteca Poscol).

A previous set of permits was issued to Beijing Assassin back in early 2015, after which the space opened for a few months as Gods and Monsters e-cigarette supply store. Then a coat of whitewash blotted out the building’s pretty-new-at-the-time murals, shown in part below:


Filling In On Lower Westheimer
03/23/16 5:15pm

Biskit Junkie at former Mango's spot, Taft at Westheimer Rd., Avondale, Houston, 77006

Up top is a fresh snap of the former home of veggie-friendly-cafe-turned-music-club Mango’s, where Biskit Junkie’s new not-quite-I.P.A.-standard signage is in place over the now-grey entryway. The all-biscuit restaurant, from the starch-centric folks who started Jus’ Mac, closed its Oak Forest location at 2925 W. TC Jester in mid-December to focus on what was then revealed to be a move to the corner of Westheimer Rd. and Taft St., rather than the opening of a second location as previously announced.

The building’s current flat grey exterior hides all traces of Mango’s full technicolor exit at the end of 2014, shown below:


Spelling It Out
02/29/16 4:45pm

223 Westheimer Rd., Avondale, Houston, 77006

The pale yellow former house at 223 Westheimer is now sitting quietly behind bars and in several piles. The 1910 Avondale home was sold last March to a corporate entity tied to down-the-road upscale tex-mex restaurant El Tiempo, and a demolition warrant was issued back in July.  A reader notes that the bulldozers finally caught up to the 6-bedroom 5-bathroom structure last week, and the house was rearranged into a few ready-to-remove mounds at the last sighting.


Green Fields of Avondale
02/23/16 1:30pm

Former Montrose Clinic, 215 Westheimer, Avondale, Houston, 77006

The peaked building at at 215 Westheimer Rd., which for 17 years housed the medical organization that evolved from the Montrose Clinic, appears to be headed toward a new gig in cosmetic dentistry. A reader snapped the photo above of a variance request notice outside the property, which was sold in 2013 after what’s now known as Legacy Community Health Services consolidated some of its operations at 1415 California St. The renamed Clinic, which developed to meet the health needs of the Montrose community during the AIDS crisis, moved out of the building in 2011; according to Houstonian Dental’s website, the firm will be moving into a suite at the same address some time later this year, offering both general and cosmetic tooth services.


Legacy Legacy
01/14/16 12:45pm

Focus Refined Eye Care, 515 Westheimer Rd., Avondale, Houston, 77006

Focus Refined Eye Care announced this week that the doors are open at 515 Westheimer Rd., at the far eastern end of the strip center also containing Osaka Japanese, BB’s Donuts, Nu Cuts Hair Salon, and e-cigarette shops The Vapor Lair. The storefront, next to the former home of lapsed-vegan Mexican restaurant Radical Eats, previously housed a Chartway Federal Credit Union branch.

A press release says the new shop will “eliminate the sterility of typical doctor’s visits”— the self-described ‘optometry spa’ will offer patrons alcohol in cocktail form as well as of the lens-cleaning variety, and eye-rubs will be thrown in for good measure at the start of each appointment. The spot will offer high-end tailored glasses (the combined product of new German diagnostic equipment and a fashion consultant).


Wide Open on Westheimer
12/24/15 10:00am

Work at 528 Westheimer, Montrose, Houston, 77006

An excavator and friends were spotted on Westheimer this week having a go at the long-empty lot directly next to upscale Indian-fusion spot Indika.  Also on the agenda were the freshly-empty and moderate-length-of-empty lots next door — all three spaces (520, 524, and 528 Westheimer) are currently held by Rok Bros Holdings.

The central lot, at 524 Westheimer, was demolished shortly after mid-2011; the more recently demolished house on the westernmost lot (528 Westheimer) held LV Massage and a psychic, after the 524 house crossed over into the great beyond.  A request to merge the 3 lots was approved at a Houston Planning Commission meeting on July 10, 2014; the request refers to the space as Rok Bros Westheimer Plaza, and was filed in conjunction with Houston-based Momentum Engineering.

Swamplot reader sfalumberjack sends the twilight snapshot above, along with a few others of equipment on the site (bounded on the other side by The Cat Doctor):


Plaza Predictions for Avondale
05/11/15 3:00pm

Renovations at 202 Westheimer Rd., Montrose, Houston

Neighbors and passers-by have been curious about the renovations taking place at the strip center at the corner of Lower Westheimer and Helena St., where the Hollywood Food & Cigars #3 convenience store at 202 Westheimer Rd. — and its neighbor Tejas Bootskicked off a couple years ago. The building, once home to Baby Giant #2, has recently been painted a bright white; its sign has been denuded, and sidewalk reconstruction work is underway:


From Baby Giant to Mattress Pro?
04/20/15 2:45pm

FORMER WESTHEIMER PLANT HOUSE GOING STEAK Future Home of Bistecca Steak House, 224 Westheimer Rd., Avondale, Montrose, HoustonThe building at 224 Westheimer Rd. in Montrose, on the north side of the street between Helena and Mason St., was long ago home to Bistro 224. Then it became the Plant House. A photo sent in by a reader late last week shows the same structure undergoing another metamorphosis as it transforms into its newest incarnation, a return to its food-serving days. According to building permits taken out for the property, the revamped building will become the Bistecca Steak House once construction is complete. Photo: Sylvia Drew

02/24/15 2:45pm

Demolition on Site of Proposed California Square Townhomes, 1005 Missouri St. and 1004 California St., Montrose, Houston

Proposed California Square Townhomes, 1005 Missouri St. and 1004 California St., Montrose, Houston

The asphalt and branches were flying this morning at the storied former South Beach parking lot off Montrose between California St. and Missouri (more recently home to cars whose owners are visiting the nearby Aladdin restaurant). Pelican Builders has begun clearing the 28,709-sq.-ft. collection of lots — which have separate frontages on Missouri St., Grant St., and California St. — for its 24-townhome California Square project. A few properties from the gated complex of 2-bedroom townhomes have been listed on MLS — for just shy of $500K. Here’s the site plan:


California Square
02/20/15 3:45pm




Somewhere behind this leafy garden wall, which rises 14 ft. high along Mason and Pacific streets, a 1910 home in Montrose’s Avondale area has been holding on to another era — and another city, maybe. From the garden gate at curbside (top), glimpses inward, toward the brick-paved courtyards and patios (middle), appear to be a bit more challenging than the views outward from the pier-and-beam property. Its neighborhood watch vantage point is located south of Fairview Ave. on a corner east of Taft. St., borders 21st century townhomes, and features a mid-century commercial space across the street that’s brewery bound. Listed a week ago, the self-secluded spread has a $875K asking price.


Horror Vacui
11/10/14 11:30am

Scott-Day Paint & Supply Co., 216 Westheimer Rd., Avondale, Montrose, Houston

Scott-Day Paint & Supply Co., 216 Westheimer Rd., Avondale, Montrose, Houston

The hexagonal clock mounted above the front door of the former Cra-Bell Vacuum and Appliance Co. building at 216 Westheimer Rd. was stolen over the weekend. Derek Brotherton of Scott-Day Paint & Supply, the company that’s inhabited the building since 1963, tells Swamplot that he and coworkers noticed the disappearance this morning, and that they are “deeply upset over losing part of the character of the store.” Photos above show the clock in place (above, in an older image) and gone missing (at top, taken this morning). Brotherton says he believes the clock had been in its current position since the building was constructed in 1935 — or shortly thereafter. Back then, the street was named Hathaway; it now sits on the north side of Westheimer between Helena and Mason.


Did You See Time Fly?
08/27/14 4:15pm



Is this Avondale property a home, a compound, or a discrete semi-plex? From the street, at least, the exterior remains discreet about its reworked interior space. And the downstairs does maintain much of the home’s original flow, heavy-with-trim formal rooms, and many of the 1940 structure’s early features (top). The same is true upstairs, though a section on that floor functions as an extensive separate suite. An aerie on the third floor adds even more living space. The property in the Avondale East Historic District appeared as a listing yesterday — with a $579,000 asking price.


4 Quarters
06/24/14 1:45pm

2505 Mason St. and 115 Hyde Park Blvd., Avondale, Houston

2505 Mason St. and 115 Hyde Park Blvd., Avondale, HoustonA reader sends Swamplot photos of this TABC notice posted on the door of 2505 Mason St. in Avondale. That’s the side address of the Pictures Plus framing company and Hyde Park Gallery building, whose entrance is around the corner — and under the David Adickes sculpture of a bewhiskered telephone (at far left in the top photo) — at 115 Hyde Park Blvd. The notice announces a Brewheme Brewery coming to the property, and lists 307 Fairview as the applicant’s address. That spot, one block up and 2 blocks over, is the home of Montrose bar Boheme.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Pictures Plus Beer?
06/24/14 11:30am

COURTLANDT MANOR SITE PHOTOGRAPHER: GOOGLE PLUS ATE YOUR ‘G’ Future Site of Courtlandt Manor Townhomes, 411 Lovett Blvd., Avondale, Montrose, HoustonThe reader who sent in pics that Swamplot posted yesterday showing a banner announcing the new 14-townhome Courtlandt Manor development at 411 Lovett Blvd. — where developer Croix Custom Homes had a 1906 mansion in fine condition torn down earlier this year — writes in to apologize and explain why they inadvertently made it look like the developer’s sign had a prominent typo. Having examined the originals and discussed the issue with one of the firms marketing the project, Swamplot can now confirm that Courtlandt Manor is indeed “pre-selling,” not “pre-sellin” units for $875K and up, and that the actual sign spells this out accurately. “I feel really bad about this,” writes the photographer, who didn’t notice anything wrong with the photo until it was posted. “My phone automatically uploads all the photos I take to Google+ for backup. When it sees several images taken side by side, it ‘auto-enhances’ them into a panorama.” That’s more of an explanation for a missing letter than Croix had provided publicly for the site’s now-missing mansion, but the spelling-oblivious auto-panorama mechanism in Google+, apparently, is a little more complicated. Original, unstitched photo of sign at Lovett Blvd. and Taft: Swamplot inbox