04/11/16 1:00pm

Stump in front of Au Petit Paris, 2048 Colquitt St,, Dearborn Place, Houston, 77098

The last fading rays of setting sun cast a dusty glow over the oak stump in front of 2048 Colquitt St. just east of Shepherd Dr., captured by a reader over the weekend. An employee of Au Petit Paris tells the photographer that the restaurant isn’t behind the removal of the tree, which shaded the French bistro’s front patio; the arboreal departure occurred during the still-ongoing move-in of 2 townhomes across the street at 2051 and 2053 Colquitt (the latter of which is visible above on the left, behind construction fencing). Construction on those structures started last summer after building permits were issued to 2201 Custom Homes in June.

Here’s a close-up of the stump, accompanied by a sprinkling of springtime sprouts:


Bidding Adieu in Dearborn Place
02/01/16 9:15am

Jugs Draft, 3109 S. Shepherd Dr., Dearborn Place, Houston, 77098

A reportedly sober driver crashed into the strip center at the southeast corner of S. Shepherd Dr. and W. Alabama St. in the early hours of Sunday morning, according to KPRC. The unplanned beer run left the Jugs Draft storefront shattered open, and gave the Shepherd branch of Jenni’s Noodle House a new side entrance. Strip center neighbors Burn Smoke Shop, Mega DJ, and Mattress 1 are seemingly undamaged; all involved humans are reportedly undamaged as well.

Rare beers, however, were a major casualty of the event: The SUV crunched into Jugs’s bottle coolers, prompting the craft beer shop to liquidate what was salvaged of its chilled inventory in a $2 firesale yesterday. (Jugs is named for its 64-oz. growlers-to-go of draft beer, but also sells bottles and kegs.)


Party Foul
05/12/15 1:30pm

TAKARA-SO COMPLEX BACK ON THE MARKET, THIS TIME WITH NEW UTH UPGRADE Takara-So Apartments, 1919 W. Main St., Dearborn Place, Montrose, HoustonIf you were thinking its purchase by a SoCal investment firm almost exactly 1 year ago meant the pseudo-Japanesee 1962 apartment complex at 1919 W. Main St. would be shielded from the evict-and-redevelop cycle for a few years, think again. Apartment Income Investors has put the Takara-So Apartments, which sit on most of the block surrounded by Hazard, W. Main, Colquitt, and McDuffie, back on the market — with a twist. Though on-site signs have not been changed, the complex is described as the Takara South Apartments in a sleek set of marketing materials produced by Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, the firm that’s marketing the 77-unit, 10-building, 1.22-acre property once owned by Allen Stanford. Why unload the storied complex now? So much has happened in a Montrose year: There’s that $2.05 million jump in the property’s tax appraisal. And maybe some profits to be made: Though no asking price is listed, included comps indicate the sellers are likely aiming for offers between $8 and $10.8 million. The purchase price was listed on company documents as $5.51 million. [LoopNet; previously on SwamplotPhoto: Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

09/10/14 1:15pm

A LOOK AT SOME OF THE LIQUID POO FLOWING ONTO COLQUITT ST. IN MONTROSE Raw Sewage Draining onto Colquitt St., Montrose, HoustonA reader wants to be sure Swamplot readers are alerted — as city inspectors, the HPD’s environmental division, and the property manager have already been, the reader says — to the “recurring” problem of raw sewage flowing out from the Takara-So Apartments at 1919 W. Main St. and into neighboring storm drains. The photo at left, taken on Monday, shows the sewage (“you can smell it”) along Colquitt St., pausing for a bit of sun on its way to lower-lying bayous and waterways. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

08/12/14 4:45pm

THE TAKARA-SO APARTMENTS WON’T BE GOING AWAY JUST YET Takara-So Apartments, 1919 W. Main St., Dearborn Place, Montrose, HoustonInner Loop property watchers: As other Montrose apartment complexes are knocked down and redeveloped left and right, do your thoughts turn occasionally to the Takara-So? If so, you are not alone: The 77-unit 2-story apartments at 1919 W. Main St., occupying the entire 1.22-acre block also bounded by McDuffie, Hazard, and Colquitt, was sold back in May in an off-market transaction. The complex that once belonged in the portfolio of swindler Allen Stanford is now the property of a group headed by Southern California firm Apartment Income Investors. A cached version of a memo for the investment posted online in advance of the sale envisioned renting out and holding the property for 3 to 5 years before selling it to investors or a developer, and identifies the price as $5.51 million. Photo: Takara-So Apartments

01/24/14 1:30pm

2015 W. Alabama St., Montrose, Houston

Jazzy Girls Beauty Boutique, 2015 W. Alabama St., Montrose, HoustonAn episode of Animal Planet’s hit show Call of the Wildman that aired 5 months ago featured the show’s star Ernie Brown Jr. (who goes by the nickname “Turtleman”) and his sidekick Neal James ridding a Montrose beauty salon of an infestation of about 20 Mexican free-tailed bats. The escapade filmed in the back storage rooms of the Jazzy Girls Beauty Boutique on West Alabama St. just east of Shepherd was only one of several dozens of purported animal rescues performed by Turtleman “with his bare hands” in the course of the top-rated Sunday night cable TV show, which is now in its third season. In the other segment of the episode, called “Bat Hair Day,” he rescues a raccoon from a cave.

The supposedly cruelty-free “live action” Montrose winged-creature extrication, which was filmed in April, was reported locally in the Chronicle and Culturemap as another quirky Turtleman success story shortly before the episode aired in early August. But an investigation published earlier this week by Mother Jones reveals that the show’s creators had themselves planted the bats in the salon to allow them to film Turtleman and his assistant removing them.


Jazzy Girls Have Left the Building
08/28/13 1:30pm

Its earlier morph from 1940 cottage to pet grooming shop with easy-care flooring could remain or revert to home use, declares the listing for this property in Dearborn Place. It’s tucked behind a couple of strip centers fronting S. Shepherd, just south of West Alabama. Pens and gated areas — inside and out — make it easy to contain any unruly guests, as do the quarters out back.


06/30/10 4:13pm

This string of antique-store buildings on West Alabama just east of Shepherd has been on the market since last fall. Swamplot noted the Brian Stringer Antiques 40-percent-off going-out-of-business sale in December, but the 25-percent-off sale on the buildings began only last month, after a second price reduction. The bungalow, showroom, and 2-story warehouse on the 14,004-sq.-ft. lot are now priced at $1,099,000. The listing notes the store and its inventory are also for sale “for additional consideration.”

“Everyone in Houston knows the shopping ritual here,” explained ritual antique shopper Joni Webb last year. “You go [through] the main showroom first, work your way to the back storeroom, stop at the side showroom, then exit through the metal garage door to go outside where you then enter the little French house through its side door.”


04/23/10 11:40am

Continuing his commentaries on city off-street parking requirements, blogger Andrew Burleson takes a snapshot of parking conditions near the often-crowded corner of West Alabama and Hazard. To the east: the little 8-parking-space head-in strip center that houses Candylicious, Retro Gallery, and The Chocolate Bar. To the west: Erick’s Auto Center.

Among Burleson’s startling finds: On a weekday evening, actual empty parking spots appear to be available in front of The Chocolate Bar! But what’s going on down the street?


02/22/10 1:42pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: COLQUITTERS, IT’S YOUR OWN DAMN ASPHALT “What is it about Colquitt? I have seen other streets in your same zipcode surfaced twice in the last dozen years, while certain blocks of Colquitt (the high teens) look like Beyond Thunderdome. I am not so naive as to be ignorant of why some streets get better attention than others, but who did you Colquitters piss off?” [Harold Mandell, commenting on Steve Radack’s Next Little Idea]

12/07/09 9:05am

A quick roundup:

  • Closing in January: NASA hangout the Outpost Tavern, an army barracks building turned spacesuit-and-bikini-festooned party site, down NASA Rd. 1 from the Johnson Space Center at 18113 Kings Lynn St. Memorialized in the appropriately named Clint Eastwood “one last time for the has-been astronauts” flick Space Cowboys, the bar and burger joint had to be partially rebuilt in early 2005 after a short in a neon sign caused a small fire. Second-generation owner Stephanie Foster reports the property has been sold to new owners who “plan to build something new on the site, perhaps a service station or shopping center.” Fans of the Outpost Tavern’s many good ol’ days will drown their sorrows on-site in a 3-day-long goodbye-party bash, January 8-10.
  • Closed, Just a Month After Opening: The new 7,000-sq.-ft. prototype Bailey Banks & Biddle store in CityCentre. The new owners of the former Zales mall mainstay declared bankruptcy in August, but went ahead with the store’s planned move from its old location across the street at Town & Country Village anyway. Other local Triple Bs didn’t get the grand-opening treatment before going dark: “The Galleria and Willowbrook Mall locations are in liquidation, while The Woodlands Mall store and the new CityCentre location are expected to go dark on Dec. 24 following liquidation sales, according to store employees.”
  • Open Only for One Last Big Sale: Brian Stringer Antiques, strung along West Alabama just east of Shepherd in a few separate buildings for the last 40 or so years. Stringer and his wife will retire to their turreted 14th century chateau — a former fortified hospital built by monks for victims of a mysterious skin disease — in the French countryside between Bordeaux and Gers. But lucky us, they’ll stick around Houston long enough to sell the majority of their stock of European antiques, reproductions, and fabrics at 40 percent off, Joni Webb reports: “The French house is so charming – you really feel like you’re in the South of France, except for Houston’s traffic out the front window!” When you’re done shopping there, Webb commands:

    be sure to also stop in at Ginger Barber’s Sitting Room which is next door. Further up the street is Tara Shaw and Heather Bowen Antiques. Continue up W. Alabama to Antiques and Interiors on Dunlavy, Boxwood and The Country Gentleman, then hit up Foxglove and Alcon Lighting.

    If you haven’t passed out from exhaustion yet, turn around and head back to Brian Stringer’s and go the other way on W. Alabama. Stop at Jane Moore’s, then at Ferndale, go to Brown, Bill Gardner, Made in France, and Objects Lost and Found. Back on W. Alabama, continue on to Thompson and Hansen, The Gray Door, Chateau Domingue, Indulge on Saint Street, and 2620 on Joanel.

More openings and closings: