07/12/17 1:15pm

Sure, the Texas Junk Company has decamped from its longtime spot at 215 Welch St. — and the building has been put up for lease. But even with a whitewashing the building still shows its recent provenance. Well — somewhat. The corner-hugging brick structure’s new coat of white paint, which appeared over the weekend, now covers over some of the painted signage, artwork, and uh, beauty marks that once festooned its façades. But not all. Carefully avoided by the painters and still visible on the structure are the Texas Junk Company sign and its accompanying snake mascot facing Welch St. (pictured above) and the cactus-and-mesa tableau on the Taft St. side:

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Releasing East Montrose
06/28/17 3:00pm

The latest of Gensler’s renderings of that midrise parking garage planned atop the recently evacuated location of nightclub and drag venue Meteor shows the structure rocking a swath of greenery in place of the decorative bicycles pictured across the facade in earlier drafts. Cara Smith reports in the Houston Business Journal this week that the garage is one of the projects that Gensler is “future proofing” — that is, designing with an eye to an eventual decline in Houston parking garage needs, whether spurred by the rise of self-driving cars or other shifts in transportation patterns. The firm was featured by Web Urbanist last month in an article discussing some of its other current garage projects, some of which are being outfitted with conversion-minded utility hookup spacing, as well as ceiling heights suited to something other than car stacking; modular features like easy-to-tack-on facades and removable ramps are also in the mix.

There appear to be 6 retail spots in the foot of the garage that will be ready for tenants before such time as the rest of the garage might hypothetically be repurposed (along with a slew of other spaces in the development, per Edge Realty’s leasing flier):

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Prepped for Obsolescence in Fourth Ward
02/02/17 2:30pm

Demolition of 2302 Genesee Apartments, Fairview, Houston, 77006

More knocking down and dragging out has been going on around the handful of blocks between Genesee and Taft streets now being prepped for the area’s Fairview District redo. The 1930s-ish apartment building at the corner of Genesee and Fargo St. (next to previously-shattered Meteor Lounge) is as of yesterday mostly out of the picture (as, uh . . . pictured above), freeing up the lot for the 5-story parking garage planned on the east end of the block. A reader snapped a few final looks at and into the structure last Thursday, following the issuance of the building’s Inauguration day demo permits:

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Fargo Away
01/23/17 5:00pm

Fairview District Update, January 2017, Fairview at Mason St., East Montrose, Houston, 77006

The renderings in Edge Realty’s marketing material for the mixed-use office and retail redevelopment planned for the area around Fairview and Mason streets now include signage for another outpost each of New York-based Shake Shack and Alabama-based Steel City Pops. The eccentric popsicle shop is shown inhabiting that freestanding dessert island planned in the parking lot east of Max’s Wine Dive; Shack Shack is depicted in a corner unit in the multi-story building planned across Mason St., next to the empty former site of Meteor Lounge (and catty-corner across Fairview from Meteor’s current crumbly resting place). A reader tells Swamplot that Shake Shack was also mentioned as a future Fairview District tenant at last week’s meeting of the East Montrose Civic Association, though possibly placed in a different spot in the development.

Also showing up in the latest images is Houston-based yoga and bike-in-place fitness outlet Revolution Studio; other names dropped on the flier include Austin-based barber shop Finley’s, California-based and -flavored fast-casual restaurant lemonade, haberdashery chain Goorin Bro.’s,  shoe-polish-brand-turned-upscale-watch-retailer Shinola, and — down on the Genesee St. corner — enthusiastic burger joint Eureka!:

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Fairview Views
01/10/17 10:30am

Meteor Lounge brick reuse, Fairview at Genesee streets, East Montrose, Houston, 77006

Meteor, 2306 Genesee St, Montrose, HoustonThe deconstruction crew that brought Meteor Lounge to the ground at Fairview and Genesee streets last week got in a last round of crushing digs at the fallen structure over the weekend, a reader reports: “They piled up all the bricks and ran over them with the huge excavator, crushing them.  They then moved the debris and spread it over the dirt in the ‘parking’ lot across the street from Max’s Wine Dive.” The obliterated former club’s corner property is planned as the location of a proposed 5-story parking garage for the Fairview District redevelopment; here’s the view from Fairview of the rearranged structure itself, facing southeast toward the CenterPoint electrical substation on Genesee:

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Fairview Impacts
10/14/16 12:30pm

Rendering of Fairview District

Fairview + Mason renderingsAbove is an updated view of plans for the stretch of Fairview St. between Taft and Genesee being redeveloped by the owner of the redeveloped restaurant strip containing Cuchara and Max’s Wine Dive — a CBRE marketer announced that the project will be branded as the Fairview District, and will include 4 buildings of the mixed-office-retail-restaurant variety. In the center of the rendering above is a sleeker view of the 5-story bike-encrusted parking garage previously drawn up for the former site of Meteor Lounge (which sent its drag show over South Beach and shut off the showers for the last time over the summer). It’s unclear from this vantage whether the garage’s bicycle decor is still part of the plan for the area, but some bike lanes appear to be. The glassy structure on the far left looks to be the standalone structure planned for the parking lot next to Max’s Wine Dive (previously tagged as a dessert shop): CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Viewing Fairview District
09/21/16 5:26pm

212 Fargo St., East Montrose, Houston, 77004

For just $2 less than $1 million, you can now get your hands on this back-on-the-market bungalow-plus at 212 Fargo St., built in 1930 and added onto in 2000. The house sits in the East-Montrose-Fourth-Ward transition zone immediately north of those blocks being family-friendlified by means of Max’s Wine Dive developer Fred Sharifi. Records show the house went on the market asking for a much juicier $6.9 million back in 2007; the 2-unit home was relisted several times in 2014 and 2015  (starting at a more modest $1.375 million and falling) before going rental for a few months this spring.

Check out 5,179 sq. ft. of house squeezed into the 5,000-sq.-ft. lot: 

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Views off Fairview
09/06/16 3:30pm

Texas Junk Company at 215 Welch St., East Montrose, Houston, 77006

Texas Junk Company at 215 Welch St., East Montrose, Houston, 77006The last of the footwear kicking around at the Texas Junk Company’s curiosity-filled warehouse at 215 Welch St. could be packed up and shipped out as soon as September 30. Per owner Bob Novotney’s telling on social media, the company was told last week to be out of the space by the end of the next month, though he’s hoping to get that deadline pushed back to April; Novotney has already started moving goods to a new space planned at 121 N. Main St. in Moulton, TX (halfway between Shiner and Flatonia). The 1930s building that’s been hosting Texas Junk sits immediately north of the field of townhomes rising on the former site of Ecclesia’s since-reincarnated church-plus-coffee-shop.

Photos: Texas Junk Company

Boots Scooting Out of Town
07/08/16 3:15pm

Fairview + Mason renderings

Meteor, 2306 Genesee St, Montrose, HoustonSo You Think You Can Drag hit the stage at  South Beach last night — a permanent move for the event in the wake of  Wednesday‘s permanent closure of Meteor Lounge at 2306 Genesee St. The bar and semi-aquatic drag and dance venue had been renting its space back temporarily while developer Fred Sharifi worked on designs and permits for the redevelopment of the East Montrose neighborhood around Fairview Ave. and Mason St.; Adolfo Pesquera noted in early April that the project (under the name Fairview + Mason) had been granted a variance request.

The application for that request included the drawing above of the 6-story parking garage that’s planned to replace Meteor; the exterior, perhaps following Rice University’s lead on parking garage modesty coverings, appears to be artfully encrusted with bicycles, with the words MONT and ROSE emblazoned beneath.

The variance request asked the city for permission to cross some building setback lines and to add some canopies along 2 different blocks on Fairview — the site plan below points them out, catty-cornered between the block holding the Mason St. electrical substation and the block holding Max’s Wine Dive, Cuchara, and Flow:

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Farewell on Fairview
06/24/16 2:00pm

2203 Crocker St., Montrose, Houston, 77006

The agent who put the 16-year-old house at 2203 Crocker St. on the market this week wants to make sure you know exactly what you’re buying. The listing for the property (which describes the home as “Needs work! Never updated. Never remodeled. Located within 241 feet from nuisance bar.”) digs deep into gritty details great and small — from photos focused on the missing caulk between the kitchen tiles, to a 2-page disclosure document listing assaults, intoxication calls, and other incidents ostensibly reported to the police from in and around the property’s catty-corner neighbor, bearaoke hotspot Crocker Bar.

The listing’s photo captions highlight additional details of the property’s physical defects and history — sometimes using the bright red text above, and other times employing fragments of narration that raise questions even as they answer them. Here’s the shot from the listing labeled only as Bird Got Trapped in Wall:

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Full Disclosure
04/13/16 12:30pm

Drew at Helena streets, Midtown, Houston, 77006

Here’s the current scene along the north side of Drew St., where the acre-plus of emptied land previously planned for development as the Pearl on Helena now hosts a Morgan Group for sale sign. The block bounded by Helena, Drew, Albany, and Dennis streets was marked a few years back as another addition to Morgan’s string of Pearl midrises; the Helena site’s application went dark during the variance request process in mid-20014, but the land was cleared of its former hospital and mansion occupants near the end of that year.

Morgan Group currently has a Pearl in Greenway Plaza, with another getting polished up on Washington Ave near T.C. Jester; a planned Pearl on Smith (at the site of the former Social Security office right across Smith St. from the Pearl on Midtown) appeared to have been removed from the company’s immediate focus in 2014, only to resurface in renderings the following year as part of an apartment-midrise-grocery-store complex containing a Whole Foods.

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New Treatment Plan in Midtown
12/03/15 12:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE SUBTLETIES OF PARKING LOT COMMUNICATION Parking in Strip Center“The wide open parking lot does seem to say, ‘We’re more than ready to receive you’ from retailers that want to have an image as ‘convenient.’ In other situations, the tighter parking supply seems to communicate, ‘This is a popular place where many people like you find happenings worth attending.‘ CityCentre and Rice Village seem to be examples of the second category.” [slugline, commenting on Comment of the Day: Why It’s Still Blacktop Friday] Illustration: Lulu

12/01/15 1:30pm

Meteor, 2306 Genesee St, Montrose, Houston

Wholesale changes could be coming to East Montrose next summer, if all goes according to the grand lower-Fairview plans of restaurateur-turned-developer Fred Sharifi. The stated goal for his latest development — planned along 3 blocks of Fairview stretching from Taft to Genesee — is to bring a little more diurnal activity to the area, better known for its narrow, potholed streets and vibrant nightlife. That nightlife seems likely to dim, as the new plans call for the eventual extinguishing of Meteor, a mainstay of Houston’s drag community.

“We are not going to have any bars in the neighborhood,” Sharifi recently told Mark Boyle of KPRC, apparently classifying his own Max’s Wine Dive on Fairview at Taft as either beyond the neighborhood or not a bar. Sharifi’s other nearby holdings on Fairview include Gratifi and Cuchara, the Mexico City-style restaurant with rule cards for kiddos.

A 5- or 6-story parking garage perched atop 10,000 sq. ft. of office and retail space (labeled “E” in the rendering below), is proposed for the Meteor site at 2302-2308 Genesee St.:

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East Montrose Overhaul
06/02/15 1:30pm

Sinkhole, Hyde Park Blvd. at Mason St., Montrose, Houston

Sinkhole, Hyde Park Blvd. at Mason St., Montrose, Houston

Here are views of a couple of holes that appeared at the eastern edge of East Montrose after last week’s flood. The sizable tire-grabber at the corner of Hyde Park Blvd. and Mason St. shown here was decorated by nearby residents who repurposed the cones and barricade from a nearby construction site, explains reader Brittanie Shey.

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What Lies Beneath