08/22/18 9:45am

The Harris County Democratic Party office has been in the building at 4619 Lyons Ave. since earlier this summer, but officials still haven’t gotten entirely situated there yet. A building permit filed yesterday now paves the way for a few more office additions to get them fully moved in after abandoning their previous headquarters on the North Loop near I-45.

Keeping them company in the building is Para Design Group, the Houston architecture firm that put the finishing touches on the place earlier this year and now has its own office on the second floor.

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Fifth Ward Foothold
07/11/18 12:30pm

A fresh batch of renderings released by Midway paints the clearest picture yet of what’s planned for the 136-acre former KBR campus that stretches along Buffalo Bayou, between Hirsch Rd. and Jensen Dr. Cobbled together from a mixture of glass and other materials, the tallest structure shown in the image at top spikes up behind a lower-slung retail building that fronts a junction of walking paths intersecting in a central park. You can see a further-away view of the airy column, foregrounded by street-level retailers in the view above.

A confection-colored map put out by the developer last month included a long strip of green along Buffalo Bayou’s north bank reserved for park space.

It’s now reappearing in the view below from up above the waterway:

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Great Glass Spike
07/06/18 10:00am

Despite the bare-bones look, construction on Saint Arnold’s drinking and entertainment complex across Semmes St. from its existing brewery is nearly complete. Renderings put out earlier by the brewery called for the steel beams supporting the roof over its back patio to extend beyond the covering, leaving the southernmost portion of the seating area unshaded. New landscaping now adds to the decor below it all.

But the big thing still missing is the lettering that’s planned to spell out the brewery’s name along the extended cupola, as shown at the top of the rendering below:

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Fifth Ward
06/06/18 3:00pm

Current and proposed views from high above Lyons Ave. show what the St. Elizabeth Hospital would look like repurposed as a 110-unit housing complex, as the Fifth Ward CRC proposes. The biggest change architect Van Meter Williams Pollack has in store for the place is a teardown of the central wing that runs back behind the 3-story north face — pictured above — to make room for a new parking courtyard.

Behind that lot, a newly-constructed, 3-story building would front Chisum St.:

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St. Elizabeth Place
06/04/18 4:30pm

The map above — taken from this week’s city planning agenda — provides a candy-colored indication of how Midway plans to divvy up the 136-acre former KBR site along Buffalo Bayou, east of downtown, that it’s redeveloping into an office, retail, and residential neighborhood dubbed East River. Among the more colorful land uses revealed for the site: a park-fronting hotel slated for the semi-circular red parcel to the east, as well as a nameless museum — shown in grape — that’s planned along Buffalo Bayou near the neighborhood’s western edge.

Sprinkled along the water is an extension of the existing trail that runs along Buffalo Bayou’s north bank. It would traverse the entire development, from its western edge to the boat dock planned at its eastern boundary. Along the way, “Pedestrian bridges are being discussed with Buffalo Bayou Partnership to connect the two sides of the bayou,” according to the plans Midway submitted to the city.

Those 7 consecutive yellow blocks at the north end of the site along Clinton St. represent the citadel of townhomes that’ll look out onto the surrounding Fifth Ward. It’s bookended by 3 blocks of retail to the east along Hirsch Rd. and one to the west on Jensen Dr.

As heralded by the sign — pictured below — now hanging the site’s construction fencing, Houston’s city planning commission will take up the special exemption request that Midway submitted for the development later this week:

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Sweet Deal
03/06/18 1:15pm

10-STORY CELL TOWER WANTS TO SPIKE UP ALONG FIFTH WARD RAILROAD TRACKS A new cell tower is proposed behind a warehouse on Schweikhardt St., just north of where the road ends at Clinton Dr. Vertical Bridge Development, an entity that manages towers for telecom companies, filed an application with the city’s Tower Commission for permission to build the 100-ft. tall structure just north of the train tracks that cross Schweikhardt late last year. The tracks are more or less the dividing line between the industrial zone that spreads out along Buffalo Bayou between Hirsch Rd. and Route 90, and the residential portion of the Fifth Ward that extends south of I-10. City rules require a waiver for towers to be built in residential neighborhoods, and in order to get one, the owner of the 1.5-acre lot where the tower is proposed argues that the parcel is deep enough for the antenna to hang back far from the road. Still, however, the nearest residential property would be just over 200 ft. away from the new sky wire. [Houston Tower Commission Agenda] Photo of signage at proposed tower site: Swamplot inbox

12/20/17 3:00pm

Architect and townhome builder Parra Design Group is showing off its almost-complete new headquarters building at 4619 Lyons Ave. in the Fifth Ward. The 7,815-sq.-ft. office-warehouse complex sits on the corner of Lyons and Schweikhardt St. The firm’s offices are on the 1,500-sq.-ft. second floor. (That’s Camilo Parra doing his scale-figure impression on the balcony in the photo above.)

No other tenants are in the building yet. A statement from the firm, which moved its offices from Rice Military, indicates that the building’s double-height atrium space will be made available to the new building’s neighbors for “meetings and other activities.”

A 2-story brick section fronts Lyons Ave. A view from the Schweikhardt side shows the back portion of the building, a larger single-story warehouse-style space that Parra will use as a work area and to store building materials and supplies:

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Fifth Ward
11/28/17 5:00pm

The steel is up for the cathedral-like beer-entertainment complex that Saint Arnold is building across Semmes St. from its Lyons Ave. brewery. The view at top shows what you’ll see now if you look southeast from the corner of Semmes and Lyons. Bocce courts and a multi-purpose lawn will sprout in the foreground. An extended cupola will have lettering that spells out the brewery’s name.

The complex’s restaurant, shown in the recent rendering above, will include stained-glass images of holy figures and murals featuring brewing iconography:

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Beer Gardening
10/24/17 4:00pm

The lights have been changed again in the vacant office building at the center of Midway’s newly renamed East River site on Buffalo Bayou in the Fifth Ward. The 12-story former Building 3 on the KBR campus the development firm bought last year has progressed from referencing Amazon minus a couple of vowels to spelling out our city’s well-accomplished hometown baseball team minus its initial A. The view above was captured by a Swamplot reader from Clinton Dr. last night

The AMZN lettering lives on, though, at the end of a promo video Midway produced to rep Houston — and its mostly vacant 150-acre former industrial site:

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’Stros in Lights
10/09/17 4:30pm

Here’s the backside of the 12-story former KBR office building that Midway has for the last week lit up with a new message in hopes of signaling to Amazon and avian passers-by that it buys into the concept underlying many of Jeff Bezos’s business decisions. Also: That the surrounding 150-acre property on the north side of Buffalo Bayou east of Downtown Houston that the company has renamed East River would make a fine second headquarters campus for the online and offline retailer. Day 1 is the name assigned successively to 3 different Amazon buildings in Seattle, the latest a new 37-story downtown tower that itself features a lit-up sign on its lower floors that reads HELLO WORLD. Day 1 is also a common catchphrase in the company, a reminder to itself, among other things, to focus on outcomes rather than process and to make decisions quickly, even if you have less information available than you’d like.

Day 1 for this Houston sign was October 2nd. As a reader reported last week, since then the vacant building has been sporting the company’s NASDAQ ticker symbol on the opposite side to match:

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Day 1 on Clinton Dr.
10/06/17 1:00pm

The tallest of the 5 vacant structures remaining in the 136-acre former KBR campus fronting Buffalo Bayou east of Downtown that new owner Midway has dubbed East River has been sporting a new night-time look as of this week. The lights in the photo above, taken last night by a reader, spell out the NASDAQ ticker symbol of Amazon — which has announced a nationwide search for a second headquarters campus.

Previously, the lights in the 12-story office building at 4100 Clinton Dr. in the Fifth Ward had been tuned to HTX:

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Hey Lookie Here!
09/08/17 1:15pm

Going up along Rawley St. just east of Gregg St. in the Fifth Ward: A row of five 3-story freestanding concrete-block townhomes from a company called Castro Novum. The photos were taken earlier this week — after Harvey storms had cleared out of the area. The homes are 2 blocks north of Lyons Ave. and back up to Union Pacific’s Terminal Subdivision freight-rail line. This one is furthest along:

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5 in a Row
07/11/17 3:00pm

Here’s a first entry in what appears to be an impromptu, informal competition among Swamplot readers — to track down and photograph the narrowest findable gap between townhomes — and then speculate on what methods might be employed one day to repair or repaint the exteriors of the adjoining walls. The photo here shows a pair of townhomes lining Cage St. just north of Melva St. in the lower Fifth Ward, amidst a slew of similarly dimensioned homes in a larger complex. Think you can find a gap in the Houston area tighter than this one? Send pics and addresses to Swamplot’s tipline.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

 

Do Not Touch!
06/28/17 11:30am

Among a few Fifth Ward buildings abutting a new railroad underpass scheduled to be installed near the intersection of Lyons Ave. and West St.: The warehouse pictured above at 2305 Lyons Ave., graced by a Wiley Robertson mural. The Gulf Coast Rail District plans to eliminate the at-grade railroad crossing west of I-69 and directly to the east of that corner by routing Lyons Ave. under the tracks. According to the district, 30 trains a day currently cross Lyons Ave. — on 3 separate sets of tracks. North of Lyons, 3 additional at-grade crossings will be eliminated by closing down West St. entirely from a little south of Lyons to a little south of Brooks St.

The earliest possible start date for the project, which would cost an estimated $28.5 million and take approximately 2 years to complete, is listed as the fall of 2020. At a meeting last night at the Saint Arnold Brewery, which is just west of the West St. intersection, the district and TXDOT showed these images of a widened Lyons Ave. with dual 12-ft.-wide car lanes as well as bike lanes and sidewalks passing under the HB&T rail line:

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Underpasses and Overpasses
06/22/17 11:00am

A congregation of relocated trees — many of which have been plucked out of the way of the bus lane work going on along Post Oak Blvd. in Uptown right now — was spotted this week by a Fifth Ward resident checking out the former KBR site along Clinton Dr. CityCentre developer Midway is gearing up the process of rebranding its new old campus along the industrial stretch of Buffalo Bayou as East River; early marketing materials now floating around say they’ve collected some 300 trees from the Uptown work and are saving them for later redeployment in and around the 136-acre development, as part of parks and streetscaping.

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Save the Trees for Later