Architectural details, building materials, windows, and flooring are now being picked from the the Midtown building at 1505 Hadley St. known as the Rice Mansion, a reader suggests. The photo sent above from this morning appears to show someone pulling boards from the threshold at the front door. The triple window fronting the building’s attic has already been yanked out.
Also removed from the property: a large amount of Destiny’s Child memorabilia — but that was last year, when the band’s former manager, Mathew Knowles, sold the entire block to the parent company of the neighboring Midtown Advantage BMW car dealership. The Rice Mansion served as the headquarters of Knowles’s Music World Entertainment for 15 years, and was considered the birthplace of the careers of his daughters, Beyoncé and Solange Knowles.
Another building on the property with a Destiny’s Child connection and a later stint as a wedding and event venue — the House of Deréon Media Center at 2204 Crawford St. — was torn down last month.
It appears demolition contractors — or the site’s new owners — saw fit to remove the mural of Destiny’s Child from the House of Deréon Media Center building in Midtown before beginning to break it down last week. The time-lapse video above shows an excavator tearing apart the 2-story structure at 2204 Crawford St. piece by piece on Friday. But the southern façade of the building, which faces Hadley St., looks a little different than it did just a week earlier. Where once hung giant images of Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé Knowles, and Michelle Williams, a plain white panel appears — the mural evidently having either been removed or painted over before demolition began.
Strangely, this is not the first sign of deference the demo contractors on site have shown the Bootylicious trio, before the building touted for many years as “The Home of Destiny’s Child” was given the boot. Last week an excavator appeared in front of the mural — only to sneak away a few days later:
That excavator (pictured above) spotted poking around outside of the former House of Deréon Media Center last week may have disappeared at the end of its brief staredown with a larger than life representation of Beyoncé Knowles and the Destiny’s Child crew — but the structure still looks to be on the chopping block after all, if the demo permits issued yesterday are any indication. Group 1 Realty, an arm of the auto chain that owns nearby Advantage BMW alongside the Pierce Elevated, bought the land last fall from Mathew Knowles; the company also looks to have been snapping up a smattering of other properties in the immediate vicinity since at least early 2015.
A reader who visited the site of the House of Deréon Media Center last night notes an unusual outcome to the demolition standoff that began on the Midtown block late last week. The excavator parked outside the former event and wedding venue at 2204 Crawford St. marketed as “The Home of Destiny’s Child” has apparently been removed — and the building, along with other structures that until last year belonged to former Destiny’s Child manager Mathew Knowles‘s Music World Entertainment complex, is still standing. There will be no, no, no demolition, it appears — for now.
A reader’s photo and video of the scene (above) show only a few mudtracks from the excavator remaining — and Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé Knowles, and Michelle Williams still staring it down, unmoved.
It appears that what’s left of Mathew Knowles’s Music World Entertainment compound in Midtown is Destiny’s Child now. “Ever since I read that Advantage BMW bought the block,” writes the reader who snapped this photo of the excavator now parked next to the House of Deréon Media Center at 2204 Crawford St., “I have been expecting something to come down.”
The pictured building, designated the “Home of Destiny’s Child” — later an event and wedding venue operated by Knowles, the group’s former manager — sits on the 1.43-acre block bounded by Crawford, Webster, LaBranch, and Hadley that Knowles sold to the corporate owners of the neighboring Midtown Advantage BMW dealership late last year, after (as he later told Nancy Sarnoff) “someone knocked on my door and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
Also on the block: the Music World Studios building, where (among others) Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Mario, and Chris Brown recorded — as well as Knowles’s daughters, Beyoncé and Solange. And at 1515 Hadley St., next door to the House of Deréon Media Center, is the 3-story former Rice Mansion, which Knowles had made his company’s headquarters:
It doesn’t take effect until August — but a new sales permit looks to have been okayed last month for 160 W. Gray St., bearing the name The Ginger Man – West Gray. The Rice Village bar has previously established outposts in locales as far-flung as Austin, Dallas, and Plano (and claims a somewhat looser connection to a trio of spots in New York and Connecticut), but a West Gray location would be the chain’s second spot inside the Loop(s). That spot, meanwhile, is still the home of Junction Bar & Grill, just north of the W. Gray Y with Webster St. — though the building itself (shown above) was listed for leaseon LoopNet earlier this spring. Prior to the turn of the decade, the space previously went by The Wet Spot.
A recent-ish photo from the lease listing (above) shows off the wrapping up of the Dolce Living apartments next door. Not pictured, just beyond the duo of homes visible to the east below: the charred skeleton of Fuzzy’s Tacos, which was cleared out some time after its November flameout.
The Dallas-based real estate and restaurant developers at Syn Hospitality Group are hoping to have a Houston branch of flag-slathered bar and restaurant America Gardens open later this year (as rendered above), part of their in-the-works Midtown Common development over on Caroline St. just north of McGowen. The group went after some early city approvals earlier this year to bundle together a handful of property parcels on the block into the edgy unreserved shape shown above. That footprint, mostly sticking along Caroline but stretching across to claim a bit of frontage on Austin St. as well, leaves out the buildings occupied by Core Church Midtown, which is squeezed between the auto and auto accessory pairing of Fast Traffic Auto Work and Austin Radio and Speedometer.
The group has released a few renderings of the first planned restaurant’s red-white-and-blue-bedecked interior, as well as its large outdoor patio:
A permit was issued yesterday to knock out some walls at the former medical clinic at 820 Holman St., remodeled back in 2015 into abbreviated-French-themed nightclub VrSi. The club (shown here as it looked in its early days) seems to have stopped promoting itself right after Mardi Gras, and a new business name for the address was registered with the county clerk’s office late last month: Holman Draft Hall. That new moniker is still connected to VrSi co-owner Andy Aweida, part of the group that owns nearby Wooster’s Garden and used to own those demolished Kirby funeral parlor bars; the same folks are also behind the Heights Bier Garten, which opened last month in the former Longhorn Motor Company spot on N. Shepherd (now full of parked picnic tables):
A siteplan and the latest renderings of Melbourne-based Caydon Property Group’s residential highrise, planned in place of the now-erased mental health building and lowrise mural canvas at 2850 Fannin St., show a bit more clearly how the 27-story structure might look amid its more squat Midtown neighbors (not counting that other highrise planned a few blocks down Main St.). The aerial view of the site shown here (tilted so that Main St. is horizontal, with Downtown off to the left) shows the building’s footprint in yellow, alongside the light-rail line and Midtown Park to the west.
One of the new drawings of the project also depicts what appears to be a closeup of the Drew St.-facing side of the building, with a good deal more than just the typical rendering entourage: the block across the street is shown with another multistory development in place of what’s currently a parking lot by the Art Supply on Main lowrise, and a section of the street itself is shown fully pedestrianized.
Neither of these changes make an appearance in any of the other zoomed-out renderings, however:
In other grocery-apartment-midrise news, the 2-story hole for the below-ground parking component of the planned Pearl-branded apartment midrise with built-in Whole Foods looks to have touched bottom, and a tower crane on the site has reached its full height. Some of the construction site’s fence decorations have been swapped out with newer renderings, too — the latest drawings show a zoomier design and a new color scheme (this one falling more in the slatey-grey-brown range, compared to the doughy yellows picked out for the older drawings):
Swapping in for the tubelight-bedecked elm that’s been standing in the middle of Axelrad Beer Garden at the corner of Almeda Rd. and Alabama St.: this way-past-sapling Shumard red oak, carefully trucked, tipped, and dropped into place earlier this week, as captured in the Yakety-Sax-tracked video montage above. The changeover comes at the end of the original tree’s years-long shuffle toward death, per the bar’s telling: the group was advised to evict the tree when they first started setting up the space — as it was already old, and had been hit pretty hard by that tire-revealing 2011 drought — but opted to keep it around for a few years instead.
Following a recent lightning strike from which it would never quite recover, the tree finally lost enough branches that the bar owners opted to put it out of its misery:
A diner catty-corner from Bagby Park yesterday evening captured the slow drama that unfolded as an in-transit temporary building was backed slowly up Bagby St. (at least maintaining the suggested orientation of the 1-way street, if not the intended direction of travel). The video above shows the building as it backs through the signalized intersection (to the audible distress of a would-beoncoming sedan), squeezes through the cars parked curbside (seemingly avoiding all vehicular scratches, but grazing a tree), then turns east down westbound Gray St. toward the eternally shining beacon of the St. Joseph Professional Building, accompanied in its wrong-way progress by an entourage consisting of a police escort, a tow truck, and and a small excavator hitching a ride.
Some of the intermediate developmental stages of the pointy new hill between the Pierce Elevated and the old Mr. Peeples spot raised a few questions in the mind of a nearby reader (chief among them: whether the Midtown Redevelopment Authority was constructing an ark.) A few photos from last week (including the top shot above) showed what appear to be wooden forms heralding the pouring of a concrete landscaping wall. A set of new shots from this morning paint a more complete picture of the site, showing a cargo of several new trees now settled in place in the gentle concave curve behind the structured hill’s prow (as seen in the second shot above). Beyond the wall, the other side of the mound appears to have been dotted with ornamental grass: