08/14/18 1:45pm

No need to knock on your way into 2309 Morse St. — the mer-person standing in the doorway will see you and can even receive envelopes through a crotch-level mail slot. On the other side of the door, the dining room’s decor is less watery, with a peacock perched up on the accent wall shown on the left in the photo above.

Although it’s now under contract, the house is still showing, so here’s a closer look at those wallflowers:

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Deep-Sea Listing
08/13/18 9:45am

MW Cleaners’ bowtie logo is now going out of style on the corner of Shepherd and Colquitt St. as the franchise dresses down all of its 36 black-tie-branded locations in Houston and redecorates them under the Tide detergent logo. At the Montrose shop, the tall sign pictured behind the dumpster in the photo at top looking south is just about all that’s left of the cleaners’ old look.

New lettering and logoing at 3425 Shepherd has already taken the place of the old (pictured above), and under the angled porte-cochère, fresh window decals mark the transformation as well:

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Tidal Wave
08/09/18 5:15pm

Houston’s latest Bacco-branded wine venue Bacco’s Wine Garden has begun its takeover of 3611 Montrose Blvd. by adding this corral to the house’s front parking lot, although nothing’s being consumed on site yet; a TABC application is still pending approval. Now enclosed within the pen: the gable-roofed sign once colored by the logo for Tony’s Place, the homeless center for LGBT youth under 26 that relocated last summer to a Midtown space it shares with the Salvation Army’s own youth shelter on McGowen St.

On the north side of the building, Bacco’s’s own sign is now up:

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Bacco’s Wine Garden
08/09/18 2:15pm

A Swamplot reader sends a photo (top) of the trees that appear to have grown up outside the former McGowen Cleaners real fast since plant life was first added to the bed (above) earlier this year. That’s because the crew now converting the place into a restaurant called Vibrant tore out the bushier trees just over a week ago and replaced them with a row of taller new cedars.

The swap-out left the bed short on plant life last Wednesday and Thursday:

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Growth Spurt
08/06/18 9:30am

Saturday was teardown day for this Cherryhurst bungalow catty-corner to the Wilson Montessori School where the Indiana St. pavement goes brick for a single block. The 2-man crew pictured above made it about halfway through the job by the afternoon, leaving the yard beyond the fence littered with house parts as they slashed and sprayed.

Once the wreckage is cleared away, some kind of new single-family structure is slated to take over at 1524 Indiana St., according to plans the 5,000-sq.-ft. lot’s new-ish owner filed after buying it in May.

Here’s what the deconstruction looks like from Yupon:

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Half Off Everything
07/31/18 1:15pm

DEMOLISHED WESTHEIMER SPY EMPORIUM’S NEXT MISSION: SURFACE PARKING The new-ish owner that brought down Spy Emporium‘s abandoned building at 1550 Westheimer Rd. earlier this year is now getting ready to turn the property into a parking lot, reports one local urban planner. The building changed hands at the beginning of this year — around the time the spy shop left for 610 and Westpark — to a group that owns the parcel home to Hugo’s on the other side of Mandell St.. That roughly half-acre property already includes its own set of spots in a back lot north of the restaurant building. Spottier in terms of parking availability: the recently-opened UB Preserv restaurant that took over Poscol’s former space in the strip center across Westheimer from Hugo’s about 2 months ago. It currently shares one lot with the other tenants lined up next door to it: Star Tailors & Alterations, D & S laundromat, and Urban Vapes. [C Money; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Spy Emporium

07/26/18 5:00pm

Crews are ripping into the 3-story Mediterranean house on the corner of Hyde Park Blvd. and Whitney St., as well as the adjacent bungalow that Clark Gable lived in for 2 years during his time in Montrose in the late ’20s. Already, the shingled structure has been reduced to the pile of lumber pictured above (although its door’s remains intact).

It lost its face-off with the excavator pictured below just this morning:

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L’Encore
07/19/18 5:00pm

Next Saturday, Houston’s historic commission is set to consider a request that new old signage be installed on the former Gibbs Boats building at 1110 W. Gray as part of the renovation to turn it into a new shopping center dubbed Rêve Montrose. The QUALITY LAUNDRY lettering is a nod to the 1936 structure’s original tenant — pictured above — which turned the place over to Gibbs in 1958. According to the rendering above, the replica sign and accompanying pyramidal support structure are set to be installed in the same location as the originals.

Since the Oxberry Group announced its redo plan for the building in March, some of its W. Gray façade has been scratched off, revealing traces of the original brick underneath where the G in Gibbs used to front the street:

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W. Gray and Montrose
07/19/18 4:00pm

In other abandoned Montrose restaurant news: crews have finished smashing up the Burger King on Westheimer a block west of Montrose Blvd., leaving the property in fast food limbo ahead of its planned takeover by Houston’s fourth Shake Shack location. Pictured above is the restaurant’s drive-thru lane minus the accompanying drive-thru infrastructure.

A Cherry Demolition excavator is still picking through scraps left behind from the teardown; they’re now spread out atop the former building’s foundation, visible below:

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Nothing-Burger
07/16/18 5:00pm

A row of 3 tall windows now opens up the Fairview-St.-side of the former McGowen Cleaners, currently being converted into a health-minded restaurant dubbed Vibrant on the corner of Morse St. As for a patio shown cut into the building’s windowed corner in earlier renderings from architect Lake Flato — it’s yet to be installed. But a bunch of other outdoor features such as shrubs, grasses, and the beds that hold them are now in place outside the structure.

They’ve taken over the frontage previously occupied by chopped-up pavement:

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Hyde Park
07/16/18 10:00am

LAST NIGHT’S ROOFTOP SMOKE SHOW AT THE SUSANNE APARTMENTS Update, 2 p.m.: A spokesperson for The Susanne’s owner, the Finger Companies, tells Swamplot that the fire was caused by a “flying sky lantern,” not by faulty piping. According to the spokesperson, 2 Susanne residents launched the decorative airborne device from the complex’s parking garage, but “the wind unexpectedly caused the lantern to land on the roof of the apartment building along the West Alabama driveway and burned long enough to cause a fire on the roof itself.” The 2 residents called 911 and later reported its cause to fire department arson investigators. A loose rooftop gas pipe sparked this scene at The Susanne Apartments on the corner of W. Alabama and Dunlavy last night at around 9 p.m. Firefighters choked off the blaze by shutting off a valve that fed the pipe — reports the Chronicle — but not before smoke damaged portions of the 8-story building’s top floor. One apartment sustained some water damage, too, but thanks to a layer of steel on the roof — none of the flames made it inside. No firefighters were harmed — and though hundreds evacuated, all residents remained uninjured as well. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

07/05/18 12:00pm

The sales center for the not-yet-built Mandell Montrose condo slated for Fairview St. is now closed, and a representative of its sales team tells Swamplot that the developer has no plans to reopen it. Since the building’s abandonment, signage outside the converted Hyde Park residence taken over by the agents has adopted a lower position than it previously held on the structure, pictured above.

And in the neighboring 12,493-sq.-ft. lot on the corner of Fairview and Commonwealth streets — where Midtown Uptown Development Partners planned a 7-story, 24-unit midrise to overtop the surrounding neighborhood — the tallest structures are still the signs stuck up there just over a year ago:

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Fairview and Commonwealth
07/02/18 10:00am

TEXADELPHIA’S TAKEOVER OF THE WOODEN BOX ON MONTROSE BLVD. NOW NEARLY COMPLETE With construction on Houston’s second Texadelphia now wrapping up ahead of its planned opening, it appears the restaurant’s remodelers have opted to preserve the woodsy exterior decor originally added onto the end of the strip center just shy of 2 years ago — when the storefront switched over from Berryhill Baja Grill to Yucatan Taco Stand. That gives the restaurant a different outward character than the chain’s only other Houston location — its first step back into the city after and 2-year absence — on the corner of Westheimer and Dunvale Rd. Over there, renovations stopped short of any exterior work as well (save for the installation of the brand’s signage in place of longtime tenant Potbelly Sandwich Shop’s), leaving the restaurant to pick up in a pale stucco endcap that’d been unchanged for over a decade. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

06/25/18 3:45pm

Get ready to bid goodbye to Etro Lounge’s current location on Windsor St., where it splits a building with Anvil. Tucked back from Westheimer behind the wider front face of its bar neighbor, the ’80s-themed club has been around for over a decade. Its plan now — after a last dance on July 28 — is to relocate to a twice-as-large downtown space on the 100 block of Main St.

That’s where developer Dan Zimmerman of NewForm Real Estate recently finished up renovations on the Raphael, Dorrance, and Brewster buildings — at 114, 110, and 108 Main, respectively — which he’s folded into a mixed-use complex dubbed Main & Co, pictured below:

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Anvil’s Other Half
06/21/18 1:00pm

The east side of the building that fronts McDuffie St. — next door to the River Oaks Theatre — has been quiet since an early Monday morning blaze torched Nail-Tique salon, doing some damage to the Steinway Piano Gallery in the process. It all started when an air conditioner on the roof overheated and caught fire, shorting the connection to an electrical box on the building that then ignited as well, reports the Chronicle.

No pianos caught fire — according to an employee at Epicure Cafe around the corner on W. Gray — but there was smoke damage in the music store, and firefighters busted out some of its windows to access the flaming salon next door. Nail-Tique is now closed indefinitely, while the adjacent piano store plans to reopen next month, as decreed by the sign now posted in its window. Unharmed by the blaze: the building’s movie theater anchor, reports one of its employees.

Photos: Swamplox inbox

McDuffie St.