SIZING UP BROADSTONE ARTS DISTRICT, THE UNBUILT APARTMENTS ACROSS FROM SAWYER YARDS 328 units will crowd into the planned building according to a rundown of coming Houston residential developments put out by investment firm Berkadia and dug up by HAIF sleuth Urbannizer just the earlier today. (That’s a bit smaller-scale than the 375-unit Broadstone Studemont mid-rise now going vertical on a slightly larger 4-acre block of land half a mile away on Studemont at Summer St.) Although nothing’s changed physically at the site since several warehouse buildings were demolished on it 2 years ago, it has seen some recent action on paper: In March Houston’s planning commission approved a request to consolidate 2 separate, abutting parcels of land into a single nearly–4-acre property on which the apartment will rise just north of the railroad tracks that cross Sawyer St. The property owner: an entity connected to developer Frank Liu of Lovett Commercial and InTown Homes. He’s also got his hands on the 2 warehouses-turned-retail-buildings across the street where new tenants continue to file in, as well as the Salvation Army structure south of them. [Berkadia (PDF) via HAIF] Photo: Swamplot inbox
A 62,500-sq.-ft. structure going by the name Club Nomadic is now being put in place in the empty lot next to the Shops at Sawyer Yards, for 3 days of concert use during the week leading up to the Super Bowl. As for what happens to the site after the planned Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift shows wrap up: Permits for foundation and site work at the Edwards St. address issued earlier this month refer to the building as temporary, and Corey Garcia says the building will be packed up and taken elsewhere at the end of the short Houston run. The folks at Connecticut-based Nomadic Entertainment plan to set the building up at a series of future events elsewhere — but the Super Bowl lead-up week will be the club’s first gig.
Renderings released yesterday by Nomadic show 3 tiers of stage-gawking space:
If the top of that pointy gazebo currently camped out at the about-to-open Park for Humans and Dogs by Glenwood Cemetery looks familiar, it’s because it’s been lurking around the Houston landscape for the last 115 years or so. This morning Susie Tommaney inventories the history and internet lore surrounding the house at 2201 Fannin St., from which a cupola nicknamed the Witch’s Hat was plucked just before the home’s 1997 demolition. “Not many people realize that the cupola was saved,” TIRZ 13 chair Claude Anello tells Swamplot, sending along the photo above of the hat’s installation, as well as his account of the hat’s rediscovery, reshaping, and ground-up career-building:
“I got a call a few years ago from Carl Detering, who had stored it in his outdoor storage yard at Detering’s on Washington. He was selling the property and told me that someone needed to get it or he would be forced to throw it in the dumpster. When I went to look at it, it had basically melted, [and] a tree had grown up through the middle of it (removed prior to photos) . . . Several people told us that it was beyond repair, but we dismantled it, had it reconstructed, and designed the park around it. It sat on the ground for a couple of years while we dealt with issues related to park design and permitting.”
Here’s a few tree-free glamour shots of the Hat prior to those reconstructive procedures, circa late 2013:
Most of the low mounds of dirt appear to be in place now at the carefully labeled Park for Human & Dogs on Sawyer between Union and Decatur streets (though there’s still grass to plant and a port-a-potty to extract). The park-to-be (across from beaver-free barbecue pub Beaver’s) sits on city-owned land backed backed up against the Glenwood Cemetery and the 2411 Washington apartment complex. The Old Sixth Ward Redevelopment Authority (e.g., TIRZ 13) was given to go-ahead to build on the site back in October.
Wavy playhouse designer Metalab currently has a few renderings of the project up on their website; those tiny hills popping up around the property make an appearance, as does the spindly gazebo off to the left above (which the firm says reemployed the Witch Hat, the salvaged cupola of an 1899 house demolished in 1997 at 2201 Fannin St.):
How’d the photographer get Houston Rocket star shooting guard James Harden to tower over Downtown Houston’s skyline in that Sports Illustrated spread from February (above)? Careful site selection — plus a plexiglas stage, to deal with the parapet wall:
“The editor already had a specific view in mind,” writes photographer Robert Seale, “and we referenced a rooftop fashion shot I had taken a few years earlier from that same spot. On the plus side when using a parking garage roof, you can control access which is a plus when working with a pro athlete. If we had done this out in the park, we might have gathered a crowd and needed more security guys.”
Here’s a view of the roof at the Marquis Lofts on Sabine at 150 Sabine St. just south of the Old Sixth Ward, where Seale set up the shoot:
A reader is curious about the source of the new call-if-you’re-gonna-park signs (pictured above) that went up last week on Union St., which breaks off from and parallels Washington Ave, between White and Henderson: “Is this city of Houston? I’ve never seen signs like this before. Or, if this is a private individual, is this legal?” There are no meters installed on the street, the reader says.
The signs are near Julep, which opened at 1919 Washington Ave. in early August after a long gestation period, and the would-be restaurant and bar at 2003 Union St. pictured below, which Swamplot reported on at the same time, more than a year ago:
Talk about shotgun stylin’: The listing for this double-barreled 1885 cottage in the Old Sixth Ward winks at its straight-shot floor plan with a sure-fire choice of equivalent-vintage decor above a bedroom door (top). Posted Wednesday, the renovated property (with patriotic porch) has a $325K asking price. The last time the home changed hands was 2012, when it sold for $242,000.
The DWI defense specialist whose enormous “Do Not Blow” billboard presided over Washington Ave early this decade (in the words of the Houston Press) “as the enormous and bespectacled eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg looked out on The Great Gatsby‘s Valley of Ashes,” has just purchased the long-vacant 11,604-sq.-ft. wedge-shaped former car lot at 2019 Washington Ave in the Old Sixth Ward. Attorney Tyler Flood (shown standing his ground on the lot, at left) plans to build a 6,700-sq.-ft. 3-story building on the corner of Washington and Henderson — with a café space on the first floor, lease space on the third floor, and his own law firm on the second. He’s hired Element Architects to design the building, which should look something like this:
Maybe this mystery has been solved: That old building at 908 Henderson just a block south of Liberty Station on Washington Ave is being converted into a restaurant called Big Eyed Fish. The owners just started posting some pics of the renovations to a Facebook page, and a new website promises that the place — “think southern upscale cuisine,” the website explains — is opening soon.
Now have at it: SmartGeometrics has made available for free on a website launched yesterday the data from 3D scans of the allegedly leaky, 87,500-sq.-ft. 1927 underground water reservoir near Sabine St. along Buffalo Bayou. Though the Buffalo Bayou Partnership would like to do something cool with the “accidental cathedral,” as Houston Chronicle columnist and cistern sympathizer Lisa Gray has called it, there’s no more funding available. Thus, the partnership is hoping some smart cookie who knows her way around AutoCAD (and programs like it) will use this free data to come up with an idea that woos someone or something else — like, say, Bud Light — to pay to make it happen.
Dude! Got a snazzy idea for that 1927 underground water reservoir near Sabine St. on Buffalo Bayou, but you just can’t picture what’s down there? Well, grab the potato chips and crank up Pink Floyd, because now you can. The Buffalo Bayou Partnership is reaching out in the hope that entrepreneurs, artists, and visionaries the city over will use the above video, created by SmartGeometrics, for inspiration. (And more 3D images are forthcoming on the partnership’s website.)
Even more action in the Old Sixth Ward: A reader sends this photo of the former Bayou City Market on the corner of Henderson and Kane, which appears to have been chosen as the future location of Bun Penny Food & Wine. The reader says that the neighborhood corner store has been closed for a few years. It’s just a few blocks south of the proposed location of that new office building fronting Washington Ave.