07/18/17 10:45am

Does tearing down historic Houston architecture run in the family? The 1930’s house built for Harry C. Hanszen at 2945 Lazy Lane Blvd. (which showed up on Wednesday’s Daily Demolition Report last week) did in fact get the full knockdown treatment over the weekend, a couple of stunned readers tell Swamplot. The River Oaks home, designed by architect John F. Staub, was owned for a few decades by John Mecom Jr.; more recently, it was sold in 2014 to Matthew B. Arnold, per county records. The 5-acre-ish lot sits right across the road from Bayou Bend, and from the Lazy Lane spot where the historic home known as Dogwoods used to stand — before former Enron trader and experimental drone surveillance funder John D. Arnold knocked it down to make room for a boxy replacement. (Staub also designed Bayou Bend, and collaborated with Birdsall Briscoe on the Dogwoods design.)

It’s worth noting that the Hanszen house was majorly added-onto between 1979 and 1981, back when it was owned by the Mecoms — and it was largely stripped of its original interiors during that time, archi-historian Stephen Fox tells Swamplot. It’s now been stripped of its exteriors as well — which previously looked like this:

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Bye Bye by Bayou Bend
07/06/17 12:30pm

Neighbor-with-a-security-cam Bill Curry has now posted to YouTube 6 additional time-lapse videos covering days 2 through 8 of the demo of the Googie-style River Oaks Manor condo complex at 2325 Welch St. The structure went down at the end of last month across from his home just east of Revere St., in an unnamed neighborhood real close to River Oaks.

If you thrilled to the jumpy frames from Curry’s Nest camera chronicling the removal of a 26-unit, 2-story structure dating from 1950 (in favor of a 32-unit, 9-story structure dating from 2018) but wanted to see what more it took to remove the row of Welch St.-facing carports left standing in the first video, follow the rest of the sequence, beginning with Day 2 (above) and continuing with the third day (June 27th) below:

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Clearing Out in River Oaks Adjacent
03/01/17 3:45pm

Former Luke's Locker at 1953 W. Gray St., River Oaks Shopping Center, Houston, 77019

It may not come as much of a surprise to the city’s more meticulous athletics outlet trackers that the Luke’s Locker at the corner of W. Gray and Driscoll streets has taken off: on January 20 the Texas chain announced via Facebook that they would be temporarily closing their Houston store, among others; a follow-up post a few days later clarified that the company had filed for Chapter 11. As of late last week, the name markers were coming down from the store’s exterior, a couple of “For Lease” signs were up, and the space had been emptied out.

The company still lists 1953 W. Gray address as a store location, complete with an image of the shop wrapped up in a bygone era of River Oaks Shopping Center aesthetics, when everything was more black-and-white:

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Run Off on W. Gray
02/23/17 5:30pm

Cafe Ginger, 1952 W. Gray St., River Oaks Shopping Center, Houston, 77019

What with that  30-ish-story tower planned for on top of them, the businesses at the far end of the River Oaks Shopping Center (including Café Ginger, the King Ranch Saddle Shop, and Local Pour) now appear to have an ambiguous expiration date on their current locations. Café Ginger has already found a new place to crash when the time comes: staff at the restaurant confirmed today that they’ll be moving just a few blocks down W. Gray St. to River Oaks Plaza, which hosts Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, and Office Max in some of its bigger boxes. The move probably won’t happen until next year, but restaurant’s name is already included in the leasing flier for the center (as is the new Carter’s Babies & Kids scheduled to open in the complex at the end of March).

Café Ginger is shown filling in the pair of retail spots on the strip mall corner near Dunlavy St. that previously housed Austin pan-Asian chain Mama Fu’s and Austin Mediterranean chain VERTS Kebap:

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River Oaks Shopping Around
02/23/17 1:15pm

River Oaks Shopping Center highrise plan, Houston, 77019

What else might change as Weingarten plants the 30-ish story residential tower it announced yesterday on a spot currently occupied by a few of the River Oaks Shopping Center’s northeastern storefronts? Specifics on the design of the 300-plus-unit project (which the company hinted at in late 2015) are still scant, though construction may start as soon as next year. The planned footprint of the highrise, per the site map above, stomps out the far end of the building housing Cafe Ginger, Local Pour, and the King Ranch Saddle Shop, spreading out past the edge of the non-protected city historical landmark toward the would-be alignment of Driscoll St. The Hanover-developed tower will reportedly replace those storefronts with some 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space on its ground floor (leaving room, potentially, for a few more Starbucks).

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High Hopes on W. Gray
02/13/17 10:00am

2 Tiel Way, River Oaks, Houston, 77019

2 Tiel Way, River Oaks, Houston, 77019The remodeling permit issued last fall for 2 Tiel Way (shown above in its previous listing portrait) was augmented by a demolition permit at the end of January, as Diane Cowen reports in this weekend’s Chronicle. The 1960s house (designed by Karl Kamrath, like a few others of the not-yet-demolished original houses on the street) was bought last July after a 10-month stint on the market; Cowen writes that the new owners had planned to restore the home, but structural issues including uncovered termite and water damage boosted cost estimates to around twice the likely cost of a rebuild.

The house was torn down to the slab and fireplace late last month, and some of the interior redwood paneling and light fixtures were salvaged. The new home designed for the site will purportedly mimic the old one to a significant extent — here’s a rendering from Robertson Design, the architecture firm of the new owners’ son:

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Theseus’s Ranch
08/23/16 12:30pm

36 Tiel Way, River Oaks, Houston, 7701936 Tiel Way, River Oaks, Houston, 77019

The air-conditioned 2-story playhouse at 36 Tiel Way is on the market as of last Friday, along with its 5-bedroom mansion mate. The playhouse, featured as yesterday’s Home Listing Photo of the Day, was built back in 2011 by Kristi Schiller (the radio personality turned police-dog philanthropist formerly known as Lucy Lipps) and her husband. The playhouse includes running water, window planters, and a minifridge; the just-under-1-acre property backs up to Buffalo Bayou and also plays host to an outdoor kitchen and a saltwater pool.

Here’s the playhouse’s living room and upstairs, followed by a tour of the rest of the digs:

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Playmates