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
07/14/16 11:30am

River Oaks Manor Condos, 2325 Welch St., River Oaks, Houston, 77019

The above corner of Welch and Revere streets, which currently holds the 2-story River Oaks Manor condo complex, looks to be trading up for a much taller occupant: a 9-story condo midrise going by the name The Revere at River Oaks. A 6-story condo midrise project called Revere Park was previously planned at the corner of Mimosa and Revere, one block to the south; that project was denied several variance requests by the city last year, with objecting residents claiming the area couldn’t handle increased density.

River Oaks Manor (which is itself outside the boundaries of River Oaks) sits on a narrow rhomboidal lot to the southeast of the intersection; the building footprint’s slightly acute and obtuse angles are complemented by sets of triangular windows on several corner units. Kirksey Architecture’s design for the proposed midrise structure seems to stick more firmly rectilinear shapes, however:

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Avalon Place
05/26/16 1:30pm

River Oaks collection redevelopment, 1705 W. Gray St., North Montrose, 77019

River Oaks collection redevelopment, 1705 W. Gray St., North Montrose, 77019

The Panera marker previously spotted all by its lonesome in the leasing flier for Braun Enterprises’ redevelopment of 1705 W. Gray has picked up a companion in the form of the Kriser’s Natural Pet logo. The marker for the grain-averse pet supply and grooming store now appears on the freestanding former home of International Hair Salon & Nail Spa (shown above), previously marked up in Braun’s renderings as a possible coffee shop. 

The reader who snagged the shot above also spent some time sniffing around the back and sides of the complex (to be known as the River Oaks Collection). The wall in the shot below is starting to get its coat of grey paint cleaned off to match the mottled brick exterior shown in the redo renderings:

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River Oaks Collecting
04/26/16 12:00pm

Braun's River Oak Collection, 1705 W. Gray St., North Montrose, Houston, 77019

Here’s a look at renderings of redeveloper Braun Enterprises‘s plans for some of its holdings just east of the intersection of W. Gray St. with Dunlavy down the street from the River Oaks shopping Center. The view above shows preliminary plans for the makeover of 1705 W. Gray St., which has also been collecting various light building and demo permits issued for the past few months.

The drawings currently on Braun’s leasing fliers (dubbing the center the River Oaks Collection) shows a Panera Bread settled in at the corner once occupied by Zephyr Hair and Chateau Grooming. Other potential future businesses are depicted in a more minimalist manner; the words books and boutique appear on the second floor space previously housing Passport, Photo & Visa Service Center, while salon and restaurant fill out the ground floor offerings.

Below is a site plan of the center, including the freestanding former home of International Hair Salon & Nail Spa, on the right across a driveway:

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Brauning on W. Gray
04/14/16 10:30am

3482 Inwood Dr., River Oaks, Houston, 77019

Demolition, 3482 Inwood Dr., River Oaks

A more permanent fence has taken over for the one previously wrapped around the lot at 3482 Inwood Dr., where possibly-murdered apartment tycoon and singer Harold Farb was midway through building a house for himself and his wife at the time of his death in 2006. The property initially hit the market partial-house-and-all, with the expectation that future buyers could finish up the construction of a 17,404-sq.-ft. estate overlooking the River Oaks Country Club’s golf course. After a steady price decay from $14.75 million to about $10 million by mid-2010, tactics changed; the property got a demo permit and a subsequent smoothing over, and was relisted in October of 2012 (and again in December of 2014, then to the tune of just under $9 million).

The fully re-undeveloped land hit the market again last Thursday, now for $8.5 million, Here’s the current view of the front gate, and what’s inside it:

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Green in River Oaks
04/12/16 11:15am

Shepherd Commons, 2015 Shepherd Dr., River Oaks, Houston, 77019

Shepherd Commons, 2015 Shepherd Dr., River Oaks, Houston, 77019The first 2 waves of decorative railing are now stretching north off the edge of the new building at 2015 S. Shepherd Dr., the first half of the Shepherd Commons shopping center planned for the site. Per the renderings released back in 2013 , the 3rd and 4th waves should follow after the Hot Bagel Shop and River Oaks Nails jump ship from the original single-story strip center immediately to the north at 2009 S. Shepherd; after that, the old structure is slated for demolition to make way for part 2 of the new one.

Back in 2014, both businesses had plans to move into the space at 2015 S. Shepherd when it’s ready. (We Buy Gold, which wasn’t going to join in on the trip, has already been replaced in the old center by Cell Phone reStore).  Hot Bagel says it’s still planning to move in next door as soon as it can; a reader also spotted notice of an application submitted late last fall to sell food and drinks, including beer and wine, behind one of the site’s still-tape-dotted windows. The name on that application belongs to a corporate entity sharing an address with Fu Fu Restaurant in Dun Huang Plaza along Bellaire Blvd. at Beltway 8.

Visible in the background just south of the new building is kickboxing studio 9Round, followed by the Chipotle facing the corner of Shepherd with Indiana St. Here’s another look at what the center could look like after round 2 of construction gets knocked out:

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Bagels Rolling South
03/31/16 10:30am

1721 River Oaks Blvd, Houston, 77019

This 3-story Georgian  rolls out the red carpet at the corner of River Oaks Blvd. and Del Monte Dr.  Its 16,931 sq. ft. include a flexible 6-to-9 bedrooms, 10 full baths, and 5 half baths.  Built in 1939 on a 1.02 acre lot, this house premiered on the market in mid-October of 2015 at the price of $16.95 million.

Ready for a close-up?

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For Your Consideration