07/21/16 10:45am

Thornsen Streetlab Silver St. Redo

In the small but growing city tradition of redoing street plans in your spare time, urban planner and general Houston improvement brainstormer Jesse Thornsen has recently launched a website to showcase weekly ideas for making bits the local streetscape easier to navigate (by bike, foot, car, or other means). This morning’s addition: how to smooth out the westward jog in Silver St. as it crosses Dart St. The spot (shown in the above left-to-right conceptual before and after) is southeast of Annex Houston automobile storage and the Silver Street Studios complex; not quite due west lies the Shops at Sawyer Yards warehouse retail redevelopment.

Thornsen’s plan adds sidewalks and a landscaped median (to discourage vehicles from taking the most direct route straight through the jagged intersection). Thornsen points out that the section is designated for both bikes and cars by the Houston Bike Plan; his redo includes bike lanes, including a queuing spot big enough for multiple cyclists to cozy up together as they wait to turn north. Here’s a close up and a cross section:


Squaring Up in First Ward
07/11/16 1:15pm

Tyler Flood site, 2019 Washington Ave., Old Sixth Ward, Houston Tyler Flood site, 2019 Washington Ave., Old Sixth Ward, HoustonMeanwhile, catty- corner across White St. from the beer-and-haircut-related happenings to the east, work on DWI lawyer and billboard enthusiast Tyler Flood’s 3-story cafe law firm retail center at 2019 Washington Ave. is also ramping up. A reader sends the above early-morning photo of recent stirrings on the long and long-empty lot between White and Henderson; a demo permit was issued for the narrow strip last Tuesday, with a building permit following hot on its heels 2 days later.

An 1,800-sq.-ft. ground floor retail spot (which Flood previously hoped would be inhabited by some sort of cafe) is currently listed for lease on LoopNet, along with some divisible office space. The listing includes a look at the most recent rendering for that building, which seems to have straightened up and gotten a little taller in places, compared to the 2014 design (also shown below):


Making Preparations
07/11/16 11:00am

1902 Washington Avenue, Sawyer Heights, 77007

1902 Washington Avenue, Sawyer Heights, 77007Australo-Texan Platypus Brewing has been not-so-secretly secreting away a set of fermentation tanks in the back of the reforming nightclub complex at 1902 Washington Ave (at the corner with Silver St.). The brewpub is readying the northernmost segment of the structure; a tree-lined patio is planned at the corner of Silver and Center streets. Here’s the updated site plan from Lovett Commercial’s latest leasing flier, now with more details about other tenants filled in:


Brewing on Silver St.
05/25/16 10:45am

Houston Toros Downtown facility, 2202 Summer St., Sawyer Heights, Houston, 77007

The new Houston Toros facility on Summer St. is getting polished up for next month’s soft kickoff, per reader Rony Canales’s latest panoramic update. The training spot and community center is across a railroad easement and some now-warehouse-free fields from the rice silo complex being redeveloped into the Silos at Sawyer Yards artsy-retail space to the south.

The new soccer center appears to incorporate at least the shells of few of the warehouses previously occupying the site, though a few structures on the block have ejected — including the house at the corner of Summer and Hemphill streets, where a playing field is now being smoothed into place (as shown above). Check out the aerial rendering of the entire site, facing toward the silos and the Downtown skyline:


Summer St. Summer League
03/15/16 10:15am

H-E-B mapped on Washington Ave. by Braun Enterprises

Later update, 2:30pm:  H-E-B’s Cyndy Garza-Roberts tells Swamplot that plans to place a store in the area are only in the discussion phase, and that no agreements have been reached — more here.

Update, 3/16: H-E-B has confirmed to the HBJ that the company has been in talks over a new store on the Archstone property.

A recent flier produced by Braun Enterprises in an effort to lease the former club space at 1815 Washington features a surprising extra: an overlay of the H-E-B logo planted squarely over a map of the not-so-square site of the Archstone Memorial Heights apartments on Washington Ave. between Studemont and Waugh. A 5-acre chunk at the southwest corner of the 1996 apartment complex was cleared out in 2008, then repopulated, then cleared out again in 2012 for redevelopment as the taller, denser Memorial Heights Villages complex (visible just to the right of the word “WAUGH” on the above aerial). CityCentre developer Midway bought the remaining 23.4 acres of apartments with the Lionstone Group at the end of 2014.

Also featured on the aerial: shuttered-over-the-weekend Hughes Hangar, which CultureMap’s Eric Sandler reports has closed along with Paris-minded parking lot companion The De Gaulle. Further east down the corridor is the space Braun is hawking: the former Pandora-turned-Throne nightclub space at 1815 Washington, marked with a star below, across the road from Bovine & Barley B&B Butchers:


H-E-B Marks the Spot
12/29/15 10:15am

Rendering of Tacodeli, 1902 Washington Avenue, Sawyer Heights,

Yet another fast-casual semi-gourmet upstate taco chain appears to be spreading saucy tendrils into the 610 Loop — Austin-based Tacodeli, which announced intent to expand to Houston and Dallas last year, is now appearing in renderings and marketing plans of Lovett Commercial’s site at 1902 Washington Ave, across the street from upscale cocktail bar Julep and just west of cow-to-table butcher shop and steakhouse B&B Butchers. Tacodeli will be jostling against other taco invaders such as Torchy’s Tacos (also an Austin export), Fuzzy’s Taco’s (a Dallas chain currently working its way down through the north Houston ‘burbs to West Gray and Post Oak), and Velvet Taco (another Dallas chain) in the rush to claim territory in the local tacoscape, already thick with native Hous-Tex-Mex options.

A Lovett site plan for the property also shows a few other developments nestling in around Tacodeli, including a ramen shop, a brewpub, and a high-end barber:


Washington Ave Taco Strategery
12/19/14 11:30am


Clarification, 12/22: Jon Deal of Deal Properties writes: “Just wanted to clarify that Studio Red is not specifically working on the silo project, rather they are studying a master plan of approximately 35 contiguous acres owned by Frank Liu, Steve Gibson and myself of which The Silos are part. Jason Logan and Matt Johnson of LOJO architects is working on the facade.”

Under the sign of the merry Mahatma, workers are sweeping out what stray grains of rice may linger within the 38 silos at the old Riviana Foods complex at 1520 Sawyer, which last contained the cereal crop in 2008.

They are prepping for its new purpose as the Silos on Sawyer, a 79,000 sq.-ft. art space and the latest addition to the Deal Company’s pre-existing Spring Street Studios, Winter Street Studios and Silver Steet Studios complex in the heart of the State of Texas-recognized Washington Avenue Arts District.

Reader Noah Brenner ventures inside, camera in hand:


A total of 55 workspaces are now available for lease, along with 20,000 sq.-ft. set aside for flexible buildouts such as restaurants, galleries or retail.


Granaries To Galleries
12/03/14 1:00pm


Urban Living was added as a defendant last month to a lawsuit filed in February by 8 plaintiffs against 2 companies run by Saeed Qazi and Saleem Qazi, both of whom are also being sued individually.

The suit revolves around 6 adjacent homes in the First Ward — 1919 through 1929 Johnson St. — built around 2008 by the Qazis and their companies, Zenith Urban Homes and Zenith Signature Homes. Once built, the homes were exclusively marketed and sold by Urban Living.


Sawyer Heights Lawsuit
04/03/14 10:00am

SAWYER HEIGHTS ARBY’S UPGRADING TO LA MADELEINE, ADDING SAUCE Future La Madeleine, 2423 Katy Fwy., Sawyer Heights Shopping Center, HoustonThe shuttered Arby’s waving to I-10 eastbound feeder road drivers exiting at Taylor has been gutted, there’s a hole in the outside wall, and the drive-thru window is being filled in. All in service of transforming the Sawyer Heights shopping center slot at 2423 Katy Fwy., next to Vitamin Shoppe, into a La Madeleine, notes reader Christopher Andrews. Included in his tweeted photo report from the Target-anchored center: a TABC notice posted in the storefront, for the wine portion of the “country French café” menu. [Twitter] Photo: Christopher Andrews

04/05/11 1:44pm

HOUSTON’S COMING CUDDLY ANIMAL INVASION Look out for a migration of flamingoes, and a few more bunnies for Easter, announces the Houston Press‘s John Nova Lomax, after an interview with stencil artist Coolidge. “A lot of people are like, ‘Aw, you need to do a cat!’ or ‘You should do a rhino!’ or something, and I’m like, ‘Well, if I was gonna do that, I’m not now.’ . . . It’s almost like I should stop doing them on city property. I should probably stick to private property. Some people have contacted me to thank me after I’ve done their buildings up. The city won’t mess with that stuff, but if it’s on their property they’ve been taking them down pretty quick.” [Art Attack] Photo of Taylor St. bridge at I-10: Alex Luster