- 2101 Lexington St. [HAR]
SOMETHING HOT MOVING IN ON 59 DINER’S FORMER FARNHAM SPOT With the ghostly reflection of the restaurant’s milkshake-shaped beacon hovering to the far left, a reader sends a shot of the TABC notice now replacing the hand-scrawled closed-indefinitely signage on the door of the former S. Shepherd 59 Diner location. The sign lists Alcaliente Houston as the applicant; 2 restaurants currently operate in Katy and the Woodlands respectively under the name Alcaliente, serving halal-and-also-very-non-halal Mexican food. The diner spot cleared out beneath a cloud of worker payment disputes in early March, shortly after The Halal Guys moved in to the west. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of TABC notice at 3801 Farnham St.: Swamplot inbox
Some yellow and white stripes have appeared recently at the northwest corner of Shepherd Dr. and Richmond Ave., just north of the similarly colored Subway signage. The upside-down Vs mark the spot where Honey Art Cafe is setting up shop in the former home of Ace Cash Express, next to Cigar Emporium in the retail strip bookended by Mattress Overstock and Accents By Phillipe. Longtime readers may be interested to note that the storefront is being painted up and built out by art duo Lulu Lin — which includes the same Lulu whose doodles and digital paintings often jazz up Swamplot’s Comments of the Day.
The pair is pulling their Houston Art Lessons business out of its River Oaks Shopping Center home to expand both the size and scope of operations under the new name; on top of regular classes, plans for the new space include gallery shows, artsy food and drinks, and meetups for creative types. The cafe is also looking for a leg up from the local Internet — the duo’s Kickstarter campaign, which is offering sweets, art, and classes in trade for some help with buildout costs, is running from now through early September.
Give the lawsuit filed by 7 residents of the costumed Gotham and Renoir Lofts buildings along the Shepherd Curve just south of West Dallas St. some credit. News of the legal action has spurred the defendant to do something it previously hadn’t: release to the public an actual rendering of the 8-story senior living facility it’s about to construct between the 2 Randall Davis condos, once it finishes clearing away the remains of the RR Donnelley printing company building at 1015 S. Shepherd Dr. And here it is, showing almost exactly how Bridgewood Property’s Village of River Oaks will look a few years from now — when you view it from Google Street View, that is.
A group of 7 residents of the Renoir and Gotham Lofts, 2 separately themed Randall Davis condo towers north of the Shepherd Curve just south of W. Dallas St., filed a lawsuit early last week against the company planning to build a senior living facility between the 2 buildings. Bridgewood Property Company’s Village on Shepherd at River Oaks (also called the Village at River Oaks in company documents) will fit on the site of the former RR Donnelley printing company building at 1015 S. Shepherd, which was torn down this week. (The photos above and below, taken from the Gotham yesterday, show what’s left of that building, against the Renoir’s undressed southern flank.)
Can’t get enough marble tile, paneled doors, or finely wrought yet unobtrusive burglar bars? You’ll find this River Oaks gem just a swerve north of the Shepherd Curve. It appeared on MLS over the weekend.
A few delightful surprises inside:
Armed with a camera, two enterprising Swamplot readers set out to document the retail carnage along South Shepherd, between 59 and the Shepherd Curve:
The sheer number of businesses that have disappeared along Shepherd in 4 months has been stupefying. This is with a large, new, empty Weingarten development at one end …and the chronically empty Shepherd Plaza at the other. Hell, we have gone from 4 Starbucks to 3!!
That’s a 25 percent reduction in mocha lattes alone. How about in some of the other sectors?
Granted, there have been some new businesses, a Hallmark store, a dance studio, and something seems to have filled the lingerie place at Welch and Shepherd, but the vacancy rate now stands at 22%!!! We counted 172 retail “units” and found 37 of them to be empty. As recently as February, I remember only about a dozen vacancies.
What are the sights?
A reader forwards us a report indicating Trammell Crow Residential has withdrawn its variance requests for the South Shepherd Apartments, planned for the current site of the RR Donnelley printing company building on the Shepherd Curve, between the themey Renoir and Gotham condo buildings. And it’s not just the variance requests — apparently the entire project has been withdrawn from consideration by the city. Judging from the Planning Commission hearings — and from the comments on Swamplot’s story about the project — there was a fair amount of neighborhood opposition to aspects of the project. Is this simply a strategic retreat or is Trammell Crow backing out?
Trammell Crow Residential is planning a new apartment building on the current site of the RR Donnelley printing company building on S. Shepherd, some sleuthing neighbors tell us.
The printing company sits between two cartoon condos near W. Dallas: Randall Davis’s Gotham and Renoir. The site for the apartments will include all of the land currently owned by Donnelley, extending from Shepherd through the parking lot east to Gross St. The Nazarene Missionary Baptist Church on Newhouse St. may own a small piece of the parking lot, reports an email making the rounds in the neighborhood.
Trammell Crow, which runs the Alexan apartment chain, is reportedly still in the early stages of planning . . . though apparently far enough along for the company’s planners to request some variances from the city. One variance request
is to not have to widen Newhouse to the now required standard of 50 ft. . . . To do so would adversely impact the church and the one townhouse at the end of Newhouse.
More details and photos after the jump!