09/14/18 10:00am

The southeast corner of Richmond and Eastside is seeing some vehicle traffic for the first time since a 3-story office building and parking lot were demolished on it in 2016. Personnel from Van & Sons Drilling Service hit the vacant spot on Monday, taking care to protect the grass by sliding some wooden boards underneath their truck, pictured above. The just-under-an-acre property is the only patch of greenery present at the intersection; the rest is all ’60s-era office space.

Behind the corner parcel lies Levy Park. It’s bounded by a private street that runs past the vacant field, as well as the adjacent Primrose School of Upper Kirby and Kirby Grove office building. You can see the 16-story office towering over the school in the photo below, looking east:

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Richmond and Eastside
09/10/18 12:45pm

The ice cream shop has plans to shoot the gap between its existing Heights and Rice Village locations with a new spot at 3502 S. Shepherd, in the house next to the Richmond Ave strip where Burgerim’s getting situated. Although Cloud 10’s summer menu — including mozzarella and black tea-corn flavors, as well as a sundae made with “freeze dried blueberries” — is still on rotation in the 2 current locations, it’ll probably be replaced by a whole ‘nother roster by the time the new store opens.

Five head-in parking spots line the building’s northern frontage along Colquitt St. They’ve been empty for the most part since hair salon All Decked Out checked out of the building, leaving it open to new arrivals.

Photos: All Decked Out Hair Salon (first); Tenavox (second)

The Scoop
08/07/18 1:00pm

Memorial Dr.’s Tres Market Foods is expanding to the pair of black and off-white buildings pictured above at 2620 Joanel St. behind the Westheimer strip home to River Oaks Donuts and across the street from the 2-story building housing the Honorary Consulate of Ghana. Formerly a row of separate lots, Houston’s city planning commission approved a request to consolidate the warehouse parcels all into a single property earlier this year. Since then, a handful of permits have come through as part the paperwork to prep the structures for remodeling.

Together, they total 5,400 sq.-ft.:

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Prepared Food Preparations
08/01/18 11:15am

There’s now some still life clinging to the Kirby Grove office building across from Levy Park where Slowpokes plans to debut its second location sometime this fall. Already open in the 16-story building’s ground floor: Kiran’s Indian restaurant and a branch of PlainsCapital Bank — whose ATM you can make out to the left of the exhibition wall in the photo above.

From their current vantage point, each of the 3 framed faces — mainstays at the cafe’s original Garden Oaks location — will have a good view of the park across the street as they wait for the new restaurant to take shape:

 

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Garden Oaks to Kirby Grove
07/16/18 12:30pm

On deck for the Berryhill Shopping Center on the corner of Westheimer and Revere: Stanmore River Oaks, an 8-story apartment building planned in place of the site’s existing tenants Antique Pavilion, Prism Cleaners, and the original Berryhill Baja Grill. This Thursday, Houston’s city planning commission will consider the developer’s request to slide the planned building (depicted at top from the north) up to sit just 10 ft. from Westheimer — closer than the existing strip pictured above, behind the variance sign that’s now up on the property.

If the commission signs off, landscaping could go up too along the roadway in the fashion depicted below:

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Stanmore River Oaks
07/12/18 12:00pm

Update: A Swamplot reader notes that Burgerim originated in Israel — and that in Hebrew, the suffix “-im” adds a plural meaning to the word it ends. Read with that grammar in mind, the restaurant’s name translates roughly to “burgers.”

Although Burgerim’s previous attempts to come online next to Subway in the corner of the strip center at Richmond and Shepherd were met with red tags from city inspectors, those notices have now been taken down — reports an employee at the neighboring Honey Art Cafe — and a building permit filed yesterday grants the new instant-messenger-themed restaurant clearance to proceed with renovations to the space.

Previous high-tech retailers in the endcap include Clear Wireless and Wireless Toyz; analogue merchandiser Gold and Silver Buyers held the place down in between their tenures and Mattress Overstock retired from the space most recently, at the end of last year. When the burger place opens, it’ll be the franchise’s first inner-Loop spot, topping off its existing Cypress and W.-Lake-Houston-at-Beltway-8 locations.

Photo: Fox E.

Strip Steak
07/05/18 2:00pm

Permanent closing time has arrived at Upper Kirby bar Hops Meet Barley — which is now sporting leasing signage from Parkway Partners next to its own grains-themed marquee at 2245 W. Alabama St., between Revere and Greenbriar. The venue checked out just shy of a 2-year run in the space formerly home to Überrito and more formerly Mission Burrito — both of which fronted a playground that once stood in the patio pictured above.

West of the building’s entrance, a parking lot wraps around and behind the structure as part of the 19,036-sq.-ft. lot it sits on: CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Tapping Out
05/31/18 1:30pm

WHAT’S NEXT FOR COCA-COLA’S 6 SOON-TO-CLOSE HOUSTON FACILITIES? Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages’ new million-sq.-ft. facility in Hines’ Pinto Business Park at I-45 and Beltway 8 won’t be complete for another 2 years — reports the Chronicle’s Paul Takahashi — giving the franchisee time to make plans for the 6 existing locations it’s looking to close as part of the consolidation. Among them: the 343,118-sq.-ft. bottling plant pictured above that’s stood at 2800 Bissonnet, 2 blocks west of Kirby, since 1950. Less than half its size is the bottler’s Pecan Park plant off the South Loop at Berkley St. Three smaller outer-Loop warehouse and distribution centers — in Conroe, Brittmoore, and Channelview — are also set to expire, as well as one off I-45 in Glenbrook. [Houston Chronicle] Photo of 2800 Bissonnet St.: RoadArchitecture

05/18/18 4:00pm

A pair of new renderings shows off the 2 food options planned for Levy Park — now in its second year of operation since the overhaul that reshaped and then reopened it last February. The kiosk depicted above — dubbed Love Shack — gets its name from chef Tim Love. (A previously-announced moniker, Love Bird, appears to have been scrapped.)

Love is also the operator behind the larger restaurant dubbed Woodshed Smokehouse that’s shown with a tall glass-walled dining room in the rendering at top. Below, a map of the park shows a spot labeled “Future Restaurant” in its bottom right corner:

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Preparing to Sprout
05/04/18 5:00pm

UNEARTHING THE SPLENDORS OF HWY. 59’S EGYPTIAN TOMB “Unless people were here the first time,” a renovator at the mock-Egyptian temple on 59 tells the Chronicle’s Craig Hlavaty, “they had no idea of the magnitude of it inside.” (And even if they tried to find out, they might still be left in the dark: “There is no longer a lick of electrical wire inside,” adds another worker.) And so, for the crew’s next trick: “We need to tear everything out and start over.” In doing so, some of what’s been left behind in the shadowy former club known as Magic Island is now being brought to light: “A covered patio and valet area on the building’s east end is today a graveyard of tables and chairs ripped out of the dining rooms,” reports Hlavaty. “Egyptian art and murals sit idle, some covered in graffiti. Broken marble and glass are strewn about the grounds.” On the opposite side of the building, a few doors down, “renderings of what the two-story, 22,000-square-foot property could look like in the future reside on a table at a doctor’s office” where neurologist Mohammad Athari — who owns Magic Island — practices. After years of on-and-off work to revive it, his current plan is to have it back up and running by the end of the year as a “Houston nightlife destination.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

03/06/18 11:15am

Longtime Upper Kirby resident Chateau Domingue has packed up the floor tiles, doorknobs, and candlesticks at its former W. Alabama St. showroom just west of Edloe St. and left for a new location in Timbergrove. An entity connected to energy businessman Douglas Foshee bought the building that housed the antique furniture and building materials store at the end of 2016. Fencing went up around the site last week, and on Friday, a permit was filed to disconnect the structure from the city’s sewer system — typically a sign that a demolition is imminent.

Chateau Domingue’s old location is abutted on one side by a complex of warehouse buildings that runs south from W. Alabama toward the middle of the block. At its new location on W. 12th St. between Hempstead and Seamist Dr., the showroom is now hugged entirely by industrial structures.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Unfurnishsed
02/21/18 3:30pm

Spear Street Capital is teasing a rendering of what it has planned for Exxon Mobil’s former Buffalo Spdwy. research campus, a new complex that takes the initials of River Oaks without daring to speak its name: The RO. The glossy new view above looks west across Buffalo Spdwy. to show 3 new highrises planted on the Upper Kirby site — the stockiest of which rests atop a 3-story windowed pedestal likely to house retail between W. Alabama and a new roadway.

The new street appears in place of the driveway that entered the 16.9-acre complex on Buffalo Spdwy. and ran just north of the 1962 building MacKie and Kamrath Architects designed for the oil giant. The aerial photo above shows what that building looked like from the south before crews began tearing at it last year. South of the new street and directly in place of the MacKie and Kamrath structure, a complex of retail buildings with upper-level patios retreats along a pedestrian corridor that starts at Buffalo Spdwy. and heads toward the 2 other highrises on the west side of the site, near Mercer St. A few outdoor seating areas front Buffalo Spdwy. — one by the footpath, another on the north side of the new street. A larger patio appears on the corner of W. Alabama.

The buildings shown shaded on the left in the rendering likely make up other additions planned for the block. Here it is viewed from its backside looking toward Buffalo Spdwy. last year:

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A Twilit View
02/09/18 1:00pm

Here’s the block of land off Kirby between W. Alabama and Steel St. that H-E-B bought last month and plans to plant with a new store, across from the existing Upper Kirby Whole Foods. H-E-B’s idea, reports the Chronicle’s Paul Takahashi, is to pair up with developer Midway to build a new mixed-use complex on the site — mapped out in the middle of the survey above, just south of the block that Stolz Partners and Hanover have already divvied up for their respective Giorgetti Houston and Hanover River Oaks residential buildings. Renderings of what the grocer has planned for the site haven’t been released yet, nor have any details of its where its entrances will be. But plans submitted to the city last year for the 3.8-acre parcel dub it Kirby Crossing.

The block’s northern frontage along Steel St. is lined with dual rows of oak trees that once provided cover for the Kirby Court Apartments, torn down on both sides of Steel in 2015. South of the tree lines and the vacant field in place of the former residences behind them, a retail strip runs along W. Alabama. The photo at top looks across W. Alabama from Bed Bath & Beyond’s parking lot to view J Sussan Interiors former furniture store now repurposed as Giorgetti’s leasing office on the corner of Kirby. East of the office, Allen Cleaners does its business in a smaller building:

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Supermarket Corridor
02/07/18 1:00pm

Been a while since your last Kirby Dr. drive? Here’s a look over developer Thor Equities’s collected works — dubbed the Kirby Collection — now standing tall between Colquitt and W. Main. The complex just north of Richmond began rising back in 2015 on the site of Cafe Express and a set of bars carved out of the former Settegast Kopf funeral home. A few pioneers have already settled in the 25-story ribbed apartment tower, shown on the left in the photo above. A boxier 13-floor office building rises at the south end of the block, on the right.

On the complex’s Kirby-fronting side, you can see where street-level shops will move into the Collection’s 65,000 sq. ft. of retail space, north of its ringed entrance court:

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In the Upper Kirby Air
01/18/18 4:00pm

Excavators are now moving dirt around on the corner of Kirby and oak-lined Steel St. where a 39-story apartment tower dubbed Hanover River Oaks is planned. Hanover bought a 1.6-acre portion of the former Kirby Court Apartments along Steel St. in 2016; funding issues had left the project in limbo for most of the prior year. The photo above, taken from the highrise at 2727 Kirby, looks southwest past the corner tower of the Gables West Ave apartments to show a portion of the crater where the new apartment tower is now under construction.

Although the project has a Kirby Dr. address, the building won’t actually front the street. Instead, it will sit behind Becks Prime at the corner of Kirby and Kipling (partly visible in the bottom left of the image above). Earlier renderings showed a new standalone restaurant building fronting Kirby just south of Becks Prime. West of the drive-thru restaurant zone, an entrance driveway for the apartment will run between Kipling and Steel.

A recent rendering from architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz views the tower from southeast of 2727 Kirby:

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Hanover River Oaks