01/10/14 11:15am

Apartments, 2233 Welch St., Vermont Commons, Montrose, Houston

A passer-by sends this photo showing the scene this morning at the site of the Chateau Ten scaffolding accident that took place a few days before Christmas. The plank-covered Mercedes is gone, but the neighboring apartment building at 2233 Welch St., still wearing its recent quoined stuccover, doesn’t look much worse for the dust-up — does it?


Flashing News Update
12/23/13 10:15am

Scaffolding Collapse, Chateau Ten, Spann and Welch Streets, Vermont Commons, Houston

A reader who happened to be on the scene Saturday morning when scaffolding collapsed on the side of the Chateau Ten condo building going up at the corner of Spann and Welch streets just south of River Oaks sent Swamplot these photos and a report shortly after the incident. The Randall Davis development is under construction behind the empty lot on San Felipe on which Hines is planning to build a 17-story office tower:

“I did not see the collapse, but I heard it . . . It sounded like an explosionpower went out immediately.” The correspondent reports running out to find scaffolding for the 6-story building down, “completely covering a house (and Mercedes) and scaffolding bits were dangling from power lines. I called 911. I don’t think anyone is hurt.”

What could have caused this construction accident?


Stucco, Interrupted
10/03/13 12:00pm

DEAR HINES: WE’D SETTLE FOR A RESIDENTIAL MIDRISE, PLEASE Happy relationships are all about compromise, and even though Hines doesn’t seem that interested in budging on this one, maintaining that it will begin construction before the end of the year on that 17-story office building on the corner of San Felipe and Spann, concerned neighbors have organized a petition addressed to Gerald and Jeff requesting that that project be swapped out for something more “in keeping with our neighborhood,” a 3- to 6-story “residential development.” [Change; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: Stop San Felipe Skyscraper

09/05/13 11:00am

HINES NOT STOPPING SAN FELIPE SKYSCRAPER Speeches? Yard signs? Websites? Alarming maps portraying the inevitability of equally tall Petco and Red Lion Pub towers popping up nearby? Apparently, Hines has been unmoved by the various media deployed by concerned neighbors, telling the Houston Chronicle that it will start construction before Thanksgiving on that 17-story office building at the corner of Spann and San Felipe, just outside the boundaries of River Oaks. Erin Mulvaney reports that John Mooz, senior managing director, says that Hines plans to get going on the 167,000-sq.-ft. tower “in the next 60 days.” [Prime Property; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: Hines

08/16/13 12:15pm

Seems the concerned neighbors around that 17-story office building that Hines is considering building on San Felipe aren’t worried only about traffic. This map, created by a member of the recently formed nonprofit East San Felipe Association — which says it is committed to supporting “reasonable development” in this area around S. Shepherd, Kirby, and San Felipe — suggests another threat to the ’hood: copycatting.

Clearly speculative, the map takes pains to show those sites where other unreasonable highrises could pop up in response to the precedent that Hines is setting with 2229 San Felipe. On S. Shepherd, for ex., you might see the Red Lion Pub forgo its street-level scale, or Petco abandon the confines of its big box. (But wouldn’t that long elevator ride down give you some quality time to bond with your recently adopted pup?) If this map is to be trusted, it seems like it would be only a matter of time before the bug spreads north and Chipotle throws up a tower of burritos. The last thing the neighbors want, says just one of the messages on that oppositional website that they set up, is for this residential area to become “the next Greenway Plaza.”

Image: Swamplot inbox

07/31/13 12:00pm

HINES DEVELOPS WEBSITE TO EXPLAIN 17-STORY SAN FELIPE DEVELOPMENT Much of the information you might want about that shiny office building Hines says it plans to start building this year on San Felipe has been organized — by Hines, of course — on a new website. Like the recently launched ‘Stop San Felipe Skyscraper’ site supported on the ground by that neighborhood campaign of knee-high yard signs, the Hines site presents its side of things in a handy Q-and-A format:Are there other tall buildings in the area? Yes. . . . Will the building reduce the privacy of nearby properties? No. . . . Does Hines care about the potential impact on the neighborhood? Absolutely.” [2229 San Felipe; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: Hines

07/23/13 4:00pm

These understated “Stop the San Felipe Skyscraper” signs started going up about knee-high this weekend in River Oaks and Vermont Commons to protest that shiny 17-story office tower that Hines is proposing to build nearby. Though these signs — spotted at the corner of Spann and Welch and San Felipe and Spann, catty-corner from the proposed site — might be lacking the services of an imaginative cartoonist like their yellow precursors across town in Boulevard Oaks, their message still comes through, directing the onlooker as well to a recently launched website for all things skyscraper-stopping:


07/22/13 12:00pm

On a site just west of where Hines says it is considering building a 17-story office tower and where Randall Davis is building 10 more condos just south of River Oaks on San Felipe, builders Rohe & Wright say they are going to put up these 10 townhomes. The Saint Honoré development is planned to stand right next to the Winfield Gate townhomes — also built by Rohe & Wright — on a property bound by San Felipe, Welch, and Revere. Ranging from 5,000 sq. ft. to 7,800 sq. ft., each 3-story, 4-bedroom home would sit atop a below-ground floor that comes with built-in suggestions for what to do with it, including (but not, of course, limted to) “golf simulator, caretaker’s quarters, wine cellar, home theater, fitness gym, gala room, safe room or space for a car collection.” They’re starting at $2.2 million.


05/20/13 1:00pm

Here’s a second rendering of that new office tower Hines tells the Houston Chronicle it hasn’t announced it will build. Of course, a different story is coming out of this neighborhood near River Oaks, where the 35,000-sq.-ft. property on the corner of Spann and San Felipe, purchased in November by an entity connected to Hines, has been cleared of its garden home and staked with flags, as the photos after the jump show:


05/16/13 11:32am

Hines is planning to build an 18-story office building on a 3-lane section of San Felipe between Shepherd and Kirby, across the street from tony River Oaks. The site is the 35,000-sq.-ft. former lushy garden and grounds of a Vermont Commons home, which features several trees and at least one giant oak. “No one knows anything about this,” a source tells Swamplot. “They think a few nice townhouses are about to rise from the earth. That is the story that’s circulating the hood.”


09/21/11 10:00am

Swamplot readers Michael F. Forlenza and Karen Kane wade into the long-simmering confusion over the best way to refer to the distinctive and still-transforming Montrose-area neighborhood of townhomes, bungalows, and “an increasing number of high-end, 4,000-square foot plus, newly-constructed residences” wedged between Shepherd and Dunlavy, south of the River Oaks Shopping Center and north of Westheimer. As indicated by this Montrose neighborhood map, the area is supposed to be called Vermont Commons (Driscoll and westward) and “Park” (the eastern half).


06/21/11 12:03am

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BETWEEN MARKET SEGMENTS “Well I guess my neighbors and I in the neighborhood no one knows what to call (Vermont Commons / Park) can now refer to our neighborhood as ‘the midpoint between the Kirby Whole Foods and the Waugh Whole Foods.’ Rolls right off the tongue.” [Bernard, commenting on Beer, Wine, Art, and BBQ on Tap: Here’s Your New Whole Foods Market, Montrose]

06/02/11 4:11pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BORDERTOWN “Don’t tell the people who live in NoMO or River Oaks Terrace that they don’t actually live in River Oaks. They get mad. I call it Montrose, except for when I lived there a few years back. Then I called it River Oaks — but I meant it ironically, of course.” [Mel, commenting on Comment of the Day: Report From That Neighborhood South of the River Oaks Shopping Center That Nobody Knows What To Call]