08/02/18 1:00pm

Both Pi Pizza and Star Fish have been locked out of their leases in the Washington Heights shopping center building on Heights Blvd. just south of White Oak Bayou and roughly across the street from the Art Car Museum, leaving the strip absent its 2 endcap tenants. Star Fish picked up where Bradley’s Fine Diner left off in the building’s north side about a year and a half ago, and the pizza parlor took over from Funky Chicken on the south end of things in 2016.

Pictured below is the notice a Swamplot reader found stuck to Pi’s storefront right around lunchtime:

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Off the Menu
06/19/18 5:15pm

Coming soon to the block across Durham from W Grill, just south of Washington: Otto’s Barbecue & Catering. The 67-year-old chain has plans for its first standalone location since the original on Memorial Dr. was sold in 2009 (for less than its owners felt it should’ve been) and demolished to make way for a collection of strip buildings.

Until last November, Luke’s Icehouse (pictured above) was the only structure standing in the way of the planned new restaurant on the corner of Lillian St. and Durham — but after shuttering last June, its building was torn down 5 months later. The rendering above shows Otto’s taking over the site from the north above Durham, where a courtyard fronts a covered patio adjacent to a parking lot.

Inside, the site plan indicates that 3,293-sq.-ft. would be devoted to the restaurant, while 1,722 would make up an attached catering kitchen:

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Smoke Signals
06/18/18 10:45am

B&B Butchers owner Benjamin Berg has a new restaurant in the works for the former Caddy Shack Bar & Grill building pictured at top, across the street from his existing venue’s parking lot on Wash Ave and 2-doors down from the redone building now housing Gus’s Fried Chicken. An entity connected to Berg filed a permit last Friday to prep 1809 Washington for the new business it’ll host, dubbed Cafe Lemon.

Caddy Shack (not to be confused with Candy Shack, the drive-through daiquiri spot 2 miles west on Washington) debuted in the 1,968-sq.-ft. structure 6 years ago following the Broken Spoke Cafe’s shutdown and posthumous fire. After a brief stint as Turkey Leg Hut — a Cajun restaurant which brought hookahs to the patio pictured above — the space rebranded back to Caddy Shack before shuttering for good around the end of last year.

Photos: Gil G. (Caddy Shack); Te Y. (patio)

Cafe Lemon
04/27/18 11:30am

The airy eastern façade of the new Big Brothers Big Sisters building at 1003 Washington opens it up to the adjacent parking lot, and beyond that — across a short north-south street — the one-and-a-quarter-acre Centerpoint substation that’s bounded by I-45. Previously, the half-acre parcel that now plays host to the volunteer organization housed Health Masters Clinic of Massage Therapy. Its warehouse structure — pictured from the east in the photo above — bit the dust in April, 2015. Two months later, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ previous home met the same fate off Hillcroft Ave. in Gulfton.

Here’s a cloudier view of the new building looking east along Preston St.:

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All Grown Up
04/16/18 1:00pm

The marketing materials for Hunington Properties’ new apartment building planned in place of Bethel Church a block north of Wash Ave come chock full of cultural references. There’s the Seinfeldian restaurant sign depicted on the corner of Shepherd and Center St, pick-up and drop-off zones adjacent to the parking garage’s entrances labeled Uber (sorry, Lyft!) in the site plan — and if that’s not enough, the leasing brochure notes that tenants “will be given latitude to incorporate unique elements into their storefronts promoting their individual brand identity.

Of the 4 corner retail segments planned — 25,000 sq. ft. total — 3 include patios. To accommodate them, Hunington is requesting several modifications to the setbacks: on Center St., on Durham, and the boldest on Shepherd — where the patio would sit only 5 ft. from the roadway, 20 ft. closer than is typically allowed. Last Thursday, Houston’s planning commission deferred the variance request. It’s now waiting on more information regarding the proposed patios before reconsidering the developer’s plans.

Bethel Church’s building currently takes up half of the block:

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The Interpose
12/27/17 12:30pm

The pile of mangled disco parts beyond the fence pictured at top is all that remains of the less-than-2-year-old La Roux nightclub building at 4011 Washington after crews brought down the house last week. In March, a real estate company connected to Zadok Jewelers bought the entire 39,000-sq.-ft. block on Washington between Leverkuhn and Jackson Hill St. La Roux was evicted earlier this year.

The club’s entrance was off Leverkuhn:

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La Roux-ined
07/25/17 10:30am

One clue that the Social Junkie Sports Bar has come to the end of its almost-4-year run at the northwest corner of Washington Ave and Sawyer St.: The end-zone-styled valet parking lot pictured in the above recent photo is empty — all the way to the 25-yard line. Another clue: the “It’s been real . . . we outgoodbye notice posted to the establishment’s Instagram feed over the weekend. A reader tells us the place is shuttered and everything inside has been “thrown away.

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Gone Braun
06/06/17 9:15am

Another potential future target in striking walking range of that 542-space parking lot Lovett Commercial looks to be planning at Center and Silver streets: the color-splashed warehouse redo sketched out above, as seen in another of the company’s current leasing fliers. This one is for a facelift of the 1970s building former occupied by Mass Electric Construction Company at 1201 Oliver St., a few blocks west down the railroad tracks past Sawyer St. Clustered nearby are a fair number of other Lovett-affiliated developments (including some of the artsy hubbub between Sawyer and Silver).

Renderings and site plans suggest a cidery could be taking over the west end of the building — the flier includes a north-is-down look at plans for splitting up the space, including a cutout for a breezeway:

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Wash Ave Sketch
03/13/17 11:30am

Wabash Feed and Garden Store, 5701 Washington Ave., Houston, 77007

The greying former site of the Wabash Feed & Garden Store is fully back on the market again, after high hopes for a new Creek Group restaurant on the site slowly faded into lengthy delays and an eventual leasing sign out front last year. Nancy Sarnoff notes in the Chronicle that the property went back up for sale last month, looking somewhat more worn down than the first time. A glance at CBRE’s marketing materials for the site shows many of the recent newcomers to the garden store’s stretch of Washington Ave., including the new storage midrise across the street, and the Pearl and Elan apartment complexes each about 2 blocks away in opposite directions from the just-over-half-an-acre property:

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Washed Out on Wash Ave
12/19/16 12:45pm

Rendering of Buffalo Heights Mixed Use Phase I, at Washington Ave. at Waugh Dr.

H-E-B preliminary plans for Washington Ave. at Heights Blvd.The complex containing Midway’s planned H-E-B-and-midrise at the southeast corner of Heights Blvd. and Washington Ave. won’t be named Northbank Buffalo Bayou after all, Nancy Sarnoff reports this week — it’ll be called Buffalo Heights. Above is Ziegler Cooper’s rendering of the proposed structure, which would take up the northwest corner of the old Archstone Memorial Heights apartments property (which was bought in 2014 by the current owners). That development previously gave its moniker to the surrounding neighborhood; it remains to be seen if this latest rebranding attempt will stick.

The new midrise would sit about half a mile south of the official southernmost edge of the Houston Heights (as drawn for voting in last month’s local-option Heights moistening election), and about half a mile north of Buffalo Bayou (though only a quarter mile from the Buffalo Wild Wings a few blocks west down Washington Ave). The new design shows off 5 stories of apartments (tallying up as 232 units) on top of the 2-story H-E-B, with about 37,000 sq. ft. of office space and a couple of other retail spots in the mix.

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First of Its Name in Memorial Heights
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):

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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:

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Brewing on Silver St.
06/30/16 9:15am

SALVATION ARMY DONATION CENTER WILL SOON TAKE YOUR GLASS RECYCLING, TOO Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center,  2208 Washington Ave, Washington Corridor, 77007The first 2 of 10 planned locations for a new city-backed glass recycling pilot program will open this weekend. In the wake of the elimination of glass this March from the city’s single-stream contract with Waste Management, glass hoarder and reseller Strategic Materials is opening up a collection point at Sharpstown Park (at 6600 Harbor Town Dr., across from Sharptown Dental Clinic and the Sharpstown Country Club), and not at the Sharpstown Park Apartments on Bellaire Blvd. as accidentally initially advertised). That drop spot will be accessible during normal park hours; the company is also opening a 24-hour drop site at the Washington Ave Salvation Army Family Store  & Donation Center, across Hemphill St. from the Salvation Army Adult Rehab Center and across Washington from Darkhorse Tavern. If the first 10 spots work out, the city says that more locations could eventually be added. [City of Houston] Photo of Salvation Army Donation Center at 2208 Washington Ave: Vincent M.

06/13/16 12:45pm

Proposed rendering of 1815 Washington Ave., Memorial Heights, Houston, 77007

The spot Braun Enterprises has been sprucing up at 1815 Washington Ave appears to have been leased out last week to the folks behind the Texas expansion of Tennessee’s Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. Documents filed with the county show that an entity called Texas All Fry (registered to the address of the Gus’s location in Austin) signed for the space on Wednesday. Pandora and Throne Ultra Lounge are among the latest in the succession of night clubs and bars to have recently occupied the late-1940s structure, which sits across the street from B&B Butchers.

The above rendering (from the same leasing flier that accidentally leaked word of H-E-B’s negotiations for the Archstone Apartments spot at the corner of Washington and Heights Blvd.) shows the front facade with a new patio and a few more windows. A careful look at the building’s past listing photos show that some of the apparent reshaping may actually involve the un-bricking of some former doorways: 

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Coming to Roost
01/26/16 10:30am

St. Theresa The Little Flower Thrift Shop, 5334 Washington Ave, Rice Military, Houston, 77007

The business wilted several years ago, but the location of the church-run St. Theresa The Little Flower Thrift Shop at 5334 Washington Ave is getting a new tenant: a branch of Dallas’s Clutch Bar will be moving into the space. An entity associated with the thrift shop bought the property  back in 1991, and the store blossomed until the early ’10s, closing by mid-2013.

Clutch Bar’s website touts a Summer 2016 opening; as far as what will be served in the space, the site for the chain shows a large draft beer selection and mentions a weekly special on “adult milkshakes”.

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Little Flower Going Wild