03/27/17 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT IT TAKES TO LIVE NEXT TO THE FAST LANES Freeway Overpass Next to Building“The housing stock of the city has MANY luxury apartments located too close to comfort to a freeway. On I-10, the Sawyer Lofts’ north side [sits] right up on the freeway with some units being feet away from an exit ramp. Go further west and I-10 is lined with luxury apartments that look out at the freeway from a very uncomfortably close distance (basically two lanes away, plus a small setback). This is becoming a permanent fixture of the city. I’m not sure why anyone would voluntarily rent one of these, but the developers are banking on housing being in so short supply that someone will basically lose out when the music stops playing and there’s not a chair to sit in and they will be forced to rent one of these. I think that must be the game plan. Maybe they think if it’s common enough people will just subconsciously modify their lifestyle expectations in a big city to thinking its okay to live between 7 and 50 feet from one of the widest freeways in the world.” [Commenter7, commenting on The Downtown Apartments Caught Between a Freeway and a Curved Place] Illustration: Lulu

03/21/17 12:30pm

Dolce Living Midtown construction, 180 W. Gray St., Midtown/Fourth Ward, Houston, 77019Dolce Living Midtown rendering, 180 W. Gray St., Midtown/Fourth Ward, Houston, 77019

Leasing signage was tacked up not too long ago at the Dolce Midtown apartment development straddling Bailey St. along the north side of W. Gray, notes a reader relaying years of curiosity about the project’s slow-but-maybe-not-always-so-steady progress. The development’s website doesn’t offer any clues as to when move-in might be possible, but the company has opened a leasing office down the street (in one of the not-getting-knocked-down-any-time-soon segments of the River Oaks Shopping Center).

A few of the hawk-eyed cranewatchers over at HAIF claim to have spotted some backward clock-ticks on the work in the form of partial de- and re-construction of the 2 midrises’ upper stories during late 2015, possibly related to all the torrential rain that year on the building’s siding and wooden framing. But the buildings apparently re-reached their full heights not long after; as of last Friday, there’re even some relatively complete-looking facade sections on the eastern midrise (as shown above). The western building of the 2 still looks to have only been issued its Hardi-plank balcony flaps, however:

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Ups and Downs in Fourth Ward
03/14/17 5:15pm

construction at 299 W. Gray St., North Montrose, Houston, 77019

That empty lot at the southeast corner of Taft and W. Gray streets has been getting its concrete skin broken up and cleared out lately, a number of readers note, as early work for the Alta at West Gray apartment midrise and its basement parking gets going. (The particularly dramatic shot above of the Downtown skyline peering over the wreckage was captured during the Friday morning mist by reader MontroseResident, though a few other cameras were on the scene before and after.) Until 2009 the site housed the Good Neighbor Healthcare Clinic (a conversion of another ex-Weingarten’s grocery, according to the business); Good Neighbor had plans to build a midrise healthcare and community center on the site, but ended up selling the land to serial Alta developers Wood Partners early last year. The new plan for the site may look something like this:

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Alta Altitude
02/06/17 4:30pm

memorial-heights-gate

The peculiar scene pictured above, of a freestanding but fenceless gate, greeted residents of the Memorial Heights Apartments near the corner of Washington Ave and Studewood late last week. Demolition of buildings 1 through 6 of the complex, on the northwest corner of the complex, for a planned new 5-story apartment complex atop a new H-E-B market, appears imminent.

In anticipation, workers have been constructing fencing (now attached to the above gate) that appears to be intended to surround a portion of the remaining parking lot of the remaining complex. There’s also this construction going up at the corner of Studewood and Washington Ave.:

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Approaching Buffalo Heights
10/25/16 1:00pm

Market Square Tower, 777 Preston St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Just added: water for the cantilevered glass-bottom pool jutting out of Market Square Tower’s rooftop deck, some 41-plus-or-minus-the-penthouses stories above street level. Woodway is now advertising leasing availability for November, with some of the smaller one-bedroom units listed for $2,100 and up per month (and the largest of the penthouses, a 3-bedroom 3.5-bathroom 3-balcony affair, listed at $18,175) . The current floorplans available on the site now also suggest that the ground floor retail options will include a cafe, in addition to that CVS announced last month.

Those not enthused by the prospect of dangling over the downtown streetscape can opt for the other pool on the 4th-floor terrace, which overlooks Preston and Milam St.:

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Filling Up Downtown
10/24/16 11:15am

3100 Smith St., Midtown, Houston, 77006

The former Social Security Administration office at 3100 Smith St. and its gorilla-hawking mural wall are no more, following some weekend excavator grazing. Demo permits were issued last week for structure, which sat north of Elgin on part of the planned site of developer Morgan’s next Pearl-branded apartment development (the one with the built-in ground floor Whole Foods).

City permission for the planned mixed-use building to cozy up to the street were approved in February; the project will also straddle that now-closed segment of Rosalie St. between Smith and Brazos onto a section of the previously cleared block to the north.  Here’s what the layout might look like from above, per the plans included with the variance request:

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Rosalie Redecoration
10/03/16 11:30am

Encore Castle Court, 1314 Castle Ct., Castle Court, Houston, 77006
Encore Castle Court, 1314 Castle Ct., Castle Court, Houston, 77006The L-shaped hole dug on the site vacated last year by The Place apartment complex has been getting filled up, and some wooden framing is now beginning to peek over the top of the leafy northern wall of 59 at the Graustark St. bridge. The plan for Encore’s under-construction Castle Court development involves stacking 5 floors of apartments on the site, with additional levels of parking underneath — the rendering above depicts its above-ground height as a floor taller than Trammell Crow’s newish Muse complex just down Graustark at the corner with Richmond Ave.

The Encore project fronts Castle Ct. at the intersection with Yupon St., and faces Graustark just south of Black Hole Coffee Shop and Graustark Laundry, as shown in the floorplan below from the company’s brochure for would-be foreign investors under the EB-5 program:

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Scaling Up Castle Court
06/22/16 11:00am

Hanover Montrose, 3400 Montrose Blvd., WAMM, Houston, 77006

Rendering of Proposed 30-Story Hanover Apartment Tower at 3400 Montrose, Montrose, HoustonThe eastern face of 3400 Montrose Blvd. appears to be losing color this week as the building’s mid-August opening looms ever closer. A reader sends the above over-the-Walgreens shot of the Skybar-replacing apartment tower (which now looks to have most of its balcony railings in place as well), capturing part of the building’s patch-by-patch transition this week from concrete gray to previous-rendering white.

And anyone jonesing for some up-in-the-air views following the closure of the Chase Tower Sky Lobby can get a half-strength fix from this shot of Downtown, taken by the tipster earlier this spring from a ledge on the building’s 28th floor:

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Almost Showtime by Disco Kroger
06/14/16 12:45pm

8820 Westheimer Rd., Briarmeadow, Houston, 77063

The 4-story apartment complex going up on the northeast corner of Westheimer and Fondren roads (where Prosperity Bank and Landry’s Seafood Restaurant were torn down in a mildly apocalyptic display back in 2014) is now pushing leases and offering would-be tenants a chance to scope the place out. The place has also gotten a name tweak since the project was first announced: the former Crest at Fondren is going by West & Fondren these days.

The complex has sprung up just south of the late-seventies garden-style Victoria Place apartments (which appear to have been bought 2 summers ago by an entity controlled by developer Michael Novelli). The Fondren-side entrance of the 4-story building is clearly labeled as such:

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Briargrove Revival
02/04/16 11:30am

Proposed Apartment Tower at 6750 Main St., Medical Center Area, Houston, 77005

Greystar plans to squeeze a 375-unit apartment highrise on the same 1.35 acre lot at 6750 S. Main St. as an in-the-works hotel from Medistar. That Medistar project, which was originally planned as a 220-unit hotel-slash-apartment building on the same spot, will now be a 357-room just-hotel, and will share a lobby with Greystar’s apartment tower on the southern half of the block between Travis St. and S. Main at Old Main St. (across the street from the Texas Women’s University building.)

The two towers (rendered above styled as 1850, seemingly in reference to the Old Main address) will slip in between a Best Western and a Wyndham Hotel, and would total in the neighborhood of 800,000 sq.ft. of floorspace, Greystar’s David Reid tells the HBJ’s Cara Smith.  The apartment unit floorplans range significantly in size— the largest 2 suites measure in around 3,800 sq.ft., and the smallest bottom out at an Ivy-Lofts-esque 349 sq.ft.

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Old Main St. at Main St.
02/01/16 2:45pm

THE REST OF RICHMONT SQUARE PREPARES TO GET LEVELED Richmont Square Apartments, 1400 Richmond Ave., HoustonResidents of the Richmont Square apartments learned today that they have until May 1 to get out of the way of the bulldozers, writes Erin Mulvaney of the Houston Chronicle. The apartments, which are owned by the Menil Foundation, will be brushed away to make room for upcoming phases of the Menil’s unfolding master plan, announced back in 2009. The back third of the 1960s complex facing Richmond Ave was demolished at the start of 2015  to free up space for an extension of W. Main St.; the Menil’s new Drawing Institute is currently being penciled in to the north of the remaining apartments. Richmont Square’s leasing office began to offer only month-to-month contracts by early January, though a set date for the eventual teardown had not been made public at the time. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: John Ronald via Flickr

01/26/16 12:30pm

Oakmoor Pkwy. at Acaciawood Way, South Main, Houston, 77051

A ‘dozer was sighted this past week roaming across the newly-cleared plains at the dead end of Acaciawood Dr. into Oakmoor Pkwy., just south of Airport Blvd. between Almeda Rd. and a disconnected stretch of Kirby Dr. (nearly 2 miles southeast of where the main section of Kirby halts, on Holmes Rd. next to the intended UT Houston campus). Workers clearing the land last week told a reader that new apartments were planned for the spot (shown above); the tract, however, is sliced up into single-family-home-sized bites in County Appraisal District records. The land sits south of the Oakmoor Apartments, which sprouted up around the end of 2006. The short neighborhood streets on the other side of Oakmoor were in place by 2008, though the homes now lining them didn’t begin too appear until 2012.

In the distance, the photo above also catches a view of the nearby Harbor Hospice Houston Inpatient Facility (to the left of center, behind a brushpile), and the Citadel on Kirby (to the right), which hosts weddings, galas, and corporate events. Across Kirby lies the Houston Sports Park — work on the first 7 fields at the Houston Dynamo’s professional training facility started at the end of 2009 and wrapped up by 2012. The Houston Parks Board is now fundraising to add an additional 11 fields at the complex, which is also open for public recreational use.

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Oakmoor Oaks No More
12/28/15 10:00am

Elan Heights Apartments, 825 Usener, Woodland Heights, Houston, 77009

Just in time for the holiday season, the residential floors of the Elan Heights midrise apartments (officially located at 825 Usener St.) have been packaged up in a shiny new layer of building wrap. A sign outside the construction site announces an early 2016 opening for the 327-unit complex, nestled in next to Mango Beach snowcone shop and Little Buddy gas station and convenience store on White Oak Dr. (bottom left in the aerial photo below):

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Wrapping Up in Woodland Heights
06/24/15 3:15pm

Pre-Demolition Work on Kirby Court Apartments, 2700 Steel St. Between Kirby Dr. and Virginia St., Upper Kirby, Houston

Pre-Demolition Work on Kirby Court Apartments, 2700 Steel St. Between Kirby Dr. and Virginia St., Upper Kirby, HoustonThe casement windows are out from the 1949 Kirby Court Apartments along oak-lined Steel St., just west of Kirby from the Whole Foods Market. There’s been no formal announcement of plans for the site; Hanover, for the time being, is laying back from its plans to build an apartment tower and restaurant row along the Kirby frontage at the north side of the street.

The last residents of the 2-story, townhome-style apartments moved out at the beginning of the year. Here’s a quick tour of the scene on the very quiet street, which appears ready for demolition:

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South of West Ave
06/11/15 1:00pm

broadstone-tinsley-park-aerial

Former Brownfield Site at 801 and 1701 Gillette St., Fourth Ward, HoustonThe complicated transaction that allowed the city to sell the 10.52-acre brownfield site along Allen Parkway between the Federal Reserve building and Allen Parkway Village to an apartment developer was concluded in late April, the Houston Business Journal‘s Paul Takahashi reports. Alliance Residential paid $39.9 million for the property along Gillette St., where the city began operating a solid waste incinerator in the 1920s and later converted the site for use as its fleet maintenance facility. The company immediately sold the northern 6 acres to an unnamed private investor; Alliance now plans to build a 365-unit apartment complex on the southern half of the property, fronting Gillette and West Dallas St.

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Fourth Ward