06/14/17 3:30pm

BERNIE’S BURGER BUS ALCOHOL LICENSE DETAINED AFTER PROXIMITY TO SCHOOL Maybe you’ve heard the rumor — that the opening of the Bernie’s Burger Bus wheels-off location now all but complete next to the pediatric clinic in the new Braun Enterprises commercial building constructed on the former Alabama Furniture spot at 2200 Yale St. in the Heights has been delayed on account of the owners having trouble getting a beer and wine license because they didn’t take into consideration the fact that the restaurant’s 22nd St. side (pictured above under construction in April) would be across the street from Hamilton Junior High School? It’s true — well sort of, but not entirely. “The rumors are correct,” Bus chef Justin Turner explains on the restaurant’s Facebook page. There have indeed been “issues with the timeliness of getting our license due to the proximity of the school.” But, Turner writes, “We had all that info even before signing the lease.” What’s the issue then? The laws regarding alcohol sales near schools “are vague and very subjective . . . different people had different interpretations,” Turner notes. The owners were “told the variance that had to be filed with city of Houston would only take 30-45 days and it went on just over 120. . . . Long story short we’re [past] the city of Houston and on to Austin where we expect no or very little delays.” Best guesses for an opening date? “Our hope is end of July or early August but unfortunately at this time it is out of our control and left up to the guidance of our legal team and the information they provide us from the city and the state.” [Bernie’s Burger Bus via HAIF] Photo: Bernie’s Burger Bus

06/13/17 10:30am

Developer Giorgio Borlenghi may have just shelved plans to build the 26-story condo tower he had dubbed Villa Borghese on the 1.43-acre site a block south of Westheimer at Bammel Ln. and Earl Ln., but work clearing the property of the 15 separate cottage-y structures that once stood in the way of the now-on-hold project has not stopped. A reader sends pics of the scene from last Thursday, as workers from Cherry House Moving mounted the houses-turned-shops-and-offices surrounding the shuttered wedding venue known as the Gardens of Bammel Lane onto steel rails and prepared them for exit:


There They Go, Borghese or Not
06/09/15 4:00pm

WESTBURY CENTERETTE SITE WILL REMAIN DRY Hot off the presses from the latest Westbury Crier — amid reports on the aftermath of May’s bayou overflow events, which flooded 267 homes in the neighborhood: An update on the status of the site of the former Westbury Centerette at the corner of W. Bellfort and Chimney Rock, which was demolished in March. “Originally,” the newsletter reports, “the property owner planned to construct a facility for LA Fitness; however, we regret to announce that this plan will not proceed. The property owner continues to evaluate options for the site.” [Westbury Crier; previously on Swamplot] Video of Westbury Centerette demolition: Brays Oaks Management District

02/19/15 12:30pm

OIL CRASH CHEATING HOUSTON OUT OF 50 NEW APARTMENT COMPLEXES IT DESERVES TO HAVE Proposed Hanover River Oaks, Kirby Dr. at Steel St., Upper Kirby, HoustonSo it may be bouncing back a little, but the precipitous drop in the price of oil since last summer has been responsible for the axing or delay of a considerable number of large-scale residential projects in Houston. How many new apartment buildings would we have had available to gawk at or choose from if it weren’t for the freefall? Ralph Bivins reports: “We’ve heard 50 multifamily projects have been cancelled or postponed,” says local Colliers prez Patrick Duffy. [Realty News Report] Photo of proposed (and delayed) Hanover River Oaks: Solomon Cordwell Buenz

07/21/14 1:30pm

Light Rail Station at Palm Transit Center, Houston

There’s still “some uncertainty” over the exact schedule, but all the pieces needed to allow Metro to open Houston’s second and third light-rail lines won’t be in place until late December, according to reports delivered to a committee of the transportation organization’s board of directors last Friday. Previously, an opening date sometime this fall had been projected for the Southeast and East End lines (though the far eastern end of the East End line won’t come on line until a newly planned overpass is built under over the Union Pacific East Belt freight rail line between the future Altic and Cesar Chavez stations). Delays in the delivery of trains aren’t the sole reason for the late openings, however.


Waiting for the Trains
05/13/14 4:45pm

AN APARTMENT DEVELOPER’S NEW MIDTOWN PEARLS ARE MISSING Site of Proposed Pearl on Smith, 3100 Smith St., and Pearl on Helena, 105 Drew St., Midtown, HoustonThe Morgan Group’s Pearl Midtown apartment building is still under construction at the corner of Elgin and Smith streets in Midtown, but a couple of follow-on projects have recently drifted away from the process for gaining city approval — for now, at least. Signs announcing a variance request for the Pearl on Smith went up last month in front of the 1940 building at 3100 Smith St. that used to house the Social Security Administration’s offices (pictured at top), across the street from the Pearl Midtown. And on the block surrounded by Helena, Dennis, Albany, and Drew, a sign is still up for a variance request to allow construction of the Pearl on Helena. On that block is the building that until last fall housed the Kindred Hospital Midtown (bottom photo) — along with this 1930 mansion. Applications for both projects showed similar 5-story apartment complexes built around a small courtyard on top of 2 garage levels. But both projects have now gone quiet in the city’s tracking system. The variance application for the Pearl on Smith was withdrawn before its scheduled April 17th hearing. And the Pearl on Helena is listed as an “inactive application” in the city database, even though it was originally scheduled for a hearing on the same date. Photos: O’Connor & Associates (3100 Smith St.); Swamplot inbox (Kindred Hospital)

02/13/14 10:30am

Fish and the Knife Sushi Bar, Restaurant, and Nightclub, 7801 Westheimer Rd. at Stoney Brook, Houston

Note: Story updated below.

O ye of little faith, casting doubts here and there that a little 13,000-sq.-ft. standalone fine dining and lounging experience on Westheimer across Stoney Brook from AutoZone would ever open its doors after a mere 3 years of construction, a few long silences, and working so hard behind the scenes to get every detail right! It takes time, and actual anticipation, to truly earn the status of Houston’s Most Anticipated Restaurant. So take this: Fish and the Knife opens today. As in: You can park your car in the big parking lot out back, walk right in through the big wooden doors, and order yourself some sushi and a Japanese-style steak. And maybe this weekend, or some other big weekend night soon, wiggle your tail and fins to the rhythms and the flashing lights in the transformed 4,000-sq.-ft. “Las Vegas-style” nightclub inside.

Okay, but really, what took this place so long to open? Here’s the owner of the new spot at 7801 Westheimer, trying valiantly to explain it all:


A Good Restaurant Took Time
01/30/14 12:00pm

Fish and the Knife Sushi Bar, Restaurant, and Nightclub, 7801 Westheimer Rd. at Stoney Brook, Houston

Fish and the Knife Sushi Bar, Restaurant, and Nightclub, 7801 Westheimer Rd. at Stoney Brook, HoustonOn-again off-again would-be Westheimer sushi-nightclub debutante Fish and the Knife has given up on target opening dates, reports Eater Houston. “The big debut is back on track,” reports Darla Guillen in a post that includes actual photos of the actual completed interior at 7801 Westheimer. After almost 3-and-a-half years of construction and several blown promised-opening deadlines, she writes, “the owner is (understandably) reluctant to announce an official date.” But, um, the restaurant is “definitely on schedule to open soon, and is currently hiring staff.”

Update, 3 pm: A daring update to Eater’s report notes the owner now “expects to be open by Feb. 10.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Sooner or Later
01/09/14 11:30am

PHEW! FISH AND THE KNIFE IS BACK TO ITS USUAL ‘OPENING SOON’ STATUS Fish and the Knife Restaurant, Sushi Bar, Nightclub, and Lounge, 7801 Westheimer Rd., HoustonAfter announcing just last week that it had given up all hope that the 3-and-a-half-year-long construction project on the corner of Westheimer and Stoney Brook Dr. would ever open its doors as a restaurant, the crack team behind the b4-u-eat newsletter declared yesterday that its loss of sushi faith was unwarranted: “Fish & The Knife mystery solved,” the latest email report reads. “The facebook page was removed because it was created by an employee who is no longer there. There were a lot of workers there today and the beautiful fish tank contains live fish now. The owner says they expect to open in 3 weeks.” [b4-u-eat; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

01/03/14 2:15pm

IS FISH AND THE KNIFE CUTTING BAIT? Fish and the Knife, 7801 Westheimer Rd., Briarmeadow, HoustonRestaurant review website b4-u-Eat appears to have given up all hope of sushi bar, nightclub, and restaurant Fish and the Knife ever opening. That’s kind of a big deal for a project that’s been under construction since 2010. The huge modern building at the corner of Westheimer and Stoney Brook Dr. (just west of Voss) appears to be complete, but all communication has suddenly gone dark. “They expected to open Oct, Nov, Dec 2013,” reports the site newsletter, “but didn’t and their facebook page with all construction photos disappeared this week.” [b4-u-eat; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

12/20/13 10:00am

Proposed Chevron Tower at 1600 Louisiana St. and Pease, Downtown HoustonThe tallest, least-curvy tower in the trio pictured at left won’t be built any time soon, Chevron declared yesterday. The new 50-story structure, which the oil company announced over the summer and planned to combine with the 2 structures passed down to it from Enron into a consolidated Downtown campus, had been scheduled to begin construction shortly after March of next year. A spokesperson for the company tells the Chronicle‘s Nancy Sarnoff it won’t even make a decision on whether to proceed with the now-on-hold project until 2015. The 1.7-million-sq.-ft. building on a parking-garage plinth at 1600 Louisiana St. had been designed by architecture firm HOK for the former site of Houston’s Downtown YMCA.

Rendering: HOK

On Hold
12/16/13 10:00am

SNøHETTA’S CENTRAL STATION CANOPY DESIGN IS OFFICIALLY DEAD Proposed Design by Snøhetta for Downtown Central Station, Main St. Between Capitol and Rusk, HoustonWhatever glimmer of hope supporters of a distinctive Central Station were holding out for Metro somehow following through on its design competition or for Snøhetta’s winning canopy design have officially been dashed, Dug Begley reports: “Metropolitan Transit Authority chairman Gilbert Garcia and interim CEO Tom Lambert confirmed [last] week that timing crippled any chance of resurrecting a winning design. Instead officials will build their basic canopy for the block-long stop between Capitol and Rusk streets on Main Street.” [The Highwayman; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: Snøhetta

10/28/13 12:30pm

Dallas developer Mill Creek Residential has “called off” plans to build a 5-story apartment block across Dowling St. from Dynamo Stadium in East Downtown. Set just south of the soon-to-open light rail stop at Texas Ave. and Dowling, the 315-unit complex was to have been called EaDo Station. The company recently announced a slightly smaller development near the Med Center: 265 apartments at 1755 Wyndale St. near Holcombe and South Braeswood.

Renderings of EaDo Station: Mill Creek Residential

10/28/13 10:00am

ALEXAN PICKS UP MIDTOWN APARTMENTS IN FIRE SALE How, uh . . . successful was the 9-year-long, $9 million fundraising effort for the new Houston Fire Museum exhibit hall planned for the vacant lot on Hadley St. in Midtown, between Main and Travis? Reporters Nancy Sarnoff and Allan Turner explain it this way: “No money will be returned to donors, [Museum board member and treasurer Bill Edge] said, because none was collected.” Plans to turn the 1.44-acre grass-covered site next to the rail line into a fire-themed public park also flamed out. Instead, the museum is giving up and selling off the land — to Trammell Crow Residential, which plans to construct the 7-story, 215-unit Alexan Midtown apartments on the site, beginning in January. [Houston Chronicle ($)] Photo: Ethan Grossman

04/30/13 1:45pm

There’ll be a — um — slight delay in the move-in date for the purchasers of the brand-new Madison Park townhomes at 111 and 107 E. 2nd St., just south of White Oak Bayou. Yes, it appears that the 2 stick-framed structures backing up to Heights Blvd. that toppled violently Saturday night — an hour or so after a not-exactly-fierce storm passed through the area — were in fact among the 4 that developer Keystone Classic Homes had been claiming on its website and in a construction-fence-mounted banner were already sold. Their listing in MLS provides perhaps a more conservative assessment: A bank of 4 townhomes — including 111 and 107 — were listed as “pending,” usually an indicator that a contract has been accepted by the seller but that no closing has yet taken place.

If you happen to be the lucky buyer on hook for one of these addresses — presuming you still want in — how much time will the weekend’s rack-and-rumble set you back?