09/23/16 5:30pm

Ivy Lofts Retail Listing Images, September 2016

Actually, the rendering above is not the newest look for the Ivy Lofts, PR head Jared Anthony tells Swamplot this afternoon. Anthony says that the 3-week-old images posted in Wednesday’s since-pulled listing for ground floor retail space in the development had been planned for release that same day during a meeting with folks who have reserved units in the project — but some totally different designs came in from the new architect on Tuesday. Anthony says the newest plans will be shown off in mid-October when the sales center relaunches (complete with another scale model of the planned building), and that groundbreaking is now planned for January, with no change to the estimated completion date.

Images: Powers Brown Architecture

East Downtown Loft Swapping
09/14/16 4:45pm

Rendering of under-construction Kirby Collection, Kirby Dr. at Colquitt St., Upper Kirby, Houston

Rolling-sphere-themed restaurant and entertainment chain Pinstripes has just leased up some space in the under-construction Kirby Collection (and hey — there might even be some bocce players nearby still looking for a new court!) That’s the first confirmed tenant for the project, which Thor Equities wants to open by the end of next year; the 33,600 sq. ft. of leased space makes up around half of the total retail space available, and is split across both retail floors of the complex (shown in the foreground above, with a row of trees peeking down at Kirby Dr. from the edge of the roof). Pinstripes will take over a 7,260-sq.-ft. subdivision of first floor space, out of the segment labeled 23,900 in the ground floor plan below:


Leasing Ball Rolling
06/27/16 11:30am

Marlowe Condo Tower site, 1311 Polk St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Marlowe Condo Tower site, 1311 Polk St., Downtown, Houston, 77002An elevated reader sends a snapshot this morning of an excavator rooting around by 1311 Polk St., where Randall Davis is laying the groundwork for his 20-story tower of actor-themed condominiums named Marlowe. The development’s sales center and 5-sided billboard (formerly a 713-TICKETS.com kiosk) is still in place across Caroline St. from the House-of-Blues-containing GreenStreet development (visible in the top frame, in the bottom right corner) and Dirt Bar (bottom left).

The marketing for the tower (another Davis project to seek funding from the EB-5 invest-your-way-to-citizenship program) appears to be a little less insult-forward these days than was previously the case. The tower’s website now also includes the drone footage collage and Stairway to Heaven remix below, showing off the surrounding downtown area with the would-be tower sketched into place in white lines:

Looking Down Around Downtown
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:


Almost Showtime by Disco Kroger
06/10/16 4:00pm

ZC Renderings of 2120 Post Oak Blvd.

Following this week’s report from the HBJ that the Loews hotel chain is currently considering an Uptown locale, a sharp-eyed reader points to a lot previously marked for 2 more towers to keep the BBVA Compass building company, just north of 2200 Post Oak Blvd. The land has been owned by Loews since 2014 (or by someone using the address of the company’s NYC headquarters); a tipster separately tells Swamplot that the company has been pricing out construction work on that particular spot, though nothing was official as of mid-May.

Architecture firm Ziegler Cooper has posted some renderings (including the one above) of a mixed use project apparently designed for the same BBVA-adjacent land (though labeled only as Confidential Hotel & Mixed Used Development). TRC Capital (formerly The Redstone Company) currently has some very similar renderings more prominently displayed on its website, once again labeling the residential piece of the project as the Perennial Hotel and Apartments, along with another office tower marked as 2100 Post Oak:


Newly Perennial
05/06/16 12:30pm


One Allen Center, 1200 Smith St., Downtown, Houston, 77002Brookfield released a few renderings this morning of the plans to make over One, Two, and Three Allen Centers at the corner of Smith and Dallas streets downtown. The rendering above depicts the new plan for the greenspace between One and Two: to subtract 1 of the 2 second-story skybridges currently running parallel to Smith and add an events venue. The redo plans also include a major street-level change for One Allen Center, depicted above with a 2-story glass lobby running around corner in place of the current largely-bricked-over podium facade.

That tiny neon sign on the left edge of the turn-of-the-decade photo above once marked the location of Don Patron; the quarter-centenarian Tex-Mex lunch spot started to close in February and finished the job in March. The remodel plans swap it out for a higher-end restaurant, which will get some patio space along Smith St:


1, 2, 3 Remodel
04/07/16 3:15pm

Proposed 30-story tower on former Macy's site, Galleria, Houston, 77056

This morning Simon Property Group released renderings of a planned residential highrise in the Galleria, shown here at the corner of W. Alabama St. and Sage Rd. in what’s left over of the land previously occupied by the mall’s second Macy’s. The tower is slated for the same spot previously colored purple for “future retail/office residences” on one of the developer’s Galleria redo maps back in 2014. (That map didn’t mention a highrise specifically, but previous info on the redevelopment plans floated the idea.) Simon says it plans to break ground on the tower by the end of 2017, with a 2019 or 2020 opening in mind.

The rendered view above looks northeast over the Berachah Church across W. Alabama at the glassy highrise, which may hold somewhere between 75 and 100 residential units atop 220 hotel rooms (with separate amenities areas for permanent and temporary residents). The design shows 2 pool decks; the nearby Westin Galleria’s existing pool can be spotted on the right, past an existing parking garage.

Here’s the view from the other side, looking south down Sage across Westheimer Rd. over the new Saks Fifth Avenue building (set to open at the end of the month):


One Tower to Live Above the Mall
03/18/16 11:15am

2244 Welch St., Vermont Commons, Houston, 77019

A reader notes that the 1938 house at 2244 Welch St. — just 60 ft. east of the new 17-story office tower neighbor at 2229 San Felipe (peeking in from the right in the frame above) — is up for sale. Renting residents of the house made the news during early construction of the “boutique” San Felipe Place highrise in 2014; the occupants complained of diesel fumes, noise, and structural damage to the property from equipment operating feet from the fenceline (including the giant crane planted in the lot next door). Hines’s efforts to patch up the neighborly dispute escalated from the hasty installation of “hobo-penthouse” plastic sheeting to an eventual payoff arrangement that helped the renting family move to Pearland around April of 2014.

The house went on the market for $789,000 last November, not long after the 2-time lawsuit-defying completion of the tower in September and the pickup of a handful of tenants. The Kinder Foundation announced in October that it would be leasing the top floor of the highrise, which can be seen peering in through the shutters in a few of the house’s listing shots: 


02/26/16 3:00pm

Demolition of Solvay America Building, 3333 Richmond, Greenway Plaza, Houston, 77098

A reader caught a glimpse of the 1992 Solvay America building taking some more nasty blows from a demo crew out back behind the new 3737 Buffalo Spdwy. office tower south of the corner with Richmond Ave. (That’s the 2727 Kirby condo highrise glancing over at the scene from the right edge of the shot, while the distant Huntingdon tower looks away.) [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Lufti Rukab

02/02/16 10:45am

1517 Blodgett St., Museum Park, Houston, 77004

The demo job on the strip center on Blodgett St. between Crawford and La Branch has finally been completed, following a multi-year pause. Until late last fall, the strip contained Sub-Saharan African art gallery Gallery Jatad (since departed to an Almeda Rd. location), while J Food Mart previously held down the fort on the opposite end of the row — but much of the middle of the complex (left, in the above photo) was gutted in 2013. Demo permits for the rest of the structure were issued on Thursday, and the building was down by late yesterday afternoon, a reader writes.

The land under the strip was bought by Trans Unity Partners in January 2015, with an eye toward developing the spot as the Chelsea at Museum District, an 18-story condo highrise. Back then, Trans Unity was uncertain about moving forward with the plan in light of predicted market conditions.

Specs for the Chelsea at Museum District (not to be confused with the highrise formerly known as Chelsea Montrose) mention 95-ish units atop 6 stories of parking. HAIF user urbannizer even dug up a draft rendering of the project, set artfully amid a field of flowers, last October:


Now Off Display
12/08/15 3:30pm

Ivy Lofts Rendering, Leeland at Live Oak, East Downtown, Houston

“Some buzz” has made its way back to the Ivy Lofts developers since news of the plans for Houston’s tiniest condos began to spread — so much buzz, in fact, that Novel Creative Development is responding to the pushback with a change in sales tactics. The group announced in an email that Ivy Lofts buyers will have the option to lump 2 adjacent units together and customize the floorplan, giving residents more space if needed.

The promotion team is also working hard to rebrand the proposed floorplans with the names of famously dense cities, instead of describing the units by their size.  “It’s not fair to label these spaces by square footages,” says marketing director Brandon Vos in a RE/MAX press release. “We had to come up with new names since so many rooms double in usage.”

The newly internationalized units include The Tokyo, the project’s itsy-bitsiest floor plan, which measures in at 300 sq. ft. and will be priced starting at $119,000.


Doubling Up at Ivy Lofts
12/02/15 9:00am

Ivy Lofts Showcase Warehouse, Leeland at Live Oak, East Downtown, Houston

Ivy Lofts Showcase Warehouse, Leeland at Live Oak, East Downtown, HoustonThe muffled whir of power tools could be heard last week through the razorwire-topped fence and metal siding of the former Leeland Wholesale Grocery, south of Leeland St. between Live Oak and Nagle. The 10,000-sq.-ft. warehouse is being converted into a sales center and showroom for the Ivy Lofts micro-unit condominium highrise, which will eventually spring up on the same city block. The warehouse will be outfitted with several full-scale models of the project’s adorably tiny floorplans, which start at a dorm-room-reminiscent 300 sq.ft. An Ivy Lofts marketing representative for the project assured Paul Takahashi of the HBJ that the lack of wasted space in the units “will change the way Houstonians live.”

Developer Novel Creative Development anticipates opening the sales center in April and selling all of the planned tower’s units before demolishing the warehouse as contractors break ground on the highrise itself in June. Plans for the tower (shown below from the south) include 7 floors of parking, ground-level retail space, and various recreational nooks:


Ivy Lofts Sales Center
07/08/15 12:15pm

Sign Advertising 3003 Louisiana, 3003 Louisiana St., Midtown, Houston

Here’s the sign that went up at the southwest corner of Anita and Milam in Midtown late last month — at the northern end of the block where the empty hull of Van Loc still sits, reminding you of bún gone by. It’s advertising a 16-story office tower on the full block, with 3 separate retail spaces on the ground floor and a 6-level parking garage above. Senterra Real Estate Group’s website for 3003 Louisiana first appeared online last October — just as the Midtown Vietnamese restaurant was closing up shop. The view shown in the rendering is taken from Anita St., to show off the north-facing Downtown views available from the structure’s 9 office floors.

Photo: Marco Hernandez

3003 Louisiana
06/23/15 1:45pm

REVEALING THE FULL PLAN FOR SKANSKA’S DOWNTOWN BLOCK WILL TAKE SOME TIME Construction of Temporary Parking Garage, Houston Club Building, 811 Rusk St., Downtown HoustonThe Chronicle‘s Nancy Sarnoff does her level best to decipher and explain the strange sequence of events at Skanska’s ongoing demolition-construction-demolition-construction project across the street from Pennzoil Place: “The developer planning Capitol Tower, the 35-story office building slated for downtown’s former Houston Club building site, is planning to pour the foundation for the structure next month, but as of now, there are no plans to construct the tower portion of the project. So what’s with all the construction on the property? The Houston Club building was imploded last year, but the garage on the site was to remain because of an existing parking contract. During the implosion, however, the garage was damaged and had to be demolished. Project developer Skanska USA Commercial Development is now building a new garage on the southern half of the block. ‘We’re still executing our project plans,’ said Michael Mair, executive vice president and regional manager for Skanska USA in Houston.” Left out of the explanation: The multi-story steel parking structure and ramps Skanska built for the garage before it was demolished — pictured here under construction in front of the then-still-standing Houston Club Building last March. The downtown block, surrounded by Rusk, Travis, Milam, and Capitol streets, is now empty. [Prime Property; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox