08/26/16 11:30am

Redo of 3618 Burlington St., Westmoreland Historic District, Houston, 77006

3618-burlington-31That Burlington St. mansion nestled in along the 527 Spur leading from Downtown to 59 is back on the market this week, though the listing implies that the interior redo and whitewashing is still in progress. The house, built between 1897 and 1908 depending on who you ask, went up for sale in the Westmoreland Historic District early last year for $1.8 million. The current owners bought the property that summer for $880,000 and quickly sent an application to the city’s history folks asking for approval to move some doors and windows around, as well as to add a deck out back and a balcony outside the existing second-story doors to nowhere in the master bedroom. (The bricks, already painted brown, appear to have been painted white instead, as has most of the interior.)

The property is now listed at a smidge under $2.4 million. Not pictured or mentioned in the new listing is the 3-post freeway billboard previously seen sunning itself by the pool on the northern end of the front yard, shown below as it appeared in the old listing:


Remaking History
04/10/15 11:15am




In contrast to the precision of its rather limited exterior landscaping (above), bold motifs of twisting vines (top) and wind-waving palm fronds (middle) add some garden to a garden variety 1963 rancher in Glenbrook Valley, even if it’s just on the wallpaper and draperies. Tended and tidy, the property popped up on the market two weeks ago; it has a $198,500 price tag. It’s located 2 blocks south of Sims Bayou and 2 blocks north of Bellfort St. on a central street in the neighborhood, Houston’s only outside-the-Loop historic district.


Patio Crowd
02/05/15 12:45pm

Proposed Heights Mercantile Retail and Office Complex,  7th St. at Yale St., Houston Heights

Proposed Heights Mercantile Retail and Office Complex,  7th St. at Yale St., Houston HeightsResidents near the section of 7th St. between Yale St. and Heights Blvd. have been discussing plans to turn the group of warehouse buildings long held by Pappas Restaurants into a 4-building “creative neighborhood and shopping destination” called Heights Mercantile. The Finial Group, which bought the properties from Pappas and a few other landowners last year, hired Austin architect Michael Hsu to come up with plans for renovating 3 of the buildings lining 7th St., tearing down the long warehouse lining Yale St. and replacing it with the new 2-story structure pictured above. The new project is a joint venture between Finial and a local investment firm called Radom Capital.

A notable feature of the 1.4-acre site plan is 3 stretches of head-in parking along 7th St. The plan shows 36 spaces on the north side of the street, facing the row of wooden bollards lining the hike-and-bike trail converted from the path of the former MKT rail line and 2 banks of 11 spaces in a row on the opposite side. Although head-in parking configurations dominate in some portions of the city (Rice Village, for example), new stretches of more than 4 spaces in a row have been prohibited by city regulations for decades.

The Pappas warehouses have head-in parking along 7th St. The developer not only wants to preserve and adjust that arrangement for the new development, but is asking the city to count these on-street spaces toward the required number of off-street spaces. The planning commission is scheduled to rule on the associated parking variance application this afternoon.

Here’s a site plan:


Retail Revamp
01/14/15 5:15pm

3500 White Oak Dr., Houston Heights Historic District South

3500 White Oak Dr., Houston Heights Historic District South

The owner of this 1930-ish former gas station and duplex bungalow at 3500 White Oak Dr. in the Houston Heights Historic District South plans to tear down the 2 structures and build a single-family home on the 8,800-sq.-ft. site — likely facing the side street, Cortlandt. Last week by a vote of 12 to 6 Houston’s planning commission reversed the decision of the archaeological and historic commission, allowing the demo to go through. The HAHC had denied the owner’s demolition request in November, insisting that the structures could be rehabbed. But experts hired by the owner indicated that the underground gas tank beneath the station couldn’t be removed without demolishing that structure, and that redevelopment of the duplex would be “cost prohibitive.”


They’re History
10/22/14 4:30pm




Since its purchase in August for $86,100, a 1956 Glenbrook Valley property located on one of the mid-century neighborhood’s interior streets has been zhushed for a flip. It’s now back on the market and asking $144,900. Changes are most apparent in the kitchen (above middle, with the original below it) and bathrooms. Tweaks before its listing last week included a new roof, new flooring, repairs to underground plumbing, leveling of the foundation — and home staging with careful attention to corners . . .


Buffed Up
08/14/14 3:15pm

1815 Cortlandt St., Houston Heights

Relocation Map of 1815 Cortlandt St., Houston Heights to 1026 Lathrop St., Denver Harbor, HoustonHouston’s city council voted last week to allow the owner of the home pictured above at 1815 Cortlandt St. in the Houston Heights to move the 1942 bungalow to 1026 Lathrop St. in Denver Harbor. It was a notable decision, if only for the fact that the council was voting on a housemove at all. According to the attorney who presented the case for the homeowners, this was not just the first time that the council had overturned a decision from the city’s architectural and historical commission; it was the first time a historic-district appeal had even reached the city council.


A Moving, Historic Decision
05/28/14 2:00pm

HIGH FIRST WARD HISTORIC DISTRICT GETS CITY COUNCIL HIGH FIVE Boundary of High First Ward Historic District, First Ward, HoustonThe High First Ward is the newest historic district in Houston, having been voted in by a 12-5 count of city council members this afternoon. The stringy selection of 55 lots (pictured at right), marked down from the original 149, includes properties along Spring, Shearn, Crockett, Summer, White, Silver, Sabine, and Colorado streets in the First Ward, west of Houston Ave. and south of I-10. According to tweeting Chronicle reporter Mike Morris, a motion by council member Stephen Costello to redraw the district map in order to exclude a couple of properties was rejected by a 4-to-13 vote. [Twitter; previously on Swamplot] Map: HAHC

04/25/14 5:00pm



A wee corner lot in the Houston Heights East Historic District carries a 1920 home’s addition on its back instead of in its back yard, which is occupied instead by the “tandem” one-car-wide garage. Renovations to the property since last summer, when it sold for $342K, moved around some of the interior walls and overhauled the kitchen and bathrooms. The current listing’s asking price of $574,900 is the ninth price point sought by a series of listings that ticked down nearly $75K in price reductions since the home’s January 2014 market debut at $650,000. 


Spacing Out
04/25/14 10:15am

Map of Proposed and Revised High First Ward Historic District, Houston

The city’s historic commission voted 6 to 1 yesterday to give its approval to a new High First Ward historic district — but it’s a considerably smaller district than the proposed one area property owners squabbled over and then voted on in February. The colors in the map above show the city’s tabulation of the results of that vote. The dashed lines show the original boundaries; after the ballots came in, the city’s planning director redrew the boundaries so that the district would be in an area where at least 67 percent of the owners supported the district. Of the 55 tracts in the new district, 37 owners voted to approve it, 10 opposed it, and 8 didn’t return survey cards (which counts as a “no” vote). to the count, Next and final stop for the proposed district: A final vote by city council.


55 Properties
02/26/14 12:45pm

Bungalows in Starkweather Historic District, E. 31st 1/2 St., Independence Heights, Houston

A collection of a couple dozen or so bungalows along E. 31st 1/2 St. between Yale and Cortlandt in Independence Heights just a block or so north of the 610 Loop is the city’s newest historic district — and perhaps the one with the most colorful name: Starkweather. The subdividing of the neighborhood predates the establishment of Independence Heights as an actual independent city in 1915, but most of the homes were built between the late 1920s (when the city was annexed by Houston) and the 1940s. They were originally marketed to the African American community in the neighborhood. Here’s a map:


Independence Heights
02/21/14 11:02am

Stop Historic Districts Sign at Urban Living Property, First Ward, Houston

A few Swamplot readers have been sending in pics of the “Stop Historic Districts” yard signs that have been up in the First Ward for the last few weeks, the vast majority of which — at our readers’ report — have shown a remarkable affinity for lots owned by real-estate firm Urban Living or its affiliates. The signs (including the one on Crockett St. between White and Silver shown above) have given voice to the otherwise silent former sites of older First Ward building stock, as they jettison their former inhabitants to make room for larger, glitzier, and generally taller new construction.


Yard Sign Drama in the High First
02/10/14 4:45pm

Map Showing Boundaries of Proposed High First Ward Historic District, Houston

Owners of properties in portions of 18 blocks spreading roughly between Spring, Winter, Hemphill, and Johnson streets in the First Ward have 2 more weeks to decide if they want their properties to form a new historic district — and then, if the experiences of other would-be historic districts is any guide, a fair amount of time to squabble over the outcome after that. An application for what’s being called the High First Ward Historic District was submitted to the city in early December. Owners of property in the neighborhood have until February 24 either to return their ballots to the city or use them for papier-mâché. To be approved, the district would need 67 percent of owners in the district to vote yes; ballots that aren’t returned will be counted as votes against. If that percentage isn’t reached within the outlines shown in the map of the proposed district above, the city could carve out a smaller district for historic-district protection where the votes support it.

Map: Planning & Development Dept.

Voting Has Begun
09/12/13 4:45pm

It appears that Hines and Ziegler Cooper have changed their plans a bit for that 33-story mixed-use tower to go catty-corner from Market Square Park. The new drawing at the top was submitted earlier today to the Historical Commission; the drawing at the bottom, you’ll remember, was the original.

Additionally, the application for a Certificate of Appropriateness to build here in the historic Main Street Market Square District also includes 2 full elevations of the building — described as a 25-story, 289-unit apartment tower perched atop an 8-story podium, with 7 levels of parking and ground-floor retail:


08/22/13 4:30pm

Hines and Ziegler Cooper have presented this drawing (and several maps and site plans) to the Historical Commission in their bid to build a 33-story residential tower on the Downtown block bound by Preston, Prairie, Main, and Travis, catty-corner from Market Square Park. Unfortunately, there’s no image available of the whole thing. (You’ll have to extrapolate upward, as they say.) But the application materials for a Certificate of Appropriateness to build in the Main Street Market Square historic district show that the once-rumored tower would comprise 25 stories and 289 residential units atop a 7-level podium parking garage atop 1 level of retail on the street.

That parking garage would be accessed from Travis St., right next to Frank’s Pizza and the former Cabo spot. (Which will become El Big Bad soon enough.) The tower, as drawn, appears to inch toward this block’s other buildings: There’s Georgia’s Market in the old Byrd’s Department Store on the corner, the 1924 Alfred C. Finn-designed State National Bank Building and the 1925 Public National Bank Building, all of which face Main St.

After the jump, you can see a site plan: