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:


06/28/13 12:30pm

AN ONLINE HOW-TO GUIDE FOR HOUSTON’S WOULD-BE PRESERVATIONISTS The Planning and Development Department has just launched a website that helps navigate the finicky process of historic preservation. It’s still under construction, of course, but the website works like a manual, explaining, among other things, how to plan a project and obtain those all-important Certificates of Appropriateness. If you’re not into the nuts and bolts of preservation, the website includes a map of the city’s 17 historic districts — including Glenbrook Valley, where this mod at 7919 Glenview was recently restored. Each district is given a little narrative treatment, with drawings of architectural styles and descriptions of pertinent building features included. And if you have no idea what a modillion or a soffit is, there’s even a glossary. [City of Houston Historic Preservation Manual; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Benjamin Hill Photography

05/22/13 2:00pm

This li’l Victorian on Kane St. dates to 1890 — that’s according to the plaque by the door. (You can’t miss it.) In the Old Sixth Ward south of Washington and east of Sawyer St., this lot at 2211 Kane actually has 2 houses — the historic one you see here front and slightly off-center and another at the back of the 5,000-sq.-ft. property. Each has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, accented throughout by stained glass and staged for the listing with wine glasses. The price for the two of ’em? $319,000.


05/10/13 3:45pm

When it sold in mid-April at $435,000, this gated property in the Houston Heights’ West Historic District came with a pair of apartment units. Now, the 1914 Dutch Colonial with swing-friendly porch is back on the market, asking $289,900 for a skinnier lot and what appears to be only the charming redo-ready main residence.


04/24/13 10:00am

Maybe they’re not ready for tenants to move in, but these Fourth Ward shotgun houses seem to have avoided demolition and potential displacement to find a new home in Freedman’s Town. Originally located on Victor St., just a few blocks south of this formerly vacant lot at 1414 Robin St., the 3 houses weren’t doing much at the rear of the site of the proposed 5-story mixed-use Dolce Living development. A rep from the Fourth Ward Redevelopment Authority says that the houses were donated to the authority by the owners and will be preserved and renovated into low-income housing; designs for the new bathrooms and porches are already underway, the rep says.


03/12/13 10:00am

Last week, owners Cheryl and David Bowman of 7919 Glenview Dr. were given a Good Brick Award from Preservation Houston for their renovation of this 1954 mod — one of the original 6, says Cheryl Bowman, built in Glenbrook Valley. Purchased in March 2011, the 2-bedroom, 1,834-sq.-ft. home, shown here from the backyard, wasn’t always such a pretty picture . . .


PRESERVATION TEXAS DECLARES GERMANTOWN “SAVED” Remember that City Council approved the historic designation of the former Grota Homestead Neighborhood on December 5, naming the area northwest of Downtown just between Houston Ave. and I-45 the Germantown Historic District? First placed in 2006 on Preservation Texas’s list of Most Endangered Historic Places, says a press release, Germantown was declared by the organization in a ceremony yesterday — or Preservation Day, as it was called in Austin — to be “a saved site.” [Preservation Texas] Photo of Germantown bungalows: David Bush

02/06/13 9:30am

LBJ wuz here: Built in 1904, this 3,161-sq.-ft. home on the corner of Hawthorne and Garrott in the Westmoreland Historic District gave the future president a place to crash in 1931 when he was teaching public speaking and coaching the debate team at Sam Houston High School.

In March 2011, the house was put on the market for the first time in 90 years; the price climbed to almost $619,000 that June. It sat for a year, going for just under $285,000. Renovations began that summer. And the house returned 9 days ago with a new MLS number, new photos, and a new historically low — for this place, anyway — price: $569,900.


01/28/13 4:15pm

A City of Houston rep tells Swamplot that 3 of the 10 Freedman’s Town shotgun houses on Victor St. between Gillette and Bailey will be relocated in the Fourth Ward. (The photo shows a shingle-stripped one up on a trailer and ready to go.) A permit to demolish them was granted in 2011, but the city rep says that the owners have since agreed to donate some of the houses to the Fourth Ward Redevelopment Authority, which says it has plans to move them to a lot they own at 1414 Robin and rehab them into low-income housing. Swamplot reported this morning that the West Gray lot where the rowhouses are now located has been pegged for a 5-story mixed-use midrise called Dolce Living.

Photo: Chris C

12/03/12 12:17pm

The asking price of a property in the Avondale (West) Historic District has been dropping $500 per day since its latest relisting on Thanksgiving Day. A pre-holiday hiatus had capped a 2-year sales effort at several price points by various agents and agencies. The 1910 home and grounds are described as part of the estate of Ross Sterling, a former governor of Texas (1931-32) and founder of Humble Oil, which later became the far humbler ExxonMobil.


08/28/12 1:36pm

As Federal-style homes go, this ivy-clad example on North Blvd. in Edgemont has a pedigree that earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places. An understated bronze plaque displayed discreetly beneath a demilune portico says so, but doesn’t elaborate. The 1925 home’s design is reportedly the work of C.B. Schoeppl & Co., whose efforts can also be found in a NRHP pair on Westmoreland Ave., as well as in a few other older Houston neighborhoods. Listed a couple of weeks ago for $1.9 million, this green-roofed home at the eastern end of the Boulevard Oaks Historic District sits back from — and a bit above — the tree-lined esplanade along North Blvd. But its corner-lot address is a tad shy of the double-allees of live oaks found a half-block to the east, in Broadacres.


01/04/12 10:08pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BALLAD OF THE FOURTH WARD “Freedman’s town is not a historic district under the City’s historic preservation ordinance. In fact, it is an excellent example of why historic districts are needed. Freedman’s town was where freed slaves settled after emancipation. The land was crap due to the flooding from the bayous. The residents built roads out of brick made by hand and constructed utilities. They basically built a thriving community out of swampland with their own hands. The area decayed and turned into crack town in the 1980s. In the late 1980s, Residents and activists were able to put over 500 buildings on the national register of historic places. Today, less than 30 of those buildings remain. And the effort to preserve the shot gun shacks was based on the historic and cultural value of the buildings, not just for the architecture. Had Freedman’s town had the protection of the current historic ordinance and a fraction of the kind of tax assistance that goes to stadiums, grand parkways and Walmarts, a significant piece of American history could have been saved and become a national tourist destination along the lines of Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. . . .” [Old School, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: Dixie Chuck]