07/05/16 10:00am

Former KBR Campus, 4100 Clinton Dr., Fifth Ward, Houston

Whatever’s in store for the 136-acre former KBR site along the the Ship Channel at 4100 Clinton Dr., CityCentre developer Midway now looks to be involved. Documents filed with the county clerk’s office near the end of May reveal that Cathexis Holdings recently sold the site to KBRN, an entity connected to Midway through a recently minted corporate partnership (and officially located down the hall from Midway’s CityCentre office.)

And might Midway — which also heads the team that turned failed Downtown Mall Houston Pavilions into GreenStreet, and is developing the Kirby Grove park-and-office-building complex along the banks of the Southwest Fwy. in Upper Kirby — have some big office-shopping-residential-and-park-y plans in mind for this vast property, which lies about a mile and a half downstream from Downtown? A couple of clues are out there:


Sold on the Ship Channel
01/19/16 12:30pm

UT Houston Campus Site, Buffalo Lakes, Houston

The deal is sealed on the University of Texas’s purchase of a 100-acre hunk of land south of South Main St. as of last Friday. The sale marks the first concrete move toward UT’s planned Houston campus, though closings on the parcel patchwork comprising the rest of the 300-ish ac. likely won’t wrap up until early 2017, according to a press release from the school’s Office of Public Affairs.

The sold land is a forested tract northwest of the wiggly intersection of Willowbend Dr. and Buffalo Spdwy.; the property is split along a northwest-southeast diagonal by a linear drainage feature which makes an appearance in those preliminary campus designs (shown from the north in the image above).

That land was owned previously by Buffalo Lakes Ltd., an entity associated with UT grad John Kirksey of Kirksey Architecture. A plan for a Buffalo Lakes master-planned community (see below) was drawn up more than 4 years ago by Kirksey for the same space:


South Main Master Plans
06/11/15 1:00pm


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.


Fourth Ward
12/18/14 4:38pm

BIG NEWS ON WASHINGTON AVE memorial-heights-apartments-studewood300Update, 12/19/2016: A representative from Midway tells Swamplot that Midway didn’t buy the complex — it’s just been managing it for the folks who did (the Gordy family). This article has been updated. Archstone Memorial Heights, that 556-unit apartment complex at 201 S. Heights on 23.4 acres of Washington Corridor land (seen here pre-renovation 2 years ago), has been sold. The buyers? Midway Cos. and the Lionstone Group. Midway is perhaps best-known locally for its mixed-used CityCentre development and the Hotel Sorella. [RE Business Online] Photo: Charles Kuffner

12/17/14 10:30am

THE SPJST IS NOT CZECHING OUT OF SHADY ACRES, ACCORDING TO LODGE CHAIRMAN spjst-beall-st-300entryTalk of an upcoming sale of the SPJST Lodge #88 is no more than just talk, according to the lodge’s chairman of the board Mildred Holeman. “The consensus has been that it will not be sold at any price,” she tells the Houston Chronicle‘s Craig Hlavaty, referring to an ongoing mail-in election to decide whether or not the Czech heritage fraternal organization, dance hall, party venue and once-a-week bingo parlor will remain on the 9-acre Shady Acres site at 1435 Beall St. it will have occupied for 50 years next year. Holeman, 88 and a real estate agent, also dishes details on the property’s suitors: townhome developers who have offered the organization $10 million. Long-term lodge member Lindsey Michalak-Kindall did not share Holeman’s assurance of a secure future for the lodge. She tells Hlavaty that the explanation letter and ballot went out too late for members to learn of the one and only meeting to discuss the possible sale — last weekend, only a day or two after most members received the letter and ballot. She also characterized the letter as “doom and gloom” and blase about what would happen to the lodge if the property was sold. All ballots must be in the organization’s Temple, Texas head office by December 31, with an announcement of the election’s result coming at January’s Houston membership meeting. [Houston Chronicle, previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox.)

10/20/14 2:00pm

115 Arnold St., Rice Military, Houston

The steel-framed doubled-up home at 115 Arnold St. in Rice Military (pictured above) owned by Houston restaurateur Ouisie Jones and her husband Harry Jones earned its demolition permit yesterday, a few months after the property was sold to a developer — for $2.2 million. (It was asking $2.65 million this past March, when Swamplot featured it.) The 24,915-sq.-ft. property is being joined with the slightly larger plot of land under the adjacent warehouse building at 5202 Chandler St. to make space for an F-shaped 22-townhome development.


Redevelopment on the Menu
09/16/14 3:45pm

Post Oak Park Townhomes, Post Oak Park Dr. at River Hollow Ln., Post Oak Park, Houston

Sources have indicated to Swamplot that all 102 separately owned units of a townhome development behind the Park Towers office complex on the West Loop have been sold. The 5.3969-acre site currently occupied by the Post Oak Park Townhomes (shown in the photo above) had been marketed for sale by CBRE. One source tells Swamplot the buyer of the condo development is a “foreign investor,” and that unspecified highrise buildings are reportedly planned for the property.


Condo Selloff
04/02/14 4:45pm

Vacant Lot at 3510 Sherman St. at York St., East End, Houston

Spotted on a reader’s drive to Champ Burger: the newly vacant almost-an-acre lot at the corner of York and Sherman streets east of East Downtown, where the New Era Nursing and Rehab facility at 3510 Sherman St. was recently demolished. An entity controlled by Lovett Homes developer Frank Liu purchased the property last October.


Lovett Gotta
03/05/14 11:00am

Midtown Community Garden, 2720 Baldwin at Drew St., Midtown, Houston

The barbecue scheduled for this coming Sunday at the Midtown Community Garden at Drew and Baldwin has been canceled, along with all attendant fruit and vegetable growth. On account of: The property’s been sold. Harvest time will have to be quick: A for-sale sign  quietly appeared early last month outside the 13,000-sq.-ft. green space, which had been operating as an allotment garden for 3 years. “Just as quickly,” a source tells Swamplot, a SOLD placard was slapped on it. The listing, with an asking price set at $799K, described the property tersely as an “amazing opportunity.” A buyer has now claimed it.

How much notice would the new owner give the gardeners? Late yesterday afternoon, members of the gardening collective received an abrupt email from the organization’s president announcing that — by request of the new owner — everyone will need to get out, by the scheduled closing date. That’s tomorrow, March 6th.


Garden Turnover
12/20/13 12:00pm

Grocers Supply, 3000 Hicks St., Houston

Grocers Supply, 3000 Hicks St., Houston

The group that completed the purchase of a 15-acre agglomeration of tracts at the southwest corner of I-10 and Studemont this week says it’s planning a mixed-use development for the site, including an apartment complex. Most of the land was owned by Grocers Supply, which has operated a 232,352-sq.-ft. produce warehouse and big-rig parking lot there for 42 years. The facility at 3000 Hicks St. is yet another chunk in the First Sixth Ward-area once-industrial swath south of the Heights that’s been turning to big-box-flavored retail bit by bit over the last decade, and now stretches from Target on the east near Sawyer to Walmart just west of Yale St. Here’s an aerial view of that district from 1990, when it was still entirely industrial (you can see the western edges of Downtown in the background):


A Couple Years To Think About It
09/10/13 3:00pm

PRESERVATIONISTS PURCHASE DEER PARK PRAIRIE No thanks to Stephen Colbert, but enough money has rolled in from more than 1,000 donations — including $2 million from Terry Hershey — for the Bayou Land Conservancy to buy up those 53 acres of prairie near Luella Ave. and Spencer Hwy. in Deer Park and stave off a subdivision. Still, at least one question remains: What else is there to do with so much prairie? Lisa Gray explains: “The conservancy plans to donate the land to the Native Prairies Association of Texas, which would manage the health of the prairie and provide guided tours.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Video still: via Brian Traylor

09/04/13 12:00pm

PRESERVING THE DEER PARK PRAIRIE WITH SARDONIC TEEVEE POWER The mad dash to raise the $4 million to buy up 53 acres of the Deer Park Prairie and save it from development got an early $2 million boost from a minor Houston celebrity, long-time environmental activist Terry Hershey; now, with the landowner’s once-delayed deadline just a week away and $650,000 still needed, the Bayou Land Conservancy is appealing to an even higher power, reports Lisa Gray: “‘There is only one man who can save us now,’ proclaims the [conservancy’s] website . . . ‘Stephen Colbert!’ In hopes of winning a mention on ‘The Colbert Report’ and enjoying the resulting ‘Colbert bump’ in popularity, [the conservancy] urges prairie fans to rally the Comedy Central TV host to their cause.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Image: Bayou Park Conservancy

08/21/13 12:15pm

CHUNK OF CHANGE DELAYS DEER PARK PRAIRIE DEADLINE Apparently, the owner of that would-be-sold-and-developed 53-acre patch of prairie in Deer Park has been persuaded to give the Bayou Land Conservancy 3 more weeks to come up with the rest of the money to buy it. A $2 million donation from Terry Hershey helped the conservancy bring in $3.2 million in less than a week; still, $800,000 more is needed before Sept. 10, or the owner will sell to a homebuilder planning a subdivision. If it can close on the prairie, the conservancy says it “will place a conservation easement over the property to permanently protect the land — which would disallow the 250 houses currently planned for the acreage and any other future development.” [Bayou Land Conservancy; previously on Swamplot] Image: Bayou Park Conservancy

08/12/13 2:30pm

The Bayou Land Conservancy is really pushing to raise $4 million in the next week or so in order to outbid a homebuilder on a 50-acre patch of prairie in Deer Park. The video above is part of what the Houston Chronicle’s Lisa Gray describes as a “Hail Mary pass” to raise the money before August 20.

The sought-after patch is among the last 1 percent of the Gulf Coast’s original prairie, reports Gray. The conservancy has been attempting to raise the money to buy it for the past year and a half — an attempt that’s now being hastened by a recent $4.25-million offer from a developer with plans for a 201-home subdivision on the land near Spencer Hwy. and Luella Ave.

And what would the conservancy prefer for the prairie? Here’s Gray:

The prairie’s fans imagine a visitor’s center fashioned from a next-door ranch house. They imagine busloads of visiting schoolkids. They imagine research into the still-mysterious workings of the prairie biome. They imagine harvesting native seed, to be used in eco-conscious plantings in the area. They imagine Battle of San Jacinto re-enactments more realistic than those that take place at the battlefield itself.

Video: Bayou Land Conservancy

07/16/13 10:00am

Camp Strake, owned by the Houston arm of the Boy Scouts of America since the 1940s, is now under contract to Johnson Development, responsible for communities like Sienna Plantation in Missouri City and Imperial Sugar Land, to name just a couple. Nevertheless, Johnson Development declined to reveal any plans for the 2,083-acre lake-dotted property along the San Jacinto River and not quite 10 miles north of the new ExxonMobil headquarters. For what it’s worth, Jones Lang LaSalle did market the property to buyers as a master-planned community called Grand Lake Park, a plan for which you can see after the jump.