09/15/16 2:45pm

O'Quinn Medical Building, 6624 Fannin St., Medical Center, Houston, 77030

The double hypodermic needles atop the Cesar Pelli-designed O’Quinn Medical Building have just gotten brightened up: a lighting designer from FUSE sends Swamplot these bare-all shots of the Madonna tower’s roof following the company’s just-wrapped installation of a new LED setup around the tips. Down below, Texas Children’s Hospital announced earlier this week that it has bought the tower from Baylor-slash-St.-Luke’s, along with a Baylor outpatient clinic down the street. Texas Children’s told the Chronicle that it isn’t planning to boot tenants until they can move into that under construction campus on Cambridge St., somewhere around 2020.

Nor does the new owner have plans to change the tower’s name right away — though many of the physicians who petitioned against the building’s O’Quinn christening in 2005 aren’t likely to mind if they do. At the time, dozens of doctors signed a document insisting that the current namesake, Houston’s own John O’Quinn (of fen-phen and breast implant lawsuit fame), “bears partial responsibility for the litigious environment in which we work,” and that it was offensive “to have money we earned — and which he took by suing us — going to name after him a medical building in which we work every day.”

The sunset shot above looks west across the Rice campus (that’s the stadium that played backdrop to JFK’s go-to-the-moon speech, given 54 years ago this past Monday, on the right above the octagonal base); the itty-bitty silhouette of the distant Williams Tower can be seen poking up from the horizon on the left. Here’s the tip itself, so close you can almost see the filament in the flashing bulb:


Feeling Shiny and New on Fannin
07/01/15 10:00am

1925 E. T.C. Jester Blvd., Shady Acres, Houston

1925 E. T.C. Jester Blvd., Shady Acres, HoustonA reader notes there’s been some construction activity in and around the entrance and rear drive-thru window of the former Eckerd-turned-CVS Pharmacy along the White Oak Bayou Trail at the corner of T.C. Jester and 18th St., on the west coast of Shady Acres. That’s a notable turn of events: The building has been vacant for about 5 years. The standalone structure’s prospective new tenant appears to be another SignatureCare Emergency Center — last week, a note on the website for the local chain of health clinics had listed 1925 E. T.C. Jester Blvd. as the location of its upcoming “Heights” facility, but the address has since been removed.


06/23/15 4:30pm

Demolition of 2499 Ella Blvd., Shady Acres, Houston

Demolition of 2499 Ella Blvd., Shady Acres, Houston

This was the scene over the weekend at 2499 Ella Blvd., at the corner of 25th St. in Shady Acres — as photographed by a Swamplot reader. The vacant former Ella Family Medicine clinic building, known also more recently as the home of the Fulton Pharmacy, is no more.

Photos: Veronica Jones

Weekend Clearance
03/11/15 1:45pm

Medical Office Building, 7620 Bellfort St., Glenbrook Valley, Houston

Real estate agent Robert Searcy sends in make-’em-look-pretty pics of a few of the small Modern office buildings to be found along Bellfort St. between Telephone Rd. and Broadway in Glenbrook Valley. The buildings were built in the 1960s, many of them to serve doctors connected to the former Southeast Memorial Hospital on the northwest corner of Bellfort St. and Glenloch. (Later operated by Riverside General Hospital as its Edith Irby Jones Campus, the structure was torn down a few years ago after suffering extensive damage from Hurricane Ike.)

Pictured above: The Bellfort Women’s Care Clinic at 7620 Bellfort, formerly the office of Dr. Hans Altinger, who also lived in Glenbrook Valley. Next on the tour:


Some of the Doctors Are In
04/17/14 11:00am

Proposed New Trauma Building, Memorial Hermann Hospital System Texas Medical Center Campus, Cambridge St. and Taub Rd., Texas Medical Center, Houston

Included in the $650 million expansion and renovation of its Texas Medical Center campus approved by the Memorial Hermann Health System last month: the new, presumably 16-story patient care building across the street from Hermann Park and the Houston Zoo shown at the lower left of the rendering above. It’ll be on the corner of Cambridge St. (renamed from North MacGregor Dr. a while back, while you weren’t paying attention) and Taub Rd. Partially hidden behind it in the image above is a new parking-and-mechanical structure to go with it.


More Beds for the Med Center
01/07/14 3:00pm

Baylor Hospital Bldg., 7200 Cambridge St., Houston

The shiny new building on the northwest corner of Old Spanish Trail and Cambridge St. south of the Texas Medical Center that the Baylor College of Medicine built but then let sit as an empty shell for nearly 4 years will soon be filled with hospital beds, the institution announced today. And the complex will eventually become the new home of the successor to the Texas Medical Center’s St. Luke’s Hospital. Catholic Health Initiatives, which has its headquarters in Denver, bought the entire St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System last May for $2 billion; a new nonprofit joint venture between CHI St. Luke’s Health and Baylor will operate the new 250-bed hospital, which will be inserted into the structure’s vacant floors by next spring and bear the unwieldy name of Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center McNair Campus.

The same joint venture will also run the existing 850-bed St. Luke’s hospital on Bertner Ave., now conveniently known as the Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center TMC. But that Texas Medical Center institution appears to be going south: A yet-to-be-created master plan and timeline will guide the eventual replacement of that facility — it’ll move south of Brays Bayou to the McNair Campus, which is outside the official boundaries of the Texas Medical Center:


Back to Health
10/07/13 12:00pm

A NEW MIXTURE OF USES FOR THE OLD SPRING BRANCH MED CENTER The proud new owners of the 300,000-sq.-ft. Spring Branch Medical Center say they plan to flip the 18-acre property on Long Point Rd. into a residential and retail development. Investor Bruce Phillips tells the Houston Chronicle that the old medical buildings, most of which were built in the ’80s, might not have to come down to make the change happen and could be repurposed. The purchase was led by BlackSwan, which is also developing with Stream Realty that 25-story office tower near Washington on Waugh and Barnes. [Houston Chronicle ($); previously on Swamplot] Photo: MAM Jobs Network

09/04/13 10:00am

Royce White might never have suited up for the Houston Rockets, spending most of his rookie season toiling in the D-League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and — umm, tweeting, but it appears he has found a way to contribute to the city. Last week, White — who suffers from generalized anxiety disorder — announced that his foundation, Anxious Mind’s, which he started when he was playing college ball at Iowa State, will partner with Bee Busy Wellness Clinic to open a free mental health facility on W. Bellfort. The clinic will also provide dental services and primary care and will open this January inside the Rubik’s Cube-like former Frank Neighborhood Library at 6440 W. Bellfort, shown here, just west of Westbury and Meyerland. White played in only 16 games last season; he was caught up in disputes with Rockets management about travel arrangements — he hates to fly — and team doctors. In July, he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Photo: Allyn West

07/31/13 10:00am

Here’s the latest rendering of the once-protested Parc Binz development that’s going up on the corner of Binz and Chenevert in Museum Park. Prime Property reports that this mixed-use building, designed by Energy Architecture, should be all ready by the end of the year. During construction, though, the scale of it seems to have shrunk: Originally proposed to stand 6 stories and have 75,000-sq.-ft. of office, retail, and medical space, Sarnoff sizes what is actually being built at 50,000 sq. ft., and this brighter new rendering shows only 5 floors.

You can compare it with the previous one — featuring a solitary fellow brooding in the gloaming out on the terrace — after the jump:


07/17/13 4:30pm

Construction is well underway at the site of the torn-down Studewood Fiesta on the Village of the Heights. This updated (and softer) rendering shows the 4-story, 103-unit senior living facility as seen from near the intersection of 14th and Studewood; it will be bordered on the north by Algregg. A rep from developer Bridgewood Properties — which operates 3 similar facilities in Houston — says that the 1st floor will be devoted to a clinic for “memory care,” and the 2nd floor will include a fitness center, library, beauty salon, and assisted-living suites; the top 2 floors will be reserved for apartments, ranging from 1-bedroom, 524-sq.-ft. spaces to 2-bedroom, 753-sq.-ft. ones.


05/23/13 11:10am

That excavator first rolled out here on La Branch and Binz last summer — and 11 months later this is how the site looks: Catty-corner from the Children’s Museum, the Museum Point Professional Building appears to be all but complete. The 4-story building at 1401 Binz was originally planned to be 30,000-sq.-ft., with retail on the first floor, a clinic and offices on the middle floors, and some kind of residence (“with a garden terrace”) up top. A 160-car parking garage was also planned.


05/15/13 4:05pm

This is the rendering for Harbor Hospice, what Three Square Design Group and Camden Construction are saying they hope will serve as a kind of template for similar facilities to be built in Texas and Louisiana. The whole 24,000-sq.-ft. thing will have room for 32 beds and a 5,000-sq.-ft. outpatient clinic; Real Estate Bisnow’s Catie Dixon reports that construction could begin as early as this summer. A site plan from Camden shows the hospice going up outside the Loop southeast of Sunnyside, across from the Houston Amateur Sports Park on Mowery Rd. That’s west of Hwy. 288, between Airport Blvd. and W. Orem.

Rendering: Camden Construction

02/15/13 4:08pm

Ah, Friday: Why not take a stroll down Binz St. in the Museum District and have a look at what’s going on? Let’s head east from here: the corner of La Branch and Binz, near the Children’s Museum.

Our guide, Swamplot reader David Hollas, provides the photos and the observations:


01/31/13 10:30am

One-stop shopping: you can see the signage and new (and presumably sterile) cabinetry through the second-floor windows of The Centre at River Oaks (in Upper Kirby, in fact), where a 25,000-sq.-ft. branch of Texas Children’s Hospital and Pediatric Associates is expected to open in March; the makeover of the shopping center at West Alabama and Kirby began last summer; Ainbinder announced that Ulta Beauty would be operating out of the first floor of the bankrupt Borders; Texas Children’s will sit atop both Ulta Beauty and Brio Tuscan Grille.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

07/06/12 1:35pm

UT’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center plans to build this 8-ish story pavilion, called The Pavilion, in front of the Alkek hospital at the corner of Bertner and Bates streets in the Med Center — replacing the pavilion-like rotunda that stands there now. The new building will house the center’s interventional radiology department (on its third floor) as well as 11 new operating rooms. The 185,000-sq.-ft. structure, designed by Dallas’s HKS, includes 2 partial-height floors for maintenance above the operating rooms plus a mechanical floor at the top. Construction is expected to cost $102 million, and be complete by the end of 2015. An accompanying $96 million renovation of the adjacent Alkek hospital will extend into 2019.

Rendering: HKS, via M.D. Anderson