08/01/16 4:30pm

Revised Plans for Heights Central Station, Heights Blvd. at 11th St., Houston Heights

Fresh from the architects (Kirksey), here are revised plans (above) for Heights Central Station, the retail-and-office center MFT Interests is planning for the site at the corner of Heights Blvd. and 11th St. (and Yale) in the Heights where the former main post office for the Heights still sits, awaiting its fate. And whaddya know, the strip-mall-style parking that in the previous plan for the new development was shown fronting Yale and 11th St. has now been stripped away, allowing twin 10,000-ish-sq.-ft. 2-story buildings to front 11th St., right on up to the sidewalk:


Heights Station
03/08/16 2:30pm

Renovation of Sunset Coffee Building at Allen's Landing, Downtown, Houston, 77002

A shiny new cistern is now in place at the former Sunset Coffee building at Allen’s Landing, which Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Houston First have been redeveloping into an office-topped boat-and-bike-rental spot.  The 1910 coffee roasting facility has once again donned walls after moving past a Summer 2014 minimalist phase, and is currently decked out in a muted Café du Monde orange.

The no-longer-see-through structure is back to limiting the view from the Harris County Jail across the bayou (visible on the far right, above). A set of stairs are in place alongside the new cistern, along with railings around what appears to be the planned rooftop terrace.


Nearing Launch at Allen’s Landing
02/29/16 3:00pm

Mural at former Heights Finance Station Post Office, 1050 Yale St., Houston Heights

The recently dumped Heights Finance Station post office at Yale and 11th streets was treated to a makeover this month, as demolition looms on the horizon. If all goes as planned, the building will eventually be brushed aside to make way for the younger-and-likely-prettier Heights Central Station mixed-use shopping center headed for the site; until then, it’s playing canvas for some Houston graffiti artists, including Wiley Robertson (one of the usual suspects behind giant love notes spotted around town).

A reader sends a fresh batch of lunchtime snapshots of the mural, which seems to have been wrapped up in the last few days:


Love Is In The Aerosol
12/11/15 3:30pm

Ivy Lofts Rendering, Leeland at Live Oak, East Downtown, Houston
In keeping with the project’s general theme of creative use of space, designs for the Ivy Lofts highrise put all of the building’s exterior crannies and levels to work.  Renderings show at least 9 variously-sized and -sheltered rooftops and outdoor spaces incorporated into the plan for the proposed tower, whose teensy condo floorplans will start at 300 sq. ft.

Developers are already setting up a sales room in a former grocery store warehouse on the site (located on the block between Live Oak, Leeland, Nagle, and a discontinuous stretch of Pease), not far from coffin-factory-turned-craft-store Texas Art Asylum. Novel Creative Development hopes to sell all of the tiny condo units before contractors break ground in June on the tower (pictured from the south below):


East Downtown
12/01/15 1:30pm

Meteor, 2306 Genesee St, Montrose, Houston

Wholesale changes could be coming to East Montrose next summer, if all goes according to the grand lower-Fairview plans of restaurateur-turned-developer Fred Sharifi. The stated goal for his latest development — planned along 3 blocks of Fairview stretching from Taft to Genesee — is to bring a little more diurnal activity to the area, better known for its narrow, potholed streets and vibrant nightlife. That nightlife seems likely to dim, as the new plans call for the eventual extinguishing of Meteor, a mainstay of Houston’s drag community.

“We are not going to have any bars in the neighborhood,” Sharifi recently told Mark Boyle of KPRC, apparently classifying his own Max’s Wine Dive on Fairview at Taft as either beyond the neighborhood or not a bar. Sharifi’s other nearby holdings on Fairview include Gratifi and Cuchara, the Mexico City-style restaurant with rule cards for kiddos.

A 5- or 6-story parking garage perched atop 10,000 sq. ft. of office and retail space (labeled “E” in the rendering below), is proposed for the Meteor site at 2302-2308 Genesee St.:


East Montrose Overhaul
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
06/12/15 12:45pm

Construction of 350 Degrees Bakery, 2009 Polk St. at Chartres St., East Downtown, Houston

East Downtown residents have been following the construction of a 2-story steel-framed structure going up on the corner of Polk St. and Chartres St., just beyond the I-69 overpass from the backside of the George R. Brown Convention Center. Photos sent to Swamplot show some of the framing going up last week (above) and a more recent view from the frontage at 2009 Polk St. (below).


350 Degrees and Up
05/21/15 1:00pm

Lightning Logistics and SpindleTap Brewery, 10622 Hirsch Rd., Northside, Houston

Beer and trucking: 2 great Texas pastimes will unite under one roof this September, once the brand new SpindleTap Brewery opens up its brewing operation and tavern inside the brand-new tilt-up warehouse at 10622 Hirsch Rd. built for trucking company Lightning Logistics (pictured here under construction in a photo from February). SpindleTap’s facility is taking up 10,000 of the building’s 70,000 sq. ft., reports the Houston Business Journal‘s Joe Martin. (It’ll also include an outdoor patio space and possibly a dog run.) Much of the remainder of the building, which is located just south of Little York, a superblock east of I-69, will serve as headquarters for Lightning Logistics’s 250-truck fleet.


05/08/15 3:30pm

Rendering of Proposed Whole Foods Market in Pearl on Smith Apartments, 3100 Smith St. at Elgin, Midtown, Houston

Now we know why the Morgan Group, the developer that applied for a variance last year to allow for a Pearl on Smith apartment complex to fit onto the block surrounded by Elgin, Smith, Brazos, and Rosalie streets, later withdrew the request: To expand the project so that it could include a 40,000-sq.-ft. Whole Foods Market on its ground floor. And here’s a rendering of the design of the whole thing by Houston’s Ziegler Cooper Architects.


Pearl on Smith on Elgin
04/29/15 5:00pm



The asking price for the Heights Theater on bustling 19th St. in Houston Heights in today’s live-or-work listing is $1.9 million. The owners last toe-tested the reel deal in 2008, at $1.3 million. In the interim, surrounding neighborhoods have tipped even more hip. Though the future of the historic (but not protected) property is up for grabs, its past scrolls like an old film roll, with scenes of early prosperity, seedy decline, suspected arson, and restoration.

The exterior’s revamp earned the current owners a Good Brick Award 20-ish years ago. The interior, a shell space since its near destruction by fire in 1969, has been used for live theater, retail, events, and galleries. In the former lobby’s crossroads sits an original projector (top), a sculpture standing as both a testament and witness to passing eras.


Film House for Sale
04/23/15 12:00pm

Landry's Proposed Post Oak Hotel Complex, 1600 West Loop South, Galleria, Houston

“Remember, I’m the guy that took the old fire station and made it an aquarium,” Tilman Fertitta explains to Nancy Sarnoff. “I took the old Flagship and made it the Pleasure Pier. I took an old fishing village and made it the Kemah Boardwalk.” All of which might help explain the simple concept behind the Landry’s CEO’s latest venture: taking a surface parking lot next to the Landry’s corporate headquarters near the Galleria and turning it into a 35-story hotel-apartment-office-tower with a 2-story auto showroom in front, then filling out the rest of the 10-acre site with a parking garage and couple of pad-site restaurants facing the West Loop southbound feeder.

A row of 4 large lit-up diamonds facing east across the freeway will festoon the forehead of the Gensler-designed tower at 1600 West Loop South. Fertitta calls the not-really-a-sign a “subtle message.” It’s meant to stand in for the 4 diamond shapes in the Landry’s logo — dining, hospitality, entertainment, and gaming — though until a few pesky laws can be changed not all can be offered on site.


Landry’s Post Oak
04/20/15 5:15pm



When the listing of an expansive 2002 property in Spring says it has an “oversized, attached” garage, believe it. In this case, it’s referring to the airplane hangar in back (top). The mixed-use building’s informal first level features residential floorspace with aviation storage just steps away. The more formal living space upstairs has a bird’s-eye view of the inventory (top). Runway access to David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport is immediately adjacent to the property, which is located, fittingly, off Steubner-Airline Rd. and north of Spring-Cypress Rd. Since February, a re-listing has held to a steady course pointed toward $3.5 million, the asking price set in a November-to-January initial sortie.


Plane and Simple
03/27/15 1:00pm

13501 Katy Fwy., Energy Corridor, Houston

Here are pics of some of the clearing work PM Realty Group has been orchestrating along the south side of I-10 between Eldridge and Hwy. 6. The company bought the headquarters of the ExxonMobil Chemical Company at 13501 Katy Fwy. in late 2013, and announced plans for a mixed-use development including office towers, apartments, a hotel, a fitness center, restaurants, and convenience retail” on the 35-acre site. ExxonMobil was scheduled to exit the building (pictured below) this year:


Scrubbing ExxonChemical
03/18/15 4:30pm



Looking a bit like a bricked-up, tricked out Americanized Florentine chapel, a solidly built property facing N. Main St. east of I-45 could swing either way. The property would work as a home or office, the listing suggests. (The second level could be a separate unit.) In a relisting this week after a 9-month break from the market, the undecided property knocked more than $100K off its previous ask, bringing the price tag to $249K. Back in May 2014, the sellers wanted $355K. But even that price was a second whittle for the property. It had first hit the market in June 2012 at $485K, but several adjustments had brought the price down to $385K before the listing expired 6 months later. In other words, the property is available now for just over half of the previous offering’s peak price.


On the Line
02/20/15 11:45am

NO PARKING VARIANCE FOR HEIGHTS MERCANTILE RETAIL REDO ON 7TH AND YALE Proposed Heights Mercantile Retail and Office Complex,  7th St. at Yale St., Houston HeightsDespite a recommendation from the planning department staff to allow the development to proceed with significantly fewer parking places than required by ordinance, the planning commission yesterday denied a parking variance for the proposed Heights Mercantile mixed-use building complex along 7th St. between Yale St. and Heights Blvd., the longtime site of a warehouse complex for the Pappas Restaurant group. The Finial Group, the project’s developers, had hoped to be allowed to count 58 existing head-in public parking spaces along 7th St., many of them fronting the MKT Hike and Bike Trail, toward the development’s off-street parking requirements. [Previously on SwamplotRendering of proposed new building along Yale St.: Michael Hsu Office of Architecture