11/30/16 1:15pm

Construction of Hotel Alessandra, Fannin St. at Dallas St., GreenStreet, Houston, 77002

Second Proposed Design for Hotel Alessandra, GreenStreet, Downtown HoustonToday’s look at up-and-coming personified downtown highrises includes a reader’s fresh snap of Hotel Alessandra, which reached full height in August and has been filling out a bit since then. The latest rendering (released after the original question mark design was scrapped) depicts mostly the buildin’s glassier Dallas-St.-facing side; the shot up top is facing the structure’s beige-er south corner. Midway announced a few weeks after the Tax Day flood that the hotel wouldn’t be open in time for the Super Bowl after all, citing weather-related logistical issues. The developers are now planning to open up later on in 2017.

Meanwhile, at the opposite corner of the GreenStreet complex — where Polk and Caroline streets meet — Randall Davis’s Marlowe condo tower is getting off the ground behind The Dirt Bar and Reserve, at the edge of a sea of parked cars:

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Up and Out Around GreenStreet
10/28/16 10:15am

WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL TRUCE: REBUILD TEMPORARY STAGE TEMPORARILY, GO PERMANENT IN FEBRUARY Rendering of White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N. Main, Houston, 77009The city and the developers of White Oak Music Hall have hammered out an agreement over the outdoor stage situation, reports Erin Mulvaney: the temporary stage can come back up for the shows that have already been booked, and stay up through February. Then the freshly-permitted permanent stage will start going up — and a bunch of other conditions will have to be met, as detailed in a letter from the city to W2 partner Will Garwood on Wednesday. On the list: the construction of “38 bathrooms and 9 lavatories” (also permanent), and the use of a sound monitor at all outdoor events, which (other than next Wednesday’s planned outdoor Pet Shop Boys concert) will have to be on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Rendering of original outdoor stage plans: White Oak Music Hall

10/20/16 9:45am

CITY RED TAGS WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL FOR ILLEGAL OUTDOOR STAGE CONSTRUCTION Rendering of White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N. Main, Houston, 77009A city inspector issued a red tag to White Oak Music Hall on Tuesday to stop what appears to have been unpermitted construction work on a permanent outdoor stage, Zach Despart reports this morning. The venue’s permit for the long-term temporary stage it had been using for outdoor shows expired on October 5th, a few weeks after mayor Turner publicly nixed the organizers’ just-take-it-down-real-quick renewal plans; this week a real estate agent who lives in the area handed out photos to city council ostensibly showing that crews were already at work to put up a new structure, despite the plans for the stage still not having passed the city’s permitting review process. Despart also notes that a show previously billed on the outdoor stage for this Saturday is now marked on its ticket purchase page as planned for one of the venue’s indoor performance spaces. [Houston Press; previously on Swamplot] Original renderings of White Oak Music Hall with planned outdoor stage:  Schaum /Shieh

10/18/16 11:00am

Worcester's Annex site, 1433 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights, 77008

The Kirby Group folks (behind Midtown beer and cocktail bar Wooster’s Garden and those since-demolished converted funeral home bars in Upper Kirby) look to be setting up for their Worcester’s Annex cocktail project south of N. Shepherd and 15th St.  The new bar (which is taking off the linguistic gloves and using the full-on British spelling of the name) is being built on the far southern end of the former Longhorn Motor Company lot at 1433 N. Shepherd, previously tapped as the intended site of the Heights Bier Garten; Greg Morago reported this summer that the 2 developments would be near one another. The bar is going up across the street from legally-tangled tortilla factory La Espiga De Oro (which was infiltrated and raided by ICE officers last year, after which the company’s owners were indicted for allegedly hiring undocumented immigrants).

Photo: Worcester’s Annex

Seeding the Heights
09/14/16 4:45pm

Rendering of under-construction Kirby Collection, Kirby Dr. at Colquitt St., Upper Kirby, Houston

Rolling-sphere-themed restaurant and entertainment chain Pinstripes has just leased up some space in the under-construction Kirby Collection (and hey — there might even be some bocce players nearby still looking for a new court!) That’s the first confirmed tenant for the project, which Thor Equities wants to open by the end of next year; the 33,600 sq. ft. of leased space makes up around half of the total retail space available, and is split across both retail floors of the complex (shown in the foreground above, with a row of trees peeking down at Kirby Dr. from the edge of the roof). Pinstripes will take over a 7,260-sq.-ft. subdivision of first floor space, out of the segment labeled 23,900 in the ground floor plan below:

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Leasing Ball Rolling
09/06/16 11:00am

The Victoria Condo Midrise, 829 Yale St. Houston Heights, Houston, 77007

Renderings of The Victoria Condo Midrise, 829 Yale St. Houston Heights, Houston, 77007The balcony-loaded face of Fisher Home’s The Victoria condo midrise is now stretching up past the halfway mark of the structure’s planned Heights ascent, notes a reader. The 6 residential levels will sit atop a few above-and-below-ground parking levels, per the rendering that showed up in unit listings earlier this summer. Camelot Realty’s listing for the 40-unit property currently touts prices starting at $300,000 and a Christmas-time move-in date.

That’s the 1950s apartment complex at 821 Yale to the left in the drive-by shot at the top; here’s a snap of the building buddied up with the century-old home-turned-law-office at 833 Yale on the other side:

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Half-Height in the Heights
09/01/16 3:30pm

Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University, Houston, 77005

Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University, Houston, 77005The skirt of first-story glass now appears to be in place along the northern side of Rice University’s in-progress Moody Center for the Arts, per the shot above from Allyn West this week. The second photo, taken a few weeks before as part of a sunset set, shows the facade looking a little bit blue — the magnesium oxide coating covering the building’s exterior bricks picks up different colors in different light conditions, as Molly Glentzer notes, contrasting with the pinkish St. Joe bricks used throughout most of the rest of the campus (as demonstrated by the nearby Shepherd School, shown here peeking through the sculptural hole and pipeburst on the end of its new artsy neighbor).

The $30-million center should be done in February, according to last month’s announcements, and the building is starting to look a lot like the renderings released by Michael Maltzan Architecture: 

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Changing Campus Colors
08/31/16 4:00pm

Wharton T-Buildings at Gregory Lincoln Education Center, 1101 Taft St., Fourth Ward, 77019 Wharton T-Buildings at Gregory Lincoln Education Center, 1101 Taft St., Fourth Ward, 77019

A fresh batch of temporary buildings have recently made an appearance in the W. Dallas-adjacent field at the Gregory Lincoln Education Center, a reader notes. The buildings, some 21 in all, are a complete temporary campus set up for use by elementary school Wharton Dual Language Academy, whose own land less than half a mile away at W. Gray and Columbus streets is being turned over to construction crews for a $35.6-million expansion.  A 3-story building will be tacked onto the north side of the existing Wharton structure, closing off a new interior courtyard; below is a look through the renderings and floor plans for the expansion, as well as the layout for the anticipated 2-year-long of Gregory Lincoln squeeze-in:

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Sporting Something New
08/16/16 10:15am

Carvana, 10939 Katy Fwy., Memorial, Houston, 77079

The frame of the octagon-footed tower now rising at 10939 Katy Fwy. suggests that Carvana’s first Houston used vehicle vending machine may be a few stories taller than the 5-story Nashville machine that opened last year (the one featured dispensing a car in the mostly-online company’s noisy promotional video). Reader Tyler Battenfield sends the rainy day update above, showing the tower rising in place next to a more down-to-earth part of the structure, as shown in the construction plan preview that made its way to Swamplot back in early March:

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Katy Fwy. Auto Auto Dealership
05/24/16 12:30pm

9000 Main St., Reliant, Houston, 77025

That’s 5 stories of sticks now stacked up at 9000 Main St., the triangular former site of the Medical Inn & Suites complex that met its unmaker late last year. The property was bought in 2013 by an entity named Shree Shriji LLC, which shares an address with the Days Inn & Suites near Hobby Airport at 9114 Airport Blvd. The land sits a half block north of Broadmead Dr., directly across Main from Superbowl-prepping NRG Park’s parking lot (the one spanning between Murworth Dr. and McNee Rd.).

The land wasn’t empty for long following deconstructive operations — but another reader did manage to snap a view of the property back in January, when the freshly emptied spot provided a clear view all the way to the since-sold land 2 parcels north, where Regency Car Wash holds soapy court:

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More Rooms on Main St.
05/04/16 10:30am

Plan for Ivy District, Pearland, TX, 77583

Ralph Bivins tells Swamplot that lots of dirt is being shoved around on the foreclosed former site of the WaterLights District project, west of 288 and just south of the Beltway where all those heads of former heads of state used to hang out. Pearland’s Ivy District is now being planted on the site instead: plans for the $300-million development include a multifamily complex, condos, a senior living community, townhomes, office buildings, and room for retail.

Part of the project’s funding will come from the EB-5 visa program, which allows wealthy foreigners and their immediate families to immigrate to the US in exchange for a necessary investment expected to create at least 10 jobs. Sueba USA and Beijing-owned American Modern Green are developing the site; American Modern’s parent company Modern Land of China has worked on projects in China (including Steve Holl’s twisty Linked Hybrid in Beijing) and Vancouver, but the Ivy District is its first US venture.

American Modern Green bought the land straddling the Harris-Brazoria county line back in late 2012 following the 2010 foreclosure. Here’s the breakdown of what will go where, per the current plans on the Ivy District’s website:

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Planting in Pearland
03/02/16 10:15am

New HSPVA Building at Austin St. and Texas Ave., Downtown, Houston, 77002

The first act of construction of the new downtown facilities for the High School for Performing and Visual Arts featured an extended solo by a lone excavator supported by a small cluster of white vehicles, per photos of the site released yesterday. Work on the former parking lot bounded by Austin, Capitol, Caroline, and Rusk streets got the go-ahead in late February now that some budget issues are settled, according to HISD.

Here’s a ground-level shot that introduces a few more characters to the production — in this scene, the Excavator meets with the Man in Yellow, as a Blue Semi observes in stony silence:

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Encore on Austin St.
02/22/16 10:30am

Houston Bakery & Cafe, 1035 Quitman St., Northside, Houston, 77009

The past caught up with Houston Cafe & Bakery’s former location at the corner of Tackaberry and Quitman streets last week. The Mexican cafe and panaderia departed to a more northern, more strip-center location at 2435 Fulton St. back in 2015, when Houston ISD bought the Quitman property. A demo permit for the site was issued last Thursday, and by Friday the scene above was already playing out.

Across Tackaberry, soon-t0-be-renamed Jefferson Davis High School is in the early stages of a redo that will upgrade its 1926 building and add some new facilities for the school’s culinary arts and hotel management specialization. Finalized designs from Bay-IBI aren’t out yet, but a community meeting is planned for Thursday of this week, and demo work on some nearby houses has already been going on to make room for expansion.

Here’s a peek at a preliminary site plan from back in 2014, which shows the campus expanding across Tackaberry all the way to Fulton St.:

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Tackaberry Takeout
02/18/16 1:15pm

Future Seafarers International Union Hall, 501 N. York St., Second Ward, Houston, 77003

A reader shipped over these shots of the new Seafarers International Union Hall under construction at 501 N. York St., just south of the crossing of Buffalo Bayou (and of the name change to Hirsch Rd.). An entity called Seafarer’s Building Corporation bought the land from the Buffalo Bayou Partnership in March of last year; the bayou folks snagged it in 2001 from construction materials producer Lafarge, which acquired it as a General Portland cement facility in 1989. The property sits a block down N. York from bayou-side Tony Marron Park, itself immediately upstream of the Dan-Loc Group machining plant.

A close-up of the rendering posted at the job site at the corner with Freund St. shows an access ramp stretching along the N. York side of the property, as well as what appears to be a partially covered upstairs patio:

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Coming Together on N. York St.
02/04/16 4:30pm

Center for Science and Health Professions, University of St. Thomas, 3800 Montrose Blvd, Houston, 77006

Center for Science and Health Professions, University of St. Thomas, 3800 Montrose Blvd, Houston, 77006

Here’s a peek from Colquitt St. at the early stages of the new science and healthcare center shooting up where the University of St. Thomas’s athletics fields used to be. Construction kicked off back in November, and at least part of the complex is expected to be ready for action some time in 2017. First off the line in Phase I should be the nursing school, along with the biology and chemistry departments.

No signs yet on the site of the winding astronomy tower that appears to be floating up through a hole in the trellis canopy enclosing the complex’s central courtyard, in the renderings from EYP. The planned tower would send students spiraling up above the center’s roof to an astronomy observation deck. The glassy base of the structure is shown hovering above a water feature:

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To Astronomical Heights