08/16/18 10:00am

A vast pet boarding facility is now taking over the Winport Furniture building at 6393 Richmond — which stretches back south nearly the entire block along Unity Dr., pictured above. After sitting on the place for 6 months, the pet resort operator that bought it filed a building permit yesterday indicating it’s about to rejigger the former 19,497-sq.-ft. showroom with the help of Slattery Tackett Architects.

Before shifting its focus to office furniture in 2016, the building dealt in home items and called itself The Chair King:

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Gone to the Dogs
08/14/18 11:30am

ALEXAN MEMORIAL APARTMENTS ARE HEADING TO RICE MILITARY A group linked to Dallas developer Trammell Crow recently filed plans with Houston’s planning commission to prep the shaded 2.5-acre parcel shown on the map between Sandman and the dead end of Reinerman St. for new apartments under the Alexan name. The complex would be backed by a ramp that diverges from the north side of Memorial Dr. and neighbored by a 3-story building that forms part of the DePelchin Children’s Center’s main Houston campus. Ordered off the site to make way for the new construction: some parking for the adjacent adoption and foster care center and a vacant, H-shaped office building to the west. Map: Houston Planning Commission

08/13/18 12:00pm

A new sketch of the Almeda Rd. building that Art Supply on Main wants to construct and move into shows the borders and outlines of what’s planned for its exterior. Like the current store — soon to make way for the highrise that’s taking over its lot between Drew and Dennis streets — the new one will include studio and living spaces along with retail, all within 2 stories. It’ll sit on a 2-plus acre site — highlighted by the red polygon in the map above (and nuzzled by a pale blue limb of 500-year floodplain) — originally part of Riverside Terrace, now just west of 288 and across from Our Legends Cigar Bar off Oakdale St.

Parking will remain in the back, with entrances off Oakdale and an alley to the south indicated in the site plan below:

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Midtown Moveout
08/09/18 1:00pm

A POST OAK PARKING GARAGE SOLUTION TO THE DEMAND FOR DRIVE-IN THEATERS The head of the company now bringing a movie theater to the top of the BLVD Place garage at Post Oak and San Felipe tells the Chronicle’s Ileana Najarro that he “hopes to offer a social experience for those nostalgic for drive-in theaters.” What better place to do it than in Houston, where people drive in and out of buildings all the time? The catch: you’ll have to get out of your car and amble up to the garage’s top floor above Whole Foods and other retail, where it might get noisy — especially with that bus lane construction happening now on Post Oak. But there’s a solution: wireless headphones for each audience member — which Rooftop Cinema Club’s head says will “replicate the intimate setting of one’s car,” just like the old days. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Whole Foods at 1700 Post Oak Blvd.: Dung L.

08/09/18 9:45am

Ground beef chain BuffBurger is about to move into the new Citywest Retail Center 3 blocks outside Beltway 8 and just down the street from Phillips’s year-old headquarters and garage-top sports complex. So far, the strip center’s lineup includes almost exclusively food joints of the fast-casual variety, with a lone Ideal Dental office in middle of the east building. Its coming soon sign is pictured in the photo above, west of Yogurtland.

BuffBurger’s spot — its third since opening in the new Alabama Row strip across W. Alabama from the Menil in March — is in the shorter and stouter east building, where it’ll fill in corner at the far end from Panera’s already-open endcap:

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Westchase
08/07/18 1:00pm

Memorial Dr.’s Tres Market Foods is expanding to the pair of black and off-white buildings pictured above at 2620 Joanel St. behind the Westheimer strip home to River Oaks Donuts and across the street from the 2-story building housing the Honorary Consulate of Ghana. Formerly a row of separate lots, Houston’s city planning commission approved a request to consolidate the warehouse parcels all into a single property earlier this year. Since then, a handful of permits have come through as part the paperwork to prep the structures for remodeling.

Together, they total 5,400 sq.-ft.:

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Prepared Food Preparations
08/06/18 5:00pm

And in even more beer-related news, another local warehouse is now turning to drinks as its primary occupation. This 7,725-sq.-ft. one — pictured above from Bevis St. between W. 16th and 17th — is about to become New Magnolia Brewing. Its name is a cheers to the original Magnolia Brewing Company — formally the Houston Ice and Brewing Company — that did its concocting along Buffalo Bayou at the corner of Franklin and Milam streets until Prohibition forced it to make ice its flagship product. Following its shutdown, the Magnolia Ballroom took the place over roughly 40 years ago.

The New Magnolia’s 43,560-sq.-ft. digs at 1616 Bevis include this front yard, more than twice the size of the building to its north:

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The Brew and the Old
08/06/18 11:00am

Here’s the next target in Houston’s continuing warehouse-to-brewery turnover trend: 1504 Chapman St. A group of local brewers got their hands on the 6,283-sq.-ft. building — pictured above from the south — in April and a budding Facebook page now shows its address as the location of a venue they’re calling Local Group Brewing.

It’s within the same general parish as St. Arnold’s recently-opened beer cathedral and existing brewery. They’re both less than half a mile away on the other side of the former Union Pacific brownfield pictured below, now giving rise to the complex of mixed-use buildings dubbed Hardy Yards:

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Aerial Redevelopment Reconaissance
08/03/18 12:45pm

A new brewery is now in the works for the industrial building that sits across the Downtown 59 on-ramp from the Houston Center for Sobriety. Just like the adjacent drunk tank which opened in 2013, the new business at 100 N. Jackson will be housed in a repurposed warehouse. Its lawn includes several signs pointing drivers to the neighboring sobering center — like the one shown above fronting the exit ramp off the Eastex, on the west side of the soon-to-be beer venue dubbed Industry Brewery. (Also in the frame: signage for the building’s most recent tenant the American Engine & Grinding Company.)

At that corner, a left on Ruiz St. followed by another quick one on Chenevert gets you outside the recovery facility:

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Downtown Wet and Dry Spots
07/30/18 10:15am

The complicated thing about trying to turn an old Heights home — like this one at 733 W. 24th St. — into a coffee shop is that the neighborhood’s original lots are smaller than Houston allows for commercial use. Although the house pictured at top sits on a pair of adjacent 25-ft. lots, their combined frontage still falls short of the 60-ft. minimum required to lump them together into a space for something other than single-family residential.

But that’s not stopping the owner that bought the house earlier this year from seeking an exception to the rule. On Thursday, Houston’s city planning commission will consider a variance that’d allow the plans to go ahead anyway by consolidating the lots into a single 50-ft.-wide, business-friendly parcel.

Then comes the question of parking. Right now, a driveway leads up to a carport on the west side of the house:

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Cafe Conversion
07/27/18 1:45pm

Here’s another Midtown development development: Georgian breakfast restaurant Flying Biscuit Café is the first tenant to line up for a spot in the tower Caydon Property’s putting up off Main St., between Drew and Tuam streets. The 27-story building — viewed above from the east side of Fannin St. — is just south of the Art Supply on Main store that Caydon just recently snatched up and plans to replace with one in the threesome of towers that’ll eventually stretch up to McGowen.

Flying Biscuit’s other destination as part of its 2-pronged Houston entrance strategy: the west side of the strip on Kingsride Ln. off Gessner where Reginelli’s Pizzeria decamped earlier this month:

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Flightplans
07/26/18 2:00pm

Catty-corner to the soon-to-be aerated Spaghetti Warehouse building on Commerce St., its 2-story brick neighbor between Travis and Milam has a similar plan for dealing with its own floody first floor: get rid of all downstairs law offices and replace them with parking. Currently, the decades-old Abraham Watkins Building is bookended by 2 surface parking lots to the east and the west (pictured above). By filling in the gap between them with 14 more spots, the owner hopes it’ll no longer have to keep repairing the decades-old place like its done at least once yearly for the past 4 years, according to an application it filed this month. (Personal injury firm Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz has managed to stay safe in the building throughout that time, though staff retreated to the top floor after Harvey.)

Houston’s historic commission approved that application yesterday, clearing the way for this new garage door to crop up on Commerce in place of the center storefront panel as shown below:

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800 Commerce
07/25/18 5:00pm

SIZING UP BROADSTONE ARTS DISTRICT, THE UNBUILT APARTMENTS ACROSS FROM SAWYER YARDS 328 units will crowd into the planned building according to a rundown of coming Houston residential developments put out by investment firm Berkadia and dug up by HAIF sleuth Urbannizer just the earlier today. (That’s a bit smaller-scale than the 375-unit Broadstone Studemont mid-rise now going vertical on a slightly larger 4-acre block of land half a mile away on Studemont at Summer St.) Although nothing’s changed physically at the site since several warehouse buildings were demolished on it 2 years ago, it has seen some recent action on paper: In March Houston’s planning commission approved a request to consolidate 2 separate, abutting parcels of land into a single nearly–4-acre property on which the apartment will rise just north of the railroad tracks that cross Sawyer St. The property owner: an entity connected to developer Frank Liu of Lovett Commercial and InTown Homes. He’s also got his hands on the 2 warehouses-turned-retail-buildings across the street where new tenants continue to file in, as well as the Salvation Army structure south of them. [Berkadia (PDF) via HAIF] Photo: Swamplot inbox

07/19/18 2:00pm

The owners of the 22,860-sq.-ft. warehouse at the bend where Wash Ave becomes Hempstead Rd. have plans to refashion the building as Houston’s latest food hall, complete with 25-plus restaurant tenants, a few grocery and trinket vendors, and an adjacent beer garden — all fronting 22,000-sq.-ft.-worth of park space. Aside from homonymous salad bar concept Let Us, no specific tenants have been announced for the space yet — formerly home to the Emmett Perry oriental rug store and Sugar Creek Interiors’ design studio. But the developer hints that most food stalls at Railway Heights will be of the fresh-never-frozen variety, staffed by “the farmer who reared the animal, the fisherman who caught the fish, the baker who baked the bread.

Later on, plans call for a 600-car automatic parking garage (about 2-and-a-half-times the size of that other robo-valet proposed next to Tacos A Go Go on White Oak) to be added on to the site at 8200 Washington, along with a complex of “container apartments” in the southeast corner of the things. Along with the food hall, they’ll all go in the area marked red in the map above, across the train tracks from InTown Homes’ forthcoming Cottage Grove Lake community.

The map below shows how the site will layout in greater detail:

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On the Timbergrove Menu
07/17/18 3:00pm

HINES SIGNS UP FOR 48-STORY HIGHRISE ON FORMER HOUSTON CHRONICLE DIGS DOWNTOWN Building permits filed last week for a concrete foundation in place of the HoustonChronicle-building-turned-parking-lot at 801 Texas Ave. reveal the vertical extent of what Hines has planned for the site: 48 stories. They’ll soon rise up above the fought-over tunnel system where a judge buried the hatchet 5 months ago, awarding Hines’ neighbor Theater Square $200,000, reported Nancy Sarnoff. Theater Square owns the property across Prairie St. from 801 Texas and claimed it had the right to access tunnels beneath the former newspaper building that it needed to connect its own subterranean sprawl to Houston’s broader downtown tunnel system. That hookup is now complete — writes Sarnoff — though the neighboring developer has yet to break ground on its own planned tower. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Brie Kelman