06/04/18 1:00pm

Engineering firm The Interfield Group is hoping to score a trio of variances that will allow it to swap out its existing dingbat office building (above) at the Heights landing point of the Studemont St. bridge for a much larger mixed-use development (depicted at top) dubbed Heights Gateway. The new 8-story complex rests on the stealth-bomber-shaped parcel at 401 Studewood outlined in the aerial above. It’s split between a residential portion (shown beneath the lettering in the rendering) and a glass curtain-walled office section to the north — all of which rests atop a floodable 2-story parking garage plinth.

Its lowest parking level — indicated in the site plan below — includes a main entrance off Studewood that runs between the work and live sections of the complex:

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Heights Gateway
05/30/18 1:00pm

Here’s the latest rendering of the Hotel RL that’s planned for the block of St. Emanuel St. just north of recently-opened bars Rodeo Goat and Truck Yard. Complete with a roughly 6-story high Texas flag dangling from its hamster-wheel-like facade, the building itself — designed by STOA Architets — stands at 27 floors. It’s planned in place of the 2-story Kim Hung Market building at 1005 St. Emanuel, pictured above outside its entrance. That structure currently backs up to Hutchins St., at the edge of a block-long parking lot to its west.

Rendering: STOA Architects. Photo: Greg D.

Deep in the Heart
05/22/18 5:00pm

On Houston’s city planning agenda this week: a variance request from Caldwell Communities which seeks permission to forgo building a public north-south street through its planned Willowcreek Ranch neighborhood just north of the Grand Pkwy. in Tomball. Caldwell’s plans currently call for the neighborhood to include just one longitudinal road — a short, private street dubbed Three Bars Trl. It intersects Holderrieth Rd. — an existing public street — at the spot shown in more detail above, the boundary between what’s being developed now and a northern parcel set aside for future building. Because Holderrieth’s 2 nearest junctions with other public streets are currently about a mile-and-a-quarter apart from each other (more than double the city maximum), Caldwell — in building along the road — would be required to create one within its own property.

The reasoning it gives for why it shouldn’t have to: “A public street connection north from Holderrieth is infeasible due to the location of a tributary of Willow Creek,” the development’s namesake. The tributary includes a swath of 100-year-floodplain, shaded lighter blue in the map below:

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Off the Grand Pkwy.
05/22/18 11:30am

Salem Lutheran Church has plans to expand its current religious and pre-K–8 school campus, which sits just over 2 miles west of Hwy. 249 in Tomball. The idea: to develop roughly 100 acres adjacent to its existing facilities, adding new school structures and landscaping behind the pond-front church building shown in the photo at top, taken from above Lutheran Church Rd. The parking lot pictured on the left would also be enlarged, and a new complex of athletic fields would abut it to the south.

The master plan also includes not only these additions, but also a 73-lot residential area to the far west:

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Live, Learn, and Pray
05/18/18 4:00pm

A pair of new renderings shows off the 2 food options planned for Levy Park — now in its second year of operation since the overhaul that reshaped and then reopened it last February. The kiosk depicted above — dubbed Love Shack — gets its name from chef Tim Love. (A previously-announced moniker, Love Bird, appears to have been scrapped.)

Love is also the operator behind the larger restaurant dubbed Woodshed Smokehouse that’s shown with a tall glass-walled dining room in the rendering at top. Below, a map of the park shows a spot labeled “Future Restaurant” in its bottom right corner:

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Preparing to Sprout
05/11/18 4:00pm

Houston’s City Planning Commission approved a variance yesterday permitting a developer that plans to build a 4-story apartment building on the corner highlighted above not to extend Dunlop St. through the site, as otherwise required. Instead, plans call for the street to end at the south side of the complex, where it’ll be bounded by a new, 8-ft. tall fence.

The request first showed up on the commission’s agenda on April 26, at which time a couple of residents came forward to complain about the heavy traffic on nearby Karcher and Angelo streets — which northbound drivers use to avoid the light at the intersection of Link and Fulton. Extending Dunlop through the site, they argued, would clear up some of that congestion.

But a 60-ft.-wide swath of road like that would run over the garage, parking lot, pool, and dumpster area the developer plans to build at the center of the complex, as shown in the site plan below:

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Transit Corridor
05/09/18 12:00pm

Making an appearance on the city planning commission’s agenda this week: a proposal for a 16-ft.-deep, aluminum-sheathed steel canopy shown at top outside The Revere at River Oaks condos on Welch St. that’ll soon break ground in place of the 2-story River Oaks Manor condo complex demolished on site last June. Kirksey Architecture’s design for the canopy calls for it to hang out over the condo’s entrance and extend to an adjacent drop-off area, a widening of the existing street that’s planned just north of the 9-story, 33-unit building.

But the approval Pelican Builders is now seeking isn’t for the 4-ft.-5-in. that the canopy will encroach on the public right of way. In the application, the developer states that it already has an agreement for that portion of the structure. Instead, this approval is for the 11-ft.-4-in. section of the canopy between the right of way and the building, which requires a variance separate from the one that already covers the small portion (overlaid with a criss-cross pattern below) that they city has agreed to permit:

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Cover Story
05/08/18 2:30pm

Shots of the massive waterfront development planned in Kingwood east of Woodland Hills Dr. show it situated around 2 adjacent and existing lakes that neighbor both the San Jacinto River and the Clubs of Kingwood golf course. The 300-acre project — dubbed Herons Kingwood Marina and recently stumbled upon by online architectural sleuth Urbannizer — lays out a plan to link the 2 bodies of water and transform them into marinas with docks, pedestrian paths, and outdoor amusements.

The water-level rendering above from Italian architecture firm Torrisi & Procopio shows a boat parking lot fronting a shopping center that’s planned beside the west marina. From the air in the rendering at top, you can see the eastern marina neighbored by skyscrapers, described by the architect’s website as home to hotels, restaurants, shops, and apartments. A narrow channel leads to the other, aquatic area in the distance.

Here’s where both lakes sit now, just south of Barrington Kingwood — a 200-acre, loop-shaped neighborhood:

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The Liveable Lake
04/30/18 1:30pm

Update, May 1: At the request of the copyright holder, images of the proposed development have been removed.

Michael Hsu designed a new 2-story structure (depicted in a rendering posted on HAIF) for a spot directly across Yale from the existing retail building (above) he created as part of the Heights Mercantile complex near 7th St. Like its neighbor — which went up not long ago in place of a Pappas Restaurants warehouse — the new building will replace a metal-sided structure, this one currently occupied by Urban Jungle Self Defense:

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Westward Expansion
04/25/18 12:00pm

CITY COUNCIL APPROVES MUD FOR 800 NEW HOMES ON PINE CREST GOLF COURSE Houston’s city council voted today to approve a proposal to create a municipal utility district for an 800-house development Meritage Homes wants to build on the former Pine Crest Golf Course. The golf course, which lies within the 100-year floodplain, is located at the corner of Gessner and Clay in the Brickhouse Gully watershed — where 2,300 residential structures flooded during Harvey. Today’s vote was on a proposal identical to one that was considered by the council last October but instead referred to the mayor’s office for further review. A representative of Meritage Homes told the Chronicle following the initial proposal that it would publish an analysis of “where or how floodwaters would flow across the surrounding land” after construction. But it later decided not to — reported the Chronicle’s Mike Morris — claiming that such a study would have been “irrelevant” in light of the city’s new standards for building in floodplains. A no vote by city council today would not have necessarily killed the project, council member Brenda Stardig noted to Morris — although it would have forced Meritage to find an alternate source of funding for the neighborhood’s infrastructure. The developer bought the 150-acre former golf course from MetroNational last year. [Houston Chronicle; more; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Meritage Homes

04/24/18 10:15am

A wide spectrum of paint shades and window shapes fronts W. 15th St. in the rendering above of Hampton Heights — the 5-story residential row Surge Homes has planned just west of Dian St. in Shady Acres. Its 2-story parking podium is about the same height and length as the site’s current resident: Car Cafe, a 37,341-sq.-ft. used-car dealership headquartered in a windowless warehouse. Just under two thirds of an acre — shaded red in the aerial above — comprise the lot at 1800 W. 15th where the garage sits now.

Rendering and aerial: Surge Homes

Shades of Shady Acres
04/20/18 5:00pm

During- and after-school views east across Oakdale St. show the 4-story, Gensler-designed school building that First Presbyterian Church plans to build adjacent to its current one in the Museum District. The new building is tucked into the pie slice of streets and parking lots north of the MFAH between Montrose Blvd. and Main. It sits on 2 vacant lots totaling just under one fifth of an acre in the loop formed by Oakdale and Pinedale streets. Catty-corner to it is the existing First Presbyterian School’s driveway — visible at the bottom of the daytime view above.

A sliced-open view from the building’s backside shows its lobby fronting the existing pre-K-through-8 school:

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Museum District
04/16/18 1:00pm

The marketing materials for Hunington Properties’ new apartment building planned in place of Bethel Church a block north of Wash Ave come chock full of cultural references. There’s the Seinfeldian restaurant sign depicted on the corner of Shepherd and Center St, pick-up and drop-off zones adjacent to the parking garage’s entrances labeled Uber (sorry, Lyft!) in the site plan — and if that’s not enough, the leasing brochure notes that tenants “will be given latitude to incorporate unique elements into their storefronts promoting their individual brand identity.

Of the 4 corner retail segments planned — 25,000 sq. ft. total — 3 include patios. To accommodate them, Hunington is requesting several modifications to the setbacks: on Center St., on Durham, and the boldest on Shepherd — where the patio would sit only 5 ft. from the roadway, 20 ft. closer than is typically allowed. Last Thursday, Houston’s planning commission deferred the variance request. It’s now waiting on more information regarding the proposed patios before reconsidering the developer’s plans.

Bethel Church’s building currently takes up half of the block:

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The Interpose
04/11/18 12:30pm

Here’s a southeastern view of the 5,600-sq.-ft. retail building — dubbed Shops on Watson — that Edge Realty wants to plant adjacent to the Woodland Heights welcome sign on the corner of Watson and Usener streets. The structure’s front deck looks out beyond a 22-spot parking lot at the new-ish Elan Heights apartments across Usener to the immediate south. On the east side of the building, 4 more head-in spots line a portion of Watson.

The new development is planned in place of a few warehouse buildings that currently sit on a shady, just-under-half-acre parcel at 2401 Watson St.

Rendering and site plan: Edge Realty

Woodland Heights
04/04/18 1:00pm

Braun has a 2-step plan for developing the former Aztec Rental Services property on 34th St. between Oak Forest and Ella. A brochure on the developer’s website designates the portion of the site to the east as that of future residences. On the western edge of the would-be housing spot, Aztec’s former storefront — pictured above — looks toward an additional 2-acre parcel the equipment outfitter gave up.

That’s where Braun wants to plant a pair of 10,050-sq.-ft. retail buildings surrounded by a moat of parking:

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One of Each