02/19/19 5:00pm

Now posted on the property once home to the Memorial Club Apartments: signs boasting this rendering of what developer Greystar wants to put in their place between Westcott and Arnot streets. The planned new building looks to be about 11 stories including the 3-level parking podium depicted at its bottom. That puts it up a notch from its 6-story counterpart across Westcott St., Elan Memorial Park, which Greystar completed in 2016 in place of what used to be the Memorial Club complex’s other half. Now that the last of Memorial Club has crumbled under pressure from demo crews — shown above wrapping up their work — there’s nothing standing in the way of the new building’s arrival at the southeast section of the Westcott St. roundabout.

The full sign sets a 20-month timeline for it to crop up:

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Rice Military
02/15/19 11:30am

Now that the former Espiga de Oro tortilla manufacturing facility on Shepherd Dr. between 14th and 15th streets has been torn down, work has begun on the new 337-unit apartment building — dubbed The Tortilla Factory — that’s taking its place. The photo at top looks north up Shepherd to show a crane and some construction vehicles at work beyond fencing emblazoned with the mark of the project’s developer, Alliance Residential. It bought the 2-acre site from the folks behind the tortilla operation late last year, following an undercover ICE operation that revealed about half of the factory’s employees between 2011 and 2015 were undocumented immigrants. After entering a guilty plea, Espiga de Oro agreed to pay the feds $1 million for “conspiracy to induce and encourage unlawful immigration.”

The new Tortilla Factory will stretch almost the entire length of the block between 14th and 15th:

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Where Espiga de Oro Left Off
02/11/19 12:00pm

The Memorial Club apartment complex at the Westcott St. roundabout is down to its final quarter following weekend deconstruction activity that left the 4-building, not-yet-redeveloped half of the complex itself cut in half. (Across the street, a 5-builidng portion of Memorial Club has been missing since new apartments dubbed Elan Memorial Park replaced it in 2016) By Saturday morning, the whole southern section of Memorial Club’s remaining half was gone according to a Swamplot reader, who sends the photo at top looking west to show that vanished portion, visible behind the oak trees.

Taking note of the demo, Google Maps has replaced its old photo of the apartments with one more indicative of current events:

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At the Roundabout
02/01/19 1:00pm

Tenants have been filing out of the 5-story office building shown above at the northeast corner of Richmond Ave and Eastside St. in anticipation of its planned collapse 2 months from now, according one employee who’s still inside but won’t be for long. Building management gave all occupants — including Imparali Tailor, luggage retailer Kipling, and dozens of other business and medical groups — notice last year that they’d need to hit the road.

Designed by Wilson, Morris, Crane & Anderson, the building is one of a dozen vertically-windowed mid- and lowrises that then-not-yet-famous Houston developer Gerald Hines built along Richmond in the early 1960s to accommodate businesses looking to spread out away from Downtown for the first time. (3100 Richmond, on the other side of Weslayan Eastside, was his work too, as well as 3101 Richmond, which sits catty-corner to the soon-to-be demolished building.) By the time the Richmond Ave corridor of similar-looking office structures was complete from Kirby to Weslayan, it had served as a sort of “MBA course,write Houston architect Barry Moore and preservationist Anna Mod, “for Gerald Hines and arch-competitor Kenneth Schnitzer [of Century Development],” the 2 of whom soon graduated to designing taller and more notable Houston buildings inside and outside of Downtown.

Photo: Capital Realty

Richmond Ave Adieu
01/29/19 11:00am

Note: A previous version of this story misstated the planned location of the new building as that currently occupied by Momentum Volkswagen. The building is planned across the street from Momentum Volkswagen, at the southeast corner of Richmond Ave and Revere St. formerly home to a different dealership, Momentum Audi.

Here are a few views of the new senior living apartment building that’s making an appearance in this week’s Houston city planning agenda, on the spot occupied by Momentum Audi at the southeast corner of Richmond Ave and Revere St. (That’s right across the street from the currently open Moment Volkswagen of Upper Kirby dealership at 2405 Richmond.) Architecture firm Munoz Albin’s design for the building appears to be a 7-story setup, with some new landscaping planted along the sidewalks that encircle the structure.

Here’s what the site looks like now:

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Upper Kirby Swap
01/11/19 10:00am

A Swamplot reader sends this photo from Arnott St. showing ominous new chain-link fencing wrapping what’s left of the Memorial Club apartments at the Washington Ave roundabout. New Years was the deadline for residents to move out of the four 3-story buildings to the west of Westcott St. so that Greystar could tear them down and build a new set of apartments in their place. It already replaced Memorial Court’s other, former 5-building half on the east side of Westcott with a 297-unit Elan Memorial Heights building in 2016. Back when the developer purchased the complex in 2013, Greystar said it hoped to have a grand total of 550 units spread across both sides of Westcott.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Back for the Last of ‘Em
01/08/19 5:00pm

Crescent Communities appears ready to deliver on the promise it made last summer to residents of The Georgian apartments at Westheimer and Willowick: that after tearing down their building, the replacement would include not just rental units, but some kind of “integrated retail” as well. The rendering at top shows just that: A 14,000-sq.-ft. collection of storefronts fronts both Westheimer and an off-street inlet wrapped by the planned 8-story building. In the second image, you can see the main entrance to the building and its 300 units off Willowick. Overhead signage on that facade bears the project’s name: Novel River Oaks.

Excavators starting demolishing The Georgian complex shortly before the new year, but still have some more left to pick apart. Over on HAIF, a handful of demolition photographers have been documenting the apartments’ final days since deconstruction began.

Renderings: Crescent Communities

Novel River Oaks
01/04/19 3:45pm

The rendering above looks east from the corner of Westheimer and Eastgrove St. to show the first few floors of a new 20-story condo tower that developer Randall Davis wants to build on the just-under-0.4-acre lot formerly home to the Krispen Home furniture store. Plans for the highrise made their first appearance before Houston’s city planning commission yesterday, where they were deferred until the group’s next meeting in 2 weeks, but not before residents and representatives of the site’s neighboring subdivisions got a few words in. Roughly a dozen speakers from Westgrove Court — the 2-dozen-home residential neighborhood that lies southwest of the would-be tower, along Westgrove and Eastgrove streets — were particularly loud in decrying it. They noted that Westgrove St.’s current narrowness already makes creates tight squeeze for passing traffic.

The same goes for Eastgrove St., where a site plan submitted by the developer shows curb cuts giving access to a driveway at what’d be the southwest corner of the building:

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3723 Westheimer
01/04/19 1:15pm

Sure, there’s been a whole lotta talk lately about how In-N-Out Burger is on its way to the redo of Texas Instruments’ 192-acre Stafford campus that developers have dubbed The Grid. But what about those not-yet-named retailers that renderings put out by Gensler, the architect for the project, show taking over the air conditioning towers that TI left behind at the site? The photo above shows what those decommissioned cooling units looks like right now.

They sit behind the centerpiece of the site, TI’s abandoned office building:

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Adaptive A/C Reuse
12/18/18 10:30am

THE ALLEN’S LATEST MIXED-USE MAP NIXES THE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE ACROSS ALLEN PKWY. Remember that pedestrian bridge that previous maps and renderings for The Allen showed crossing Allen Pkwy. in order to link the planned development to Buffalo Bayou Park? Well, it appears to be gone now: New marketing materials put out by Transwestern include no indication of it whatsoever. (Earlier versions of the map above had shown it plugging into the building labeled 1, a lowrise retail structure.) All 6 acres of the site — between Allen Parkway Village and the Federal Reserve building — remain vacant right now, except for a tiny portion near the southwest corner where a newly-poured concrete foundation has given rise to a yet-unidentified wood-framed structure over the past couple of days. [Transwestern (PDF) via HAIF; previously on Swamplot] Map: Transwestern

12/17/18 9:45am

BAYOU PARK APARTMENTS HAVE ABOUT A YEAR BEFORE THE HIGHRISING STARTS Nitya Capital, which closed on the ’70s-era Bayou Park Apartments at 4400 Memorial Dr., east of Shepherd, last month “plans to carve out a spot for a high-rise condo tower” as soon as a year from now, reports the Chronicle’s Katherine Feser. That shouldn’t be too hard, seeing as the new tower will take up “less than an acre,” says Nitya CEO Swapnil Agarwal, within the 15-acre environs of the 3-story complex that’s there now. Some of its existing 679 units should be receiving a few touch-ups under the new landlord: “new floors, granite counters, stainless steel appliances,” and “new lighting and fixtures,” reports Feser. And outside, she writes, plans call for “fresh landscaping, new signs and changes to the leasing center,” which neighbors a handful of retailers in the spot shown above where the complex lets out onto Memorial. [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Apartments.com

12/07/18 11:30am

ARE THE NEW FITZGERALD’S OWNERS PLANNING TO BRING DOWN THE HOUSE? “They came and tested for asbestos,” Fitzgerald’s longtime owner Sara Fitzgerald tells the Chronicle’s Marcy de Luna, “so I think they’re looking to tear it down. It was their original intention to build a high-rise there.” Fitzgerald sold Fitzgerald’s along with 3 home lots behind it on E. 6½ St. in July to the same Chicago-based company, Easy Park, that’s been planning that automated parking garage a few blocks west down White Oak Dr. in place of the existing, analog garage next to Tacos A Go Go (which it also owns, along with some other retail nearby). She’s now renting the building at 2706 White Oak from her new landlord and running the 41-year-old business remotely from Seguin, Texas, outside San Antonio, de Luna reports. Following a spree of farewell shows scheduled throughout the month, the club will close with a New Year’s Eve party featuring ’70s and ’80s cover band SKYROCKET! [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Caramels D.

12/05/18 3:30pm

Perched up in the parking garage of the Ashton on West Dallas apartments, a Swamplot reader has been monitoring recent progress on the empty field once home to a garbage incinerator between Allen Parkway Village and the Federal Reserve building. The new flat work shown at top across Gillette St. is the first man-made addition to the 6-acre site since renderings showed a few mixed-use towers including a Thompson hotel, condos, office space, and retail cropping up on it last year.

Crews began clearing the southwestern corner of the property for the new pad 3 weeks ago by busting up some older concrete that stood in its way. Next, they took their work underground:

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The Allen
11/30/18 5:00pm

Images are leaking of the new tower Marathon Oil wants to build on a patch of recently-vacated land between CityCentre and the Katy Fwy. In an email sent out to employees on Tuesday, company CEO Lee Tillman set a tentative move-in date of 2021 for the imaginary building and wrote that its planned location was a plus partly because it’s closer to where the average Marathon employee lives, out in “west Houston and along the I-10 corridor.” The new whereabouts are just under 6 miles away from Marathon’s current ones in the eponymous Marathon Oil Tower at 5555 San Felipe, near the Galleria.

The rendering at top of the new building shows it looking a lot like the middle structure in this group of 3 that Midway proposed building on the site last year:

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On Deck Along I-10
11/30/18 2:15pm

An entity connected to Kaldis Development is the proud new owner of the Cameron Iron Works complex across the railroad tracks from the shuttered coffee plant on Milby St. And already, the developer — which has a thing for refilling old Houston buildings — is marketing its purchase for lease as The Cameron and promising to renovate it into something that restaurant, bar, and event venue tenants can get in on.

The 1.43-acre property at 711 Milby St. is home to 2 buildings: the 3-story brick one shown above with Cameron’s name set in stone above the main entrance, and a less eye-catching warehouse next-door to it, shown below from the corner of Rusk St.

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Forging a New Path