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
08/13/18 9:45am

MW Cleaners’ bowtie logo is now going out of style on the corner of Shepherd and Colquitt St. as the franchise dresses down all of its 36 black-tie-branded locations in Houston and redecorates them under the Tide detergent logo. At the Montrose shop, the tall sign pictured behind the dumpster in the photo at top looking south is just about all that’s left of the cleaners’ old look.

New lettering and logoing at 3425 Shepherd has already taken the place of the old (pictured above), and under the angled porte-cochère, fresh window decals mark the transformation as well:

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Tidal Wave
08/10/18 10:00am

DAIRY ASHFORD H-E-B GETTING AXED NEXT MONTH H-E-B store number 471 in the Memorial Dr. strip at Dairy Ashford will close to the public next month, Nancy Sarnoff reports, but it’ll remain filled with food items. The company plans to turn it into a warehouse for its home delivery and curbside pickup services. The mini-store has been understocked relative to other H-E-Bs — and no matter how you slice up its 28,000 sq.-ft., “There just isn’t enough space to fit everything that you would be looking for,” company prez Scott McClelland said on Facebook yesterday. Its nearest regular-sized backup H-E-B: the standalone one nearly triple its size on Westheimer and S. Kirkwood, just under 3 miles away. [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Weingarten Realty

08/08/18 1:30pm

Add F45 Training to the list of businesses taking over warehouses next to where I-45 will run over a few of its own once its rerouted through East Downtown. That’s the gym’s black box in the photo at top, neighbored by the Ferris wheel that new-ish bar Truck Yard recently installed in its own next-door lot. North of an adjacent portion of the building that F45 hasn’t touched, exterior work added new horizontal siding a couple shades darker than the previous off-white onto the structure, as well as the doorway — pictured above — atop which the national fitness chain has been flexing its COMING SOON signage for the past few months.

A permit filed yesterday for the building at 1110 Hutchins indicates rehab work is about to head inside to deal with a 2,650-sq.-ft. portion of its space. It’s 10,000 sq.-ft. total and backs up nearly halfway down the block on Lamar St. where it stands off from the south side of the Kim Hung Supermarket, long-whispered to be about to be demolished for something much taller.

Photos: F45 Training

Bodybuilding Buildings
08/03/18 10:00am

A just-issued building permit indicates Aldi is now on its way to the north end of the Garden Oaks Shopping Center, pictured above, where it’ll occupy the spot formerly home to Yoga Collective — plus a little extra room the developer’s adding on to help it fit into the 95,046-sq.-ft. building. Before it arrives, exterior renovations will also make over the outer face of the strip.

Other comings and goings in the building just north of the North Loop: Life Savers 24-hour Emergency Room is taking over 6,300 sq.-ft., and Dollar Tree is due to relocate from its current spot in the main strip to the new freestanding building marked yellow in the site plan above.

Photo and site plan: Hartman

3938 N. Shepherd
07/24/18 10:30am

The storefront between Athleta and Altar’d State on University Blvd. won’t be vacant for much longer: a building permit filed yesterday indicates Warby Parker is about to move into the space. Before it gets there, a few renovations will overhaul the 2,500-sq.-ft. box pictured at top, which lost its Yankee Candle lettering (shown above) around January when the former tenant wrapped up its close-out sale and shut its doors for good.

Photos: Trademark (vacant store); Swamplox inbox (Yankee Candle)

Village Newcomer
07/19/18 5:00pm

Next Saturday, Houston’s historic commission is set to consider a request that new old signage be installed on the former Gibbs Boats building at 1110 W. Gray as part of the renovation to turn it into a new shopping center dubbed Rêve Montrose. The QUALITY LAUNDRY lettering is a nod to the 1936 structure’s original tenant — pictured above — which turned the place over to Gibbs in 1958. According to the rendering above, the replica sign and accompanying pyramidal support structure are set to be installed in the same location as the originals.

Since the Oxberry Group announced its redo plan for the building in March, some of its W. Gray façade has been scratched off, revealing traces of the original brick underneath where the G in Gibbs used to front the street:

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W. Gray and Montrose
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
07/19/18 10:00am

It’s crunch time at the vacated original Café Ginger in the northern portion of the River Oaks Shopping Center, where a new 30-story apartment tower dubbed The Driscoll is planned to rise up over W. Gray St. Views from beyond the blaze orange barricades scattered around the parking lot since site work began in March show the crushing scene.

Since yesterday, the building’s been spilling its guts out onto the pavement in this particular area:

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The End of the Endcap
07/17/18 10:00am

HPD HAS NORTH HOUSTON MATTRESS STORE MURDERER IN CUSTODY The manhunt for alleged mattress store killer Jose Gilberto Rodriguez came to an end at N. Eldridge Pkwy. and Wortham Landing Dr. earlier this morning after a brief police chase, reports abc13. Just last night, Chief Art Acevedo identified Rodriguez — a 46-year-old parolee who was released from prison last September — as a suspect in 3 homicides over the last several days. He was believed to be driving a dark Nissan Sentra — Acevedo explained — that he took from his latest victim, an employee of the Mattress1One pictured above at I-45 and Crosstimbers found shot to death in the store yesterday afternoon. Previously on Saturday night, the manager of a Mattress Firm across from the Willowbrook Mall walked into that location’s back office and found a 28-year-old female employee lying dead between 2 mattresses. Between the 2 retail slayings, Rodriguez also allegedly shot and robbed a METRO Lift driver (who’s expected to recover), and earlier last week, killed a 62-year-old woman after breaking into her house on Bent Pine Dr. in Cypress. [abc13] Photo of Mattress1One at 4400 N. Fwy.: Jessica Willey

07/09/18 3:00pm

Since longtime Times Blvd. tenant G&G Model Shop left its storefront last August, the space has been whitened, renovated and snapped up by ArtMix Creative Learning Center — a children’s art school that relocated from 3701 W. Alabama St. earlier this year. But the model shop — located at 2522 Times for over 60 yearsremains attached to the space. A G&G representative told Swamplot previously that the metal sign would follow the business over to its new spot in the strip center at the corner of 59 and Shepherd (home to a few more elderly Rice Village expats as well).

But just last Thursday, a poster on HAIF noted that address is still crowned by a temporary vinyl banner:

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Rice Village Relics
07/09/18 10:00am

The lights are on but no one’s home anymore at the Toys R Us on OST, shuttered along with the rest of the chain’s 18 Houston locations (including Babies R Us stores) since the end of last month. Flyers advertising everything-must-go-style sales have come down from the building’s front windows — and they weren’t exaggerating: restroom signs, cash registers, and other normally priceless appointments were pawned off during the store’s last days, reported KHOU’s Jessica Borg.

But not all of them. A few extra glances through the glass fronting the parking lot reveals a good deal of hardware that last-minute shoppers didn’t manage or didn’t care to get their hands on:

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No More Fun and Games
06/29/18 2:45pm

Pacific Poke is the latest newcomer to Houston’s booming raw fish restaurant scene, and it’s taking over the empty 1,802-sq.-ft. spot on Richmond once occupied by Starbucks, next to what’s now Roostar Vietnamese Grill. The Starbucks location — shown above —  closed down shortly before a brand-new Starbucks showed up across the street from it, just east of Chimney Rock in early 2016.

That left the building briefly vacant before Roostar arrived the following year in the spot next door to the abandoned coffee shop — now slated for a redo. Its Vietnamese restaurant space is shown below, done up with the 2-location chain’s abstract poultry-like logo:

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Raw Seafood Chaser
06/27/18 12:00pm

Buc-ee’s scored a sweeping victory in Texas federal court last month when a judge found rival rest stop chain Choke Canyon guilty of 4 wrongs: trademark infringement, dilution, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment. But the battle might not be over: “Choke Canyon is expected to appeal,” reports Law360, “and Texas intellectual property experts say the store has a strong case that it was wrongly barred at trial from presenting key defense evidence.

Among the facts unheard during the 4-day trial: findings from an expert Choke Canyon commissioned to ask 300 people what they thought of the logos’ similarity. 99 percent of them “said there was no likelihood of confusion,” between the two.

Then there are the images that went unseen during the jury’s deliberation. Within that 6-hour period, jurors’ first question to Judge Keith P. Ellison was whether they should compare the set of logos pictured above — which includes the brands’ names — or picture-only versions, like the ones shown below:

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Anatomy of the Case
06/21/18 1:00pm

The east side of the building that fronts McDuffie St. — next door to the River Oaks Theatre — has been quiet since an early Monday morning blaze torched Nail-Tique salon, doing some damage to the Steinway Piano Gallery in the process. It all started when an air conditioner on the roof overheated and caught fire, shorting the connection to an electrical box on the building that then ignited as well, reports the Chronicle.

No pianos caught fire — according to an employee at Epicure Cafe around the corner on W. Gray — but there was smoke damage in the music store, and firefighters busted out some of its windows to access the flaming salon next door. Nail-Tique is now closed indefinitely, while the adjacent piano store plans to reopen next month, as decreed by the sign now posted in its window. Unharmed by the blaze: the building’s movie theater anchor, reports one of its employees.

Photos: Swamplox inbox

McDuffie St.