10/12/18 11:45am

Spotted on the Instagram story for a not-yet-open venue calling itself The Gypsy Poet: TABC signage going up where it plans to move into Core Church Midtown‘s former home at 2404 Austin St. It’s the fifth liquor-purveying establishment planned for the block — bounded by McIlhenny, Austin, McGowen, and Caroline streets — in the past year-and-a-half, none of which are open yet. But which together have now succeeded in reserving almost all of the space there for themselves.

According to its pastor Jim Stern, Core Church had been negotiating to move into a smaller spot at the back 2404 when the landlord tabled that option and switched its current lease over to a month-to-month agreement. Shortly after, in mid-February, the church was given 60 days to hit the road. It left in mid-March. “I am wondering if we were ‘pushed’ out because of the bars,” Stern tells Swamplot.

Photos: The Gypsy Poet (sign); Core Church (Jim S.)

Change Comes Knocking
09/25/18 10:00am

The photo at top shows Cypress Ace Hardware attempting to label its most obscure class of goods, the odds and ends customers know they want but struggle to put a name on. Turns out they’re actually top sellers at the 11655 Jones Rd. store: “We have so many people that walk in with a random part in their hand,” co-owner Susan Murff tells the Chronicle’s Rebecca Hennes. Their question: “Do you carry these doohickies?

Installed about 8 months ago, the DOOHICKIES lettering matches signs that aren’t visible in the photos but run horizontally to the left and right of what’s pictured, advertising the rest of the store’s offerings: tools, paint, electrical items, plumbing supplies, a fudge bar, and an on-site post office. (There’s also an “indoor grilling center where customers can schedule a time to cook their favorite meat on a grill they are interested in buying,” reports Hennes.) As for what corporate’s got to say, each Ace store is individually owned, so local management gets some editorial power over its own décor.

Photos: Karen M. (storefront); Cypress Ace Hardware & Feed (sign)

The Writing on the Wall
08/30/18 2:30pm

The newest work showing at Hiram Butler Gallery occupies a special position on the grounds: It’s right outside along Blossom St., facing the townhouse that River Pointe Church owns and uses for events. (Its main religious campus is in Richmond between Ransom Rd. and 59.) Artist Robert Rosenberg designed the sign for that spot specifically, and Melissa Eason put it together. It now fronts the row of 4 parking spots at the edge of gallery’s property.

Since the church moved in across the street at 4513 Blossom in 2015, those parking spots — along with the rest of the block — have been seeing a lot more car traffic than they used to:

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Religious Art
08/22/18 12:15pm

The recent removal of Drew’s BBQ’s signage at 819 Richmond Ave has left a piece of its predecessor Tonala Rustic Furniture uncovered along the street. The barbecue joint closed down last month after 3 years in the 100-plus-year-old house pictured above, tucked in the southeastern portion of Montrose near Spur 527 that’s known officially as Roseland Estates.

When Drew’s first picked up there in 2015, the house was white-ish and fronted by signage for the Living Mosaic Inclusive Christian Church. That display moved, along with the church itself, to The Montrose Center’s 3 story dingbat building 7 blocks away:

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Richmond Retrospective
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
08/01/18 11:15am

There’s now some still life clinging to the Kirby Grove office building across from Levy Park where Slowpokes plans to debut its second location sometime this fall. Already open in the 16-story building’s ground floor: Kiran’s Indian restaurant and a branch of PlainsCapital Bank — whose ATM you can make out to the left of the exhibition wall in the photo above.

From their current vantage point, each of the 3 framed faces — mainstays at the cafe’s original Garden Oaks location — will have a good view of the park across the street as they wait for the new restaurant to take shape:

 

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Garden Oaks to Kirby Grove
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
06/11/18 2:15pm

NEW RESTAURANT COMES KNOCKING AT WAREHOUSE BY BBVA COMPASS A TABC flyer up on the front door of 612 Live Oak signals some impending action for the brick warehouse building, one block east of BBVA Compass Stadium’s frontage on Emancipation and south of the light rail line along Texas Ave. Brass Tacks Workspace LLC is applying for both mixed beverage and late hours permits. Residential developer Bercon bought the 5,000-sq.-ft. parcel on which the building sits — along with almost the entire rest of the block — in early 2017. However, there’s nothing residential about the new owner’s plans for this particular structure: a permit filed for it last month — 10 days before the liquor sign appeared — included plans to turn the building into a yet-to-be-named restaurant. Photo: Swamplox inbox

05/18/18 10:00am

All car-related signage has come down from the Heights building North Loop Auto Supply once occupied 9 blocks south of the North Loop on the northeast corner of Harvard and E. 20th. In its place, a banner for new restaurant Neo Baguette now hangs over the building’s 20th-St. doorway. An entity connected to developer Steve Radom bought the 2,331-sq.-ft. freestanding structure late last year and set about reworking it into something more suitable for a restaurant tenant to occupy.

Included in that effort: gardening work to add the tufty beds of flora that now front 20th St., the removal of the front gates and awning from the storefront entrance, the addition of new windows, and the erection of the 4 steel columns now attached to the building’s face. A parking lot to the east separates it from its next-door neighbor, Revive Salon and Spa.

Photo: Ken Barnes (Neo Baguette); LoopNet (auto parts)

Sandwich Signage
04/03/18 3:00pm

Yet another Randalls is seeing itself out of a major shopping center space — this one in the Keegan’s Meadow complex at the corner of W. Bellfort Ave. and S. Kirkwood Rd. in Stafford. The photo above looks beyond the pumps at the grocery chain’s street-fronting gas station to show the store decorated with a liquidation sign identical to the one that’s currently posted on the Oak Forest location. The white Randalls lettering on the 53,250-sq.-ft. grocery store at 11711 W. Bellfort came down last month from the façade now taken up by the banner. An in-store Wells Fargo branch occupies the northeastern portion of the store, opposite the Avalon Discount Liquor adjacent to the its west side.

Photo: Swamplox inbox. Site plan: Brixmor

Stafford Send-Off
03/26/18 4:00pm

The Aqua Hand Car Wash & Detail on the corner of W. Dallas could get even wetter pending the TABC’s permission for the business to serve mixed drinks on-site. The photo above, sent in by a Swamplot reader, shows the 680-sq.-ft., butterfly-roofed building where a notice naming Aqua Heights LLC as the applicant for a mixed beverage permit now hangs in the window.

The building went up on the long-vacant field at 1013 Montrose in 2011. Washing, waxing, and detailing take place in a parking lot to the east and south of the structure.

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Wet Bar
03/26/18 2:00pm

The 1950 building at 4502 Greenbriar formerly home to the Neal & Company antique shop has been taken over by Fleet Feet Sports. The running gear retailer bought the building — last renovated in 2005 — just under 2 months ago. Shortly before the sale, Fleet Feet closed its nearby store in Rice Village — on the north side of Rice Blvd. next to Tea Bar and Organics.

Head-in parking now fronts 2 sides of the Greenbriar location — as opposed to just one at the old Rice Village store:

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Head-to-Head Head-In Parking
03/12/18 10:30am

Banners for Cedars Tapas Bar — the new restaurant on its way to 403 W. Gray — are now covering up both the plywood board on the building’s forehead and the sign left over from Ship & Shield’s tenancy in the space. The Viking-themed restaurant abandoned the building last December, and property owner Braun Realty is now waiting on the new Lebanese bakery to move in.

Braun bought the the 2,055-sq.-ft. restaurant building in 2016, the same year Ship & Shield took it over from Byzantio’s. Since then, the developer has put up a new retail building on the once-vacant lot just east of restaurant, near Taft St. Its west side is visible beyond Cedars’ sign in the photo above.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

North Montrose Makeover
09/28/17 3:15pm

THAT THING ABOUT THE CITY OF HOUSTON AND DIGITAL BILLBOARDS A reader with “nothing better to do today” writes in with a question for Swamplot readers: “I do not see any digital billboards in Houston city limits. I see them popping up in Baytown and I’m sure elsewhere, but why not H-Town? One would think that this would be a win-win for the owners of the billboards and the businesses wanting to advertise their product. I see them all over Dallas — Houston, not so much.” Photo: Houston Public Media

09/18/17 1:00pm

Popular yet again in Houston: The DID NOT FLOOD sign topper. Here’s a new one spotted by wandering photographer Joshua House in front of the Covington Builders 4-story townhome development at 3821 N. Braeswood Blvd., one block north of Brays Bayou and a couple blocks east of Stella Link.

Where have you spotted signs like these in Harvey’s aftermath? Please send pics and coordinates to us. Swamplot wants to know what DID NOT FLOOD.

Photo: Joshua House

Above It All