10/16/14 4:30pm

REPORTS: BOCONCEPT ON WESTHEIMER WILL BE CLOSING DOWN SOON BoConcept, 4302 Westheimer Rd., Highland Village, HoustonMultiple sources tell Swamplot that the 13,525-sq.-ft. lot at the northwest corner of Westheimer Rd. and Mid Ln. that’s currently home to the BoConcept furniture store is in the process of being sold, and that the store will shut down in a few weeks. The 9,513-sq.-ft. building at 4302 Westheimer Rd., just west of the Highland Village Shopping Center, was built in 2003 as Surprises. Photo: BoConcept

10/16/14 2:15pm

New High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Caroline St. and Rusk St., Downtown, Houston

Here’s a cutaway view looking into what’s being called the final design of the new Downtown campus for Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Escalating construction costs have spurred HISD to accelerate the 2012 bond program that’s paying for the new HSPVA campus along with rebuilding programs at approximately 40 schools. So construction on the 5-story, 168,000-sq.-ft. building designed by the Houston office of Gensler is expected to begin within a few weeks, and end shortly after the 2017 school year begins.


Show and Tell
10/16/14 11:30am

ANOTHER IMPORTANT HISTORICAL SITE IN HOUSTON THAT DESERVES RECOGNITION Olympic Motel, 5714 Werner St., HoustonThe account may be a tad more florid, but Harbeer Sandhu’s satirical tale of an inmate-turned-entrepreneur’s plan to create a Houston museum dedicated to the private prison industry is only slightly more bizarre than the true story behind the birth of the Corrections Corporation of America, the world’s largest for-profit prison operator, in the still-operating Olympic Motel at 5714 Werner St. (less than a half-mile down I-45 from Gallery Furniture). Fences, barbed wire, and iron bars went up on the former hot-sheet motel in early 1984 to create the world’s first for-profit private prison, a detention center for 87 undocumented immigrants. Much has changed in the private prison industry since those humble feeder-road beginnings, where several detainees were able to escape by dislodging the air-conditioning units and climbing out through the holes. [Free Press Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photos: Harbeer Sandhu

10/16/14 8:30am


Photo of Someburger at 745 E. 11th St.: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

10/15/14 5:15pm



An expansive deck with pool for physical therapy (top) links a home and its back-of-lot studio apartment at a Montrose compound, which started October as a $795K listing. Recent updates to the 1922 bungalow (above) included new AC, duct work, and wallboard. The studio space was added in 2012. Located east of Stanford St. near Lovett Blvd., the property is within walking — or rolling — distance of many neighborhood restaurants.


Single Level Living
10/15/14 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE BEAUTY OF THE FAMILY SEDAN Hot New Camry Sedan“The perceived blandness of modern office buildings has nothing to do with the lack of vision or enthusiasm of developers, it has to do with where the money comes from today. Decades ago there were eccentric millionaires and corporations with money to burn on monuments of their own egos, but these days money only comes from carefully calculated, vetted, reexamined, audited, and risk assessed finance packages. Throw in a healthy dose of anti-wealth and anti-corporate profit sentiment in the US and you have the real estate equivalent of a Toyota Camry — simple, functional, non-offensive, and very forgettable.” [commonsense, commenting on New Spec Office Building on Montrose Blvd. Will Sit Atop Southwest Fwy. Wall Vines] Illustration: Lulu

10/15/14 2:00pm

Van Loc Restaurant, 3010 Milam St., Midtown, Houston

Goodbye Note, Van Loc Restaurant, 3010 Milam St., Midtown, HoustonHad you been planning a big farewell meal at Van Loc later this week? Sorry, there’s been a change of plans: The Vietnamese restaurant at 3010 Milam St. in Midtown is now officially closed for good. “There are signs on the doors apologizing for having to close earlier than expected,” a reader tells Swamplot. The reason: So much business in the last few days that they’ve “run out of food” — and order and prep times mean new orders wouldn’t be ready much before the previously planned Friday closing.

Van Loc served its last meals Tuesday night. A sale of the property appears to be imminent.

Photos: Allyn West/OffCite (front); Swamplot inbox (sign)

The Pho Has Flown
10/15/14 11:30am

Partially Demolished Houston Club Building, 811 Rusk St., Downtown HoustonThe denuded 18-story frame of the former Houston Club Building at 811 Rusk St. (pictured above before storms blew away much of its blue clothing early last week) will vibrate and then collapse after 520 lbs. of explosives detonate in and around the structure shortly after 7 am this Sunday, October 19th. If you’re a controlled-demolition gawker hunting for a spot to watch it all go down — and maybe take in all the dusty aftermath, you might want to note that streets will be shut down more than 2 blocks away in every direction before the blast. Although many nearby office buildings will close up late Saturday evening, they may not kick out all workers who have arrived earlier. “Project managers discourage anyone from coming down to see the implosion in person for safety reasons,” notes Click2Houston’s Syan Rhodes. Her station is promising to broadcast a livestream of the implosion on its website that morning.

Photo: Marc Longoria

10/15/14 8:30am


Photo of Hermann Park Centennial Gardens: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool