- 2406 River Oaks Blvd. [HAR]
Photo: Benjamin Hill
The MacGregor Way mansion built for the family of Houston grocery pioneer Joseph Weingarten went up for sale last week, providing Houston oldtimers and other more recent converts to old-school real estate ogling a first opportunity to confirm or contradict their suspicions about what the interior of the once-proud 1939 Joseph Finger-designed estate looks like in its . . . uh, unattended state.
The listing photos don’t disappoint, providing an air of grandeur to the vast interiors — peeling paint, leaky window units, rumpled carpet and all. Better yet, the 4-bedroom, 5,480-sq.-ft. property on 4.73 acres (most of them in the 100-year floodplain) has no deed restrictions or historical protections, which sets the Brays Bayou-side perch in Riverside Terrace as the latest scene of a no-schemes-barred Houston-style bidding-and-bitching rumble. (Multiple offers have already been submitted by developers eager to scrape the home and carve up the property into separate homesites).
What’s been going on with the transformation of the former Wendy’s at 1303 Westheimer Rd. into the first Houston location of Doc’s Bar & Grill? The Austin import had been aiming for a November opening — last year. Now the target date is late August — a full year after Swamplot’s original story on the venture. A publicist attributes the delay to “a city plan to widen Westheimer,” which triggered some sort of redesign.
Here’s how it’s supposed to look when it’s finished:
A 28th hat trick and other choice removals, all in a day’s work.
There’s plenty of buffering yard in back, but this Idylwood home hugs the curve of the street in front, so open grounds swing to the side as well. Palm-crowned, the deep lot has a saw-like shape, with the house holding the “handle” near the jog. Beyond the far-away back fence on the property lies the side parking lot of the Wayside Dr. Walmart Supercenter. The well-tended 1952 home is set on a slight diagonal across its almost quarter-acre kinda-corner lot; but there’s a section (not pictured, though it’s also heavily landscaped) that falls outside any fencing (above) lined up to square off the setback.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: A BY-THE-DECADE GUIDE TO HOUSTON HOME CLICHES “. . . How to estimate when a home was built: Before 1920s: has a historical marker out front. 1920 & 30s: large porched front on narrow lots. 1940s: houses built low to the ground — almost always look identical to each other. 1950s: seafoam green/Pepto Bismol-pink tile in the bathrooms. 1960s: wood paneling in the den. 1970s: diagonal exterior wood plank paneling. 1980s: skylights, skylights, skylights. 1990s: McMansion. 2000s: faux Tuscan exteriors. 2010s: Tear down something from the above list and build whatever in its place. Doesn’t matter what — we’ve run out of ideas at this point.” [Native Houstonian, commenting on Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: Dead Animal Planet] Illustration: Lulu
Here’s the scene from above Morningside Dr. in the Rice Village, where Hanover is building a 12-story apartment structure between Tangley and Dunstan, just north of the 6-story Hanover at Rice Village apartments it completed last year. Ziegler Cooper Architects’ design for the 206-unit complex will include a pool deck on the top story and a courtyard on the third:
BUILDING THE BIGGEST LIVING ROOM IN THE WORLD From the prologue to The Astrodome: Building a Domed Spectacle, James Gast’s just-published history of the origins of the Harris County Domed Stadium: “The Astrodome is not a distinctive work of architecture. It is certainly not a bad building, nor is it an exceptionally beautiful one. The Astrodome ended its days as a major league venue in 1999, but it remains a uniquely inﬂuential building. On the simplest level, it changed the game of baseball and — in the opinion of legions of self-described purists — not for the better. If you happen to be a student of the game, you know that the artificial turf first introduced at the Astrodome changed the way baseball was played, placing a new emphasis on speed and spawning a generation of light-hitting speedsters playing on artificial turf fields with deep fences. Off the field, the Astrodome’s creature comforts and barrage of electronic media forever changed the way the game is viewed. The Dome rose alongside the growing inﬂuence of television, and stood as a response to a commercial threat posed by television. To lure paying customers away from their TV sets and into the ballpark, stadiums needed to deliver comfort and amenities on par with the spectators’ living rooms. The Dome competed with television by emulating it: a comfortable seat, good food, and frequent electronic distractions. If, while at Phoenix’s Chase field, you find yourself engrossed in a video on the 6,200-square—foot high-definition scoreboard while enjoying curried chicken tacos with mint-marinated cucumbers and yogurt on top of scallion pancakes, you can thank — or curse — the Astrodome.” [Astrodome Book]
Burnt indelibly into our cores; never to be forgotten.
Without its stylized pediment and lip of aging awning, a funky mixed use property in Houston Heights is just a boxy building, its stucco in fading 1984 hues of seafoam green and coral. Inside, though, a more modern vibe takes hold (top) above studio space occupying the entire ground floor (middle). In its listing last week, the updated work-live pad’s asking price was $665,000.
ZELKO BISTRO: WE’RE NOT GONE YET Was the “for lease” sign (at right) posted and then removed this morning in front of Zelko Bistro at 705 E. 11th St. just part of a high-stakes lease-extension negotiation? Responding to reports that her restaurant is a goner from the Heights location and that the converted bungalow is available “immediately,” owner Jamie Zelko reports it’s all part of . . . the process? Here’s the latest from the restaurant’s Twitter account this afternoon: “Hello everyone. We are currently in negotiations to exercise our option to renew our lease. We should come to agreement soon!” [Twitter] Photo: The Heights Life
LOCAL DESIGN MAG WANTS YOU TO REINVENT HOUSTON’S POLICE HQ COMPLEX — IN MINECRAFT The online and offline publications of the Rice Design Alliance have announced a design competition to “reimagine” the area surrounding the city’s 21-acre police, courthouse, and jail complex centered around 61 Riesner St. between the Sixth Ward and Downtown — within the virtual world of Minecraft. Models of a number of existing buildings in the area bounded roughly by Houston Ave., Washington Ave, Preston St., I-45, and Memorial Dr. have already been crafted in the video game’s distinctive blocky style for the venture (try this server address: 18.104.22.168:25565), including Kenneth Franzheim’s 1950 Streamline Moderne HPD HQ itself (above); the publication is still seeking help to model other existing structures, including the Ferris Wheel and Aquarium on the opposite side of I-45. But simply blockifying existing structures isn’t the focus of the competition; instead, the editors of Cite magazine and the Offcite blog hope beginning or experienced users of the gaming environment will be inspired to inflict their visions of the larger area’s possible future on the design jury of one — New York design critic Alexandra Lange. [Offcite; map of site] Rendering: JP Dowling