10/22/14 1:15pm

Proposal for New Randall Davis Condo Tower, 1211 Caroline St. at Polk St., Downtown Houston

There is always excitement surrounding an announcement of a new Randall Davis condo tower — before the design is revealed. Everyone wants to know: What mixture of far-away buildings and long-ago eras will the architecture reference? And what affordable materials will it be constructed from? From atop what garage launch platform will it point toward the sky? And even more simply: How grandiose will it be? Late yesterday, only a few hours after posting news that the developer had announced the impending arrival of a condo highrise adjacent to GreenStreet downtown, Swamplot received the humble design submission pictured above from reader Bill Barfield. He claims to have created the rendering “after much research.”

Rendering: Bill Barfield (bill_b)

Vision Statement
10/22/14 11:30am

CURIOUS POLL PUSHERS WANT TO KNOW: SHOULD THE COUNTY SPEND ANY AMOUNT IT WANTS ON AN ASTRODOME REDO? Interior of Houston AstrodomeThe last time a concrete proposal to spend public money to repurpose the Astrodome was on the ballot, Harris County taxpayers voted it down. So how hard could it be to come up with a new poll showing potential voters aren’t especially eager to shell out for the latest floated idea, to turn the public facility into a giant indoor park — about which no details, price tag, or even feel-good drawings have yet been released? Maybe harder than you might think: In stories about a survey sponsored by KHOU and Houston Public Media whose results were released yesterday, a few news outlets did produce dutiful variants of a “Taxpayers Oppose Money for Astrodome” headline. But coming to that conclusion from the actual data collected in the survey might have been a bit of a stretch. Here’s the somewhat ambiguous wording of the question presented, with no context, to likely voters in the coming election: “Harris County proposes turning the Astrodome into an indoor park. Should the taxpayers of Harris County spend any amount to make the Astrodome into an indoor park if no private investors want to fund the entire project?” 31 percent said yes, 51 percent said no, and 17 percent of respondents said they didn’t know. The subset of respondents who thought they were being asked if they’d be willing to give county government a blank check for a plan they’ve never seen wasn’t broken out separately. [Houston Chronicle; KHOU; Houston Public Media; Astrodome coverage on Swamplot] Photo: Russell Hancock

10/22/14 8:30am

east-loop-at-buffalo-bayou

Photo of East Loop at Buffalo Bayou: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
10/21/14 5:15pm

7345-sims-after-20

2325-fannin-sign

2325-fannin-boot detail

Hunkered down behind a tagged security curtain, a bunker-like commercial building in Midtown’s mid-section popped up on the market overnight with a $585K asking price in a “lot-priced” listing. The corner building of uncertain vintage fronting Fannin St. has a history with commercial printers (and insurance companies), and more recently, shoe repair. Adkins Printing struck an exterior inlay on the building’s forehead (above) that’s still visible behind current signage, as is some faint lettering from its days as the offices of Pound Printing and Stationery. More recent signage attached the building’s blank north side (at right) touts available “stationary,” a spelling more appropriate perhaps to Al’s Handmade Boots, the store now occupying half of the building, than to the location’s printing history.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Imprinted
10/21/14 4:30pm

1311 Polk St., Downtown Houston

Sign at 1201 Caroline St., Downtown HoustonIn announcing earlier today the new condominium tower he and Astoria partner Roberto Contreras are planning to build downtown, Randall Davis wasn’t so specific about the location he has in mind for the highrise building. But sources tell Swamplot it’s planned for a portion of the block bounded by Polk, Caroline, Austin, and Dallas pictured above. That would put it on what’s now a surface parking lot adjacent to the Dirt Bar (tag line: “We Play Rock n’ Roll”) and across the street from the House of Blues, at the eastern end of GreenStreet (formerly Houston Pavilions). Noodle fans will remember the Dirt Bar spot at 1209 Caroline St. as the former home of Josephine’s Italian Restaurant. The Reserve 101 bar is on the corner at 1201 Caroline St., next door.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Where’s Marlowe?
10/21/14 12:15pm

J and L Sheet Metal, 1101 Reinerman St., Westwood Grove, Houston

J and L Sheet Metal, 1101 Reinerman St., Westwood Grove, HoustonFrom reader Mark Lawrence come these farewell views of the almost-a-full-block compound one block north of Washington Ave at 1101 Reinerman St. that belonged to J and L Sheet Metal from the late eighties until recently. The company sold its land, bounded by Reinerman, Moy, Nett, and Center streets, to MHI McGuyer Homebuilders in late August. A sign taped to the front door (at right) notes the metal fabrication business is moving out of the Westwood Grove neighborhood, further north to 14102 Chrisman Rd., near the intersection of the Hardy Toll Rd. and Beltway 8.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Getting the Sheet Metal Out
10/21/14 10:30am

OLD DAILY REVIEW CAFE SPOT, NORTH MONTROSE MIGHT SOON BE UP A CREEK Daily Review Cafe, 2412 W. Lamar St., North Montrose, HoustonBack in March, the Daily Review Café on W. Lamar St. off Dunlavy closed temporarily with a notice about “water issues”; shortly afterward the owners announced the restaurant and its extensive patio wouldn’t reopen. A “for lease” sign has been up at the space for several months, but it now appears the property has attracted a buyer. Eater Houston’s new sleuth-in-residence Jakeisha Wilmore has gathered clues that point to the participation of Gary Mosley’s Creek Group, the company behind the Onion Creek Coffee House, Dry Creek Cafe, and the Cedar Creek and Canyon Creek Bars and Grills. Only this time, the serial restaurateur appears to be flying under a different name: “A limited liability company formed under Piggy’s Tavern was filed by Mosley’s restaurant group in August,” Wilmore writes. “The group also filed for a mixed beverage permit and mixed beverage late night permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). The address listed to conduct business is 3412 West Lamar,” the Daily Review spot. [Eater Houston] Photo: Daily Review Café

10/21/14 8:30am

Knowledge Theater, Micro Center, 5305 S. Rice Ave. at Westpark, Houston

Photo inside the new Micro Center at S. Rice Ave. and Westpark: Swamplot inbox

Headlines
10/20/14 5:00pm

3023-bissonnet-01

3023-bissonnet-11

It’s not the largest of the townhomes lining West University’s Northern border, but it might be the tallest — and it’s certainly the whitest. The stucco contemporary’s listing at $485K mid-month points out the home was built in 1983, not the 1973 found on HCAD. A 3-story design amid 2-story neighbors, the front loader comes with a crow’s nest view north and west that takes in Greenway Plaza. H-E-B’s Buffalo Market is across and down the street.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Decked Out
10/20/14 2:00pm

115 Arnold St., Rice Military, Houston

The steel-framed doubled-up home at 115 Arnold St. in Rice Military (pictured above) owned by Houston restaurateur Ouisie Jones and her husband Harry Jones earned its demolition permit yesterday, a few months after the property was sold to a developer — for $2.2 million. (It was asking $2.65 million this past March, when Swamplot featured it.) The 24,915-sq.-ft. property is being joined with the slightly larger plot of land under the adjacent warehouse building at 5202 Chandler St. to make space for an F-shaped 22-townhome development.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Redevelopment on the Menu
10/20/14 12:00pm

By now, most of us have probably been tricked once or twice by an incredibly realistic rendering of a building that we thought was an actual photograph. Here’s something that might do the reverse: If after several viewings, you still suspect this fly-through of the 10-month-old city park forged out of the former Bethel Missionary Baptist Church at 801 Andrews St. in the Fourth Ward might have been created at least in part with modeling software, you should be excused. But it’s actual aerial footage from Seventh Ray Films, using a DGI Phantom 2 quadcopter — with a fair amount of post-production work to achieve a more “cinematic” look.

Video: Seventh Ray Films

Can Your Drone Do This?