04/21/14 11:00am

IT’S HIGH SIGN SEASON IN HOUSTON Appliances Wall Mural, HoustonSpring has sprung, notes local film curator Peter Lucas. And that means a fresh crop of hand-painted signs has already sprouted: “Each spring — that all-too-brief time when the sun starts to shine in a few bright spurts but hasn’t yet begun to make being outdoors nearly unbearable and opening our eyes wide nearly impossible — this town begins to reveal an exhibition rivaling those in any of our art galleries and museums. Colors pop against each other. Structures pierce the blue sky. Degraded materials reveal complex textures. Drop-shadows create depth interplay with architectural flourishes and telephone lines. Emerging amidst these illuminated color fields and intersecting shadows are countless hand-painted signs. All around us, unique paintings of tires, kitchen appliances, people, foods, animals, and collages of typography show themselves and remind us that this is quite literally an art town.” [Glasstire] Photo: Peter Lucas

04/21/14 10:00am

Construction of The El Cantina Superior, 602 Studewood St., Houston Heights

This photo, looking northwest northeast from BB’s Cafe catty corner at the intersection of White Oak and Studewood on the western border of the Woodland Heights, shows construction on the former gas station where serial Heights-area restaurant opener Ken Bridge plans to piece together his latest spot, The El Cantina Superior. Bridge, the initiating force behind Lola, the Shepherd Park Draught House, Witchcraft Tavern & Provisions (and Dragon Bowl before that), and the growing Pink’s Pizza chain, hasn’t bothered to get rid of all of the Conoco fixin’s onsite — there’s the canopy angled slightly toward the streetcorner, which is being incorporated into the new building under construction around and under it. And the sign for The El, which has been up on the site well in advance of construction, hoods the gas station logo but still shows the per-gallon pricing slots of the predecessor’s liquid offerings.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Fill ’Er Up!
04/21/14 8:30am

avis frank gallery

Photo of Avis Frank Gallery at 1606 White Oak Dr.: Ruben S. via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
04/18/14 5:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: SO CONDOS ARE FOREVER? Condos“My condo complex sits on about 6 acres of land on the western edge of River Oaks. We’ve been approached a few times by developers, but our bylaws require 100% owner approval to terminate the condo regime. There was a reported offer of $39M, which comes to about $270,800/unit (not accounting for differences in common ownership). That wouldn’t buy squat inside the loop today, so we will probably never get every owner to sell. Fine by me!” [roadchick, commenting on Randall Davis Trying To Buy an Entire Westhaven Estates Townhome Complex, in One Fell Swoop] Illustration: Lulu

04/18/14 12:30pm

Proposed 39-Story Residential Tower on Crawford and Walker Streets, Downtown Houston

It looks like engineers have begun soil testing the thin strip of land left along Crawford St. downtown between the Hess Tower parking garage and the surface parking lot where the new Marriott Marquis hotel is about to go up. Conveniently for the rendering above showing Ziegler Cooper Architects’ design for a 39-story residential tower on that 72-ft.-wide site, there’s nothing there yet to block the view of the building’s lower portions from Discovery Green — but without the hotel in place the skybridge drawn in at the second level connecting across Crawford to the nonexistent second story of a parking lot does look a little strange.

The new apartments are being developed by Trammell Crow. They’ll sit on a 12-story garage podium. Some of its 314 units will have views of the Texas-shaped “lazy river” on the Marriott Marquis’s upper deck, but they’ll also have their own pool piece above the garage, with this view of Discovery Green and the George R. Brown:

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Trammell Crow Downtown
04/18/14 10:30am

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Corner windows sharpen the edges of a buffed-up 1956 home with mod-fied interior (top) located on a corner lot in Shepherd Forest. The walkway across the lawn (above) leads to the street that determines the property address, but the tomato-red front door faces the cross street. So does the double-bay garage tucked closer to the utility easement running behind the fully fenced property.  Earlier this week, the sideways-sited home landed on the market. Its $279,000 asking price is just over $100K more than when it last sold, back in August 2011.

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Corner Pocket
04/18/14 8:30am

Daniel Anguilu mural at White Oak and Harvard

Photo of Daniel Anguilu mural at White Oak and Harvard: Molly Block via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
04/17/14 5:00pm

Demolition of Former Rice Museum, Martell Building, Rice University, Houston

A funny thing happened on the way to carefully disassembling the former Menil Museum on the campus of Rice University so that it could be rebuilt somewhere in the Fourth Ward with the help of a Brown Foundation grant: After workers spent a week or so carefully removing the corrugated galvanized but weathered panels on the building, an excavator began summarily demolishing the rest yesterday. Or almost the rest — work had to be stopped after crews hit a power line, Molly Glentzer at the Chronicle reports.

So by midday today the scene near Rice University’s University Dr. entrance looked something like this:

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Oops, Did Somebody Want This?
04/17/14 3:00pm

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Metropolis Lofts, 1914 W. Gray St., HoustonDo people in buildings Downtown spy on the Gargoyle-capped midrise on West Gray St. — or vice versa? This furnished, second-floor, 2-story condo in Randall Davis’ 1997-built Metropolis Lofts building is available for lease, asking $5,500 per month.

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Winging It
04/17/14 2:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHERE HISTORY WAS Historic and Gone“. . . The loss of historic architecture does not mean that the area is no longer historic; however, signs could be posted that say something to the effect of, “this historic area used to contain significant architecture that was so undervalued that it was demolished to make way for new, soon to be historic architecture.” [Higher Density, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: Kickerillo Down] Illustration: Lulu

04/17/14 1:00pm

Townhomes at 5918 San Felipe St., Westhaven Estates, Houston

Developer Randall Davis has been trying to buy an entire 16-unit townhome complex at the corner of San Felipe Dr. and Nantucket Ln. “They have tried multiple times to purchase,” a source tells Swamplot, noting that the offers have been rejected so far. In September of last year, Davis sent an offer of $400,000 for each unit at 5918 San Felipe St., sweetened with a $50,000 discount off the purchase price of a unit in the condo building Davis intends to build in their place. “They needed a unanimous decision” from all 16 owners, the source notes, “which did not happen.”

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The Big Buyout