07/13/15 8:30am

former-bellaire-theater

Photo of West U Marketplace Shopping Center in former Bellaire Theater: Bill Barfield via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
07/10/15 2:00pm

CVS Pharmacy Under Construction, 3112 S. Shepherd Dr., Westlawn Terrace, Houston

CVS Pharmacy Under Construction, 3112 S. Shepherd Dr., Westlawn Terrace, HoustonThe new CVS Pharmacy that’s replacing a couple of former veterinary clinics on W. Alabama — as well as the Shepherd Corner shopping center that until late last year housed Roeder’s Pub, Ruchi’s Taqueria, and Oaks Cleaners — is almost ready to show off the 40 shiny new parking spaces that will front the S. Shepherd Dr. corner a block south from the Trader Joe’s-ified Alabama Theater.

Don’t worry that parking will be scarce, though — more spaces will be available along the side and back of the new building, which faces S. Shepherd Dr. behind 2 full parking lanes. If you’re looking for a development that might be a little more street-fronting, you’ll have to wait: Construction hasn’t even begun yet on the fast-food drive-thru planned for the adjacent former site of jewelry store Fly High Little Bunny; it’ll go in where the big pile of dirt is, at the left of this photo:

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07/10/15 1:00pm

WHAT IF LOCAL REPORTERS COULD KEEP THEIR HOUSTON NEIGHBORHOODS STRAIGHT? Screenshot of KHOU Report on Shooting in Independence Heights, HoustonMaybe by being more specific and accurate about the locations they describe, suggests Christopher Andrews, teevee news reporters could help Houston learn a little more about itself: “I sometimes wonder how much more we as citizens could learn about our cities if our local news media accurately described the neighborhoods in our cities. A shooting occurred in the Independence Heights neighborhood of Houston early Wednesday morning. Independence Heights is a neighborhood just north of Houston’s I-610 loop. It is home to what most claim was ‘Texas’ first self-governing African-American community.’ When Houston’s local news media covered the shooting, it was described as a shooting ‘in the Heights-area.‘ Would viewers not know where Independence Heights is located? Well, sure, it was near the Heights. But how close is near? Another outlet described it as ‘north Houston.’ Again, how far north of Downtown Houston is ‘north Houston’? Houston is a gigantic city, so north Houston should be more than a few miles from its center. The site of the shooting is approximately a half mile north of Houston’s I-610 loop, which serves as the northern border of what is known as the Houston Heights neighborhood. (To be technical, Sunset Heights is the subdivision name north of the Houston Heights proper.) This is part a further trend in Houston of simply attaching ‘-Heights’ to neighborhoods or developments in hope of invoking the charm of the Houston Heights proper. (I’m sure this can be said of many other neighborhoods in other cities as well.)” [Not of It] Screenshot: KHOU

07/10/15 8:30am

Demolition of Kirby Court Apartments, 2612 Steel St., Upper Kirby, Houston

Photo of Kirby Court Apartments demolitionSwamplot inbox

Headlines
07/09/15 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: RISE OF THE MEMORIAL CITY MONSTER Memorial City Mall, Houston“Does any else remember the old Memorial City Hospital that used to sit on the east-bound Katy Freeway feeder (west of Gessner)? It was once just a small 3 stories tall. Then they built 3 more floors on top of those, making it 6. Then it kept growing/morphing until it turned into the crazy space alien tower that it is today. Memorial City Mall has similarly morphed and changed continuously over the past 3 decades, constantly changing its footprint, accessibility, and façade. I would love to see some sort of time lapse of all the changes. With this expansion across I-10, I’m envisioning an eventual network of skywalks spanning the freeway to connect it all, like a great big vampire squid.” [Superdave, commenting on Memorial City Prepares To Cross the Katy] Illustration: Lulu

07/09/15 2:15pm

Fire at Courtyard By Marriott Hotel, 18010 Park Row Dr., Ten Oaks, Park Row, Energy Corridor, Houston

12 hours after the Courtyard by Marriott under construction at the corner of Park Row and Barker Cypress burst into flames, fire crews are still dumping water on the building, a reader reports. Here’s a post-conflagration view of the soaking going on at Texas Western Hospitality’s hotel project. The 135-room, 4-story hotel on a 5.2-acre site at 18010 Park Row Dr., next door to the West Campus of Texas Children’s Hospital, had been scheduled to open in October. No injuries have been reported.

Photo: Brian Walz

Courtyard by Marriott
07/09/15 12:30pm

Tesla North Houston, DCT Airtex Business Center, 14820 North Fwy., Houston

Zzzzzzapp!! Workers are finishing up construction inside the Houston area’s second Tesla store for its grand opening on Saturday and Sunday. It’s in the DCT Airtex Business Center, a new tilt-up building on the east side of I-45 between Beltway 8 and FM 1960. Like the Galleria storefront that’s been open for a few years now, the showroom is a company store, not a dealership: You’ll be able to order a Model S or Model X online, then take delivery at the company’s maintenance facility in Westchase (and take care of the paperwork at the courthouse yourself to get the title and plates). But of course you won’t be able to buy a Tesla on the premises because Texas laws require cars to be sold through a dealership, and Tesla won’t sell them that way.

Unlike the Galleria store, free juice for Tesla owners is available in the drive-up spaces out front:

Tesla North Houston, DCT Airtex Business Center, 14820 North Fwy., Houston

The building at 14820 North Fwy. is just south of E. Airtex Dr. If you don’t like what you see, the Tom Peacock Nissan and Cadillac dealerships, Corvette World, and Lone Star RV are perched on the same feeder road, and the DeMontrond complex of Kia, Buick, Volkswagen, and RV outlets and a Lamborghini dealership are just across the highway to the south.

Photos: Matt Musick

Plugging In
07/09/15 8:30am

white-oak-bayou

Photo of White Oak Bayou: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
07/08/15 4:45pm

Construction Trailer for Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, 1111 N. Dairy Ashford St., Memorial, Houston

From the street, a Swamplot reader notes, the roll-on vehicle pictured here looks just like your typical construction trailer. But come around the side you can see the banner pinned to it, announcing a new Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers. The latest link in the growing fast-food chain is about to arrive on the former site of the Lucky Village Chinese Buffet that was torn down at 1111 N. Dairy Ashford last year. The new Freddy’s between St. Mary’s Ln. and Barryknoll will join a parade of beef purveyors (Sam’s Burgers, Lynn’s Steakhouse, Hebert’s Specialty Meats) and fast-food joints (Jack-in-the-Box, Sonic, and the Raising Cane’s right next door) lining the west side of Dairy Ashford, roughly opposite Spring Branch ISD’s AstroTurf-lined Darrell Tully Stadium.

Photo: Brian Walz

Steakburgers
07/08/15 3:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: LIKE THE BAYOUS, HOUSTON OIL DEVELOPMENT FLOWS WEST TO EAST Oil Drilling and Trucks“. . . First, low oil prices are absolutely TERRIBLE for upstream (Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Fluor, etc). However, it’s not necessarily terrible for downstream. Expensive or cheap, oil has to be refined and there has been no reduction in the demand of downstream products (gas, polymers, aromatics etc). If you know the Houston energy market then you know that Upstream is located heavily in Katy and Sugarland. Downstream is located primarily on the East Side of Houston, with some exceptions (like the EM woodlands campus). More central or (to a degree) eastern housing markets should still see significant demand. Second, understand that some oil companies move very slowly. Capital expense budgets are planned years in advance. Those don’t necessarily just get ripped up and thrown out the window just because the price of oil has tanked. Yet again, UPSTREAM is definitely cancelling capital left and right, I mean only a moron would drill a new low margin well right now, but Downstream? I believe at least 2 new crackers are coming online this year and a new 500+ kta polymer reactor is as well. Those aren’t stopping, and low oil prices wouldn’t stop them anyways.” [MrEction, commenting on Downtown Foreclosure Auctions in Their Final Year; Bramble’s Debut; Krispy Kreme’s Opening Date] Illustration: Lulu