11/09/18 8:30am

Photo of Preston St. at Main St.: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
11/08/18 3:00pm

Just this morning, a federal judge ordered developer Urban Living to pay nearly $28 million to Houston home design firm Preston Wood & Associates. Preston Wood sued Urban Living in 2016, claiming that the developer and its business partners made unauthorized use of copyrighted townhome plans Preston Wood had provided 2 years earlier.

The plans were used to build and market 5 developments — including Patterson Street Landing, shown at top just north of Wash Ave. Another, EaDo Place, went up on Polk between Nagle and Live Oak. in 2015:

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Infingement Lawsuit
11/08/18 10:30am

Frenchy’s Chicken is gearing up to open a new restaurant on Scott St. so that it’s original — there since 1969 — can get out of the way of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church‘s planned expansion. (You can see the church’s slated roofing peeking out behind Frenchy’s in the photo above.) The restaurant’s new location: 2 blocks south of the current one, in the former O’Sat Auto Detail shop pictured at top on the northwest corner of Blodgett St. There, a spate of building permits filed within the last few months reveal Frenchy’s management is about to get started on renovations.

It’s a bit of a detour from the chain’s original relocation plan. Last May, Frenchy’s top brass Percy Creuzot III (the son of the chain’s founder Percy “Frenchy” Creuzot, Jr.) told the Chronicle‘s Cindy George he’d staked out a spot 5 blocks north of the current one where Alabama St. ends across from UH’s indoor football practice building. Sure enough, Creuzot’s business partner Anthony Gaynor consolidated several adjacent lots he owned at the southwest corner of Alabama and Scott 2 into a single property last year — and a few months afterward, demolished the building it that’d done stints on it as number of different barbecue joints:

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Third Ward
11/08/18 8:30am

Photo of East Downtown: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
11/07/18 5:00pm

How’s this for dockless bike-share pricing: $15 for unlimited rides? Too bad though, the offer has already sold out.

Remember the fleet of nearly 100 bikes from MoBike that mysteriously vanished from The Woodlands last month? MoBike itself, it turns out, pulled them off the streets starting in October and put them in 2 self-storage rentals: one at Amazing Spaces on I-45 just north of Vision Park Blvd., and the other 5 miles down the freeway at the U-Haul Moving and Storage center near the Rayford-Sawdust Rd. exit — which the company used as a repair shop. But no announcement was made and the great bike-share vanishing was kind of mysterious. Residents who called up the township to ask where the bikes had all gone — according to The Villager’s Jeff Forward — were told that the township hadn’t received any communication from MoBike about what had happened.

Then . . . the bikes showed up on Craigslist:

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No MoBike in the U.S. of A.
11/07/18 1:30pm

THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF THE WOODLANDS’ DOCKLESS BIKE FLEET The sudden disappearance of dockless bikes from their usual hangouts in The Woodlands left staff at the town’s newspaper scrambling to figure out where they all went last week: “A Woodlands Villager reporter drove to four areas where the popular ride-sharing bicycles were routinely located and found no bikes,” writes editor Jeff Forward. When reached for comment, township official Nick Wolda told him that the Chinese company behind the fleet, MoBike, became tough to get a hold of starting in July. But the 100-or-so bikes it handed over last year were still there: “In August, we were rocking and rolling and ridership numbers were good. Then, all of the sudden, the bikes started leaving. We were starting to field calls from residents about them, asking where they were.” Wolda never received word from MoBike that the company planned to skip town, and the only mention reporters could find of the firm’s intentions was a note a former employee wrote on his LinkedIn profile: “Mobike decided not to pursue the Houston market — my position was eliminated as of July 2018.” Officials are now holding the few stray bikes that have been spotted since the vanishing act for safekeeping. “If the company wants to come get them, that’s fine,” Wolda says. [The Woodlands Villager; previously on SwamplotPhoto: MoBike  

11/07/18 12:30pm

League City’s city council voted to relegate the Chester L. Davis Sportsplex on I-45 to a less prime spot on the other side of the interstate so that a whole bunch of buildings — collectively dubbed Epicenter League City — can take its highway-adjacent place and hopefully, “make League City a dynamic cultural center and national destination,” according to the official press release. (The map above shows the plans with east facing up.) Freeway exposure for it all is limited by the pair of car dealerships — Mac Haik Toyota and Clear Lake Nissan — situated right up on the northbound feeder road. But behind them lies the 106-acre development’s urban nucleus, a shop-lined central green space bookended by some kind of water park and an opposing “Live/Work Village,” with an outdoor entertainment complex and convention center to the immediate north. Beyond that core, things give way to the parking lot, retail, and office hodgepodge that’s more of a familiar sight.

While a private developer has signed up to fund the Epicenter’s construction, League City officials appear to have their work cut out for them on the new, larger sportsplex — which they want to look something like this:

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The Epicenter off I-45
11/07/18 10:30am

The art venue formerly known as galleryHOMELAND has selected Bayou City Cycles‘ old shop at 1303 Cullen Blvd. for its new exhibition space, headquarters, and — as shown in the rendering above — curbside landscaping. The 6-year lease it’s taking across from Kroger should allow it to make a new name for itself as Space HL, a rebranding that Glasstire‘s Brandon Zech explains is supposed to call attention to the organization’s new focus on stuff besides art, like lectures, experimental performances, and other programs. About 1,000 sq.-ft. of the building will be for exhibitions, reports Zech, but don’t discount the backyard — which could host outdoor events, or you never know, he writes, maybe even “built-out shipping container projects spaces.”

That’d be a new one. The gallery’s last location across in the industrial row across Commerce St. from Tout Suite was a shared parking lot. It’d flirted with relocating from there to a quarter portion of the Imperial Linen & Cleaners building on Harrisburg Blvd. that’s slated to get redone as something retail- and restaurant-ready but changed its mind when the building took on Harvey damage, writes Zech.

What’ll become of the paint-job Bayou City gave its building when it took over from El Miramar Bar in 2016?

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Eastwood Micro Galleries
11/07/18 8:30am

Photo of downtown Houston skyline: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

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