07/19/16 8:30am

dunlavy-heb

Photo of Dunlavy H-E-B.: Bill Barfield via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
07/18/16 4:45pm

1003 Lynwood Rd., Spring, TX 77373

The spiral staircase concealed behind the 2-story front entrance of 1003 Lynwood in Spring will get you to the right height, but you won’t be able to exit that way — the only accessible upper-story door to the exterior leads onto a balcony in the master bedroom. The house is half a block north of the Highland Glen subdivision (which is tucked into the V of land created by the intersecting Missouri Pacific rail line, beneath the Hardy Toll Road, and Cypress Creek). The 4-bedroom home sits on 4 fifths of an acre of tall-treed lot; it was built in 1968 and hit the market 4 days ago. 

And now, a portrait of a door in 2 parts: 

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Coming Out On Top
07/18/16 2:45pm

Menil Drawing Institute construction, July 2016

Proposed Menil Drawing Institute by Johnston Marklee, West Main St., Montrose, HoustonReader and mixed-media picture-maker Bob Russell sends along an update to his previous shots of the site of the Menil Drawing Institute, now preliminarily sketched into place in broad steel strokes. The framework shown at the top appears to be outlining that western interior courtyard that showed up in Johnston Marklee’s previous renderings of the building, which is going up where the now-level back third of the Richmont Square apartment complex once stood.

The Menil says construction should wrap up some time next year. Here’s a few more angles on all the angles already in place:

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Refining the Line Work
07/18/16 1:15pm

3217 Montrose Blvd., WAMM, Houston, 77006

3217 Montrose Blvd., WAMM, Houston, 77006Colorado breakfast restaurant and cocktail purveyor Snooze says its Houston grand opening is set for this Thursday at 6:30 AM in the redeveloped office building at 3217 Montrose Blvd. (which hosted Interfaith Ministries before the organization converted a Midtown bank in 2013). The location is already quietly serving some of Montrose’s early risers (or late ragers) from its spot next to resale-by-mail used-clothing chain Crossroads.

The ground-floor space in the 2-story building is the first Houston outpost of Snooze, which has a few Austin spots already up and running. Corinthian Real Estate bought the property in 2014 after a bit of redevelopment work by Braun (as shown above) and moved into an upstairs office. Here’s what the space looked like before the pin-striped canopies and painted murals came down:

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Dawning on Montrose
07/18/16 10:30am

FIRST ZIKA BIRTH DEFECTS CONFIRMED IN HARRIS COUNTY AS CONGRESS GOES ON BREAK Legacy Montrose Clinic, 1415 California St., Montrose, Houston (12)On Friday Congress left for a 7-week recess without approving any funding to deal with the potential for the Zika virus to spread in the US; the break started just 2 days after Harris County Public Health confirmed the county’s first case of a baby born with Zika-related microcephaly. While no home-grown cases of the virus have yet been reported in Texas, Baylor’s Dr. Peter Hotez tells Maggie Fox that local spread “might already have started on the Gulf Coast and we would have missed it,” noting that federal funding would have given a boost to underprepared local agencies in mosquito-heavy Southern states. Hotez and other public health types say that the kinds of mosquitos that carry the virus (which are adapted to urban environments and are active during the day) are able to breed anywhere from a drip pan in a suburban refrigerator to the perennial piles of illegally dumped tires around Fifth Ward. Healthcare workers at Legacy Community Health Services also tell Fox that Houston is “a perfect place for Zika to take hold and reach a crisis point,” particularly since the 16-plus percent of Texans who are uninsured aren’t likely to seek treatment and get diagnosed.  [NBC] Photo of Legacy Community Health Services building at 1415 California St.: Candace Garcia

07/18/16 8:30am

eado

Photo of East Downtown: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
07/15/16 3:30pm

Montrose at Main, ca. 1925 from Preservation Houston archives

Mecom Fountain in front of Hotel ZaZa, Main and Montrose, Houston

The elliptical roundabout where Main and Montrose come together has gotten a bit taller since the scene showed in the photo above (which the archivist activists at Preservation Houston dug out of their files this week). The photo shows the sunken garden that once occupied the space at the acute intersection; the Museum of Fine Arts building can be seen lurking behind a few trees in the background, flanked to the left by the long-gone Montrose Apartments. A trail of mid-1920s automobiles can be seen caravaning northeast alongside Main St.’s spacious esplanades toward a sparsely-towered Downtown.

The fountain (which was recently granted protected historic landmark status after its crowdfunded de-restoration) replaced the gardens in the 1960s when John Mecom built redid the Warwick Hotel nearby (shown in the second photo above in its more recent but still storied reincarnation as Hotel ZaZa). Below is a look straight up now-well-treed Montrose Blvd. from southeast of the fountains, along Hermann Park’s rail-sliced Grand Gateway corridor — that’s the 5000 Montrose condo tower on the left, and the Museum Tower on the right:

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Growing Up at Montrose at Main
07/15/16 1:30pm

LONGABERGER EMPTIES 7-STORY PICNIC BASKET FOR SALE OR FORECLOSURE Meanwhile, in Newark: Yesterday Ohio-based basket weaver Longaberger finished moving the last of its employees out of its former corporate headquarters, a replica of the company’s Medium Market model (albeit 160 times larger than life). The company, which saw a 90 percent drop in sales between 2000 and 2014, is currently trying to sell off the building, which consists of a 7-story office structure behind a stucco-over-steel faux-woven facade, complete with 2 enormous handles that heat up to prevent icing in the winter.  The company has accumulated more than half a million dollars in unpaid taxes on the property; if a buyer cannot be found, the city may foreclose and offer the structure up for public auction. [Columbus Dispatch via Houston Chronicle]

07/15/16 12:00pm

Downtown Houston Skyline

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Sponsor of the Day
07/15/16 11:30am

3516 Montrose Blvd., First Montrose Commons, Houston, 77006

A reader’s aerial snapshot shows that the site of the former River Cafe at the corner of Montrose and Marshall St. is now empty once again, following the removal of all objectionably large signage advertising Riverway’s recently shelved condo midrise project. Riverway went through 2 different designs at the site, swapping the original renderings in 2014 for a larger and sleeker structure thematically tied (at least by the choice of architecture firm) to Philip Johnson’s Glass House. The writing was off the wall by early summer; Riverway officially told the HBJ that the project was off at the end of June.

Photo of 3516 Montrose Blvd.: Swamplot inbox

Mowed Down on Marshall St.
07/15/16 10:15am

METRO SUSPECTS YOU ARE ANNOYED BY TARDY TRAINS main-street-light-railThough they don’t have the numbers to prove it, Metro officials are concerned that regularly late trains may be driving away riders, writes Dug Begley this week; even Metro board member Christof Spieler reportedly called the train’s recent timing stats “abysmal.” Begley writes that the timing problems in the last few years stem mainly from a set of sensors that count the axles of passing trains to help determine when they can be cleared to cross signaled intersections; problems with the devices (which are compounded by heat, humidity, and downtown traffic signal timing) can cause cascading delays through the rest of the train schedule. Siemens, which makes the devices, is still working on a fix at no cost to Metro. Begley notes that the trains haven’t been measured as meeting Metro’s monthly 95-percent on-time benchmark for acceptable performance since late 2013 (before the Red Line expansion opened); punctuality has dropped below 80 percent during at least 4 months in the last 2 years. [Houston Chronicle; previously on SwamplotPhoto of Main Street light rail: elnina via Swamplot Flickr Pool