10/13/14 2:15pm

Proposed Building for Saturn V Rocket, Rocket Park, Houston

The Saturn V rocket originally planned to boost a never-happened Apollo 18 spaceflight has been lying on its side near the corner of Saturn Ln. and 2nd St. and aimed at Lake Jackson since 1977. An air-conditioned, metal-framed structure was built around the Smithsonian-owned hulk 10 years ago to protect it from the elements, but it makes it difficult for visitors to appreciate just how hulking the rocket is. And recently the new structure has begun to look a bit dilapidated as well. Unprompted by any government agency or basketball team, San Antonio architect Brantley Hightower has been floating a proposal to wrap a more permanent structure around Houston’s most prominent rocketship — one that would restore the drive-by view of its full length (above) that the existing enclosure ruined, and make it clear just how big the Saturn V was:


Houston Rockets
10/13/14 11:30am

Proposed Bridgeview Crossing, 4503 Montrose Blvd., Montrose, Houston

Here are a few views of the 11-story spec office building planned for the north side of the Montrose Blvd. bridge over the Southwest Fwy., across the street from Kam’s Fine Chinese Cuisine. And yes, it appears developers Griffin Partners really do intend to call the inside-the-Loop project Bridgeview Crossing. The design by Kirksey Architecture includes a single 1,500-sq.-ft. retail space facing Montrose, but the rest of the building at 4503 Montrose Blvd. is all business: 5 floors of office space sitting on top of a 6-level parking garage.

The design’s surface treatments, however, play down that simple offices-over-cars division, presenting instead a glassy-and-griddy front to Hwy. 59 on the south:


Bridgeview Crossing
10/13/14 8:30am

iFLY Indoor Skydiving construction on I-10 Between Bunker Hill and Blalock

Photo of Construction of iFLY Indoor Skydiving, I-10 between Bunker Hill and Blalock: elnina via Swamplot Flickr Pool

10/10/14 2:30pm

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

Kirby Court Apartments, 2612 Steel St., Upper Kirby, HoustonAll remaining tenants of the oak-tree-lined Kirby Court Apartments on the 2600 and 2700 block of Steel St. — across Kirby Dr. from the Whole Foods Market — received notice today that all leases will be terminated on December 31st, a source tells Swamplot. The notices — sent through regular mail and certified mail, taped on front doors, and bearing some lawyerly language — do not indicate the name of any buyer, or describe what might become of the site when it is redeveloped. But according to the source, all portions of the complex have now been sold.


Upper Kirby
10/10/14 12:30pm

Westbury Centerette, 10901-10925 Chimney Rock Rd. at West Bellfort, Westbury, Houston

Westbury Centerette, 10901-10925 Chimney Rock Rd. at West Bellfort, Westbury, HoustonA 38,000-sq.-ft. LA Fitness gym and health club and a larger separate multi-level parking garage are planned for the site of the Westbury Centerette, a vacant early-sixties shopping center on West Bellfort St. just east of Chimney Rock. The development would take up the entire block surrounded by West Bellfort, Chimney Rock, Cedarhurst Dr., and Moonlight Dr. — except for the AutoZone and WingStreet at the southwest corner. Plans submitted to the city show the LA Fitness backing up to Moonlight Dr. and facing a row of parking accessed from West Bellfort; the 263-space garage would sit at the corner of Chimney Rock and Cedarhurst:


Muscle Building
10/10/14 10:30am

RIVER OAKS AND HIGHLAND PARK: SEPARATED AT BIRTH? Highland Park and River Oaks, by Cheryl Caldwell FergusonThey each contain some of their city’s most expensive homes, and gave their name to classic (well, in one instance used-to-be-classic) 1930s shopping centers. But just how comparable are Dallas’s Highland Park and Houston’s River Oaks? Cheryl Caldwell Ferguson’s new book — bearing the complicated title Highland Park and River Oaks — delves into the history of the 2 garden-style suburbs and their associated retail ventures, as well as their connections to larger city-planning efforts that flopped. [UT Press; Amazon]

10/10/14 8:30am


Photo of Sculpture from Jorge Marin’s “Wings of the City,” Discovery Green: elnina via Swamplot Flickr Pool

10/09/14 5:00pm




A renovated and expanded Richmond Place property near the curve of S. Shepherd Dr. pairs its detail-rich cottage (middle) at curbside with a more modern garage-topper behind. Should the 11-year-old back-of-lot building be scored as tony quarters or swish open-plan townhome? Either way, the property is restricted to single-family use, as noted in the $763,250 listing posted last Friday.


Stones and Sticks
10/09/14 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: TERRAZZO FOR FLIPPERS TerrazzoPoured terrazzo floors like those in that house are nowadays so astronomically expensive that the only new residential construction they are seen in today are high-end, architect-designed custom homes built for extremely wealthy people. I wonder if people who replace poured terrazzo floors with hardwood, travertine, or whatever realize that they are discarding something very expensive for something much cheaper. It even makes business sense. Even flippers could increase their profit margin if instead of replacing terrazzo, they just educated their buyers about how valuable these floors are. (Things that are revealed to be rare, expensive, and hard to replace have a way of magically becoming very attractive).” [august15, commenting on This Not-Screwed-Up-Yet Meyerland Ranch Mod, in Almost Original Condition, Is Available for $460K] Illustration: Lulu

10/09/14 2:45pm

THE NEW H-E-B AT SAN FELIPE AND FOUNTAINVIEW WILL TAKE OVER WHERE LUPE TORTILLA’S SANDBOXES LEFT OFF Rendering of New H-E-B Market, Fountainview Dr. and San Felipe Dr., HoustonFormer Haven chef and now JCI (James Coney Island) and H-E-B consultant Randy Evans drops a few notable details about the new H-E-B now under construction at the corner of San Felipe and Fountain View, where he’s helping create the chain’s first Houston in-grocery-store restaurant: “We’re looking at beer and wine for this store. There’s going to be a great patio and a stage for live music. There’s going to be an [outdoor] area for the kids to play so you can sit and have a glass of wine, have some bites and have your kids have a good time before you go shopping.” The store is scheduled to open in January. [Eating Our Words; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: H-E-B

10/09/14 2:00pm

Pink's Pizza, 1009 Moy St., Washington Corridor, Houston

How close to opening is the Pink’s Pizza going into the former laundromat building at 1009 Moy St. off Washington Ave, a mere 14 months after construction began? Nose-to-the-window close: “There’s even beer names over the beer taps!” reports a reader who’s been monitoring the progress of the end space as well as the neighboring fitness-gear shop. The toned folks behind Below Parallel beat their pizza-facing competitors next door to the start line, opening for business at the beginning of September. Pink’s, though, still has a bit more work to do:


Your Order in 14 Months or Bust