07/31/18 4:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: NEW ART SUPPLY WILL CROP UP SOMEWHERE OFF MAIN ST. AHEAD OF PLANNED HIGHRISING “The owners of Art Supply are moving to a new location. This is a successful store, and the owners have no intention of closing up and retiring. In addition, this building has been used as studios for artists for decades as well as a location for art classes. Their new location will also have art studios.” [Robert Boyd, commenting on Australian Developer Now Has All 3 Midtown Blocks Lined Up for Incoming Highrise Trio] Photo: Keaton Joyner

07/31/18 10:00am

The owner of 306 Main St. is now marketing the building for lease, which means Moving Sidewalk‘s days are numbered inside. The bar took over from ramen restaurant Goro & Gun, which took over from Mediterranean spot Molto, which took over from Grum Bar & Grill, which took over from Hic-Cups Bar & Grill.

The biggest cosmetic change to the building over that roughly-10-year time span: the reddening of the church-like, windowed tympanum up above the front doors. Prior to Goro & Gun’s arrival, it’d been brown along with the entryway below it — both of which look out on the southbound Preston St. platform of METRO’s Red Line.

Photos: LoopNet

Rail Drinks
07/27/18 1:45pm

Here’s another Midtown development development: Georgian breakfast restaurant Flying Biscuit Café is the first tenant to line up for a spot in the tower Caydon Property’s putting up off Main St., between Drew and Tuam streets. The 27-story building — viewed above from the east side of Fannin St. — is just south of the Art Supply on Main store that Caydon just recently snatched up and plans to replace with one in the threesome of towers that’ll eventually stretch up to McGowen.

Flying Biscuit’s other destination as part of its 2-pronged Houston entrance strategy: the west side of the strip on Kingsride Ln. off Gessner where Reginelli’s Pizzeria decamped earlier this month:

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Flightplans
07/27/18 9:45am

AUSTRALIAN DEVELOPER NOW HAS ALL 3 MIDTOWN BLOCKS LINED UP FOR INCOMING HIGHRISE TRIO The Australian developer planning a trio of towers and lower-level retail on 3 adjacent Main St. blocks recently bought a chunk of the middle one — now home to Art Supply on Main — giving it free rein over the entire zone it wants to rebuild between McGowen and Tuam streets. Earlier renderings (since yanked from the interwebs) showed that 30,000-sq.-ft. middle parcel off Drew St. housing a highrise with signage for “The Drew Hotel” and Aussie brewery Little Creatures. The art store doesn’t plan to move out until next spring, says the developer Caydon Property, so any transformative tower work will have to wait. But in the meantime, construction’s already gone vertical on the block directly south of it, where a 27-story building is taking the place of the former Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority campus torn down last year. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Art Supply on Main: Keaton Joyner

07/26/18 3:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: A BLANK CANVAS ON TRAVIS AND COMMERCE “In the meantime, can someone please put a mural on that god-awful concrete wall on the parking garage behind it? It really ruins taking shots of downtown from that angle now.” [Triton, commenting on Injury Lawyers Give Up Waterlogged Abraham Watkins Building’s Ground Floor for Good, Parking Garage Filler Now Slated To Replace Them] Illustration: Lulu

07/26/18 2:00pm

Catty-corner to the soon-to-be aerated Spaghetti Warehouse building on Commerce St., its 2-story brick neighbor between Travis and Milam has a similar plan for dealing with its own floody first floor: get rid of all downstairs law offices and replace them with parking. Currently, the decades-old Abraham Watkins Building is bookended by 2 surface parking lots to the east and the west (pictured above). By filling in the gap between them with 14 more spots, the owner hopes it’ll no longer have to keep repairing the decades-old place like its done at least once yearly for the past 4 years, according to an application it filed this month. (Personal injury firm Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz has managed to stay safe in the building throughout that time, though staff retreated to the top floor after Harvey.)

Houston’s historic commission approved that application yesterday, clearing the way for this new garage door to crop up on Commerce in place of the center storefront panel as shown below:

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800 Commerce
07/25/18 3:00pm

The parking garage at the Lyric Centre has begun glowing as part of its transformation into Lyric Market, one in the trio of planned Houston food halls. Though the venue on the corner of Smith and Preston streets isn’t open yet, its exterior has been all over the light spectrum lately, radiating both the rainbow and patriotic displays shown above.

Solid color schemes have been in the mix too:

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Bright Food Hall Future
07/25/18 10:00am

Framing is up for the row of houses dubbed Avenue Meadows that Avenue CDC is planting along Meadow Lea Rd., just south of Berry Rd. Each of the nearly 1,200-sq.-ft. structures will be 2 stories upon completion, although the photo at top shows most of them still haven’t risen above single-floor status. Within the set of 10 total houses, the architects at StudioMET designed 2 versions: The Monarch and The Admiral.

Builders laid the groundwork for each of the homes in April. Once they’re done, Avenue CDC plans to fill them with a mix of low to mid-income inhabitants, with a few market rate buyers sprinkled into the mix as well.

Photos: Avenue CDC

Avenue Meadows
07/20/18 10:00am

BRASA’S STEAKHOUSE WILL DEBUT IN ABANDONED KALEIDOSCOPE THEATER ON CAPITOL Recent permit filings show that the abandoned Kaleidoscope Theater on the Capitol-St.-side of the St. Germain Lofts at 705 Main St. is about to be reborn as a steakhouse. Founded by 2008 American Idol contestant Colton Berry 6 years ago, the theater played host to cabaret-style productions during its time in the space. But in the summer of 2016, Berry told the audience at a production of “PEOPLE” that the theater company was shutting down and splitting from the building, reported the Chronicle. That left a roughly 8,000 sq.-ft. hole in the north side of the residential structure — pictured above from the corner of Main and Capitol where the theater is survived by another, once-neighboring ground-floor tenant, Flying Saucer Draught Emporium. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Realtor.com

07/17/18 3:00pm

HINES SIGNS UP FOR 48-STORY HIGHRISE ON FORMER HOUSTON CHRONICLE DIGS DOWNTOWN Building permits filed last week for a concrete foundation in place of the HoustonChronicle-building-turned-parking-lot at 801 Texas Ave. reveal the vertical extent of what Hines has planned for the site: 48 stories. They’ll soon rise up above the fought-over tunnel system where a judge buried the hatchet 5 months ago, awarding Hines’ neighbor Theater Square $200,000, reported Nancy Sarnoff. Theater Square owns the property across Prairie St. from 801 Texas and claimed it had the right to access tunnels beneath the former newspaper building that it needed to connect its own subterranean sprawl to Houston’s broader downtown tunnel system. That hookup is now complete — writes Sarnoff — though the neighboring developer has yet to break ground on its own planned tower. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Brie Kelman

07/17/18 12:45pm

The new owner of the floody Spaghetti Warehouse building downtown has cooked up a novel idea for how to deal with its proximity to Buffalo Bayou: crack open its lower stories and fill them with a floodable dining area that sits below an upper-story bar. Renderings from Diamond Development show how they’re hoping to pull it all off by removing several doors and windows from the back of the 15,000-sq.-ft. building (which an application to Houston’s historic commission notes will be stored away for potential future use) and adding louvers to the building’s east side.

The slats would go in place of the parking-lot-fronting wall shown missing part of its face during Harvey:

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Floodable Food Court
07/13/18 5:00pm

Harris County and the trailblazing Buffalo Bayou Partnership will soon clear the way for a new trail segment on the south side of the bayou by demolishing the vacant 1119 Commerce Building warehouse along with portions of the inmate processing center to its east. Pictured above, 1119 Commerce St. spans the width between San Jacinto St. and the Fannin St. bridge at which the existing trail terminates. Harris County Flood Control district bought the building in 2010 as part of its efforts to smooth out that sharp oxbow where White Oak and Buffalo bayous meet and allow more water to flow through Downtown.

But a lot of that water ended up flowing through the building itself, dampening its below-street levels on at least 4 occasions since the county’s purchase. The year after a 2015 checkup found that the structure’s lower-level steel columns were “95 percent rusted,” the flood control district axed its lease with former tenant Quiznos in preparation to bring down the 94-year-old house, originally built for the Texas Packing Company.

After the trail takes over the lot occupied by the not-yet-demolished building, it’ll butt up next against the adjacent Harris County Inmate Processing Center at 1201 Commerce:

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Jailbreak
07/11/18 3:00pm

A new downtown hole-in-the-wall is making its debut at the foot of the city’s longstanding famous buildings. Among all the openings in the house now standing in the middle of Sam Houston Park, the most accessible one (ADA-certified) is at the end of the ramp pictured above. Cherry Moving was the first to add holes to the building: it inserted the more conventional windows after scooping up the 80-year old, 16-by-24-ft. single-story from the East End in order to resell it. The buyers: serial house tweakers Dan Havel and Dean Ruck, who perforated its façades and lined the bubbles with PVC piping to make them watertight.

You can see the piping’s light blue tint from the angle below:

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Say Cheese
07/11/18 9:30am

WHAT’S ON TAP ACROSS FROM THE MATCH A building permit filed just recently reveals the latest tenant in the group that’s been ganging up in the ground floor of the double-block-long Mid Main Lofts over the past few months: The Brass Tap. With 8 locations already open in Texas — but none in Houston — the Florida-born, alloy-themed franchise had been looking around town for a good spot to make its local debut, reported the Chronicle back in January. It’s settled on 922 Holman St., putting it around the corner from newcomer Kura Revolving Sushi Bar on Main St. (pictured above in advance of its opening earlier this year), close to that other bar now cropping up on the apartment’s Travis-St.-side, and directly across the street from the MATCH. The number of actual taps that can be expected to operate inside: roughly 60, with supplementary bottled offerings bringing the total beer count to about 200 national and international selections. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Kura Revolving Sushi Bar: Natalie W

07/02/18 12:15pm

From start to finish, the video above fast forwards through about 2 years of construction on the Kinder High School for Performing and Visual Arts’ new building at 790 Austin St. Following an official groundbreaking in late 2014, workers stacked 5 floors atop a 2-story underground parking garage (which took on about 10 in. of water during Harvey) — leaving space in the front face on Austin St. for a multistory jigsaw-like window.

That opening started out as more of a hole:

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Assembly Period