08/17/18 10:00am

MONTROSE SHAKE SHACK CONSTRUCTION IS ABOUT TO BEGIN A building permit filed yesterday for the corner where Burger King’s been lying in pieces on Westheimer near Montrose Blvd. reveals construction is imminent on the Shack Shake set to replace it. Upon completion, it’ll be Houston’s fourth Shake Shack location, after the one in Rice Village, at the Galleria, and in section 157 at Minute Maid Park. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

08/15/18 12:15pm

Everything is operational now at the Transart Foundation for Art and Anthropology‘s hulking white headquarters north of the Menil — which took the place of a house earlier this year. The organization’s mission is to study the role of art in everyday life by supporting “experimental work at the intersection of art and anthropology.” It’s one door down from the intersection of W. Alabama and Yupon St., next to the Neon Gallery bungalow partly visible in the photo above.

Inside, a first floor gallery is divided by a central stairway that climbs up to a roof deck and garden:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Transart Foundation
08/09/18 5:15pm

Houston’s latest Bacco-branded wine venue Bacco’s Wine Garden has begun its takeover of 3611 Montrose Blvd. by adding this corral to the house’s front parking lot, although nothing’s being consumed on site yet; a TABC application is still pending approval. Now enclosed within the pen: the gable-roofed sign once colored by the logo for Tony’s Place, the homeless center for LGBT youth under 26 that relocated last summer to a Midtown space it shares with the Salvation Army’s own youth shelter on McGowen St.

On the north side of the building, Bacco’s’s own sign is now up:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Bacco’s Wine Garden
08/09/18 2:15pm

A Swamplot reader sends a photo (top) of the trees that appear to have grown up outside the former McGowen Cleaners real fast since plant life was first added to the bed (above) earlier this year. That’s because the crew now converting the place into a restaurant called Vibrant tore out the bushier trees just over a week ago and replaced them with a row of taller new cedars.

The swap-out left the bed short on plant life last Wednesday and Thursday:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Growth Spurt
08/06/18 9:30am

Saturday was teardown day for this Cherryhurst bungalow catty-corner to the Wilson Montessori School where the Indiana St. pavement goes brick for a single block. The 2-man crew pictured above made it about halfway through the job by the afternoon, leaving the yard beyond the fence littered with house parts as they slashed and sprayed.

Once the wreckage is cleared away, some kind of new single-family structure is slated to take over at 1524 Indiana St., according to plans the 5,000-sq.-ft. lot’s new-ish owner filed after buying it in May.

Here’s what the deconstruction looks like from Yupon:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Half Off Everything
07/31/18 1:15pm

DEMOLISHED WESTHEIMER SPY EMPORIUM’S NEXT MISSION: SURFACE PARKING The new-ish owner that brought down Spy Emporium‘s abandoned building at 1550 Westheimer Rd. earlier this year is now getting ready to turn the property into a parking lot, reports one local urban planner. The building changed hands at the beginning of this year — around the time the spy shop left for 610 and Westpark — to a group that owns the parcel home to Hugo’s on the other side of Mandell St.. That roughly half-acre property already includes its own set of spots in a back lot north of the restaurant building. Spottier in terms of parking availability: the recently-opened UB Preserv restaurant that took over Poscol’s former space in the strip center across Westheimer from Hugo’s about 2 months ago. It currently shares one lot with the other tenants lined up next door to it: Star Tailors & Alterations, D & S laundromat, and Urban Vapes. [C Money; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Spy Emporium

07/26/18 5:00pm

Crews are ripping into the 3-story Mediterranean house on the corner of Hyde Park Blvd. and Whitney St., as well as the adjacent bungalow that Clark Gable lived in for 2 years during his time in Montrose in the late ’20s. Already, the shingled structure has been reduced to the pile of lumber pictured above (although its door’s remains intact).

It lost its face-off with the excavator pictured below just this morning:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

L’Encore
07/23/18 12:30pm

A Swamplot reader sends a photo of the big white public hearing notice now up outside the Rothko Chapel; it’s the first sign of the work chapel management has planned for both the octagon and its surroundings. The proposed replat detailed by the notice would take 6 originally single-family deed-restricted lots occupied by the chapel, adjacent administration bungalows, and their surroundings — and merge them into a single parcel.

It’s all part of the prep work for modifications planned next spring that’ll alter the chapel’s skylight and tweak its acoustics, HVAC system, weatherproofing, and entrance vestibule. New York–based firm AROhired in 2016 — is overseeing all those changes, as well as plans for the 4 additional lots the chapel owns on the north side of Sul Ross St.

Now occupied by a few Menil-gray-colored housesincluding one on the corner of Yupon St. home to the Da Camera music society — those properties are slated for their own consolidation under the proposed replat. Planned to rise afterward: a visitor welcome house (gift shop included) and energy building including a backup power station. Later on, a new administration and archive building with adjacent community engagement center will also move in on that side of the street.

Photo: Swamplox inbox

Gift Shop Incoming
07/16/18 10:00am

LAST NIGHT’S ROOFTOP SMOKE SHOW AT THE SUSANNE APARTMENTS Update, 2 p.m.: A spokesperson for The Susanne’s owner, the Finger Companies, tells Swamplot that the fire was caused by a “flying sky lantern,” not by faulty piping. According to the spokesperson, 2 Susanne residents launched the decorative airborne device from the complex’s parking garage, but “the wind unexpectedly caused the lantern to land on the roof of the apartment building along the West Alabama driveway and burned long enough to cause a fire on the roof itself.” The 2 residents called 911 and later reported its cause to fire department arson investigators. A loose rooftop gas pipe sparked this scene at The Susanne Apartments on the corner of W. Alabama and Dunlavy last night at around 9 p.m. Firefighters choked off the blaze by shutting off a valve that fed the pipe — reports the Chronicle — but not before smoke damaged portions of the 8-story building’s top floor. One apartment sustained some water damage, too, but thanks to a layer of steel on the roof — none of the flames made it inside. No firefighters were harmed — and though hundreds evacuated, all residents remained uninjured as well. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

07/05/18 12:00pm

The sales center for the not-yet-built Mandell Montrose condo slated for Fairview St. is now closed, and a representative of its sales team tells Swamplot that the developer has no plans to reopen it. Since the building’s abandonment, signage outside the converted Hyde Park residence taken over by the agents has adopted a lower position than it previously held on the structure, pictured above.

And in the neighboring 12,493-sq.-ft. lot on the corner of Fairview and Commonwealth streets — where Midtown Uptown Development Partners planned a 7-story, 24-unit midrise to overtop the surrounding neighborhood — the tallest structures are still the signs stuck up there just over a year ago:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Fairview and Commonwealth
07/02/18 10:00am

TEXADELPHIA’S TAKEOVER OF THE WOODEN BOX ON MONTROSE BLVD. NOW NEARLY COMPLETE With construction on Houston’s second Texadelphia now wrapping up ahead of its planned opening, it appears the restaurant’s remodelers have opted to preserve the woodsy exterior decor originally added onto the end of the strip center just shy of 2 years ago — when the storefront switched over from Berryhill Baja Grill to Yucatan Taco Stand. That gives the restaurant a different outward character than the chain’s only other Houston location — its first step back into the city after and 2-year absence — on the corner of Westheimer and Dunvale Rd. Over there, renovations stopped short of any exterior work as well (save for the installation of the brand’s signage in place of longtime tenant Potbelly Sandwich Shop’s), leaving the restaurant to pick up in a pale stucco endcap that’d been unchanged for over a decade. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

06/25/18 3:45pm

Get ready to bid goodbye to Etro Lounge’s current location on Windsor St., where it splits a building with Anvil. Tucked back from Westheimer behind the wider front face of its bar neighbor, the ’80s-themed club has been around for over a decade. Its plan now — after a last dance on July 28 — is to relocate to a twice-as-large downtown space on the 100 block of Main St.

That’s where developer Dan Zimmerman of NewForm Real Estate recently finished up renovations on the Raphael, Dorrance, and Brewster buildings — at 114, 110, and 108 Main, respectively — which he’s folded into a mixed-use complex dubbed Main & Co, pictured below:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Anvil’s Other Half
06/21/18 10:30am

The shaggy customer base seeking a trim at the 1415 Richmond strip between Mandell and Yupon should see some increased biodiversity once The Pet Barber moves in 2-doors down from Henry’s Barber Shop. At nearly double the size of the neighboring human hair care facility, it’s ready to start transforming the space that once housed D&S Washateria (pictured at top) into a Castle Court companion to its existing Spring Branch grooming location.

The laundromat left sometime after Pepino’s gave way to Ms. Saigon Cafe and Michael’s Outpost on the west side of the building. Since then, The C Store also took off; its still-vacant Suite A — shown below in blue at the strip’s east end — is now the only hole left in the building:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Well-Groomed
06/13/18 12:45pm

Permits were approved yesterday for construction on the 285-unit apartment tower Hines and TH Real Estate plan to build behind the La Colombe d’Or mansion-turned-hotel on Montrose Blvd. The rendering at top views all 34 floors of the new building — designed by Houston architectural firm Muñoz + Albin — from above Harold St. (opposite the recently re-domed Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral). That puts it 4-stories higher than the adjacent and somewhat stockier Hanover Montrose apartments shown greyed-out on the right.

Dubbed the Residences at La Colmobe d’Or, the tower takes the place of the once-adjacent Le Grand Salon de la Comtesse ballroom erected and decked out by the hotel’s owner Steve Zimmerman. It’s shown here in the Colombe d’Or’s backyard, before crews stripped it down and demolished it in March:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

18 Hotel Rooms Included
05/15/18 5:00pm

Renovations are about to begin at 1304 W. Alabama in order to turn the shuttered dog boarding facility into a new wine bar. The former doghouse, dubbed Jackson’s Place, was originally converted from a 1928 bungalow. It advertised itself as a “cage-free pet resort,” and bakery that not only cared for pets, but also fed them with “yummy, all natural dog treats and pastries, made from premium ingredients.” The business closed down about 2 months ago, but an additional location remains open on Dunlavy 2 blocks south of W. Gray.

A lawn sign identifying Jackson’s Place has since been yanked from former its yard on the corner of Graustark St. — 2 doors down from hot dog restaurant Good Dog’s Montrose location — and the building’s windows are now browned out with paper. A construction permit issued yesterday for the space names Light Years Wine as its new occupant.

Photos: Swamplox inbox

Hair of the Dog