02/22/18 11:30am

Radom Capital is entertaining 2 different ideas for the former Stages theater on the block of Rosine across D’Amico St. from its planned new complex: either a hotel or a combination of retail, restaurant, and office tenants. The developer bought Stages’ current spot in the long structure at 3201 Allen Pkwy — built in 1929 to house the Star Engraving Company — as well as the warehouse behind it last year. Renovations are now slated to begin on both the Star building and the warehouse behind it — both indicated in the site plan above — once the theater takes off in 2019.

The rendering of the warehouse at top put out by Radom shows new openings in its exterior, including a boxy balcony on its second floor and an entrance at ground level fronting D’Amico. An outdoor staircase ascends from where the greens-skinned building meets its western neighbor — the parking garage for the Reata at River Oaks condos — and heads up to a second-story entrance. Stages’ new theater sits across D’Amico, opposite a front lawn at the other end of the colorful crosswalk on the left.

Here’s a look at the new playhouse — dubbed The Gordy — sitting in its own renovated warehouse with touch ups by architecture firm Gensler:

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North Montrose Ensemble
02/15/18 4:30pm

If the Platform Group has settled on a plan for redeveloping the corner of W. Gray St. and Stanford, it hasn’t made it known yet. An entity connected to the developer bought the white corner building home to the Traci Scott hair salon and the former Skinny Rita’s restaurant adjacent to it last December. The firm’s website now explains it’s “in the early stages of feasibility studies” for the pair of 2-stories at 615 and 607 W. Gray.

The 2 buildings share the parking lot visible in the snow-capped aerial above with entrances on W. Gray as well as one on Stanford, behind the hair salon. Not pictured is a narrow patio that runs along the chop shop’s Stanford side. A larger fenced-off seating area and upper deck currently front W. Gray outside the former restaurant, which closed last February after just under a year in the building.

Here’s a closer up view of Skinny Rita’s seating taken from the parking lot entrance between the 2 buildings just after the restaurant vacated the premises:

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Skinny Rita’s Plus One
01/11/18 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: DIDN’T MEAN TO STOP AT PJ’S SPORTS BAR THAT NIGHT “Love the ‘he forgot his bumper’ story, but it’s not true. I was driving my S4 eastbound on W. Gray, and the Ford apparently ran the stop sign at Stanford northbound and knocked me across the road and into PJ’s. My car was smashed on both ends and definitely could not be driven. Maybe the cops towed it promptly — I was busy bleeding on the lawn and talking to witnesses as I waited on an ambulance. Two nights in the hospital, but I’ll be fine.” [Stefan, commenting on The New Audi-Sized Hole Drilled into PJ’s Sports Bar on W. Gray Last Night] Photo: Swamplot inbox

01/08/18 3:30pm

A car gunning for PJ’s Sports Bar on the corner of W. Gray and Stanford St. ended up inside the bar’s front patio last night. Nobody was seriously injured after a traffic mix-up between a Ford and the Audi pictured above sent the sports car sailing into the sports bar at around 11 PM last night. PJ’s was closed at the time.

The Ford came to a stop upside down, in between 614 W. Gray and its neighbor — Cecil’s Pub:

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A Front Porch Welcome
01/03/18 5:00pm

Here’s the first sign of the new law office that plans to migrate to the corner of Dunlavy and W. Bell St., right behind the River Oaks Plaza shopping center. A Swamplot reader reports that a notice announcing the pending presence of David A. Breston and his Associates went up on the 1820 W. Bell property on New Years Eve. The law firm’s current office is on the corner of Main and Preston streets downtown.

In the portion of River Oaks Plaza directly across W. Bell St. from the site are the former Mama Fu’s and VERTS Kebap locations, now being remade into a new Café Ginger.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Letters of the Law
12/19/17 2:45pm

The Hyde Park townhouse at 1942 Indiana St. designed by Bart Truxillo — the architect and Houston preservationist who passed away earlier this year — is listed for sale along with its neighboring bungalow. A Swamplot reader reports that for sale signs first went up outside the 3-story home and the adjacent bungalow on the corner of Indiana and Morse St., pictured on the right, on Friday. Although the 2 buildings have separate listings, the seller hopes to find a buyer who will purchase them both together.

Truxillo built the house in 1970 in what was then the bungalow’s backyard and lived in it for several years before moving to the Heights, where much of his preservation work was focused. The corner-side bungalow faces Morse St., while the townhouse directly behind it fronts Indiana.

The photo at top shows the 2,096-sq.-ft. townhouse’s first-floor interior, with a courtyard visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Behind the stairway, another ground-floor room fronts the outdoor space:

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Double Listings
12/07/17 2:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: A QUICK ALLEN PARKVIEW VILLAGE RECAP FOR HOUSTON NEWCOMERS “. . . Back in the 1920s, the 4th Ward was Houston’s version of Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance. Racist white city officials did not want a thriving African American community right next to a rapidly growing downtown and demolished a huge section of the community to build public housing (the decisive blow to the 4th ward would be extending the freeway through the community, effectively cutting it off from downtown). APV was designed by MacKie & Kamrath and was intended to be public housing. It ended up as all white housing for veterans. Eventually, African Americans moved in as whites moved out and headed to the suburbs. In the ’70s, as the City was booming again, City officials wanted to demolish APV as it, and much of the rest of the 4th ward, was falling into disrepair. Every single move after that was just controversy on top of controversy. The City was accused of moving Vietnamese immigrants into APV to dilute the number of African Americans who opposed demolition. Then, there was a big master plan project proposed to redevelop the entire area, a court case over demolition of APV and designation of APV and the Fourth Ward on the national register of historic places. In the end, more than half was demoed and replaced with new apartments in 2000. The original MacKie & Kamrath designed buildings are architecturally and historically significant. But, like the history of the 4th ward, Houston’s transient population knows very little about the trials and tribulations behind APV. So, it is an easy target to troll for hate on preservationists.” [Old School, commenting on Comment of the Day: An Alternative Plan for the Site Next to Allen Parkway Village] Illustration: Lulu

12/07/17 12:00pm

Sure, Houston Axe — just off 59 on Larkwood Dr. — is convenient to Sharpstown and Bellaire, but Houston’s soon-to-come second indoor axe-throwing venue will likely be better located. Ratchet Hatchet plans to take over the former Vue Nightclub space on the second floor of the strip center at the corner of Waugh Dr. and Allen Pkwy., across the street from Whole Foods and the America Tower. But that also puts it very close to the Marshall Back & Body Wellness Center, the Montrose Eye Care clinic, and a branch of Farmers Insurance in the same strip center. Also, both the Hand Care Center and Foot Surgery Specialists of Texas are located only a block south.

Permits filed with the City of Houston show that the facility at 524 Waugh Dr. will be 1,700 sq. ft. That address likely puts it right above Bayou Liquor in this photo:

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Ratchet Hatchet
12/06/17 3:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: AN ALTERNATIVE PLAN FOR THE SITE NEXT TO ALLEN PARKWAY VILLAGE “. . . In an ideal world, I think that the City should’ve recognized that there was an opportunity for the HHA to acquire this site and work with a private-sector master developer to completely demolish the existing complex and integrate government housing into a much more intensively developed project on this extremely high-profile site. Doing so would’ve bypassed some of the issues that they’ve since encountered with the adverse SCOTUS ruling. It wouldn’t have been cheap, but it would’ve also tastefully incorporated government housing into a project that could have mitigated the externality of APV on the areas around it and established an open street grid. Doing so would’ve made everything around there and along the Buffalo Bayou much more desirable and accessible, and leveraged the tax base upward over a large area. However, that also wouldn’t have been uncontroversial; some people think that the original Allen Parkway Buildings are architecturally significant enough to warrant their preservation. In any case, that ship probably has sailed. . . .” [TheNiche, commenting on Your Best Look Yet at the Shiny Highrises Fitting Between Allen Parkway Village and the Federal Reserve] Image: Tianqing Real Estate Development/DC Partners

12/04/17 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE ONLY MACKIE AND KAMRATH HOMES LEFT ON THE TIEL WAY LOOP “. . . My husband and I drove around Tiel Way after the storm to check on all the MacKie and Kamraths. There were several homes on the street that flooded — and not just by a few inches but into their second levels. One of the things that make the Kamraths of this era (and really, many high-end midcentury homes) so gorgeous and unique is the abundant use of wood panels for all walls, doors, built-in storage cabinets and seating — everything. But it also makes them particularly expensive and hard to fix after extensive water damage. As Swamplot reported earlier this year, the home at 2 Tiel Way was bought with the intention to restore but had so much termite and water damage it would have cost double to restore compared to a full rebuild price. So that’s what they are doing: rebuilding the same house. . . . It’s a controversial choice but in my opinion it’s the best architectural conservation alternative to demolition. But not everyone has the resources to undertake something like a full architectural rebuild. So while the demo of this house, one of Kamrath’s finest, is certainly a punch in the gut . . . I get it. They probably would have saved it if they could. Tiel Way was the last concentration of MacKie and Kamrath’s great residential works, at one point having 7 homes on the loop. After this demolition we will be down to 2.5: the Gold Brick–awarded restoration at 67 Tiel Way (which thankfully, did not appear to have Harvey flooding issues), Kamrath’s own residence at 8 Tiel Way (definitely flooded, but appears to be safe at the moment), and the rebuild currently in progress at 2 Tiel Way. 48 Tiel Way won’t be the only midcentury treasure lost to Harvey, but it’s certainly one of the saddest to see go.” [Rabbit, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: Tiel Repeal; previously on Swamplot] Photo of 48 Tiel Way: HAR

12/04/17 2:03pm

The renderings and site plan shown here give the clearest view yet of what DC Partners and Chinese firm Tianqing Real Estate Development have planned for their proposed 6-acre mixed-use development at Allen Pkwy. and Gillette St., now dubbed The Allen. The image at top shows a 42-floor tower, home to both a Thompson hotel and private condominiums, fronting Allen Pkwy. A 3-story retail building is depicted to its right; behind it is an office tower. The site plan also shows a future apartment tower and medical office building toward the back of the complex.

The development is planned across Gillette St. from the Federal Reserve building, on the northern portion of an industrial site that was home to one of the city’s first garbage incinerators. A pedestrian bridge linking the development to the bayou is absent from the rendering at top, but indicated in the site plan as well as other images of the complex:

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The Allen
12/01/17 1:30pm

Work has begun outside the former McGowen Cleaners — closed since 2015 — on the corner of Fairview and Morse streets, the site of the planned Vibrant restaurant. Last May, Vibrant’s owners bought the 3,909-sq.-ft. brick building, along with 2 adjacent neighbors to the south; they plan to open their Lake Flato-designed restaurant inside the corner building in March. The above rendering shows a patio that would be cut into its corner — and a garden lining the street, where chunks of chopped-up pavement now lie.

The rendering also shows tall windows being created where clerestory windows currently face Fairview. The clerestories are visible in the center of this photo of the 1931 Fairview St. building from last year, when the property was up for sale:

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Lake Flato in Hyde Park
11/16/17 2:45pm

Teevee station KHOU is giving up on its 3.2-acre bayou-side home on Allen Pkwy. after repeated flooding and will soon be listing it for sale, according to a staff member’s Facebook post. The organization did file a permit for $594,740 worth of restoration work after Harvey between August and October, and hired 2 services to help with the clean-up — including Lewisville-based MrRestore, pictured above outside the building on August 30. Before Harvey, the studio enjoyed a 16-year dry run bookended by waters from Tropical Storm Allison back in 2001.

The 52,000-sq.-ft. studio, home to Channel 11 for 57 years, took on 5 ft. of water during the recent storm, forcing its staff to relocate broadcasting activity 3 times within the same day: first to a second floor conference room, then 2 blocks east on Allen Pkwy. to the Federal Reserve Bank, and finally to Houston Public Media’s office on Elgin St. just off I-45, where the news operation has now been headquartered for just over 2 months. That co-location wouldn’t be permanent, KHOU meteorologist Brooks Garner reported last month, although he indicated at that time that the station had not as yet decided whether to return home or seek a new venue.

Photos tweeted out by KHOU reporters of their original home showed the building at 1945 Allen Pkwy. taking on water during the storm. Here’s what the lobby looked like:

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Anchors Away