Note: This story has been updated to make clear that the planned garage and office building are 2 separate structures.
A Swamplot reader perched up in the Texas Children’s Pediatric Human Resources building at the east corner of S. Braeswood Blvd. and Greenbriar sends this photo looking out the window to show how Houston Methodistâ€™s soon-to-be 7-story admin building is shaping up on the south side of Brays Bayou, where a growing handful of medical admin buildings are hunkering down to support their more clinical neighbors on the other side of the waterway. All 3 stories shown above — along with 4 more floors to sit atop them — will be for office space. Adjacent to them, an 8-level garage is planned. Although it hasn’t yet risen, its foundation has been poured.
Narrowing in on the corner of Fannin St. and Cambridge St.Â which will soon go by the nameÂ The Commons at Hermann Park, landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh and his associates have sketched out a few potentially transformative ideas for the area, such as the rocket-ship-shaped children’s play structure depicted at top with a mock jetway linking it to the hill on the right. And above, a handful of other new outdoor features that seem to be a hit with the faceless crowd of park-goers shown engaging with them in various forms of recreation.
To find out what real people think about the proposals, part of the 20-year Hermann Park master plan, the Hermann Park Conservancy is asking folks to weigh in on them during a public meeting to be held in theÂ Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion at McGovern Centennial Gardens off Hermann Dr. on Thursday, February 7 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Speaking of pavilions, there’s one included in Van Valkenburgh’s plan, too, as a complement to the existing one off Fannin St.
Rice is getting ready to plop a few units of student housing on the corner lot long-occupied by the Morningside Court Apartments, a 54-unit building just south of Rice Village that the school bought in 2001. Wasting no time, Rice kicked all the tenants that weren’t students out of the complex that same year — according to Nancy Sarnoff — but kept the 5 buildings standing until last summer. (During that limbo period, the school’s attention was on the opposite side of the Shakespeare St., where the 4-story Rice Village Apartments,Â also for students, went up in 2008 in place of houses and smaller apartments.)
Three stories of townhouse-like dwellings appear now to be planned for the former Morningside Court corner, where their main entrances will front Shakespeare St. On Thursday, Houston’s planning commission decides whether they can be built up close to that road — about 20 ft. from it as opposed to what’d typically be some extra distance.
A tower crane and accompanying high-altitude construction equipment are now hovering over the northwest corner of S. Braeswood andGreenbriar where work on a new 14-story 7-story Houston Methodist office midrise is underway. Next door, a separate, 8-level structure will be devoted to parking. It’s all taking off on what used to be the Astrodome Marriott hotel, torn down after the Methodist system bought the land in 2000.
For more than a decade the 10-acre parcel remained unbuilt until a new single-story daycare for Houston Methodist employees’ kids (ages 0 through 5) sprung up on its western portion last year. The center — a brightly-painted and multi-gabled structure to the left of what’s shown in the photos above — enrolled 130 kids when it opened. Once some of them age out, it’ll consider taking on children of Methodist’s business partners, too, as well as those without any parental ties to the hospital system.
Museum movers are now lugging cargo out of 2204 Dorrington St. as part of the Houston Maritime Museum‘s move to the Second Ward,Â where it’ll remain landlocked. Two years ago, the museum announced plans to build a new $50 million facility designed by architects at Gensler next to the dock for the Sam Houston boat that conducts tours of the ship channel. But nothing’s opened up yet along that section of waterfront, south of Clinton Dr. and east of Wayside Dr. in Denver Harbor.
In leaving behind its current converted house southwest of the Med Center for new 3-story office-building environs on the corner of Canal and Navigation, the museum will take on a more businesslike appearance than it’s sported so far.
It’ll also get used to sharing its space; existing tenants in the new building include The Polnick Law Firm and Andes Cafe, pictured below from the west:
Stand next to the fridge on the first floor of this 2201 Southgate house from architect Dillon Kyle and you’ll see the whole thing: the kitchen with adjacent wine closet and the living and dining rooms to their right, fronting a row of glass windows that look straight out onto the pool at the eastern edge of the property. The price rounded down today from $1.75 million to $1.7 flat on the 3,376-sq.-ft. shed- and butterfly-roofed structure, viewed above from the north on the corner of Southgate and Montclair Dr.
A view from behind the couch’s elbow shows where you enter the place:
Medistar is planning to build its 550,000-sq.-ft. medical tower right next to the InterContinental Houston Medical Center hotel and the Greystar apartment highrise it is already constructing on the west side of South Main St. The aerial photograph above, looking south toward the Texas Medical Center campus on the east side of South Main, shows the apartment structure under construction on the west side of the block and the shorter hotel tower also in-progress behind it, fronting the street. North of that construction, the photo shows a yellow highlight around the former Best Western Plaza Hotel at 6700 South Main. That hotel is now scheduled to be replaced by the new 20-or-30-something-floor medical tower pictured at the top of this story.
A single ground-floor lobby facing Old Main St. will serve both the 357-unit hotel and the 375-unit apartment building.Â Retail and restaurants are planned for the new medical towerâ€™s street level. A skybridge,Â visible in the rendering below, plugs into the south side of the tower just above its garage level and is intended to connect the hotel and apartments to the medical tower:
Construction began in June, but the new administration of Houston’s Ronald McDonald House chose this past Tuesday — 2 and a half weeks after water spilling over the banks of adjacent Brays Bayou made Holcombe Ave. in front of the property difficult to pass — to hold an official groundbreaking ceremony for its new 3-phase expansion and renovation project. The facility at 1907 Holcombe Blvd., which sits across the Texas Medical Center’s official southern border between Holcombe and the bayou just west of Cambridge St., serves as a temporary home for families with children receiving treatment for serious illnesses.
Now going up: a new 2-story bedroom wing directly to the west of the main building. A complete renovation of the 50-bedroom existing building — dubbed Holcombe House — will follow. The photo immediately above, taken from the third floor of that building, shows the construction site as it looked earlier this week.
The official rendering below is still being used to raise the $22.5 million needed for the project; it shows the new bedroom wing on the left and the existing buildingÂ on the right:
If a year or so from now you find yourself holed up in acute or intensive care in the North Campus Tower of the Houston Methodist hospital in the Texas Medical Center and for some reason start to wonder how that bathroom behind you was constructed, have we got a video for you! (It’s posted above.) It’s a time-lapse showing how workers from interior finishes contractor Marek pieced together 207 prefabricated restroom pods in the McCorvey Sheet Metal Works warehouse at 4800 Fidelity St. (just southeast of the intersection of I-10 and the East Loop), then shrinkwrapped and transported them, 1 or 2 at a time, to 6551 Bertner St., where they were they were lifted and dollied into place and hooked up to the building’s plumbing.
How’s construction on the $700 million, 960,000-sq.-ft. 22-story north tower Med Center expansion going so far? Here are a couple of views from today — from construction cams trained on the project:
The little swatchÂ of test facade tilted up at 7551 Main St. north of Brays Bayou earlier this spring is still standing, a reader’s drive-by snapÂ attests this week. The piece, which shows off the look ofÂ a handful of warmer and coolerÂ beige-and-brown pairings,Â is likely relatedÂ to the much taller project planned on the site by Allen Harrison Company, which bought the land last year. The developer has the spotÂ marked for an 11-story residentialÂ building (the top 7 of which’ll hold 186 apartments, and the bottom 4 of which’ll holdÂ 285 parked cars). A reader over on HAIF also spotted the recently completed review of the building by the Federal Aviation Administration folks, who okayed the plans for theÂ 125-ft.-tall structure as not a flight hazard.
The signÂ above announcing the proposed abandonmentÂ of the short dead-end stretch of N. Braeswood Blvd. running east of Main St. was captured in situ by a reader over the weekend. The roadway currently serves as the access road for the remainingSaint Nicholas School campus, though the school is planning to be all moved inÂ atÂ thatÂ new facility further southÂ along Main St. in about a year and a half. That’ll free up the landf for whatever might be in the works byÂ shell corporation 7200 Main St., which now owns both the school propertyÂ and the 8-plus-acre tract north of the N. Braeswood segment, former site of barn-shaped restaurant The Stables.
To the east of the orange-roofed soon-to-be-former Saint NicholasÂ school, HCC’sÂ Â Coleman College for Health Sciences building looks to be just aboutÂ wrapped up, at least in terms of exterior finishes:
A through-the-curtains peek at at the reassembly of about 2,500 sq. ft. of miniaturized Texas landscape (made by T W Trainworx for the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s soon-to-openmodel train exhibit) comes from a reader who snuck a glance on Thursday. The exhibit, which should open some time after the 2nd week of installation wraps up, looks like it’ll include hand-carved models of some of Texas’s less flat geographies, including the Balcones Escarpment and Texas’s own pretty darn grand canyon, Palo Duro. The official details on opening and closing dates aren’t out yet, but a behind-the-scenes event description on the museum’s websiteÂ notes that the exhibit will also show off some more familiar Gulf Coast features like “oil country salt domes, prairies and wetlands.” Natural stone landmarks, likeÂ Enchanted Rock,Â and unnatural stone monuments,Â like the state capitol, will also be part of the display.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: GREEN SPACE IS JUST A STATE OF MIND “In my mind, green space isnâ€™t something that has to be â€˜usedâ€™. I enjoy jogging the trails next to the Hermann park golf course as much as I like jogging in or around any other green space — just like I enjoy jogging through a River Oaks neighborhood with immaculate landscaping. It is even nicer to see landscaping when you know someone else is paying (mostly) for it. I donâ€™t have to be able to kick a soccer ball, watch a concert, or have a place for my dog to poop on it to enjoy its beauty. It can be â€˜utilizedâ€™ without stepping foot on the space.Â Green space can be enjoyed from adjacent space or blocks away in its sights, smells, and sounds (or lack of).” [Rex, commenting onÂ Grassy Knolls, Childrenâ€™s Swamp Part of Possible Hermann Park Parking Coverup] Photo of Hermann Park Golf Course: Hermann Park Conservancy