11/11/14 11:30am

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Here lie the remains of the New Flea Market, the most recent occupant of a strip mall site at 8315 Long Point Rd. that once was home to the  Spring Branch K-Mart. Workers are scraping an 8-acre parcel of the larger site at the corner of Hillendahl Blvd. to make way for the Village at Spring Branch, a 100-home David Weekley development offering three-story townhouses and garden and patio homes ringing a pool and cabana. Blue-light specials will be offered around $400k; premium buys will go on sale at $700k. Retail — and the tiny, historic Hillendahl Cemetery (captured below in an old photo) — will remain along the Long Point frontage.

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What’s New Is Old
11/06/14 4:00pm

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Supermercado de Walmart, 7690 Long Point Rd., Spring Branch, HoustonHouston’s (and America’s) first Walmart grocery store named and designed to cater to Latinos shut its doors at the end of last week. Supermercado de Walmart opened 5 years ago in Spring Branch in a converted 39,000-square-foot Neighborhood Market-style store at 7960 Long Point Rd., amid a fanfare of mariachi music and a smorgasbord of free food and drink samples. Those days are long gone: A reader sends in a pic (at right) of the far more offhand sign taped to the glass door. 

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Spring Branch Supermarket Shutdown
10/07/14 10:45am

Blalock Woods Apartments, 1111 Blalock Rd., Spring Branch, Houston

Developers have become very interested in Spring Branch, notes a Swamplot tipster. The latest evidence: the recent sale of the Blalock Woods Apartments (pictured above), just north of the Katy-Fwy.-side 99 Ranch Market at 1111 Blalock Rd. The new owner of the townhome-style complex is a group put together by investment and apartment-development firm Stanmore Partners. The property changed hands on October 1st; on the same date, residents of the Spring Branch apartment complex received a brief letter saying Greystar Management Services will be taking over management of all 316 units. The letter didn’t reveal the name of the property’s new owner, and didn’t say anything about shutting down the place, but a source tells Swamplot that no new leases are being written, and that a “departure deadline” of June 2015 is being planned.

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New Homes or Apartments?
10/06/14 1:30pm

iFLY Indoor Skydiving Facility Under Construction, 9540 Katy Fwy., Spring Branch, Houston

A mere half-dozen readers have written Swamplot to ask about this strange multi-story steel-framed structure that’s been going up next to the Lowe’s on I-10 between Blalock and Bunker Hill — or its twin on the site of the former Casa Elena restaurant across the freeway from The Woodlands at 26824 Interstate 45 North. And we’re guessing a few more of you are curious as well, but just haven’t had the time to send in your photos and speculation. Capitalizing on the freeway mystery, the company behind the structure has set up a website at GuessWhatThisIs.com. (With indoor-skydiving facilities in 9 other U.S. cities already, iFLY has been through the drill before.)

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Indoor Skydiving
09/29/14 4:15pm

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Over in the Brighton Place neighborhood in Spring Valley, a 1979 contemporary quietly observed its shift into middle age this year. The property has kept its bones but also updated some of the padding. It’s been listed since mid-September for $729,900.

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Wraparound Pool
09/08/14 1:30pm

2050 Jacquelyn Dr., Hillendahl Acres, Houston

2050 Jacquelyn Dr., Hillendahl Acres, Houston

Or might it be the city’s finest home auto repair garage? It’s all a question of emphasis in this brand-new Hillendahl Acres (just south of Hammerly Blvd., east of Wirt Rd.) residential listing: The car-repair shop, known to customers for more than 20 years as Palm Motor Company, sits in the back of the almost-half-acre lot and has room for more than a dozen neatly parked cars. The home sits nearer to the street and contains 2 bedrooms. All this (minus the cars) could be yours for the $750,000 asking price. Care for a tour?

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Palm Motor and Hearth
09/04/14 2:45pm

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Like an arrowhead, the groomed lot sprouting a custom 2007 Mediterranean comes to a point — though the tip, where Merlin and Ben Hur (drives) part ways south of Westview and west of Voss Rd., is separated from the base by a circular driveway linking the 2 streets within the Cedarwood section of Spring Valley. Listed a week ago, the property has a $1.649 million asking price. Does the lots-o’-lawn on the grand approach come with a back-lot equivalent? Judge for yourself:

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Casa and Casita
08/25/14 5:00pm

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Apart from the snazzy red cars parked by the home’s courtyard entry, a flat-topped 1963 Hilshire Village property keeps a low profile beneath the canopy of mature trees on its large lot, which is located in the Burkhardt Plaza neighborhood west of Wirt Rd. and just north of the Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church on the eastbound I-10 feeder road. Updated in 2009, the midcentury modern with the not-so-modern decor landed on the market a week ago, asking $1.1 million. By the weekend, though, the price had dropped to $997,500.

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Price Drop
07/18/14 5:00pm

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There are vintage, historical, and perhaps sentimental aspects of this place in Merlin Place, just north of Spring Valley: The listing notes the home was “modeled after” the owner’s previous property in Piney Point. And bits of old Houston, older Galveston, and really old New Orleans worked themselves into the 1995 custom home, which still has some unfinished rooms. Thursday’s listing of the Mansard-roofed property, located between Voss and Bingle roads and south of Westview Dr., has an $840,000 asking price.

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Saving Graces
06/04/14 5:30pm

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Like a pair of bookends, opposing wedges of a mushroom-hued 1977 contemporary in Hilshire Green seem to press against the home’s recessed double-door entry. The freshly painted property sprouted on the market with the weekend rains. It has a $715,000 asking price.

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From the Seventies to You
05/29/14 3:00pm

A HELIPORT LANDS IN SPRING BRANCH EAST Helicopter, 1495 N. Post Oak Rd., HoustonA Swamplot reader is wondering what the story is behind a new helipad that’s landed on the almost-12-acre former industrial site at the northwest corner of the intersection of N. Post Oak Rd. and Westview Dr.: “About a month or more ago they cleared all the brush. A couple of weeks ago they took out the crappy wire fencing. Then they put up a nice tall wooden fence around about half the property. Last week, a helicopter showed up! Google Earth shows the nice new helicopter landing pad, along with a support building. The last thing I expected in Spring Branch was a heliport!” County property records show the lot at 1495 N. Post Oak Rd. was purchased in April of last year by an entity called NPO 1495 LP. A new driveway blocked by a keypad-operated gate now extends off of N. Post Oak and leads to the pad, in the northwest corner of the site, our copter-spotter continues, and adds: “It’s damned weird.” Photo: Swamplot inbox

04/15/14 4:30pm

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Spaces are configured in unusual ways in this 1992 contemporary home in Spring Branch’s Shady Villa Annex neighborhood, located south of Westview and east of Antoine near Spring Valley. The home’s deep setback on a double lot, for example, puts outdoor amenities like a pool and grotto on the side and gives the stone-and-steel exterior’s towering stairwell a twist of wood-and-glass finishes.

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Twists and Turns