06/13/14 11:30am

Aerial View of Planned Construction at the Galleria, Houston

Sure, there are plenty of highrise towers to live in in the Galleria . . . area. But what if you want to live in the Galleria mall itself? As in, step out the front door and take in a little Burberry, L.K. Bennett, or Apple Store, maybe still in your Neiman Marcus PJs? The folks at Simon Property Group, the mall owners, began mentioning the possibility of a 300-unit residential highrise at the corner of West Alabama and Sage last fall, when they announced the big Galleria III redo (going on now), which is scooting Saks Fifth Avenue over to the former Macy’s spot fronting Sage and open up about 100,000 sq. ft. of new retail space in its wake. And now they’ve gone and shown on a map where the new tower might go.

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Mall Residential or More?
06/03/14 10:45am

Collapsed Parking Garage at One Riverway Office Building, Riverway Dr. at S. Post Oak Ln., Uptown, Houston

A Swamplot reader writes in with a report on the aftermath of last night’s collapse of a top-story section of the very long parking garage for the One Riverway office building north of the Galleria, on S. Post Oak just south of Riverway Dr. No one was hurt in the accident, which occurred before 8 pm, but abc13 reports that vehicles were still exiting the structure at that time. S. Post Oak Ln. is now closed to traffic while officials determine if the concrete structure is safe, and workers are already mourning the lost parking spaces.

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Ramp Down
05/29/14 10:45am

Fifth Floor Elevator Landing, Decorative Center Houston Parking Garage, 5120 Woodway Dr., Houston

“The doors do actually open on that floor and the elevator is functional,” insists the Swamplot reader who sent us these photos of the elevator landing on the fifth floor of the attached parking garage for the Decorative Center Houston at 5120 Woodway Dr. north of the Galleria. Yes, getting in and out would likely be a little difficult for those wider of girth or packages. But if you do end up stuck, you can always go down to a lower floor, switch cars, and come back up where there’s a little more space to maneuver:

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Sleek Designs
05/28/14 11:30am

A.D. PLAYERS SAYS IT’S READY TO BUILD ITS GIANT GALLERIA THEATER COMPLEX, FOR REALS THIS TIME Proposed A.D. Players Theater, Westheimer Rd. at Westheimer Way, Galleria, HoustonA mere decade after the installation of the first “coming soon” sign on the organization’s (then) new never-built-on 4-acre lot on Westheimer Rd. just west of Yorktown, A.D. Players appears ready to begin building the sparkling new theater it’s been promising — and fundraising for — all these years. The company, which produces plays “rooted in Christian values,” has announced it will break ground on the project — sometime this summer. The company hasn’t specified the budget for the building, or how much it’s raised in its 10-year capital campaign, but it is touting a recent $2 million gift from the Houston Texans owner’s Robert and Janice McNair Foundation. The facility will include a 450-seat mainstage, a 300-seat children’s theater, and a 150-seat black box theater. It’ll sit between the 5444 Westheimer office building and CVS. [Houston Business Journal] Rendering: A.D. Players

04/24/14 10:45am

ST. PHILIP PRESBYTERIAN IS NOT FOR SALE Saint Philip Presbyterian Church, 4807 San Felipe St., Uptown, Houston“The enduring themes of conversation here include traffic and real estate,” intoned Pastor John Wurster in his Easter Sunday sermon in front of the blue tiled chancel wall in the sanctuary of the St. Philip Presbyterian Church, which is sited on a prime slice of Uptown land at 4807 San Felipe St. “The real estate conversations seem to happen exclusively with those outside of the church. These are the people who call expressing an interest in buying the church property. I explain that we’re not looking to sell. Of course, you are. Everyone is willing to sell at some point. Just tell us what that point is. No, really, we feel like this is where God has called us. This kind of theological talk tends to bring no response beyond bafflement, as if it’s not possible that one could be in a place and not be willing to leave it if the price were right, as if it’s not possible that decisions and actions might be motivated by something besides money.” Saint Philip’s congregation merged with Central Presbyterian Church a few years ago, shortly before that congregation sold its Richmond Dr. facility to the Morgan Group. Central Presbyterian was torn down for apartments in 2011. [St. Philip Presbyterian; previously on Swamplot] Photo: church member Jeromy Murphy

04/10/14 2:00pm

Proposed Dedicated Bus Lanes on Post Oak Blvd., Uptown, Houston

Proposed Dedicated Bus Lanes on Post Oak Blvd., Uptown, Houston

Here are some of the purty watercolor renderings the Uptown District has been presenting of what Post Oak Blvd. will look like after the addition of 2 dedicated bus lanes down its middle. The proposed changes to the thoroughfare won’t take away any of the 6 existing car lanes or 13 existing left-turn-signal lanes. There’ll be a few modifications, though: new protected-left-turn signals will be put in at West Briar Lane and Fairdale, for example, and 3 median openings will be closed. The space for the buses and 8 transit stations along the Boulevard between the West Loop and Richmond Ave will come from acquiring 8 feet of right-of-way from each side of the existing street. The bus lanes and light-rail-style stations will go in the median:

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Uptown Transit
04/09/14 11:00am

Aerial View of Galleria McDonald's and Astoria Condo Tower Under Construction, San Felipe St. at Garretson, Uptown, Houston

Rendering of Astoria Condo Tower, Post Oak Blvd. at Garretson, Uptown, HoustonThe photo above — sent to Swamplot by a HAIF user who goes by the handle SkylineView — is our best view yet of the project themed-condo developer Randall Davis has been working on for more than 5 years: convincing the Galleria McDonald’s to scooch over just a smidge and sell him part of the fast-food restaurant’s parking lot so he could build a 30-story highrise on it with all the benefits and cachet of drive-thru adjacency. Davis’s $70 million Astoria (portrayed in more glamorous circumstances at left) is being funded in part by the immigration dreams of 29 well-to-do foreigners, who have ponied up $1 million a piece to gain themselves status as U.S. residents, a path to citizenship, and a piece of whatever action the investment brings.

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Between Whole Foods and Fast Food
02/20/14 11:00am

Proposed Alterations to Uptown Park, Post Oak Blvd., Uptown Houston

The owner of Uptown Park, Houston’s favorite Europe-in-a-parking-lot shopping center, plans to add a sleek dash of density to the collection of stucco-and-styrofoam-fronted pad buildings. AmREIT has announced that it is teaming up with an unnamed “major national developer” to replace the parking-space fronted shopping island at the northwest corner of the complex with a “contemporary” highrise residential tower. Currently, Baker Furniture, Peluche Decor, and the Bella Rinova Salon occupy the single-story structure on that spot.

But the addition of residents directly above Uptown Park shouldn’t take away from the shopping opportunities below: Renderings included in a promotional video released by the company show that the tower will have replacement retail spaces on the ground floor, and possibly on a second level as well — though the shopping pod’s existing head-in parking and adjacent spaces would be replaced by a porte-cochère and garage entrance ramp.

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Towers in the Parking Lot
12/19/13 10:30am

Rendering of Proposed Office Building at 1885 St. James Place, Houston

Wedding, Courtyard on St. James Place, 1885 St. James Pl., HoustonThis striped confection is what developers are planning to put in place of the Courtyard on St. James Place, an ivy-bedecked wedding venue beloved — or at least remembered — by hundreds of Houston spouses and divorcees and tucked into the southwest corner of the office-building complex near the corner of San Felipe and Yorktown, northwest of the Galleria. Though the rendering doesn’t reveal much about the surfaces planned for the new structure, a comment from Jones Lang Lasalle’s Chris Decker, in charge of marketing the 13-story office building, says that “upper-level floors will feature exterior balconies and decorative masonry that will complement the sophisticated look of the limestone aggregate block window wall.” A colleague refers to it as a “niche-type jewel.” The 135,000-sq.-ft collection of offices — with what appears to be an attached 2-story segment modeled after a smaller groom’s cake — will sit on top of a parking-garage-podium base.

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Fondant Memories