The torches along the stairway to the former Canyon Cafe space at 5000 Post Oak Blvd. are not part of the plan for the southwestern grill’s northern replacement, Dallas hockey owner Tom Gaglardi’s Canadian fusion chain Moxie’s. Renderings of a potential remodel for the space (submitted as part of a variance request for Post Oak Centre) show the whole staircase missing, and depict the restaurant’s footprint spreading out as it adds part of the ground floor of the shopping center to the original restaurant space. The drawings depict an entrance canopy to the south of the development, and a new 2-story covered patio to the eastern side of the building, edging close to Post Oak Blvd.:
The Uptown PAC angling to stop both a planned Dinerstein highrise (which they say would increase area traffic) and the Post Oak Blvd. dedicated bus lane project (designed to reduce area traffic) has been ramping up for a legal fight lately: On Monday the organization asked the city to stop approving permits for any new highrise developments in the area, and to stop work on the bus lanes, both pending the completion of a new traffic study. Paul Takahashi writes that the group is also taking legal fund donations and looking at filing lawsuits over the matters.
What is the PAC worried about, exactly? Back in 2014, when the group formed to fight the bus lane project and a nixed AmREIT tower previously planned next to the Cosmopolitan condos (where many of its members reside), spokesman for the group said it was worried that ambulances wouldn’t be able to quickly move through increased gridlock stemming from additional development. The talking points have expanded significantly since then; now ABC 13 reporter turned hired investigator-slash-media-attention-consultant Wayne Dolcefino is on the case (the self-consciously horse-centric video below was released late last month), and recent talking points even include calls for the bus lane money to be used to fix flooding issues in not-in-Uptown Meyerland and Greenspoint instead:
Following this week’s report from the HBJ that the Loews hotel chain is currently considering an Uptown locale, a sharp-eyed reader points to a lot previously marked for 2 more towers to keep the BBVA Compass building company, just north of 2200 Post Oak Blvd. The land has been owned by Loews since 2014 (or by someone using the address of the company’s NYC headquarters); a tipster separately tells Swamplot that the company has been pricing out construction work on that particular spot, though nothing was official as of mid-May.
Architecture firm Ziegler Cooper has posted some renderings (including the one above) of a mixed use project apparently designed for the same BBVA-adjacent land (though labeled only as Confidential Hotel & Mixed Used Development). TRC Capital (formerly The Redstone Company) currently has some very similar renderings more prominently displayed on its website, once again labeling the residential piece of the project as the Perennial Hotel and Apartments, along with another office tower marked as 2100 Post Oak:
A northern ambassador to the Houston restaurant scene appears to be moving into the Uptown spot recently vacated by southwest-centric Canyon Cafe. The logo for Canadian fusion chain Moxie’s Grill & Bar now shows up on Weingarten’s leasing flier for The Centre at Post Oak, across Westheimer Rd. from the Galleria. Tom Gaglardi, the current owner of both the Moxie’s chain and the NHL’s Dallas Stars, told the Dallas Business Journal early last year that he was planning to push Moxie’s into the US market by way of several major Texas cities.
CRIMINAL COMPLAINT FILED ON BEHALF OF COSMO RESIDENTS OVER POST OAK BUS LANE LAND PURCHASES Former ABC13 investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino, representing residents of the Cosmopolitan condo tower on Post Oak Blvd., filed a criminal complaint with the Harris County district attorney last week over the way the Uptown Development Authority has gone about acquiring land for the dedicated bus lanes planned along Post Oak. The complaint asserts that officials of that group and the Uptown TIRZ may have violated Texas conflict of interest law, as well as the Open Meetings Act. Nancy Sarnoff writes that Dolcefino’s complaint also calls out Uptown’s purchase-agreement-less purchase of a piece of land at San Felipe and Post Oak, from an associate of Dinerstein (which is preemptively suing the Cosmo residents over a tower planned at the same intersection). Uptown District president John Breeding tells Sarnoff that it’s not unusual for public entities to buy land without a formal sales agreement, and that details of the transactions will be available after they’re complete. The Uptown group either has bought or is working on buying about 80 percent of the land needed for the project; the city council voted in December that eminent domain could be used to acquire the rest, if necessary. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Rendering of proposed dedicated bus lane on Post Oak Blvd.: Uptown District
This morning Simon Property Group released renderings of a planned residential highrise in the Galleria, shown here at the corner of W. Alabama St. and Sage Rd. in what’s left over of the land previously occupied by the mall’s second Macy’s. The tower is slated for the same spot previously colored purple for “future retail/office residences” on one of the developer’s Galleria redo maps back in 2014. (That map didn’t mention a highrise specifically, but previous info on the redevelopment plans floated the idea.) Simon says it plans to break ground on the tower by the end of 2017, with a 2019 or 2020 opening in mind.
The rendered view above looks northeast over the Berachah Church across W. Alabama at the glassy highrise, which may hold somewhere between 75 and 100 residential units atop 220 hotel rooms (with separate amenities areas for permanent and temporary residents). The design shows 2 pool decks; the nearby Westin Galleria’s existing pool can be spotted on the right, past an existing parking garage.
Rising in this photo, from left to right: the back-t0-searching Williams Tower, the 30-story Mercer condo building, and the vertical sign for the new Starbucks that opened yesterday morning at the northeast corner of Richmond Ave. and Chimney Rock Rd. The freestanding coffee shop at 5540 Richmond (next to the spot previously occupied by now-demolished Taco Cabana) is right across the street from the freestanding former Starbucks no longer listed on the company’s website at 5549 Richmond, between wine-themed Pinot’s Palette and probably-not-intentionally-wine-themed Night Train Luggage.
The store is a 4-minute drive from the Starbucks-turned-Minuti on the corner of Fountainview Dr. and Westheimer Rd., and just a 3-minute drive from the new AT&T-adjacent Starbucks on S. Rice Ave. south of 59, at the edge of the Walmart Supercenter parking lot next to relocated MicroCenter. Folks who want to get their coffee and split can head east to the drive-through lane; folks looking to stick around can hang out inside, out front, or on the semi-sheltered side patio which will eventually be partially screened with greenery, if the planter plants follow the plan:
MEDITATIONS ON HOUSTON’S ICEHOUSES FROM THE GUY WHO STARTED PHOTOGRAPHING THEM LAST YEAR What patterns have emerged to recent architecture grad David Richmond, roughly 7 months and 40 Shiners in on a year-long project to document Houston’s icehouses? Garage doors, and an embrace of Houston’s outside environment: Richmond writes that the icehouses’ “permanent openness inverts the last 50 years of Houston living — hot days are hot, ugly streets are visible, bad smells can linger, and humidity can ruin your day. The garage door becomes a way of existing in your location for what it is that day at that moment. The city is no longer an image through a window but a physical space.” Richmond plans to turn the project into a book; you can follow along on Twitter here. [Houston Chronicle, OffCite] Photo of Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack, between the Westpark Tollway overpass and US 59: Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack
The Houston location of Canyon Cafe in the Galleria area appears to be closed. A reader sends photos from this morning of locked doors and a leasing sign from Weingarten Realty in the shopping center at the northwest corner of Westheimer Rd. and Post Oak Blvd. The location’s phone number seems to be out of service; also out is serving alcohol, as the restaurant made today’s list of the latest TABC permit delinquencies.
Meanwhile just across Post Oak Blvd., Sports Authority is now sporting signs advertising clearance sales ending May 7th, in the wake of yesterday’s announcement that the chain had gone through with bankruptcy filing and that 140 stores would close in the coming 3 months.