12/11/15 12:30pm

Proposed 610 Express Lanes, West Loop Between 59 and I-10, Houston

Love that rush of vertigo from driving up the entrance ramp at Hidalgo St. onto the southbound West Loop? Freeway thrill-seekers may have some new options in a few years. The above rendering of new elevated express lanes along the West Loop between I-10 and 59 made an appearance at last night’s TxDOT Open House, where plans for the proposed project were presented for public comment. The drawing faces southwest across the intersection of San Felipe and 610 toward the Williams Tower (far left), and shows the lanes flying high over the existing freeway.

TxDOT also showed schematics and cross sections of the proposed additions — which include previously-considered dedicated bus lanes elevated along the path of the feeder road, from just south of I-10 to the junction with Post Oak Blvd.

Drive through the cross sections below, from north to south:

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Up High in Uptown
12/04/15 2:30pm

SIMON SAYS: SHAKE SHACK IS DEFINITELY COMING TO THE GALLERIA Hypothetical Shake Shack, Galleria, Uptown, Houston, 77056 It’s confirmed: A Shake Shack will be coming to the Galleria’s west end (currently undergoing extensive cosmetic procedures that will relocate Saks 5th Avenue and open up new retail space). A description of the project included in a marketing document from mall owner Simon Property Group mentions Shake Shack as one of 35 “luxury retailers and feature restaurants” coming to the reconfigured space. Speculation that the burger chain would make its Houston debut at the Galleria intensified last month following Simon’s publication of a rendering showing the restaurant in place among the mall’s updates. [Simon Property Group] Image: Simon Property Group

What’s Cooking in Uptown?
05/18/15 4:30pm

SAVING UPTOWN, HOUSTON’S MASTERPIECE, FROM THE SCOURGE OF DEDICATED BUS LANES Website of The Uptown Property and Business Owners CoalitionThe Uptown Property and Business Owners Coalition is out today with a new website (portrayed here) meant to drum up opposition to the Uptown District and Metro’s plans to install dedicated bus lanes down Post Oak Blvd. The lanes, the last vestige of what was once a plan for an Uptown light rail line, would run from dedicated bus lanes linking to the Northwest Transit Center all the way to the proposed Bellaire/Uptown Transit Center near U.S. 59 and Westpark, where they might someday intersect with a University Line traveling eastward from that point. But the team behind the website wants none of it: “Uptown is a Houston masterpiece. Why do they want to ruin it?” reads the copy on the home page. Meanwhile, an introductory blog post on the site encourages readers to attend a friendly “town hall” meeting, tomorrow night at the Uptown Hilton, in the company of “hundreds of angry business owners and Uptown area residents.” [Save Uptown; previously on Swamplot]

04/27/15 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHY THEY WON’T BE LINING POST OAK BLVD. WITH POST OAKS Post Oak Forest“So close! Just imagine how impressive it would be to have a forest of 800 post oaks on Post Oak Blvd. Unfortunately, post oaks don’t tend to transplant well compared to live oaks, which is why we use live oaks in our landscaping instead of post oaks. (Source: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)” [GoogleMaster, commenting on Boxed Forest of 800 Trees in Tomball Preparing for March Down Post Oak Blvd.] Illustration: Lulu

04/23/15 12:00pm

Landry's Proposed Post Oak Hotel Complex, 1600 West Loop South, Galleria, Houston

“Remember, I’m the guy that took the old fire station and made it an aquarium,” Tilman Fertitta explains to Nancy Sarnoff. “I took the old Flagship and made it the Pleasure Pier. I took an old fishing village and made it the Kemah Boardwalk.” All of which might help explain the simple concept behind the Landry’s CEO’s latest venture: taking a surface parking lot next to the Landry’s corporate headquarters near the Galleria and turning it into a 35-story hotel-apartment-office-tower with a 2-story auto showroom in front, then filling out the rest of the 10-acre site with a parking garage and couple of pad-site restaurants facing the West Loop southbound feeder.

A row of 4 large lit-up diamonds facing east across the freeway will festoon the forehead of the Gensler-designed tower at 1600 West Loop South. Fertitta calls the not-really-a-sign a “subtle message.” It’s meant to stand in for the 4 diamond shapes in the Landry’s logo — dining, hospitality, entertainment, and gaming — though until a few pesky laws can be changed not all can be offered on site.

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Landry’s Post Oak
04/20/15 3:15pm

Framing of Galleria Jewel Box, 5085 Westheimer Rd., Houston

Framing of the new “Jewel Box” on-garage drive-up pad site Galleria add-on has begun. A reader sends in this view from above, showing how the building has been perched onto the next-to-top level of the Blue Garage, which underlies the mall’s parking-lot approach from Westheimer. Westheimer runs from left to right at the top of the photo.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Drive Up Luxury
04/16/15 11:15am

NO BIG HURRY FOR APACHE’S BLVD PLACE TOWER Rendering of Apache Office Tower, Uptown, HoustonPermits for Apache Corporation’s planned 34-story tower on Post Oak Blvd. next to the new Whole Foods Market have “just been granted approval” from the city, writes Roxanna Asgarian. The reporter also notes that the permits for the project were filed way back in December 2013. But any regulatory delays appear to be no big deal for the independent oil and gas company. Apache “has no immediate plans for the site,” she reports. [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: Hines

02/18/15 5:00pm

3300-yorktown-unit-14-01

3300-yorktown-unit-14-14

Even with the range turned off, there’s an ember glow in the tile ringing an updated kitchen within a converted 1963 townhome-condo. It’s located on Yorktown, in the lineup of converted garden-style complexes on the south side of Richmond Ave. near S. Rice Ave. This blackened-and-laquered unit is 1 of the 2 largest in the property. It landed on the market late last week bearing a $160K asking price.

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The Red and the Black
02/10/15 11:00am

Construction of Galleria Jewel Box, Galleria, Houston

Construction crews have begun digging into the surface parking lot along Westheimer in front of the Galleria for the construction of the fancy new pad site building mall owner Simon Properties is referring to as the “luxury jewel box.” Foundation work for the structure, which will sit in front of the Cheesecake Factory and house as many as 3 high-end retailers (Cartier and Chanel are portrayed in renderings of the structure from early last year), will be a little tricky — because underneath the surface parking lot lies the Galleria’s multi-story Blue Garage.

A Swamplot reader sends in the above photo showing the scene as it appeared yesterday; here’s the same view with a bit more of a zoom-out:

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Digging Deep