02/25/16 3:00pm

Demolition of Solvay America Building, 3333 Richmond, Greenway Plaza, Houston, 77098

A rainbow sheen hangs at the foot of the Solvay America building as it crumbles back into the 3333 Richmond Ave dust from whence it came. A reader sends the above shot of the newly-stripped structure getting the ol’ hose-and-wrecking-ball treatment just before high noon today. The 1992 office building had its demo permit issued in late December; the building’s garage got one yesterday, just in time to join in on the fun.

The soon-to-be-formerly 8-story building is backed up against the 18-story office tower at 3737 Buffalo Spdwy. which wrapped up construction in November. Solvay has already shifted its offices over into the upper stories of the new tower, making way for construction of that 20-story hotel-slash-apartment highrise that was planned for the demolished building’s spot.

Meanwhile, the grove of oak trees northwest of the new construction seem to have weathered the construction as intended, and now stars prominently in PM Realty Group’s leasing brochure: 

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Breaking News
02/10/16 2:00pm

Yesterday’s unexpected acceleration of the parking garage demolition at Corporate Plaza hasn’t stopped plans to continue the ongoing deconstruction at Kirby Dr. and 59. An office worker across Kirby caught video of the narrow remaining slice of the 7-story structure tipping over and collapsing onto the excavator that had been tugging at a spot on the 5th floor.

The video (which also contains running commentary and a few surprised expletives) shows the other excavator and the rest of the demo team gathering as the dust clears to check on the operator, who emerges from the machine unscathed moments later. A Cherry Companies spokesman told CBS that the demolition work would continue as scheduled despite the office park’s attempt to turn the tables.

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Turnabout at 59 and Kirby
02/01/16 9:15am

Jugs Draft, 3109 S. Shepherd Dr., Dearborn Place, Houston, 77098

A reportedly sober driver crashed into the strip center at the southeast corner of S. Shepherd Dr. and W. Alabama St. in the early hours of Sunday morning, according to KPRC. The unplanned beer run left the Jugs Draft storefront shattered open, and gave the Shepherd branch of Jenni’s Noodle House a new side entrance. Strip center neighbors Burn Smoke Shop, Mega DJ, and Mattress 1 are seemingly undamaged; all involved humans are reportedly undamaged as well.

Rare beers, however, were a major casualty of the event: The SUV crunched into Jugs’s bottle coolers, prompting the craft beer shop to liquidate what was salvaged of its chilled inventory in a $2 firesale yesterday. (Jugs is named for its 64-oz. growlers-to-go of draft beer, but also sells bottles and kegs.)

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Party Foul
01/28/16 3:15pm

Corporate Plaza Garage Demolition, Kirby at Norfolk, Upper Kirby, Houston, 77098

Teardown work started yesterday morning on the parking garage behind the Corporate Plaza II and III buildings (shortly after Blanco’s got hosed down less than a mile away). North and east of the garage (that’s center and left in the above photo), the last crumbs of Miyako, Madras Pavilion, and Red Onion were swept away earlier this month.

A reader with eyes glued to the unfolding carnage sent the above overview shot, which shows the Corporate Plaza I midrise hiding unsuccessfully behind the disappearing parking garage as it awaits its own upcoming erasure. The next-door headquarters of the Houston chapter of the American Red Cross are visible on the right side of the photo, as a West University water tower gives the building bunny ears.

Another reader sends these shot of an excavator gingerly yanking at the bottom of one of the interior support beams of the 7-story structure early yesterday afternoon:

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And Then There Was 1
01/18/16 2:30pm

SWEEPING UP THE CRUMBS AT THE FORMER HOME OF MIYAKO, RED ONION, AND MADRAS PAVILION Corporate Plaza 2 and 3 Demolitions, Kirby at Norfolk, Upper Kirby, Houston, 77098 A reader surveys the scant leftovers of the once-restaurant-filled office park at Kirby at Norfolk this morning. The knock-’em-down phase of the demolition of Corporate Plaza II and III, which began in mid-December, appears to have wrapped up and transitioned into the haul-’em-away. The complex’s still-standing parking garage,  pictured on the right, was issued its demo permit on Friday. The last structure of the office park trio, the Corporate Plaza I midrise (hiding unsuccessfully behind the garage), has recently acquired a sash of debris netting around the middle; Nancy Sarnoff reports that Corporate Plaza I will be demolished as well. The complex should be fully done in by the end of April. [Chron.com, previously on Swamplot] Photo of 3910 and 3930 Kirby Dr.: Swamplot inbox

01/14/16 10:15am

Construction of Kirby Ice House at 3333 Eastside St., Upper Kirby, Houston, 77098

Down the street from Lamar High School, the would-have-been-Little-Woodrow’s now going instead by Kirby Ice House (“A Neighborhood Pearl”) is setting up shop at 3333 Eastside St., between the parking lot used for the weekly Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market and the Bammel Park townhomes. A post to the establishment’s Facebook page earlier this week shows that the under-construction building has just finished turning an icy blue, and the accompanying caption says that work is moving into “the detail phase”.

The bar’s across-the-street neighbors include nonprofit women’s career services center Dress for Success and the main building of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston — both groups expressed concern about the bar’s location in 2014 after the president of the Bammel Park Homeowner’s Association sounded a neighborhood-wide email alarm. Dress for Success filed a protest of the ice house’s TABC license that July; the license was issued in December of that same year.

A rendering of the building’s exterior shows the ice house standing next to a townhouse-free field:

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Ice on Upper Kirby
12/16/15 12:30pm

Demo of 3910 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston, 77098

All eyes (well — at least 4) were on 3910 Kirby just north of 59 yesterday as excavators began snacking on the space formerly occupied by South Indian restaurant Madras Pavilion: reader J. Clark captured some sky-high views of the ongoing demolition; another anonymous tipster snapped shots from lower levels and the ground. The Corporate Plaza III building (shown en déshabillé above) also previously housed Central-American restaurant Red Onion and sushi joint Miyako.

A fence has gone up around both Corporate Plaza III and Corporate Plaza II, next door at 3930 Kirby. Demo permits for both structures were issued on Friday, and work began yesterday morning to bring the northern building down. Corporate Plaza I, the taller sibling of the doomed twins, is visible on the right behind the parking garage on the same property:

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All-You-Can-Excavate
07/10/15 2:00pm

CVS Pharmacy Under Construction, 3112 S. Shepherd Dr., Westlawn Terrace, Houston

CVS Pharmacy Under Construction, 3112 S. Shepherd Dr., Westlawn Terrace, HoustonThe new CVS Pharmacy that’s replacing a couple of former veterinary clinics on W. Alabama — as well as the Shepherd Corner shopping center that until late last year housed Roeder’s Pub, Ruchi’s Taqueria, and Oaks Cleaners — is almost ready to show off the 40 shiny new parking spaces that will front the S. Shepherd Dr. corner a block south from the Trader Joe’s-ified Alabama Theater.

Don’t worry that parking will be scarce, though — more spaces will be available along the side and back of the new building, which faces S. Shepherd Dr. behind 2 full parking lanes. If you’re looking for a development that might be a little more street-fronting, you’ll have to wait: Construction hasn’t even begun yet on the fast-food drive-thru planned for the adjacent former site of jewelry store Fly High Little Bunny; it’ll go in where the big pile of dirt is, at the left of this photo:

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06/24/15 3:15pm

Pre-Demolition Work on Kirby Court Apartments, 2700 Steel St. Between Kirby Dr. and Virginia St., Upper Kirby, Houston

Pre-Demolition Work on Kirby Court Apartments, 2700 Steel St. Between Kirby Dr. and Virginia St., Upper Kirby, HoustonThe casement windows are out from the 1949 Kirby Court Apartments along oak-lined Steel St., just west of Kirby from the Whole Foods Market. There’s been no formal announcement of plans for the site; Hanover, for the time being, is laying back from its plans to build an apartment tower and restaurant row along the Kirby frontage at the north side of the street.

The last residents of the 2-story, townhome-style apartments moved out at the beginning of the year. Here’s a quick tour of the scene on the very quiet street, which appears ready for demolition:

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South of West Ave
05/05/15 12:00pm

Replacement Oak Tree in Front of Wendy's Restaurant, 5003 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

The sixth and last of the replacement street trees was planted in the public right-of-way surrounding the Wendy’s drive-thru at 5003 Kirby Dr. over the weekend. “It is a big specimen tree, taller than what was removed,” writes the reader who sent in these photos of the installation paid for by a special city fund for Houston parks — so we can all see for ourselves. The previous weekend, 5 replacement oaks were put in along the side street, North Blvd. Crews hired by the franchise owner, Mohammed Ali Dhanani of Haza Foods, had chopped down 6 trees on adjacent city property last October. You can compare the current scene in these photos and in our story last week with how it all looked before the chainsaws were fired up.

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Regrowth
04/30/15 1:00pm

New Trees at Wendy's Drive-Thru Restaurant, 5003 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

New Trees at Wendy's Drive-Thru Restaurant, 5003 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, HoustonA row of 5 already-growed-up oak trees took up their new home along the North Blvd. flank of the Wendy’s drive-thru at 5003 Kirby Dr. last weekend, to replace the same number along the public right-of-way that went missing after dark last Halloween on account of they were chopped into pieces by order of the franchise owner. “The new trees at Wendy’s are so big they had to close the road to install them,” writes the reader who sent in these photos. “. . . almost as big as the ones cut down.

One more tree is still to come — for this spot on Kirby Dr., right in front:

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Fast Landscaping
04/28/15 2:00pm

Demolition of Kirby Court Apartments, 2612 Steel St., Upper Kirby, Houston

Demolition of Kirby Court Apartments, 2612 Steel St., Upper Kirby, HoustonCrews are gutting the innards of the Kirby Court Apartments on Steel St. just west of Kirby, a reader tells Swamplot. Dumpsters are on the scene, chain-link fences are up, and trash is being thrown out of the backs of the 2-story townhouse-style garden apartment buildings; to our source it appears that asbestos abatement may be in progress.

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Steel Waiting
04/15/15 11:45am

Olive Garden Restaurant, 2929 Southwest Fwy., Upper Kirby, Houston

Could’ve been a Red Lobster or a Longhorn Steakhouse, but Darden Restaurants went the Olive Garden route with the brand-new feeder-side building-in-a-parking-lot the company built in place of the Greenway Inn & Suites — the hotel at 2929 Southwest Fwy. formerly known as the Houstonaire Motor Inn and the Colonel Sanders’ Inn, which was demolished last fall. The signs on the building, which is still under construction, went up yesterday, reports the reader who snapped these pics:

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