11/03/14 10:30am

THE BACK AND FORTH ON DUNLAVY ST. Dunlavy St. at Westheimer Rd., Lower Westheimer, Montrose, HoustonBack in May some Montrose urbanists rejoiced at a report that city traffic planners were hoping to constrict Dunlavy St. from 4 lanes to 2. However, as part of this year’s annual Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan, the city’s planning commission advised widening the Dunlavy corridor’s right-of-way 10 feet in certain areas. In an e-blast to her constituents, city council’s Ellen Cohen cited a lack of public input on the widening proposal and its potential negative impact on homeowners as key factors in shaping her “grave concerns” over the prospect of a fattened corridor, so that proposal has been tabled until next year’s review. [Houston Chronicle; Ellen Cohen] Photo: Raj Mankad /OffCite

10/31/14 3:30pm

Tree Stumps Along North Blvd., Wendy's Restaurant, 5003 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

The owner of the property at the southeast corner of Kirby Dr. and North Blvd. has indicated he might attempt to evict the Wendy’s franchise whose operator appears to have ordered the nighttime removal of 6 oak trees on public property surrounding the fast-food outlet earlier this week. Lias J. “Jeff” Steen, the property’s landlord, says he sent an email saying “I am extremely disappointed he took down the trees under cover of darkness . . . And I am looking at terminating our lease,” according to a report by abc13′s Deborah Wrigley.

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Removed ‘in Good Faith’
10/30/14 10:45am

Chopping Down of Trees along North Blvd. at Wendy's Restaurant, 5003 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

The City of Houston intends to proceed with legal action in connection with the overnight disappearance of half a dozen oak trees from the public right-of-way surrounding the Wendy’s drive-thru at 5003 Kirby Dr., according to 2 separate sources. The trees were chopped down and ground up on site under cover of darkness Tuesday night as part of a renovation of the fast-food spot, which sits at the corner of Kirby and North Blvd. The removals took place on city property, but had not been permitted by the city.

“I have already been assured by the City of Houston’s enforcement officer that the city intends to proceed with a civil case,” writes Trees for Houston executive director Barry Ward in an email sent to members of the canopy-enhancement organization this morning. He calls plans to pursue legal action “a continuation of the recent, positive trend by the current administration to put an end to illegal tree removal in the City right-of-way or on city property.”

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$150K for More Sunlight
10/29/14 1:45pm

Partial Demolition of Wendy's Restaurant, 5003 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

Wendy's Restaurant, 5003 Kirby Dr. at North Blvd., Upper Kirby, Houston

Wendy's Restaurant, 5003 Kirby Dr. at North Blvd., Upper Kirby, HoustonNotice any differences between the view of the Wendy’s Drive-Thru at the corner of Kirby Dr. and North Blvd. taken yesterday (at top) and a similar image (above) taken this morning? Well, sure, there’s a new construction fence up, and some of the heavy machinery’s been moved around. But you might also note the sudden disappearance of 6 or 7 mature oak trees lining the streets surrounding the restaurant. How did they vanish so quickly? Tree-removal crews worked very quickly, overnight (see photo above left). Here’s another before-and-after comparison:

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Upper Kirby Trees After Dark
10/28/14 1:45pm

Goode's Armadillo Palace, 5015 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

The Goode Company 4-restaurant fiefdom on Kirby Dr. near Westpark is planning another expansion. Plans submitted to the city show the local chain is seeking to expand Goode’s Armadillo Palace with additional covered patio space, a new courtyard facing Bartlett St., and covered walkways connecting them — all on the current parking lot directly across the street from Goode Company BBQ. In addition, a new Goode’s Armadillo Palace General Store is planned for the far eastern end of the site, with a raised covered porch in front of its entrance facing Bartlett St. The single-story structure housing the store, according to the documents, would be built in a “traditional German country style.”

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Moving Around the Corner
10/10/14 2:30pm

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

Kirby Court Apartments, 2612 Steel St., Upper Kirby, HoustonAll remaining tenants of the oak-tree-lined Kirby Court Apartments on the 2600 and 2700 block of Steel St. — across Kirby Dr. from the Whole Foods Market — received notice today that all leases will be terminated on December 31st, a source tells Swamplot. The notices — sent through regular mail and certified mail, taped on front doors, and bearing some lawyerly language — do not indicate the name of any buyer, or describe what might become of the site when it is redeveloped. But according to the source, all portions of the complex have now been sold.

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Upper Kirby
10/09/14 5:00pm

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A renovated and expanded Richmond Place property near the curve of S. Shepherd Dr. pairs its detail-rich cottage (middle) at curbside with a more modern garage-topper behind. Should the 11-year-old back-of-lot building be scored as tony quarters or swish open-plan townhome? Either way, the property is restricted to single-family use, as noted in the $763,250 listing posted last Friday.

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Stones and Sticks
10/01/14 2:30pm

Shepherd Corner Shopping Center, 3102-3120 S. Shepherd Dr., Westlawn Terrace, Houston

Shepherd Corner Shopping Center, 3102-3120 S. Shepherd Dr., Westlawn Terrace, HoustonAccording to several sources, a new CVS Pharmacy is planned for the southwest corner of S. Shepherd Dr. and West Alabama St., across the street from the Trader Joe’s in the Alabama Shopping Center. The owners of Roeder’s Pub, Oaks Cleaners, Ruchi’s Taqueria El Rincon de Mexico, and Neon Nail received notice from the landlord of the Shepherd Corner shopping center in late August that their leases would be terminated by the end of November.

Patrons of Oaks Cleaners at 2103 West Alabama St. are being referred to the company’s 2 other locations (the closest is in the Avalon Place shopping center on Westheimer at Bellmeade); Roeder’s Pub, at 3116 S. Shepherd Dr., is searching for a new spot. The shopping center is notable for its site plan, which has businesses fronting S. Shepherd Dr. and has its parking lot in the back, accessed from West Alabama St.

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Last Call for Roeder’s Pub
09/03/14 4:15pm

Demolition of Greenway Inn and Suites, 2929 Southwest Fwy., Upper Kirby, Houston

Demolition of Greenway Inn and Suites, 2929 Southwest Fwy., Upper Kirby, HoustonLike the Houstonaire Motor Inn, the Colonel Sanders’ Inn, and the Ramada Inn before it, the Greenway Inn and Suites on the south side of Hwy. 59 between Kirby Dr. and Buffalo Speedway is only a memory now. But it took more than a name change to off it: This redo is final. Thanks to a reader, we have these postcard-ready images from the final checkout proces over the weekend to remember it by. The buildings at 2929 Southwest Fwy. were built in 1965.

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Chickening Out
08/18/14 4:15pm

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Note: The pricing history noted previously in this story was inaccurate. We’ve corrected it below.

From a pint-sized perch above a set of arched windows, saintly statuary appears to be keeping an eye o’er a updated 1925 Spanish Revival cottage near the Menil Collection. The heavenly presence might also guard against any sleepwalking encounters with the steep steps at the bottom of a flight of stairs . . .

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Twists
08/13/14 11:00am

Kuhl-Linscomb, 2424 W. Alabama St., Upper Kirby, Houston

Penguin Arms Apartments, 2902 Revere St., Upper Kirby, Houston (4)The application for a parking variance submitted to the city by the owners of design store Kuhl-Linscomb last week is notable for the details it reveals about the company’s plans for a 17,489-sq.-ft. addition to the Googie-monument Penguin Arms Apartments (pictured at right) it bought in 2011. But it’s also an entertaining read for the stories Pam Kuhl-Linscomb and Dan Linscomb tell about their own retail venture, in making the case that their soon-to-be 7-building campus in Upper Kirby doesn’t need as much off-street parking as city ordinances otherwise require: “Kuhl-Linscomb sells expensive, high-end designer goods, furniture and kitchen systems in a 6 building campus near Kirby and West Alabama,” the application reads. And it goes on to explain why its parking situation is different from those of other design and home-goods stores:

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Reaching for Penguin Arms
08/12/14 4:45pm

THE TAKARA-SO APARTMENTS WON’T BE GOING AWAY JUST YET Takara-So Apartments, 1919 W. Main St., Dearborn Place, Montrose, HoustonInner Loop property watchers: As other Montrose apartment complexes are knocked down and redeveloped left and right, do your thoughts turn occasionally to the Takara-So? If so, you are not alone: The 77-unit 2-story apartments at 1919 W. Main St., occupying the entire 1.22-acre block also bounded by McDuffie, Hazard, and Colquitt, was sold back in May in an off-market transaction. The complex that once belonged in the portfolio of swindler Allen Stanford is now the property of a group headed by Southern California firm Apartment Income Investors. A cached version of a memo for the investment posted online in advance of the sale envisioned renting out and holding the property for 3 to 5 years before selling it to investors or a developer, and identifies the price as $5.51 million. Photo: Takara-So Apartments

08/12/14 2:30pm

Penguin Arms Apartments, Kuhl-Linscomb Campus, 2902 Revere St., Upper Kirby, Houston

The owners of the quirky Kuhl-Linscomb home-goods store, arrayed in 6 separate repurposed buildings just east of the Upper Kirby Whole Foods Market, have plans to attach a large addition behind and next to the Penguin Arms apartment building at 2902 Revere St. — and to turn the completed building into an additional showroom. The proposed addition to Arthur Moss’s distinctive 1950 structure (above), one of the best surviving examples of the Frank-Lloyd-Wright-meets-diner-mashup ‘Googie’ style, would almost quadruple the amount of space in the building, from the current 5,938 sq. ft. to 23,427 sq. ft. A proposed site plan submitted to the city shows how the addition would hang back and to the side of the structure, preserving views of 3 of the rock-and-glass building’s corners:

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To Preserve and Expand
08/12/14 12:15pm

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Renderings of the 30-something-story highrise apartment tower Hanover plans to build on the site of a portion of the Kirby Court Apartments (and a couple of nearby retail buildings) across from the Whole Foods Market show the building hanging back from Kirby Dr. That’ll leave room for a bit of a restaurant complex facing the busy north-south street (at right in the above rendering): One of them will be the existing Becks Prime drive-thru at the corner of Kirby and Kipling, which is not a part of the project. But a new (and likely more upscale) standalone restaurant structure next to it at the corner of Kirby and Steel St. will replace the structure currently housing Ashly Fine Rugs:

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Hanover River Oaks