05/05/14 10:45am

Replat Signs for Kirby Collection, Kirby Dr. at Colquitt St., Upper Kirby, Houston

Replat Signs for Kirby Collection, Kirby Dr. at Colquitt St., Upper Kirby, HoustonRenderings and reports of a giant mixed-use development that would swallow up the entire block on the west side of Kirby Dr. between Colquitt and West Main St. have been shopped around for almost 6 years. But recently there’s been some action: Last week the planning commission approveddeferred for a couple of weeks a hearing on the proposed combination of the various properties on the block into a single “unrestricted” lot. The original hearing date was announced on signs posted in front of the Hendricks Pub (at right), Roak, and the OTC Patio Bar, created back in 2011 from portions of the former Settegast Kopf funeral home, as well as in front of Cafe Express (above). The website of New York real estate firm Thor Equities features the latest renderings of the block’s proposed replacement, called the Kirby Collection:

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Collecting Kirby
04/09/14 10:00am

Rendering of the Proposed Collection on Kirby, 3200 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

The website of New York real estate firm Thor Equities has switched out the renderings for the full-block Kirby Collection mixed-use development it’s been threatening to build on the west side of Kirby Dr. between Colquitt and W. Main St. for almost 6 years now. And the new Collection drawing collection does look pretty whizzy. It appears to show 2 levels of retail facing Kirby, a dozen-or-so-story office tower along Colquitt, and a taller squashed-cylinder-shaped residential tower on top of a parking-garage base hanging back toward Lake St.:

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The Kirby Collection
04/07/14 12:15pm

Installation of Tree and Three Flowers Sculpture on Kirby Dr. South of Westheimer, Upper Kirby, Houston

Here’s an overhead view of the installation over the weekend of the 38-ft.-tall, 7,000-lb. sculpture by James Surls on the previously treeless median between West Ave and the 2727 Kirby condo tower on Kirby Dr., just south of Westheimer. Assembled from bronze and stainless-steel components, Tree and Three Flowers was commissioned by the Upper Kirby District; it’s meant to move in the wind. It’ll join other Surls public works in Houston — at Rice University, in Market Square, and at the Parks and Recreation department headquarters on Gragg St. The Kirby sculpture went in on this base:

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Won’t Grow, but Will Move
04/04/14 3:30pm

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Long and lean, an updated and fortified 1945 property clings to the West Edgemont neighborhood’s retaining-wall border on the south bank of the below-grade Southwest Fwy. The Boulevard Oaks-area home had 9 owners in the past 30 years; since January, it’s been seeking number 10. The asking price remains $437,500.

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Byway near the Highway
03/19/14 2:45pm

River Oaks Glass, 2635 Greenbriar Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

Proprietor Tim Linehan wants to make sure longtime and potential customers who noted the smashing of the former River Oaks Glass location at 2219 Richmond Ave. in a Swamplot Daily Demolition Report last week don’t think the company has been pulled apart by excavators as well. The company with the “We Fix Humpty Dumpty” sign in the front window escaped to a new converted residence last month — one that’s a full half-mile closer to the actual River Oaks. It had been leasing the Richmond Ave. building for 17 years. “You have not lived until you’ve moved a crystal and porcelain repair shop, piece by piece,” he tells Swamplot. The new spot is a former bungalow at 2635 Greenbriar, just south of Westheimer. This time, says Linehan, “we bought the place and will never move again.”

Photo: James Timothy Linehan

House Broken
02/26/14 4:30pm

59 FEEDER ROAD CONSTRUCTION WITHOUT END Road Construction, North Side Feeder Rd., U.S. 59 West of Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston“Why is there always construction on the feeders between Weslayan and Kirby especially when it seemed like nothing needed to be done?” writes a Swamplot reader, who is under the impression that the work started sometime last summer. “It looks like they are only redoing the road, not adding sewers, nor laying power lines, and doesn’t seem to making it wider. One side is done and then they come back and do the other side! . . . I hope you can find out why they are tearing up a perfectly good feeder road.” Alas, doing so would spoil the chance to indulge in the fantasy of having encountered along the Southwest Fwy. a truly eternal feeder-road replacement cycle. We’ll illustrate that here with the above photo from earlier today of a fresh concrete placement (with shopping cart) on the north side feeder just west of Kirby Dr. Update, 2/27: Clever reader JD finds an actual report outlining the scope of the reconstruction project from last year posted in an obscure online publicationPhoto: Swamplot inbox

02/26/14 10:15am

NEW LOCAL FOODS IN FORMER TACO MILAGRO ON KIRBY AT WESTHEIMER KINDA ALMOST READY TO OPEN SOON Future Location of Local Foods, 2555 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, HoustonThe project manager from homebuilder Frasier Homes busy turning the interior of the shuttered patio-fronting Taco Milagro space at 2555 Kirby Dr. into a second location for Benjy Levit’s upscale sandwich shop Local Foods tells Eater Houston’s Darla Guillen that construction will likely be complete in a couple of weeks. How long after that before it opens for duck confit and falafel on wheat? “Shouldn’t be too far behind that completion date,” Guillen says an employee tells her. But we’re guessing they’ll take down the old Taco signage outside before then. Photos snapped of the corner shopping center space’s innards show a completed serving counter with display case and some colorful banquettes. The first Local Foods took over the former Antone’s space in the Rice Village in 2011. [Eater Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Eater Houston

02/14/14 3:30pm

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Construction and don’t-touch-these-oaks fencing have gone up at the corner of Richmond and Buffalo Speedway, where the PM Realty Group has been planning to build a new 18-story office building attached to a 7-level parking garage on the open space and parking lot at the northern end of the site. The site plan shows retail space — likely for a restaurant — fronting Buffalo Speedway; the development is being called 3737 Buffalo Speedway.

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3737 Buffalo Speedway, Going Up
01/24/14 1:30pm

2015 W. Alabama St., Montrose, Houston

Jazzy Girls Beauty Boutique, 2015 W. Alabama St., Montrose, HoustonAn episode of Animal Planet’s hit show Call of the Wildman that aired 5 months ago featured the show’s star Ernie Brown Jr. (who goes by the nickname “Turtleman”) and his sidekick Neal James ridding a Montrose beauty salon of an infestation of about 20 Mexican free-tailed bats. The escapade filmed in the back storage rooms of the Jazzy Girls Beauty Boutique on West Alabama St. just east of Shepherd was only one of several dozens of purported animal rescues performed by Turtleman “with his bare hands” in the course of the top-rated Sunday night cable TV show, which is now in its third season. In the other segment of the episode, called “Bat Hair Day,” he rescues a raccoon from a cave.

The supposedly cruelty-free “live action” Montrose winged-creature extrication, which was filmed in April, was reported locally in the Chronicle and Culturemap as another quirky Turtleman success story shortly before the episode aired in early August. But an investigation published earlier this week by Mother Jones reveals that the show’s creators had themselves planted the bats in the salon to allow them to film Turtleman and his assistant removing them.

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Jazzy Girls Have Left the Building
12/10/13 4:00pm

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Once past the Jello-bold color adjustments to the listing’s exterior photo, this 2000 contemporary home by Rice School of Architecture professor Carlos Jiménez unfolds rather quietly on its in-the-trees and oversized lot on South Blvd. in Ormond Place, part of Boulevard Oaks. The property made its market debut in late October. Its asking price then, $3,285,000, remains.

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Ormond Place
11/21/13 3:00pm

Demolition of Former Elgin-Butler Brick Co. Building, 2619 Westpark Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

Behold the final moments this afternoon of the Goode Company building at 2619 Westpark, just west of Kirby Dr. A reader sends in these images of the once-swank former Elgin-Butler Brick Company Building, built in 1966 with a fine sampling of the company’s glazed wares attached to its facade and converted in 1988 to an office building and commissary for the extended Goode Co. barbecue-seafood-taqueria-armadillo empire. In this hallowed hall — and the attached warehouse building, totaling more than 14,000 sq. ft. altogether — many a brick was spec’ed and many a pecan pie was congealed. But it’s all going away now.

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Goode Riddance
11/15/13 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHICH HOUSTON HOTSPOTS WILL MERGE FIRST “I think West Ave.-to-Rice Village will become contiguous before Highland Village-to-Galleria ever will.” [Anon22, commenting on Comment of the Day: A Linear Shopping District from Highland Village to the Galleria] Illustration: Lulu

11/13/13 10:00am

A different style of furnishings and a new set of HDR-ish photos that focuses on the home’s outdoor areas show off another side of Rick Sundberg’s “Handmade House,” which has been up for sale since September for just shy of $1.6 million. Developer Carol Isaak Barden brought Sundberg to Houston to design a couple of high-end Boulevard Oaks-area homes in the late noughts. The listing for 1916 Banks St. credits the design to Sundberg’s longtime firm, then known as Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen. But Sundberg went out on his own while the home was under construction, and it’s now featured on the website of his new firm, Sundberg Kennedy Ly-Au Young Architects.

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