A northern branch of Mercantile, the combo espresso bar and mini-mart that opened a few months ago in the Rice Village, will be opening up in the vacant First Stop Food Store spot shown above at the corner of Stanford St. and Hawthorne in Audubon Place, its owner confirmed this week. Mercantile could be described as the upscale version of Washington Ave’s Catalina Coffee (they’re run by the same owner). And that’s exactly what Houstonia‘s Katharine Shilcutt felt free to do: “Catalina Coffee is the brooding, sensitive, bookish older sister, while Mercantile is the peppy younger sister who wears Ralph Lauren and daydreams about horses and joins a sorority in college yet is no less intelligent or passionate than her sibling.” The perky youngster also carries more baked goods, groceries, and gift items on her dainty shelves.
Photo of First Stop Food Mart at 3321 Stanford St.: Swamplot inbox
Groceries in Small Packages
For almost 2 years after it caught fire in October 2008, the 2-story home at 803 Kipling St. in Audubon Place stood vacant on the property as a burnt skeleton. Now the recent purchaser of the lot that remained after the property was demolished has plans to turn the land into a community garden.
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Roving Swamplot photographer Candace Garcia spots a for sale sign up at the Libreria Española on the north side of West Alabama between Stanford and Audubon:
I know the owner/manager was elderly, but watching him in the mornings get his shop ready and opening the gates was really a nice thing to see. I’m hoping he is not ill or deceased. It’s always sad to see small businesses close.
Who said it’s closed?
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COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS “My friend lives in a small Montrose (Audobon Place) apartment complex. He had a pair of pants and a sweatshirt stolen out of the dryer. He called the police AND THEY CAME OUT! For a pair of pants! I didn’t think they came out anymore even for a car break-in. Even more unbelievable is the police actually caught a homeless guy wearing my friends clothes about 20 minutes later and brought him back and made him take the clothes off and give them back.” [Tangyjoe, commenting on The Front Porch Gang]
Reader rdan weighs in on Swamplot’s recent discussion about the boundaries of Montrose:
In order to address the confusion/questions over Montrose neighborhood designations, I dug up the attached map that was put together a few years ago by the Neartown Association, the umbrella organization for the roughly 20 neighborhoods and civic associations that constitute the area known as “The Montrose”. Some of the civic associations, such as Mandell Place, Winlow Place, and Cherryhurst, represent the original legal subdivisions that were established in the 20′s. Others, such as WAMM (Westheimer Alabama Montrose Mulberry Civic Association), were established more recently to help property owners re-establish deed restrictions that had lapsed over the years.
In doing a little research on HCAD, it appears to me that the areas represented by WAMM,
Audubon Place, a portion of Avondale (south of Westheimer?), and all or part of the UST campus covers what was the original Montrose subdivision.
Image: Neartown Association, via Swamplot inbox
Pretending to be a tourist in his hometown, Misha from Tasty Bits puts together a day’s itinerary that includes the Breakfast Klub, the Rothko Chapel, the Menil, Westmoreland and Audubon Place, Nippon, . . . and Discovery Green:
11am: Head to Discovery Green to see exactly how much park $145 million dollars buys you. The corporate sponsorship at this place is a bit “enthusiastic”, but overall Disco Green (that’s what the cool kids call it these days, I hear) is a surprisingly good time. I didn’t bring my bocce balls or a putter, but I did have fun reflecting the best of Kraftwerk off the completely awesome Listening Vessels, designed by Doug Hollis. Being a bit stubborn, I also spent no less than half an hour trying to figure out if the Synchronicity of Color sculpture was interactive. It’s not, but feel free to give it a shot anyway.
The most interesting thing about Discovery Green is not how much it cost, but how much more livable Houston Downtown appears to be than it was as recently as 5 years ago. . . . Though a bit crammed with “features”, the park goes a nice job of combining a nature, architecture and art in a single organic space that anchors a new, far more residential Downtown than ever before.
Remember back in July, when the folks from InnerLoopCondos.com sent out a survey about a new development proposed for 819 W. Alabama — the former site of Bistro Vino — and wanted you to help them choose which of six funny costumes the new condo building should wear? The company is now saying it’ll likely build 6 to 8 stories on top of at least 3 parking-garage levels, producing 80 condos priced from $190,000 to $400,000.
Best of all, InnerLoopCondos.com — a subsidiary of Montreal’s Group LSR — plans to break ground . . . in maybe only 18 short months!
What the thing will look like, though . . . is still up to you! “We’re very sensitive to what people are saying on the survey,” InnerLoopCondos.com’s Andre Julien tells the Chronicle‘s Betty Martin. So how are the votes tallying?
The company won’t start planning until the survey had received about 50 responses, the minimum needed to gauge what prospective condo buyers want, Julien said.
What? Fewer than 50 votes!???
Readers, the ballot box is still open. You have six colorful theming choices. Do you need to hear that lecture again about how important your vote is?
The planter cutouts next to the garage doors . . . the single-sided, shingled pediments . . . the cast-in-foam detailing . . . the security fence. Yes, it could only be another themed stucco townhouse compound in Montrose!
But the Piazza Townhomes, now under construction by Savannah Home Builders on Harold St. near Stanford in Audubon Place, will surely be unique! Consider: 4 stories. A garage-level wedding-cake-style central fountain, topped with . . . something that looks like a naked cherub. Above, an elevated second-floor courtyard, wrapped with wrought-iron-look railings and greened with potted topiary.
In the video below, it all blends together seamlessly, thanks to a languid easy-listening soundtrack. The project’s website puts it best: the Piazza Townhomes truly is “Architecture Imitating Art.”
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Group LSR, aka InnerLoopCondos.com, wants to build a new condo building in Montrose — and you get to play the stylist! What should the new development look like? Entry-arches-gone-crazy Apartment Romanesque? Inigo Jones’s Last Stand at the Alamo? Shangri-La Festival Palace Moderne? Mountainside Office Park Tinted-Glass Tech? Or something a little more home-ly, like that building with the curvy hairdos they’ve done a couple of versions of already?
Yeah, it’s kinda hard to choose, but don’t sweat it — you can vote for as many of the six choices (shown above) as you want! They’re all pictured (and yes, they’re the only options) in an online questionnaire sent out by the company earlier this month, apparently meant to gauge consumer interest in a development the company is planning on the 800 block of West Alabama, near Audubon Place. Yes, that includes the site of the recently shuttered Bistro Vino. As a commenter to our earlier story deduced, Group LSR is the mysterious “unnamed residential developer.”
The survey sez:
Our decision to develop this project will greatly depend upon the feedback we receive from Houston condominium buyers regarding the location. . . .
If you were in the market to purchase, please indicate what type of architecture would you prefer in your next condominium home?
Your theme choices matter!