- 405 Avondale St. [HAR]
Focus Refined Eye Care announced this week that the doors are open at 515 Westheimer Rd., at the far eastern end of the strip center also containing Osaka Japanese, BB’s Donuts, Nu Cuts Hair Salon, and e-cigarette shops The Vapor Lair. The storefront, next to the former home of lapsed-vegan Mexican restaurant Radical Eats, previously housed a Chartway Federal Credit Union branch.
A press release says the new shop will “eliminate the sterility of typical doctor’s visits”— the self-described ‘optometry spa’ will offer patrons alcohol in cocktail form as well as of the lens-cleaning variety, and eye-rubs will be thrown in for good measure at the start of each appointment. The spot will offer high-end tailored glasses (the combined product of new German diagnostic equipment and a fashion consultant).
An excavator and friends were spotted on Westheimer this week having a go at the long-empty lot directly next to upscale Indian-fusion spot Indika. Also on the agenda were the freshly-empty and moderate-length-of-empty lots next door — all three spaces (520, 524, and 528 Westheimer) are currently held by Rok Bros Holdings.
The central lot, at 524 Westheimer, was demolished shortly after mid-2011; the more recently demolished house on the westernmost lot (528 Westheimer) held LV Massage and a psychic, after the 524 house crossed over into the great beyond. A request to merge the 3 lots was approved at a Houston Planning Commission meeting on July 10, 2014; the request refers to the space as Rok Bros Westheimer Plaza, and was filed in conjunction with Houston-based Momentum Engineering.
Swamplot reader sfalumberjack sends the twilight snapshot above, along with a few others of equipment on the site (bounded on the other side by The Cat Doctor):
Neighbors and passers-by have been curious about the renovations taking place at the strip center at the corner of Lower Westheimer and Helena St., where the Hollywood Food & Cigars #3 convenience store at 202 Westheimer Rd. — and its neighbor Tejas Boots — kicked off a couple years ago. The building, once home to Baby Giant #2, has recently been painted a bright white; its sign has been denuded, and sidewalk reconstruction work is underway:
FORMER WESTHEIMER PLANT HOUSE GOING STEAK The building at 224 Westheimer Rd. in Montrose, on the north side of the street between Helena and Mason St., was long ago home to Bistro 224. Then it became the Plant House. A photo sent in by a reader late last week shows the same structure undergoing another metamorphosis as it transforms into its newest incarnation, a return to its food-serving days. According to building permits taken out for the property, the revamped building will become the Bistecca Steak House once construction is complete. Photo: Sylvia Drew
The asphalt and branches were flying this morning at the storied former South Beach parking lot off Montrose between California St. and Missouri (more recently home to cars whose owners are visiting the nearby Aladdin restaurant). Pelican Builders has begun clearing the 28,709-sq.-ft. collection of lots — which have separate frontages on Missouri St., Grant St., and California St. — for its 24-townhome California Square project. A few properties from the gated complex of 2-bedroom townhomes have been listed on MLS — for just shy of $500K. Here’s the site plan:
Somewhere behind this leafy garden wall, which rises 14 ft. high along Mason and Pacific streets, a 1910 home in Montrose’s Avondale area has been holding on to another era — and another city, maybe. From the garden gate at curbside (top), glimpses inward, toward the brick-paved courtyards and patios (middle), appear to be a bit more challenging than the views outward from the pier-and-beam property. Its neighborhood watch vantage point is located south of Fairview Ave. on a corner east of Taft. St., borders 21st century townhomes, and features a mid-century commercial space across the street that’s brewery bound. Listed a week ago, the self-secluded spread has a $875K asking price.
The hexagonal clock mounted above the front door of the former Cra-Bell Vacuum and Appliance Co. building at 216 Westheimer Rd. was stolen over the weekend. Derek Brotherton of Scott-Day Paint & Supply, the company that’s inhabited the building since 1963, tells Swamplot that he and coworkers noticed the disappearance this morning, and that they are “deeply upset over losing part of the character of the store.” Photos above show the clock in place (above, in an older image) and gone missing (at top, taken this morning). Brotherton says he believes the clock had been in its current position since the building was constructed in 1935 — or shortly thereafter. Back then, the street was named Hathaway; it now sits on the north side of Westheimer between Helena and Mason.
Is this Avondale property a home, a compound, or a discrete semi-plex? From the street, at least, the exterior remains discreet about its reworked interior space. And the downstairs does maintain much of the home’s original flow, heavy-with-trim formal rooms, and many of the 1940 structure’s early features (top). The same is true upstairs, though a section on that floor functions as an extensive separate suite. An aerie on the third floor adds even more living space. The property in the Avondale East Historic District appeared as a listing yesterday — with a $579,000 asking price.
A reader sends Swamplot photos of this TABC notice posted on the door of 2505 Mason St. in Avondale. That’s the side address of the Pictures Plus framing company and Hyde Park Gallery building, whose entrance is around the corner — and under the David Adickes sculpture of a bewhiskered telephone (at far left in the top photo) — at 115 Hyde Park Blvd. The notice announces a Brewheme Brewery coming to the property, and lists 307 Fairview as the applicant’s address. That spot, one block up and 2 blocks over, is the home of Montrose bar Boheme.
Photos: Swamplot inbox
COURTLANDT MANOR SITE PHOTOGRAPHER: GOOGLE PLUS ATE YOUR ‘G’ The reader who sent in pics that Swamplot posted yesterday showing a banner announcing the new 14-townhome Courtlandt Manor development at 411 Lovett Blvd. — where developer Croix Custom Homes had a 1906 mansion in fine condition torn down earlier this year — writes in to apologize and explain why they inadvertently made it look like the developer’s sign had a prominent typo. Having examined the originals and discussed the issue with one of the firms marketing the project, Swamplot can now confirm that Courtlandt Manor is indeed “pre-selling,” not “pre-sellin” units for $875K and up, and that the actual sign spells this out accurately. “I feel really bad about this,” writes the photographer, who didn’t notice anything wrong with the photo until it was posted. “My phone automatically uploads all the photos I take to Google+ for backup. When it sees several images taken side by side, it ‘auto-enhances’ them into a panorama.” That’s more of an explanation for a missing letter than Croix had provided publicly for the site’s now-missing mansion, but the spelling-oblivious auto-panorama mechanism in Google+, apparently, is a little more complicated. Original, unstitched photo of sign at Lovett Blvd. and Taft: Swamplot inbox
Update, 6/24: The banner depicted in the photo above really does spell “pre-selling” correctly; the photographer explains how Google+ ate the ‘g.’
And here’s what you all were waiting for, while patiently enduring the demolition of the recently renovated 1906 Bullock-City Federation Mansion at 411 Lovett Blvd. this past March: The old building’s old-fashionedly-named replacement. Signs announcing Croix Homes’ Courtlandt Manor development went up Friday at the two-thirds-of-an-acre site on the corner of Lovett Blvd. and Taft St. A rendering of the development (at top) may make it kinda look like a single collegiate building, but it’s being sold as 14 separate townhomes, with prices “from” $875,000. The site plan (above right) shows the structures grouped around some sort of central argyle auto court, perhaps reminiscent of the former brick-and-concrete design on the parking lot of its vanquished predecessor, in a twisted-45-degrees kind of way.
A bulletin board with a request for “comments” went up last week on the fence fronting the now-vacant site at 411 Lovett Blvd. in Avondale, where the 1906 Bullock–City Federation Mansion was torn down earlier this year (see photo at right). Yes, the metal fence along Lovett Blvd. is still standing. Passers-by have been adding their thoughts.
DEMOLITION OF HOUSTON’S FIRST CENTRAL-AC MANSION KEPT GOING, LONG INTO THE NIGHT As a “tribute” to the former Bullock–City Federation Mansion at 411 Lovett Blvd. demolished by an excavator last night, the hosts of a late-night show on KPFT — the radio station whose broadcast studio is next door — entertained listeners from 2 am to 5 am this morning with the recorded sounds of the 1906 structure being smashed to bits. No word on whether “Julia,” the ghost that according to this lengthy narrative has possibly inhabited the structure since at least the mid-1980s has in the meantime found a new home. [The Chestnut Tree; Dreamcraft; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox
If you’re listening to KPFT this morning and are wondering what those crashing sounds are in the background, it’s just an excavator ripping chunks out of the 1906 Bullock–City Federation Mansion next door to the radio station’s studios, at 411 Lovett Blvd. Demolition permits for the recently renovated 8,000-sq.-ft. structure and a separate building in back were granted by the city on Monday. That night, a reader reported to Swamplot that workers were removing windows, mouldings, doors, a mailbox, and flooring late into the evening. But hardcore exterior demo work appears to have begun yesterday afternoon.
The former wedding and event venue turned high-tech office building (with a complete renovation completed in 2005) was recently sold to developers who are reportedly planning to build townhomes on the three-quarters-of-an-acre site at the corner of Taft and Lovett Blvd. Its previous owners touted the structure as the first Houston building ever to have central air conditioning. (It was retrofitted with custom iron ceiling medallions that served as AC vents and chandelier mounts in 1926.)
These photos were taken by a reader around 7:30 this morning: