08/27/14 4:15pm

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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.

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4 Quarters
06/24/14 1:45pm

2505 Mason St. and 115 Hyde Park Blvd., Avondale, Houston

2505 Mason St. and 115 Hyde Park Blvd., Avondale, HoustonA 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

Pictures Plus Beer?
06/24/14 11:30am

COURTLANDT MANOR SITE PHOTOGRAPHER: GOOGLE PLUS ATE YOUR ‘G’ Future Site of Courtlandt Manor Townhomes, 411 Lovett Blvd., Avondale, Montrose, HoustonThe 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

06/23/14 3:15pm

Courtlandt Manor, 411 Lovett St., Avondale, Houston

Courtlandt Manor, 411 Lovett St., Avondale, Houston

Courtlandt Manor, 411 Lovett St., Avondale, Houston

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.

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Avondale Replacements
04/14/14 10:30am

Vacant Lot at 411 Lovett Blvd., Former Site of Bullock-City Federation Mansion, Montrose, Houston

Demolition of 411 Lovett Blvd., Avondale, Montrose, HoustonA 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.

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Suggestion Box
03/07/14 1:30pm

DEMOLITION OF HOUSTON’S FIRST CENTRAL-AC MANSION KEPT GOING, LONG INTO THE NIGHT Demolition of 411 Lovett Blvd., Avondale, Montrose, HoustonAs 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

03/06/14 10:00am

Demolition of Bullock-City Federation Mansion, 411 Lovett St., Avondale, Montrose, Houston

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:

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Making History of Air Conditioning History
02/28/14 4:45pm

Bullock Mansion, 411 Lovett Blvd. at Taft St., Avondale, Montrose, Houston

Bullock Mansion, 411 Lovett Blvd. at Taft St., Avondale, Montrose, HoustonReaders are reporting to Swamplot that the end appears nigh for the 1906 Bullock-City Federation Mansion at 411 Lovett Blvd. in Montrose. Salvage and demolition crews have been at work there for much of the week, removing wood floors and gutting other pieces from the fancy interior. Portions of the garden (see photo at left) have been torn up to disconnect sewer lines. The new owners have reportedly said they have plans to build townhomes on the site once the existing building is demolished.

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Restored 2005, Demolished 2014
04/10/13 4:10pm

Why did Tejas Boots leave 208 Westheimer? Owner Mike Kuykendahl says that the family that owns the li’l strip center (above) that Tejas Boots shared with Hollywood Food & Cigars asked them to: The family gave the tenants 2 months to move, explaining that they’re considering upgrading the 4,100-sq.-ft. building, says Kuykendahl, or tearing it down and redeveloping that corner of Helen and Westheimer. Tejas Boots had been here since 1984; they’ve relocated just a few blocks west into the browner, newer retail strip stack shown at right at 415 Westheimer. It’s not much as signs go, but that faint horizontal smudge beneath the Green Park Pilates logo marks the spot where the bootmakers can now be found.

Photos: Allyn West

04/05/13 11:30am

This photo of the strip center just west of the Lower Westheimer restaurant row shows the recently closed Tejas Custom Boots and Hollywood Food & Cigars. A Swamplot reader says that a sign posted in the window here at Helen and 208 Westheimer says that the alligator- and ostrich-unfriendly bootmakers will be moving the stretching and stitching operations farther west to the 400 block of Westheimer. As of Friday morning, calls to Tejas Custom Boots for comment about the relocation and reopening haven’t been returned. City records show that the 4,100-sq.-ft. 1960 building and 11,322-sq.-ft. property are owned by a single family.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

12/03/12 12:17pm

The asking price of a property in the Avondale (West) Historic District has been dropping $500 per day since its latest relisting on Thanksgiving Day. A pre-holiday hiatus had capped a 2-year sales effort at several price points by various agents and agencies. The 1910 home and grounds are described as part of the estate of Ross Sterling, a former governor of Texas (1931-32) and founder of Humble Oil, which later became the far humbler ExxonMobil.

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10/22/10 5:24pm

The 31-year-old man who lived in unit 2 of this fourplex at 601 Fairview in Montrose apparently didn’t get out much; at the moment he’s being evaluated at the Harris County Mental Health Service Center. The body of his 66-year-old mother, Abigail Saucedo, was discovered in the apartment yesterday morning; it will soon undergo an autopsy. The wafting odor of her decomposing corpse had been noted even across the street — at the original Barnaby’s Cafe, where patio diners over the weekend couldn’t quite place that curious smell. Ultimately, a neighboring tenant found the unidentified stench too much to bear, and called the police. The tenant at No. 2, who had been living in the property for 8 months, at first told the cops that the smell was probably from a dead animal underneath the property, and that he didn’t want to let them in to check out his place because it might disturb his mother, who was not feeling well. Earlier, he’d turned away the property manager with a similar excuse — that his mother was asleep and he didn’t want to wake her.

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10/21/10 3:14pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: FUNNY, THAT’S NOT HOW DOCTOR GALE’S MEATLOAF AT BARNABY’S USUALLY SMELLS “I was around there last weekend and ate outside. I smelled the odd waft from time to time but couldn’t place it. This is so much more disturbing now that I know what it was.” [eiioi, commenting on Oh, That’s Just Mom]

10/21/10 1:21pm

OH, THAT’S JUST MOM What was that awful stench emanating from the fourplex at 601 Fairview in Montrose, directly across the street from the original Barnaby’s Cafe? The rotting corpse of a tenant’s mother, it turns out: Wayne Donawho, who took over management of the property in August, tells Houston Press reporter Richard Connelly he had trouble investigating complaints because the tenant of the apartment where the smell seemed to be coming from told him his mom was sleeping and that he didn’t want to disturb her. And yes, that’s what the tenant told the cops this morning, too — before they got inside and found the decomposing body. “I don’t know if she died and he was keeping her to get a Social Security check or what — the police are there now looking at everything,” Donawho tells Connelly, and adds: “I always thought he was just a little weird, but I never thought it would turn into something like this.” [Hair Balls]