08/09/18 5:15pm

Houston’s latest Bacco-branded wine venue Bacco’s Wine Garden has begun its takeover of 3611 Montrose Blvd. by adding this corral to the house’s front parking lot, although nothing’s being consumed on site yet; a TABC application is still pending approval. Now enclosed within the pen: the gable-roofed sign once colored by the logo for Tony’s Place, the homeless center for LGBT youth under 26 that relocated last summer to a Midtown space it shares with the Salvation Army’s own youth shelter on McGowen St.

On the north side of the building, Bacco’s’s own sign is now up:

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Bacco’s Wine Garden
08/06/18 2:15pm

Note: This story has been updated.

The first tenant slated for the soon-to-be redone Imperial Linen & Cleaners building a block west of the Green Line’s Coffee Plant/2nd Ward stop is now on its way there courtesy of Mike Sammons, one of the partners behind Midtown’s 13 Celsius, Mongoose vs Cobra, and Weights + Measures. A TABC notice is up on the building, reports a keen HAIF user, and last month an entity linked to Sammons called How To Survive on Land and Sea LLC filed plans to start converting 2,371 sq.-ft. of interior room into a bar.

That’ll still leave lots of space for the other attractions that developer Jeff Kaplan wants to usher into the 19,969-sq.-ft. structure shown above that he’s now calling the Plant at Harrisburg. (One of them would’ve been Xela Coffee Roasters; it announced plans to move into the building in 2016 but has since rerouted to an forthcoming spot on Canal St., 5 blocks west of Lockwood) Before Kaplan made public his intention to transform the former cleaners, it played host to an art space that presented “visual art, literary readings and guided meditations; in the interest of, open-minded exploration of the transubstantiative properties of art and space.”

That creative endeavor is over — but speaking of transubstantiation, new windows shown above fronting both the south and west sides of the building will reopen its planned retail spaces to look out on Harrisburg and Sampson St. like they used to:

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Plant at Harrisburg
08/01/18 11:15am

There’s now some still life clinging to the Kirby Grove office building across from Levy Park where Slowpokes plans to debut its second location sometime this fall. Already open in the 16-story building’s ground floor: Kiran’s Indian restaurant and a branch of PlainsCapital Bank — whose ATM you can make out to the left of the exhibition wall in the photo above.

From their current vantage point, each of the 3 framed faces — mainstays at the cafe’s original Garden Oaks location — will have a good view of the park across the street as they wait for the new restaurant to take shape:

 

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Garden Oaks to Kirby Grove
07/17/18 12:45pm

The new owner of the floody Spaghetti Warehouse building downtown has cooked up a novel idea for how to deal with its proximity to Buffalo Bayou: crack open its lower stories and fill them with a floodable dining area that sits below an upper-story bar. Renderings from Diamond Development show how they’re hoping to pull it all off by removing several doors and windows from the back of the 15,000-sq.-ft. building (which an application to Houston’s historic commission notes will be stored away for potential future use) and adding louvers to the building’s east side.

The slats would go in place of the parking-lot-fronting wall shown missing part of its face during Harvey:

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Floodable Food Court
07/11/18 9:30am

WHAT’S ON TAP ACROSS FROM THE MATCH A building permit filed just recently reveals the latest tenant in the group that’s been ganging up in the ground floor of the double-block-long Mid Main Lofts over the past few months: The Brass Tap. With 8 locations already open in Texas — but none in Houston — the Florida-born, alloy-themed franchise had been looking around town for a good spot to make its local debut, reported the Chronicle back in January. It’s settled on 922 Holman St., putting it around the corner from newcomer Kura Revolving Sushi Bar on Main St. (pictured above in advance of its opening earlier this year), close to that other bar now cropping up on the apartment’s Travis-St.-side, and directly across the street from the MATCH. The number of actual taps that can be expected to operate inside: roughly 60, with supplementary bottled offerings bringing the total beer count to about 200 national and international selections. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Kura Revolving Sushi Bar: Natalie W

07/05/18 2:00pm

Permanent closing time has arrived at Upper Kirby bar Hops Meet Barley — which is now sporting leasing signage from Parkway Partners next to its own grains-themed marquee at 2245 W. Alabama St., between Revere and Greenbriar. The venue checked out just shy of a 2-year run in the space formerly home to Überrito and more formerly Mission Burrito — both of which fronted a playground that once stood in the patio pictured above.

West of the building’s entrance, a parking lot wraps around and behind the structure as part of the 19,036-sq.-ft. lot it sits on: CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Tapping Out
06/19/18 11:00am

The curbside rendering above from Schaum/Shieh Architects shows off the changes coming soon to 612 Live Oak now that developer Bercon is redoing it for Brass Tacks, a coworking space with on-site kitchen and bar. Both the TABC notice heralding the bar’s arrival and the door it’s posted on will vanish in the redo, replaced by the single window to the right of the main entrance shown at top. A current garage entrance will also give way to the double-doors and surrounding glass planned in the middle of the facade. Stripped of their existing awnings, newly-uncovered stained glass openings will bookend the building’s face. A fenced-off patio sits adjacent along Live Oak.

Lifting the lid, you can see all kinds of business planned inside, between the single-story structure’s 2 side parking lots

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Coworking Conversion
06/13/18 4:15pm

The mark of shuttered Rice Military drinking spot R Bar is now cropping up in the site plan for Kaldis Development’s planned redo of the former Montalbano Tire building (top photo) at 1302 Houston Ave.

Back in March, the signage came down from the sports bar’s previous and now-shuttered location in the L-shaped Memorial Dr. strip center half a mile west of Shepherd, where it mediated between Memorial Park Vision and the dental office of Dr. Catalina C. Johnson:

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First Ward Redo
06/11/18 12:15pm

Spotted from Canal St. just east of Navigation: signage for Southside Flying Pizza’s fifth location and first in Houston. The Austin restaurant chain is making its way into the southeast corner spot of the right-angled Shops on Navigation strip center that Ancorian Hunington Properties built over the last 2 years. It’s mapped out in the image above from Ancorian, the developer behind another property just east of the corner strip. Aside from Southside’s next-door neighbor 9Round kickboxing gym, other existing cohabitants include Maldives Nail & Spa, Bottles Wine & Spirits, EaDo Dental, Go Cleaners, Cajun Town, and the largest of the bunch — a corner Frost Bank branch:

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Second Ward
05/25/18 3:00pm

Although not yet open to the public, the grounds of new soccer bar Pitch 25 have come a long way from their earthy beginnings (second photo) along Walker St., catty-corner to BBVA Compass Stadium. The indoor soccer field that bar owner and former Houston Dynamo Brian Ching pitched to prospective investors on NextSeed last fall as the venue’s centerpiece has germinated inside the 25,000-sq.-ft. warehouse that’s being redone.

Also realized as part of the renovations — plans to tear a hole in the building’s roof in order to ensure a bright future for these semi-outdoor trees:

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Walker St. Redo
05/09/18 4:30pm

Construction broke ground in March on America Gardens, the star-spangled first venue Syn Hospitality has planned as part of a 4-bar complex dubbed Midtown Common it’s developing on Caroline St. And already, Core Church Midtown has fled the block and taken refuge in the CrossWalk Center, a 2-story structure in the Near Northside. Formerly home to Employment Training Centers Inc., it’s on N. Main 3 blocks south of Quitman — next door to Label Warehouse’s building — and houses a facility that assists convicts recently released from jail.

The 5,000-sq.-ft. now-vacant strip center in Midtown had been home to the church since 2016. When the neighboring construction wraps up, America Gardens and its 3 planned accomplices — Don Chingon, the Social House, and Wishful Drinking — will abut the empty building’s west side, as indicated in the map below:

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Midtown Common
04/12/18 1:00pm

Coming soon to the strip of vacant 1920s storefronts along Main — catty-corner to the Greyhound bus station at Webster St. and directly north of the Shell station at Hadley: a new bar dubbed Pour Behavior. The 12,600-sq.-ft. building — once home to the Houston Spinal Pain Center, Ambassador Shoe Repair, Liviko’s Printing, Gold & Silver Buyers & Sellers, and the Salvation Army — sits on just over 3 quarters of an acre. A parking lot neighbors it on the corner of Travis and Webster where Downtown Body Shop was demolished a couple of years ago.

The aerial above pictures the whole property with some two-tone manipulation courtesy of the Oxberry Group, which had — but dropped — plans to redevelop it and bring in new restaurants and retailers a few years after the auto shop vanished. A new developer bought the building last year. The rendering above — released on Facebook by the bar’s proprietors last week — views the building from the corner of Travis and Webster streets and shows a patio fronting the current parking lot. Further down Webster to the east, a few windows reopen what was once the entrance to Webster St. Pharmacy, adjacent to the parking lot.

Here’s what the Salvation Army’s front face next to the gas station looked like before it closed:

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Pour Behavior
03/07/18 1:30pm

Skinny Rita’s is about halfway through its last stand in Montrose this afternoon, thanks to the excavator now parked on what used to be its patio. The health-minded Mexican restaurant at 607 W. Gray St. sat vacant since its owners closed the place down last February. Nine months later, The Platform Group snatched up the former cantina along with its neighbor, the Traci Scott Hair Salon (visible beyond the wrecking arm in the photo at top), where business is proceeding as usual despite the racket next door.

A few more angles on the tear down show piles of rubble getting ready to overflow the patio fencing:

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Montrose Pair Minus One
03/01/18 5:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW THE RUSTY RESTAURANT LOOK MADE ITS WAY TO HOUSTON I blame Austin. Check out Uchi on Westheimer with its weathered metal patio screening. Or the late, unlamented Doc’s across the street, resplendent in the sort of patina that can be attained only through time (several hours’ worth of antiquing). Both had their roots in that fair city. If property owners want to transform their buildings into movie sets for Larry McMurtry stories, I suppose it’s their business (and businesses). Frankly, any change from the ubiquitous cheap stucco and warped sheet metal panels that clad Houston’s lesser buildings is welcome. There will be more attempts at false history; eventually, this trend will run its course.” [Big Tex, commenting on The Heavy Metal Taco Redo Now Taking Shape on N. Main off I-45] Photo of former El Taquito Rico, 3701 N. Main St.: Swamplot inbox

02/26/18 11:45am

Postino hasn’t opened yet, but there’s already been a notable change to the decor at the Arizona-based wine cafe chain’s first Texas location. Gone from the construction fencing outside the restaurant’s patio are the signs pictured at top that read, “DRINKING WINE AT LUNCH IS NOT A CRIME.” In their place, new banners featuring only Postino’s name and social media handle have appeared. The photo above views them from the west side of the Heights Mercantile development at the corner of 7th St. and Yale.

Here’s another look at the current fence abutting Rye 51’s storefront on 7th St.:

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Restaurant Rebranding