01/07/15 4:00pm



Forty or so years of a family’s ownership of a 1958 rancher in Briargrove north of San Felipe Rd. is likely ending soon with the midblock property’s listing for $899,000 earlier this week. Briargrove Elementary School sits 3 blocks to the south. Painted paneling, a plethora of shuttered windows and built-ins, and laminate counters in the kitchen indicate some updates have been made over the years to the home, which displays original hardwood flooring — and a lot of tended landscaping front and back.


12/31/14 11:00am



Converted to condos in 1977, hacienda-themed 1963 Trafalgar Place is part of an architectural lineup encompassing Georgian and French Empire inspired apartment, townhome, and converted properties of the same era — plus more recent residential developments. Old and new properties share a block-long street — extra-wide to accommodate both a median and complex-serving feeder lanes — that spurs south off Westheimer Rd. just west of Fountainview Dr. The tidy, stucco-clad property lies across Westheimer from Briargrove, and across Briarhurst Dr. from the Lambo Chinese Buffet.

One of its updated 1-bedroom units popped up on the market earlier this month, and it’s asking $93K. It last changed hands in 2010, for $65K.


11/12/14 3:00pm


A drive-by berm at curbside and greenery at the entry off a circular driveway double screen a 1965 Briargrove home from its San Felipe location across from Briargrove Elementary School, west of Fountainview Dr. Once past the privacy plantings, however, window walls let in the light and the sights. A recently updated kitchen freshened the property, which emerged from hiding a week ago and has a $799,ooo asking price.


Nature Preserve
10/09/14 2:45pm

THE NEW H-E-B AT SAN FELIPE AND FOUNTAINVIEW WILL TAKE OVER WHERE LUPE TORTILLA’S SANDBOXES LEFT OFF Rendering of New H-E-B Market, Fountainview Dr. and San Felipe Dr., HoustonFormer Haven chef and now JCI (James Coney Island) and H-E-B consultant Randy Evans drops a few notable details about the new H-E-B now under construction at the corner of San Felipe and Fountain View, where he’s helping create the chain’s first Houston in-grocery-store restaurant: “We’re looking at beer and wine for this store. There’s going to be a great patio and a stage for live music. There’s going to be an [outdoor] area for the kids to play so you can sit and have a glass of wine, have some bites and have your kids have a good time before you go shopping.” The store is scheduled to open in January. [Eating Our Words; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: H-E-B

01/15/14 11:00am

Rendering of the Hudson Apartments, Fountain View at Inwood, Briargrove, Houston

Tanglewood Court Apartments, 5885 San Felipe St., HoustonFor all of you keeping score, the bounties of Briargrove-area apartment demolition should should now be clear. Arising from the site of the 634-unit courtyard-style Tanglewood Court Apartments on the almost-18-acre site on the southeast corner of San Felipe and Fountain View (knocked down last year and pictured at right), there will soon be a corner bank with drive-thru, a new 88,000-sq.-ft. H-E-B (moving west from down the street, and “modeled after” the chain’s Montrose Market), a 32,000-sq.-ft. strip center, and — announced yesterday — a new 5-story 431-unit garage-wrapping apartment block called the Hudson and featuring a reverse-Alamo-style tab (illustrated above) at the top of its garage entrance for some reason. Oh, yeah, also gained in the equation: A sea of concrete for the retail parking lot:


What Tanglewood Webs We Weave
04/04/13 3:00pm

A reader sends this photo of what went down today at 6000 Richmond and Fountain View: The Magnolia Bar & Grill, cleared for demo last month, has been reduced to rubble and that sideways sign. And what’s in store for this Briargrove corner southwest of the Galleria? Kenneth Lewis, a rep from the partnership that owns the property, says you’ll soon see a McDonald’s.

Photo: Pat McCarley

02/28/13 5:00pm

A result of the news yesterday that H-E-B will be moving from its Fountain View and Westheimer store to a new one on San Felipe in 2014 is the impending demolition of Tanglewood Court apartments, which stand on the 18-acre property bound by Fountain View, San Felipe, and Inwood. (The photo shows the apartments from the corner of Fountain View and Inwood.) Lynn Davis of Fidelis, which purchased the site in September 2011, tells Swamplot that notice has been given to residents that they’ll need to move by the end of March or early April. Buses from neighboring complexes, says Davis, have been shuttling them around to help them find a new place to live.

And once they’re gone, what, besides the H-E-B, will go in their place?


09/10/12 1:11pm

All rooms within this Briargrove custom home by Rudolph Colby “open to atrium and fountain areas.” Earlier this week, the corner lot property lowered its asking price once more, to $1,329,000, for its re-listing by the same agent. Back in February, the home debuted at $1,595,000, with reductions to $1,469,000 in April and $1,380,000 in June for the summer months.

Built in 1994, the 4,929-sq.-ft. home is not the largest of the newer homes infiltrating the tight-knit neighborhood. On its stretch of street, however, the house stands taller, bigger, and distinct. Landscaping between its two gabled wings helps conceal a brick wall that appears to match the height of neighboring fifties ranch homes. An entryway streetside leads into a brick-paved courtyard-with-fountain surrounded by window walls and glass-paneled doors:


06/06/12 12:28pm

A Briargrove listing has dropped its price a third time in as many months. The updated fifties ranch-style home currently seeks $639,000, down from $650,000 in April, $669,000 at the end of March, and $679,000 when it hit the market earlier that month. On the street, near Briargrove Elementary, there’s a mix of original single-story homes and newer ones built with larger proportions. This home is one lot in from the corner of Briargrove Dr. on a nearly quarter-acre lot. (Beyond a drainage ditch across Briargrove is the St. Luke’s Hospital Emergency Center.)

The ranch dressing on the home’s exterior is “traditional.” The interior?


04/06/11 2:12pm

HARTS GOING, GOING, GOING . . . TO PRISON Auctioneers and swindlers Jerry and Wynonne Hart will begin serving their 14-year prison sentences “within days,” after an appeals court reversed a decision that would have given the former owners of the Hart Galleries on South Voss a new trial. The Harts pled guilty to “misapplication of fiduciary property” 2 years ago, in return for prosecutors dropping theft and money-laundering charges against them. Prosecutors claim the Harts sold customers’ goods at auction but regularly underpaid or otherwise finagled their way out of distributing the proceeds. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Hart Galleries

03/29/10 2:02pm

What inside info does Swamplot have to spill about this 6,648-sq.-ft. mansion on more than an acre off Memorial Dr. in Bayou Woods?

Absolutely none. Really: We don’t know a thing about it.

Okay, okay — nothing other than . . . uh, publicly available information. And this little reader comment last week that tipped us all off. Yeah, you read it too!

“Vinny Ocean” is selling his Memorial mansion. It is now listed at [$]3.5M. How much would YOU offer knowing that some mouthbreathing NJ thug might not know Palermo sold it and no longer lives there? I’d knock 3M right off the top. You really oughta amble over to HAR and take a look at this place – over the TOP!

Who’s Vinny Ocean?


03/17/10 6:35pm

Never mind that wine bars the Wine Bucket, the Corkscrew, and the Tasting Room in Midtown have all been poured down the drain since January. Krutar Patel says he’s planning to open his brand new wine bar, Winetopia, this May. He’s already added his placard to the giant brick sign in front of the Fairmont on San Felipe at 6363 San Felipe.

The midrise apartment complex with a retail center on its ground level is already home to a martial-arts studio and a Subway. Winetopia will sandwich itself between the two businesses. Patrons will be able to stumble upstairs to their apartments or, if necessary, to the 24-hour St. Luke’s Community Emergency Center in the same center, conveniently located just yards away.


12/07/09 9:05am

A quick roundup:

  • Closing in January: NASA hangout the Outpost Tavern, an army barracks building turned spacesuit-and-bikini-festooned party site, down NASA Rd. 1 from the Johnson Space Center at 18113 Kings Lynn St. Memorialized in the appropriately named Clint Eastwood “one last time for the has-been astronauts” flick Space Cowboys, the bar and burger joint had to be partially rebuilt in early 2005 after a short in a neon sign caused a small fire. Second-generation owner Stephanie Foster reports the property has been sold to new owners who “plan to build something new on the site, perhaps a service station or shopping center.” Fans of the Outpost Tavern’s many good ol’ days will drown their sorrows on-site in a 3-day-long goodbye-party bash, January 8-10.
  • Closed, Just a Month After Opening: The new 7,000-sq.-ft. prototype Bailey Banks & Biddle store in CityCentre. The new owners of the former Zales mall mainstay declared bankruptcy in August, but went ahead with the store’s planned move from its old location across the street at Town & Country Village anyway. Other local Triple Bs didn’t get the grand-opening treatment before going dark: “The Galleria and Willowbrook Mall locations are in liquidation, while The Woodlands Mall store and the new CityCentre location are expected to go dark on Dec. 24 following liquidation sales, according to store employees.”
  • Open Only for One Last Big Sale: Brian Stringer Antiques, strung along West Alabama just east of Shepherd in a few separate buildings for the last 40 or so years. Stringer and his wife will retire to their turreted 14th century chateau — a former fortified hospital built by monks for victims of a mysterious skin disease — in the French countryside between Bordeaux and Gers. But lucky us, they’ll stick around Houston long enough to sell the majority of their stock of European antiques, reproductions, and fabrics at 40 percent off, Joni Webb reports: “The French house is so charming – you really feel like you’re in the South of France, except for Houston’s traffic out the front window!” When you’re done shopping there, Webb commands:

    be sure to also stop in at Ginger Barber’s Sitting Room which is next door. Further up the street is Tara Shaw and Heather Bowen Antiques. Continue up W. Alabama to Antiques and Interiors on Dunlavy, Boxwood and The Country Gentleman, then hit up Foxglove and Alcon Lighting.

    If you haven’t passed out from exhaustion yet, turn around and head back to Brian Stringer’s and go the other way on W. Alabama. Stop at Jane Moore’s, then at Ferndale, go to Brown, Bill Gardner, Made in France, and Objects Lost and Found. Back on W. Alabama, continue on to Thompson and Hansen, The Gray Door, Chateau Domingue, Indulge on Saint Street, and 2620 on Joanel.

More openings and closings:


11/12/09 7:26pm

TAKE THE MONEY AND IRAN “Federal prosecutors are seeking to seize the Islamic Education Center at 2313 S. Voss, just north of Westheimer, as part of a move against the Alavi Foundation, nonprofit organization with suspected ties to the Iranian government: “Faheem Kazimi, chairman of the board of directors of IEC, said tonight that the center leases its building from Alavi Foundation. No other connection exists, he said. . . . The Center’s premises on South Voss is occupied by one of Houston’s largest Shiia mosques and Al-Hadi School of Accelerative Learning, a private Islamic school. . . . The mosque . . . will remain open while the forfeiture case works its way through court in what could be a long process. What will happen to them if the government ultimately prevails is unclear. But the government typically sells properties it has seized through forfeiture, and the proceeds are sometimes distributed to crime victims. There were no raids Thursday as part of the forfeiture action. The government is simply required to post notices of the civil complaint on the property. Prosecutors said the Alavi Foundation, through a front company known as Assa Corp., illegally funneled millions in rental income back to Iran’s state-owned Bank Melli. Bank Melli has been accused by a U.S. Treasury official of providing support for Iran’s nuclear program, and it is illegal in the United States to do business with the bank.” [Houston Chronicle]