06/30/17 1:30pm

You might not immediately gather, from the pastoral setting in the rendering above, that this is a view of what’s planned for the former Berger Iron Works property, tucked around back behind the Walmart at Yale and Koehler streets in the section of Katyville last rebranded as Washington Heights. (The footprint of the land is marked as a little blue rectangle in the map above.) The new name Riverway Properties is applying to the retail-redo-to-be appears to be Bonner Heights (presumably after Bonner St., which runs along the quiet western front of the property). Here’s how the 2 buildings on the site could be split up for leasing:


Ironworks Rework
05/30/17 12:00pm

Catty-corner to the southwest of the area’s newest self-storage midrise, the block at N. Shepherd Dr. and Nett St. housing Bethel Church is now broadcasting plans for a mixed-use development from several large signs standing around on the property. A couple of readers reported the new decor from various angles late on Friday (including the one above, which includes a glimpse of finally settled, named, and opened FM Kitchen + Bar on the former Alva Graphics lot across the street). The church’s 1.48-acre block (bounded by Durham Dr. and Center St. on the other 2 sides) hit the market last summer, and looks to be getting wrapped into the Hunington development fold.

The conversion of the church property would put a mixed-use development right next to the Azure Apartments midrise currently going up right across Durham:


N. Shepherd Conversions
12/05/16 11:30am

Construction at Shepherd and Allen st.

Now rising at 1202 Shepherd Dr., atop the former sites of the Sarco Enterprise used car lot and its various adjacent industrial-retail odds and ends: a 4-story self-storage building from Provident Realty. The Dallas-based developer (which is also behind the redo of the former Texaco building Downtown and its potential future companion highrise) bought the land in October of last year from an entity called Shepnett Holdings, which also owns the land across Nett St. at 1112 Shepherd  — on that site, the former graffiti-slathered home of relocated art and framing shop Alva Graphics is being converted into the burger restaurant initially planned for the ex-Ruggles Grill lot on Westheimer.

The Provident storage facility will be conveniently located about 4 minutes by car from the Uncle Bob’s Life Storage building that just opened along Washington Ave across from the former Wabash Feed & Garden store. A storage-atuned reader in the neighborhood sends a few more angles on the new building’s in-progress skeleton — the building extends from Nett St. toward the southern of Allen St.’s 2 parallel roadways, laid along either side of the Southern Pacific railroad line:


Boxes of Brunner
09/26/16 5:15pm

Pi Pizza, 181 Heights Blvd., Brunner, Houston, 77007

The newly opened stationary location of former food truck Pi Pizza got a huge boost in business this weekend after pro-gun-carry groups began leaving hundreds of negative online reviews of the restaurant, Eric Sandler reports this morning. Owner Anthony Calleo tells Sandler that Pi’s sales at the strip center spot south of I-10 where Funky Chicken used to roost were up nearly 20 percent on Saturday and 40 percent on Sunday.

What exactly triggered waves of gun activists (and counter-protesting pizza-supporters) to take to the restaurant’s Facebook and Yelp pages en masse? A casually dismissive and — sure — less-than-completely-diplomatic response to an initial 1-star review of the restaurant, by a user who had never visited, based solely on Pi’s decision to opt out of open and concealed carry. Sandler notes that Pi’s Facebook review page has been temporarily taken down, as the hundreds of negative reviews (and even larger numbers of positive comments and counterreviews, at least some of which also appear to be from people who have never visited the restaurant) eventually escalated to public searches for Calleo’s home address by some of the more enthusiastic pro-carriers; the pizza joint’s Yelp page was still in lockdown as of this afternoon.


Booming on Heights Blvd.
08/30/16 3:00pm

DOCUMENTING HOUSTON’S TOWNHOUSIFICATION, ONE TWEET AT A TIME @densifyingHOUWhile you’re waiting for Kuukibot’s polite but insistent stream of air toxics tweets to come back, another Houston-obsessed account has just hit the Twittersphere — this one documenting the city’s infill development, as evidenced by daily before-and-after shots pulled from Google Streetview (like the 2-house-t0-7-townhome transition shown above, from near the intersection of Gibson and Snover streets in Brunner).  The account’s Philadelphia-based author (who’s looking for submissions, by the way) points to the 1999 changes in minimum lot size requirements as the catalyst for the subsequent waves of tightly-packed townhouse do-overs in previously large-lot neighborhoods around town, as explained by Daniel Hertz earlier this summer: Hertz writes that  the decision to allow lots as small as 1,400 sq.ft. within the Inner Loop (a decree later expanded city-wide in 2013) allowed the building of way more housing stock in the city’s core without a switch to multifamily-style buildings. “An important research project in the coming years ,” Hertz notes, “will be to see if Houston’s willingness to allow more housing—and especially missing middle housing—in the center of a growing metropolitan area can reduce the growth of housing prices and keep neighborhoods more diverse and affordable than they would otherwise be.” [City Observatory] Screenshot of Densifying Houston tweet: @densifyingHOU

12/10/14 4:30pm


A reader sends in a pic of this variance request sign and vacant lot, possibly heralding the advent of another apartment complex in the Brunner Addition block bounded by N. Durham Dr. and Sandman St. and Center St. and Nett St., in the immediate environs of Soma Sushi, Bethel Church, Woodrow’s Heights and the Esperanza School.

Proposed land use? Mixed-use, multifamily and commercial.


Center Of The Nett
01/24/13 4:00pm

Office building or home? It depends on which listing you read. One on LoopNet appears to have marketed the property for a while at $599,000 — as an office building. But it popped up as a single family item this week on HAR, asking $535,000. Built in 2001 and updated in 2010, the corner-lot custom live-work structure is 2 blocks south of the Katy Fwy. in the Brunner subdivision in Cottage Grove.


04/02/10 11:36am

“Robots need not apply” reads the recent ad for staff positions at the new BRC Gastropub at the corner of North Shepherd and Blossom. Hey, didn’t that building use to be a funeral monument and gravestone sales center? Reader photos show it ready to come to life — almost directly across the street from that former pool hall refashioned into Branch Water Tavern.


10/15/09 3:13pm

Updates on a few restaurants Swamplot has been following:

  • Reopened: Azzarelli’s, an Italian-American restaurant that began the year in Cinco Ranch’s Tuscan-themed Villagio Town Center, then (after a notable exit) camped for a while (as Azzarelli’s Corner Café) in another center at 6455 South Fry Road, opened last week in its 4th location within just a couple of years: 17754 Katy Freeway, Suite B, I-10 at Barker Cypress. “With this great location, I will be open 365 days a year,” owner Frank Triola tells his press-release copywriter.
  • Opening Soon: The restaurant going into the former Cue & Cushion pool hall at 510 Shepherd that Swamplot reported on earlier this fall now has a name: Branch Water Tavern — and a more palatable label than “gastropub.” Try “Modern American Tavern.” Chef David Grossman says it’ll open later this month, but the Houston Press‘s Robb Walsh, who’s toured the construction site, thinks Christmas is more likely.

More eats:


09/01/09 4:31pm

This doesn’t sound so much like a deli now, does it? How long ’til they start calling this part of Shepherd The Gastrow?

A little birdie points Swamplot to more info about plans for the former Cue & Cushion pool hall, hiding on the uh . . . secret Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau website:

510 Shepherd, designed by award-winning hospitality designer Joel Mozersky, will be a unique neighborhood restaurant concept reminiscent of a traditional London gastro pub, yet modernized in design and updated to take into account American tastes.


09/01/09 10:44am

WHAT ABOUT THE CUSHIONS? “At 510 Shepherd, the old Cue and Cushion Pool Hall has been sold and is seeing some major changes. The billiards tables are gone and a dining room is under construction. The new place will be Cue Restaurant. Though unconfirmed, the on-site rumor is that it will be a New York style deli – something like Katz’s or Kenny and Ziggy’s, I am told.” Also, photos of the future locations of BRC Gastro Pub across the street and Burgerzilla in the Heights. [Fred Eats Houston; previously on Swamplot]

08/26/09 12:06pm

MORE SIGNS OF THAT SHEPHERD RESTAURANT SCENE COMING TO LIFE Rising soon from the former home of a tombstone business on Shepherd, across Blossom St. from the Kicks indoor-soccer facility: BRC Gastro Pub. Watch out also for Burgerzilla, reported to be working its way to the corner of 11th and Studewood, in the Heights. [Cleverley’s Blog]