11/13/18 3:00pm

The 2016 lawsuit that just last week resulted in a multi-million dollar judgment against Houston developer Urban Living isn’t the only litigation the firm’s caught up in right now. Since the beginning of the year, the same plaintiff, Preston Wood & Associates, has filed 4 more suits against the developer and its partners, alleging that at least 6 more Urban Living projects were based of derivatives of the design firm’s copyrighted townhome plans.

One of the projects, dubbed The Modern on Sabine, is shown at top on the corner of Sabine and Bingham streets. Another, The Modern on Austin, went up in place of a few row houses torn down at Austin and Tuam near the end of 2013:


The Kicker
09/19/18 10:00am

A Swamplot reader sends this photo of an excavator limbering up before the main event at 1638 Bonnie Brae St. Sandcastle Homes bought the nearly 90-year-old building in July and filed plans to build a new house on the property last month. It’s nestled within the Montrose sub-neighborhood known as Castle Court, a few doors down from Dunlavy St.

Photo: Swamplox inbox

Castle Court Crackup
06/21/18 10:30am

The shaggy customer base seeking a trim at the 1415 Richmond strip between Mandell and Yupon should see some increased biodiversity once The Pet Barber moves in 2-doors down from Henry’s Barber Shop. At nearly double the size of the neighboring human hair care facility, it’s ready to start transforming the space that once housed D&S Washateria (pictured at top) into a Castle Court companion to its existing Spring Branch grooming location.

The laundromat left sometime after Pepino’s gave way to Ms. Saigon Cafe and Michael’s Outpost on the west side of the building. Since then, The C Store also took off; its still-vacant Suite A — shown below in blue at the strip’s east end — is now the only hole left in the building:


12/19/17 10:15am

YES, THE HARP ON RICHMOND AVE IS CLOSING DOWN There’s a reason why Braun Enterprises has been trying to find a new tenant to replace the Harp at 1625 Richmond: it turns out that the bar’s founder, Declan Plunkett, is retiring, Craig Hlavaty reports. The Ireland transplant plans to close the 18-year-old bar when the lease expires at the end of February, meaning there won’t be a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Harp next year: “Plunkett is planning a weeklong bash to see the bar off. ‘We might sell some of the stuff off the walls for people who have been such dedicated patrons,’ Plunkett says.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Braun Enterprises

12/15/17 11:30am

A flyer put out by Braun Enterprises indicates that the Harp Irish Pub’s spot at 1625 Richmond Ave is available for lease. A partnership controlled by Braun bought the decked-out bar along with its 3 eastern neighbors (at that time Orange Bar, Maria Selma Mexican Restaurant, and Lucky Burger) in 2011. Since then, Lucky Burger was replaced by Oui Banh Mi on the corner of Richmond and Mandel St., Orange Bar ceded its space to Revelry on Richmond, and Maria Selma reopened — then closed — as Texas Shrimp Shack.

Texas Shrimp Shack’s vacant lot at 1617 Richmond, right next to the Harp, is also up for lease.


Castle Court
10/03/16 11:30am

Encore Castle Court, 1314 Castle Ct., Castle Court, Houston, 77006
Encore Castle Court, 1314 Castle Ct., Castle Court, Houston, 77006The L-shaped hole dug on the site vacated last year by The Place apartment complex has been getting filled up, and some wooden framing is now beginning to peek over the top of the leafy northern wall of 59 at the Graustark St. bridge. The plan for Encore’s under-construction Castle Court development involves stacking 5 floors of apartments on the site, with additional levels of parking underneath — the rendering above depicts its above-ground height as a floor taller than Trammell Crow’s newish Muse complex just down Graustark at the corner with Richmond Ave.

The Encore project fronts Castle Ct. at the intersection with Yupon St., and faces Graustark just south of Black Hole Coffee Shop and Graustark Laundry, as shown in the floorplan below from the company’s brochure for would-be foreign investors under the EB-5 program:


Scaling Up Castle Court
05/20/14 10:00am

1310 Castle Ct., Castle Court, Houston

After a bit of coffee on the side patio of the Black Hole Coffee House at 4504 Graustark St., a sighting of bright green sewer-disconnect notices on the front doors of 3 ninety-something-year-old houses across the street, and a little online permit research, reader Christopher Newsom has some news to announce: The homes at 1304, 1308, and 1310 Castle Ct. (pictured above and below) are about to be demolished. According to HCAD records, the same owner has owned all 3 properties for more than 25 years.


Point of No Return
02/18/14 12:45pm

The Place Apartments, 1341 Castle Ct., Castle Court, Montrose, Houston

A Valentines Day note from the regional property manager of Greystar to residents of The Place Apartments at 1341 Castle Ct. informs them that “the date for vacating” the 90-unit complex hugging the north side of the Southwest Fwy. has been pushed back to September 30. Lease renewals will be extended to that date, and space is now available: Tenants are being offered a $200 prize for referring any “friend or co-worker looking for short term housing.


Have a Cup of Coffee, Sweet
11/27/13 11:30am

The Place Apartments, 1341 Castle Ct., Castle Court, Montrose, Houston

Responding to the unidentified pamphleteer who went door to door over the weekend distributing warnings of an impending demolition for The Place Apartments at 1341 Castle Ct., the 90-unit complex’s new management responded early this week with its own tenant missive. The politely worded note from property manager Lori Lindley of newly hired Greystar responds point-by-point to the issues raised in the original flyer, namely that 1) tenants will get a “document stating the amount due,” not an eviction notice, if they’re a few days late with rent payments; 2) the management office is now closed on weekends; 3) online and drop-box payment options offered by the previous management company are no longer available; 4) a recent utility bill was distributed late to tenants only because of the recent change in ownership; and 5) the biggie: “The property was purchased with the intent to do a lease down. However, it is not our goal to evict any resident . . . We are currently renewing leases through 4/30/2014; should this change we will notify all residents accordingly.”


A Word from Management
11/25/13 3:30pm

GETTING OUT OF THE PLACE? Photo and Flyer Distributed at The Place Apartment Homes, 1341 Castle Ct., Montrose, HoustonA flyer distributed over the weekend to the front doors of a seventies-era apartment Castle Court complex that hugs the Southwest Fwy. warns tenants that plans are afoot to demolish the property next year. Greystar took over management of The Place Apartment Homes, down a driveway at 1341 Castle Ct. in Montrose, in late October. The new unsigned notice, which is clearly not from the management company or the property’s owner, claims eviction notices have been sent out to “tenants who are just one day late (from the grace period) paying their rent,” and asserts that all apartments will be vacated by the end of April: “We recommend ensuring your rent is payed on time and carefully reading any addendum to a current leasing agreement that is presented by the new management,” warns the anonymous pamphleteer. “The purpose of this notice is to inform tenants of recent developments, hopefully allowing tenants to protect themselves.” [Swamplot inbox] Photo: Rent.com

04/16/13 2:00pm

It’s parched and scruffy, sure, and there’s an abandoned slab without any load-bearing walls to keep it company, but this less-than-a-half-acre patch of grass on Yoakum Blvd. could be the site of a 3-story office building: A rep from Owens Management Systems says that a variance application for the site just west of Castle Court in Montrose has been approved by the city planning commission, and a commercial architecture firm is considering moving to what’s being dubbed the Yoakum Enclave. The 0.4-acre lot backs into Mt. Vernon St. and up against the U.S. 59 barrier wall at the very end of the 4300 block of Yoakum, south of the University of St. Thomas and the construction site on Richmond Ave. of the 6-story Campanile South.