04/01/15 12:15pm



The only assembly on this Lexington Green property appears to be of seating. It musters throughout the grounds of the updated 1972 contemporary, which soldiers on in Memorial’s Bunker Hill Village. The spit-and-polished property’s relisting on Monday trimmed the asking price by $50K to $1.575 million. A previous listing spent a month on the market at $1.625 million. A pool, landscaping, and outdoor venues help populate the lot, which occupies nearly half an acre near the cul-de-sac end of a street off Memorial Drive where it makes a sharp turn north, a bit east of Gessner Rd.


Chairing Cross
02/10/15 4:45pm



Chalky white liners on a driveway in Village of Panther Creek make sure the home’s runway isn’t confused with the neighboring funway through the woods. The latter pathway is part of the 160 miles of hike-and-bike trails connecting neighborhoods throughout The Woodlands. This 1981 home is up the street from the cul-de-sac end of the neighborhood, located between the curve of S. Panther Creek Dr. and Woodlands Pkwy. The property’s listing last week carries a $165K asking price.


02/06/15 4:00pm




Among the big game in Sherwood Forest (the close-to-the-Loop Memorial-area neighborhood, not the royal hunting spread poached by Robin Hood) sits an updated 1965 contemporary on its third initial asking price: $4.29 million. A 2013 listing took aim at $4.995 million, which dropped to $4.39 million for a few months. Last summer, the $4.375 million ask trimmed back to $4.32 million two weeks later in a listing lasting 2 months. One wing curves its window wall around the groomed front lawn and clipped landscaping (middle). Pool, terrace, and tennis court extend from the back of the stucco home, which has a 2-story wing for the bedrooms (above).


Open Season
04/16/14 2:30pm



Lacking frills but with a bit of grille at the front, this 1973 home in Briargrove Park presents a curbside scene that appears a bit basic when viewed from its circular driveway, located off the cul-de-sac out front (above). Inside, however, more private views span across the vaulted rooms (top) and into the fenced yard. The somewhat hidden home was listed Friday; it has an asking price of $449,000. 


In the Briar Patch
12/06/11 5:44pm

The request for a variance that would allow developers of the 3.68-acre property at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama to avoid putting in cul-de-sacs at the ends of Sul Ross and Branard St. — and that prompted the posting of signs around the Fiesta Food Mart on the property — isn’t the work of a new owner. It was submitted by the same owner who has held the property since the early sixties when the current shopping center was constructed.

So why the need for a variance that would only matter if the grocery store were redeveloped?


12/05/11 2:09pm

Over the weekend, variance signs were posted at the dead-ends of Sul Ross and Branard St. near the Menil Collection and in front of the bank of antique shops facing Dunlavy. The notices are the clearest indication yet that some big new development is being planned to replace the Fiesta Food Mart at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama in Lancaster Place. Last month, Swamplot posted a reader’s report that the property had been sold and that a 6-or-7-story “West Ave-style” mixed-use project was planned for the 3.68-acre site.


04/30/10 3:20pm

With several neighbors and a city council member speaking in support and no one protesting, Houston’s planning commission granted a variance yesterday to the new owners of the former site of the Wilshire Village apartments at the corner of West Alabama and Dunlavy. The variance will allow Sul Ross and Branard streets, which currently dead end into the 7.68-acre vacant tract, to remain dead ends as the property is redeveloped into a new Montrose H-E-B market.

In return, the planning department will get some vaguely defined involvement in planning the site. “As a condition of granting the variance,” explained the planning department’s Brian Crimmins,

the applicant will be required to coordinate with the planning department during the site plan stage to establish a reasonable landscape buffer between the subject site and and adjacent properties as well as reasonable preservation of the mature tree canopy on the site. The applicant has agreed to these conditions.

Neighbors had complained about earlier plans submitted for the property — which did not require city approval because they followed the city’s development ordinance. Those plans connected Sul Ross and Branard to form a loop, like this:


04/21/10 11:00am

Courtesy of Planning and Development Dept. public affairs manager Suzy Hartgrove, Swamplot now has a copy of the variance application submitted by the new owners of the vacant 7.68-acre site at the southwest corner of West Alabama and Dunlavy — where H-E-B has announced plans to build a new Montrose grocery store. At the property’s western border, Sul Ross and Branard streets used to lead directly into driveway entrances to the Wilshire Village apartments on the site. Under current development regulations, those streets would have to be connected to other streets (or perhaps each other) or turned into proper cul-de-sacs.

The variance would allow the property’s new owners to bypass this requirement and leave Sul Ross and Branard as they are — minus the driveway access.

Oh — the property’s new owners! Who are they?


04/20/10 9:05am

The new H-E-B at “Lancaster Center” makes its first appearance at the 7.68-acre Dunlavy and West Alabama corner lot. Any neighbors want to send us the plat drawings they should have received in the mail by now? An interested observer sends in this snapshot and comments:

Some time in the last few days, a “Notice of Variance Request” was posted on the old Wilshire Village / soon-to-be HEB property, for the apparent purpose of dealing with “cul-de-sac standards”. One assumes this has something to do with the current dead-ends of Sul Ross and Branard into property–but what, exactly? Does this mean that part of the property is going to be used to construct cul-de-sacs? Does this mean that the Montrose Land Defense coalition might get thrown a minor bone or two in the way of public green space?

Photo: Swamplot inbox

07/15/09 2:58pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: NEW URBANIST FLIGHT “Several posters are spot-on about walkable neighborhoods commanding a premium over traditional suburbs, if all else is equal. Unfortunately you can’t have it all in Houston – neighborhood charm, architecturally interesting houses, walkability, safety, good public schooling, AND affordability. Our growing family is being “forced” out of the Heights for several of the above reasons. If a New Urbanist development existed in the Houston area that was priced similarly to the traditional lollipop surburb, we would go there in an instant. Instead, we’re moving to what we see as the best suburban compromise – the Woodlands. Outside observers will no doubt think we are going to the suburbs because of the cul-de-sacs, but the truth is, we are going despite them.” [CV, commenting on Cul de Sac City: Houston’s Ban on New Street Grids]

04/02/09 4:07pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: DRIVING THE GENTLE HILLS OF TANGLEWOOD “. . . I think the layout of the streets can have a significant effect on how the neighbors interact. Did you know Tanglewood streets were laid out the way they are with several curving to give the feel of inclines where there were none lending it to a more genteel feeling as opposed to the straight street grid which is a bit cold. With those curvy streets, they still have a pretty straight street grid, but with more gentleness. While cul de sacs may create community within that cul de sac, I think it cuts the few houses on it off from the rest of the streets and therefore offers fewer opportunities for casual social interaction and in effect creates an us against them. Of course these are all generalizations, but developers deal in generalizations anyway.” [EMME, commenting on Welcome to Bizarro Heights. What Are You Drinking?]