09/10/14 5:00pm

2102-leeland-02

Were it nighttime and the glass a bit more seamless, this mod industrial storefront might work as a stand-in for the scene of Edward Hopper’s iconic Nighthawks. The contoured corner hugs the corner of Leeland and St. Emanuel St., a block past the Eastex Fwy. overpass and the eastern border of Downtown. The building’s 4,250 sq. ft. footprint sits on a 5,000-sq.-ft. corner lot in a warehouse-y district within eyeshot of the Toyota Center. It was listed on the MLS for $600K last summer, but has stayed on the market through various relistings since October 2013 for a bit more: $650K.

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Chinatown Printing
09/08/14 10:00am

Cleared Lot at St. Charles and Capitol Streets, East Downtown, Houston

A second block adjacent to BBVA Compass Stadium in East Downtown was cleared by giant yellow machines this past week; a reader has sent us the above photo to prove it. The metal shed once occupied by Tool Mart, which formerly stood on a portion of the site, is no more. (The company has decamped for Missouri City.) Space is being cleared for an apartment project on this block — surrounded by Dowling St., Texas Ave., Capitol St., and St. Charles St., and fronting a bit of the soon-to-open Southeast light-rail line just past where it combines with the also soon-to-open East End line — as well as the block immediately south, which was cleared late last month. Renderings of apartments on this same site were shown last year by Mill Creek Residential before that it backed out of the project; the company that took it over instead, JLB Partners, hasn’t released any drawings showing its plans.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Tool Mart Is Gone
09/02/14 1:30pm

2600 Block of Capitol St. with Signs from Veterans Memorial Dr., Houston

If you were wondering how a street-facing block of neat-in-a-row East Downtown townhomes might appear after being taken over by the opportunistic spirit exemplified by a bunch of north Houston strip-center businesses, rest your aching brain: Artist Carrie Marie Schneider has already done some of that hard a-visualizing work for you. Her mashup above combines signs from independent businesses along Veterans Memorial Dr. (the stretch between I-45 and Richey Rd.) with a row of recent townhomes on the 2600 block of Capitol St., between Live Oak and Nagle. The image, a projection of which constitutes a small part of her recently opened exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum, is one way to imagine a “real free-enterprise” conquest of more corporate-seeming block-by-block townhome developments. Blocks like the one pictured under all that signage “once seemed uncanny in Houston for their enforced coherence,” she writes in OffCite. “Now they’re difficult not to encounter.”

Image: Carrie Marie Schneider

Mixed Use Mashup
08/28/14 11:45am

Demolition of 2414 Capitol St., East Downtown, Houston

Demo crews are clearing away a metal warehouse building and chopping up the surface concrete on the block surrounded by Dowling, Rusk, Capitol and St. Charles streets, across Dowling St. from BBVA Compass Stadium in East Downtown. Last year, Mill Creek Residential announced and then canceled plans for a possibly mixed-use apartment development it was calling EADO Station on that block and the one immediately north, facing Texas Ave.

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JLB in East Downtown
08/26/14 12:15pm

Former Meridian Nightclub, 1503 Chartres St., East Downtown, Houston

A little more than a year after settling into the new location it rehabbed from the former Phillips Paper Company warehouse at 1100 Elder St. in the First Ward, Ecclesia Church appears ready to begin another renovation project and move — this time to East Downtown. The church, which began its life 15 years ago as part of the Taft St. Coffee House complex in Montrose, signed a contract last Friday to purchase the 50,000-sq.-ft. former Meridian nightclub building at 1503 Chartres St. for $3.75 million, pastor and church founder Chris Seay announced during his sermon over the weekend.

The church plans to continue its serial-renovation, just-add-coffee-house growth strategy in the new space. (Taft St. Coffee House’s successor cafe in the First Ward is Paper Co., built into the church’s space there.) The Meridian building, where the nightclub closed in 2010, lies south of the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Toyota Center on the east side of the 59 overpass. The church had originally made several attempts to purchase the building back in 2009, Seay said. But a new chance arose recently, after a bankruptcy sale:

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Stripping Buildings in East Downtown
06/02/14 2:30pm

With an entertaining, droll video (see above), a close-to-Downtown location already picked out, and a “first ever in Houston” concept, the fundraising effort for the Press Start Bar seemed to have a lot going for it. Alas, the Kickstarter game plan for the planned console-videogame-themed nightspot has failed to reach its high-score goal. After 30 days on the crowdfunding platform, the crew garnered $18,483 in pledges from 81 different backers. That’s impressive for a first try at the controls, but a bit shy of the stated $50,000 its founders said they needed to secure the proposed location — “off Rusk and St. Emanuel” (between the 59 overpass and BBVA Compass Stadium) — obtain building permits, and get started with TABC licensing, to be able to serve craft beers and Pokemon-themed cocktails, among other menu items.

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Press Restart
05/15/14 11:15am

Proposed Aspen Heights Dorms, Cullen Blvd. at Coyle St., East Downtown, Houston

A company that’s been building a growing chain of private college dorms is seeking a 10-year tax abatement from the city to help it build a $56 million 305,076-sq.-ft. complex just north of the Gulf Fwy. from the University of Houston. Houston’s version of Aspen Heights (as the company and all its dorms are named) would sit on 7.7 acres just north of the Catholic Charismatic Center on Cullen Blvd., across the street from the former Finger Furniture warehouse recently purchased by developer Frank Liu. The dorms would sit in the far southeast corner of East Downtown, backing up to the railroad tracks that form the neighborhoods northern and eastern boundary:

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A Quarter Mile from Campus
12/27/13 12:45pm

Repairs on Metro Southeast Line at McKinney, Houston

Why were crews yanking out and replacing a brand-new 240-ft.-long stretch of rail and concrete on the not-even-opened-yet Southeast Line at McKinney St. (above), next to the Columbia Tap trail in East Downtown, earlier this month? Because back on May 30th, a 7.2kV CenterPoint Energy electrical line fell onto the tracks and their overhead line three-quarters of a mile to the south, at Scott St. and Coyle St.

Zzzzzzap!

In addition to the McKinney St. burnout, 20-ft. sections of rail and track slab got zapped near crossings at Nagle St. and Elgin. At the incident site, 80 ft. of concrete and anti-vibration insulation had to be scrapped and replaced.

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Hot Rails
10/28/13 12:30pm

Dallas developer Mill Creek Residential has “called off” plans to build a 5-story apartment block across Dowling St. from Dynamo Stadium in East Downtown. Set just south of the soon-to-open light rail stop at Texas Ave. and Dowling, the 315-unit complex was to have been called EaDo Station. The company recently announced a slightly smaller development near the Med Center: 265 apartments at 1755 Wyndale St. near Holcombe and South Braeswood.

Renderings of EaDo Station: Mill Creek Residential

10/21/13 3:25pm

And 4 more blocks to go: Site work began last week here in East Downtown to chunk up the pavement into such tidy piles and clear the way for that 5-block pedestrian path known as the EaDo Promenade. These photos show what the very north end of the path, at McKinney and Bastrop St. a block south of BBVA Compass Stadium, looks like, as of yesterday:

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10/21/13 10:10am

Here are some pics of the rail-ridin’ townhouses Urban Living is developing in East Downtown. These gated 2-story, 2- and 3-bedroom homes crowd in on the lot bound by Lamar, Roberts, and the Southeast Line, which curves away here from the Columbia Tap bike trail and veers toward Scott St.

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10/15/13 12:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BURSTING YOUR HOUSING BUBBLE BUBBLE “Your fears of a bubble being caused in this manner are unfounded. The sales of older homes (by Houston standards at least — still less than 10 years) have shot up in just the last 9 months. Sure, we always need to guard against bubbles, but I don’t think an EaDo-specific bubble is occurring, and certainly not because there aren’t existing single-family homes. Teardowns of existing, livable (leaving out the shotgun shacks) single-family homes have started (here, for instance). In the place of the teardowns are multiple townhomes. There are some examples of irrational exuberance on the part of the developers, like the $500,000 asking price for the townhomes bounded by Nagle/Capitol/Delano/Rusk, but the recent high appreciation occurring is not out of line and has only been occurring for a few years, whereas places like the Heights and Rice Military have seen prices increases for many years, all without any neighborhood-specific bubble. Midtown, too, has avoided a bubble-then-crash and they have an even smaller stock of single-family homes yards than EaDo.” [eiioi, commenting on Comment of the Day: East Downtown, Brought to You by Montrose] Illustration: Lulu

10/14/13 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: EAST DOWNTOWN, BROUGHT TO YOU BY MONTROSE “I totally agree with what’s going on in EADO. Face it. It’s way too close to everywhere people want to be not to turn around. And I don’t see any bubble bursting as it’s not inflated at all. Things are still super cheap. Our strategy for EADO, 3rd ward, and med center area can be summarized in 3 words: “BUY BUY BUY” (and sell in Montrose, at stupid high prices, to get the cash to do so).” [Cody, commenting on Townhouses Going Up in East Downtown] Illustration: Lulu

10/11/13 11:00am

Here’s more development in East Downtown: These townhouses are under construction on the corner of Live Oak and Lamar, just 2 blocks from the Columbia Tap bike trail that leads to BBVA Compass Stadium. Eventually, according to a site plan on the InTown Homes website, 22 of these 3- and 4-bedroom townhouses will stand on the block bound by Lamar, Live Oak, St. Charles, and McKinney. They’re starting at $364,900.

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10/10/13 11:45am

Here are some drawings of an apartment building that appears to be aimed for an empty lot in East Downtown. As drawn, the concept shows the 216-unit EaDo Place standing on the block bound by Bell, Clay, Chartres, and St. Emanuel — that’s right beside the former Meridian Club, where the food trucks idle and generators hum at the Houston Food Park. And it’s just 2 blocks from Bastrop St., where that pedestrian promenade leading to BBVA Compass Stadium is to be put into place. If built, the apartments would stand at 2616 Clay, just on the other side of the Southwest Fwy. from the George R. Brown Convention Center, and would top off some ground-floor retail, with a 30,938-sq.-ft. grocery store facing Bell and St. Emanuel.

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