11/17/16 1:15pm

Start Houston HQ, 1121 Delano St., East Downtown, Houston, 77003

The current East Downtown home of startup kickstarter Start Houston is on the market at the moment, as the organization looks for a new space to host its growing techie crowd. A rep tells Swamplot that the group can’t say yet where the new digs will be — but the old digs at 1121 Delano St. are currently listed for sale at around $795,000. The 1963 building’s features include the human-robot peace wall facing Dallas St.:

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Starting Again Elsewhere
11/03/16 10:00am

Ivy Lofts renderings with new EDI design

The new, new design views of the Ivy Lofts highrise have been trickling out this week, and the glossy view above is fresh out into the digital ether as of late last night. The project’s marketing folks are prepping for a Saturday afternoon sales relaunch party at the converted grocery warehouse on the site (bounded by Nagle, Leeland, Live Oak, and the would-be path of Pease St., just north of the Texas Art Asylum and 59).

The tiny-condos highrise developers swapped architects a few months ago, midway through a redesign intended to turn the place into a double-lobbied condo-hotel mashup; the latest design, from EDI Architecture, is back to no hotel component and is down to just 1 main tower, with a 5-story parking garage filling in the extra space on top of a layer of ground floor storefronts. As for the building’s tiniest units, the 360-ish-sq.-ft. Tokyo, they’ve put on a little floorspace (and now measure in closer to 400 sq. ft.).

Here’s a closer view of some of those 14,228-sq.-ft. of retail space, from the corner of Live Oak and Leeland:

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EaDo Pre-Do Redo
09/28/16 3:30pm

2700 Polk St., East Downtown, Houston, 77003

A construction fence has gone up around the former King’s Wholesale building in East Downtown, a reader tells Swamplot. The rendering above shows a planned renovation for the structure at the corner of Polk and Nagle streets, just a few blocks northwest of the purportedly-reopening-in-October Ivy Lofts sales center. The curved awning-fin isn’t new, but the glass storefronts are — below is a shot of the building’s pre-redo state, from when it last hit the market:
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Opening Up in East Downtown
09/23/16 5:30pm

Ivy Lofts Retail Listing Images, September 2016

Actually, the rendering above is not the newest look for the Ivy Lofts, PR head Jared Anthony tells Swamplot this afternoon. Anthony says that the 3-week-old images posted in Wednesday’s since-pulled listing for ground floor retail space in the development had been planned for release that same day during a meeting with folks who have reserved units in the project — but some totally different designs came in from the new architect on Tuesday. Anthony says the newest plans will be shown off in mid-October when the sales center relaunches (complete with another scale model of the planned building), and that groundbreaking is now planned for January, with no change to the estimated completion date.

Images: Powers Brown Architecture

East Downtown Loft Swapping
09/22/16 5:15pm

Ivy Lofts Retail Listing Images, September 2016

Update, 9/23: Ivy Lofts PR director Jared Anthony tells Swamplot that another even newer design is in the works following an architect switchup — more info here.

Ivy Lofts Rendering, Leeland at Live Oak, East Downtown, HoustonIs this the new look planned for the Ivy Lofts? A fresh LoopNet listing is now using the top rendering (and another view from the back) to advertise retail space on the yet-unbroken ground at 2604 Leeland St. The images show a building with roughly the same J-shaped double tower proportions seen in the original Ivy Lofts renderings, but with a smoother, gently curved facade and some vertical green striping.

Novel Creative Development VP Wen Pin Tsai did tell Paul Takahashi back in July that there were major condo-hotel-hybridization-related changes being hashed out for the planned highrise after the initial buy-up went more slowly than planned: the 550 units got attention from only 68 buyers — most of whom were actually investors looking to lease out the condos to that same coveted young professional set that wasn’t signing up to purchase them.

Most of the renderings and details up on the Ivy Lofts’ marketing webpage were taken down some time in the wake of the missed June groundbreaking date, and not many new ones been posted yet — but a new floor plan is included with the retail leasing info, showing distinct condo and hotel lobbies: 

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New Angles in East Downtown
06/13/16 5:00pm

New Headquarters for Search Homeless Services, 2015 Congress Ave., East Downtown

The new home of homeless services center SEARCH opened at 2015 Congress Ave. this morning, next to the Loaves & Fishes soup kitchen and across 59 from Minute Maid Park. The 27,105-sq.-ft. facility’s design has been greened up since last summer‘s pass-around of renderings for the space — in addition to the color on the exterior walls, renewable energy company and regular grocery-store-front proselytizers Green Mountain Energy footed the bill for some solar paneling and other energy-efficient upgrades. Operations at the organization’s fifties-mod space on McGowen St. (which got that unintentional contemporary update to its facade back in 2014) will end around June 24th. 

Below is a recent-but-still-mid-construction look at the new building from the corner of Franklin and St. Emanuel streets, showing the structure in place across Congress from the Cheek-Neal Coffee building, (which, unlike the homeless services building, appears to be explicitly spared by some of TxDOT’s potential future freeway expansion plans):

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Congress at St. Emanuel
05/27/16 12:00pm

The Secret Group Comedy Club, 2101 Polk Street, East Downtown, Houston

The final episode of Simpsons-themed mural antics at the corner of Polk and St. Emanuel streets appears to have played out, now that the exterior walls of The Secret Group’s in-progress venue have gone dark on their way toward looking something like the shadowy rendering above. The transformation appears to have a deadline: the group has started selling tickets to shows at the new venue, with the first one set for June 22nd.

The space, at the Polk end of the developing 2-block East Village retail spot, will function as a full time bar in addition to hosting regular comedy and music performances. The rendering from Māk Studio appears to show a rooftop patio; the venue doesn’t currently plan to serve food, but that could change.

Rendering: māk studio

East Downtown
05/13/16 10:15am

This week’s video release from hometown country singer Robert Ellis takes viewers on a forlorn wandering tour of Houston’s downtown and surrounding thoroughfares, sans all of those pesky people and cars. Iconic cameos include the AIA’s future headquarters on the corner of Franklin and Commerce streets, the WALD warehouse sign at Live Oak and Rusk streets, and Bad News Bar on Main St.; the video also includes a hike down a dead-empty I-45 and associated entrance ramps, several frantic light-rail stops, and a dramatic reunion on the pedestrian bridge over Memorial Dr. at Sabine St. 

Video: Robert Ellis

Musical Background
02/23/16 11:00am

Ivy Lofts Rendering, Leeland at Live Oak, East Downtown, Houston

Ivy Lofts Rendering, Leeland at Live Oak, East Downtown, Houston

These are the minuscule views you’ll be able to scope out in a few weeks, when the Ivy Lofts folks throw open the doors of the grocery-warehouse-turned-million-dollar-sales-center currently sitting south of Leeland St. between Live Oak and Nagle streets. The former Leeland Wholesale Grocery space will officially reopen on March 12th, according to a freshly-pressed press release from developer Novel Creative Development, and will contain the above palm-of-your-hand mock-up model of the proposed Ivy Lofts condominium tower amid its East Downtown environs.

The center will also include several actual-size-but-still-quite-small model floorplans, including that of the baby-of-the-bunch Tokyo unit — now weighing in around 350 sq.ft., a bump up from the 300 sq. ft. touted in earlier marketing materials.

Not feeling up to the trek? The Ivy Lofts are also now listed on HAR, and renderings have been released that will let you try on some different outfitting options for a couple of the unit designs. Here’s Tokyo by night, in bedroom mode:

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East Downtown
02/10/16 5:00pm

I-45 Reroute and Greenspace Conceptual Plans from September 2015, Downtown, Houston, 77002

A dotted line runs right along the inside edge of the Cheek-Neal Coffee Company’s former roasting plant at 2017 Preston St. at the corner with St. Emanuel St., which was declared a protected city landmark today after starts to the building’s redevelopment by new owners last year.  The line marks the proposed right-of-way for TxDOT’s plans to reroute I-45 alongside 59 and send the Pierce Elevated out to pasture, as shown in update documents released in September. The 1917 building shows up as a beige box at the corner of Preston and St. Emanuel in the above capture from the project’s interactive online map system, and the seafoam green highlighting to the left indicates the newly planned frontage roads that would run to the west of it.

But the Cheek-Neal building itself actually doesn’t appear to be on the chopping block. The blue highlighting indicating the future path of freeway lanes skirt the western edge of the structure (though they appear to engulf the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen across Congress St. to the north). Moreover, a cross-section through the I-45-59 bundle specifically shows the building in place, with the frontage road to the east and the freeways tucked out of sight below ground level:

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Preservation on Preston
01/25/16 3:45pm

Renovations at 2017 Preston St., East Downtown, Houston 77002

Greenway Coffee Co., the roasting operation behind Blacksmith’s coffee (in the former Westheimer home of Mary’s), appears to be involved in a coffee project intended for the ground floor of the 1917 Cheek-Neal Coffee Co. building. The former coffee plant at 2017 Preston St. (located across Congress Ave. from the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen and SEARCH Homeless Services’s under-construction employment center) received little use or maintenance following the 1946 departure of coffee manufacturing operations; the building is currently being renovated after sitting vacant for years across 59 from Minute Maid Park.

2017 Preston’s new owners mentioned plans to put a coffee shop on the ground floor of the structure to the Houston Chronicle in September — and on Friday, Greenway’s David Buehrer posted a photo of the renovation’s interior progress to Instagram:

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Preston St. Coffee Buzz
01/22/16 10:30am

Rendering of Chapman & Kirby, 2118 Lamar St., East Downtown, Houston, 77003

A clearer picture is emerging of Ancorian’s East Village development, headed for 2 blocks along St. Emmanuel St. in East Downtown between Lamar and Polk Sts. A Houston branch of the Swedish Our/Vodka distillery project plans to move in at the corner of Lamar and Hutchins St.; a block of office space in the complex has been claimed by Three Square Design Group, whose past work includes projects for Buffalo Bayou, Fort Bend, and Karbach breweries. On Polk St. at the other end of the development, The Secret Group’s not-so-secret comedy club has been under renovation for some time.

Investor-geared materials on the development also name Dallas’s Truck Yard as a planned occupant — the food-truck friendly beer and cocktail bar currently sells drinks out of an open-air building, an Airstream trailer, and a treehouse at its existing location up north.

Meanwhile, renderings have been released of the Chapman & Kirby gastropub, headed for the warehouse at the corner of Lamar at St. Emanuel St. The building was occupied until the start of this year by Asian-American restaurant supplier Kitchen Depot (which has moved out to a location on Harwin Dr. at S. Gessner Dr. near Beltway 8); the East Downtown space will be renovated and made over per designs by Māk Studio.

The front of the building is depicted with nearly a dozen new windows or entryways:

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Added To The List
01/14/16 5:00pm

Former Schlumberger Building, 2720 Leeland st., East Downtown, Houston, 77002

2720-leeland-st-3

Take a gander at the 0ld Schlumberger building at the corner of Leeland St. and Delano. New photos of the 25,000-sq.-ft. building show a structure now slightly less windowless than back in 2013, when mobile app developer ChaiOne announced an intended Spring 2014 move to the top floor.  A reader in the area reports that work such as drywall and A/C installation appeared to be happening this past summer, but seemingly stopped again in July, with little activity visible on the property since.

Plans for ChaiOne’s renovation, designed by Austin firm Bercy Chen Studio, incorporated ground-floor retail beneath 2 floors of offices:

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Will They, Won’t They?
01/08/16 11:00am

Proposed East Village Development, Polk and Lamar at St. Emmanuel and Hutchins Sts., East Downtown, Houston, 77002

From the folks currently in the process of bringing you Heights Mercantile: plans for East Village, a 2-block mixed-use complex planned along St. Emanuel and Hutchins Sts. between Polk and Lamar in East Downtown — a few blocks south of the Dynamo’s BBVA Compass Stadium, and across 59 from the George R. Brown Convention Center and Discovery Green. New real estate investment and development firm Ancorian (founded by Finial co-founders Neil Martin and Michael Sperandio with Matthew Donowho) is behind the development; as of two months ago, land for the project (across the street from the Yen Huong Bakery and the now-closed Kim Hung Supermarket) was still being acquired.

A few renderings are up on the Ancorian website — the view above is of a Lamar-facing courtyard and a renovated version of the warehouse currently housing Kitchen Depot. But a presentation dated late November shows many additional angles, siteplans, and renderings of the planned development, one block of which is credited to the design firm of Austin-based Michael Hsu, and the other to Māk Studio Architecture:

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Beer Before Liquor on Hutchins