EMPTY LEELAND ST. FURNITURE WORKSHOP NOW HAS A WINE SIGN ON IT
A reader tells Swamplot one of those TABC posters is up on the building at 3107 Leeland St., and the applicant it names: The Wine House, LLC. The last tenant Metamorphose Studios did double-duty in the 2,800-sq.-ft. space: dealing furniture and also guiding visitors in the art of refurbishing items themselves (“I recommend the chairapy class,” wrote the venue’s sole Yelp reviewer in 2016, adding that of the items for sale: “The hand painted and embellished cattle skulls are to die for!“) Despite its departure from Houston, the workshop lives on as part of an antique store up in Navasota. Photo: Metamorphose Studios
In a lawsuit it filed Friday against the City of Houston, the government contractor tasked with housing thousands of child immigrants across Texas, Arizona, and California says it’s got until October 28 to open the building it leased at 419 Emancipation Ave. — now preemptively dubbed Casa Sunzal — otherwise the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement will pull its funding for the planned facility.
The nonprofit’s biggest beef with the city (and in particular the Mayor, who grinned in June at the idea of a permitting “slow-walk” for the center) is that the compound shouldn’t be classified as a detention facility but rather a residential one. Yes, the company says in its filing, “children are verbally discouraged from leaving,” the campus, but they “are not physically restrained if they try to.” 240 kids ages “0 to 17,” were originally slated to shack up in the compound, according to the Chronicle’s Lomi Kriel. The majority of them — Southwest Key says now — would be minors that crossed the border by themselves, as opposed to those separated from their parents upon arrival in the U.S.
The city’s latest proposal to eliminate off-street parking requirements in Midtown and East Downtown got a vote of confidence from the management districts of both neighborhoods when staff members presented it to them last Monday. Shown above are the new areas (in blue and green) that’d supplement Downtown’s existing Central Business District (red) where developers are free to build without leaving room — like the rest of Houston must — for on-site parking spots. To the east, the designation extends out to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and then down to I-45. And to the south, it follows the 527 spur, ending at 59. (If put in place, the whole contiguous zone would fall under a new term the city’s invented for it: Market Based Parking.)
There’s still a ways to go before the map becomes more than a pretty picture: A 30-day public comment period will culminate in a recap next month. Then city council gets its final say on things at a meeting proponents hope will take place before the end of the year.
Add F45 Training to the list of businesses taking over warehouses next to where I-45 will run over a few of its own once its rerouted through East Downtown. That’s the gym’s black box in the photo at top, neighbored by the Ferris wheel that new-ish barTruck Yard recently installed in its own next-door lot. North of an adjacent portion of the building that F45 hasn’t touched, exterior work added new horizontal siding a couple shades darker than the previous off-white onto the structure, as well as the doorway — pictured above — atop which the national fitness chain has been flexing its COMING SOON signage for the past few months.
A permit filed yesterday for the building at 1110 Hutchins indicates rehab work is about to head inside to deal with a 2,650-sq.-ft. portion of its space. It’s 10,000 sq.-ft. total and backs up nearly halfway down the block on Lamar St. where it stands off from the south side of the Kim Hung Supermarket, long-whispered to be about to be demolished for something much taller.
Fasten your seat belts — it’s time for a detour down the new ramp TxDOT just opened off I-45 north to 59 north. Included in the footage: new views of the downtown skyline, along with some of an adjacent ramp now under construction between the 2 highways that’ll offer freeway sightseers an even higher vantage point when its open.
You can see it taking shape off to the left in the still photo below:
THE BUILDUP TO TEAR THINGS DOWN FOR THE NEW I-45 HAS BEGUN
“I’ve noticed a trend in lower Fifth Ward to start building or planning to build in the path of the upcoming I-45 reroute,” writes a Swamplot reader. “Is there a chance that developers can make more money on their buyout if they have developed plans?” Developed or not, there’s certainly been some action along the right of way that TxDOT plans to crater for the new highway segment — like that recent buying and selling in East Downtown across from the GRB. No one’s signed up to build anything new on those parcels yet — but with roadwork not slated to start until 2020, that’s plenty of time to get something ready ahead of the demolitions the highwaymen have planned to make way for the reroute. [Previously on Swamplot] Diagram of I-45 reroute: TxDOT
THE EAST DOWNTOWN BLOCK WEST OF TRUCK YARD HAS A NEW OWNER
A group connected to Houston developer Ancorian has snatched up nearly the entire block directly west of recently-opened bars Rodeo Goat and Truck Yard in East Downtown, according to documents filed with the county. The quadrant — bounded by Dallas, Lamar, Chartres, and St. Emanuel streets — is where contractor Britain Electric had its facilities, pictured above, for more than 6 decades before moving out to Brittmore Rd. about a mile and a half north of I-10 just over a year ago. All of its buildings are Ancorian’s now (including a few auxiliary ones across the street), along with everything else on the block except 3 parcels fronting Chartres St. on the northeast corner — one of which played host to the former Silver House Theatre performing arts venue. Photo: Yellowpages
Lovett Commercial won’t be building that new northwest corner structure on the former Houston Post site previously slated to house a Sprouts Farmers Market at Emancipation and Bell avenues, but it does plan to move ahead with this blocky new entryway housing an elevator and stairway on St. Charles St. — that is, if Houston’s city planning commission gives it the go ahead. The developer fired off an application asking the commission for permission to plant the cube (shown in yellow above) right at the property line, as opposed to 10 ft. from it as would typically be required, but then postponed its consideration for 2 weeks during which it plans to gather more supporting information. The structure would go right outside the existing 3-story building between Emancipation and St. Charles St. that Lovett plans to preserve.
Other portions of that 1944 building already toe the line in similar fashion along St. Charles and Emancipation. They were grandfathered in to the current setback rules, along with the entire north façade of this slightly smaller, abutting structure that lines Polk St.:
The curbside rendering above from Schaum/Shieh Architects shows off the changes coming soon to 612 Live Oak now that developer Bercon is redoing it for Brass Tacks, a coworking space with on-site kitchen and bar. Both the TABC notice heralding the bar’s arrival and the door it’s posted on will vanish in the redo, replaced by the single window to the right of the main entrance shown at top. A current garage entrance will also give way to the double-doors and surrounding glass planned in the middle of the facade. Stripped of their existing awnings, newly-uncovered stained glass openings will bookend the building’s face. A fenced-off patio sits adjacent along Live Oak.
Lifting the lid, you can see all kinds of business plannedinside, between the single-story structure’s 2 side parking lots
Inside the facility at 419 Emancipation that federal contractor Southwest Key Programs plans to use as a detention center for immigrant children, vestiges of the structure’s homeless-shelter past remain untouched. Christian nonprofit Star of Hope decked out the hallway of the smaller, 13,222-sq.-ft. building shown in the foreground of the aerial at top with both Old and New Testament scenes during its time on-site. It sold the property between Preston and Prairie streets in 2016 and moved into a bigger shelter on Reed Rd. near Hwy. 288.
In March, the complex wrapped up a 5-month stint as a temporary housing facility for 300 single adults displaced by Harvey. Its current owner (an entity tied to Dave Denenburg, the most recent renovator of Schlumberger’s former headquarters a quarter mile south) then leased it to Southwest Key, a nonprofit that operates facilities for unaccompanied minors in Texas. The organization plans to house as many as 240 children from infants to 17-year-olds inside — although most of the kids will be under 12,reports the Chronicle’s Lomi Kriel. That would make it “the first residential centerin the nation detaining such small children without their relatives or other foster parents,” she writes.
A site plan shows how the 2 buildings sit on their 2-acre parcel, 3 blocks from BBVA Compass:
NEW RESTAURANT COMES KNOCKING AT WAREHOUSE BY BBVA COMPASS
A TABC flyer up on the front door of 612 Live Oak signals some impending action for the brick warehouse building, one block east of BBVA Compass Stadium’s frontage on Emancipation and south of the light rail line along Texas Ave. Brass Tacks Workspace LLC is applying for both mixed beverage and late hours permits. Residential developer Bercon bought the 5,000-sq.-ft. parcel on which the building sits — along with almost the entire rest of the block — in early 2017. However, there’s nothing residential about the new owner’s plans for this particular structure: a permit filed for it last month — 10 days before the liquor sign appeared — included plans to turn the building into a yet-to-be-named restaurant.Photo: Swamplox inbox
I-45’s new, longer flyover is creeping steadily west toward 59 north following about 7 months of work to get there. The farther-away photo above looks south from the corner of Hutchins and Jefferson streets to show where the partly built roadway currently drops off, about 2 blocks east of its planned merge with 59.
The existing ramp toward 59 north — which diverges from the Gulf Fwy. just east of Emancipation — shut down last December 1. Its soon-to-be-built successor branches off from 45 a few blocks further east, giving drivers more time to swerve onto it than they had previously:
Asbestos abatement crews are on the scene at the formerHouston Post building on the corner of Polk and Emancipation that Lovett Commercial plans to redevelop. The photo at top from St. Charles St. looks east to show the building’s parking lot — now serving as a staging area for contractors that have been there all week, according to a Swamplot reader. The other shot views the building’s corner at Polk and St. Charles, which — according to a site plan put out by Lovett last May — would be demolished to make room for more parking.
Fronting all those parking spaces would be a CVS at Polk and Emancipation and a newly-constructed Sprouts Farmers Market off Bell St.: