TRUE ANOMALY IN LOCAL ROBO-JOURNALISM New sour-beer hotspot True Anomaly Brewing Company, which opened last month in the former electrical warehouse at 2012 Dallas St. just west of the main East Village campus in East Downtown (and possibly in the path of the planned expansion of I-45) “seems to be a welcome addition to the neighborhood,” declares a writeup appearing on the Houston Chronicle website. But this is not your average new-place-opening report — well, at least not yet. A note at the bottom indicates the report was “created automatically using local business data” (presumably from the Eater Houston story and 3 Yelp reviews noted in the text), “then reviewed and augmented by an editor.” The source: Local-story bot purveyor Hoodline, “a collaboration between experienced local reporters and innovative data scientists and engineers, combining the latest computational methods and tools with journalistic insights, news judgment, and thoughtful design to develop a new form of news reporting.” Hoodline has been quietly feeding stories and listicles to both ABC News and Hearst Media since last year — but you can skip the middlemen and soak up the company’s regular stream of assembled and ready-for-publication Houston auto-stories directly from this link. [Houston Chronicle; Eater Houston; Hoodline] Photo of True Anomaly Brewing Company: Charles W.
East Downtown’s self-styled “come-as-you-are beer garden & adult playground” Truck Yard is now taking reservations from parties of up to 20 people who want a spot where they can sing like nobody’s listening. What better location that than inside one of those thick-walled shipping containers piled up near the bar’s entrance? Workers outfitted the inside of a steel box on the left near the entrance off Dallas St. with bench seating, a crop of LPs serving as ceiling decorations, an iPad-controlled sound system, 3 flat screen teevees to display lyrics, 2 microphones, and a whole bunch of foam soundproofing panels sporting photos of Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Elvis, Aretha Franklin and other professional talent, perhaps for inspiration. $25 plus a drink minimum buys you an hour inside.
Get a load of this multi-chromatic character that’s recently taken shape on York St., between Lamar and McKinney streets: EaDo Storage. Built in place of the Randolph Office Furniture Exchange warehouse that bit the dust in early 2017, the new 107,677-sq.-ft. facility takes up the entire block. It isn’t yet open.
You can see a few cherry-pickers applying the finishing touches to the structure’s exterior in the photo above. If the rendering the business put out last month is to be believed, new trees and hedges should be on the way, too:
Lovett Commercial’s latest post-industrial venture in East Downtown will take place just 4 blocks down Polk St. from the one it’s already got going at the former Houston Post building. The target this time: 2 blocks between Delano and Ennis streets now home collectively to more than 99,000 sq.-ft. of buildings — including the one where Frankel’s Costume Shopclosed early this year. Most of the existing structures will stay standing with new shops, offices, restaurants, and some kind of art exhibition or creation spaces shoved inside them. The aerial at top shows off the whole thing in not-so-fine detail from the corner of Delano and Polk. And the street-level rendering looks in the opposite direction, depicting a patio-ed and pedestrian-ized eastern block with its western counterpart in the background.
A cold-storage box once home to Freedman Meats takes up the whole eastern block right now, shown below from Polk.:
The vacant, red-brick building on Congress Ave. shown above just west of Bastrop St. demolished itself this morning, leaving a gap between its turn-of-the-century contemporaries to the south and the metal-roofed warehouse north of it. During its earlier days, the building’s second floor was rented to boarders — a typical setup in this section of the Second Ward, which remained “almost entirely residential,” according to historian Stephen Fox, until Union Station opened in 1911, prompting warehouse and industrial redos nearby.
A Chroniclearticle dug up by the group proposing to renovate 612 Live Oak St. into a coworking space called Brass Tacks reveals that the 4,750-sq.-ft. building — 2 blocks from BBVA Compass Stadium — was originally put there by architect S.R. Slaughter in 1938 to house Oliver Armature Works, a manufacturing plant that produced electrical doodads. It’s now up to Schaum/Shieh Architects to make room inside for a variety of different business professionals who’ll come and go as they please from both private and communal work areas (and a bar).
New previews of the planned venue showcase one way of accomplishing that task: by installing a hive of productivity cubbyholes along the side of the main room. They’re shown at top lining the building’s north wall, with open-air booths on top of them.
To get down from the upper level, take this narrow side corridor up to the spiraling stair structure by the door:
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: