10/14/16 12:30pm

Rendering of Fairview District

Fairview + Mason renderingsAbove is  an updated view of plans for that the stretch of Fairview St. between Taft and Genesee being redeveloped by the owner of the redeveloped restaurant strip containing Cuchara and Max’s Wine Dive — a CBRE marketer announced that the project will be branded as the Fairview District, and will include 4 buildings of the mixed-office-retail-restaurant variety. In the center of the rendering above is a sleeker view of the 5-story bike-encrusted parking garage previously drawn up for the former site of Meteor Lounge (which sent its drag show over South Beach and shut off the showers for the last time over the summer). It’s unclear from this vantage whether the garage’s bicycle decor is still part of the plan for the area, but some bike lanes appear to be. The glassy structure on the far left looks to be the standalone structure planned for the parking lot next to Max’s Wine Dive (previously tagged as a dessert shop): CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Viewing Fairview District
09/21/16 5:26pm

212 Fargo St., East Montrose, Houston, 77004

For just $2 less than $1 million, you can now get your hands on this back-on-the-market bungalow-plus at 212 Fargo St., built in 1930 and added onto in 2000. The house sits in the East-Montrose-Fourth-Ward transition zone immediately north of those blocks being family-friendlified by means of Max’s Wine Dive developer Fred Sharifi. Records show the house went on the market asking for a much juicier $6.9 million back in 2007; the 2-unit home was relisted several times in 2014 and 2015  (starting at a more modest $1.375 million and falling) before going rental for a few months this spring.

Check out 5,179 sq. ft. of house squeezed into the 5,000-sq.-ft. lot: 


Views off Fairview
09/06/16 3:30pm

Texas Junk Company at 215 Welch St., East Montrose, Houston, 77006

Texas Junk Company at 215 Welch St., East Montrose, Houston, 77006The last of the footwear kicking around at the Texas Junk Company’s curiosity-filled warehouse at 215 Welch St. could be packed up and shipped out as soon as September 30. Per owner Bob Novotney’s telling on social media, the company was told last week to be out of the space by the end of the next month, though he’s hoping to get that deadline pushed back to April; Novotney has already started moving goods to a new space planned at 121 N. Main St. in Moulton, TX (halfway between Shiner and Flatonia). The 1930s building that’s been hosting Texas Junk sits immediately north of the field of townhomes rising on the former site of Ecclesia’s since-reincarnated church-plus-coffee-shop.

Photos: Texas Junk Company

Boots Scooting Out of Town
06/24/16 2:00pm

2203 Crocker St., Montrose, Houston, 77006

The agent who put the 16-year-old house at 2203 Crocker St. on the market this week wants to make sure you know exactly what you’re buying. The listing for the property (which describes the home as “Needs work! Never updated. Never remodeled. Located within 241 feet from nuisance bar.”) digs deep into gritty details great and small — from photos focused on the missing caulk between the kitchen tiles, to a 2-page disclosure document listing assaults, intoxication calls, and other incidents ostensibly reported to the police from in and around the property’s catty-corner neighbor, bearaoke hotspot Crocker Bar.

The listing’s photo captions highlight additional details of the property’s physical defects and history — sometimes using the bright red text above, and other times employing fragments of narration that raise questions even as they answer them. Here’s the shot from the listing labeled only as Bird Got Trapped in Wall:


Full Disclosure
04/13/16 12:30pm

Drew at Helena streets, Midtown, Houston, 77006

Here’s the current scene along the north side of Drew St., where the acre-plus of emptied land previously planned for development as the Pearl on Helena now hosts a Morgan Group for sale sign. The block bounded by Helena, Drew, Albany, and Dennis streets was marked a few years back as another addition to Morgan’s string of Pearl midrises; the Helena site’s application went dark during the variance request process in mid-20014, but the land was cleared of its former hospital and mansion occupants near the end of that year.

Morgan Group currently has a Pearl in Greenway Plaza, with another getting polished up on Washington Ave near T.C. Jester; a planned Pearl on Smith (at the site of the former Social Security office right across Smith St. from the Pearl on Midtown) appeared to have been removed from the company’s immediate focus in 2014, only to resurface in renderings the following year as part of an apartment-midrise-grocery-store complex containing a Whole Foods.


New Treatment Plan in Midtown
12/01/15 1:30pm

Meteor, 2306 Genesee St, Montrose, Houston

Wholesale changes could be coming to East Montrose next summer, if all goes according to the grand lower-Fairview plans of restaurateur-turned-developer Fred Sharifi. The stated goal for his latest development — planned along 3 blocks of Fairview stretching from Taft to Genesee — is to bring a little more diurnal activity to the area, better known for its narrow, potholed streets and vibrant nightlife. That nightlife seems likely to dim, as the new plans call for the eventual extinguishing of Meteor, a mainstay of Houston’s drag community.

“We are not going to have any bars in the neighborhood,” Sharifi recently told Mark Boyle of KPRC, apparently classifying his own Max’s Wine Dive on Fairview at Taft as either beyond the neighborhood or not a bar. Sharifi’s other nearby holdings on Fairview include Gratifi and Cuchara, the Mexico City-style restaurant with rule cards for kiddos.

A 5- or 6-story parking garage perched atop 10,000 sq. ft. of office and retail space (labeled “E” in the rendering below), is proposed for the Meteor site at 2302-2308 Genesee St.:


East Montrose Overhaul
06/02/15 1:30pm

Sinkhole, Hyde Park Blvd. at Mason St., Montrose, Houston

Sinkhole, Hyde Park Blvd. at Mason St., Montrose, Houston

Here are views of a couple of holes that appeared at the eastern edge of East Montrose after last week’s flood. The sizable tire-grabber at the corner of Hyde Park Blvd. and Mason St. shown here was decorated by nearby residents who repurposed the cones and barricade from a nearby construction site, explains reader Brittanie Shey.


What Lies Beneath
02/19/15 2:00pm

OUTLASTING THE HOUSE OF SATAN DOWN THE STREET 903 Welch St., Montrose, HoustonWhen you live in the same house at the corner of Welch and Crocker streets for 94 years, you see a lot of Montrose pass by. For example, Nell Stewart tells the Montrose District website, there was the “meticulously restored” Victorian on Welch St. (pictured here) that later became a Church of Satan: “‘How do I know?’ she asks. ‘It said so on a sign in the yard.’ Though raised a proper churchgoer, Stewart nevertheless was intrigued by her new neighbor. ‘He did nude weddings,‘ she says. “And he trained his children well. They went to Wharton Elementary and they would threaten the other kids if they wouldn’t give them their lunch money. They said they would turn them into black cats.’ Along the wraparound front porch, the Satanist installed a collection of outsized nude photos. The Satanist had moved in prior to her mother’s passing, and though Stewart would have liked to take a look at the nudes, when she went out walking with her elderly mother she was always steered in the opposite direction. ‘She refused to walk there,’ Stewart says. ‘I would have been interested. I just had the sense, this is not my world here.’” Though it later turned somewhat dilapidated, the house was recently renovated: “Today, when Stewart looks across the street, the house appears much as it did when she was a little girl almost a hundred years ago.” [Montrose District; Part 1] Photo of 903 Welch St. (before renovation): NuHabitat

05/21/14 5:15pm

Tree in front of 501 W. Drew St. at Whitney, East Montrose, Houston

Tree in front of 501 W. Drew St. at Whitney, East Montrose, HoustonUpdate, 5/22: Swamplot has now confirmed that the tree was a Chinese Tallow, not an oak, as neighbors, and Swamplot, had originally reported.

Oh, those East Montrosians and their continuing tree battles. Here’s a photo of the street tree that once stood in more more leafly fashion in front of the property at 501 W. Drew St. The gentle warning tape wrapped around it appears not to have made much difference to the chainsaw operators who cut off its limbs last week, though. Had the tape been attached by a tree-hugging neighbor? Not exactly:


The Giving Up Tree
12/12/13 11:15am

Tree and Home, 1704 Blodgett St., Museum Park, HoustonThe city has extracted $225,000 from the owners and contractors of a Bellaire developer who extracted two 100-year-old Live Oak trees from public property adjacent to 2 separate Inner Loop redevelopment sites over the summer. That’s a little less than half of the amount the city originally sought. The settlement ends the lawsuit it filed in October against Signature City Homes owner Barry Gomel and the demo contractor he hired to remove the 36-inch-diameter specimen pictured above at 1704 Blodgett St. (the home was torn down in July); it’ll also allow the developer to proceed with construction of the 4-townhome development it had planned for that location. The second tree was next to a bungalow Signature demolished at 801 Bomar.

Photo: Allyn West

When Trees Get in the Way
11/25/13 4:30pm



Is the weight of the holiday season and its accompanying festoonage taking a toll on this updated 1929 home in East Montrose? Or was the polished-up property just under a lot of pressure (top) during its listing photo-op? The 3-bedroom, 2-and-a-half-bath property popped up on the market Sunday with a straight-up $840,000 price tag.


Decked Halls
11/12/12 1:43pm

Also making
an appearance in this morning’s Demolition Report: the crumbs of East Montrose’s short-lived but storied MuffinMan restaurant. Back in the wacky late summer of ’10, the four-square-turned-duplex at 2310 Converse St. played host to what proprietor Jason Perry modestly claimed to be “the greatest penis shaped muffin restaurant Houston had” (Note: Perry’s description referenced the shape of the muffins, not of the building or its rooms; a 6-ft. sign he posted on the front lawn announced to his neighbors his earnest contention that a “four inch muffin is better than an eight inch cock.”)


09/14/12 1:17pm

KNOCKING THE TREES AROUND PEGGY SHIFFICK PARK The duplex at 720 Bomar St. adjacent to East Montrose’s tiny Peggy Shiffick Park is back on the market, a week and a half after its prospective purchaser, developer Vinod Ramani of Urban Living, scaled back his plans to build 3 townhomes on the site (pictured at left) to just 2, and just a few days after backing out of the deal altogether. Some neighbors concerned the planned 3-1/2-story townhomes would clip a large portion of the branches and roots of the park’s signature oak tree had opposed 2 variance requests Ramani had submitted for the project. In the meantime, both Urban Living and neighborhood groups were alarmed to discover that city-contracted workers had severed the main roots of large trees on the property at the corner of Bomar and Crocker earlier this month while installing sewer-line connections. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Image: Urban Living

07/24/12 2:42pm

Those are some pretty hefty tree branches cutting across the front of the duplex listed for sale at 720 Bomar St. in East Montrose. And they’re from a pretty hefty tree — a giant oak that sits on the next lot over, a 3,500-sq.-ft. plot now known as Peggy Shiffick Park. A “for sale” sign appeared in the duplex’s front yard a few weeks ago, a reader tells Swamplot. “Rumors then started flying that the property had been bought, before it went in to the MLS system, by a builder (it is now pending in MLS) and that the existing grand old home on the property, which had been converted to a duplex and has been empty for years, will be torn down and townhomes built.”