06/11/15 1:00pm


Former Brownfield Site at 801 and 1701 Gillette St., Fourth Ward, HoustonThe complicated transaction that allowed the city to sell the 10.52-acre brownfield site along Allen Parkway between the Federal Reserve building and Allen Parkway Village to an apartment developer was concluded in late April, the Houston Business Journal‘s Paul Takahashi reports. Alliance Residential paid $39.9 million for the property along Gillette St., where the city began operating a solid waste incinerator in the 1920s and later converted the site for use as its fleet maintenance facility. The company immediately sold the northern 6 acres to an unnamed private investor; Alliance now plans to build a 365-unit apartment complex on the southern half of the property, fronting Gillette and West Dallas St.


Fourth Ward
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
04/06/15 1:45pm

Driveway and Utility Pole, 2115 Taft St., Montrose, Houston

A couple of readers have sent in pics of the curious driveway installation at 2115 Taft St. just south of Welch St. just over the eastern border from Montrose, on the former site of the Taft St. Coffee House and Ecclesia Church. The utility pole dates from the lot’s former inhabitants; the courteous flatwork has been built around it for later patching. “In case you are wondering,” writes one of our tipsters, “the space on either side is not wide enough for a car to pass, nor does the driveway go all the way through to the next street.”


The Townhomes Are Coming
11/13/14 5:00pm



Colors a-blazing and juxtaposed vibe big time within a 2004 townhome in Crosby Place that popped up on the market a week ago. Its location is in the cluster of brightly painted townhome developments on the eastern edge of the Fourth Ward near Midtown. On listing day, the metal-clad property appears to have briefly flirted with a $330,000 asking price but reverted to its original $324,900. Today, fresh listing photos brought in crisper staging of the space . . .


Primary Residence
10/20/14 12:00pm

By now, most of us have probably been tricked once or twice by an incredibly realistic rendering of a building that we thought was an actual photograph. Here’s something that might do the reverse: If after several viewings, you still suspect this fly-through of the 10-month-old city park forged out of the former Bethel Missionary Baptist Church at 801 Andrews St. in the Fourth Ward might have been created at least in part with modeling software, you should be excused. But it’s actual aerial footage from Seventh Ray Films, using a DGI Phantom 2 quadcopter — with a fair amount of post-production work to achieve a more “cinematic” look.

Video: Seventh Ray Films

Can Your Drone Do This?
08/27/14 12:00pm

707 Saulnier and 707 Robin Streets, Fourth Ward, Houston

Two separate apartment buildings, one 8 stories tall and the other 5, will be going up at the far east end of the Fourth Ward, just over the Gulf Fwy. from Downtown. The building bounded by Saulnier, Crosby, Heiner, and Robin will cover the entire 1.136-acre block, which is currently a surface parking lot (see photo above), and bear an address of 707 Saulnier St. The (presumably taller) building one block to the south, labeled 707 Robin St., will take up the vacant two-thirds-of-an-acre L-shaped portion of the block bounded by Robin, Crosby, Heiner, and Andrews.

Developer Alliance Residential (the same company behind the Broadstone complexes at Main St. and West Alabama in Midtown and next to the new SkyHouse downtown, as well as other complexes in the Houston area) doesn’t appear to have announced the project publicly, except to let neighbors know that construction will begin on September 8th and will shut down portions of the surrounding streets for the duration of construction, which is expected to last through October 2016.

A Swamplot reader sends these pics of the sites:


Fourth Ward
07/31/14 3:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: A BRIEF ANNOTATED HISTORY OF ALLEN PARKWAY VILLAGE’S DIRTY NEIGHBOR Drawing of Allen Parkway Village Apartment, Fourth Ward, Houston“Wow, I never knew there was a waste incinerator right in the Fourth Ward. Here’s a handy timeline: Post-Civil War: Freed slaves construct their own neighborhood in the Fourth Ward. 1917: Camp Logan Race Riots are sparked off when a Houston policeman beats a black soldier in the Fourth Ward. 1920s: Gillette incinerator is built (PDF) right in the Fourth Ward. 1944: San Felipe Courts (today’s Allen Parkway Village) were built next to the incinerator. They were originally intended as public housing for the city (following a New Deal movement for public housing in the 1930s) but ended up being handed over to the defense department to exclusively house white WW2 veterans (PDF). The other motivation was to ‘clean up the slums’ along Allen Parkway for passing commuters. 1964: San Felipe Courts are desegregated following the Civil Rights Act and renamed to Allen Parkway Village. 1970s-90s: Developers advocated for APV’s demolition arguing that the public housing’s costs didn’t reflect the land’s ‘highest and best use.’ Meanwhile, the housing deteriorated due to neglect by the Houston Housing Authority and HUD. Residents organized and protested demolition leading to APV’s rebuilding in 1997. Today: The city can now cash in by selling a plot of polluted land next to APV now that the Fourth Ward is gentrifying.” [Carpetbagger, commenting on The Best the City Can Get for Gillette; Not Jus Donuts’ Extreme Cakeover] Illustration: Lulu

05/19/14 10:45am

Gillette St. Property at Hopson St., Fourth Ward, Houston

Remediation work is beginning on the 10.52-acre now-cleared lot along Gillette St. between Allen Pkwy. and West Dallas St. The Coastal Water Authority purchased the land, which includes the (now-former) San Felipe Park, from the City of Houston in January. These photos, sent in by reader Jimmy Hollowell, show the view from a balcony at the Ashton at West Dallas apartments, looking east along Hopson St., toward Allen Parkway Village and downtown, from just south of the Federal Reserve Bank. “The green tarping on the fence, dumpsters, and offices is new” as of last week, Hollowell reports.


Between the Fed and APV
04/04/14 11:00am

O'Neil St. Community Garden, Sutton Square, Fourth Ward, Houston

The vacant lots shown here at the corner of Bailey and O’Neil streets will soon become a community garden for the Fourth Ward’s Sutton Square neighborhood. The properties, which measure 12,000 sq. ft. in total, sit behind the office building on West Gray purchased last year by an energy-startup accelerator program (at center and left in the photo above) and relabeled the Surge Shack.


Growing in Sutton Square
02/06/14 11:00am

Map of Site at 1701 Allen Pkwy., HoustonHaving completed demolitions of facilities it owned on the property, including its fleet maintenance facility at 801 Gillette St., a couple of public works buildings at 812 Gillette, and a former HPD SWAT substation at 1500 W. Dallas, the city has now listed for sale the 10-1/2-acre swath of land along Allen Pkwy between the Federal Reserve building and Allen Parkway Village. The land includes San Felipe Park at 1717 Allen Pkwy., which fronts Houston’s premiere waterfront roadway opposite Buffalo Bayou Park. Also included, apparently: Land underneath 3 streets that extend into the property: Hopson St., Bailey St., and Golf Link Pl. The listing from Cushman & Wakefield says bids are due March 14th.


San Felipe Park and All
09/05/13 2:30pm

IN PRAISE OF CARNEGIE VANGUARD’S MIXED-USE PARKING GARAGE What does HISD have to show for that $805 million approved in 2007 for new school construction and renovation? MaryScott Hagle reviews the results at Lockhart, Herod, and Peck elementaries and gives props to RdlR Architects for the design of Carnegie Vanguard High School at 1501 Taft — though she seems most taken with the parking garage, which was, she writes, “originally planned for one story that grew to two when the City of Houston offered to pitch in, in exchange for community access to the school’s ball fields on the weekends. . . . Furthermore, the garage itself is dual-purpose: when the academic day is over and the students who park on the garage roof go home, the Carnegie tennis team takes over for practice.” [OffCite] Photo: HISD

08/13/13 3:30pm

Here’s a pair of renderings of 4 new townhomes about to be built in the Fourth Ward. The site is 2 blocks south of W. Gray, near those side-by-side lots where that 5-story apartment complex Dolce Living has been proposed to go in beside a row of vacant shotgun houses.

If you look closely at these renderings, you can see at least one more remnant of the past: The remains of the brick storefront of a dry cleaner’s that opened here on the corner of Genesee and W. Webster in the 1930s; it appears that what was the store’s main entrance has been incorporated into the design and widened into a 1-car garage. Says Tim Cisneros, whose firm worked on the townhomes: “[The storefront is] being left as a part of the neighborhood ‘commercial archeology.’”

Renderings: Cisneros Design Studio

04/24/13 10:00am

Maybe they’re not ready for tenants to move in, but these Fourth Ward shotgun houses seem to have avoided demolition and potential displacement to find a new home in Freedman’s Town. Originally located on Victor St., just a few blocks south of this formerly vacant lot at 1414 Robin St., the 3 houses weren’t doing much at the rear of the site of the proposed 5-story mixed-use Dolce Living development. A rep from the Fourth Ward Redevelopment Authority says that the houses were donated to the authority by the owners and will be preserved and renovated into low-income housing; designs for the new bathrooms and porches are already underway, the rep says.


01/28/13 4:15pm

A City of Houston rep tells Swamplot that 3 of the 10 Freedman’s Town shotgun houses on Victor St. between Gillette and Bailey will be relocated in the Fourth Ward. (The photo shows a shingle-stripped one up on a trailer and ready to go.) A permit to demolish them was granted in 2011, but the city rep says that the owners have since agreed to donate some of the houses to the Fourth Ward Redevelopment Authority, which says it has plans to move them to a lot they own at 1414 Robin and rehab them into low-income housing. Swamplot reported this morning that the West Gray lot where the rowhouses are now located has been pegged for a 5-story mixed-use midrise called Dolce Living.

Photo: Chris C