03/10/17 5:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: YOUR WEEKEND HEIGHTS-CREEP FORECAST Future Yale Marketplace site at Yale St. and 610 Loop, Garden Oaks/Independence Heights, Houston, 77018“Garden Oaks and Oak Forest are [already] part of The Heights (the same way they are calling Spring Branch ‘Memorial’, and a lot of long time residents were angry that new residents called Northside Village ‘Tampico Heights’). I have bad news for the purists out there: if you live in Cottage Grove, Independence Heights, Shady Acres, Brooke Smith, Timbergrove/Lazybrook, those areas are now part of The Heights [as well].  . . . These hoods that have the 365 stores are gonna get more pricey and popular, since they are close to Downtown.” [Dj, commenting on Whole Foods’s 365 Garden Oaks Spot Now Emptied of Neff Rental Rentals] Rendering of 365 Garden Oaks: Boucher Design Group

09/27/16 10:45am

New El Rey location, 219 W. 28th St., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008
El Rey at 3330 Ella Blvd., Oak Forest, Houston, 77018The crown sigil of El Rey Cuban & Mexican Cuisine has been sighted by a reader along the south side of the North Loop, just west of Yale St. and of the Burger King that has long reigned on that corner. The official address of the new spot (per the permits issued over the summer) looks to be 219 W. 28th St., and the property appears to have frontage on both W. 28th and the 610 feeder.

The new 2-story building appears to keep some stylistic elements of the Oak Forest spot up on Ella Blvd. at 34th St. (shown in the 2nd photo for comparison); that Oak Forest location looks to be getting knocked down after the business’s lease expires to make room for food truck parking, per current plans for a new shopping center at the corner [that one that — disclosure — sponsored Swamplot a few times this year].

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2-Story Taqueria
05/19/16 2:15pm

EL REY’S OAK FOREST LEASE IS UP AT THE END OF THE YEAR El Rey at 3330 Ella Blvd., Oak Forest, Houston, 77018The site plan for the 33 1/3 @ Thirtyfourth retail development [which — disclosure — has been sponsoring Swamplot for part of this week] shows new construction directly on top of El Rey Taqueria’s Oak Forest branch at the corner of W. 34th St. and Ella Blvd.  Crescere Capital bought the land beneath the drive-thru Cuban-Mexican taqueria-coffee-house last April, though the company has been collecting other parcels on both sides of 34th east of Ella since at least early 2014. As of now, El Rey’s lease is scheduled to run out in December, before a scheduled January construction start for the retail center. El Rey currently operates 3 other locations: along Washington Ave., along Hwy. 6 south of 290, and across I-10 from Memorial City Mall. Photo of El Rey at 3330 Ella Blvd.: Stephen G.

04/21/16 12:45pm

Re:Vive redevelopment at 34th and Ella, Oak Forest, Houston, 77018

1727 W 34th St, GO/OF, Houston, 77018ReVive’s plans to redo the shopping strips at the southwest corner of 34th St. and Ella Blvd. in Oak Forest look like they may keep a few existing businesses in the center, though some shuffling about may be involved. The rendering up top comes from the redeveloper’s leasing flier for the corner, which shows a makeover of several existing buildings along with plans for a few new pad sites. The flier depicts Surfhouse surf and skate shop (currently in a building next door slated for demo) snuggled into the spot recently evacuated by T-Shirt Works. The door next to that is marked with the logo for Pop & Pan (the eventual new name of Houston Panini & Provisions, pictured above in its current location facing 34th).

The siteplan included with the renderings clarifies some of the changes that might be carried out — the 2 existing buildings that form the L-shaped center rendered above are seen below on the left:

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Garden Oaks/Oak Forest
04/04/16 12:30pm

Prince's Hamburgers at 3425 Ella Blvd., Garden Oaks/Oak Forest, Houston, 77018

New colors and signs now herald the coming of Prince’s Hamburgers to 3425 Ella Blvd., north of 34th St. between “Wash Me” Car Wash and the Kar Hospital. Prince’s former dominion near 59 at Weslayan is now under the rule of not-quite-an-emergency health clinic MedSpring Urgent Care, though the 1930s restaurant chain still maintains another freewayside outpost in the former Murphy’s Deli spot on I-10 between N. Kirkwood Rd. and Tully St. Prince’s underground holdings Downtown have also been relinquished, along with the diner location on N. Post Oak Blvd.

The newly marked territory on Ella shares its western border with the Waltrip High School track. Across the street from the coming is Ella Plaza, formerly home to yes-that-Swayze Swayze School of Dance and recently worked over by serial redeveloper Braun Enterprises. Looking from the strip center’s parking lot to the south, the Shipley’s donut sign can be spied rising over the horizon, as can the Sunbelt Jewelry & Loan pawn shop’s commanding sign:

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Royal Succession in Garden Oaks
03/17/16 3:00pm

H-E-B SCOPING OUT ITS OPTIONS IN THE HEIGHTS H-E-B Bellaire Market, 5130 Cedar St., Bellaire, TexasIn response to questions about the possibility of building an H-E-B near the corner of Studemont St. and Washington Ave, H-E-B public affairs director Cyndy Garza-Roberts tells Swamplot that no contracts have been signed, and that the grocery store chain is talking to area developers that have “several tracts of land” in and around the Heights. Garza-Roberts told the Leader in 2015 that the Heights dry zone makes it hard to find suitable store locations, which also need to be at least 6 acres; the company is also eyeing the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest area. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of H-E-B at 5130 Cedar St.: Wayne A.

03/01/16 11:30am

Art Guys Situation #4, Wheatley St. at Pinemont Dr., Garden Oaks/Oak Forest, Houston, 77091

Here’s the southernmost end of the newest work from the Art Guys: the designation of an existing ‘designated natural area’ in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest as part of their series of situation sculptures. The grassy median strip along Wheatley St. between Pinemont Dr. and Tidwell Rd. is evidently one of the no-mow zones labeled by the city’s parks and recreation department that spurred complaints in 2011, when area residents alleged that newly planted trees had blocked sight lines and created hazardous driving conditions.  According to the city’s website, the zones are carefully placed to “help promote the natural regeneration of the urban forest.

As for techniques employed by the artists: per their other pieces in the series, the duo appears to have left the area alone. They have, however, provided GPS coordinates and a Google map to help visitors avoid losing their way.

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Adventures on Wheatley St.