12/06/16 12:00pm

9230 Buffalo Spdwy., Houston, 77025

The ribbed tank hiding behind the tract excavator in the north-facing shot above will soon be going underground, per current plans at the corner of Durhill St. and Buffalo Spdwy. First Stop Food Store, the current occupant of the retail shell on the property, sits right across Buffalo Spdwy. from one of the 2 planned senior living facilities in the vicinity — that property is just out of the frame to the right, while one of the houses in the Pemberton Circle gated townhome cluster can be seen peeking over the fence on the left.

The 1950s convenience store building and property itself changed hands early last year. Here’s a shot from July, a few happy months before the parking lot breakup seen above:

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Tanking Up
12/01/16 4:15pm

Big Tex Montrose, 1810 Richmond Ave., Dearborn Place, Houston, 77006

richwood-market-freaky-foods-west-viewThe doors opened last week at that 4-story 100,000-sq.-ft. storage facility that has replaced the boarded-up Shell Food Mart just west of the corner of Richmond  and Woodhead — itself a makeover of the 24-hour Richwood Market, known back in the day as Freaky Foods (affectionately or not). The 4-story building started going up next to King Cole Liquor some time after the nearby trees got cleared out about a year ago (with the city’s OK, Annise Parker said at the time).

Big Tex has since widened the sidewalks and added some new baby trees in a series of landscaped rectangles along Richmond; the company’s press release also says there’s gonna be an Art Wall.

Photos: Big Tex Storage via Urbannizer (panoramic of Big Tex at 1810 Richmond Ave.), Swamplot inbox (2014 shot of 1810 Richmond Ave.)

Boxes on Richmond
10/17/16 4:45pm

76 GAS STATIONS HEADED TO HOUSTON, TRYING OUT DYNAMO SOCCER STRATEGY BBVA Compass Stadium for Houston Dynamo, East Downtown, HoustonOrange-logo’d gas station brand 76 has bought naming rights to an entrance gate at the Dynamo’s stadium in East Downtown, despite not having any stations in the Houston area — but a company rep on the chain’s Facebook page says there will be a few popping up around town soon. Phillips 66, which owns the 76 brand (and which also bought the naming rights last fall to a soccer stadium in Warwickshire County, England), made a deal in February to let Saudi-Aramco-and-Shell-owned Motiva use the brand in Texas and other Gulf Coast and eastern states. Currently most of the brand’s stations are in California and Washington — though a scattering of 76 stations are now marked on Google Maps on top of some existing Phillips 66 and Conoco stations. [Houston Dynamo, Convenience Store News] Photo of Dynamo’s stadium in East Downtown: BBVA Compass Stadium

10/11/16 3:45pm

Memorial Conoco Car Care, 13202 Memorial Dr., Wilchester, Houston, 77079

The Memorial Conoco Car Care station at Memorial and Wycliffe drives is now fully back in the swing of things following the shootout and subsequent fire at the station over Memorial Day weekend, a reader notes. The station reopened its garage for repair and maintenance services within about a week of the May incident, during which police and a SWAT team faced off with a gunman who had begun to unload an AR-15 on passers by. The shooting spree resulted in 2 deaths (including the gunman), 6 injuries (including 2 officers and an armed guy mistaken for another gunman), and the gasoline fire that burned down the fuel pumps and canopy; the reader reports that the station is back to dispensing gasoline as of last week. That’s a new peaked canopy visible in the background over the sign shown above — here’s what the old one looked like:

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Tanks Full on Wilchester
08/01/16 1:00pm

Exxon Gas Station with McDonald's, 11035 Katy Fwy., Wilchester, Houston

Exxon Gas Station with McDonald's, 11035 Katy Fwy., Wilchester, Houston

Do not mourn the Exxon station with the McDonald’s inside on the eastbound feeder road of the Katy Fwy. Yes, there’s a new fence around the property, and it’s about to be demolished. But the replacement is well worth waiting for: It’ll be a brand new Exxon station — with a brand new McDonald’s! Ah, but the more things stay the same, the more they change: A reader who contacted the burger chain’s regional office reports the new McDonald’s will sport McDonald’s “next generation” design, and will feature free wifi when it opens — around mid-October Election Day.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Exxon and McDonald’s, Together Again
06/28/16 5:15pm

Trees cut at 8430 Stella Link Rd., Braeswood Place, Houston, 77025

Trees cut at 8430 Stella Link Rd., Braeswood Place, Houston, 77025In other de-tree-ment news along Brays Bayou, a reader further upstream sends some photos of recently cross-hatched stumps now dotting the Valero-inhabited corner of Stella Link Rd. and N. Braeswood Dr. The top shot looks east past the gas station and the Church’s Chicken roosting within; the second shot looks south down Stella Link Rd. toward the former Pilgrim dry cleaners, which these days accepts clothing only as donations to the Shriners Hospital. A neighbor on NextDoor says that the 5 trees (mostly of just-over-15-inch diameter) appear to have been trimmed all the way down to the toes in mid June; at least 4 separate 311 complaints have been made on the matter since then.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Green Gone
01/21/16 4:45pm

Future Site of Starbucks, 4660 N. Braeswood Dr., Braeswood Place, Houston, 77096

A pile of dirt is heaped up at the northeast corner of N. Braeswood Blvd and the West Loop feeder road this afternoon, next to a sign announcing the upcoming arrival of a Starbucks to the site. The lot held a Citgo station before demolition in mid-2013; a reader notes that construction crews have been poking around at the site for at least the past 3 weeks.

The blocky facade of the Halstead apartment complex can been seen in the background of the above snapshot — down the street to the east, the Halstead and next-door Meritage complex are slowly being joined by a midrise residential development going up at the corner of N. Braeswood and Frankway. East of that is a Proguard Storage facility and the Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant.

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Coffee on 610
12/17/15 11:30am

FUTURE GAS STATION COFFEE SHOP TOPS THE CITY’S LIST OF NEW HISTORIC LANDMARKS former Gulf Oil Filling Station, 3709 La Branch, Midtown, Houston, 77004Among the structures designated as historic landmarks by the City yesterday: an abandoned gas station at 3709 La Branch St. in Midtown. The interior of the 1925 Gulf Oil filling station has been unemployed for the past 30 years, though the exterior has occasionally taken gigs as a canvas for grafitti artists. The structure, which is now under protection in perpetuity, will become Retrospect Coffee Bar in coming months, as part of the larger Almeda Yards development planned for the area. The shop will offer local coffee and sweets, and will attempt to preserve the structure’s original feel. [Paper City] Photo: City of Houston

12/29/14 2:15pm

1039-yale-citgo-coltivare

Looks like that long-vacant, wheatpaste poster-festooned former service station and repair shop in the heart of the Houston Heights will finally be reincarnated. Eater Houston’s Jakeisha Wilmore is reporting that Morgan Weber and Ryan Pera, the team behind Revival Market and Coltivare, have snatched up the former Citgo at 1039 Yale St., an address less than a mile from both Coltivare and Revival. Exactly what Pera and Weber will be dishing out in lieu of unleaded and 10W-40 remains to be seen; a spokesman told Wilmore that the rumored restaurant’s concept is still secret.

Photo: Jakeisha Wilmore

Combustibles To Comestibles
12/15/14 10:30am

eldridge-conoco-distanceeldridge-conoco-road-sign-cropped

Tank up and get your real fruit smoothies and other convenience store Kicks while you still can at this ConocoPhillips service station and market at the corner of N. Eldridge Pkwy. and Dairy Ashford Rd., just north of the Omni Hotel Westside and just west of the petrochemical giant’s 62-acre Energy Corridor corporate campus.

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66 Kicked
12/12/14 10:30am

richwood-market-freaky-foods-west-view

Is there more change coming to lower Richmond?

The former Shell station and grocery at 1810 Richmond Ave known until recently (formally) known as Richwood Market and (informally) as “Freaky Foods” is boarded up and graffiti-tagged:

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Death Knell For The Shell?
04/21/14 10:00am

Construction of The El Cantina Superior, 602 Studewood St., Houston Heights

This photo, looking northwest northeast from BB’s Cafe catty corner at the intersection of White Oak and Studewood on the western border of the Woodland Heights, shows construction on the former gas station where serial Heights-area restaurant opener Ken Bridge plans to piece together his latest spot, The El Cantina Superior. Bridge, the initiating force behind Lola, the Shepherd Park Draught House, Witchcraft Tavern & Provisions (and Dragon Bowl before that), and the growing Pink’s Pizza chain, hasn’t bothered to get rid of all of the Conoco fixin’s onsite — there’s the canopy angled slightly toward the streetcorner, which is being incorporated into the new building under construction around and under it. And the sign for The El, which has been up on the site well in advance of construction, hoods the gas station logo but still shows the per-gallon pricing slots of the predecessor’s liquid offerings.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Fill ’Er Up!
07/02/13 4:45pm

A reader sends in this photo of the Oak Forest Mobil at Ella and 1201 W. 43rd St., the death sentence of which was published in the Daily Demolition Report last Thursday. Once the station’s torn down, reports the reader, a Berryhill Baja Grill will be built on this corner; that’s according to a post the reader saw on the members-only Oak Forest Homeowners Association Facebook page. A bit more evidence: A since-deleted brief that appeared in the Houston Chronicle in March 2012 notes that Berryhill had been granted a sales permit at this address.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

07/01/13 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: ODE TO THE FAMILY GAS STATION, RECENTLY DEPARTED “Yes, it was a sad day. I’ll have a hard time driving down 14th street from now on. I shed a few tears seeing it knocked down. To the [commenter] who suggested it be moved to the park –– it was offered but no takers. Grandpa’s dad owned the property and grandpa Fred Schauer began running the station when he was a kid (before he was 16 I think). I remember when he got his 50 years Gulf pin. He ran the station from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. six days a week. But then Gulf stopped delivering to independents who couldn’t support giant tankers and giant loads of gas. That was the beginning of the end. My uncle ran it with some generic gas for a few years after that but the gas market had irrevocably changed. That station has been closed for many years now and despite the quaint ideas how it might be used (I’ve had a few myself), the business realities today are different. (Just ask the MAM’s ladies what renovations are required for a permanent location for a snowcone shop and you’ll soon understand.) Both Fred and Hazel have been gone for many years now and the property passed on. This isn’t about greedy real estate developers just realities. Property values soar, taxes soar, maintenance soars, and land use changes. People don’t buy an expensive piece of land to live in a 1100 sf house. The two small adjoining houses will be demolished as well and I’m sure I’ll morbidly drive over to see. I’m sure the new owners will build a lovely home, and I sincerely hope they’re happy there.” [twyla davis, commenting on The End for the Historic Heights Schauer Filling Station?] Illustration: Lulu