02/26/16 3:00pm

Demolition of Solvay America Building, 3333 Richmond, Greenway Plaza, Houston, 77098

A reader caught a glimpse of the 1992 Solvay America building taking some more nasty blows from a demo crew out back behind the new 3737 Buffalo Spdwy. office tower south of the corner with Richmond Ave. (That’s the 2727 Kirby condo highrise glancing over at the scene from the right edge of the shot, while the distant Huntingdon tower looks away.) [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Lufti Rukab

Octa-goner
02/25/16 3:00pm

Demolition of Solvay America Building, 3333 Richmond, Greenway Plaza, Houston, 77098

A rainbow sheen hangs at the foot of the Solvay America building as it crumbles back into the 3333 Richmond Ave dust from whence it came. A reader sends the above shot of the newly-stripped structure getting the ol’ hose-and-wrecking-ball treatment just before high noon today. The 1992 office building had its demo permit issued in late December; the building’s garage got one yesterday, just in time to join in on the fun.

The soon-to-be-formerly 8-story building is backed up against the 18-story office tower at 3737 Buffalo Spdwy. which wrapped up construction in November. Solvay has already shifted its offices over into the upper stories of the new tower, making way for construction of that 20-story hotel-slash-apartment highrise that was planned for the demolished building’s spot.

Meanwhile, the grove of oak trees northwest of the new construction seem to have weathered the construction as intended, and now stars prominently in PM Realty Group’s leasing brochure: 

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Breaking News
02/23/16 5:00pm

3773 Richmond Ave., Greenway, Houston, 77046

A reader sends this fresh snap of the in-progress tower towering at 3773 Richmond Ave, where a glass skin is now growing on the northern facade. Those top stories now getting glassed in will be occupied by out-of-the-region Regions Bank; the compound will be named Regions Financial Center to match.

The 11-story office tower just west of Timmons Ln. has been working on looming dramatically over next-door single-story hand carwash Soap since December of 2014, and is expected to wrap up some time next quarter. In the meanwhile, here’s a video tour of what the whole thing could look like — including a cameo appearance by a Jenni’s Noodle Shop in a ground-floor retail spot (around 30 seconds in):

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Regions on Richmond
05/28/15 4:30pm

FLOOD NIGHT AT THE EDWARDS CINEMA GREENWAY PARKING GARAGE Edwards Greenway Grand Palace 24, 3839 Weslayan St., Greenway Plaza, HoustonSUV-deprived Woodland Heights resident Mimi Swartz explains how she and her husband came to spend the very wet night of May 25th reclined in the front seats of their Honda Civic in the parking garage of the Edwards Greenway Grand Palace 24 at 3839 Weslayan St. — with a flank steak thawing in the wayback. They were on their way to a dry, refrigerator-equipped hideaway at the Hotel Derek when a stalled train and some high water blocked their tracks: “Next thought: About 0.7 miles to the south was a multiplex. We could catch a late show. Afterward, surely, the rain would have stopped and the water receded. If not, this place at least had covered parking. All during the 10:45 show of ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ — four other rain-soaked refugees had had the same idea — I couldn’t help thinking that if we’d had a truck like that of Charlize Theron’s character, I’d be asleep in bed instead of wondering how someone had managed to digitize her arm out of every shot. By 12:45 a.m., the rain had not stopped. For a while, we stood in the parking garage beside the car, and I tried to snap cellphone photos of the lightning. The street below us displayed an impressive current. Finally, John and I got in the car and put the seats back as flat as they would go. Thirty years ago, this would have been exciting.” [NY Times] Photo: Cinema Treasures

04/24/15 4:30pm

FOOD TRUCK GOING FOOD COURT The Rice Box Food Truck, HoustonNext venue for the 2-truck Chinese-food-about-town hotspot known as the Rice Box? A non-mobile location in the food court at 5 E. Greenway Plaza, Alison Cook reports: “[Owner John] Peterson has signed on Jim Herd’s Collaborative Projects to design a Rice Box Greenway prototype that will set it apart from its more conventional neighbors. Under a crimson sea of 80 Chinese lanterns (one of the visual totems on the original Rice Box truck), informal barstool seating will range across a counter overlooking oscillating video panels and a custom tea bar. The menu will appear on its own video screen. Red roof tiles from China have been ordered to construct an awning over the counter. ‘It’s one step closer to the White Dragon Noodle Bar,‘ jokes Peterson, referring to the Blade Runner food stand that was his visual inspiration for the Rice Box truck. (All he and Herd need to do is rig some kind of periodic rain showers.)” [Food Chronicles] Photo: The Rice Box

03/02/15 1:15pm

Greenway Gardens Apartments, 3131 Timmons Ln., Greenway Plaza, Houston

Greenway Gardens Apartments, 3131 Timmons Ln., Greenway Plaza, Houston

It sure looks like demolition is a-coming for the Greenway Gardens apartments at 3131 Timmons Ln. near Greenway Plaza. Either that or the 43-year-old 10-building apartment complex is undergoing a rather brutal first phase of a renovation — as portrayed in the photos shown here, which were taken late last week. The 3-story complex sits on 6-and-a-half acres between W. Alabama St. and Richmond Ave.

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Greenway Plaza Demo
12/10/14 10:15am

OIL PRICE PLUNGE LEADS TO STOCK DOWNGRADE FOR NEW GREENWAY PLAZA OWNERS greenway-plaza-lightning300Last year Atlanta-based Cousins Properties splashed out big in the Houston office market, purchasing all 4.4 million sq.-ft. of Greenway Plaza for $950m in October, 8 months after they snapped up the $233m Post Oak Central complex, making Houston the dominant market in the CUZ portfolio. Which might have seemed a great idea in October 2013, when crude was going for about $100 a barrel, but now? A security analyst from Bank of America and Stifel have both downgraded Cousins Properties shares from “buy” to “hold,” citing falling oil prices and the company’s exposure to Houston. [Realty News Report] Photo of lightning over Greenway Plaza: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

04/21/14 1:15pm

Jaguar Stuck in Concrete at Buffalo Speedway and Southwest Fwy., Greenway Plaza, Houston

This photo of a Jaguar F-Type V8 S stuck in a patch of freshly-poured concrete started making the rounds of internet auto-fan sites last Friday afternoon. The earliest online reference appears to be this tweet from SpeedSportLife before noon — but the Houston car publication was apparently just passing on a photo it had no more information about. In several forum appearances readers immediately speculated that the scene had likely taken place in Houston, and on the Houston Reddit board a poster tersely declared that the site was the intersection of Weslayan and 59. But a couple of other commenters help peg the incident location a couple of overpasses to the east:

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Stuck in Traffic
02/14/14 3:30pm

3737-buffalo-spdwy-fence

Construction and don’t-touch-these-oaks fencing have gone up at the corner of Richmond and Buffalo Speedway, where the PM Realty Group has been planning to build a new 18-story office building attached to a 7-level parking garage on the open space and parking lot at the northern end of the site. The site plan shows retail space — likely for a restaurant — fronting Buffalo Speedway; the development is being called 3737 Buffalo Speedway.

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3737 Buffalo Speedway, Going Up
12/11/13 10:30am

Demolition Work at Richmond Ave and Cummins St., Greenway Plaza, Houston

This was the scene yesterday on the southeast corner of Richmond Ave and Cummins St. near Greenway Plaza, where the Redstone Companies and Hansen Partners are planning to build a new 11-story office building and 5-level parking garage with — if a Planning Dept. staff report describing the project is correct — an attached 5-story retail center. The development received planning commission approval last week for a reduced setback along the 2 streets that meets with planned but not-yet-approved standards for transit corridors; if Metro’s stalled University Line ever gets built, it’ll make its get-off-of-Richmond turn at this same corner. Accordingly, in documents submitted to the city, the developers appear to be holding out the undescribed retail portion for some later date: [Only] “the office building and related parking garage to be built on this site are nearing the time that a building permit will be required,” the variance application reads.

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5-Story Retail?
07/30/13 10:00am

WILL GREENWAY PLAZA SALE MEAN NEW GREENWAY PLAZA TOWERS? The 10 buildings and 52 acres that make up Greenway Plaza have been sold by Crescent Real Estate to Atlanta firm Cousins Properties for $1.1 billion. (The 3-city deal also gives Cousins a 40-story office tower in Fort Worth.) For now, reports the Houston Chronicle, it doesn’t appear that the change in ownership will change the property — though Cousins doesn’t seem to have ruled anything out: “Though there are no immediate plans for development, the . . . complex could house an additional 2 million square feet worth of office buildings, [Cousins CEO Larry] Gellerstedt said. The future development sites are parking structures that could be replaced by new towers.” [Houston Chronicle ($); previously on Swamplot] Photo: Crescent Real Estate

11/29/12 12:43pm

More details are out on the plans to pile taller buildings onto the southeast corner of Richmond and Buffalo Speedway that Swamplot reported on last week: PM Realty, which earlier this month bought the 5-acre site and the 5-story Solvay America office building that sits on the southern portion of it, plans to build the 18-story office tower pictured above on the park-like portion at the north end of the property — leaving in place a bank of oaks facing Richmond, as shown in this view, from the northwest:

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11/21/12 11:43am

A 20-story hotel with apartments perched on the top few floors is planned for the southeast corner of Richmond and Buffalo Speedway, just east of Greenway Plaza, Real Estate Bisnow‘s Catie Dixon reports. Engineering firm Bury + Partners is about to start work on construction drawings for the mixed-use project, a redevelopment of the block at 3333 Richmond. The plans also include 400,000 sq. ft. of new office space. The 22-year-old 8-story Solvay America office building sits at the southern end of the site.

Photo: Cushman & Wakefield (pdf)

09/26/11 11:05am

And now another Swamplot reader sends in this curious photo from this morning, showing the collapsed box formerly known as the Central Presbyterian Church on Richmond Ave. between Cummins and Timmons — and demonstrating to those of you who might have worried that the collapse of the 1962 building’s modern steeple could pose some threat to Richmond Ave. traffic that there was never anything to worry about. Everyone is safe. The congregation has decamped for the St. Philip Presbyterian Church just outside the Loop on San Felipe; the land is being cleared for apartments; the giant cross is at rest.

Photo: Eric Nordstrom