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.


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:


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


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.


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.


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:


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

09/23/11 6:19pm

Reader Brian Thorp sends in a couple of photos documenting the final hours of what he’s now labeled the “holiest” church in Houston — it was, at least for a time today. The Central Presbyterian Church at 3788 Richmond Ave. was designed in 1962 by Astrodome architects Wilson, Crain, Morris and Anderson; it sits on the site where the Morgan Group is ready to build a new apartment complex. By 9 am this morning (above), the church had developed a few punctures in its side. By noon, much of the dust, and a good portion of the church’s walls, had cleared:


09/08/11 6:02pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THERE GOES THE CHURCH, THERE GOES THE STEEPLE “Yes, the stained glass is being salvaged. The old pipe organ went to UT and many other art pieces were saved. It is unfortunate to see this go, but it is just a building. The Church is the people. Mark 13: ‘1 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” 2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”’” [Jeromy Murphy, commenting on Mod Richmond Ave. Church Ready To Fall for New Apartments]

09/06/11 9:39am

Construction fencing has already gone up around the Central Presbyterian Church at 3788 Richmond near Greenway Plaza, a reader reports. The Modern church campus was designed in 1962 by Wilson, Morris, Crain and Anderson — just a few years before the same local architecture firm set to work on a small project called the Astrodome. Two years ago the congregation moved a couple miles northwest to merge with the St. Philip Presbyterian Church, just outside the Loop on San Felipe. Houston Mod fans have been trying to save the vacant church from demolition ever since.

But the church buildings won’t be sticking around for long.


02/28/11 2:38pm

When last we visited the lonely blue-glass office building next to the former site of the River Oaks Hospital, just west of Greenway Plaza, the brand-new structure had only a single tenant — a doctor. That was more than 2 and a half years ago. But Cushman & Wakefield’s latest flyer for River Oaks Plaza at 4140 Southwest Fwy. (it’s been on the market ever since) lists the 5-story, 105,000-sq.-ft. building as “fully leased.” Was there a huge influx of tenants in the meantime? Not exactly, though a second doctor’s office did move into the building a bit later. In fact, both offices are leaving the building. That’s so the Art Institute of Houston can move in, beginning in July. The institute and its 2,300 students will relocate from this somewhat less see-through 6-story building at 1900 Yorktown, in the Galleria area: