03/05/18 3:00pm

Changes are now slated to turn the Highland Village building at 2701 Drexel Dr. that Kate Spade took off from last year into what Sweet Paris Crepes & Café is calling its flagship location. The French pastry chain with 2 locations in Houston (and one in Mexico) plans to stuff a 136-seat restaurant into the former boutique just south of Westheimer in the fashion depicted at top, although some of those chairs will sit outside on the patio that’s planned in place of current slant parking spots. The fiery neon display behind the store’s transom window — pictured above with the lights off — will be removed, as will the lifesavers grids up above the storefront’s windows. Inside, the location’s 2,364 sq. ft. will include both a regular eating area and a private dining room.

Rendering: Sweet Paris Crepes & Café. Photo: Swamplot inbox.

01/17/18 4:45pm

Snapshots from the scenic Robbins Brothers jewelry store parking lot on the West Loop show how much progress has been made on the 34-story Arabella (formerly Arábella) condo tower next to the Target parking lot on San Felipe. Construction on the bumpy building began in 2015 on a portion of the former Westcreek Apartments at the corner of San Felipe and Westcreek. The photo at top shows the new building at 4521 San Felipe towering over the 25-story SkyHouse River Oaks apartment building, as well as the 17-story Wilshire condo tower.

A closer view of the trio:


In Height Order
01/09/18 11:30am

The blue dot stuck on the window of West Elm’s Highland Village furniture gallery announces the store’s plans to decamp from its spot below and next to RA Sushi, near the eastern side of the shopping center on January 21. Both West Elm and RA Sushi’s only other Houston locations are at CityCentre. That West Elm location opened in 2015, while the current spot at 3922 Westheimer has been in business for over 9 years.


Furniture Move-Out
10/23/17 9:45am

Halloween is almost upon us, and again the full-store gift wrapping and Christmas trees have gone up at the Highland Village shopping center — as these pics sent in by a reader show.

You now have 9 full shopping weeks before Christmas (and a little less than 5 before Thanksgiving), but if you’re still getting your gifts ready for Halloween next Tuesday, you’d better hurry.

Photos: Swamplot inbox



’Tis the Preseason
07/07/17 4:00pm

The highrise hotel with apartments River Oaks District developer OliverMcMillan has been promising for a couple years as a tower feature of a promised second phase of the mixed-use development will be an Equinox, according to documents submitted to the city planning department. There’s already an Equinox fitness club in the River Oaks District, fronting Westheimer; the new Equinox hotel will be on the west side of Westcreek Ln., on the rear parking lot portion of the 3.4-acre Sullivan’s Steakhouse–Le Peep shopping center along Westheimer closer to the West Loop that OliverMcMillan leased almost 2 years ago.

The hotel portion of the site is 1.91 acres and set back from Westheimer. Equinox is seeking a variance from the city to allow the hotel to take access from Westcreek Ln., which further to the north also serves as an entry road for the SkyHouse River Oaks and the Wilshire condo towers.

The variance application doesn’t mention how tall the building will be, but renderings of the imagined hotel dating from 2015 (below) show a structure of approximately 25 stories, with a lower parking garage immediately to the west. A shorter building is shown on the 1.5-acre southern portion of the site facing Westheimer:


Phase Two
06/01/17 11:30am

A couple of projects on the near and more distant horizons at the corner of Weslayan and W. Alabama turned a reader’s head this week as he passed by the short-skirted base of the 2929 Weslayan highrise. To the west, a sign posted alongside the parking lot of the half-moon-footed 2900 Weslayan office midrise bears a rendering of a new retail building PMRG is planning for the site. A few more views of the 6,500-sq.-ft. project make a somewhat rosy appearance in the new leasing materials for the space:


Sneaking Some Peeks
05/17/17 5:00pm

A waste-no-time tipster briefly stuck on the southbound West Loop earlier this week spent the downtime documenting some of the current activities of various cranes hanging around north of the US 59 junction. On the right is Tilman Fertitta’s The Post Oak, being fleshed out behind the Landry’s headquarters as part of a new mixed-use development; the previously tipped hand of 4 logo diamonds are already being framed at the top:


Uptown Updates
05/03/17 4:45pm

On Monday a reader noted some changes to the well-spotted storefront formerly occupied by Kate Spade New York, facing Drexel Dr. in the Westheimer-straddling Highland Village shopping center. The store name is now a mere shadow of its former self, and an employee reached at the location’s former phone number this afternoon tells Swamplot that the branch has closed for business. The space’s mirror-backed neon unibrow (the replacement for the one that caught fire back in 2015) looks to still be hanging around for now, but the windows have been papered over (presumably to provide a bit of privacy as the space gets changed.) There’s still a Kate Spade down the road a few blocks — the one that was tapped to trade its old Galleria locale for a place in the new wing.

Photos: Swamplot inbox (top); Amanda W. (bottom)

Westheimer Coverup
06/07/16 12:45pm

Demolition of former Walgreen's at 3900 Westheimer Rd., Highland Village, Houston, 77027

The walls and roof of the former Walgreen’s at 3900 Westheimer Rd. are now being teased apart into the tangle above, following the issuance last week of a demolition permit for the 1975 structure. River Oaks Baptist School bought the property in April of last year, around the time Walgreen’s jumped eastward across the intersection of Westheimer and Weslayan/Willowick to inhabit the former Fresh Market space (where it now operates next to what turned out to be a Texas Emergency Care Center neighboring the River Oaks branch of Mattress Firm).

Here’s another angle on the teardown, with the 1963 Willowick Condominiums tower peeking over the scene in the background:


Born Again in Highland Village
06/17/15 1:15pm

Sign for Arabella, 4521 San Felipe St., Highland Village, Houston

Sign for Arabella, 4521 San Felipe St., Highland Village, HoustonIt was introduced in April as the Arábella, but all you Randall Davis fans who’ve been trying hard since then to affect the correct pronunciation can relax your eyebrows. A reader sends in this closeup of the sign up on San Felipe, next to the driveway for the neighboring Target, advertising the 34-story condo tower the foreign-language-reference aficionado is planning to plant right in front of the just-about-complete SkyHouse River Oaks and across from Ashley Furniture on San Felipe, just inside the Loop. And behold! The accent is gone. Or rather, painted over, the reader reports.


Acute Name
05/12/15 2:30pm

RIVER OAKS BAPTIST SCHOOL BRINGS WAYWARD WESTHEIMER WALGREENS INTO THE FOLD Walgreens, 3900 Westheimer Rd., Highland Village, HoustonA long-contemplated drugstore-to-Baptist-School handover finally took place last month. Back in January, Swamplot reported that the River Oaks Baptist School was in the process of buying the Walgreens at 3900 Westheimer Rd., in order to fit a “possible parking garage and secondary exit onto Westheimer” onto the 1.8-acre site. In announcing the transaction, however, the school hasn’t said precisely what it will do with its new digs — or when or whether the now-vacant drugstore building will be demolished. It is, however, developing a new master plan for the campus. The Walgreens relocated into the former Fresh Market across the street and on the other side of Weslayan — at 3745 Westheimer — in March. Photo: Swamplot inbox

04/28/15 3:45pm

CUPCAKE ATM IS REALLY COMING TO HIGHLAND VILLAGE THIS TIME, SPRINKLES PROMISES Sprinkles Cupcake ATM, Beverly Hills, CaliforniaIf news that Sprinkles plans to bring a Cupcake ATM to Houston sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Today’s announcement marks the third time in 3 years that the California chain has declared that its lone Houston location — in Highland Village, snuggled up next to the Apple Store — would soon have one of the company’s signature baked-goods vending machines installed for all-hours use. Houston was to receive the second-ever such machine, after the Beverly Hills pilot (pictured here), in the summer of 2012. A second announcement the following year earmarked Houston for the fourth-ever Cupcake ATM that October (by then Chicago and Dallas stores had received theirs), after a holdup caused by “design issues.” Now Sprinkles is promising Houston the ninth Cupcake ATM in the country, opening this June 11th. It’ll be installed on the back side of the building at 4014 Westheimer, facing the parking lot. Inside, Sprinkles will be expanding its offerings to include cookies, ice cream, and attendant shakes, malts, and floats. Frequent Highland Village shopping center cupcakers will want to mark May 12 through 19th on their calendars — though perhaps only in pencil. That’s when the store is scheduled to be shut down for the installation of dipping cabinets along the back counter and cookie trays in its cupcake display area, as well as the exterior vending station. [Sprinkles Houston] Photo: Sprinkles

04/21/15 5:15pm

Rendering of Arábella Condo Tower, 4521 San Felipe St., Highland Village, Houston

The folks at BuzzBuzzHome pass on this hot-off-the-email rendering of the 34-story condo tower Randall Davis is planning for a piece of the former Westcreek Apartments site along San Felipe just inside the West Loop. Dubbed the Arábella, the 116-unit building is meant to sit at 4521 San Felipe St., directly across the street from Ashley Furniture. The proposed highrise’s immediate neighbors — including Target and the almost-complete 25-story SkyHouse River Oaks apartment tower immediately in back of the property — are artfully represented in the rendering by a small forest.

Rendering: Randall Davis Company/Argali Partners

Highland Village Highrise
01/28/15 12:45pm

A LIST OF 17 FASHIONABLE HOUSTON NEWCOMERS HEADED FOR RIVER OAKS THIS YEAR WHO’LL END UP ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS River Oaks District Under Construction, Highland Village, HoustonJohn Lobb, Akris, Kiton, Moncler, De Boulle, Giuseppe Zanotti, Etro, Chopard, Canali, Brunello Cucinelli, Brioni, Diptyque, Bonobos, Intermix. Haven’t heard of ’em? Well, how about Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli, and Dolce & Gabbana? They’re all luxury retailers who are new to Houston, and who’ll be arriving here about the same time that OliverMcMillan’s long-awaited (but not-so-accurately named) River Oaks District opens up on Westheimer between the Galleria and the Highland Village Shopping Center — only a mile away from the actual neighborhood called River Oaks — sometime this spring. [Real Estate Bisnow; previously on Swamplot] Photo of River Oaks District under construction: OliverMcMillan

01/26/15 11:00am

The Georgian Apartments, 2511 Willowick Rd., Highland Village, Houston

Residents of the Georgian Apartments in Highland Village are still up in the air about a possible sale of the 1965 courtyard complex, which sits just behind the Cadence Bank building at the corner of Westheimer and Weslayan. Last July, the River Oaks Management Company sent residents of the apartment for the over-55 set a notice indicating that an agreement to sell the 3.4-acre property had been reached and that the closing date would be in December. Residents heard rumors of a 40-story highrise planned for the site. Then in mid-December, according to a source, word came that the sale was off and that no other buyer had expressed interest.

But shortly after Christmas came another twist: the unidentified prospective purchaser has been granted an extension. “Closing would likely occur in early spring if the purchaser is satisfied with their final evaluations and decides to go forward with the purchase,” reads the latest note sent to residents.


Highrise Site?