09/17/14 12:30pm

TRICON HOMES STILL TRASHING THE JOSEPHINE Demolition of Josephine Apartments, 1744-1748 Bolsover St. at Ashby St., Boulevard Oaks, HoustonDemolition crews turned the Josephine Apartments into a dusty pile of rubble yesterday (as seen in Swamplot’s on-the-spot report), but Tricon Homes cofounder Tristan Berlanga threw in a little trash-talking of his own about the condition of the 2-story Art Moderne complex, which went down in a heap, original steel-frame windows and all: “This, in fact, was a building in very poor structural condition which would have been practically impossible to save, both for safety and economic reasons,” he says to the Chronicle’s Erin Mulvaney. He goes on to tell the reporter he doesn’t like to see buildings demolished, especially those with “architectural or historical significance,” but appears to lay blame for the building’s demise on a lack of city regulation: “Most cities have zoning laws and designated historical areas that help preserve buildings like this,” he says. “Without that, it is hard to do more . . .” Tricon plans to replace the 8-unit building from 1939 with 4 new townhomes, which are still being designed. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

09/16/14 11:30am

Demolition of Josephine Apartments, 1744-1748 Bolsover St. at Ashby St., Boulevard Oaks, Houston

The 75-year-old art moderne brick steel-windowed structure at 1744 and 1748 Bolsover St. known as the Josephine Apartments is coming apart in a cloud of (watered down) dust this morning. The 8-unit structure at the corner of Ashby St. 2 blocks north of Rice University was designed in the late 1930s by architect F. Perry Johnston, but demolished by contractors under hire by Tricon Homes, which purchased the property earlier this year.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Boulevard Oaks Rubble
09/02/14 2:45pm

BUYERS WILL RESTORE WEINGARTEN MANSION, EXPAND KITCHEN, CALL IT HOME 4000 S. MacGregor Way, Riverside Terrace, HoustonThe owner of a offshore-drilling-rig fabricating company in Baytown and his wife, a real estate agent, have bought the former Weingarten mansion at 4000 S. MacGregor Way in Riverside Terrace — and they’re announcing plans to restore the property with the help of architect David Bucek, whose firm was responsible for the redo of the Menil house. Darryl and Lori Schroeder tell Nancy Sarnoff they plan to live in the 1935 home and “keep as much original as we can” — but that apparently doesn’t mean holding the kitchen to its current size. Darryl Schroeder tells Sarnoff they bid full asking price, or $2.25 million, for the decaying estate designed by Joseph Finger for grocery-store magnate Joseph Weingarten. MLS records appear to show he’s being a bit modest, however: They record a sales price of $2.75 million, or $500,000 over the asking price. (The discrepancy might otherwise be explained by the Schroeders’ additional $500,000 purchase of the 1.58-acre property next door at 3932 S. MacGregor Way, though that property was listed separately.) Readers hoping the 4.73-acre property might one day find its way into the hands of the neighboring University of Houston, possibly as a house for a future president, take note: The 68-year-old president of Lone Star Energy Fabricating is a UH alumnus. [Prime Property; previously on Swamplot] Photo: HAR

08/12/14 2:30pm

Penguin Arms Apartments, Kuhl-Linscomb Campus, 2902 Revere St., Upper Kirby, Houston

The owners of the quirky Kuhl-Linscomb home-goods store, arrayed in 6 separate repurposed buildings just east of the Upper Kirby Whole Foods Market, have plans to attach a large addition behind and next to the Penguin Arms apartment building at 2902 Revere St. — and to turn the completed building into an additional showroom. The proposed addition to Arthur Moss’s distinctive 1950 structure (above), one of the best surviving examples of the Frank-Lloyd-Wright-meets-diner-mashup ‘Googie’ style, would almost quadruple the amount of space in the building, from the current 5,938 sq. ft. to 23,427 sq. ft. A proposed site plan submitted to the city shows how the addition would hang back and to the side of the structure, preserving views of 3 of the rock-and-glass building’s corners:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

To Preserve and Expand
08/07/14 3:15pm

Tree Cutting at 201 Westmoreland St., Westmoreland, Houston

Tree Cutting at 201 Westmoreland St., Westmoreland, HoustonThe Waldo Mansion at 201 Westmoreland St. in Westmoreland, best known (well, for its interiors at least) as the terrestrial stomping ground of playboy astronaut Garrett Breedlove, the Jack Nicholson character in Terms of Endearment, is getting a bit of a haircut today. Tree crews have been working all morning to start the process of ridding the site at the corner of Westmoreland and Garrott of “many” of its large surrounding oak trees, a reader tells Swamplot. But only a single tree has been removed so far, as these photos show.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Terms of Dismemberment
07/30/14 4:15pm

Capitan Theater, 1001 Shaw Ave., Pasadena, Texas

Capitan Theater, 1001 Shaw Ave., Pasadena, TexasThe city of Pasadena is likely to go ahead with the sale of the Corrigan Center at Shaw Ave. and Pasadena Blvd., which includes the once-grand Capitan Theater, to a New Jersey oil-industry inspection and lab-test company called Camin Cargo Control. Under the $4.6 million deal, already approved by city council once earlier this month in a 6-3 vote, the city would lease back the 31,982 sq. ft. of the property — the parts currently occupied by fire department administrative offices and the city’s municipal court. The lease-back wouldn’t include the long-vacant 1,500-seat art deco theater.

But a reader tells Swamplot that decorative pieces from the front of the 1949 theater — which after an exterior renovation looked pretty spiffy until recently (see photo at right from last year) — have already been removed. “The marquee boards, neon, and the whole vertical metal section that said “Pasadena” are gone, leaving just brick behind it,” Spence Gaskin writes. “The marquee stuff had been gone a few weeks at the least, but I just noticed the Pasadena sign removal.”

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Art Undecoed
07/24/14 2:15pm

Former Weingarten Mansion, 4000 S. MacGregor Way, Riverside Terrace, Houston

Former Weingarten Mansion, 4000 S. MacGregor Way, Riverside Terrace, Houston

The MacGregor Way mansion built for the family of Houston grocery pioneer Joseph Weingarten went up for sale last week, providing Houston oldtimers and other more recent converts to old-school real estate ogling a first opportunity to confirm or contradict their suspicions about what the interior of the once-proud 1939 Joseph Finger-designed estate looks like in its . . . uh, unattended state.

The listing photos don’t disappoint, providing an air of grandeur to the vast interiors — peeling paint, leaky window units, rumpled carpet and all. Better yet, the 4-bedroom, 5,480-sq.-ft. property on 4.73 acres (most of them in the 100-year floodplain) has no deed restrictions or historical protections, which sets the Brays Bayou-side perch in Riverside Terrace as the latest scene of a no-schemes-barred Houston-style bidding-and-bitching rumble. (Multiple offers have already been submitted by developers eager to scrape the home and carve up the property into separate homesites).

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

This Was His Home, It Is For Sale
07/08/14 10:15am

DE-MAD-MEN-IZED DOWNTOWN EXXONMOBIL TOWER REMINDS ME OF MY DOCTOR’S OFFICE, COMPLAINS CHRON COLUMNIST Lisa Gray, already on record as a non-fan of Shorenstein Realty’s plans to remove all the distinctive sun-shading fins from the soon-to-be-former ExxonMobil Tower at 800 Bell St. downtown (and incorporate all the space they occupied into the floor plates), says the sleek new video (with only semi-robotic, live-action scalies!) put out by the San Francisco real estate company (embedded at right; click in bottom right corner to see it full-screen) reveals that the renovation plans for the building are “even worse than I thought.” What’s the problem with removing what’s left of the building’s Mad Men-era accoutrements, and sheathing the recaptured space with shiny glass? The video shows that Downtown architecture firm Ziegler Cooper’s resulting design will be “a dead ringer,” she claims, for the Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza tower at the northern tip of the Med Center at 6200 Fannin. That building was designed by the firm’s Uptown-ish rival, Kirksey Architecture. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Video: Transwestern

05/08/14 10:45am

Josephine Apartments, 1744-1748 Bolsover St., Boulevard Oaks, Houston

After hearing news that a homebuilder bought the 8-unit 1939 brick-and-glass-block Josephine Apartments 2 blocks north of Rice University in Boulevard Oaks, it may not come as much of a surprise to learn that the building’s new owner plans to tear them down. But today a source provides confirmation that demolition and new construction is in the cards: Tricon Homes has informed residents that they will need to vacate the property by mid July.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Tricon Conquers Boulevard Oaks
05/01/14 10:30am

Josephine Apartments, 1744-1748 Bolsover St., Boulevard Oaks, Houston

Josephine Apartments, 1744-1748 Bolsover St., Boulevard Oaks, HoustonThe 75-year-old Josephine Apartments just north of Rice University have been sold — to homebuilder Tricon Homes. The distinctive two-tone-brick Art Deco structure was built in 1939 from a design by architect F. Perry Johnston. It sits at the corner of Bolsover and Ashby St., a block north of Rice University, just east of Southampton Place, and 3 blocks south of the site of the planned Ashby Highrise. The U-shaped 2-story building with glass block and steel windows consists of 8 single-bedroom units, some of them with sunrooms.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Good Night, Josephine
04/14/14 10:30am

Vacant Lot at 411 Lovett Blvd., Former Site of Bullock-City Federation Mansion, Montrose, Houston

Demolition of 411 Lovett Blvd., Avondale, Montrose, HoustonA bulletin board with a request for “comments” went up last week on the fence fronting the now-vacant site at 411 Lovett Blvd. in Avondale, where the 1906 Bullock–City Federation Mansion was torn down earlier this year (see photo at right). Yes, the metal fence along Lovett Blvd. is still standing. Passers-by have been adding their thoughts.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Suggestion Box
03/06/14 10:00am

Demolition of Bullock-City Federation Mansion, 411 Lovett St., Avondale, Montrose, Houston

If you’re listening to KPFT this morning and are wondering what those crashing sounds are in the background, it’s just an excavator ripping chunks out of the 1906 Bullock–City Federation Mansion next door to the radio station’s studios, at 411 Lovett Blvd. Demolition permits for the recently renovated 8,000-sq.-ft. structure and a separate building in back were granted by the city on Monday. That night, a reader reported to Swamplot that workers were removing windows, mouldings, doors, a mailbox, and flooring late into the evening. But hardcore exterior demo work appears to have begun yesterday afternoon.

The former wedding and event venue turned high-tech office building (with a complete renovation completed in 2005) was recently sold to developers who are reportedly planning to build townhomes on the three-quarters-of-an-acre site at the corner of Taft and Lovett Blvd. Its previous owners touted the structure as the first Houston building ever to have central air conditioning. (It was retrofitted with custom iron ceiling medallions that served as AC vents and chandelier mounts in 1926.)

These photos were taken by a reader around 7:30 this morning:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Making History of Air Conditioning History
02/28/14 4:45pm

Bullock Mansion, 411 Lovett Blvd. at Taft St., Avondale, Montrose, Houston

Bullock Mansion, 411 Lovett Blvd. at Taft St., Avondale, Montrose, HoustonReaders are reporting to Swamplot that the end appears nigh for the 1906 Bullock-City Federation Mansion at 411 Lovett Blvd. in Montrose. Salvage and demolition crews have been at work there for much of the week, removing wood floors and gutting other pieces from the fancy interior. Portions of the garden (see photo at left) have been torn up to disconnect sewer lines. The new owners have reportedly said they have plans to build townhomes on the site once the existing building is demolished.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Restored 2005, Demolished 2014
02/18/14 2:45pm

3534-miramar-01

3534-miramar-04

“Little Castle” or “Tree House”? This coastal property forged of sticks and stones in Shoreacres is known by either name; it’s a 1932-built landmark near the Houston Yacht Club in La Porte. Thick, rough cut rocks clad much of the exterior, which comes with a chimney-hugging turret (top). Near its breeze-facing entry off a patio, 4 ‘faux bois’ pine trees — one of which looks a bit squirrely (above) — lend their support.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Rocky and Squirrely
07/23/13 10:00am

GALVESTON HISTORICAL FOUNDATION CLOSES ON BISHOP’S PALACE With the Moody Foundation’s $1.5 million donation as a nice starter, the Galveston Historical Foundation was able to raise the rest of the $3 million it needed to buy the 1892 Bishop’s Palace from the Catholic archdiocese and keep it open as a museum. Designed by Nicholas Clayton for Col. Walter Gresham, the 17,420-sq.-ft. Victorian mansion at the corner of 14th and Broadway had housed clergy since 1921 before the foundation opened it up for tours. The Houston Chronicle reports that the archdiocese plans to use the windfall to renovate the St. Mary’s Basilica, also in in Galveston, while the foundation “plans to restore the roof, the front of the building and do repainting [and] other general repairs” to the Palace. [Houston Chronicle ($); previously on Swamplot] Photo: Galveston Historical Foundation