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

07/01/13 10:00am

Just a little after 5 p.m. on Friday, according to one reader, the Schauer Filling Station was bitten into by this burly chomper and brought down. (Apparently, a demo permit had been received earlier that day.) The vacant 1929 station on the corner of Oxford and 14th St. in the Heights had been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983. And some readers seem to have had grand plans for the ol’ property. Bill writes: “I was wanting to open an outdoor coffee/ice cream shop there but last I looked (when it was publicly advertised) those 3 houses were for sale together for some crazy stupid amount of money. Nothing a coffee/ice cream shop could pay for.”

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

06/28/13 3:45pm

Despite its spot on National Register of Historic Places, the 1929 Schauer Filling Station doesn’t seem to be much longer for this world — nor the equally old, if not equally historic homes on the property at the corner of Oxford and 14th St. in the Heights. At least that’s what a few readers have been hearing: “All of the folks that were living in these houses,” writes one, “have been moved out (I think they were relatives of the previous owners) and the neighborhood chatter is that the new owners will be leveling everything on the property.”

Besides the filling station, that would include the 676-sq.-ft. house at 1408 Oxford that dates to 1899, and the 1,104-sq.-ft. blue bungalow, also dating to 1929, visible in the photo above that was taken earlier this June. County records do show that the properties at 1404 and 1408 Oxford had been owned recently by one Hazel C. Schauer.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

06/11/13 10:00am

UNLOADING GALVESTON’S BISHOP’S PALACE The Galveston-Houston Archdiocese has put up for sale the 1892 Bishop’s Palace, a.k.a. Gresham’s Castle, at 14th and Broadway. The price? $3 million. But the archdiocese isn’t going to let just anyone buy the 17,420-sq.-ft. Victorian clergy digs-turned-museum — at least not for a while: “The Galveston Historical Foundation has an exclusive right until the end of this month to raise . . . the money or the archdiocese can open the sale to all comers,” reports the Houston Chronicle. Foundation director W. Dwayne Jones tells the Chronicle that they’ve already raised $2.3 million. And why the sale? “Jones said the archdiocese has been looking to get out of the museum business for a while. ‘They are in the business of saving souls.’” [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Galveston Historical Foundation