The question that’s been bugging a number of Swamplot readers: What’s planned by Fisher Homes for the .38-acre open pit now getting filled in at 829 Yale St., directly across from the company’s 3-story home office mansion? The answer: a 40-unit condo midrise branded as The Victoria. Some 2- and 3-bedroom units hit the market at the beginning of June, running between $460,900 and $835,585; a reader got some shots of the current state of construction earlier today in a morning drive-by.
A look at the floorplans of the parking-footed building’s residential floors shows off the structure’s increasingly hourglass cross-section as the viewer moves upward:
The flags have been lowered in front of the former N. Shepherd home of Fiesta Mart, now several days along on its journey toward pre-redevelopment flatness. A reader sends more photos of the action from yesterday afternoon, showing the demolition team munching its way east through the building:
Hobbyist demolition spotter Steven Byrne sends portraits of the end of the former Fiesta Mart at the corner of N. Shepherd and W. 23rd St. Byrne snapped these shots of the teardown action yesterday afternoon (right after the structure’s demo permit was issued), though there’s plenty more building left to rip apart today. The excavators at the site appear to belong to Cherry Demolition, which recently wrapped up the sometimes-slow sometimes-unsettlingly-fast takedown of the Corporate Plaza complex at Kirby Dr. and 59.
HEIGHTS DRY ZONE SIGNATURE GATHERERS RETURN FROM THE HUNT VICTORIOUS Reports comes from both NextDoor and The Heights Life blog that the H-E-B-backed Houston Heights Beverage Coalition has collected the signatures it needs to trigger a local election over legalizing carry-out beer and wine sales in the Heights dry zone. The petition was officially issued in mid-May, at which point the 60-day collection clock started ticking; the group claimed they needed 1,500 signatures to meet the required threshold of 35 percent of the population living in the zone. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of TABC regional headquarters at 427 W. 20th St.: LoopNet
Following a few months of permit angst and the placement of a red pig in the parking lot, the N. Shepherd location of Dallas-import pizza join Cane Rosso says it will open this evening at 5pm. Cane Rosso’s other planned Houston spot is still getting worked over on Yoakum St. at Richmond Ave.
Just beating it to the punch this afternoon is the even-longer-delayed 4th location of Niko Niko’s Greek & American Bakery & Cafe, opening at 3pm in the former Chili’s building across the parking lot from Houston Community College’s Spring Branch campus:
The glowing parrot and red neon lettering previously decorating the front of the former Fiesta Mart at 2300 N. Shepherd Dr. have been traded out for a construction fence and a few streamers of festive caution tape. A pre-demo permit to disconnect the 1965 building’s plumbing was issued near the end of May, and a reader snapped the top photo of the site during a break in Friday’s rain.
The latest addition to the street-fronting retail strip planned for the former Alabama Furniture Store site at 2200 Yale St. appears to be a pair of Texas Children’s urgent and less-urgent care facilities. The medical groups are named as tenants in a pair of Braun Enterprises leasing documents filed with the county (which include the 90-degrees-off siteplan above). That’s the planned 3rd non-mobile location of Bernie’s Burger Bus shown on the far right, at the south end of the strip; the other 2 children-themed businesses are shown taking up the remaining 13,112 sq.ft. of leasable space in the center.
A 68-spot parking lot is depicted behind the Yale-facing center, which runs between W. 22nd and W. 23rd streets; the former sites of Fashion Touch Cleaners and Midtown Floors were permitted for destruction about the same time as the now-departed furniture store.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: LAYING OUT STRATEGIC ANGLES ON THE NEXT HEIGHTS BOOZE BATTLE “. . . Flooding? Really? There are no tracts of land any grocer could realistically acquire that are not already paved over for commercial spots. Nobody is going to open a liquor store in the middle of a residential section where there will be no traffic — there’s plenty of storefront space near by. The proposed change won’t impact bars and restaurants. . . . [The backers] are advocating for a policy change with respect to a policy that impacts their business. How else would you propose they do it other than hiring a law firm and PR firm to help them navigate the rather obscure laws that govern this thing?” [Heightsresident, commenting on H-E-B Would Like To Plant a Store in a Wetter Heights Dry Zone] Illustration: Lulu
The semi-shrouded Houston Heights Beverage Coalition released a statement today filling in some details on the group’s plan to legalize take-home beer and wine sales in the Heights’ dry zone. The initiative was floated quietly on Cinco de Mayo by way of 109-word newspaper legal notice; the group’s longer press release clarifies that it will try to collect around 1,500 signatures in 60 days to call a special election for residents of the no-longer-a-city of Houston Heights. That election wouldn’t change the zone’s ban on liquor sales (or the need for a private-club-workaround for folks intent on selling it anyway), but would allow grocery stores to get in on the alcoholic action.
Coalition chair Steve Reilley tells the Houston Press‘s Phaedra Cook that H-E-B supports the measure — adding that the chain is probably going to move into the area if the change passes. Reilley also says that other grocery chains are involved with the coalition, but doesn’t tell Cook which ones.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT THE FORMER HEIGHTS POST OFFICE SPOT WON’T TURN INTO “11th St. is a thoroughfare. So is Yale St. . . . There is no street parking in that area. That really nice old town feel of 20th St. (19th?) is not something you can replicate here — that is a shopping/ restaurant district with grandfathered-in diagonal parking spaces and a road wide enough to accommodate it. If you want another town-center-type development, someone will have to build it (and acquire a lot more property than this space here). Typically, those historical main streets can’t be artificially manufactured. Just appreciate the one you have and be happy they didn’t build a 500-bed apartment complex next to your house.” [Commenter7, commenting on A Peek at What’s Up Next Once the Former Heights Post Office Comes Down] Rendering of planned Heights Central Station shopping center: MFT Interests
MFT Interests appears interested in tenants for its Heights Central Station project, slated for the site of the increasingly well-loved former post office on 11th St. between Yale St. and Heights Blvd. The development’s leasing website now includes the first rendering of what those mixed-use lowrises might look like (see above), as well as a site plan.
Although the logo for the center implies a possible train station theme to go along with the name, the site plan shows that most of the property will be devoted to automobile parking — an 86-car street-facing parking lot separates the storefronts from 11th and Yale streets, though the Heights Blvd. side of the eastern building is much closer to the street:
Fungal sculptor Bill Davenport sends this photo of the Giant Mushroom Forest on Studewood south of W. Melwood St., showing the central toadstool freshly decapitated. His explanation for the un-making of his own work: the middle sculpture, originally designed for only a year-long Austin stint back at the turn of the decade, was crumbling and unstable, and had to be demolished last Sunday. “I’m sad to say the other two are not far behind,” he adds.
Davenport is now crowdsourcing funds to put toward restoring the trio and getting them in shape for a longer-term gig. The 3 giant mushrooms (not to be confused with the 3 giant mushrooms that sprung up down the road by Inversion Coffee House a few years ago) currently reside in front of Urban Harvest’s Tiny Mushrooms community garden.
A group called the Houston Heights Beverage Coalition PAC is hoping to bring about a vote on allowing beer and wine sales in the technically dry section of the Houston Heights. The group published a notice on May 5th announcing an application to the city to start collecting the petition signatures required to get the measure on a local option ballot.
Here’s the text of the required public notice: