12/05/14 3:00pm

Proposed Strip Center, 1835 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights

Proposed Strip Center, 1835 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights

Houston Alternator’s West Heights location is getting a tuneup. Owners of the 6,000-sq.-ft. auto center, located on the busy N. Shepherd–W. 19th St. intersection’s southwest corner, are remodeling the 1960 vintage building for restaurant and retail use. But remixing N. Shepherd’s former auto care zone of used car dealerships and repair shops won’t stop there.

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Auto Center to Retail Centers
11/11/14 2:30pm

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Over the weekend  Surge Homes removed the sign promising “future development” along the Heights Hike-and-Bike Trail. Workers took the recently-installed bike-scaled billboard Saturday morning. It appears that the sign had been squatting on a public right-of-way.

Around the same time, the newly-created Surge Homes released lots of new information for the trailside colony. Surge is run by the same principals involved with Canada’s Group LSR who closed on the property in 2004. Sporadic attempts to develop the site have so far borne no fruit.

Aerial views show that the project would take quite a bite out of the pocket forest currently on the site; access would come via a lengthened E. 5th St., not a trail-crossing extension of Frasier St., as in an earlier proposal.

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Surge Homes Pullback
11/07/14 10:00am

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Here’s the sign that a reader says went up earlier this week along the south side of the Heights hike-and-bike trail just south of the Freeland Historic District, at the ends of Frasier St. and E. 5th 1/2 St. Does the promise of “future development” mean that another developer is taking a turn trying to develop the 1.4-acre parcel of land where a proposed 80-plus-unit condo project known variously as Emes Place or Viewpoint at the Heights stirred up a fair amount of neighborhood opposition when it was last in the news a couple of years ago?

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Surge!
11/04/14 2:30pm

THE BARNABY’S IS IN THE HEIGHTS Barnaby's Cafe, 2802 White Oak Dr., Houston HeightsPssst! The Barnaby’s Cafe location taking over the City Oven (and before that, D’Amico’s Italian Cafe) spot at 2802 White Oak Dr. opened late last week. Same menu, same signature sitting-height-level check-em-out wall mirrors as the 5 other locations. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

11/04/14 11:00am

WHEN TILMAN FERTITTA CAME TO THE SHILOH CLUB Shiloh Club, 1321 Studewood St., Houston HeightsA reader reports a rare sighting of Landry’s CEO Tilman Fertitta in the Heights over the weekend. Was it part of some sort of kinda-undercover reconnaissance mission? “. . . you’ll NEVER guess where he stopped . . . SHILOH’s! Yes, the old dive bar where you watch your grandparents drink themselves under the table next to a heavily tattooed bicyclist. Tilman came in, ordered a drink and began asking about the neighborhood. I don’t think anybody there recognized him except for myself, the bartender, and my table of friends who were all industry veterans. Not sure what he’s got planned but don’t be surprised if you hear about a new Landry’s property opening in the Heights within a few months.” [Swamplot inbox; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Shiloh Club, 1321 Studewood St.: Heights Blog

09/18/14 4:30pm

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Crosswalks and No Parking signs related to Reagan High School separate an updated 1920-ish bungalow from the front of campus on 13th St. in the Houston Heights. The residential property includes 2 apartments, located on 2 levels of the still-accessible 3-car garage and its extra-extra wide driveway. The tidy compound backs up to an alley that splits the block, which is located in a section of the Heights East Historic District. Against the home’s recently applied bright blue paint, the freshened exterior’s white trim brightly pops, particularly on the porch’s newish old-style columns and balustrades. Listed on Wednesday, the triplex bears an asking price of $750K.

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Compounding Interests
09/18/14 10:30am

THIS COULD BE THE END OF THE HEIGHTS POST OFFICE Heights Finance Station Post Office, 1050 Yale St., Houston HeightsNote: This story has been updated. Late yesterday the US Postal Service announced it is “considering relocating the retail services” from the Heights Finance Station at 1050 Yale St. Under the proposed plan, retail services at the single-story building, which sits on more than an acre of land bounded by Yale, 11th St., and Heights Blvd. would be moved to the T.W. House Carrier Annex at the corner of Bevis and 19th St. in Shady Acres. Does the the announcement mean the Yale St. facility will be closed or sold? “Since the relocation of the station is still in the consideration phase and no final determination has been made, there is no available information about the future of the building,” local USPS spokesperson Dionne Montague tells Swamplot. If you’re seeking better answers, you might want to attend Monday’s planned public meeting on the topic, set for 5 pm at the city hall annex downtown. A 15-day official public comment period will follow the meeting. Photo: Swamplot inbox

09/15/14 3:45pm

734 E. 8th St., Houston Heights

734 E. 8th St., Houston HeightsIf you’re wondering what an expanse of fake grass is doing in the back yard of a $1.345 million home around the corner from Antidote, Premium Draught, and the Sonoma Wine Bar in the Heights, the architect of the 4-bedroom, 3,769-sq.-ft. structure has an answer for you: “The synthetic grass was the owner’s idea, which had my full support,” Cameron Armstrong tells Swamplot, after an email from a reader alerted us to the astroturfing issue. “It’s 100% recycled material, and significantly reduced our landscape irrigation needs,” the architect notes, “which gained the project some points during LEED certification (Silver).”

Ouch! Does learning that last bit give you a brain cramp? If so, you’re not alone:

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No Mow
09/10/14 1:45pm

BARNABY’S CAFE IS COMING TO THE HEIGHTS Mockup of Proposed Barnaby's Cafe, 2802 White Oak Dr., Houston HeightsThe spot at 2802 White Oak Dr. from which City Oven and before that D’Amico’s Italian Market Cafe departed will soon be home to the seventh location of Barnaby’s Cafe, reports the Chronicle‘s David Kaplan. Landlord Revive Development produced the mockup of a Barnaby’s sign on the building pictured above. Revive’s Bryan Danna tells Kaplan Barnaby’s signed a lease for the 3,300-sq.-ft. space earlier this month and expects to open by the end of the year. [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Revive Development

09/09/14 11:30am

Boulevard Coffee, 1030 Heights Blvd., Houston Heights

Boulevard Coffee, 1030 Heights Blvd., Houston HeightsThe Heights coffee shop that took over the former Waldo’s Coffee House bungalow on Heights Blvd. just south of 11th St. earlier this year will be shutting down at the end of this month, a reader reports. Boulevard Coffee had opened at 1030 Heights Blvd. in March of this year. A note taped to the shop’s cash register (at right) tells customers the story. Photos: Laura H. (patio view); Swamplot inbox (note)

The Last Drop
09/02/14 4:30pm

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To create some buzz about an updated 1929 cottage with bumble bee trim tones in a section of the Heights dubbed Pinelawn, viewing of the property was put on hold until the weekend, several days after its listing last month for $437,500. Tiers of patios, porches, decks, and pavers help extend the living space outdoors. The fully-fenced corner compound is located up the block from Field Elementary School.

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Clocking in at $437,500
08/25/14 11:00am

Zelko Bistro, 705 E. 11th St., Houston Heights

Zelko Bistro, 705 E. 11th St., Houston HeightsLast week Judge Randy Wilson (yes, the same judge who ruled earlier this year in the Ashby Highrise case) granted a temporary injunction preventing the owner of the converted bungalow at 705 E. 11th St. from locking out or evicting Zelko Bistro — or putting a for lease sign in front of the Heights restaurant (as caught in the photo at right from last month). Zelko was required to post a bond equal to a single month’s rent under the previous lease; the ruling requires the restaurant’s owners to comply with the terms of that lease as well.

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Still Serving
08/19/14 1:15pm

Substation Expansion, 612 Yale St., Houston Heights

Without making a big alert-the-neighbors fuss about it, CenterPoint Energy appears to have begun expanding the electrical substation across the street from the new Alexan Heights apartment complex going up on Yale St. into an adjacent vacant lot, a reader reports. Crews began breaking up the 6,600-sq.-ft. lot’s concrete surface yesterday. CenterPoint has owned the lot at 612 Yale St. since 2004, according to county tax records, though the neighboring 6th and Yale Collision and Repair shop had often used it as parking space.

The lot appears at the top center of this recent aerial view of apartment construction and the substation:

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Not Shocking
07/31/14 1:45pm

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It might look like a neighboring property (in the background of the photo above) towers over an updated 1926 bungalow on Heights Blvd., but the addition is actually part of the mixed-use complex. Balcony-wrapped, the modernish appendage mashes up with yesteryear’s residential front-end, which is currently employed as a law office. The switched dual personalities (and dual purposes) co-exist behind a wrought-iron fence on the southbound side of Houston Heights’ main drag. Listed Tuesday, the combo offering has a $2,101,948 asking price.

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Heights Face, Yale Face