04/24/14 3:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HAVE YOU NOTICED HOW THE HEIGHTS IS PUTTING ON WEIGHT? Cupcake“I think they are going to have to change the name of the area from the ‘Heights’ to the ‘Widths.’ In addition to Fat Cat and the soon to be new doughnut shop, Gelazzi on White Oak is opening in May to serve gelato and other Italian treats. RED Dessert Dive & Coffee Shop is building out on Studewood. Then there is the recently opened Heights Candy Store on Studewood. All of this is in addition to great pastries, baked goods and other treats at Angela’s Oven, Kraftsmen, Revival Market, Boulevard Coffee (possibly the best cinnamon rolls in Houston), Happy Fatz, What’s Up Cupcake, Mighty Sweet Mini Pies and Dacapo’s. Yikes.” [Old School, commenting on More Sugar Headed for the Sweetest Strip Center on North Shepherd] Illustration: Lulu

04/23/14 12:30pm

Strip Center, 1901 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights

For months, local ice cream shop Fat Cat Creamery has been the only business open in the recently expanded and redone strip center at the northeast corner of N. Shepherd Dr. and 19th St. (It’s over around the left side in the photo above.) But now there’s a sign up announcing that Smoothie King is headed for the spot a couple doors down from it along 19th. And there’s more to this sugar rush: It appears a donut shop is headed for a space next door to Fat Cat in the same center. A buildout for Hugs and Doughnuts, from the folks behind the H-Town StrEATs food truck, is now going on in Suite 4 of the 8,000-sq.-ft. center at 1901 N. Shepherd, a source tells Swamplot.

Photo: Re:Vive Development

Hugs and Donuts
03/31/14 1:30pm

Boil House Restaurant Under Construction, 606 E. 11th St., Houston Heights

Here’s a pic of the latest sign of the growing Heights-area crawfish swarm: The just-painted front of the former audio repair shop at 606 E. 11th St., just east of Oxford, showing the new home of Boil House. “A hot pinch of authentic Louisiana flavor” is offered in the wall sign just behind the spray-painted trashcan above, and the mudbugs are implied in the name of the company behind the venture: Boil House Crawfish, LLC. But don’t confuse this under-the-radar venture with the other crawfish restaurant setting up camp in nearby Shady Acres. Cajun spot The Boot just opened (on weekends only for now, it appears) in the former Shady Tavern spot at 1206 W. 20th St., between Bevis and Beall.

Photo: T.S. Noble

Cajun Heights
02/24/14 3:30pm

Prince's Hamburgers Sign, North Shepherd Dr. at 15th St., Houston Heights

Prince's Hamburgers Sign, North Shepherd Dr. at 15th St., Houston HeightsSomeday, your Prince’s (hamburgers sign) will go. If you hail from the kingdom of the Heights, today appears to be that day. Swamplot reader Rachelle Varnon sends in the above photo, taken just a short while ago, of the old N. Shepherd Prince’s Hamburgers sign as it sits, mounted on a royal coach for a northern journey. “I saw a bucket truck by the old sign [pictured at left] at 15th and North Shepherd today on my way to lunch,” she writes. “By the time we returned, the sign was down.

Where’s it headed?

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Neon Royalty
01/30/14 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE FAR NORTH HEIGHTS TOWNHOUSE BOOM Housing Boom“A ride around the far north Heights (bordered roughly by Yale, Shepherd, 610 and, say, 23rd) reveals a staggering amount of residential construction activity. The Sullivan Brothers project on 23rd is finally nearing completion. A dozen new townhouses at 26th and Ashland. Eight single-family homes at the same corner, with 20 or so to follow between 26th and 27th. Eight single family houses at 26th and Rutland. Twenty townhouses about to go up at 24th and Lawrence. Plus a dozen or so 2-to-6-house developments. The numbers easily reach into the triple digits, and that’s without anything on the old National Flame & Forge site (the double block between Nicholson, Rutland, 25th and 26th), which could add another hundred.” [Angostura, commenting on Where a Couple Dozen Townhomes Are Going in the Far North Heights] Illustration: Lulu

01/29/14 1:30pm

Townhome Development at 241 W. 27th St. and Rutland, Houston Heights

A reader sends us this pic of the scene looking north from the corner of 27th St. and Rutland, just a block south of the North Loop, where a grid of townhomes is replacing the former site of the limestone-clad church and its parking lot at 251 W. 27th. The religious institution, known variously as the Houston Restoration Church, the Fulbright United Methodist Church, and the God’s Spirit of Faith Fellowship Church, was sold in August and torn down last month. An appraisal district map shows a new subdivision named Hannah Square with 12 townhome lots facing 27th St. on the old church site, and another one with another dozen lots facing 28th St., called Erin Park. The developer appears to be Colina Homes.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

There Was the Church
01/24/14 5:00pm

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Ready to ride? Or perhaps wave at the fit folks passing by? The wraparound porch and upper balcony of a newly constructed home overlook the Heights Hike and Bike Trail. Listed a week ago at $948,000, the property tempers its somewhat public side with a more private porch in back.

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White and Wood
12/06/13 10:30am

Retention Pond Along White Oak Bayou Between Shepherd and Yale, Houston Heights

A reader sends in pics showing how construction is progressing on the 3 retention ponds along White Oak Bayou TxDOT is building between Yale and Shepherd — and hoping to trade them for any available updates about plans for the adjacent segment of the planned bayou-side path: “Looks like they are making progress with tree planting and installation of pavers on the slopes. They have left a wide swath of level ground around the entire perimeter. They are still doing earthwork on the north end, and it looks like they still need to excavate more soil from the center pond, but you can make your way around all three detention ponds.”

The photo at top shows the center pond (south of the bayou), looking northeast, with White Oak Bayou barely visible off to the lower right. Below, a view of the northernmost piece, Rutland Pond, a portion of which interrupts 6th St. (where the orange construction fencing is visible):

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On Rutland Pond
11/12/13 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE PARKING SPACES OUT FRONT “So my friend’s neighbors on both sides and across the street have used pea gravel to make head-in parking spaces in front of the their houses in the Heights. In doing so they eliminated 2-3 parallel street parking spots in front of each house, as well as taking over what I assume is the city right of way. I assume this can’t be legal, but then this is Houston so who knows? Anyway these neighbors throw fits if anyone parks in their spaces. My friends like to have people over and now parking is a real challenge. I’ve been confronted by the neighbors before and have told them that these are not their spaces and they vehemently (violently) disagree. Am I right? Am I wrong? Should I just pretend they aren’t there and park behind them on the street like I would have had they not taken over those spaces? Is there anything that can be done?” [charlie, commenting on Where the Sidewalk Goes Private in Cinco Ranch] Illustration: Lulu

11/04/13 1:30pm

That little 84-year-old barber shop spot at 219 E. 11th St. in the Heights featured in Wes Anderson’s movie Rushmore has survived an eviction scare. Proprietor Doug Dreher tells the Houston Press‘s Dianna Wray that a Saturday-night email from the building’s landlord, J. Conti Interests, assured him that Doug’s Barber Shop wouldn’t be kicked out: “Dreher remembered dropping off the October rent check before going out of town for a few weeks. When he got back to town, just before the end of the month, he was notified that his business, located at 219 East 11th Street, was being evicted in two weeks.

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10/15/13 12:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BURSTING YOUR HOUSING BUBBLE BUBBLE “Your fears of a bubble being caused in this manner are unfounded. The sales of older homes (by Houston standards at least — still less than 10 years) have shot up in just the last 9 months. Sure, we always need to guard against bubbles, but I don’t think an EaDo-specific bubble is occurring, and certainly not because there aren’t existing single-family homes. Teardowns of existing, livable (leaving out the shotgun shacks) single-family homes have started (here, for instance). In the place of the teardowns are multiple townhomes. There are some examples of irrational exuberance on the part of the developers, like the $500,000 asking price for the townhomes bounded by Nagle/Capitol/Delano/Rusk, but the recent high appreciation occurring is not out of line and has only been occurring for a few years, whereas places like the Heights and Rice Military have seen prices increases for many years, all without any neighborhood-specific bubble. Midtown, too, has avoided a bubble-then-crash and they have an even smaller stock of single-family homes yards than EaDo.” [eiioi, commenting on Comment of the Day: East Downtown, Brought to You by Montrose] Illustration: Lulu

10/15/13 11:05am

Looks like MAM’s House of Ice will be opening inside this 780-sq.-ft. former paint supply liquor store at 1040 W. Cavalcade — just in time for winter! This spot is a bit east of where the sky-blue dessert trailer usually parks at Rutland and 20th. Why here? The owners explain to Eater Houston that they “‘tried really hard not to go into a strip center because [they] wanted to have green space’ so that families could go out, extend blankets on the green and enjoy the outdoor picnic tables.” HCAD records show that this new lot comes in at 3,500 sq. ft.

Photo: Eater Houston