08/22/16 1:30pm

Buffalo Fred's Ice House, 2708 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008

Buffalo Fred's Ice House, 2708 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008After a month or so on the market at $3.75 million, the asking price on Buffalo Fred’s Ice House has dropped by half a million as of early last week. The 37,500 sq.ft. property, positioned right across the northern boundary of the potentially moistening Heights dry zone at 2708 N. Shepherd Dr., sits a few blocks north of the ongoing culinary redevelopment zone near the recent Fiesta Mart breakup. The HAR sales listing notes that leasing the space is an option (and a matching LoopNet leasing listing has been added for the property in the last few weeks).

The listing claims the early-1980s ice house is now running on a month-to-month lease; the bar building is up for grabs along with the 2,100-sq.-ft. building formerly occupied by Speedy Cycle Lube (on the right hand side, both above and below):

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Room to Roam in Houston Heights
08/17/16 10:45am

Heights Mercantile treesHeights Mercantile treesThe shot above, facing south along the eastern edge of the 7th-St.-straddling site of the Heights Mercantile development, shows a few of the new meant-to-catch-eyes green sashes now adorning a series of trees along the Heights Blvd. sidewalk. But just what kind of message are those low-slung stripes sending to workers at the site, a reader wonders? Does green mean made the cut, or cut ’em down?

Renderings of plans for the project include a double-wide strip of trees framing a walking path parallel to 7th St. (labeled an outdoor art gallery), with additional greenery arranged in front of the Heights Blvd. bungalows being recruited into the retail center:

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Marked at 7th St.
08/10/16 10:15am

Former Chirps Chicken and Rice, 300 W. 20th St., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008

Former Chirps Chicken and Rice, 300 W. 20th St., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008A reader caught sight of some recent stirrings at the southwest corner of W. 20th St. and Rutland, where food truck The Rice Box looks to be setting up a second non-mobile operation in the former home of Chirps Chicken and Rice. Braun Enterprises snapped up the 1,584-sq.-ft. building in mid-2015, when Chirps flew the coop; a TABC permit for the dry zone address was issued to Black Dragon Private Club — an entity listing The Rice Box as a trade name — in early May. Braun also owns the retail strip across Rutland, which replaced those Baptist Temple buildings that were demolished in 2013; the photo above was taken from the Zoe’s Kitchen at the corner.

Photos: Jason B. Cockerell (top), Chirps Chicken and Rice (bottom)

Rutland Remake
08/03/16 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOUSTON HEIGHTS HISTORY IN THE MAKING Houston Heights Craftorian Home“. . . They probably looked around and saw hundreds of 3k-plus-sq.-ft. Faux Craftsman, Faux Victorian, Faux Colonial, Faux Historic, etc. ‘bungalows,’ that have replaced (or bastardized) most of the real Craftsman, Victorian, Colonial, historic bungalows and realized that the Heights ‘style’ is all fake anyway, so why bother replicating more Faux? They instead designed a building that represents its own era, 2016. . . . Don’t fret, in 100 years, this will be ‘historic’ too.” [John M, commenting on Once Bashful Heights Post Office Replacement Retail Now Willing To Step Up to the Street, Learn To Like Sidewalks] Illustration: Lulu

08/01/16 4:30pm

Revised Plans for Heights Central Station, Heights Blvd. at 11th St., Houston Heights

Fresh from the architects (Kirksey), here are revised plans (above) for Heights Central Station, the retail-and-office center MFT Interests is planning for the site at the corner of Heights Blvd. and 11th St. (and Yale) in the Heights where the former main post office for the Heights still sits, awaiting its fate. And whaddya know, the strip-mall-style parking that in the previous plan for the new development was shown fronting Yale and 11th St. has now been stripped away, allowing twin 10,000-ish-sq.-ft. 2-story buildings to front 11th St., right on up to the sidewalk:

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Heights Station
06/15/16 11:00am

Renderings of The Victoria Condo Midrise, 829 Yale St. Houston Heights, Houston, 77007

The Victoria Condo Midrise, 829 Yale St. Houston Heights, Houston, 77007The 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:

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Filling In on Yale St.
06/10/16 12:30pm

Demolition of Fiesta at 2300 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008

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:

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Heights Dry Zone
06/09/16 10:30am

Demolition of Fiesta at 2300 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008

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.

The Fiesta opened in the space in the mid-1970s and shut down in March. Here’s a few more closeups of the scene for further grocery-minded contemplation:

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Heights Dry Zone
06/08/16 12:45pm

HEIGHTS DRY ZONE SIGNATURE GATHERERS RETURN FROM THE HUNT VICTORIOUS TABC regional headquarters in Heights Medical Tower, 427 West 20th Street, Suite 600 Houston Heights, Houston, 77008Reports 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

06/06/16 12:15pm

Cane Rosso, 1835 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights, 77008

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:

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Ovens Finally at the Ready
06/06/16 10:30am

Former Fiesta Mart, 2300 N. Shepherd, Houston Heights, Houston, 77008

Fiesta at 2300 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008The 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.

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Cleanup on 23rd
05/31/16 2:15pm

2200 Yale St., Heights, Houston, 77008

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.

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Assigning Seats on Yale St.
05/20/16 3:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: LAYING OUT STRATEGIC ANGLES ON THE NEXT HEIGHTS BOOZE BATTLE Strategists “. . . 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 ZoneIllustration: Lulu