02/20/18 10:45am

The Label Warehouse clothing resale store 3 doors down from Boomtown Coffee on 19th St. is now selling off the last of its stock ahead of the planned closing announced on its Facebook page earlier this month. The Heights thrift venue and its Midtown sibling location on the corner of Main and Eagle streets — also on its way out of business — are the last 2 spots remaining in the chain, which once held outposts in Conroe, Misouri City, and Angleton, as well as others in Houston. Its first location — opened at 6708 Harrisburg under the name Insurance Claims Fire Sale Warehouse in the early 60s — closed last year.

The photo at top looks south across 19th St. to show the few items left in the soon-to-be shuttered 7,425-sq.-ft. Heights building.

Photos: Some Random Property Gossip (storefront); Chelsi H. (sign)

Hand-Me-Down
02/15/18 2:00pm

The skeleton of a new strip center across the street from the Alexan Yale St. apartments — dubbed Heights Village by a banner attached to its construction fencing — is now rising on the corner of Yale and W. 5th St. Construction began on the just-under-an-acre parcel last month, reports the Swamplot reader who snapped the above photo of the site from outside the Alexan complex. The corner — on the opposite end of the block from where Better Luck Tomorrow opened last year — had been vacant since 2010, when a warehouse on the site was demolished.

The aerial rendering above from Cisneros Design Studio shows what an upper-story Alexan Yale St. resident might see out the window when the retail center is complete. Parking lots hug the building on 3 sides and include entrances on Yale, 5th. St., and Yale Ct. — a short dead end that runs behind the property. Patio seating is shown fronting the chamfered corner on the building’s northwest quadrant, and an elevated walkway runs along its storefronts, a few steps up from the lot.

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Yale Retail
02/14/18 11:45am

Braun Realty is gearing up to replace Johnny’s Gold Brick’s next door neighbor and redo the warehouse behind the 2 structures as part of a new retail development it has planned for the corner of Yale and Aurora. An entity connected to the developer snatched up the property on Yale — as well as a few adjacent parcels east on Aurora — last October. The site plan above taken from Braun’s leasing flyer for the complex now indicates all 3 buildings decked out with new adjacent patios. East of the buildings, a parking lot sports entrances on both Aurora and an alley that runs north of the site.

The photo at top shows the front door to Johnny’s Gold Brick next to the brown brick building that Lucas Craftsmanship contractors moved out of in 2015. Here’s the view from the corner of Yale and Aurora showing the 2-story structure that’s slated to replace the former construction office:

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Heights Corner Shake-Up
01/31/18 2:45pm

Which suits the new Washington Ave better: sidewalk-fronting buildings or strip centers? If ever there were a project that illustrated that fundamental choice, it’s this one. New exterior renderings from developer NewQuest show the block of Washington between Leverkuhn and Jackson Hill St., just west of Five Guys’s strip center spot, redone as Washington Central — a  shopping center with one building set back from the street and the other left out on the curb.

The 9,040-sq.-ft. planned strip center building shown fronting the parking lot in the renderings above provides some company for the existing brick building east of it. Planted on the corner of Washington and Leverkuhn since 1930, the 2-story structure has been empty since Guadalajara Bakery shuttered in it nearly 6 years ago.

New large windows open the bakery building — shown below with some legalese on its face — onto the street:

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Walk or Drive?
01/26/18 1:30pm

DRINKING WINE AT LUNCH IS NOT A CRIME, pleads signage outside of Postino, a chain of 7 restaurants in Arizona — and one in Colorado — now on its way to the west side of the Heights Mercantile development on W. 7th St. The photo at top shows construction underway on Postino’s patio, which will sit outside the restaurant on the corner of Yale and 7th St.

Clothing stores Rye 51 and The Gypsy Wagon opened adjacent to Postino’s planed spot last year inside the structure labeled “Bldg. 1” in the Heights Mercantile site plan below:

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7th at Yale
01/24/18 4:00pm

Harris County’s Institute of Forensic Sciences has now officially determined that the bones found in a holdout house on Allston St. now wrapped by an apartment complex whose developer came knocking but was unable to acquire the property belong to the homeowner who protested the development. Mary Cerruti spent time documenting construction on the Alexan Yale St. Yale at 6th apartments (formerly called Alexan Heights) starting in 2013 as they went up behind and around her bungalow at 610 Allston. Squinting behind red drugstore eyeglasses at a planning commission meeting on Valentines Day that year, the 61-year-old testified that “Literally, this project is going to be in my backyard. I’m surrounded.” Two years later, she disappeared.

Cerruti’s former home has been available for sale since March of last year. (“Amazing opportunity in the Houston Heights. New construction all around and the house is surrounded by the new Alexan Heights Luxury Apartments,” reads the listing.) Last November, the asking price for the 2-bedroom, 1-bath property was jacked up to $475,000. The only other property on the block left out of the apartment development is the vacant lot next door.

The county medical examiner’s new findings confirm what investigators had long suspected but had previously been unable to prove. Last June, an autopsy on the skeleton (which had been significantly chewed-up by rodents while it lay undiscovered inside the bungalow) showed that one of its legs was healing from a break — perhaps caused when its owner fell through a hole in the attic floorboards, into the spot high in the bungalow’s walls where her remains were later found.

Crime experts walked back their speculations 2 weeks ago, however, after DNA comparisons between one of the skeleton’s teeth and samples submitted by Cerruti’s relatives showed no exact match. But examiners were able to make their identification after comparing the skull’s jawbones to a photo of Cerruti and the video of her appearance before the planning commission, reports the Chronicle‘s Emily Foxhall.

Trammell Crow started work on the 5-story Alexan complex in 2013 behind and around Cerruti’s then-yellow bungalow:

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The Plot Thickens
01/19/18 2:30pm

Davis Commercial is showing images of a renovated building on the corner of 11th St. and Rutland in hopes of enticing a burger-flipping collective or something similar to take over the space. Q St. Salon & Boutique shared the 2,712-sq.-ft. building behind the parking-lot gazebo with Heights Discount Dry Cleaners until the latter closed down last year. A bungalow that now sits adjacent to Q St.’s spot to the west (hidden behind the building in the photo at top) is excised from the renderings.

The rendering above shows the building’s windows wiped clean of advertisements for laundry deals and extended to the ground. New awnings are shown in place of the blue vinyl ones now covering the storefronts at 402 W. 11th.

An 800-sq.-ft. patio is also planned for the building’s frontage along 11th St.:

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Wash Cycle
01/19/18 12:30pm

Here’s the site on the block of 22nd St. bookended by the Vapor Gypsy e-cigarette shop and the Carl Barnes Funeral Home — and peppered with townhomes, an auto repair shop, and Refrigeration Gaskets of Texas — where 2 new row houses are about to be built. Wile Interests and Capital Realty are constructing the pair they’re calling the Bungalows on 22nd St. between Durham and Shepherd — in place of 2 dilapidated bungalows that were torn down on the same site last year.

A rowing-focused workout center called Crew Fitness will occupy the eastern bungalow in the development at 715 W. 22nd St.:

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One Oar the Other
01/16/18 1:30pm

Heights Vinyl is getting ready to box up its collection of grooved disks, turntables, and other analog audio items before bolting from the building it shares with Cat Veterinary Clinic at 3122 White Oak Dr. (The record store’s former neighbor and industry peer — 3mA Audio — moved out of the space directly next to the vet’s office last year.) Last April, an entity connected to developer Ancorian bought the 8,900-sq.-ft. strip — as well as the adjacent apartment building at 3110 White Oak.

On Sunday, Heights Vinyl announced via Facebook that it would be moving to a Fifth Ward warehouse building south of I-10 at 3301 Cline St. That building is divided into 2 tenant spaces — Heights Vinyl will take over the one shown below, fronting the parking lot along Grove St.:

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Fifth Ward Bound
01/12/18 2:45pm

The 3 fluorescent-vested figures in the photo at top are standing on the third floorplate of the 15,000-sq.-ft. mixed-use building now going up on the northwest corner of Studewood and Omar streets. Developer Chris Dray of NewQuest is planting the 18,731-sq.-ft. property at 927 Studewood with a 3-story office structure including ground-floor retail called Heights Central (not to be confused with Heights Central Station). A house and 2 small retail structures — one of them formerly home to Dan’s Chrysler Marine Service — were demolished on the property in 2015.

Boulevard Realty plans to move into the complex from its current office in the space formerly occupied by Oolala, Heights Candy Bar, and Tulips & Tutus 2 blocks to the south. The storefront portion of company’s future digs is indicated below in a site plan taken from NewQuest’s leasing brochure:

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Heights Corner Redo
01/11/18 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: THERE’S STILL A MISSING LINK IN THE BAYOU BIKE CONNECTOR “It’s not complete if you are trying to take the MKT Trail from the Heights into downtown and beyond while staying off streets. The Bayou Greenways interactive map still shows a dotted line for the missing connection between the MKT Trail and the stretch of the trail at Stude Park. When completed, that tiny section will make a big difference.” [Gretchen Lindquist, commenting on Houston’s Bayou Biking Connector Is Now Complete] Image: Bayou Greenways 2020

01/10/18 1:15pm

A TWIST IN THE MYSTERY OF WHO OWNS THOSE HEIGHTS HOLDOUT HOUSE BONES Maybe you were expecting DNA testing to identify those human remainsfound inside the wall of a Heights bungalow on Allston St.  — as those of Mary Cerruti, the missing 61-year-old woman who refused to let Trammell Crow annex her home as part of the Alexan Heights apartment complex the developer built on the block. After sending one of the recovered teeth to the University of North Texas last year to compare it to DNA samples from 3 of Cerruti’s relatives, the results are in — and there’s no exact match, reports Emily Foxhall. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences is still working to see if there’s any connection between Cerruti and skeleton left behind at 610 Allston, but according to a spokesperson, further study will take “a lengthy period of time.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: HAR

01/09/18 12:30pm

Just how many would-be customers have been pulling up to the Golden Bagels & Coffee storefront at the corner of White Oak and Oxford, yanking on the locked front door, then walking away? Enough that the proprietors have seen fit to post a handwritten sign this morning telling them they’ll SEE YOU TOMORROW. The Heights’ first-ever bagel shop has already received 3 reviews on Yelp — one a 1-star rating (since upgraded to 3 stars) knocking the establishment for not being open this past Sunday even though the hours painted on the front door suggest otherwise, and two 5-star reviews submitted with the intention to counterbalance the first, noting that the shop at 3119 White Oak Dr. has not yet opened for business.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Heights Bagel Stakeout