01/21/16 11:30am

Big Tex Tree Nursery, 10939 Katy Fwy., Memorial, Houston, 77079

The Memorial Branch of Big Tex Tree Nurseries at 10939 Katy Fwy. is closed for good, and its tree-dealings have moved south to the company’s Sugar Land locale for now. The Christmas trees disappeared after the holiday season, and everything else followed suit: “even the port-a-potty,” writes the reader who sent in photos of the now-bare freeway-side lot at Wycliffe and I-10, just outside Beltway 8. A Big Tex employee says the company is planning to open up another Houston location at some point, but for now the other spots in Sugar Land, Conroe, and Spring will have to do.

The lot is shown below post-faux-forest-departure; meanwhile, someone was out marking up the sidewalk with orange paint last week:


Land Cleared on I-10
01/12/16 9:30am

Paradise Motel, 8405 Hempstead Rd., Hempstead Industrial District, Houston, 77008

A last fleeting glimpse — a reader snapped this shot of the permanently closed Paradise Motel at 8405 Hempstead Rd., between the junctions with W. 11th St. and Washington Ave and just northeast of Hines’s Somerset Green development. A rent-a-fence is now up around the 6-building complex, which sits next door to Custom Duct and across the railroad tracks from Non-Ferrous Extrusions metal fabrication. The hotel opened in 1963, back in the pre-290 days when the Hempstead Hwy. was the primary route to Austin.

Photo: Gail Garcia via Swamplot inbox

Industrial District Motel
07/08/15 4:45pm

Construction Trailer for Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, 1111 N. Dairy Ashford St., Memorial, Houston

From the street, a Swamplot reader notes, the roll-on vehicle pictured here looks just like your typical construction trailer. But come around the side you can see the banner pinned to it, announcing a new Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers. The latest link in the growing fast-food chain is about to arrive on the former site of the Lucky Village Chinese Buffet that was torn down at 1111 N. Dairy Ashford last year. The new Freddy’s between St. Mary’s Ln. and Barryknoll will join a parade of beef purveyors (Sam’s Burgers, Lynn’s Steakhouse, Hebert’s Specialty Meats) and fast-food joints (Jack-in-the-Box, Sonic, and the Raising Cane’s right next door) lining the west side of Dairy Ashford, roughly opposite Spring Branch ISD’s AstroTurf-lined Darrell Tully Stadium.

Photo: Brian Walz

04/10/15 5:30pm

Demolition of Woodway Square Apartments, 1300 Wood Hollow Dr., Houston

A shopper at the newly scooted-over Whole Foods Market at 1407 Voss Rd. (where Randalls once stood) sends these pics of the action seen taking place over the back fence of the grocery store, which opened this week. There, excavators are demolishing the west section of the Woodway Square Apartments and neighboring trees immediately behind the store’s loading dock. Here’s a view of one of the knocked-down sections, with another waiting patiently, ready to go:


01/30/15 11:45am

Proposed 33-Story Residential Tower for San Felipe St., Houston

Proposed 33-Story Residential Tower for San Felipe St., HoustonAre we once again entering the “mightaswell” stage in the Houston real estate lifecycle? You know — the season for architecture firms near and far who’ve given up most hope that that bold, sorta-hush-hush, but definitively conceived-in-boom design they’ve been slaving over for the last several months will ever actually get built to come to terms with the idea that putting the pretty renderings on display for fans to gawk over what might have been isn’t such a bad consolation prize?

If so, these drawings of a 33-story residential tower on San Felipe — just west of Voss Rd., commenters on the HAIF message board figure — appear to be right on queue. They now appear in some of the new marketing materials of Dallas architects Humphreys & Partners, with no mention of a client. But a few details do come with:


Going Somewhere?
01/29/15 4:00pm



Which way is the view? From the balcony beneath the cantilevered section that marks the entry of the Modern mansion on nearly an acre in Pine Wood Estates? Through a pair of driveway gates off Memorial Drive, right where it makes its first bend west of the West Loop? Via butt-jointed glass walls, which open up further an already open floor plan (above)? MC2 Architects (pronounced Emcee Squared; publications have problems lifting their digits) designed the minimalist-but-lux tiltwall assembly for a client in 2012. It was first offered for sale 100 days ago, for $4.99 million.


Modern on Memorial
01/05/15 1:30pm

Former Las Alamedas Restaurant, 8615 Katy Fwy., Hedwig Village, Houston

We’re still awaiting photos of the scene — both to confirm and to allow everyone to revel in the destruction — but a regular tipster informs Swamplot that the building backing up to Buffalo Bayou on the south side of I-10 near Voss Rd. that until mid-2009 housed the Las Alamedas Restaurant is being demolished. The back side of the building has been ripped open, the reader reports;, but as of a visit yesterday the front of the building remained intact.


Now It’s Never Coming Back
07/16/14 4:00pm




What’s next for the modestly proportioned  home in Bunker Hill Village that Frank Lloyd Wright designed in 1954 for insurance executive William Thaxton (top and middle photos) and the more recent, more commodious addition (above) of 1995 by Bob Inaba of Kirksey Architecture? The pedigreed and restored property, on a cul-de-sac off Strey Ln., which peels off Memorial Dr. east of Gessner, landed on the market Monday with a $3.195 million asking price. That’s a bit less than the $3.5 million sought in 2010 when owner Allen Gaw previously tried to move on — but a little more than the $2.9 million that earlier listing shrunk to after a year of no takers.

Wright Righted?
03/25/14 12:15pm

Proposed Memorial Green Mixed Use Development, 12505 and 12601 Memorial Dr., Houston

Site of Proposed Memorial Green Mixed Use Development, 12505 and 12601 Memorial Dr., HoustonA 13-and-a-half-acre park-like lot on Memorial Dr. just north of the Ethan’s Glen condo complex and across the street from the Lantern Lane Shopping Center where Fresh Market took over a former Rice Epicurean market is the planned site of a new mixed-use development. A joint venture between the property’s longtime owner, Methodist Hospital, and the developer of nearby CityCentre is behind Memorial Green, which is meant to include apartments, offices, and restaurant and retail space, as well as single-family homes. “The project will center around an urban green space, which connects the uses in a pedestrian environment,” reads a description of the project in the annual report of Midway Companies.

“Local dog owners will be devastated,” notes a Swamplot reader. The lot has long been used as an informal dog park. Surveyors have been seen at work on the property, which is sprinkled with tall pines.

A couple of blocky renderings (above and below) of early concepts for Memorial Green, planned for Methodist’s lots and 12505 and 12601 Memorial Dr., were also included in Midway’s annual report.


Memorial Green