02/22/17 3:45pm

Demo site of Archstone Memorial Heights Apartments, Studewood at Washington Ave., Houston, 77007

Demo site of Archstone Memorial Heights Apartments, Studewood at Washington Ave., Houston, 77007

The excavator treatment is complete for that subset of Archstone Memorial Heights apartment buildings that’ll be replaced by a mixed-use midrise with an H-E-B at the bottom, a neighbor notes. The shot above shows one of the buildings midway through the deconstruction process, which began earlier this month after that fenceless gate showed up on the site. Also noted during the demo weeks — a handful of firefighters rappelling down the side of the empty unit above.

As of about sunset yesterday, the site is now fully emptied out:

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Climbing the Walls on Wash Ave
12/29/16 10:45am

J. Black's, 110 South Heights Blvd., Memorial Heights, Houston,  77007

J. Black's, 110 South Heights Blvd., Memorial Heights, Houston,  77007The building housing the Houston expansion of Austin’s J. Black’s at the southwest corner of Washington Ave and Heights Blvd. now bears a new for-info-please-call sign, a reader notes. The bar appears to have events planned through at least New Year’s Eve; the 5,948-sq.-ft. space was only listed online as up for lease about 2 weeks ago. Back before 2012, the property was home to Phil’s Texas Barbecue, for about the same amount of time as it took Phil himself to restaurantize the corner’s original muffler shop setup. And soon another corner at the intersection will be getting a full workover as well, if all goes as planned — J. Black’s sits across Heights Blvd. from the subsection of the Memorial Heights apartments slated to go away some time next quarter, to make way for that planned Midway midrise with the H-E-B at the bottom:

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Cornered in Memorial Heights
11/15/16 11:30am

Rendering of Mimosa Terrace, 2240 Mimosa Dr., Avalon Place, Houston, 77019

A rep from Citiscape tells Swamplot that the company will be starting up presales for 11 multi-million-dollar condo units in the 7-story midrise it’s planning for 2240 Mimosa Dr. The building would replace the 1965 apartment complex currently occupying the space (half a block east from the corner with Revere St. where that other condo midrise project got tangled in a protracted variance request fight last fall). Citiscape’s chief designer says the project is designed to eventually “fade into the landscape” with the help of some up-the-wall greenery on the facade:

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Camouflage Near Avalon
10/11/16 12:45pm

October 2016 look around Discovery Green and George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas, Downtown, Houston, 77010

Supercolumn Going Up on George R. Brown Convention Center, Downtown HoustonBob Russell sends a fresh slew of downtown updates, this time checking up on the state of the George R. Brown Convention Center area’s ongoing redo. The structure’s main entrance on Avenida De Las Americas has been getting a major facelift — the supercolumns installed last summer have since turned white, and the glassy  facade has stepped outward and dropped a few stripes, in line with the plans released previously by semi-public city branding organization Houston First:

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Super Bowl Conditioning
10/03/16 11:30am

Encore Castle Court, 1314 Castle Ct., Castle Court, Houston, 77006
Encore Castle Court, 1314 Castle Ct., Castle Court, Houston, 77006The L-shaped hole dug on the site vacated last year by The Place apartment complex has been getting filled up, and some wooden framing is now beginning to peek over the top of the leafy northern wall of 59 at the Graustark St. bridge. The plan for Encore’s under-construction Castle Court development involves stacking 5 floors of apartments on the site, with additional levels of parking underneath — the rendering above depicts its above-ground height as a floor taller than Trammell Crow’s newish Muse complex just down Graustark at the corner with Richmond Ave.

The Encore project fronts Castle Ct. at the intersection with Yupon St., and faces Graustark just south of Black Hole Coffee Shop and Graustark Laundry, as shown in the floorplan below from the company’s brochure for would-be foreign investors under the EB-5 program:

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Scaling Up Castle Court
09/14/16 4:45pm

Rendering of under-construction Kirby Collection, Kirby Dr. at Colquitt St., Upper Kirby, Houston

Rolling-sphere-themed restaurant and entertainment chain Pinstripes has just leased up some space in the under-construction Kirby Collection (and hey — there might even be some bocce players nearby still looking for a new court!) That’s the first confirmed tenant for the project, which Thor Equities wants to open by the end of next year; the 33,600 sq. ft. of leased space makes up around half of the total retail space available, and is split across both retail floors of the complex (shown in the foreground above, with a row of trees peeking down at Kirby Dr. from the edge of the roof). Pinstripes will take over a 7,260-sq.-ft. subdivision of first floor space, out of the segment labeled 23,900 in the ground floor plan below:

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Leasing Ball Rolling
09/06/16 11:00am

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

Renderings of The Victoria Condo Midrise, 829 Yale St. Houston Heights, Houston, 77007The balcony-loaded face of Fisher Home’s The Victoria condo midrise is now stretching up past the halfway mark of the structure’s planned Heights ascent, notes a reader. The 6 residential levels will sit atop a few above-and-below-ground parking levels, per the rendering that showed up in unit listings earlier this summer. Camelot Realty’s listing for the 40-unit property currently touts prices starting at $300,000 and a Christmas-time move-in date.

That’s the 1950s apartment complex at 821 Yale to the left in the drive-by shot at the top; here’s a snap of the building buddied up with the century-old home-turned-law-office at 833 Yale on the other side:

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Half-Height in the Heights
08/26/16 5:45pm

Rendering of Tianqing Group/DC Partners Allen Pwky. Mixed Use Site, Allen Pkwy. at Gillette St., Fourth Ward, Houston, 77019

A look at what could be headed for the rest of that 10.5-acre Gillette St. former city park-slash-brownfield property comes from Tianqing Group, the Chinese firm involved with DC Partners’ recently announced mixed-use development at the site (to be funded via the EB-5 investment-for-greencards program). The northern 6 acres of the property (which at various points in its storied history has housed San Felipe Park, a SWAT substation, and the Gillette St. garbage incinerator) were sold to a then-unnamed investor last year, and DC Partners snagged the land in May.

The view above, displayed on Tianqing’s description page for the project, shows 3 highrises and 2 midrises in place at the edge of Fourth Ward, with the Downtown skyline visible in the distance to the right. Another of the renderings includes slightly clipped logo marks from both DC Partners and architecture firm Gensler; that rendering (below) provides a closer look at the towers from the west, as well as some green rooftop terraces:

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West of Downtown
08/23/16 5:45pm

1403 McGowen St., Midtown, Houston, 77004
Variance request at 1403 McGowen St.

Signage up on McGowen between La Branch and Austin streets heralds the property owner’s recent request for a few variances approvals from the city, include reduced building line setbacks on the site. Plans submitted with the request show cross sections of an 8-story midrise (arranged as 3 levels of parking topped by condo units above), which the application says was planned back when the owners were under the impression that the lot already had reduced building setbacks following city approvals of a previous owner’s project on the land that fell through.

As was discovered during the city’s permitting review, the previous variance approval was only applicable to the scrapped project, though the application claims that caveat wasn’t noted with mentions of the variance attached to the property’s plat records. City planners purportedly told the developers (which appear to include Knudson and Allied Orion Group) that they could get the same reduced setback lines approved again if they turn the first floor of the condo project into residences or retail.

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Midtown Condo Limbo
07/15/16 11:30am

3516 Montrose Blvd., First Montrose Commons, Houston, 77006

A reader’s aerial snapshot shows that the site of the former River Cafe at the corner of Montrose and Marshall St. is now empty once again, following the removal of all objectionably large signage advertising Riverway’s recently shelved condo midrise project. Riverway went through 2 different designs at the site, swapping the original renderings in 2014 for a larger and sleeker structure thematically tied (at least by the choice of architecture firm) to Philip Johnson’s Glass House. The writing was off the wall by early summer; Riverway officially told the HBJ that the project was off at the end of June.

Photo of 3516 Montrose Blvd.: Swamplot inbox

Mowed Down on Marshall St.
07/14/16 11:30am

River Oaks Manor Condos, 2325 Welch St., River Oaks, Houston, 77019

The above corner of Welch and Revere streets, which currently holds the 2-story River Oaks Manor condo complex, looks to be trading up for a much taller occupant: a 9-story condo midrise going by the name The Revere at River Oaks. A 6-story condo midrise project called Revere Park was previously planned at the corner of Mimosa and Revere, one block to the south; that project was denied several variance requests by the city last year, with objecting residents claiming the area couldn’t handle increased density.

River Oaks Manor (which is itself outside the boundaries of River Oaks) sits on a narrow rhomboidal lot to the southeast of the intersection; the building footprint’s slightly acute and obtuse angles are complemented by sets of triangular windows on several corner units. Kirksey Architecture’s design for the proposed midrise structure seems to stick more firmly rectilinear shapes, however:

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Avalon Place
07/07/16 1:00pm

Giorgetti Houston, 2710 Steel St., Upper Kirby, Houston, 77098

Signage up on Steel St. near the corner with Virginia is now advertising a planned 7-story condo midrise called Giorgetti Houston. The notice is standing on the northwestern section of the land vacated in 2015 by the Kirby Court Apartments; the project’s 2710 Steel St. address is immediately west of the land previously tagged for a planned restaurant-footed apartment highrise complex from Hanover (a project which spent most of 2015 in investment limbo).

The would-be-nextdoor condo midrise, which is touting interiors furnished by Italian designer Giorgetti to match the name, appears to be backed by Stolz Partners (which last May announceddifferent 7-story condo project called The Sophie at Bayou Bend). Here’s a clearer look at the rendering, direct from the project’s fledgling sales website:

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Styling Steel St.
06/08/16 11:30am

3516 Montrose Blvd., First Montrose Commons, Houston, 77006 3516 Montrose Blvd., First Montrose Commons, Houston, 77006The west wall has been breached at 3615 Montrose Blvd., where Riverway had previously planned to break ground on a Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Glass House-themed condo midrise this spring. The 130-ft. sign (per a city inspector’s disapproving measurement) advertising the most recent condominium project planned for the corner at Marshall St. has been blacked out for about a month, according to a reader surveying the empty corner lot from above.

The comparatively tiny sales center sign is missing altogether; the same round of March inspection ticketing asked for it to be removed from the property. Also gone: HAR’s sales listings for the building’s individual units, which the site indicates were also removed around the end of April and the beginning of May.

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Montrose at Marshall
06/03/16 12:45pm

A very quick summary of a long, long peek over the construction fence at Kirby Dr. and Colquitt St. shows the progress to date on the mixed-use Kirby Collection development. Developer Thor Equities has been working over the former site of the Kirby funeral bars since last fall, and has reached the top level of the complex’s parking garage. Thor plans to have the main skeleton of the office tower done by November and to put the last structural bits of the ellipse-footed residential tower in place by early 2017.

Video: Thor Equities

Making Short Work Of It
05/19/16 4:45pm

Corporate Plaza I Demolition, Kirby at Norfolk, Upper Kirby, Houston, 77098

Corporate Plaza I Demolition, Kirby at Norfolk, Upper Kirby, Houston, 77098Here’s the raw scene captured around lunch time today, when a small pack of excavators was sighted rooting through the debris at the base of the former Corporate Plaza I midrise. The increasingly see-through office building was fully de-striped some time between yesterday (second photo) and noon today (top); below is a quick video of the excavator crew gently yanking down a piece of what appears to be the 4th-story floor: 

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Break Another Little Piece