12/16/14 10:30am


These mighty fallen timbers are just “one of the costs of development,” writes a reader with a commanding, bird’s-eye-view of Tema Development’s just-commenced addition to the Parklane amid its planned four-phase Hermann Park-side portfolio. “I’d love to know when these trees were planted and what was originally on the lot. Purely based on size, most appear to be 30 to 60 years old and many are larger than the trees in Hermann Park.”


10/31/14 11:45am

Finding a seat in the latest round of musical chairs among Houston’s theater crowd is the Classical Theatre Company, which recently announced it is moving operations into the 175-seat Chelsea Market venue vacated by Main Street Theater earlier this year. For the previously nomadic CTC, the space means a more permanent home for its artists and audiences — as well as a single spot for its offices, storage, rehearsals, and performances.

Main Street Theater, which has a Rice Village venue on Times Blvd. readying for a long-awaited renovation, had rented the Chelsea Market space for its Theater for Youth and educational programming since 1996. Youth activities shifted recently to the Talento Bilingue de Houston center at 333 S. Jensen Dr. That move had been prompted by the kickoff of work on the recently re-christened 20-story apartment project fronting Chelsea Blvd. (The Carter, formerly known as Chelsea Montrose), which took a big bite out of a once-extensive parking area.


Stage Shuffle
10/29/14 12:00pm

CHELSEA MONTROSE TOWER KICKS OFF CONSTRUCTION WITH A NEW NAME Rendering of Proposed The Carter, Formerly Chelsea Montrose, 4 Chelsea Blvd., Museum District, HoustonPrompted by a press release, the HBJ and the Chronicle announced yesterday that construction has begun on the new apartment complex at 4 Chelsea Blvd., just east of Montrose Blvd. along the southern edge of Hwy. 59. in the Museum District. The 305-unit, 20-story building will be called The Carter, both publications reported. That’s a new name — so new, in fact, that the website for the developer, Dallas’s StreetLights Residential, still identifies the project by its former title, Chelsea–Montrose. The Chelsea name and its NYC pedigree may have conjured up unpleasant images of unmade beds, ugliness, and loud music among prospective tenants, but the new name has its own rich NYC backstory — though an entirely fictional one. As a commenter on HAIF notes, “the Carter” was the name of the complex Wesley Snipes spends the first act of the early-nineties movie New Jack City turning into a vertically integrated crack-producing-and-marketing enterprise. More recently, the appellation has come to be used as an affectionate nickname for troubled residential projects seen to be slipping into similar directions. [Houston Chronicle; Lansing City Pulse; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: StreetLights Residential

08/18/14 2:15pm

Demolition for The Southmore, Proposed Apartment Tower at Southmore Blvd. and San Jacinto St., Museum Park, Houston

This was the scene of almost-complete destruction on the Museum District block surrounded by Caroline, Southmore, Oakdale, and San Jacinto late last week, as crews from Cherry Demolition finished tearing down the gaggle of structures in the way of Hines’s 25-story apartment project, which it’s calling the Southmore. All the homes on that block are being torn down — save the one shown in the background of this photo, at the corner of Caroline and Southmore, where the owner did not sell to the developer:


Hines 25 Stories
06/27/14 4:00pm



The biggest windows in this renovated 1975 townhome in the heart of the Museum District appear to be the glass-panel garage doors, which split their at-the-sidewalk orientation between both streets forming the corner property near Bell Park. But there’s more glass to see inside. A week ago, the asking price on this property dropped to $620,000 from a May listing kickoff at $640,000.


Gray Line Tour
06/19/14 1:15pm

Rendering of Proposed Chelsea Montrose Highrise, 4 Chelsea Pl., Museum District, Houston

Chelsea Market Shopping Center,  4611-4621 Montrose Blvd., Museum District, HoustonStreet Lights Residential completed its purchase of a strip of land on the east side of the Chelsea Market shopping center (behind the buildings shown at left) on Chelsea Blvd. east of Montrose Blvd. just last month; the 3 small retail buildings there, which used to house the Blue Mambo hair salon, Nolan-Rankin Galleries, the ELS language center, and Just Wax It, were themselves waxed off the site in April. Chelsea Market owner David K. Gibbs sold the property, which extends from Chelsea Blvd. to the edge of the Southwest Fwy., to allow a larger footprint for the development of the 20-story Chelsea Montrose highrise planned next door at 4 Chelsea Blvd. (pictured at top).

The resulting parking shortage at Chelsea Market is to blame for Main Street Theater’s exit from the space in the shopping center it had rented since 1996, according to the theater’s managers and its landlord. The theater group, which was renting 4617 Montrose Blvd. on a month-to-month basis for its Theater for Youth program, had also hoped to use it to stage 3 productions next season during the renovation of its Rice Village location on Times Blvd., which is scheduled to begin in November.


Museum District Parking
05/16/14 3:15pm



It’s a square-off. One of Arquitectonica’s colorful, cube-studded townhomes on Graustark St. is back on the market, a year after its last sale, for $345K. This time around, the 30-year-old contemporary property’s asking price is $449,200.


All in a Row
04/11/14 10:45am


The restaurant spot at 4319 Montrose Blvd. just south of Richmond Ave (at left in the photo above) that until mid-February was home to Thai Sticks — and was earlier the longtime home of Monica Pope’s Boulevard Bistro — will soon be home to an unidentified new restaurant run in part by Dan and Mark Zimmerman. Four years ago, the Zimmermans turned the restaurant at their parents’ La Colombe d’Or into Restaurant Cinq; they later opened and closed Zimm’s Little Deck in the 610 Richmond spot also owned by their parents (that spot is now home to the Brooklyn Athletic Club).


Replacing Thai Sticks
04/01/14 5:15pm

1202 Milford St., Museum District, Houston

1202 Milford St., Museum District, Houston

The few interior photos included in the listing of William F. Stern’s house at the corner of Milford and Mt. Vernon show the 1990 structure stripped of most of its furnishings — but with much of its famed artwork still on the walls. Are those paintings museum-quality, though? Certifiably, it turns out: Stern, who passed away a year ago from pancreatic cancer, willed the house and its artwork to the Menil Collection. The Menil is accepting all the art into its collection, but put the house on the market last month — with an asking price of $1.475 million.


Paintings Without a Home
03/05/14 12:00pm



As with the curving private lane it fronts, a 1939 home in understated, gated Shadyside splays slightly on a pie-shaped lot (top). The stately front screens the grounds on the back side, a deliberate design by Houston architect John Staub for original clients A.J. Wray and wife Margaret, daughter of J.S. Cullinan — founder of the company that became Texaco. Writing about the property in his monograph on the architect’s “country houses,” Rice architectural historian Stephen Fox notes how the home’s pivot-point entry bay is light on windows and flanked by 2 wings with far more iron grill and veranda flourishes out back — for a focused view of private grounds with reflecting pond (above). Is the home’s styling “Regency-inspired,” Louisiana-Creole-derived, or an example of Latin Colonial Regionalism? Feel free to mull it over as you survey the property on 1.3 acres across from Rice University’s Main St. main gate, just south of the Museum District. Home to oil heirs and a former Texas governor, the well-groomed and rather proper property made its market debut Monday, asking $6.9 million.


Find Your Way Around the Wray House
01/16/14 2:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THEY’RE COMING FOR SOUTH END VILLA The South End Villa Bermuda Triangle“This little wedge of land south of 59 and between Montrose and Main is like the Bermuda Triangle of Houston. It’s not part of the street grid, and there are no roads that connect through it. Few Houstonians probably even know there’s anything back there. There are interesting 80+ year old houses, dead end snippets of roads, and well kept old garden apartments. It’s a very sleepy little wedge of the City. It was inevitable that that would change, given the proximity of this spot to downtown, Rice, the Museum District, Montrose, etc.” [Semper Fudge, commenting on Here’s Chelsea Montrose, Another 20-Story Apartment Tower for the Museum District] Illustration: Lulu

01/14/14 2:00pm

Proposed Chelsea Montrose Apartment Tower, 4 Chelsea Blvd., Montrose, Houston

Dallas apartment developer Streetlights Residential is planning to build this 20-story apartment tower on the former site of the Eye Excellence clinic at 4 Chelsea Blvd., backing up to the Southwest Fwy. just south of where it spits out the Downtown Spur. The company bought the property behind the Chelsea Market shopping center last September, tacking on an additional freeway-facing parcel. The rendering above shows the not-quite-final scheme from Dallas architects Gromatzky Dupree & Associates.


From the Site That Gave You Eye Excellence
12/13/13 2:15pm


Warwick Towers, 1111 Hermann Dr., HoustonAptly named a “bridge unit,”  this eighth-floor space spans between the 30-story Warwick Towers just north of Hermann Park in the Museum District. The 3,385-sq.-ft. condo it’s part of had $5oK knocked off its initial asking price earlier this week in its relisting by the same agent after a 6-month previous listing expired. The million-dollar view (which curiously is not pictured in the listing) is now priced at $1.15 million — plus a not-insignificant monthly maintenance fee of $2,694.


Looking North and South
10/18/13 10:00am

Here’s a rendering of that 25-story residential highrise Hines says it plans to start building in the Museum District in July. Designed by Munoz + Albin, the 259-unit, 301,000-sq.-ft. apartment building and parking garage will stand next to the Asia Society Texas Center on most of the block bound by Caroline, Oakdale, Southmore, and San Jacinto.

What’s missing from this rendering is that historic home on the corner of Caroline and Southmore whose owners chose not to sell. It appears that the property immediately west of the holdouts’ and next to the light rail line will become a 10,000-sq.-ft. “public-access park,” reports the Houston Business Journal: “In addition, there is potential for small retail space adjacent to the park, such as a café or light food services.”

Rendering: Hines

10/09/13 4:05pm

Here are a pair of early drawings and the site plan for that apartment tower Hines has said it’s considering putting up across the street from the Asia Society Texas Center in the Museum District. Previous reports and rumors pegged the building at 20 or 22 stories, but these elevations appear to show a 25-story structure, with 19 floors of apartments perched atop a 6-level parking garage. This drawing shows the north façade. The block Hines has in mind is bound by Caroline, Oakdale, Southmore, and San Jacinto, where the light rail runs. But it appears that the building won’t take up that whole block: The site plan shows that the tower has been drawn around that home on the corner of Southmore and Caroline, whose owners have been rumored to have refused to sell.