05/19/16 10:30am

Mecom Fountain de-restoration, Main at Montrose, Museum District, Houston, 77006

The blue all over the Mecom Fountain on Monday signaled the start of the now-fully-funded work to undo the damage to the 1960s monument caused by the quickly-backtracked application of limestone panels to its exterior earlier this spring. Also on the docket, as the panel damage gets fully repaired: another restoration, this one using architect Eugene Werlin’s original plans (which the fundraising group Friends of the Fountain says it found in a Houston parks department office).

The group says workers are using historically appropriate materials, including Cocoon brand liquid polymer coating (to be layered over the blue primer on the exterior) and Moon Dust plaster (to line the insides of the basins). Here’s a look at parts of the 1964 architectural drawings, which call for Cocoon in the notes:

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Drained on Main
05/03/16 10:30am

MFAH Stickers at Fannin at Montrose, Museum District, Houston, 77005

A reader sends a few shots of a developing piece along Fannin St. composed of traffic signal poles and discarded Museum of Fine Arts visitor stickers. The section above can be viewed from the intersection of Fannin with Montrose Blvd. (just south of the Mecom Fountain near the name change to Hermann Park Dr.) To the southwest lies Hermann Park’s Grand Gateway corridor (the string of light-rail-divided esplanades that started getting jazzed up as part of Hermann Park Conservancy’s 100th birthday present to the space); the landscaped strip runs directly north-south from the fountain roundabout to the Sam Houston statue.

Poles in the vicinity have been accumulating stickers since at least 2013. Here are a few more artsy angles on the scene:

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Stuck in the Museum District
02/22/16 2:45pm

1638 Banks, Houston, 77006

An uncovered courtyard is the centerpiece of this former home of Astrodome and ex-Houston Post building architect Ralph Anderson, who designed the 1,805-sq.-ft. space and lived there leading up to his death in 1990.  The 2-bedroom 2-bath house features floor-to-ceiling windows and brick floors arrayed around the central atrium, which held a large tree until early last year.  The 1959 home, now housing a much smaller tree in a courtyard planter, went on the market a week and a half ago at $875,000.

The front door is set into a patterned concrete wall:

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A Tree Grows in Boulevard Oaks
12/23/15 2:45pm

4504 Caroline, Museum District, Houston, 77004
Do you have an untapped entrepreneurial side and flautas worth flaunting? This 3-bedroom, 2-bath 1930’s home comes equipped with its own taco stand, ready to serve your culinary ambitions. Located on 7,500 sq.ft. directly behind the Mexican Consulate, the 2,882 sq.-ft. building and attachment are yours for $420,000. (In related news, Happy Jalapeno is now closed.)

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Very Hot on the Market
05/18/15 3:00pm

THE GREATEST CONCENTRATION OF NEW HOUSTON APARTMENTS IS IN AND AROUND MONTROSE Rendering of Proposed Encore CC&G Apartments, 1341 Castle Ct., Montrose, HoustonThe Susanne, the Lofts at Mid Main, 3400 Montrose, Camden McGowen Station, The Carter, Broadstone Skyline, The Southmore, Alexan Midtown, Encore CC&G (pictured here), the Axis, and the DLC at Midtown. That’s Catie Dixon’s list of 11 multifamily complexes with more than 200 units each now going up (or about to). Together, they add up to 3,195 new apartments — but a bunch of smaller buildings brings the total number of new apartments now scheduled to debut this year and next in Montrose, Midtown, and the Museum District to just under 4,400, she calculates: “That’s almost one-third of multifamily development underway in Harris County, PMRG director of research Ariel Guerrero tells us.” [Real Estate Bisnow] Rendering of Encore CC&G apartments: Encore Enterprises

12/16/14 10:30am

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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.”

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Tim-berrr!
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.

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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:

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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).

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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.

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

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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.

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Find Your Way Around the Wray House