- 4411 La Branch St. [HAR]
Higher-density development has been closing in on a renovated 1938 property on a corner in Turner Court (a pocket of Museum Park). The same trend has been under way within, where sleek office spaces stack up — though the column-studded buildout is more elegant than found in a common cube farm. In its listing earlier this week, the home-or-office property’s asking price is identified as $549,999. Some NOLA-inspired ornamentals trick out both levels of the front porch, which faces south on a stub of Hermann Dr. with access to the South Fwy. feeder road. But it’s cut off from the section a block south that heads west through Hermann Park from a big intersection shared with MacGregor Way at MacGregor Park.
ANOTHER CHELSEA GETS AWAY Good morning! It’s 2015, oil is already checking out the territory south of $50 a barrel, and Swamplot is ready to begin its coverage of cancellation and delay announcements from real estate developers. We’ll start this one gently, with an Inside the Loop project you probably hadn’t even heard of — though its name certainly sounds familiar: The developers of Chelsea Museum District, a proposed apartment complex atop a podium garage with a bit of retail thrown in planned for the north side of Blodgett St. between Crawford and La Branch, tell the HBJ‘s Paul Takahashi they are “contemplating holding [the] project to see how the multifamily market fares amid low oil prices.” But don’t confuse Trans Unity Investment’s Chelsea Museum District with another project less than a mile to the west at 4 Chelsea Blvd. that used to be called Chelsea Montrose, but has since been renamed The Carter (no, not kidding), and which developer StreetLights Residential has already begun building (see construction photo above from just before Christmas). [Houston Business Journal] Photo: Marc Longoria
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.”
And here is how Tema hopes all of its developments will fit together one day on the northern edge of Hermann Park.
That just-begun 7-story apartment building — “Phase I” above — is going in at 1699 Hermann Dr., immediately west of Tema’s thirtysomething-year-old, 35-story Parklane Houston Condos tower.
Phase II — also 7 stories, groundbreaking TBA — slots in behind the 7-story building and looks over Ewing St. towards downtown.
And then there’s the proposed tall and twisty Tower at Hermann Place, the 42-story behemoth that was once slated to be up by the middle of next year…
Construction commenced earlier this week on Tema Development’s Hermann Park Residences you see rendered above. The 7-story building is going up at 1699 Hermann Dr. overlooking the park and a heartbeat or two east of the Health Museum, a little to the west of Tema’s 35-story Parklane tower, and possibly within earshot of the lions roaring at the zoo.
The Residences are intended to be the first of Tema’s three-phase plan for their 6.8 acre plot. That twisty 42-story tower Tema has proposed is still 4-6 years away, according to a company spokesperson.
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:
Deccan Development is the firm behind the unlabeled and unannounced 36-unit brick-and-stucco apartment building now under construction at 1508 Blodgett St. just north of MacGregor Elementary in Blodgett Park. And here’s a grayscale version of a rendering of the design, by Houston’s Clerkley Watkins Group (architects of the new District at Greenbriar apartments in town, among other apartment projects). For the Hampstead, 4 stories of apartments are going on top of 2 garage levels, which will be accessed from separate driveways on Blodgett and La Branch.
Rendering: Clerkley Watkins Group/Deccan Development
There’s a sign up for the bank that financed the project, but that’s about it for a large construction project that just got going in Blodgett Park. Crews are digging on the southeast corner of Blodgett and La Branch streets, south of the 59-288 crotch and one block north of MacGregor Elementary. A few 75-year-old duplexes stood on the site until last month.
And they are digging — about 8 ft. deep so far, says reader Seán Murphy, who passed by the site at 1508 Blodgett St. and sent photos of the scene: “They’ve got piles keeping back a make-shift retaining wall up against the adjacent townhomes” (see photo at left). Going into that spot: a 36-unit apartment structure on top of a podium garage. According to permits approved earlier this month, the project is being called The Hampstead.
The former single-story office building at 4820 Caroline St. where the coworking space called the Caroline Collective set up shop and operated for 5 years until last August was demolished earlier this year. And the companies redeveloping the property are sharing details of the 5-story condo building they plan to build in its place. A giant oak tree in the back was taken down with the demo, but Urban Flats Builder (formerly known as Infinity Texas Development) is still planning to call its building the Oaks on Caroline. The remaining oak, in front of the property, is featured in the rendering shown above.
A reader who’s already delved a bit into the menu at the “definitely not fine dining, but really tasty stuff” offered at the Maxwell Street Grill walkup (or more likely, driveup) that opened up last Saturday in the former Discount Liquor store spot at 4902 Almeda Rd. between Wichita and Rosedale has a few tips for follow-on sausage samplers: “A big pro is that it’s open late every night: until midnight Monday through Wednesday, and until 3am Thursday through Sunday. Definitely decent fare along the Almeda/Museum District corridor, for which there’s a demand. Happy to have it close to my house, especially since I’m from Chicago originally.”
A reader reports the sighting of an excavator and dump truck next to shuttered coworking space Caroline Collective at 4820 Caroline St. between Rosedale and Arbor Pl. in Museum Park yesterday. Plus, pictured at right, a little tag indicating that a required pre-demo sewer disconnect has been completed for the converted office property. “Sure enough, the time has come for it to be torn down,” the reader opines. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what will be going up, but according to [someone I ran into on the site] the correct answer is: townhouses.”
The city has extracted $225,000 from the owners and contractors of a Bellaire developer who extracted two 100-year-old Live Oak trees from public property adjacent to 2 separate Inner Loop redevelopment sites over the summer. That’s a little less than half of the amount the city originally sought. The settlement ends the lawsuit it filed in October against Signature City Homes owner Barry Gomel and the demo contractor he hired to remove the 36-inch-diameter specimen pictured above at 1704 Blodgett St. (the home was torn down in July); it’ll also allow the developer to proceed with construction of the 4-townhome development it had planned for that location. The second tree was next to a bungalow Signature demolished at 801 Bomar.
Photo: Allyn West
This is one of the trees that the city alleges was “wantonly” and “maliciously” chopped down over the weekend by developer Signature City Homes. (This and another 100-year-old live oak that used to stand across town on Bomar in Hyde Park.) In response, the city is seeking $500,000 in damages. The tree stood in front of 1702 Blodgett — which, you’ll remember, was demolished a few weeks ago to make room for 4 townhouses. That demolition was precipitated by an approved variance request by Signature City to reduce the setback on this lot at the corner of Blodgett and Jackson in Museum Park, just down the street from that strip center that caught fire in August.