06/07/17 10:45am

It’s been the better part of a year since Pepino’s on Richmond Ave. started showing signs of closure (namely, since its name signage came down, signaling the end of the joint’s nearly decade-and-a-half run in Castle Court). A nearby reader spotted what looks to be some work to prep the stripmall spot for its next occupant, which was issued a few permits last week under the name Miss Saigon. (That name shows up in Braun’s leasing flier for its newly acquired property, too, though it’s not clear yet whether the name is connected to one of the other Houston Miss Saigon-inspired Vietnamese restaurants, or is merely another independent nod to the musical.)

Speaking of musicals, part of the former Pepino’s space looks to have been absorbed by nextdoor piano cabaret Michael’s Outpost, whose red door is visible above and in a few of the leasing shots of the remodeled center (below):


Braun Goes Gray
10/02/13 2:30pm

Once an orphanage, a gated 1913 Italianate property near downtown and north of Montrose found new life in 2003 as a 15-unit condo re-dubbed Villa Serena. Its historic pedigree encompasses city, state, and national recognition. A corner unit on the ground level quietly made its market debut on Monday, with a $299,000 price tag. The 1-bedroom home last sold in 2010 for $210,000 — down from an asking price of $245,000 at that time.


02/23/12 1:14pm

A mere four-and-a-half years after it first announced the project, Atlanta REIT Post Properties says it’s just about ready to begin construction on a somewhat revised 5-story, 242-unit apartment building on Richmond Ave, just west of the Downtown Spur. The latest First Montrose Commons Newsletter features these black-and-white images of the project, along with a few more details that were announced to the neighborhood organization last month. Unlike the Post Midtown, this building on the 5-sided block surrounded by Richmond, Jack, Colquitt, Garrott, and Milam won’t include any retail space. A parking garage tucked into the structure will have 1 1/2 spaces per bedroom and point driveways toward Richmond and Colquitt. The Wheeler light-rail station sits 3 blocks east of the construction site, on the other side of Spur 527.


07/29/09 5:57pm

Who’s gonna decide whether First Montrose Commons gets its historic designation? HISD. At least that’s what FMC Neighborhood Association president Jason Ginsburg says in a letter he sent out earlier this week to HISD board trustees:

Without HISD’s participation, the resulting shortfall in committed land area would require our Association to gain the consent of a vast majority of the other FMC property owners, which is a practically impossible burden that goes far beyond the original intent of the historic district ordinance. But, with HISD’s participation, our Association will be able to fulfill all of the requirements necessary to achieve a historic district designation. Simply put, HISD’s decision with regard to our Association’s petition will either make or break FMC’s proposed historic district. [Italics in original]

To become eligible for historic designation, a district only needs the signatures of property owners representing 51 percent of its land area. More than 50 percent of First Montrose Commons landowners have already signed on to become a historic district. But the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (!) takes up a huge chunk of First Montrose Commons, skewing those numbers.

Map of proposed FMC Historic District: First Montrose Commons

11/03/08 12:23pm

Mobile Above Stairwell at 503 Fargo St., Houston

This dramatically hung mobile above the entry and stairwell of the house for sale at 503 Fargo St. in Montrose certainly captures your attention!

But that’s not why reader Kelley Owen alerted Swamplot to the listing. She noticed some artwork hung much lower on the wall in the Master Bedroom . . . and calls it “possibly NSFW.”


10/13/08 1:12pm

Style Possibilities for Proposed InnerLoopCondos.com Condo Development on West Alabama St., Houston

Remember back in July, when the folks from InnerLoopCondos.com sent out a survey about a new development proposed for 819 W. Alabama — the former site of Bistro Vino — and wanted you to help them choose which of six funny costumes the new condo building should wear? The company is now saying it’ll likely build 6 to 8 stories on top of at least 3 parking-garage levels, producing 80 condos priced from $190,000 to $400,000.

Best of all, InnerLoopCondos.com — a subsidiary of Montreal’s Group LSR — plans to break ground . . . in maybe only 18 short months!

What the thing will look like, though . . . is still up to you! “We’re very sensitive to what people are saying on the survey,” InnerLoopCondos.com’s Andre Julien tells the Chronicle‘s Betty Martin. So how are the votes tallying?

The company won’t start planning until the survey had received about 50 responses, the minimum needed to gauge what prospective condo buyers want, Julien said.

What? Fewer than 50 votes!???

Readers, the ballot box is still open. You have six colorful theming choices. Do you need to hear that lecture again about how important your vote is?

Images: InnerLoopCondos.com

08/28/08 2:03pm

Big Alex, Telephone Sculpture by David Adickes, on Roof of Pictures Plus Prints and Framing, 115 Hyde Park Blvd., Montrose, Houston

Having once graced a hotel owned by a legendary real-estate swindler, David Adickes’s telephone sculpture has quite the Houston pedigree:

Adickes first placed it on a friend’s property off SH 4 and FM 1960 before leasing to J.R. McConnell, former owner of the Grand Hotel, now called The Derek, on the corner of Westheimer Road and the West Loop.

“I said that I am going to make you a deal you cannot resist,” recalled Adickes of their arrangement. McConnell leased it for a penny a day and gave the artist $36.50. “He actually paid 10 years in advance,” Adickes said, laughing at the memory.

“Big Alex” was forced to move from that location, though, when The Grand Hotel became the Derek. It lived on Adickes’ personal lot on the corner of I-45 and Quitman Street for about six months. During that time, Adickes was forced into a back and forth battle with someone who felt the face on the phone needed its mustache painted black.

Robert Kimberly finds Big Alex in its new home at the corner of Mason and Hyde Park in Montrose, on top of Pictures Plus Prints and Framing. (Yeah, you read it here first.)

Photo: Robert Kimberly

07/22/08 2:50pm

Style Possibilities for Proposed InnerLoopCondos.com Condo Development on West Alabama St., Houston

Group LSR, aka InnerLoopCondos.com, wants to build a new condo building in Montrose — and you get to play the stylist! What should the new development look like? Entry-arches-gone-crazy Apartment Romanesque? Inigo Jones’s Last Stand at the Alamo? Shangri-La Festival Palace Moderne? Mountainside Office Park Tinted-Glass Tech? Or something a little more home-ly, like that building with the curvy hairdos they’ve done a couple of versions of already?

Yeah, it’s kinda hard to choose, but don’t sweat it — you can vote for as many of the six choices (shown above) as you want! They’re all pictured (and yes, they’re the only options) in an online questionnaire sent out by the company earlier this month, apparently meant to gauge consumer interest in a development the company is planning on the 800 block of West Alabama, near Audubon Place. Yes, that includes the site of the recently shuttered Bistro Vino. As a commenter to our earlier story deduced, Group LSR is the mysterious “unnamed residential developer.”

The survey sez:

Our decision to develop this project will greatly depend upon the feedback we receive from Houston condominium buyers regarding the location. . . .

If you were in the market to purchase, please indicate what type of architecture would you prefer in your next condominium home?

Your theme choices matter!

Images: InnerLoopCondos.com

03/27/08 5:43pm

Perspective View from Richmond and Milam of Proposed Courtyard on Richmond Apartments

A reader writes in wanting to find out what is planned for the “gigantic” and newly cleared block at the northwest corner of the 59 South feeder road and Richmond, just west of Midtown. The block surrounded by Richmond, Colquitt, Garrott, and Jack is the planned site of The Courtyard on Richmond, a midrise apartment complex by Post Properties that’s just a short walk away from the Wheeler light-rail station.

Back in October, the Chronicle‘s Betty Martin reported on the project: a 5-story, 200-unit structure with two courtyards, sandwiching a parking garage. The story included this comment:

It would be similar to “that property in Midtown that everybody likes – Midtown Square – that has a restaurant on the ground floor, brick sidewalks,” [Post Properties developer Bart] French said.

Post Properties built Midtown Square, so you might expect the new project will be similar . . . well, except for that part about restaurants on the ground floor. The plans we’ve seen don’t show any retail, except for a leasing office at the corner of Richmond and Milam. And a Planning Department document dating from January refers to the Courtyard on Richmond as a 252-unit residential-only project.

After the jump: those plans!