04/03/14 4:15pm

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There’s a balcony off the dining-room prow in the corner penthouse for lease in the midrise Renoir building north of River Oaks Shopping Center. Up on the 8th floor of the Randall Davis project, the 2-story condo unit has views on 3 sides, sweeping from the Galleria area to downtown. The $7,500 per month rate appears to include the furnishings — but don’t assume pets are OK, the listing says.

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Sky Season
03/28/14 10:15am

WHAT A PLACE AT THE SOVEREIGN WILL COST YOU Sovereign at Regent Square Under Construction, 3233 West Dallas St., North Montrose, HoustonA couple of readers have written in noting their own sticker shock at the pricing announced for the 290 apartments at the still-under-construction 21-story Sovereign at Regent Square tower. One bedrooms will start at $2070 a month, two bedrooms at $3070, and studios at $1615. A temporary leasing office run by Boston-based Windsor Communities will open in a couple of weeks; the first units at 3233 West Dallas St. should be ready for occupancy by July 15th, the company says. [Swamplot inbox; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Alonso Ortega

03/27/14 2:00pm

Axis Apartments, 2400 West Dallas St., North Montrose, Houston

Axis Apartments, 2400 West Dallas St., North Montrose, HoustonWhat do you say when the apartment complex you’re featured on teevee news complaining is being built too close to gravesites bursts into flames the very next day? “I don’t think anything I said was incendiary,” feng-shui expert and holistic-life-coaching grad student Trisha Keel tells Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg, the day after the 368-unit Axis Apartments burned to the ground. ”Although I’m a passionate person about this city,” she adds.

Keel, who runs a blog featuring feng-shui no-nos she encounters around town, had posted pics showing graves in the Magnolia Cemetery just steps away from north-facing ground-floor patios of the complex at 2400 West Dallas St. Among the dead: members of the Bammel, Wortham, and Halliburton families. “The dead are NOT good neighbors!” she wrote on her blog and Tumblr underneath the photo reproduced at top. “Their decaying energy feeds off your vital life force. Do not live among the dead.” Then she brought her complaints to the  mayor’s office to complain. And a reporter at TV station KHOU.

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Words That Burn
03/26/14 11:30am

Burned Axis Apartments at 2400 West Dallas St. and Montrose Blvd., North Montrose, Houston

A reader reports this morning on the aftermath of the blaze yesterday that destroyed the Axis Apartments — from a balcony perch west of Montrose Blvd.: “The firemen are packing up this morning on West Dallas after continuing to fight the fire through the night. I live in one of the townhouses across the street from the fire yesterday. I got home from work in the evening to find my house in good shape, a little smokey and singed and a broken window but otherwise fine. The firemen sprayed down the fronts of the houses to keep them cool.”

Here’s an amazing sequence of views of the same section of the 5-story apartments JLB Partners was building at 2400 West Dallas, from before the fire:

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Pictures of a Disappearance
03/26/14 10:15am

Construction Worker Jumping from Fourth Floor Balcony During Fire at 2400 W. Dallas St., North Montrose, HoustonThis video uploaded to YouTube by Karen Jones shows a construction worker seemingly trapped on a fourth-floor balcony of the blazing Axis Apartments in North Montrose yesterday afternoon. According to a construction supervisor working on the neighboring Finger Properties apartment complex who spoke to a Houston Chronicle reporter, the fire started on the northeast corner of the L-shaped structure’s roof. Jones doesn’t identify her filming location in the video, but it appears to be taken from an upper floor of a low-rise office building along Rylis St. in the American General complex. That would mean the imperiled worker was on a balcony facing north, and that the rescuing fire worker was on a ladder truck in the parking lot immediately west of the Magnolia Cemetery.

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Jumping from the Flames
03/25/14 1:55pm

Fire at Axis Apartments, 2400 West Dallas St., North Montrose, Houston

Fire at Axis Apartments, 2400 West Dallas St., North Montrose, HoustonThose giant plumes of smoke billowing above North Montrose are coming from what were supposed to be the future Axis Apartments at the corner of West Dallas and Montrose Blvd. The 5-story, 368-unit apartment block under construction at 2400 West Dallas scoots up super close to the edge of Magnolia Cemetery — maybe a little too close? And the whole thing caught on fire earlier today, sending flames and dark clouds streaming southwestward. The wood-frame construction should provide plenty of fodder. The America General complex building has been evacuated, KHOU reports.

Developer JLB Partners bought the land from AIG in 2012.

Photos: Judith (top); Bill Bishop/KHOU

Flames in North Montrose
03/19/14 1:30pm

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When interior walls came down to open up a former duplex, planks of the original shiplap (top) found new uses within this 1932 bungalow, located in the Alden Place section of North Montrose — sometimes also known as the Reality Bites neighborhood. The retro-rustic property with eyebrow-gable entry popped up on the market for “Pi Day” (as in 3-14) and has an asking price of $549,000.

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Ker-Plank
03/18/14 1:45pm

NEW NORTH MONTROSE APARTMENTS LEAVE HANOVER, MOVE TO RIVER OAKS AMLI River Oaks, 1340 West Gray St., North Montrose, HoustonResidents of the recently opened Hanover West Gray apartments at 1340 West Gray got an unexpected notice in their mailboxes this month: Their new homes at the corner of West Gray and Waugh (replacing the Tavern on Gray and some neighboring structures) now feature a River Oaks address. Hanover sold the 275-unit structures effective March 13 to AMLI. And the new owner is calling the complex AMLI River Oaks, after the tony no-apartments-please neighborhood whose eastern border is three-quarters of a mile to the west. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Hanover Company

02/18/14 4:30pm

Still from Closing Scene of Reality Bites, W. Clay St. Looking East Toward Downtown, Houston

Robocop may have moved on to the real Detroit, but Houston will always have Reality Bites. And today folks around the movie biz are celebrating the movie’s twentieth anniversary. The Winona Ryder-Ben Stiller-Janeane Garofalo-Ethan Hawke pic filmed here and there about Houston (with a few disguised-L.A. settings thrown in for good measure) was released on February 18, 1994. In and around the Gen X coming-of-age coming-out reality-TV disaffection storyline, the movie depicted the overgrown charms of Alden Place, the little North Montrose neighborhood of duplexes and 4-plexes that made living in the shadows of Downtown seem so easy and affordable back then. Twenty years on, how’s it doing?

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Alden Place and Time
12/27/13 2:45pm

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Could the clipped and sculpted shrubbery outside this 1998 townhome (top) with fenced side yard have sent invasive shoots inside? A colony of photo-ready greenery appears to have taken root and taken over (above) within the otherwise cleared out corner unit, located in the Bakerdale subdivision of North Montrose, east of Montrose Blvd. near Wharton Elementary School on West Gray. The plantings aren’t the only signs of growth for the property. The asking price for the property, which earlier today was listed for a third time, is now $309,900. Back in its initial listing in September 2012, the price tag was $280K, which went down to $274,900 in October. A price reduction soon thereafter to $269,900 preceded the property being withdrawn from the market the following month.

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Houseplant Heaven
12/17/13 1:00pm

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A slope, a staircase, and 3 floors of living space likely make an across-the-traffic bayou-view 1998 townhome on Allen Pkwy. east of Montrose Blvd. a bit of a workout as well as a place to rest. The end unit rising behind Buffalo Terrace is part of the 11-home Townes of Buffalo Bayou development, designed by Looney Ricks Kiss. It went up for sale Monday, with a $450,000 asking price.

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A Home You’ve Driven By
10/23/13 4:30pm

Here’s a rendering that shows how that informal dog bowl along Buffalo Bayou near Montrose Blvd. will be formalized and capitalized into a Dog Park. Construction, says a PR rep for the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, will begin the first of the year; the park should be open next winter.

Why, you might wonder, would it take that long to build a place for dogs to romp and run and bark and stuff? Part of it will be creating the pond you can see in the rendering. The pond, which will be treated with a “bio-filter” and native vegetation, is meant to keep said dogs 1) safe and 2) away from the bayou, so they don’t muddy up the banks scrambling in and out of the water and contribute to erosion. Other additions? A purty fence that will separate the pups from the joggers and 2 pavilions, at the top of the hill, that will provide a bit more shade.

Rendering: SWA Group

08/23/13 2:15pm

Another Austin chain is moving inside the Loop: Mama Fu’s Asian House, which appears to pull its menu items indiscriminately from China, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, and Korea, is replacing the former Souper Salad at 1574 W. Gray. About a year ago, franchisee Steve Chappelear — who also owns 8 Buffalo Wild Wings here — said he was planning to open 18 Mama Fu’s in Houston; this would be the first.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

07/24/13 11:00am

A reader sends this photo of the construction progress of that Regent Square-ish residential tower the Sovereign. The 21-story, 290-unit building designed by Ziegler Cooper is going up on West Dallas between Rosine and Rochow, where some of the old Allen House Apartments used to stand.

The North Montrose site is just around the corner from Dunlavy, where other dirt is being pushed around to make way for Regent Square. The Sovereign, contrary to its name, was originally planned by Boston developer GID to become one of the uses in that mixed-use spread, but the 2 projects are listed separately on the company website. After the jump, you can see the renderings of the Sovereign that Swamplot published last summer.

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05/31/13 3:00pm

It doesn’t seem that this grassy, fenced-in lot along Montrose between W. Dallas and Allen Pkwy. is going to change very much: All that scraping and dragging a few weeks ago was to level the ground for a cricket field, according to a contractor at the firm responsible for doing the dirt work. The Aga Khan Youth and Sports Facility, the contractor says, will comprise that cricket field, a pair of soccer fields, and a concession stand. In 2006, the Aga Khan Foundation purchased and demolished the Robinson Warehouse on this frequently flooded 11-acre property and said it was planning to build an Ismaili Center here.

Photo: Allyn West