02/26/15 2:15pm

Survey Flags at Proposed Site of Regent Square, Allen Pkwy. at Dunlavy St., North Montrose, Houston

Remember way back in 2007, when excavators tore down portions of the Allen House Apartments in North Montrose to make way for GID Development’s massive mixed-use project known as Regent Square? Well, it’s okay if you don’t. Anyway, the thing hasn’t happened yet, though the nearby apartment tower that opened last year called the Sovereign (seen in the background of the photo above), which wasn’t included the original plans, is now cited as Regent Square’s first phase. What of phases 2 and above? Swamplot reader Mike Bloom reports there’s evidence of recent action on the now empty lot at the corner of Dunlavy St. and Allen Pkwy., dating from the middle of last month: little pink flags on stakes — the kind typically used for surveys.

Photo: Mike Bloom

Stakes in the Neighborhood
02/24/15 11:00am

A couple of simulated fly-overs of a portion of a revamped Allen Pkwy., put together by consulting engineering firm Walter P Moore, show how the signature River Oaks-to-Downtown sorta-highway will look after a park-centered makeover is completed next summer. The projected $10 million redo partially answers the question popping up in many people’s minds after seeing all the new trails and structures and amenities and dogs going in along the bayou it lines: How are car-bound Houstonians supposed to get to the new Buffalo Bayou Park?

Part of the answer, of course, is by using 175 new angled parking spaces, most of them lining a new separate parking access lane lining the north side of Allen Pkwy. between Rochow St. and Eleanor Tinsley Park. As the video above (showing the journey eastbound from Montrose Blvd. to Park Vista Dr.) indicates, if you’re headed into Downtown, you’ll need to turn around and head in the opposite direction somewhere to park in one of them. Here’s a video view of the journey westward from Park Vista (across from Eleanor Tinsley Park) back to Montrose Blvd., along which the spots are angled for easy entry:


More Trees Too
10/29/14 4:30pm

El Tiempo 1308 Cantina, 1308 Montrose Blvd., North Montrose, Houston

El Tiempo 1308 Cantina, 1308 Montrose Blvd., North Montrose, HoustonIf future residents of the new 8-story apartment building that’s being planned to go up in place of the El Tiempo 1308 Cantina and quite a few of its neighboring buildings don’t want to wait around for management to fix their leaky faucets, they won’t have far to go to find spare washers or other plumbing parts. Neighboring fix-it-yourself plumbing supply store U-Plumb-It will likely still be around to sell them parts and hand out advice — because it won’t be included in the redevelopment. But everything north of it, on the block bounded by Marconi St., West Clay St., and Montrose Blvd. will. Developer Sunrise Luxury Living is planning to build 5 stories of apartments — 220 units in all — over 3 levels of parking, a source tells Swamplot. Plans currently include some sort of retail component on the bottom floor, facing Montrose Blvd.


More Redevelopment Details
10/29/14 10:15am

Rear Entrance, El Tiempo 1308 Cantina, 1308 Montrose Blvd., North Montrose, Houston

El Tiempo’s Roland Laurenzo reports that the land under his family’s El Tiempo 1308 Cantina on Montrose Blvd. is being sold by the owner for a “multi-story apartment project development.” The restaurant, which leases the space, is looking for another Montrose spot where it can relocate after it closes early next year. Greg Morago’s report in the Chronicle doesn’t provide any additional detail about the proposed apartments, but the 1308 Cantina, bounded by West Clay St., occupies the northern third of a long block capped on the southern end by the for-sale and shuttering Gibbs Boats at West Gray St. Between those 2 properties are a tire shop and the U-Plumb-It supply store. The 1308 Cantina took over from a restaurant called Sabor, a mid-aughts upscale replacement for La Jalisciense at the same 1308 Montrose Blvd. spot.

Update, 4:30 pm:  Here are some more details on the apartment development replacing the 1308 Cantina and many of its neighbors.

Photo of El Tiempo 1308 Cantina from Marconi St. parking lot: Bill Coatney [license]

Getting Ready To Move
10/21/14 10:30am

OLD DAILY REVIEW CAFE SPOT, NORTH MONTROSE MIGHT SOON BE UP A CREEK Daily Review Cafe, 2412 W. Lamar St., North Montrose, HoustonBack in March, the Daily Review Café on W. Lamar St. off Dunlavy closed temporarily with a notice about “water issues”; shortly afterward the owners announced the restaurant and its extensive patio wouldn’t reopen. A “for lease” sign has been up at the space for several months, but it now appears the property has attracted a buyer. Eater Houston’s new sleuth-in-residence Jakeisha Wilmore has gathered clues that point to the participation of Gary Mosley’s Creek Group, the company behind the Onion Creek Coffee House, Dry Creek Cafe, and the Cedar Creek and Canyon Creek Bars and Grills. Only this time, the serial restaurateur appears to be flying under a different name: “A limited liability company formed under Piggy’s Tavern was filed by Mosley’s restaurant group in August,” Wilmore writes. “The group also filed for a mixed beverage permit and mixed beverage late night permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). The address listed to conduct business is 3412 West Lamar,” the Daily Review spot. [Eater Houston] Photo: Daily Review Café

09/29/14 4:45pm

A LIFEBOAT FOR THE ROYALTON’S CORRODING CROWN? Top of Royalton at River Oaks Condominiums, 3333 Allen Pkwy., HoustonJudging from court filings, there appears to have been some sort of resolution to the lawsuit filed more than 2 years ago by the condominium association of the 253-unit Royalton at River Oaks highrise over the design of the steel grid at the top of the building at 3333 Allen Pkwy. The lawsuit claimed the structure was corroding and was designed in such away that made maintaining it or recoating it impossible — and sought damages from the building’s contractor, architect, and other parties. The condo association dropped its claims against many of those parties late last month. And a reader wonders if the attachment seen hanging below the structure in the recent photo at left, which “almost looks like a hot tub,” is part of some newly devised cleaning solution. [Prime Property] Photo: Swamplot inbox

09/24/14 4:45pm

Gibbs Boats, 1110 West Gray St. at Montrose Blvd., North Montrose, Houston

How cool is it that a boat store with metal siding and a groovy sixties-era sign stood at the corner of West Gray and Montrose Blvd. for 56 years? Well, pieces of the iconic Gibbs Boats sign floated away after the last hurricane; if the property sells, the store won’t be around much longer either.

The giant for-sale sign that went up on the storefront windows yesterday has drawn a bit more attention from potential buyers than the online listing for the 24,925-sq.-ft. L-shaped property, which has been posted for about a month now. The listed asking price is $150 per sq. ft. of land.


Setting Sail
09/23/14 1:00pm

How long has it been since you’ve run along, rowed along, or flown over Buffalo Bayou? Guy-out-with-his-Phantom-quadcopter Marco Luzuriaga filmed this scene earlier this month above a short section of the city’s most prominent drainage canal beginning near the Rosemont Bridge, then turning around and heading a ways toward Downtown. He gives up on the waterway and substitutes a bit of downtown-tangling freeway spaghetti near the end, but if you look into the distance around the 1:30 mark, you can catch a quick progress report on reconstruction of Buffalo Bayou Park.

Video: Marco Luzuriaga, via Brittanie Shey


Tour by Drone
09/19/14 1:45pm

Demolition of Axis Apartments Garage, 2400 West Dallas St., North Montrose, Houston

Remember the fire back in March at those apartments under construction on West Dallas next to the cemetery that destroyed the whole complex except for the parking garage? No big deal if you don’t, because you’d need to adjust your memory anyway. A reader notes to Swamplot that the surviving parking garage is now being demolished as well, months after the singed stick-frame structures around it at JLB Parters’ would-have-been Axis Apartments were carted away. So now you can remember the fire so bad they had to tear the whole thing down — though it took them a while to give up on the garage.


On Second Thought, Scrap That
09/09/14 1:00pm

Rendering of Riva at the Park, 3331 D'Amico St., North Montrose, Houston

Here’s a rendering of the 7-story (2 of them parking) condo building Sims Luxury Builders is planning for the spot at 3331 D’Amico St. — just east of Dunlavy St. and south of Allen Pkwy. currently occupied by a dentist’s office and bridal shop structure where a sign went up late last month. Dubbed Riva at the Park, the building will contain 22 units (marked down from 24), on 3 floors of 4 units each and 2 floors of 5. A marketing rep tells Swamplot the building’s developers are aiming to have “larger units than Highland Tower or the Royalton,” but “superior finish allowances and very low maintenance fees but not as industrial as the loft buildings.” They condos are expected to start in the high $700s. The building will sit on the northern edge of the former Rincon Apartments, now called the Villas at River Oaks.

Rendering: Sims Luxury Builders

Riva at the Park
08/20/14 2:00pm

SIGNS OF A PLANNED MIDRISE AT D’AMICO AND DUNLAVY Sign for Riva at the Park, 3331 D'Amico St., North Montrose, HoustonThere’s a sign up in front of the former dentist’s office and bridal shop structure at 3327 and 3331 D’Amico St., tucked into the northern edge of the Villas at River Oaks (formerly Rincon) apartments on Dunlavy St. just south of Allen Pkwy. Sugar Land homebuilder Christopher Sims bought the properties in April; a logo for his Sims Luxury Builders, along with one for the probable architect, the Mirador Group, appear on a sign that went up on the 20,192-sq.-ft. lot last week, advertising a new midrise building named Riva at the Park. A website for the new development greets mailing-list signups with breezy copy touting the development’s location and appliances, but no description or rendering of what’s planned. Photo: Swamplot inbox

08/06/14 1:45pm

Sure, high-above drone still shots now regularly pepper real estate listings, but a reader wonders whether the effort shown above — and included in this for-sale website — might constitute the first video tour by quadcopter ever to appear in Houston’s MLS. It probably isn’t, if only because (as of early this afternoon), the 3-story townhouse at 1611 W. Clay St., which backs up to the TJ Maxx store on W. Gray St., isn’t actually listed for sale on the MLS (it last sold in 2012, for $462,060). But the video was only posted on Monday, so give it some time. Asking price: $560,000.

The flying-remote-camera footage begins with an awe-inducing golden-hour survey of the home’s exterior and moves onto the amazing views of downtown and the surrounding neighborhood that might be available were the townhouse to be 3 or so stories taller than it is. But more notable is the moment about 44 seconds in, when the flying-around-the-house quadcopter camera footage cuts directly into an interior walkthrough, starting from the front door (leaving out, of course, the awkward around-the-side-of-the-garage entrance common to homes of this type).


Real Estate Listing Innovations
05/12/14 10:15am

LOSING HOPE STONE STUDIO View from Van Buren St. of Hope Stone Studio, 1210 West Clay, Suite 26, North Montrose, HoustonThe end of this week will mark the end of all classes at North Montrose’s Hope Stone Studio. Director Jane Weiner will be shutting down the warehouse-y slot fronting 1111 Van Buren St. in the Tribeca Lofts building (pictured at left) by the end of the month, after 10 years of hosting dance, movement, exercise, and other creative classes for kids and adults and rehearsal space for dance groups on its sprung floor. MATCH director Emily Todd explains the simple reason: Rounding up funding year after year for the 17-year-old nonprofit had become “too difficult.” The trigger, Weiner explained in an email announcing the decision last month: The organization’s lease is up. Though the studio and its classes are shutting down, her Hope Stone Dance Company will continue to perform; the organization hopes to find ways to continue some of its programs. [Houston Chronicle; more info] Photo of Hope Stone Studio, 1210 West Clay, Suite 26: Hope Stone Inc.