HARRIS COUNTY MAKING ROOM FOR ALL THE STRAYS IT ISN’T PUTTING DOWN ANYMORE
Good news for Harris County’s homeless animals: The odds of getting out of the pound alive more than quintupled over the past 7 years — reports Community Impact’s Zac Ezzone — up to 78.8 percent in 2017 from a grim 15.1 in 2010. But it’s become a tight squeeze inside. Built in 1986 to hold 150 dogs and 100 cats, the current shelter at 612 Canino Rd. between Airline Dr. and the Hardy Roll Rd. “is often forced to house close to 200 of each animal,” he writes. Hence the idea to put a new builidng (depicted above) with about twice the capacity of the existing one right next to it — and start construction today, he reports. The county’s human population put up the $24 million for the facility through a 2015 bond referendum. Along with the kennels and veterinary clinic planned inside, an outdoor trail and 4 dog parks will crop up on the grounds. [Community Impact] Photo: Harris County
EL AHORRO SETTING UP SHOP IN FORMER AIRLINE DR. KROGER
A whole ‘nother crop of building permits filed recently on the north end of the strip Kroger abandoned last year confirm that specialty supermarket El Ahorro is now getting situated there. It’s been working for the better part of this year on the property at 6749 Airline — which backs up behind the parking lot shown above to abut a house on the corner of E. Parker Rd. and Mano St. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Kelly Regan
Framing is up for the row of houses dubbed Avenue Meadows that Avenue CDC is planting along Meadow Lea Rd., just south of Berry Rd. Each of the nearly 1,200-sq.-ft. structures will be 2 stories upon completion, although the photo at top shows most of them still haven’t risen above single-floor status. Within the set of 10 total houses, the architects at StudioMET designed 2 versions: The Monarch and The Admiral.
Builders laid the groundwork for each of the homes in April. Once they’re done, Avenue CDC plans to fill them with a mix of low to mid-income inhabitants, with a few market rate buyers sprinkled into the mix as well.
Photos: Avenue CDC
The signage above Fallas’ storefront — pictured above — has already come down, reports an employee of a neighboring business. Now on its way to that 25,480-sq.-ft. space in the chamfered corner of the L-shaped Northtown Plaza shopping center: Dallas supermarket El Rancho. A building permit was filed yesterday for the grocery conversion. It’s the second location that the North Texas chain has in the works for Houston; a Greenspoint location 6 miles up I-45 is planned to open in June.
But Fallas’ discount clothing presence won’t be entirely displaced by the new supermarket:
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All 10 slabs are in place for the row of 2-stories — dubbed Avenue Meadows — that community organization Avenue CDC wants to plant along Meadow Lea Dr. in Northline just south of Berry Rd. and just shy of the bend where Madie Dr. begins. Each 1,304-sq.-ft. house will sit on somewhere between 5,100 and 5,400 sq. ft. of land (with the exception of 72 Meadow Lea — the westernmost lot — which bookends the development at 8,414 sq. ft.). Half of the structures will look like the one shown in the rendering at top — nicknamed The Monarch (and noted as plan A in the site plan below).
The others lose the carport and go by the name The Admiral:
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Meadow Lea and Madie
Crews are now clearing out the northern portion of the strip center at the corner of Airline Dr. and Parker Rd. that Kroger departed last year. The photo at top, sent in by a Swamplot reader, shows the no-longer-automatic doors fronting the former grocery store space next door to Tostada Regia, Yumar Beauty Salon, Texans Discount Liquor, and others.
A building permit filed just over a week ago on location at 6749 Airline lists its occupant as El Ahorro. The grocery chain specializing in Mexican foodstuffs already has one nearby spot in Northline — on Irvington Blvd. just north of Berry Rd.
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The Kroger Market at the not-quite-intersection of Airline Dr., Parker Rd., and Fulton St. in Northline is shutting down next month, an employee at the store tells Swamplot this afternoon (confirming a rumor from a reader in the vicinity). The store’s last day is planned for April 20th, after which it will cede the area to its nearest grocer competitors: the Food Town just over half a mile up Airline, at the intersection with Little York Rd.; the other Food Town a little over a mile further west down Little York; and the not-quite-an-H-E-B Joe V’s Smart Shop on N. Shepherd Dr., just across I-45.
Behind its cube-on-a-spindle signage, the store sits at the northern end of a classic array of strip mall companions (capped to the south by South Texas Dental, whose space and streetside signpost once belonged to a Blockbuster Video); standing alone at the southeast corner of the center sits El Muelle Seafood & Oysters, housed in a former Taco Bell.
Photos: James T.
Northline Line Drawn
The clearout of Sam Houston Math Science and Technology Center’s sports fields has begun, a reader notes this week. The school’s campus is squeezed in between the angled track of the Hardy Toll Rd. and north-south-running Irvington Blvd., just north of Tidwell Rd.; the existing 1950’s school building at the south end (which HISD says is the lost heir to one of the relocated and renamed Houston Academy schools founded downtown in the 1800s) will be knocked down to make room for new athletic fields, once the new building is up. The district says the first phase of the campus fliparound should be ready in time for the 2019-2020 school year; plans and renderings for the completed project show dedicated facilities for performing arts, autoshop, cosmetology, and more: CONTINUE READING THIS STORY
A reader who says he’s been to many Walmarts tells Swamplot he was “stunned” to find this ice-cream counter and juice bar in the newly opened store at Northline Commons off I-45 near Crosstimbers — “serving horchata no less.” The new section is near the produce and bakery. Stunned? Really?
It makes so much sense for walmart to do this when you consider the number of kids who tag along with their parents. I also [saw] lots of kids and adults eating ice-cream in store while shopping. And at $1 they will be eating coldstone’s lunch pretty soon. . . . the only other store i can think of that has ice cream counters in store is costco. So the all around awesomeness of it was what stunned me i guess.
Photos: Swamplot inbox
NEW WALMART OPENS NEAR THE HEIGHTS This one’s to the north: The brand-new Walmart next to Northline Commons — the new, more parking-lot-friendly version of Northline Mall at I-45 and Crosstimbers — opened yesterday. The biggest-box store joins recent Northline newcomers Marshall’s, Ross Dress For Less, Office Depot, Conn’s, The Children’s Place, Verizon, Foot Locker, Shoe Carnival, Al’s Formal Wear, Urban Zone, Rainbow Fashions, Foot Action, Dollar Tree, and a relocated Palais Royal. [PR Newswire] Fake-looking photo: Berenson Associates
Note: Story updated below.
A little bird tells Swamplot that Walmart is close to buying a 5-acre piece of land on Heights Blvd. just south of I-10. Formerly on that site: the Sons of Hermann Hall, which was demolished last summer. The property also fronts Yale, and is bounded by the Center St. railroad tracks to the south. Just across the street: the Art Car Museum. If the discount retailer does close the deal and build on the property, it would be the first Walmart-owned store inside the Loop. (Of course, there’s already a Walmart and a Sam’s Club just outside the South Loop; the Sam’s Club is a direct train ride from Downtown.) Also in the works, though much further along: A new Walmart under construction next to Northline Commons, the former site of the Northline Mall.
Update: Reader Nick Banks is already trying out Walmart store models for size:
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Late last night city officials were able to get an emergency court order allowing a trustee to take over the La Casita Apartments at 313 Sunnyside near Northline. And MGC Mortgage, the company left holding onto the foreclosed property, has “transferred oversight” of the 600-unit complex behind Gallery Furniture to a new management company. The agreements, along with other interventions by the city, mean the more than 1,000 residents of the all-bills-paid apartments will not be evicted, have their water or electricity shut off, or lose credit for the monthly rent they just paid:
Residents of the La Casita Apartments already felt neglected by managers who let buildings run down, even before Hurricane Ike broke windows and tore patches off roofs. But instead of starting on repairs to make the apartments livable after the storm, management skipped town, keeping the rent money and leaving the bills unpaid.
The apparent owner of La Casita is an Indiana company named Briarwood Houston LP. The complex failed a Houston Housing Authority inspection last month. Police officials are investigating the management company’s handling of the payments.
FORECLOSURE HITS NORTHLINE RENTERS Residents of the La Casita Apartments are worried that they may be kicked out of their homes or have their water turned off. The all-bills-paid complex is being foreclosed on. Representatives from the city are planning a meeting this evening at Northline Elementary to discuss the situation with the more than
150 1,000 people who live in the complex, which sits behind Gallery Furniture just east of the North Freeway. Officers carrying assault rifles arrived at La Casita yesterday after apartment manager Ed Thomas called the police. After a notice was posted on the property informing the renters that they would be forced to move out immediately, upset residents had blocked Thomas’s car, complaining that he wasn’t giving them acceptable answers about their situation. [abc13]