What better way to make use of all those empty parking spots than with an good old fashioned carnival like this one? It’s been a tradition at Greenspoint Mall going back decades now to plant a few attractions outside the building once the weather cools off enough for visitors to enjoy themselves. And management’s kept doing it — even as Macy’s, Dillards, and Sears all shuttered inside over the past few years and portions of the building and surrounding parking lot have sold to investors with heavy-duty plans for redevelopment. The attractions shown above are all sprawled out on the I-45 side of the building, where they cover up the “For Lease” banner that’s otherwise visible to passing northbound traffic.
Another potential future target in striking walking range of that 542-space parking lot Lovett Commercial looks to beÂ planning atÂ Center and Silver streets:Â the color-splashed warehouse redo sketched out above, as seen in another of the company’s current leasing fliers. This one is for a facelift of the 1970s building former occupied byÂ Mass Electric Construction CompanyÂ atÂ 1201 Oliver St., a few blocks west down the railroad tracks past Sawyer St. Clustered nearby are a fair number ofÂ other Lovett-affiliated developments (including some of the artsyÂ hubbub between Sawyer andÂ Silver).
Renderings and site plans suggestÂ a cidery could be taking over the west end of the building — the flier includes a north-is-down lookÂ at plans for splitting upÂ the space, including a cutout for a breezeway:
The paved lot now being marketed asÂ 1818 Washington Ave. (across Silver St. from thatÂ recentlyrecolonizedÂ cluster of ex-nightclub buildings, and bookended to theÂ east byÂ the former bakery now housingÂ B&B Butchers)Â appears to beÂ marked for some higher purposes, per recently released leasing materials for the property. Plans on Lovett Commercial’s flier for the site showÂ 2 structures (rendered above as things might look fromÂ Washington Ave., facing towardÂ Tacodeli) that pretty much fill up theÂ whole piece of landÂ — but fear not, parking-requirement hawks! The land directly north of the property, aÂ 2-block elongated space nestled mostly between Center St. andÂ aÂ stretch ofÂ Union Pacific railroad, is marked up to become a 4-plus-acreÂ surface lot, with room for 542 cars or so; that’d likely more than make up for the parking spaces that B&B would lose, too.
That’s the apparent plan for now, anyway — the flier does point outÂ that some kind of garage structure is probably on the table for later on. As for the yet-unbuilt spaces for lease:Â The site plans show an L-shapedÂ 2-storyÂ building,Â plus a smaller, squatterÂ freestanding restaurant spaceÂ tucked back along the corner of Silver and Center. The larger structure has spots marked off for a couple of upstairs patios,Â as well as office use:Â
Bits and pieces of the electrical towers formerly stringing CenterPoint’s transmission lines between 59 and Westpark Dr. were spotted laying around just west of West Loop 610 this weekend, though the feet of at least one of the structures wereÂ still standing at the ready. The old towers appear to have been fully relieved of their duties at this point, 3 months or so afterÂ the taller, sleeker towers started going skyward. Here’s one of the last full-length portraitsÂ featuring bothÂ kinds ofÂ towers, taken in the final days before the changeoverÂ began in earnest:
The folks at Rim Tanon (the Thai place thatÂ recently replacedÂ the former Blue Fish HouseÂ sushi spot on Richmond) send word that the hole-spangled brick, asphalt, and rubble parking lotÂ at the center of the Portsmouth Square restaurant clump has been freshly paved over.Â The spot, which won top honors onÂ a 2011 list of Houston’s worst restaurant parking lots, was resurfacedÂ from Richmond to Portsmouth St. just in time for Tax Day. Above and below are a couple of damp shots of the lot circa some 2010 gawking:
A contemplative moment for the end of the week: theÂ large excavator aboveÂ wasÂ spotted bowing its head at the corner of Durhill St. and Buffalo Spdwy.Â as cementÂ pouredÂ down from the skyÂ next toÂ the 1st Stop Food Mart,currently undergoing what appears to be Valero conversion.Â The portraitist notes that new glass and some signage structures have gone up at the site since the Saturday visit during which the scene above was captured; workers also appeared to have made progress on flattening out the new pavement on the Durhill side of the property, which was first crunched up late last fall:
The body-oriented retail strip across from the recently browned-out Alabama Theater has just swapped second-or-more-hand clothing retailer Buffalo Exchange into the spot by Kipling St. last occupied by Centre Fitness Fusion, a reader notes. (Centre Fitness tookÂ over from Orange Shoe Fitness, which itself succeeded bike shop and implicit fitness purveyor Cycle Spectrum.) Buffalo Exchange joins Epique Massage next to Darque Tan, separated only by a driveway and some parking spots from Demeris Bar-B-Q.
And what of the old Buffalo Exchange spot, recently spotted sporting a variance request noticeÂ out front?
Update, 1/31: A few readers noticed some TABC notices across the street — more here.
A reader noted the recent earth-scraping on the now-largely-grassless corner lot at 1634 Westheimer Rd. (shown above in last week’s aquatic trappings).Â The long-empty land, across Kuester St. from Buffalo Exchange, is listed as the former site of Kewpie’s Cleaners and Dyers,Â and was previously tapped as the intendedÂ site of aÂ 5-storyÂ Bunkhouse hotel. The midrise plan fell through, though,Â freeing the land to become the future site of the Edmont. That plan also fell through: Only a temporary version of the woulda-been restaurant was ever built, for a 1-night fundraiser supporting a foundation started in memory of chef and Edmont co-founder Grant Gordon.
Recently issued city permits suggest the space is turning to the parking industryÂ for now. Here’s another shot, facing southwest through the fence towardÂ interior design shop Merchant & Market,Â exterior design shopÂ Houston Ink Society, and smoke shop High End:
A spokesperson from ESPN confirms to Swamplot that the network will not be using underground-parking-garagedMidtown Park as the mainÂ set for its Super Bowl week teevee shows after all,Â contrary to thatÂ October announcement. Workers were on the scene on Monday (as shown here), and the main pavilion structure appears to have been undergoing glow testsÂ in the last few weeksÂ by the same lighting design company that designed the new US59 bridge LEDs. The scaffolding-covered CamdenÂ apartmentsÂ structure, however, appears to be missing some more significant finishing touches:
The viewÂ this week aroundÂ Westpark Dr. at the West Loop includes both the old lattice towers currently holding CenterPoint’s electrical transmission linesÂ and the taller, skinnier single pole models that will be taking over the gig. AÂ reader captured some side-by-side portraits of the old towers and their replacements,Â which CenterPoint is deploying toÂ raiseÂ the linesÂ out of the way of TxDOT’s proposed future editsÂ to the 610-59 interchangeÂ tangle.Â The cherry picker aboveÂ is shownÂ tethered to one of the new towersÂ in the easement just west of 610; the top shot shows a poleÂ up on the east side of the freeway between the Loop Central office midrises and theÂ Danny Jackson Family Bark ParkÂ (which closed down last summerÂ soÂ CenterPoint could work on the land the county hadÂ been using as the park’sÂ parking lot).
Here’s a ground-levelÂ shot at theÂ base of an old-and-new tower pair just outside the dog park, with someÂ Houston Garden CenterÂ inventory in the background for scale:
From the AIGÂ tower neighboring to the north, a reader peers down behind the construction fencing now up at the corner of Waugh Dr. and D’Amico St., in an effortÂ to figure out whatÂ might be gettin’ realÂ in the Whole Foods Montrose parking lot. An employee tells Swamplot over the phone that the storeÂ is planting additional parking spaces on top of what was previously a walkway lined with grassÂ and picnic tables, adding parking has been a squeeze on the weekends (which lines up pretty well with earlier reports from the scene). The rep also saysÂ that the tables (positioned across Waugh from BMW service garageÂ Bavarian Machine Specialties and catty-corner to the health-and-beauty-shop-laden strip center across D’amico), were almost never used.Â Permits for the pave-over were issued at the end of May.