08/30/18 4:00pm

After the owner of the yellow bungalow went to jail in 2015 for conspiracy, the townhome neighbors bought it and begun looking to put some distance between the house and their own. Last Wednesday, the city’s historical commission reviewed their plans however and told them no can do. The extra 7-ft.-8-in. they wanted to add between the 2 structures would take the bungalow — part of the Heights South Historic District — out of its original 1920 location at 922 Columbia St. And the other change — sliding it 5-ft.-3.5-in. back from the curb to line up with its taller neighbor — would make it less prominent along the street.

The decision is binding, so there’s no shying away now from the current situation:


Close Quarters on Columbia St.
10/15/13 11:05am

Looks like MAM’s House of Ice will be opening inside this 780-sq.-ft. former paint supply liquor store at 1040 W. Cavalcade — just in time for winter! This spot is a bit east of where the sky-blue dessert trailer usually parks at Rutland and 20th. Why here? The owners explain to Eater Houston that they “‘tried really hard not to go into a strip center because [they] wanted to have green space’ so that families could go out, extend blankets on the green and enjoy the outdoor picnic tables.” HCAD records show that this new lot comes in at 3,500 sq. ft.

Photo: Eater Houston

09/06/13 10:00am

Remember that unusable and really vague tip sent to Swamplot back in January? The one promising that a “major (non-residential) Houston property is about to make a significant change”? And it wasn’t Macy’s? Well, the in-the-know tipster now reports, we can let that cat out of the bag, since the Houston Business Journal and Houston Chronicle already have: The “Houston landmark” the tipster couldn’t tip us off about is the Galleria — which, it was announced yesterday by developer Simon Property Group, will be undergoing extensive renovations and partial demolition to create about 100,000 new sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space.

The plan calls for the Galleria III portion where Saks Fifth Avenue is currently located to be demolished — though the tipster says the Philip Johnson façade will be maintained — to make room for a bumped-out food court (shown in the rendering above). That freed-up Saks space will provide room for 35 new retailers and restaurants. Meanwhile, Saks will be moving into the Macy’s spot on Sage, and that Macy’s will be merging with the other Macy’s on Hidalgo. (Makes sense.) Also, a standalone box will be built in the parking lot for a few tenants who can afford to be more conspicuous to the stop-and-go crowd on Westheimer.


08/06/13 10:00am

A reader sends this photo of the vacant building at 608 Westheimer between Katz’s Deli and Bombshell Tattoo and Piercing Studio that the owners of Vinoteca Poscól have bought and are planning to relocate to next year. Eater Houston reports that the new 6,300-sq.-ft. spot will provide quite a bit more room than the old one owners Marco and Gloria Wiles — who also run Da Marco and Dolce Vita — were renting in that strip center at 1609 Westheimer, across the street from Buffalo Exchange and Hugo’s. Observes Darla Guillen: “The increased square footage will allow them to seat more customers, and they will have a bigger bar with plenty of local brews on tap.”

Photo: Swamplot inbox

07/02/13 11:10am

RADICAL EATS REPLACING LOWER WESTHEIMER’S PULLED-OUT ROOTS The Near Northside vegan dive Radical Eats is closing and relocating across town to the recently closed Roots Bistro on Westheimer, reports Gastronaut Katherine Shilcutt. (Roots closed in early June after some bungling of its marquee.) Shilcutt adds that Radical Eats owner Staci Davis sees the move to this less “scruffy” space as a chance expand her menu to include dishes that use meat, cheese, and eggs, a culinary move not without consequence: “She admitted that some of her diehard vegan customers were furious with her decision, even calling in to a radio show she was appearing on as a guest and lambasting her on-air. ‘What are you going to do?’ she asked, with a rhetorical shoulder shrug.” [Culturemap; Gastronaut; previously on Swamplot] Photo of 507 Westheimer: Allyn West

06/25/13 11:30am

SPACE MONTROSE SELLING STUFF TO FUND NEW MONTROSE SPACE TO SELL STUFF The Examiner reports that Space Montrose’s 200-ft. relocation to that new retail center at the corner of Westheimer and Dunlavy where pastry chef Roy Shvartzapel is planning a café is requiring some serious dough: a $10,000 buildout, including installing from scratch plumbing, wiring, and HVAC systems in the 1,200-sq.-ft. “cold shell.” How’s a small-scale, husband-and-wife Montrose boutique that sells locally made arts and crafts supposed to pay for something like that? Why, selling locally made arts and crafts: “Owner Leila Peraza is starting an Indiegogo campaign,” reports Sarah Tucker. “[She’s] still in the process of setting up . . . ‘Our hands, united hearts,’ but plans to have different gifts for different levels of donors, such as T-shirts and artist-donated work. She also plans to incorporate the mural by artist Katharine Kearns at the front of the store into the fundraiser and new store space as a thank you.” [The Examiner; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Allyn West

06/18/13 11:00am

First things first: Here’s the new location of Morningside Thai. Hoping to open June 22, says owner Ying Roberts, the no-longer-on-Morningside, no-longer-eponymous restaurant can be found at 2473 S. Braeswood Blvd., inside the Kirby Glen Retail Center, north of OST, right where the South Main neighborhood bumps into University Place. Got that? Of course, the Braeswood address might be a tad misleading in this case, since the restaurant actually faces Kirby Dr.


05/29/13 4:30pm

From Magnolia Grove to a previously vacant lot with a single sickly magnolia: What a journey it’s been for this little bungalow! After being sold in 2012 and cleared for demo, then suddenly spared last week and trucked away from its home at 4414 Gibson St., the 1,200-sq.-ft., split-pea-soup-green bungalow has finally come to rest. Where? Almost 6 miles away on Hussion St. in the East End. It’s now behind the for-sale Finger Furniture on the I-45 feeder and catty-corner (well, almost) from the Houston Elbow & Nipple Company.

Photo: Allyn West

05/29/13 3:45pm

An email sent out by the owners of re:HAB says that the bar will have to close and leave its Houston Ave. location by July. (A landlord issue, apparently.) But the email also says a new spot has been lined up — at 1658 Enid and Link Rd. in Brooke Smith — and that it could open as early as August “if everything goes according to plan (yeah right).”

So we’ll take things one day at a time, then. The bar first opened in the renovated (and repainted) former Houston Ave Bar spot along the Spring St. hike and bike trail. This new location is just a few blocks north of the renovated D&T Drive Inn on Enid and about a mile east of the proposed site of Town in City Brewing Co. on W. Cavalcade. The email goes on to describe this building as “nestled on the banks of ‘Little White Oak Bayou,’” explaining that you’ll be able to get to re:HAB this time “by car, bus, bike or kayak.”


05/24/13 10:15am

This 1940 bungalow in Magnolia Grove had been all set to be torn down, showing up in the Daily Demolition Report on Wednesday. But the previous owners, who bought the 1,200-sq.-ft. Gibson St. house in 2005 and sold it in 2012, say that it has been “spared.” Here’s their story:

After discovering that we were expecting our second child, we quickly realized that the 2 bed, 1-1/2 bath was not large enough for our growing family. We hoped that perhaps a single person or couple would purchase the property. We were naive, of course, as the only offers received were from builders planning to build the typical 3 story, 4K square foot beast near downtown. After much heartache and a few tears, we accepted an offer from Urban Living and fully expected the home to be demolished.


05/23/13 3:00pm

What’s this sandbox right beside the Hungry’s Cafe and Bistro in Rice Village going to be? A Hungry’s. An employee at the not-that-old one next door at 2356 Rice Blvd. says it will be demolished and turned into a parking lot for what a rendering on a sign at this construction site shows is a 2-story new one.

Hungry’s, you’ll remember, is owned by an entity controlled by Fred Sharifi, who earlier this year purchased and now appears to have plans to redevelop the Gramercy Place Apartments on the 200 block of Portland St. — just a few miles away on the east side of Montrose Blvd. — into townhomes.

A rendering of the new Hungry’s wasn’t made immediately available; what follows after the jump is a photo of what’s on that sign at the construction site:


05/22/13 3:30pm

A DOWNER FOR TACO MILAGRO IN UPPER KIRBY A post on the Taco Milagro Facebook suggests that the restaurant will be leaving the corner of Westheimer and Kirby Dr. where it’s been — almost miraculously, you could say — since 1998. Culturemap, pinning the relocation on rising rents there across from West Ave, reports that the restaurant group Schiller Del Grande that owns Taco Milagro (and Cafe Express, The Grove, and a few others) is looking for a new place for it “somewhere a bit further out.” Attempts to contact Schiller Del Grande for more details haven’t been returned. [Facebook; Culturemap; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Panoramio user Wolfgang Houston

05/17/13 11:00am

So the days are numbered for Ruth’s Chris on Richmond — that much is obvious. And a reader sends us this photo showing the steakhouse’s next location, in that Uptown pad site where Prosperity Bank used to be at 5433 Westheimer. (And you can see the aloft Hotel in the background.) A rep from Ruth’s Chris says it should be open by July. And marketing materials from building owner AmREIT seem to position the steakhouse as an anchor for a redevelopment project on this triangular slice of property bound by Westheimer, W. Alabama, and Yorktown: A flyer on the company’s website mentions “a renovated office building” that doesn’t seem to have had a named tenant since Prosperity moved out and took its logo away almost 3 years ago. There’s also a second, 3,000-sq.-ft. retail space that AmREIT’s advertising as available on that building’s first floor. Attempts to contact AmREIT for details about the project haven’t been returned.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

04/30/13 10:00am

The other tenant in this new retail center at Westheimer and Dunlavy will be Space Montrose. Owner Leila Peraza says that by August the artsy and crafty retailer at 2608 Dunlavy will be relocating from this spot behind Cafe Brasil into the 4,800-sq.-ft. building under construction at the corner about 200 ft. away. Space Montrose will take up 1,200 sq. ft. of that and share a wall with what a pending liquor license names Leaven & Earth, a pastry cafe from well-schooled, globe-trotting chef Roy Shvartzapel. Recently, 2608 Dunlavy has been an art gallery and yoga studio; Peraza says she heard a book store is next.

Photos: Allyn West

04/26/13 10:00am

How do you move a historic cottage from one location to another? Well, carefully: This video uploaded this week from the Heritage Society chronicles the easy-does-it, steady-as-she-goes relocation of a Fourth Ward cottage from its perch in Sam Houston Park. The Heritage Society says that the house, originally located on Robin St. in Freedman’s Town, dates to at least 1866. It’s been in the collection since 2002, temporarily sited on Dallas St., while the society awaited the funds to move it to its permanent home beside to the Jack Yates House in that architectural promenade on the park grounds along McKinney St.