12/28/16 2:45pm

Art Hous, 811 St. Emanuel St., East Downtown, Houston, 77003
wahlburgers

The folks at ACS studio architecture say that the insides of the former Art Hous art and interior design center on St. Emanuel St. are being cleared out for the planned installation of Burgr Hous. Demo permits for the interior walls of the space, which is wedged between Warehouse Live and Lucky’s Pub, came through early last month. When it’s wrapped up, the remodel may have a vibe kinda like the space shown above, which ACS currently has up on their website for the project as a visual reference for the redesign — though the image depicts the branding of the Boston-based reality-teevee-starring Wahlburgers chain. The firm has a floorplan out as well, however, showing a different layout:

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E-Less in EaDo
12/06/16 12:00pm

9230 Buffalo Spdwy., Houston, 77025

The ribbed tank hiding behind the tract excavator in the north-facing shot above will soon be going underground, per current plans at the corner of Durhill St. and Buffalo Spdwy. First Stop Food Store, the current occupant of the retail shell on the property, sits right across Buffalo Spdwy. from one of the 2 planned senior living facilities in the vicinity — that property is just out of the frame to the right, while one of the houses in the Pemberton Circle gated townhome cluster can be seen peeking over the fence on the left.

The 1950s convenience store building and property itself changed hands early last year. Here’s a shot from July, a few happy months before the parking lot breakup seen above:

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Tanking Up
11/21/16 1:00pm

Brewery Tap, 717 Franklin St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Brewery Tap, 717 Franklin St., Downtown, Houston, 77002Ghost-story hub and beer bar Brewery Tap reopened this weekend, after about nearly 11 months of remodeling in the wake of a January ownership swap. The bar is located in the building at 717 Franklin St., preivously part of Houston Ice & Brewing Co.’s Magnolia Brewery complex on the edge of Buffalo Bayou. Down the slope beneath the Franklin St. bridge is the mid-1800’s crypt previously occupied by the remains of 3 members of the Donnellan family; the early Houston settler and his wife and son were moved west to Glenwood Cemetery around 1903, after which the crypt was incorporated into the structure of the Franklin St. bridge:

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Digging Up Downtown History
11/09/16 11:15am

One Allen Center, 1200 Smith St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Planned Remodel of One Allen Center, 1200 Smith St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

From over the fence at the corner of Smith and Dallas streets, a reader sends a shot of the ongoing scrape-out at One Allen Center. The glassed-in space protruding toward Smith will be undergoing a major reconstructive procedure to square up its corners, if all goes according to Brookfield’s previously depicted plan. Meanwhile, that skybridge in the back on the left is looking a good deal more put together than it did at the end of June, when it got the strip-down treatment; it’s now sporting a brighter, more silver-y skin to match the renderings, which show it backing up a band in that planned twixt-the-towers events space:  CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Going Gray Downtown
11/03/16 3:45pm

Magic Island sign removal, 2215 Southwest Fwy., Houston, 77098

As of lunchtime, more than half of the MAGIC & COMEDY SHOW lettering has been removed from the sloped wall of vacant freeway-side magic club and faux Egyptian temple Magic Island. A reader spotted the scene — “just the cherry picker and the demolished letters on the ground” — during a feeder road drive-by around noon.

Talk of rebooting and reopening the former magic club (which became increasingly family-oriented until its Ike-and-fire-fueled shutdown in 2008) has been going on periodically since 2012; some permits for sign renewal and restaurant repairs were issued back in 2013, and a representative of owner and neurologist Mohammed Athari told Leah Binkovitz in early 2015 that some contracts for work on the building had finally been signed, even though things were moving slower than originally planned.

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Beneath the Pharaoh’s Gaze
10/19/16 11:00am

3111 Chimney Rock, Lamar Terrace, Houston, 77056

The graffiti on the tall face of the former Big Woodrow’s spot at 3111 Chimney Rock Rd. has been joined lately by new signage for Rotana Mediterranean Restaurant. The 2-story 2-bar space north of Richmond Ave. shut down near the end of August last year after a planned temporary closure for building repairs turned into an unplanned permanent landlord dispute, and the building went up for lease around the same time. Some of those repairs to the 5,928-sq.-ft. space may have been getting done over the past year since the closure, if building permits issued in March and at the start of this month are any indication.

Photo: MiraDry team at Mosaic Clinic Dermatology

Rotana Remodeling off Richmond Ave.
10/17/16 12:15pm

5404 Almeda Rd., Museum Park, Houston, 77004

The fenced-off L-shaped strip center that previously hosted a string of smoked meat vendors at 5404 Almeda Rd. looks to be the planned site of a new restaurant connected to Breakfast Klub owner Marcus Davis. The strip center got a new roof during the summer of 2014, after permits were issued with Davis’s name in the occupant spot; plans to remodel the space for a new restaurant and bar were moving through the city review system again as recently as last month, and a tipster tells Swamplot the place could open early next year (if all goes as planned).

The site sits about 6 blocks south down Almeda from Davis’s Reggae Hut; the shot above looks west from Almeda down Prospect St. (not even a quarter mile down the road from that trio of light-up townhomes that just went on sale). The once-Green’s space became a Harlon’s Bar-B-Que for a few years before it was turned into Bar B-Que Blues (which shut down by early 2011). Here’s what the space looked like circa 2010, when the strip was also occupied by the Black Heritage Gallery and the Grape & Grain Liquor Store:

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Joining the Klub
10/13/16 4:30pm

Remodel of 2400 N Shepherd Dr. Houston Heights, Houston, 77008

Former Texas Cafeteria, 2400 N Shepherd Dr. Houston Heights, Houston, 77008Across W. 24th St. from the currently-grocerless former N. Shepherd Fiesta lot, a reader notes that MFT’s makeover of the former Texas Cafeteria building seems to be shaping up roughly as previously planned — the building’s previous overhangs and high elevation roof decor have now been fully flattened out, and the spot’s 6,125 sq. ft. are currently listed for lease in 2 pieces on LoopNet. Per the listing and the previous rendering labeling of the spot as BURGERS, the 3,250-sq.-ft. space intended for a restaurant tenant appears to be on the potentially-H-E-B-facing southern end of the development:

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Future Food by Former Fiesta
09/13/16 5:30pm

8008 Colgate St., Glenbrook Valley, Houston8008 Colgate St., Glenbrook Valley, Houston

That recovered 2-story mod at 8008 Colgate has been getting further retouching by the newest owners, Sandra Cook writes in this month’s Houston House & Home. The previously dilapidated house made HoustonMod’s Mod of the Month list back in 2014 after it was rehabilitated to a poop-and-mold-free 5,870 sq. ft. (scooping in a few upstairs patios behind new walls in the process). Above is a comparison of the main entryway — the top photo shows the space’s trendy new white outfit, while the same wall appears in blue below that following the 2014 redo. (The lower left side shows the space midway through those earlier reconstructive procedures.)

The house will be receiving visitors during the Glenbrook Valley Home Tour in October; here’s a few peeks at some of the new retro-ish finishes, if you can’t wait until then:

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Re-Re-Mod-eling
09/12/16 10:45am

Redo of 3618 Burlington St., Westmoreland Historic District, Houston, 77006

3618-burlington-29What’s that — up in the air, over Westmoreland and Spur 527? According to a reader, it’s the skeletal remnants of 3618 Burlington St.’s sideyard billboard, which has been coming down since some time late last week. The sign structure is shown on its last leg in the snapshot up top from Saturday morning (that’s out of 3 legs originally, as seen in the listing photo below that from the 2015 sale). Per the newest listing, the full interior and exterior blankout and makeover of the 3-story Westmoreland Historic District home should have finished up around last Friday.

Photos: Swamplot inbox (top), HAR (bottom)

Sign of Steel
09/08/16 10:30am

5400 Memorial Dr., Rice Military, Houston, 77007

5400 Memorial Dr., Rice Military, Houston, 77007The sides of the 1965 Memorial Towers highrise apartment complex are currently getting the blues as part of a period remodel, a reader reports. Serial multifamily fixer-upper The Barvin Group bought the property in May. The side of the complex pictured above (also shown pre-paint for comparison) faces west down Memorial Dr. toward the recently flattened former roost of Pollo Bravo (occupied before that by Hartz Chicken Buffet).  A rendering of the complex’s planned new look (including a throwback cursive replacement of the signage currently pointed at east-bound drivers) is on display in the lobby:

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Rice Military Remake
08/23/16 10:30am

17695 Hwy. 249, Willowbrook, Houston, 77064

With the Mattress Firm peeking in from the left and the Office Depot edging in from the right, here’s the former 59 Diner across Hwy. 249 from Willowbrook Mall. The jagged freestanding building went up for lease around the same time as all those other 59 locations opened up in the wake of the chain’s March shutdown; now, as other former 59s are beginning to pick up new tenants, the Willowbrook spot is being spruced up to reopen as a branch of Dimassi’s Mediterranean Buffet. That boxy framework hanging around over the entrance looks to be the leftovers of the 59 signage, shown below in this previous listing shot of the restaurant (taken before the structure’s teal-heavy retro color scheme got beiged away):

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Ups and Downs Willowbrook
08/17/16 5:15pm

3303 Shadowncrest Ln., Spring, TX 77380

3303 Shadowncrest Ln., Spring, TX 77380 Now for sale just across the Spring-Creek-hugging southern edge of Harris County: this 1970s ranch, carefully dressed by the seller in slate panels. The 3-bedroom 2-bathroom property was given a new outer skin (as seen in the top photo) to tie into features of the extensive interior redo, carried out by the seller’s own stone-and-tile-centric remodeling business. New features in the home include stone paneling, a few reshaped windows, and some throwback color schemes (including a black-and-white checkered garage floor), as well as a new pump system for the drought-tolerant backyard landscape (complete with koi pond.)  Asking price is $400,000 — check out more before-and-after shots below:

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Slated for a Redo
06/23/16 2:45pm

Allen Center Skybridge Remodeling, 500 Dallas St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Currently underway: the partial disassembly of 1 of the 2 skybridges connecting One and Two Allen Center at the corner of Dallas and Smith streets downtown. The bridge pictured above is expected to survive the planned 3-tower redevelopment — a permit to remodel it was issued on Monday with some other OKs on the work, which includes turning the rubble-filled space to the east into a Smith-St.-facing events lawn and concert space. Renderings previously released by Brookfield suggest that the other skybridge, from which the above photo was taken, won’t be so lucky:

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Last Days Downtown
05/09/16 12:30pm

RAVEN TOWER’S TOWER TEMPORARILY CLOSED, BUT THE SHOWS WILL GO ON Raven Tower Bar, 301 North St., Northside, Houston, 77009The blue bar-on-a-stick at the northwest corner of the White Oak Music Hall complex temporarily shut down last week so W2 Development Partners can add more railings and make the space more physically accessible. The elevated 1970s former bachelor pad reopened as a bar and rooftop patio in January, 3 months before the first show on the semi-temporary main stage next door; a set of concrete stairs wrap around the elevator shaft leading up to the main space.  The non-tower sections of the Raven Tower venue, including the downstairs bar and the outdoor patio and performance space, are scheduled to stay open and host concerts as planned. Across the parking lot, White Oak Music Hall has another lawn concert scheduled for tomorrow night. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Raven Tower: Swamplot inbox