- 623 Knox St. [HAR]
From reader Mark Lawrence come these farewell views of the almost-a-full-block compound one block north of Washington Ave at 1101 Reinerman St. that belonged to J and L Sheet Metal from the late eighties until recently. The company sold its land, bounded by Reinerman, Moy, Nett, and Center streets, to MHI McGuyer Homebuilders in late August. A sign taped to the front door (at right) notes the metal fabrication business is moving out of the Westwood Grove neighborhood, further north to 14102 Chrisman Rd., near the intersection of the Hardy Toll Rd. and Beltway 8.
The steel-framed doubled-up home at 115 Arnold St. in Rice Military (pictured above) owned by Houston restaurateur Ouisie Jones and her husband Harry Jones earned its demolition permit yesterday, a few months after the property was sold to a developer — for $2.2 million. (It was asking $2.65 million this past March, when Swamplot featured it.) The 24,915-sq.-ft. property is being joined with the slightly larger plot of land under the adjacent warehouse building at 5202 Chandler St. to make space for an F-shaped 22-townhome development.
Cherry Demolition crews are attacking portions of the Memorial Club Apartments at 904 Westcott St. this morning. A tipster tells Swamplot the section of apartments on the east side of Westcott have been vacant for a few weeks, and that ovens, washers, dryers, and other appliances were hauled off last week.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: GOODBYE TO WOODCREST “. . . I contend that Rice Military has eaten up Woodcrest whatever the original boundaries were. I have lived about a mile from that Knox Street house for five years, riding my bike through there several times a week, and have never seen any evidence of the Woodcrest brand. (Though the pic of the sign in the TC Jester esplanade on the crickets-empty Woodcrest Neighborhood Association website looks vaguely familiar. It’s in black and white so no telling how old it is.) Rice Military, Crestwood/Glen Cove and Cottage Grove all have Wikipedia pages. Woodcrest does not. 999 out of 1000 Houstonians would not have a clue where Woodcrest was, but lots more know Rice Military. Its original identity has been erased in the last ten or 15 years and it’s now a Condo Canyon like Rice Military so let’s just let that boring Woodcrest name go, especially since there’s a Crestwood right down the street.” [John Nova Lomax, commenting on Hearsay Doubling Up Downtown; Touring the Inner Loop’s Second-Cheapest Rent House] Illustration: Lulu
Architect Meeks + Partners has posted a rendering of the steel-framed apartment complex Greystar is planning to replace the Memorial Club Apartments lining the southern boundary of the Washington on Westcott roundabout. Swamplot reported Greystar’s plans for the apartments last year — along with a tip that the planned redevelopment would include a new Trader Joe’s. The rendering shows no sign of a Trader Joe’s, but it does show the base of the apartment structure filled with retail spaces and outdoor dining areas facing the roundabout. The view appears to be taken southeast from the roundabout; the existing stone Rice Military placard is in the foreground.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: BURSTING YOUR HOUSING BUBBLE BUBBLE “Your fears of a bubble being caused in this manner are unfounded. The sales of older homes (by Houston standards at least — still less than 10 years) have shot up in just the last 9 months. Sure, we always need to guard against bubbles, but I don’t think an EaDo-specific bubble is occurring, and certainly not because there aren’t existing single-family homes. Teardowns of existing, livable (leaving out the shotgun shacks) single-family homes have started (here, for instance). In the place of the teardowns are multiple townhomes. There are some examples of irrational exuberance on the part of the developers, like the $500,000 asking price for the townhomes bounded by Nagle/Capitol/Delano/Rusk, but the recent high appreciation occurring is not out of line and has only been occurring for a few years, whereas places like the Heights and Rice Military have seen prices increases for many years, all without any neighborhood-specific bubble. Midtown, too, has avoided a bubble-then-crash and they have an even smaller stock of single-family homes yards than EaDo.” [eiioi, commenting on Comment of the Day: East Downtown, Brought to You by Montrose] Illustration: Lulu
COMMENT OF THE DAY: WITH OR WITHOUT LIGHT RAIL “I would dispute that the light rail has had any substantive quantitative impact on Houston’s development patterns, except to shuffle around the placement of some developments within a distance of several blocks. (That is to say, for instance, that downtown was destined to pick up a few big highrises over the last decade, but perhaps they were closer to Main rather than Allen Center.) A lot of people forget that the re-gentrification of the Heights took place over a span of decades — without light rail. The gentrification of 3rd Ward, the East End, and the Near Northside has been ongoing for a shorter period of time, and these neighborhoods simply aren’t as well-located as Rice Military — which also transformed without light rail. I would suggest that these neighborhoods are all destined for gentrification, that it will happen slowly because we’re talking about a huge geographic area — and that it would’ve happened with or without light rail, just as with other neighborhoods. I might be swayed if it were the case that some meaningful number of people move to Houston because it has light rail, but aside from some extremely narrow subset of people, that strikes me as bullshit. It’s not an effective economic development tool, and certainly not without zoning (which I also oppose).” [TheNiche, commenting on A First Look at the Strip Center-and-Apartments Combo That Could Go Up Between UH and TSU] Illustration: Lulu
“It looks like someone has bought the whole block between Feagan, Westcott, and Knox in Rice Military next to the Commonwealth Title office building,” a reader writes in accompaniment of a series of photos. “There are several old cottages with for sale signs showing the houses as ‘to be moved’ although they don’t look salvageable to me.” What, the reader wants to know, is going to happen here?
COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT WENT WRONG IN RICE MILITARY AND THE WEST END “you get what you get. if the buyers of those units and the developers don’t have the initiative to deed restrict unit-divided rentals, it’s at their own fault. The city already dropped the ball by not having a minimum lot divisible in there originally. all of those 5000 sf cottages were not a realistic use of the land, but neither is 4 attached units on a common unregulated drive with gate, set to 20′ wide asphalt roads and no curbs/gutters. your comment that they will become slums is short-sided. i have a friend who lives in this type of housing in Boston, i assure you charlestown is both desirable and nice — his rent is $3.25 psf. forget that little white ghetto pocket you saw in ‘the town’ . . . this is the west end. always has been, always should be. shame on the city for not investing in infrastructure here, and shame on the buyer for not understanding the realities of paying $300,000 for attached unit housing with nobody taking ownership of a cooperative housing complex. really the developers leave that unchartered because the buyers are cheap, and they shy away from a house with an HOA. the assumption is the HOA has froth in it. so instead, they get a paved courtyard that runs into deferred maintenance issues and neighboring owners who say ‘piss off’ on everybody chipping in to fix it. if i owned one and was renting it to carpetbagging yankees, that would be my opinion and attitude.” [HTX REZ, commenting on Comment of the Day: What To Call the Greater West End]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT TO CALL THE GREATER WEST END “Forgive me if this has been discussed before, but am I the only one who thinks that the Wash Ave area needs one, unifying neighborhood name? I live in Magnolia Grove, but no one knows what that is, so I have to just say “Off Wash Ave” (though that implies that I moved there to be close to Wash Ave bars, which is NOT the case) or say that I’m in between Montrose and the Heights (which is a stretch). Rice Military stops at Durham/Shepherd so that isn’t accurate. The neighborhoods can continue to retain their individual neighborhood names, but the entire area [PDF] can have one unifying name so that folks know what you’re talking about (e.g., Montrose is the larger neighborhood that contains Hyde Park). I would think realtors and retailers would both jump at the chance to not have to describe the area by referring to street names. Part of the area is called the West End (I think the area between Shepherd, Wash Ave, Heights, and Katy Freeway), and I think that would be a cool name to describe the whole area (particularly given the fact that the area used to be the end of town). I’m sure there are other cool names too, but any name should not contain ‘Heights’ in the title, as the area is decidedly not the Heights and the feel/look is incredibly different. The area’s former name, ‘Smokeytown,’ should also be out for obvious reasons.” [Eric, commenting on New Shepherd Dr. Little Woodrow’s To Serve Pub Fare, Too]
NEW SHEPHERD DR. LITTLE WOODROW’S TO SERVE PUB FARE, TOO Beer after wine: Closed back in November, Block 7 at 720
South Shepherd Dr. is being replaced by Little Woodrow’s, reports Eater Houston’s Eric Sandler. Just south of the Washington Corridor in Rice Military Magnolia Grove and a block east from the about-to-open Katch 22 from Roger Clemens’s kid Kory, the new Shepherd spot, rep Nick Menage tells Sandler, will house no ordinary Woodrow’s: “In a twist, this location will have a full kitchen that will serve an updated mix of bar foods including burgers, nachos and pizzas from the old Block 7 oven. Menage assures fans of the bar’s popular steak nights that there are plans to maintain that tradition, too.” [Eater Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Block 7: Panoramio user Wolfgang Houston
And here are the apartments designed to replace those mini storage sheds being torn down on the north side of Memorial Dr. at 159 Birdsall St. The demo, says a rep from developer Sunrise Luxury Living, is about 75 percent complete — only 20 sheds remain — and construction on the 5-story Birdsall Memorial Apartments is expected to begin in the next four months. Plans show the new complex squeezing 180 1- and 2-bedroom units onto the property where the 300 storage sheds stood.
Here’s a nifty aerial view of the area:
The son of Sugar Land Skeeters ace and former Astros hurler Roger Clemens is renovating a tapas bar into a house of “sports and spirits” that’ll be called Katch 22. That’s Katch with a K — for strikeout, if you’re scoring at home. Renovations are already underway at the former Convivio space here at 700 Durham in Rice Military.
Kody Kory Clemens, reports Eater Houston’s Eric Sandler, will be Katch 22′s executive chef; he studied at Le Cordon Bleu and met co-proprietor Luke Mandola while working at Ragin’ Cajun. Sandler adds that though there will be 11 screens here showing ball games, the owners stress that Katch 22 is not a sports bar. Either way, it’s expected to open in May.
Photo: Allyn West
A tipster tells Swamplot that a parcel of the Memorial Club Apartments property at 904 Westcott is “confirmed” as the future site of Houston’s fourth Trader Joe’s. Organized around the Rice Military roundabout near Memorial Park, the apartments are split down the middle by Westcott; the photo above shows a view from the roundabout looking east toward Washington.