01/27/16 11:30am

Here’s some hot and heavy demo footage of a frenzied excavator tearing apart the former Blanco’s Bar and Grill at 3406 W. Alabama St. this morning, as a worker hoses down the scene from off to the side. A reader captured the final show at the little blue honky-tonk, which housed live music for nearly 32 years before its November 2013 closure.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Hosed on W. Alabama
01/15/16 10:15am

2016 Houston Marathon Closures

For a few early hours this Sunday, the Southwest Freeway will be the only conduit into or out of the box of land framed by Kirby Dr., Montrose Blvd., Bissonnet St. and W. Gray St. (give or take a traffic peninsula leading up to Allen Pkwy., which will also be closed for much of the morning).

The Houston Marathon will launch from 4 corrals leading to Congress Ave. at San Jacinto St., and loop through the city along the route outlined in black above. The Half Marathon route (outlined in yellow) will pant alongside until just before mile 8, when it will skive off north back toward the shared finish line at Discovery Green.

A larger version of the map is show in 2 parts below, complete with start and end times (in red and green respectively) of each mile marker’s street closure:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

The Runaround
12/21/15 11:30am

YOU MAY YET HAVE YOUR CHANCE TO LIVE ON TOP OF THE SUR LA TABLE BY THE RIVER OAKS THEATER River Oaks Shopping Center rooftops Senior Leasing VP Gerald Crump of Weingarten Realty Investors told Nancy Sarnoff of the Chronicle last week that even bigger changes are likely on their way to the River Oaks Shopping Center section on the north side of W. Gray between McDuffie and Driscoll, currently housing Sur La Table, Brasserie 19, and Cafe Ginger, among others (shown here from above, facing a distant Kroger’s). Still-nebulous plans for revamping the space include incorporating residential units, more retail or more parking. Any changes to the center, which is designated a historic landmark by the City, would need the nominal thumbs-up of the Houston Architectural and Historic Commission — though need for that approval can be bypassed by letting a 90-day waiting period expire, David Bush of Preservation Houston told Sarnoff. Crump says that the company will work to communicate plans to the surrounding community as they develop, but also tells Sarnoff that “as an owner and developer, you have to remain relevant”. The redo, whatever shape it eventually takes, could take that shape as early as 2019. [Houston Chronicle, previously on Swamplot] Photo: bjoelio via Swamplot Flickr pool

12/17/15 9:45am

2015 W. Gray St., River Oaks Shopping Center, Houston, 77019

The landscape of adorably-named taco shops grows ever denser — Baja fast-casual restaurant Fuzzy’s Tacos will continue its spread south from Cypress, creeping into the space at 2015 W. Gray St., in the parking lot behind the River Oaks Theater. The Fort Worth export will move into the freestanding building on Peden St. at the back of the shopping center, following the 8-month tapas act of Pesca World Seafood (which  shuttered in 2013 after replacing Tinto’s that same year).

The space itself is not quite taco-ready:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Very, Very Soft Tacos
04/02/15 4:00pm

48-tiel-way-16

48-tiel-way-02

The craggy terrain backing Buffalo Bayou in River Oaks near the neighborhood’s decorative gates at Shepherd Dr. sprouted several Usonian-design inspired homes by the architecture firm of MacKie & Kamrath back in the fifties. One of the modernist properties that still remains on the Tiel Way loop landed on the market Monday — and it’s in near original shape, right down to the redwood siding and built-in furnishings. A 1957 structure noted in architectural circles for its angles, wedges, cantilevered terraces, and detail-layered ceilings, the bayou-view home on a ravine lot now bears a $2.5 million price tag.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

River Oaks Wrightists
01/28/15 12:45pm

A LIST OF 17 FASHIONABLE HOUSTON NEWCOMERS HEADED FOR RIVER OAKS THIS YEAR WHO’LL END UP ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS River Oaks District Under Construction, Highland Village, HoustonJohn Lobb, Akris, Kiton, Moncler, De Boulle, Giuseppe Zanotti, Etro, Chopard, Canali, Brunello Cucinelli, Brioni, Diptyque, Bonobos, Intermix. Haven’t heard of ’em? Well, how about Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli, and Dolce & Gabbana? They’re all luxury retailers who are new to Houston, and who’ll be arriving here about the same time that OliverMcMillan’s long-awaited (but not-so-accurately named) River Oaks District opens up on Westheimer between the Galleria and the Highland Village Shopping Center — only a mile away from the actual neighborhood called River Oaks — sometime this spring. [Real Estate Bisnow; previously on Swamplot] Photo of River Oaks District under construction: OliverMcMillan

12/12/14 11:45am

3925 Del Monte Dr., Tall Timbers, River Oaks, Houston

3925 Del Monte Dr., Tall Timbers, River Oaks, Houston

3925 Del Monte Dr., Tall Timbers, River Oaks, HoustonBack in April, Swamplot asked whether, for $8.1 million, this 1941 River Oaks estate by architect Hiram Salisbury with a later addition by John Staub might be torn down to allow the construction of 2 newer mansions on the same property. Today, we have our answer: No. But for $7.2 million, the answer appears to have been yes — for the tearing-down part, at least. Yesterday, the city approved a demolition permit for the property, which changed hands in July.

Named a Texas Historic Landmark in 2001, the central part of the home was designed by Salisbury for attorney Thomas D. Anderson and his wife, Helen Sharp Anderson. In 1950, the Andersons had Staub design the home’s east wing. Mrs. Anderson died last year, 7 years after her husband. The listing, which featured carefully staged photos of the home’s well-tended grounds and interiors as well as its won’t-ward-off-bulldozers medal from the Texas Historical Commission, also noted that the River Oaks Property Owners association had already given approval for the 67,458-sq.-ft. lot to be subdivided.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Oligarchs in River Oaks