08/26/16 2:30pm

A PORTRAIT OF THE SLEEPY WORK LIFE OF THE MATTRESS SALESPERSON Mattress Stores in Strip Center at Kirby Dr. and Wroxton St., West University, TX 77005James Haynes takes a look this afternoon at the other side of the mattress retail expansion equation that has led to the 9-stores-in-11-blocks Rice Village mattress district and other high-mattress-density landscapes around Houston: the salespeople who may work a full 10-hour shift alone with no customers. While employees can spend part of that time on tasks like cleaning, inventory, advertising, or sharpening their mattress expertise,  Haynes writes that its still usually the case that “Houston’s mattress salesforce spend hours upon hours with nothing to do but wait for customers to appear. At the Urban Mattress store on Kirby, [part time mattress salesman Rick Goulding runs a contracting business — on the three days of the week when he’s not at the mattress store, he makes site visits. Then, during the quiet hours at the store, he works on inspection reports, writes descriptions for photos and sends e-mails. Without anything to do, he says, the job can put many store managers to sleep. Literally. ‘One of the first weekends I was here by myself… there was one bed I really liked, and I was lying on there, not much happening,’ Goulding remembers. ‘I laid back there and was almost asleep when the front door opened.’” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of mattress stores on Kirby Dr.: Swamplot inbox

07/15/16 11:30am

3516 Montrose Blvd., First Montrose Commons, Houston, 77006

A reader’s aerial snapshot shows that the site of the former River Cafe at the corner of Montrose and Marshall St. is now empty once again, following the removal of all objectionably large signage advertising Riverway’s recently shelved condo midrise project. Riverway went through 2 different designs at the site, swapping the original renderings in 2014 for a larger and sleeker structure thematically tied (at least by the choice of architecture firm) to Philip Johnson’s Glass House. The writing was off the wall by early summer; Riverway officially told the HBJ that the project was off at the end of June.

Photo of 3516 Montrose Blvd.: Swamplot inbox

Mowed Down on Marshall St.
06/08/16 11:30am

3516 Montrose Blvd., First Montrose Commons, Houston, 77006 3516 Montrose Blvd., First Montrose Commons, Houston, 77006The west wall has been breached at 3615 Montrose Blvd., where Riverway had previously planned to break ground on a Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Glass House-themed condo midrise this spring. The 130-ft. sign (per a city inspector’s disapproving measurement) advertising the most recent condominium project planned for the corner at Marshall St. has been blacked out for about a month, according to a reader surveying the empty corner lot from above.

The comparatively tiny sales center sign is missing altogether; the same round of March inspection ticketing asked for it to be removed from the property. Also gone: HAR’s sales listings for the building’s individual units, which the site indicates were also removed around the end of April and the beginning of May.


Montrose at Marshall
04/01/16 10:15am

3516 Montrose Blvd. Signs and violation notices, First Montrose Commons, Houston, 77006

3516 Montrose Blvd. Signs and violation notices, First Montrose Commons, Houston, 77006

The big blue sign wrapping around the lot at the northeast corner of Montrose Blvd. and Marshall St. got decorated with a dayglow red tag from the city this week, calling for the banner’s removal. The sign is advertising the midrise condominium building planned for the lot at 3615 Montrose, formerly the site of the River Cafe; the Philip Johnson/ Alan Ritchie design’s footprint also extends into the lot to the north, whose slated-for-destruction 1910 brick house is currently gigging as a sales center for the development. The shot above looks due south at the angled northernmost portion of the sign, toward the intersection of Montrose and W. Alabama St.

Tags from a city inspector call out the “130 x 8 x 10”-ft. ground sign, as well as its smaller next-door companion piece, which refers to the condo building as “The Glass House” (no, not that one). Here’s what the whole scene looks like from up in the air, from the Parc IV tower across Montrose:


Montrose at Marshall
10/17/08 10:41am

JPMorgan Chase Bank Building, 5177 Richmond Dr. at Sage, HoustonThe HBJ’s Allison Wollam reports that the Westgate Houston Preview Gallery, a large timeshare sales center in the JPMorgan Chase bank building on Richmond at Sage, has closed:

The gallery, located at 5177 Richmond Ave., offered a full-size model with a living room and kitchen styled after Central Florida Investments’ timeshare properties.

The Houston location, which opened in 2004, was the first offsite sales center for Orlando-based Central Florida Investments. The company owns Westgate Resorts, which operated the preview gallery.

Almost 3 weeks ago, CFI founder and CEO David Siegel told the Orlando Sentinel that financial troubles had recently begun at the company — with the suddenness of “a heart attack.”

Until that time, Siegel apparently thought he was doing pretty well.