11/22/17 11:00am

The vacant former-ice-house-turned-furniture-store at the corner of W. 15th St. and Prince St. appears ready to serve drinks again: Gregg Goldstein and Katz Coffee owner Avi Katz, the proprietors of the almost-ready-to-open Golden Bagels and Coffee on White Oak and Oxford, bought the former El Viejo Mexico Custom Furniture spot at 1701 W. 15th spot over the summer. (The furniture shop has since decamped outside the South Loop, at 4114 Belk St. near Cullinan Park.)

More has changed in this corner of the Heights near Shady Acres since the building’s ice-house days: “Nearly every home in a block radius has been torn down and 3 put in its place since the time that bar was there,” a neighbor tells Swamplot. Now posted to the façade of the 1,344-sq.-ft. structure: a TABC license application for mixed-beverage permits at this location — under the name of Birdocks 50 Fifty.


Birdocks 50/Fifty
11/06/17 4:45pm

Houston’s first board-game-themed cafe and bar is set to move into the long-mostly-vacant strip center near the White Oak hike-and-bike trail off T.C. Jester just east of Ella Blvd. next February. King’s Bierhaus (pictured above) took up residence last year on the opposite end of the same center (which is behind Restaurant Depot and SSQQ) — on the other side of the iCycle Bike Shop. The photo at top shows 2 businesses that have since left the strip; Tea & Victory and its lending library of 500 board games will go into the 3,300 sq.-ft. space formerly occupied by City Nails and Skincare. A first storefront for cake and cupcake vendor AshleyCakes will be moving in next to the game cafe.

$5 will cover an all-access pass for customers to play as many games as they want, including the ones shown in this photo snapped at a Tea & Victory pop-up event in May:


Tea & Victory
10/24/17 3:30pm

This exterior rendering of Bungalow Heights, the new bar-restaurant going up at 1919 Beall St., the former site of Air Cool and the Junk Goes Green recycling center one block west of the Cedar Creek Bar & Grill on 20th St., shows a building with a lot of bungalow parts assembled in somewhat bungalow-ish fashion, being patronized by what appear to be normal-sized humans. But take a close look at the scale of the thing in proportion to the surrounding figures — and the actual framing now up on the site pictured above — and you’ll soon realize this is a building where every part is probably going to be a whole lot bigger than what it’s modeled after.

For starters, the structure itself measures 5,000 sq. ft. — about the size of the typical lot you might find a bungalow sitting on. This site itself is two-thirds of an acre. Contractor Avan Construction installed the building’s trusses last week with a crane. (The longest truss spans almost 70 ft. and weighs over 400 lbs.) Inside, you’ll find a floor plan significantly different from the typical living-dining-kitchen on one side, bedroom-bath-bedroom on the other arrangement of an unexpanded bungalow:


Bungalow Heights
06/19/17 10:15am

Signs of impending construction — including new chain-link and erosion-control fencing around the perimeter — are now visible on the 3.15-acre site at 2601 Citadel Plaza Dr., tucked between the 2600 Citadel Plaza office building that serves as Weingarten Realty’s HQ and the Boy Scouts of America Cockrell Scout Center along the south side of the North Loop in Shady Acres. The land, which was once owned by Weingarten, was purchased by an entity controlled by apartment developer the Allen Harrison Company just shy of 11 months ago.

A few months before that sale was completed, Allen Harrison’s Will Harper told HBJ reporter Paul Takahashi that the company was planning to build a 5-story midrise apartment building with 290 units wrapped around a parking garage on a 3-acre site in the “Greater Heights” area. (He also mentioned the taller apartment complex planned for South Main Street near the Texas Medical Center.)


Plans for Shady Acres
03/10/17 5:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: YOUR WEEKEND HEIGHTS-CREEP FORECAST Future Yale Marketplace site at Yale St. and 610 Loop, Garden Oaks/Independence Heights, Houston, 77018“Garden Oaks and Oak Forest are [already] part of The Heights (the same way they are calling Spring Branch ‘Memorial’, and a lot of long time residents were angry that new residents called Northside Village ‘Tampico Heights’). I have bad news for the purists out there: if you live in Cottage Grove, Independence Heights, Shady Acres, Brooke Smith, Timbergrove/Lazybrook, those areas are now part of The Heights [as well].  . . . These hoods that have the 365 stores are gonna get more pricey and popular, since they are close to Downtown.” [Dj, commenting on Whole Foods’s 365 Garden Oaks Spot Now Emptied of Neff Rental Rentals] Rendering of 365 Garden Oaks: Boucher Design Group

10/05/16 1:45pm

Proposed Rio Vista townhomes from Titan Homes, Shady Acres, Houston

Check out the first 6 of what Titan Homes says will be 18 townhomes planned for the area alongside Little Thicket Park off W. 25th St. in Shady Acres. The land for the project, which was purchased by the builder in 2014, isn’t technically part of the park, though its leafy coverage runs up to the edge of the property and blends in. The first set of 6 homes — to be called Rio Vista North — appear to come in 3 styles of crinkle-cut top-offs to the facade, and will sit north of a to-be-extended stretch of W. 25th St.

The 6-by-1 arrangement will back up to the property immediately north, which BMRJ Development is seeking to subdivide for a separate 3-by-2 sixpack facing Ohsfeldt. That potential development isn’t shown in this north-facing rendering of the Titan project’s back yard:


Growing in Shady Acres
08/15/16 1:00pm

2044 E. T.C. Jester Blvd, Shady Acres, Houston, 77008

Shots from a reader show the recent tree installations outside of the future home of King’s Bierhaus (no relation to recently-departed Hans’), now setting up in the retail strip east of Ella Blvd. along one of the curvy segments of E. T.C. Jester and White Oak Bayou. The restaurant, second of its name after still-operational King’s Biergarten in Pearland, plans to open later this year — here’s a shiny rendering of what the biergarten might look like in full bloom:


Beer Gardening
05/16/16 12:30pm

Renderings of townhomes at 815 W. 24th St., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008

Above is a rendered
view of the Skyline on 24th townhomes at 815 and 819 W. 24th St., a couple of which burned down on Friday evening after a nearby dumpster fire reportedly spread. The Skyline site backs up directly to part of the Shady Acres location of C&D Scrap Metal Recyclers, which last month announced plans to close its Heights branch on May 12th; C&D owner and $2-bill enthusiast Dennis Laviage pointed out to KPRC that the fire was hot enough to melt the steel frames of the townhomes, and that the incident could have been way worse if some of the diesel stored on the C&D property had gotten involved in the action.

Builder La Casa International‘s in-progress pre-fire plans for the 2 lots included 8 units; a rendering of the complex’s driveway viewed from W. 24th shows stone pavers partitioned off by strips of fake grass:


Smoke over the Skyline
04/25/16 11:00am

C&D Scrap Metal, 815 W. 25th St., Height, Houston, 77008

The fence around the original home of of C&D Scrap Metal Recyclers at 815 W. 25th St. now hosts signs in English and Spanish announcing the scrapyard’s planned May 12th closure. The metal collectors have spent the last 28 years at the location across Durham St. from Shady Acres Church of Christ, just a few blocks away from the flurry of  redevelopment currently underway on N. Shepherd; since the mid 2000s, the business has also been using an additional lot on the opposite side of W. 25th, next door to Brothers Tire. 

Here’s a look at the company’s new out-of-the-Loop locale, already up and running at 6775 Bingle Rd. just south of Little York Rd.:


Leaving the Loop
01/25/16 5:00pm

Wright-Bembry Park, W. 23rd St., Shady Acres, Houston, 77008

This after-dark snapshot of a lone excavator hunched atop a pile of its own debris comes from Wright-Bembry Park last Friday — tear-up work at the Shady Acres greenspace, located between W. 23rd and W. 24th Sts. west of Durham Dr., began last Monday, according to a reader’s report. The work is part of a redo of the entire park, as shown in the plan below (oriented with west at the top of the frame):


Shady Acres
01/08/16 3:15pm

Future Eureka Heights Brewing Company Warehouse at 941 W. 18th St., Shady Acres, Houston, 77008

Eureka Heights Brewing Company employees will get to work on beer as soon as they’re done “powerwashing the hell out of this warehouse” — that 22,000-sq.-ft. one formerly occupied by Jake’s Finer Foods on W. 18th St., half a block west of N. Durham Dr. (and even closer to the border of the Height’s historically (nominally) dry zone.) The brewery’s webpage also proudly touts its proximity to the trace of the Eureka Heights Fault, which crosses White Oak Bayou about where Ella Blvd. does (just a few blocks to the west of the newly leased space).

Other beer endeavors currently fermenting in and around the Greater Heights area include Platypus Brewpub (preparing to slip in behind the Tacodeli and upscale barbershop on their way to Washington Ave), Holler Brewing Company (planned for the Artists Alley section of the Sawyer Yards Development), Allen’s Landing Brewing Company (3540 Oak Forest Dr., a few blocks west of Petrol Station), and the seemingly-yet-unmoored Great Heights Brewing Company, which claims a numberless address on Heights Blvd. on its Facebook page.


Shady Acres at Fault
07/01/15 10:00am

1925 E. T.C. Jester Blvd., Shady Acres, Houston

1925 E. T.C. Jester Blvd., Shady Acres, HoustonA reader notes there’s been some construction activity in and around the entrance and rear drive-thru window of the former Eckerd-turned-CVS Pharmacy along the White Oak Bayou Trail at the corner of T.C. Jester and 18th St., on the west coast of Shady Acres. That’s a notable turn of events: The building has been vacant for about 5 years. The standalone structure’s prospective new tenant appears to be another SignatureCare Emergency Center — last week, a note on the website for the local chain of health clinics had listed 1925 E. T.C. Jester Blvd. as the location of its upcoming “Heights” facility, but the address has since been removed.


06/23/15 4:30pm

Demolition of 2499 Ella Blvd., Shady Acres, Houston

Demolition of 2499 Ella Blvd., Shady Acres, Houston

This was the scene over the weekend at 2499 Ella Blvd., at the corner of 25th St. in Shady Acres — as photographed by a Swamplot reader. The vacant former Ella Family Medicine clinic building, known also more recently as the home of the Fulton Pharmacy, is no more.

Photos: Veronica Jones

Weekend Clearance
11/17/14 10:30am

SAY SALAAM TO THE SHADY ACRES HOME OF HOUSTON’S FIRST ARABIC IMMERSION SCHOOL HISD-Arabic-use-thisHere’s where some of Houston’s future bilingual Arabic-English speakers will learn their two alphabets: HISD’s former Holden Elementary and the current home of more recently the Energy Institute High School at 812 W. 28th. St., just across N. Durham St. from a ramshackle flower shop just inside the North Loop. An energy school giving way to Arabic-language instruction? Synergy? Arabic trails only Spanish (and English) among languages HISD students speak at home, according to statistics from the district. Interested parents of rising pre-kindergartners and kindergartners were able to start applying last Friday for the magnet program slated to begin next Fall. Two each of pre-K and kindergarten classes will comprise the school’s first classes next year. If the district’s first Arabic immersion school is to operate the same way the existing Spanish- and Mandarin-English HISD schools do, students will be taught half in English and half in Modern Standard Arabic. [HISD] Photo: Swamplot Inbox