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):
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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.
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Shady Acres at Fault
A 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.
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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
SAY SALAAM TO THE SHADY ACRES HOME OF HOUSTON’S FIRST ARABIC IMMERSION SCHOOL Here’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
Here’s a pic of the latest sign of the growing Heights-area crawfish swarm: The just-painted front of the former audio repair shop at 606 E. 11th St., just east of Oxford, showing the new home of Boil House. “A hot pinch of authentic Louisiana flavor” is offered in the wall sign just behind the spray-painted trashcan above, and the mudbugs are implied in the name of the company behind the venture: Boil House Crawfish, LLC. But don’t confuse this under-the-radar venture with the other crawfish restaurant setting up camp in nearby Shady Acres. Cajun spot The Boot just opened (on weekends only for now, it appears) in the former Shady Tavern spot at 1206 W. 20th St., between Bevis and Beall.
Photo: T.S. Noble
The Ella Creek Apartments at the corner of Ella and 22nd St. (and just a block of away from a jog in that creek called White Oak Bayou) have been completely vacated, a reader tells Swamplot: “On a recent drive by I noticed there were no cars in the parking lots and the complex looked even worse than usual. It is a very large tract, and I’m wondering what the future land use will be.”
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MEANWHILE, ACROSS THE DRIVEWAY FROM A NORTH LOOP WHATABURGER From reader David Hille comes this report of the latest parking lot pad site takeover: “After a morning run to the ‘Brinkman’ Home Depot on 610 near N. Shepherd, I became curious about the temporary fencing which was being erected around the northeast quarter of the parking lot. So, I stopped, and spoke to a couple of men who were reviewing a fairly large roll of blueprints on the lowered tailgate of a truck. I had a little head rush when I was told that a new Chick Fil-A was about to be erected . . . right there in the parking lot. Makes sense, as I can’t remember that portion of the lot ever being full of cars. A similar scenario took place last year at the Lowes down the street. Part of that property which held a retention pond is now home to a brand new CVS. Prior to that, some of the Lowes parking lot was sacrificed for a Murphy Express gas station . . .” Photo: David Hille
COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: DRYING OUT NORTH SHEPHERD “In a perfect world, the ‘dry’ restrictions from the Shepherd/Durham corridor would be removed, yet the residential areas to the east would stay dry, and Shady Acres over to Ella would also be dry, except on 19th and 20th. This would spur commercial development onto the more high traffic streets, and let the others with their 18′ wide pavement and drainage ditches stay residential. But hey, it’s Houston, so not gonna happen.
I think commercial businesses from out of town still are unaware of the income growth around the Heights and are using old demographic numbers. A new strip center took the place of one of these used car lots up at 22nd and Shepherd last year. It has yet to be more than 50% leased out. I think it holds a precious metals buyer and a pay by the month cell phone store. It’s going to take a few more years, and some better income surveys before there’s a rush to develop this corridor.” [ShadyHeightster, commenting on A Guide to North Shepherd’s Auto Parts]
It seems that the townhouses overlooking this lot at 1016 W. 22nd St. might soon be seeing something more than a pair of apparently shy pick-ups: That TABC sign, dated June 12, indicates that The Orange Grove wants to sell booze at this spot to the people of Shady Acres. (The fairly dilapidated single-family house that used to stand here showed up in a September Daily Demolition Report.) This is one of several developments coming to the area: The restaurants Hughie’s and Spaghetti Western are renovating old joints west of T.C. Jester Blvd. and TikTok, a bar and concert venue, is planned just southwest of here on W. 20th St.
Photos: Swamplot inbox
RUDYARD’S OWNER BUILDING BIGGER BAR IN SHADY ACRES The owner of Rudyard’s British Pub in Montrose has announced that she’ll be building TikTok, a bar, restaurant, and venue for live music in Shady Acres — and, apparently, this new one will be a lot more building than what you get at Rudyard’s. Owner Leila Rodgers tells the Houston Business Journal that TikTok “is expected to have a capacity of 750 to 800 people. She said she expects to be able to host 450 to 500 people in the performance area and 250 to 300 in the restaurant area.” Rudyard’s is at 2010 Waugh Dr. When it opens next summer, TikTok will be at 1412 W. 20th St., near the intersection of W. 20th and T.C. Jester Blvd. — that’s just around the corner from the Hubcap Grill. [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Panoramio user hermieb
A NEW YORK POST REPORTER’S LOST HOUSTON WEEKEND “Exhausted and content, I retired to the patio at El Gran Malo, a cool but divey tequila bar on a superbly awful corner facing a shoot ’n’ stab gas station, a Mexican restaurant and other assorted random Houstonia; I went here because every chef I encountered during my visit told me that this was the spot. I absolutely had to go, they said.
So I went and I drank tequila, because that’s what I saw everyone else doing. A lot of it too, apparently — by the end of the night, I vaguely remember being on the other side of town stalking a food truck selling lobster that may or may not have actually existed. Which was fine — it would be days before I was in a position to eat a proper meal again.” [New York Post] Photo of El Gran Malo: Almost Veggie Houston