11/11/14 11:30am

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Here lie the remains of the New Flea Market, the most recent occupant of a strip mall site at 8315 Long Point Rd. that once was home to the  Spring Branch K-Mart. Workers are scraping an 8-acre parcel of the larger site at the corner of Hillendahl Blvd. to make way for the Village at Spring Branch, a 100-home David Weekley development offering three-story townhouses and garden and patio homes ringing a pool and cabana. Blue-light specials will be offered around $400k; premium buys will go on sale at $700k. Retail — and the tiny, historic Hillendahl Cemetery (captured below in an old photo) — will remain along the Long Point frontage.

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What’s New Is Old
11/06/14 4:00pm

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Supermercado de Walmart, 7690 Long Point Rd., Spring Branch, HoustonHouston’s (and America’s) first Walmart grocery store named and designed to cater to Latinos shut its doors at the end of last week. Supermercado de Walmart opened 5 years ago in Spring Branch in a converted 39,000-square-foot Neighborhood Market-style store at 7960 Long Point Rd., amid a fanfare of mariachi music and a smorgasbord of free food and drink samples. Those days are long gone: A reader sends in a pic (at right) of the far more offhand sign taped to the glass door. 

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Spring Branch Supermarket Shutdown
10/07/14 10:45am

Blalock Woods Apartments, 1111 Blalock Rd., Spring Branch, Houston

Developers have become very interested in Spring Branch, notes a Swamplot tipster. The latest evidence: the recent sale of the Blalock Woods Apartments (pictured above), just north of the Katy-Fwy.-side 99 Ranch Market at 1111 Blalock Rd. The new owner of the townhome-style complex is a group put together by investment and apartment-development firm Stanmore Partners. The property changed hands on October 1st; on the same date, residents of the Spring Branch apartment complex received a brief letter saying Greystar Management Services will be taking over management of all 316 units. The letter didn’t reveal the name of the property’s new owner, and didn’t say anything about shutting down the place, but a source tells Swamplot that no new leases are being written, and that a “departure deadline” of June 2015 is being planned.

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New Homes or Apartments?
10/06/14 1:30pm

iFLY Indoor Skydiving Facility Under Construction, 9540 Katy Fwy., Spring Branch, Houston

A mere half-dozen readers have written Swamplot to ask about this strange multi-story steel-framed structure that’s been going up next to the Lowe’s on I-10 between Blalock and Bunker Hill — or its twin on the site of the former Casa Elena restaurant across the freeway from The Woodlands at 26824 Interstate 45 North. And we’re guessing a few more of you are curious as well, but just haven’t had the time to send in your photos and speculation. Capitalizing on the freeway mystery, the company behind the structure has set up a website at GuessWhatThisIs.com. (With indoor-skydiving facilities in 9 other U.S. cities already, iFLY has been through the drill before.)

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Indoor Skydiving
08/20/14 4:15pm

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The interior of a decked out 1978 Spring Branch Estates home uses changing floor finishes to cue its ups and downs as the floor plan twists around a spiral staircase beneath a 20-ft. dome. The flow creates living spaces on several levels — and some rather unusual, futuristic features . . .

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Taking Turns
07/18/14 5:00pm

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There are vintage, historical, and perhaps sentimental aspects of this place in Merlin Place, just north of Spring Valley: The listing notes the home was “modeled after” the owner’s previous property in Piney Point. And bits of old Houston, older Galveston, and really old New Orleans worked themselves into the 1995 custom home, which still has some unfinished rooms. Thursday’s listing of the Mansard-roofed property, located between Voss and Bingle roads and south of Westview Dr., has an $840,000 asking price.

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Saving Graces
04/15/14 4:30pm

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Spaces are configured in unusual ways in this 1992 contemporary home in Spring Branch’s Shady Villa Annex neighborhood, located south of Westview and east of Antoine near Spring Valley. The home’s deep setback on a double lot, for example, puts outdoor amenities like a pool and grotto on the side and gives the stone-and-steel exterior’s towering stairwell a twist of wood-and-glass finishes.

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Twists and Turns
04/04/14 5:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE BOOM IN SPRING BRANCH Illustration of Spring Branch Home“This part of Spring Branch has seen the median listing price go up from ~$150k to ~$250k over the past two years. Listings all over SB get multiple cash offers on the first day; a $400k listing will get bid up well into half-mil territory by week’s end. If this ball keeps rolling, we could start to see the first teardowns north of Long Point before the end of the year. Decision, decisions . . . best to buy now, or sit tight and wait for the pop?” [Rodrigo, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: Auto Air] Illustration: Lulu

03/13/14 12:00pm

Houston Cosentino Center, 1315 W. Sam Houston Parkway North, Houston

What more suitable spot could there be in Houston for a showroom, warehouse, and designer-education center focused around Silestone and the other kitchen-and-bath-slabs lines of a Spanish manufacturer to land than in a brand-new complex of tilt-up buildings aligned along the southbound Beltway 8 feeder of the Sam Houston Tollway across from Spring Branch? Not long after the concrete slabs went up at 1315 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. North (north of Westview Dr.), the slabs of ground quartz, marble, recycled materials, and precious stones went in. The multi-warehouse complex opened late last year; The Houston Cosentino Center at Suite 150 opened last week.

So what if the vast concrete expanse of the feeder-road-side parking lot in the middle of the U-shaped tilt-wall complex looks kinda bleak? The inside is set up to be sleek:

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The Kitchen Slabs of Cosentino
12/04/13 1:00pm

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It’s one and done for this wee 1-story, 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom home with 1-bay garage in the Westway Courtyard Homes development of Spring Branch. (This single-minded 1979-built home did opt for twice the driveway, however.) Still, it’s the smallest home among double-decker neighbors. Arizona-style landscaping also sets the extensively “renewed” address apart from others in the community of 329 efficiently proportioned homes located north of Clay Rd. near Gessner Rd. This pint-sized property appeared on the market in late November and has a $81,105 asking price.

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Single Stylin’