07/07/15 4:30pm

Proposed Cemex Headquarters Building, 10100 Katy Fwy., Spring Branch, Houston

Developer MetroNational is calling the 6-story Energy Corridor District office building and parking garage it officially announced today “the first step in expanding Memorial City north of I-10.” The 240,000-sq.-ft. structure planned for 10100 Katy Fwy. will house 15,000 sq. ft. of retail space on its ground floor — but the rendering of the building designed by Powers Brown Architecture sent out by the company does make the development look like an outpost in an even more suburban office park. As Swamplot reported last week, Mexican building-materials company Cemex will be leasing 80,000 sq. ft. in the complex for its U.S. headquarters.


New Cemex HQ
07/07/15 1:00pm

Former Chili's Restaurant, 1040 W. Sam Houston Tollway, Spring Branch, Houston

Not a whole lot has been going on at the former Chili’s at 1040 West Sam Houston Tollway next to the HCC Spring Branch campus, a reader notes. Last September, Montrose-born Greek restaurant Niko Niko’s announced it would be opening its fourth Houston-area location there, near the overpasses connecting I-10 to Beltway 8.


Not There Yet
07/01/15 11:45am

1055 Gessner Rd., Energy Gateway District, Spring Branch, Houston

MetroNational appears to have concrete plans for the new development it’s putting together for the 24-acre corner of Gessner Rd. and the Katy Fwy. feeder directly across I-10 from the company’s distinctive headquarters: It’s already signed up building materials company Cemex USA to become the lead tenant in a new office building intended for a portion of the site, a source tells Swamplot. The company will be leasing around 80,000 sq. ft. of space in the Energy Gateway District.


06/30/15 11:15am

1055 Gessner Rd., Energy Gateway District, Spring Branch, Houston

What looks to be the last structure standing in the way of MetroNational’s hush-hush Energy Gateway District project across I-10 from its headquarters is now ready for its exit. The 32-year-old PoMo style strip center at 1055 Gessner Rd., which formerly housed an HPD substation, Terrace Limousine, and the Asiana Garden restaurant, appears fenced off and ready for demolition in this photo sent to Swamplot by a reader. The center stands at the far northern end of the 24-acre property, which — following the city’s approval of a variance request last month — will be bisected by the extension of Mathewson Ln. to Gessner Rd. from Conrad Sauer Rd.

Photo: Bayan Raji

Going Soon
05/13/15 1:30pm

Conrad Sauer Detention Basin, Energy Gateway District, Spring Branch, Houston

Here’s a purty watercolor-filtered drawing that shows how a portion of the concrete-lined Conrad Sauer Detention Basin extending north from the I-10 feeder road between Gessner and Conrad Sauer Dr. is supposed to look after MetroNational and TIRZ 17 upgrade it into a grassy, bike-lane-crossed area with park space that improves on its current ditch functions. It sits directly across the little ol’ Katy Fwy. from MetroNational’s ‘Death Star‘ HQ; the normally secretive company reveals a tiny bit about its plans for the area around the detention basin, lining the northwest corner of Gessner and the outbound I-10 feeder, in a variance application that’s scheduled to be discussed and possibly voted on in a planning commission meeting this Thursday.

MetroNational is calling the cleared 24-acre site (shown below) the Energy Gateway District.


From the Death Star to You
01/20/15 4:30pm



hr3096737-28 at 300Note: The original version of this story misreported the home’s asking price. It is being offered at $749,900.

Blue. Red. Green. Orange. Were it not for the Dublinesque color rotation on the doors of a 4-pack of eco-friendly contemporary homes in Spring Branch’s Melody Oaks neighborhood, might owners accidentally enter the wrong one? Unit 1 — the bluesy one (top) that shores up one end of the lookalikes — is back on the market. Its listing by the owner-agent over the weekend has a $789,900 $749,900 price tag attached. That’s up, uh, somewhat from its purchase price in April 2013: $484,950.

The team at The ODD Group, (aka Open Design &  Development, and including Royce/Eagleton Architects), is behind these “urban cottages” (above) proliferating in a newly minted “pocket community” tagged Janak Place. It’s located north of Westview Dr. between Wirt Rd. and Antoine Dr.


Urban Cottage Cluster
11/11/14 11:30am


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.


What’s New Is Old
11/06/14 4:00pm


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. 


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.


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.)


Indoor Skydiving