03/23/18 5:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: AMID DEMOLITION, SOME SOJOURN HEIGHTS CHURCH PARTS FIND SALVATION “. . . We couldn’t find a taker for the limestone. I’m not a mason, so I’m not sure what turned so many off from it when they came to look at it. I know one flaw is that it was quarried with inconsistent thicknesses throughout, which made it not an ideal candidate for paving stones and challenging in vertical applications. We would rather it have been reused, just couldn’t make it happen. We were, however, able to salvage most of the steel windows that were in good shape from the building to be repurposed. Hopefully that brings you some good cheer. They’re beautiful windows.” [Scott, commenting on Churchyard Excavator Now Breaking Down Walls Between Sojourn Heights’ Current Home on Aurora and Its Soon-To-Be Sanctuary] Photo of windows salvaged from demolished building on Sojourn Heights campus, 608 Aurora St.: Joe Meppelink

03/20/18 12:30pm

Crews are now digging a hole through the middle of the Sojourn Heights church campus off Gostick St., south of Aurora in Sunset Heights. The rendering above looks west across Gostick to show the fenced-off lawn that will eventually grow in place of the demolished building. The new green space is bookended by renovated street-fronting structures and backed by a smaller addition that’s planned on the far west side of the just-over-an-acre church property.

Before the takedown got started yesterday, the complex consisted of 3 buildings that lined Gostick:

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Prayer Semi-Circle
02/27/18 4:45pm

14 PEWS’ SURPRISE NON-ENDING On her way into a new job as executive director of a larger church-turned-arts center in Portland, Cressandra Thibodeaux appears to have had a change of heart. Which means 14 Pews — the microcinema and performing arts venue that picked up where the Aurora Picture Show left off 8 years ago — will not be closing any time soon. The original movie house at 800 Aurora St. took over the building from the Sunset Height Church of Christ in 1997 and hosted screenings, plays, workshops, and art exhibitions there (as well as a few weddings and memorial services) before turning it over to Thibodeaux in 2010. Since then, programming has continued along those same lines — even as audiences anticipated the venue hitting the market in mid-Februrary. With that plan scrapped, Thidobeaux writes: “We are now teaming up with community leaders to curate several film series, as well as talking with other organizations about bringing unique festivals to Houston.” [14 Pews; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Ed Schipul [license; modified from the original]

02/14/18 11:45am

Braun Realty is gearing up to replace Johnny’s Gold Brick’s next door neighbor and redo the warehouse behind the 2 structures as part of a new retail development it has planned for the corner of Yale and Aurora. An entity connected to the developer snatched up the property on Yale — as well as a few adjacent parcels east on Aurora — last October. The site plan above taken from Braun’s leasing flyer for the complex now indicates all 3 buildings decked out with new adjacent patios. East of the buildings, a parking lot sports entrances on both Aurora and an alley that runs north of the site.

The photo at top shows the front door to Johnny’s Gold Brick next to the brown brick building that Lucas Craftsmanship contractors moved out of in 2015. Here’s the view from the corner of Yale and Aurora showing the 2-story structure that’s slated to replace the former construction office:

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Heights Corner Shake-Up
07/20/17 12:45pm

As mentioned earlier today, more details on the plan to redo the 1940’s farmers market on Airline Dr. are now out — MLB released some sketches and site plans this morning, which the company says are meant to help turn the spot into a “destination retail experience.” The renderings show most of the gaps between the existing market buildings bridged by new rooftops and green spaces, connecting the structures into a single complex (some of which will likely get air conditioned for fish and dairy operations and the like).

It’s not totally clear whether some the existing buildings are actually going to be painted white, or if the details of planned finishes just haven’t made their way into the renderings at this stage of design — but the currently-yellow front of Canino’s can be spied rocking a pale grey skin in the sketches above and below, behind the market’s new double-height entry facade:

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The Canino’s Retail Experience
07/20/17 10:30am

CANINO MARKET HAD ALREADY KINDA GENTRIFIED, SAY FOLKS PLANNING UPCOMING $10-MILLION REDO “Over time,” writes Nancy Sarnoff for the Chronicle this morning after talking to some of the folks behind that in-the-works redevelopment of the recently sold Canino farmer’s market on Airline Dr., the market has already become “a place where produce [is] shipped and trucked in from places like Mexico and elsewhere, like it is to a grocery store.” The local farmers and early-morning bread-seekers are mostly gone, and property values  in the neighborhood are already on the rise — as are the townhomes. “We’ve come to the realization that no matter what we do here, it’s already happening,” MLB Partners’s Todd Mason tells Sarnoff; “We’ve looked around to buy more over here, and prices have already escalated.” The developers also run through some of the details for the $10-million project with Chris Baldwin over at PaperCity, who writes that “the 17.5-acre site is being almost completely re-imagined” — potential changes include some 60,000 sq. ft. of additional space, a “large lounging lawn,” a children’s play area, and “a distinctive towering sign from Studio Red Architects that can be seen from the freeway.” [Houston Chronicle and PaperCity; previously on SwamplotPhoto: Canino Produce Market

05/02/17 10:00am

Those rumors Swamplot has been hearing lately about an impending changing of hands of Canino Produce farmers market at 2520 Airline Dr. have finally been clarified a bit by Nancy Sarnoff over at the Chronicle: a sales deal is currently in the hammering-out stage between the Farmers Marketing Association of Houston and MLB Capital Partners (the company that owns the Houston Design Center, as well as some other office-y holdings)A rep for the would-be buyers tells Sarnoff that the plan is to keep the market intact, but make it more tourist-worthy, starting with an upgrade to the parking areas and the bathrooms (and maybe later by adding a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker brewery to the mix).

Photo: Canino Produce Market

Setting Terms near Sunset Heights
08/12/16 5:15pm

855 E. 24th St., Sunset Heights, Houston, 77009

The agent listing this 3-bedroom home on E. 24th St. tells Swamplot that it’s one of the first homes in Houston specifically designed for potential AirBNB rent-outs — the new construction includes private-ish quarters with separate kitchens and bathrooms above both the main ground floor suite and the carport out back (above). The 3,000-sq.-ft. plot of land beneath the home(s) appears to have been formerly occupied by a driveway and a 2-car garage associated with nextdoor 857 E. 24th (which, along with its companion guesthouse on the back of the block, has since been knocked down for a taller rebuild. The surrounding area (which lies between covert N. Main tiki bar Lei Low and rhyming blues joint Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar) is populated by a shifting balance of low-slung 1930s-and-40s bungalows and long-and-tall townhomes.

The 2-story space was designed by kinneymorrow (whose relocation and redesign of its own newly slotted office house got some AIA praise last year). Here’s what the place looks like from the front:

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Trading Up
12/02/14 2:00pm

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Brad Moore and Ryan Rouse have joined forces with the newly-enhanced Treadsack restaurant group to take over the former Boom Boom Room space at 2518 Yale from building owner Jackie Harris. Johnny’s Gold Brick will be the name of the new bar.

Treadsack principal Chris Cusack, (pictured second from left) whose group includes Down House in the Heights and Brooke Smith ice house D&T Drive Inn, says that he hopes Johnny’s Gold Brick will be the sort of place where you can get “decently-made cocktails, but also a shot and a beer, and be totally accessible and easy to be in.”

Leslie Ross (pictured second from right), who earlier this year competed for title of America’s Most Imaginative Bartender in Las Vegas, left Triniti Restaurant’s Sanctuari Bar to join forces with Treadsack earlier this month and will be heading up bar operations.

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Gold Bricking It
11/20/14 1:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW MT. YUPPIE WAS FORMED On Top of Mt. Yuppie“When this place opened, there was a ‘oh no, here come the yuppies‘ reaction. Now, years later, it is closing and people are complaining about how the Heights is losing its character. Basically, a reprise of ‘oh no, here come the yuppies.’ It is really just the process of yuppie sedimentary rock formation. Yuppies get older, have kids and become boring. Their hangouts go out of style and go out of business. Then, the next layer of yuppies comes in and opens new businesses and the prior layer of former yuppies groan about the neighborhood losing its character.” [Old School, commenting on Sunset Heights Wine Bar The Boom Boom Room Will Close Forever This Friday] Illustration: Lulu

11/18/14 10:45am

The Boom Boom Room, 2518 Yale St., Sunset Heights, Houston

The Boom Boom Room, 2518 Yale St., Sunset Heights, HoustonStaff at the Boom Boom Room, Jackie Harris’s funky wine bar and music venue at 2518 Yale St., will pour their last glasses of Pinot noir and dish out their final paninis Friday night. Harris, an artist and doyenne of Houston’s art car movement, tells Swamplot that a “great new restaurant-bar” — one run by “real good Heights–Montrose restaurant people you all know and love” — will be setting up shop at the location in the not-too-distant future, but adds that she is not at liberty to disclose any further details.

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Going Boom
08/25/14 12:15pm

View of Street in Sunset Heights, Houston“Beware the manipulative investment buyer,” warns a reader from Sunset Heights who has an interesting home-selling tale to share from the late-summer market: “Yes, I fell for it. The listing went up and 20 minutes later, a dream offer. Over list price. As is. Wants to add on, not tear down. Closing quickly, with two weeks free leaseback. I began looking for homes in my new area. Fell in love with one and put an offer on it.”

What could possibly go wrong?

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Tricks and Scams
08/07/14 11:45am

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Weighing in at a mere 660 sq. ft., an updated 1920 home in Walton Court, near Airline Dr. and W. Cavalcade St., stacks a full range of roomage into its wee proportions. A $289,500 asking price was attached to the listing that appeared late last week. How’s everything arranged into the homelet? Think of its floor plan as a series of 10-ft. boxes.

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