KROGER SAYS IT HAS ‘NO PLANS’ TO CLOSE SIGNATURE STORE ON OST Responding to yesterday’s Swamplot story noting council member Dwight Boykins’s report to his constituents that Kroger is shutting down its store at the corner of Old Spanish Trail and Cambridge St., a spokesperson for the grocery store chain tells Swamplot that Kroger plans to “continue operating the store as a leased property to serve the medical center community,” and that “there are no plans at this time to close the location.” Kroger has been operating the grocery store at 1990 Old Spanish Trail since 1994. Photo: Edgar V.
HOUSTON METHODIST’S NEW SUBURBAN-STYLE TMC HELIPAD From reader Stephen J Alexander comes this pic of the new helistop that’s landed at the corner of Bertner Ave. and S. Braeswood, just over the southern (Brays Bayou) border from the Texas Medical Campus, as viewed during construction last month. It’s directly across the street from M.D. Anderson’s 25-story Mid Campus Building 1, but the helicopter landing pad is a project of Houston Methodist Hospital, according to permit info posted onsite; it sits on a portion of Methodist’s West Pavilion remote lot. Photo: Stephen J Alexander
If you’re scoring which large residential projects are going ahead — despite concerns about a price-of-oil-induced downturn — and which ones are being quietly shelved, score this apartment tower from the Dinerstein Companies in the first column. “The medical center will shield us from the oil situation,” Dinerstein marketing director Emily Prevost declares to HBJ reporter Paul Takahashi. Construction on the Millennium Tower on a vacant lot at 1911 Holcombe St., just southeast of the Brays Bayou border of the official Texas Medical Center campus, is scheduled to begin on January 26th.
HISD intends to demolish the last remaining non-garage portion of the Shamrock Hotel complex early next year as part of its plans for a new DeBakey High School for Health Professions. The Shamrock’s former ballroom (pictured at right), now called the Edwin Hornberger Conference Center, has been operated as an event space by Trevisio Restaurant since 2011, but closed in May of this year. That structure will be scrapped, but the parking garage that shares the conference center’s 2151 W. Holcombe Blvd. address will remain, according to renderings of the new high school project. (The garage is the building bathed in white at right in the rendering above.)
Here’s a rendering of the apartment tower that the Dinerstein Companies, with investment from a few companies including AmREIT, plans to put on the intersection of Holcombe Blvd. and Cambridge St., just south of the bayou that forms the southern border of the official Texas Medical Center campus. The intersection, created with the construction of the Cambridge St. bridge over Brays Bayou, is less than 5 years old. It’ll be filled out with a 21-story building in a 3-wing arrangement typical of Las Vegas hotels and a suburban hospital or 2, here perched atop a 7-or-so-level parking garage more than sufficient to keep all 375 units well above any future Med Center-area floodwaters.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: A LINEAR PARK TO CONNECT THE MED CENTER TO RICE VILLAGE “If the Rice Village wants to be a retail goldmine, it should look outside its borders. My suggestion would be a linear public park that would take the residential properties between University and Dryden between the Medical Center at Travis all the way west to Greenbriar.” [infinite_jim, commenting on Haven Is No More; The Allure of the Suburban Town Square] Illustration: Lulu
With its streamlined demilune tower and moat-like driveway, an austere 1979 Southgate home could be considered a contemporary castle, particularly in the imaginations of neighborhood youngsters riding around the block of mostly thirties-vintage housing. There’s plenty inside this property’s C-shaped structure to make up for its no-peeking from curbside blankness, however . . .
By 1:35 in the morning 2 Saturdays ago, Troy Dickerson had left his Rosenberg home and found himself speeding past the Sweetwater and Williams Trace exits on the far-left lane of the Southwest Fwy. while his wife Kristin, who was sitting in the passenger seat, let out a series of screams to work her way through waves of contractions. Almost exactly a half-hour later, their baby, Truett, was born while his mom stood outside the family’s white Toyota pickup, which was by then parked in the valet drop-off area of the Women’s Pavilion at Texas Children’s Hospital, at 6621 Fannin St. in the Med Center (where, perhaps incidentally, the mother works as a childbirth educator).
Included in the $650 million expansion and renovation of its Texas Medical Center campus approved by the Memorial Hermann Health System last month: the new, presumably 16-story patient care building across the street from Hermann Park and the Houston Zoo shown at the lower left of the rendering above. It’ll be on the corner of Cambridge St. (renamed from North MacGregor Dr. a while back, while you weren’t paying attention) and Taub Rd. Partially hidden behind it in the image above is a new parking-and-mechanical structure to go with it.
Update, 9:30 pm: It appears the new hotel tower will fit entirely on the lot directly to the south of the Best Western Plaza Hotel at 6700 S. Main St. We’ve updated this story accordingly.
Medistar and an affiliate of the Redstone Companies are out today with this rendering of the 22-story hotel and apartment tower the firms are planning together for the west side of S. Main St. across the street from the western campus boundary of the Texas Medical Center. Unlike the 40-story hotel and condo tower Medistar had proposed for S. Main across the street from the Texas Medical Center back in 2008 — which stirred up a bit of a fuss with neighbors in neighboring Southgate — this new building, designed by HOK’s Roger Soto, will be set away from the neighborhood’s entrance. It’ll sit next to the Best Western Plaza Hotel, on the 1.35-acre lot at 6750 S. Main St., on the southern end of the block bounded by S. Main, Old Main St., and Travis St. The taller tower Medistar planned in 2008 was intended for a site one block to the north, at the corner of S. Main St. and Dryden.
There’s a stub end of North Braeswood Blvd. that extends just east of where the Stables Restaurant (pictured above) stood until 2007 at the corner of Greenbriar Dr. and South Main St. It leads to the St. Nicholas School along the northern bank of Brays Bayou, southwest of the Texas Medical Center. A reader alerts Swamplot that a variance sign has gone up on the now-vacant 8.5-acre parcel (at right) that surrounds the school and extends along S. Main up to Pressler St., and which used to house the Stables, the Red Lion restaurant, and the Bermuda Apartments. The variance lists 7200 Main and Springwoods Realty Company as the developers of the site, but doesn’t announce what the development is. Springwoods Realty is best known in Houston as the developers Springwoods Village, the curious 1,800-acre eco-themed development also of possible Aristotle Onassis origin whose announcement preceded that of the adjacent new ExxonMobil campus south of The Woodlands. And 7200 Main shares the New York address of Springwoods Village’s somewhat mysterious developer, Coventry Development Corp. The variance asks for permission not to extend North Braeswood or terminate it in a cul-de-sac, as would normally be required:
The shiny new building on the northwest corner of Old Spanish Trail and Cambridge St. south of the Texas Medical Center that the Baylor College of Medicine built but then let sit as an empty shell for nearly 4 years will soon be filled with hospital beds, the institution announced today. And the complex will eventually become the new home of the successor to the Texas Medical Center’s St. Luke’s Hospital. Catholic Health Initiatives, which has its headquarters in Denver, bought the entire St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System last May for $2 billion; a new nonprofit joint venture between CHI St. Luke’s Health and Baylor will operate the new 250-bed hospital, which will be inserted into the structure’s vacant floors by next spring and bear the unwieldy name of Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center McNair Campus.
The same joint venture will also run the existing 850-bed St. Luke’s hospital on Bertner Ave., now conveniently known as the Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center TMC. But that Texas Medical Center institution appears to be going south: A yet-to-be-created master plan and timeline will guide the eventual replacement of that facility — it’ll move south of Brays Bayou to the McNair Campus, which is outside the official boundaries of the Texas Medical Center:
And here, from a reader perched at the top level of MD Anderson’s Braeswood Garage at Braeswood Blvd. and Pressler St., are photos of the land- and tree-clearing going on for the new just-across-the-bayou-from-the-Med Center apartments that Mill Creek Residential is going ahead with — after abandoning plans for a slightly larger complex (as close as it could get to Dynamo Stadium without crossing Dowling) in East Downtown. The photos are taken looking south, over Brays Bayou; the TMC South Extension Lot is behind the site, which fronts Wyndale.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: EAST DOWNTOWN, BROUGHT TO YOU BY MONTROSE “I totally agree with what’s going on in EADO. Face it. It’s way too close to everywhere people want to be not to turn around. And I don’t see any bubble bursting as it’s not inflated at all. Things are still super cheap. Our strategy for EADO, 3rd ward, and med center area can be summarized in 3 words: “BUY BUY BUY” (and sell in Montrose, at stupid high prices, to get the cash to do so).” [Cody, commenting on Townhouses Going Up in East Downtown] Illustration: Lulu