COMMENT OF THE DAY: READY TO POUNCE ON ANY LIFE FORMS DETECTED IN THE WOODLANDS “I live in a neighborhood in The Woodlands that was built out 100% by Lifeforms (Mitchell’s son was an architect there at the time). The finishes can be a bit dated, as the area was built in the ’80s, but the design and layout of the homes in the neighborhood are unique and in high demand. The homes are comfortable and ‘livable.’ Lifeforms architecture has a cult following . . . there is a fairly substantial group of people circling like sharks waiting for a house to come on the market in my neighborhood . . . additionally, I think I have more respect for a billionaire who was content in a modest home designed by his son as opposed to a man who needs to build a ‘gorgeous spread’ just to impress . . .” [Jeff, commenting on A Look at George Mitchell’s Decked-Out Home in The Woodlands, All Cleaned Up and Cleared Out for Sale] Illustration: Lulu
Too late: Someone has already scooped up this house on Wild Ginger Ct., where the founder of The Woodlands, oilman George Mitchell, lived with his wife Cynthia Woods Mitchell from the the time it was constructed in 1983 until his death earlier this year (she died in 2009, but her pavilion lives on). The Grogan’s Mill property overlooking a portion of the golf course at the Woodlands Resort and Conference Center went up for sale quietly earlier this week and was put under contract Thursday. But the property’s still worth gawking at, if only to note our own reactions to a not-so-pretentious 2-story home nestled in the trees — and what it implies about the way the north-of-Houston community’s founder envisioned life there.
CONTINUE READING THIS STORY
Empty Life Forms
THE WOODLANDS’ NO-FAULT DEFENSE The Woodlands Development Company is trying to hold the line in its legal battle against a growing number of homeowners claiming that repeated damage to their homes is the result of movement along 3 separate geological faults running through the community. According to reporter Cindy Horswell, the company is going further than simply claiming that the building and ground cracks and resulting new alignments in the properties must have been the result of something other than surface fault lines. A statement penned by developer spokesperson Susan Vreeland-Wendt appears to claim the fault lines do not exist: “We have done actual testing, and none of the testing that we’ve done to date has found any evidence of an active fault line in proximity to any Woodlands residence.” That contradicts the claims of the now 2-dozen families from the Carlton Woods, Alden Bridge, Cochran’s Crossing, and Sterling Ridge neighborhoods involved in or about to join the lawsuit, which was originally filed in March of this year, who say a 1993 letter proves the developer knew about the problem. “The plaintiffs’ attorneys say five different geologists have verified the existence of at least three fault lines — Big Barn, the longest and most active line that runs about 33 miles underground from a salt dome near Hockley to the flank of a salt formation near Conroe, as well as two smaller faults, Jones and Panther Branch. The San Jacinto River Authority’s geological report also recently pinpointed these same surface faults when working on plans to install a new 52-inch pipe to bring water into The Woodlands. To protect from the shifting soils, a special flexible pipe will be used wherever the pipe crosses a fault zone. ‘They do exist, and they are active,’ said Mark Smith, division manager over the water authority’s water project.” [Houston Chronicle ($)] Fault-line map: KHOU
Woodlands organic shoppers: Do not let the parking garage that appears to be enveloping the new Whole Foods Market in this rendering scare you off. The press release announcing the grocery chain’s first Woodlands store declares there’ll be “ample surface parking” adjacent to the market. Whew! Construction will start on the 40,000-sq.-ft. store soon, the Woodlands Development Company announced this morning. It’ll be part of Hughes Landing, the new 66-acre office, hotel, retail, and apartment complex going in on the northeast bank of Lake Woodlands. The store will be near the intersection of Lake Front Circle and Lake Woodlands Dr., with the main entrance shown above coming off Lake Front. That likely places it in the spot marked “Grocery” in this rotated plan of the development’s southern half:
CONTINUE READING THIS STORY
A longtime resident of The Woodlands has been piecing together clues from online sources about the very quiet plans for the development of Mitchell Island — the only island in Lake Woodlands: “When East Shore was first announced in the 2000s, developers planned to turn the island into a clubhouse for East Shore residents to enjoy and maybe put a few commerical office buildings in there too. In recent years that plan has clearly shifted. With Hughes Landing a couple hundred yards down the lake housing many office buildings and the East Shore Clubhouse already constructed and recently opened this summer at a different location in East Shore, it is clear plans for the Mitchell Island are different.”
So, what’s going in there?
CONTINUE READING THIS STORY
THE APARTMENTS THAT WANT EXXONMOBIL PASSAGE Here’s a rendering of the complex Alliance Residential has just started building north of the ExxonMobil campus. The 3-story, 341-unit building will be located on 1615 Sawdust Rd. — which the developer appears to hope might be used as a kind of driveway for that big new campus in the pines to the southeast: “Alliance said there are plans to extend Sawdust, which will provide an avenue leading directly to the . . . campus without getting on Interstate 45,” reports the Houston Business Journal. “However, this portion of the project is still in the planning stage and is waiting for funding from the city.” Alliance is also building the midrise Broadstone 3800 complex at the corner of Alabama and Main. [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: Alliance Residential Co.
Here’s a rendering of the apartment complex that’s now under construction at Hughes Landing, the 66-acre pedestrian-focused development situated on Lake Woodlands and named for the rich recluse. The 8-story complex, appropriately dubbed One Lake’s Edge, will have 390 units and storage available for tenants’ bikes and kayaks. Also, there will be 22,000 sq. ft. of ground-floor retail. And that retail goes along with the nearby Restaurant Row, which has 2 tenants a-coming: Escalante’s Fine Tex-Mex and Tequila and Whiskey Cake.
Rendering: The Woodlands Development Company
THE HIGH-TECH BURGER JOINT IN THE WOODLANDS Wanting to try Fielding’s Wood Grill, now open in the strip center on Research Forest Dr. where Shenandoah meets The Woodlands, the Houston Press’s Molly Dunn discovers an amenity inside that could prove tricky for the finger-licking clientele: “There’s . . . an iPad bar . . . to surf the web, chat with friends or play some games. It’s as though they took a portion of the Apple Store and placed it smack dab in the middle of the restaurant.” [Eating Our Words; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox
The waterfront pedestrian-friendly complex in The Woodlands named for the famous recluse has signed another place to eat some grub: Whiskey Cake. The rendering above shows the Restaurant Row, part of the 66-acre spread on Lake Woodlands, which is also planned to include office buildings, apartments, entertainment venues, a hotel, grocery store, and other retail. Community Impact News reports that this row could house as many as 6 restaurants; by 2015, Whiskey Cake will occupy about 8,000 sq. ft. here, joining Escalante’s Fine Tex-Mex and Tequila, which is slated to open first sometime next year.
Rendering: via Facebook
BUILDING TRIVIA IN THE WOODLANDS Real Estate Bisnow’s Catie Dixon reports a remarkable factoid about this 6-story, 154,213-sq.-ft office building that Stream Realty started construction on in August at 1585 Sawdust Rd. in the The Woodlands: When it’s done, writes Dixon, the so-called Reserve at Sierra Pines II, which is being built with 30-ft. panels swung into place by 300-ton cranes, will be the tallest tilt-wall building in Texas. [Real Estate Bisnow; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: Stream Realty Partners
This week, Stream Realty will start adding this 6-story building to its all-natural, LEED-aspiring office park in The Woodlands. The spec 154,213-sq.-ft Reserve at Sierra Pines II, to be located at 1585 Sawdust Rd., will join its larger predecessor, the 175,000-sq.-ft. building sold more than a year ago for about $40 million to the REIT CapLease. Houston Business Journal’s Shaina Zucker adds that this new building, a brisk 1.5-mile walk north of the ExxonMobil campus, is planned to include “a jogging trail” and a “heavily landscaped Zen garden.”
Stream has a few other projects in the hopper: There’s that curvaceous 41-story International Tower that Stream (along with Essex) has proposed to build on that block south of Market Square Park, and there’s that more straightforward 25-story office building just off Washington and Waugh.
Rendering: Stream Realty Partners
You’ve got to make some divots before you can start replacing them: Construction will begin this week in Spring on another TopGolf in Houston. This 65,000-sq.-ft. bar, event venue, and aim-required golfing alley will be located on almost 11 acres at 560 Spring Park Blvd., a few miles south on I-45 of the coming-along-now ExxonMobil campus. In December, TopGolf opened its first Houston location at 1030 Memorial Brook Blvd. You can see more renderings of what to expect after the jump.
CONTINUE READING THIS STORY