07/03/14 2:00pm

Aerial View of Hughes Landing Under Construction, The Woodlands, Texas

Real Estate Bisnow reporter Catie Dixon shows off this helicopter shot taken last week over Hughes Landing, the new mega-development overlooking Lake Woodlands where a whirlwind of construction is taking out a little more of those woods and putting in a whole lot more of those  . . . uh, concretes. And she’s been thoughtful enough to stick some big red numbers on it, so we can make out what’s what and where, and how it’s coming along:

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By the Numbers
06/12/14 3:45pm

WOODLANDS MALL MICROSOFT STORE UPGRADE WILL INCLUDE DOORS THAT OPEN AND CLOSE, NEWER SURFACES Woodlands Mall Microsoft Specialty Shop, The Woodlands, TexasThe space outside of Abercrombie & Fitch on the lower level of the Woodlands Mall (shown at right) that Microsoft has been operating as a north Houston “specialty store” since its last upgrade — from a temporary “pop-up shop” installed for the 2012 Holiday season — will shut down entirely on June 25th. Its replacement, a new, full-strength Microsoft Store in the Macy’s wing, will open at 11 am the next day. [Prime Property; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Yelp

05/02/14 1:15pm

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On a cul-de-sac’s wedge lot in The Woodlands neighborhood of Cochran’s Crossing, an updated 1987 home with an outdoor oasis (top) has back fence access to forested pathways and a putting green of The Woodlands Country Club’s Palmer course. The park-like property teed off in early April, but sank its asking price by $30,100 earlier this week to rest at $269,900.

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Par Tee Time
02/07/14 5:00pm

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Things are looking up (and over) in a relisted 1983-built home in The Woodlands. An array of finishes clads the ceilings, and the bands of windows view the third hole and greenway of the Canongate Panther Trails golf course. Multi-textured and medallion-studded, the property considers itself “Spanish-inspired.” It’s back on the market after a January break following a previous 6-month listing. The price kept its pace steady, though, at $1.795 million.

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Above It All
12/17/13 10:45am

View from Corner Conference Room, Proposed ExxonMobil Office Building, Hughes Landing, The Woodlands, Texas

A couple of renderings are out of the 2 office buildings in Hughes Landing ExxonMobil has signed up to lease as part of the oil company’s surprise second new Houston-area campus. And the one above shows a broad-ranging view of the Hughes Landing development — as the office buildings’ architects at Kirksey see it. Judging from the renderings and the Hughes Landing site plan posted on the Woodlands website (below), the 2 buildings will not sit directly on the Lake Woodlands waterfront but along Hughes Landing Blvd., 2 parking garages south of the previously announced Two Hughes Landing. The view out of the corner conference room shows off the overall development’s mixed-use cred: To the left is the 175-room hotel shown on the plan, fronting Hughes Landing Blvd. and a fountained inlet of Lake Woodlands; beyond and to the right of that is the 8-story, 390-unit apartment building that sits behind a row of inlet-side restaurants with dummy names. At the far right of the image is an 8-level parking garage with a waterside grill on the ground floor (somehow obscuring the expected view of the Two Hughes Landing office building). That’s quite a view, but it’s a well-chosen one.

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Off the Waterfront
11/26/13 1:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: READY TO POUNCE ON ANY LIFE FORMS DETECTED IN THE WOODLANDS Drawing of Life Forms Home“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

11/22/13 5:00pm

11 Wild Ginger Ct., Grogans Mill, The Woodlands, Texas

11 Wild Ginger Ct., Grogans Mill, The Woodlands, Texas

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.

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Empty Life Forms
11/11/13 11:30am

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

11/07/13 11:27am

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:

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10/31/13 11:15am

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?

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10/31/13 10:00am

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.

10/17/13 12:10pm

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

10/14/13 12:00pm

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