08/14/18 3:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: A HIDDEN MEMORIAL DR. DOG SPOT MEETS ITS END “I always liked to go to that site with the dog in the winter; not sure why, but because of the slope, mixed with the cold air, it made me feel that I was not in Houston. It was not a well known location unless you lived in the neighborhood, though I did not. Others also played with their dogs there. Another cool hidden spot bites the dust.” [Montrose Resident, commenting on Alexan Memorial Apartments Are Heading to Rice Military] Illustration: Lulu

08/14/18 11:30am

ALEXAN MEMORIAL APARTMENTS ARE HEADING TO RICE MILITARY A group linked to Dallas developer Trammell Crow recently filed plans with Houston’s planning commission to prep the shaded 2.5-acre parcel shown on the map between Sandman and the dead end of Reinerman St. for new apartments under the Alexan name. The complex would be backed by a ramp that diverges from the north side of Memorial Dr. and neighbored by a 3-story building that forms part of the DePelchin Children’s Center’s main Houston campus. Ordered off the site to make way for the new construction: some parking for the adjacent adoption and foster care center and a vacant, H-shaped office building to the west. Map: Houston Planning Commission

07/25/18 5:00pm

SIZING UP BROADSTONE ARTS DISTRICT, THE UNBUILT APARTMENTS ACROSS FROM SAWYER YARDS 328 units will crowd into the planned building according to a rundown of coming Houston residential developments put out by investment firm Berkadia and dug up by HAIF sleuth Urbannizer just the earlier today. (That’s a bit smaller-scale than the 375-unit Broadstone Studemont mid-rise now going vertical on a slightly larger 4-acre block of land half a mile away on Studemont at Summer St.) Although nothing’s changed physically at the site since several warehouse buildings were demolished on it 2 years ago, it has seen some recent action on paper: In March Houston’s planning commission approved a request to consolidate 2 separate, abutting parcels of land into a single nearly–4-acre property on which the apartment will rise just north of the railroad tracks that cross Sawyer St. The property owner: an entity connected to developer Frank Liu of Lovett Commercial and InTown Homes. He’s also got his hands on the 2 warehouses-turned-retail-buildings across the street where new tenants continue to file in, as well as the Salvation Army structure south of them. [Berkadia (PDF) via HAIF] Photo: Swamplot inbox

07/23/18 5:15pm

Here’s the latest look at the Gables Westcreek apartments from right outside their planned garage entrance on Westcreek Ln. south of San Felipe. The 302-unit highrise is set to take over a 2.6-acre southwest portion of the site once occupied by the Westcreek Apartments. (Other chunks of that demolished complex have already been divvied up among the Arabella, Wilshire, SkyHouse River Oaks, and some surface parking.)

In those digs, 14 stories will pile up atop the ground floor parking garage, as shown in the site plan below from architect Ziegler Cooper:

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Gables Westcreek
07/19/18 10:00am

It’s crunch time at the vacated original Café Ginger in the northern portion of the River Oaks Shopping Center, where a new 30-story apartment tower dubbed The Driscoll is planned to rise up over W. Gray St. Views from beyond the blaze orange barricades scattered around the parking lot since site work began in March show the crushing scene.

Since yesterday, the building’s been spilling its guts out onto the pavement in this particular area:

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The End of the Endcap
07/16/18 12:30pm

On deck for the Berryhill Shopping Center on the corner of Westheimer and Revere: Stanmore River Oaks, an 8-story apartment building planned in place of the site’s existing tenants Antique Pavilion, Prism Cleaners, and the original Berryhill Baja Grill. This Thursday, Houston’s city planning commission will consider the developer’s request to slide the planned building (depicted at top from the north) up to sit just 10 ft. from Westheimer — closer than the existing strip pictured above, behind the variance sign that’s now up on the property.

If the commission signs off, landscaping could go up too along the roadway in the fashion depicted below:

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Stanmore River Oaks
07/16/18 10:00am

LAST NIGHT’S ROOFTOP SMOKE SHOW AT THE SUSANNE APARTMENTS Update, 2 p.m.: A spokesperson for The Susanne’s owner, the Finger Companies, tells Swamplot that the fire was caused by a “flying sky lantern,” not by faulty piping. According to the spokesperson, 2 Susanne residents launched the decorative airborne device from the complex’s parking garage, but “the wind unexpectedly caused the lantern to land on the roof of the apartment building along the West Alabama driveway and burned long enough to cause a fire on the roof itself.” The 2 residents called 911 and later reported its cause to fire department arson investigators. A loose rooftop gas pipe sparked this scene at The Susanne Apartments on the corner of W. Alabama and Dunlavy last night at around 9 p.m. Firefighters choked off the blaze by shutting off a valve that fed the pipe — reports the Chronicle — but not before smoke damaged portions of the 8-story building’s top floor. One apartment sustained some water damage, too, but thanks to a layer of steel on the roof — none of the flames made it inside. No firefighters were harmed — and though hundreds evacuated, all residents remained uninjured as well. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

07/13/18 2:00pm

See that faint watermark in the aerial photo taken from up on the balcony? That’s the lap pool at the Parkside at Memorial Apartments just south of Memorial Dr., buried under more water than it’s designed to hold after the release of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs last August. Throughout the first floor of the surrounding buildings, the tide peaked at over 5-and-a-half ft. Workers spent the last 9 months helping the 4-year-old complex make a comeback; its leasing center officially reopened late last month — and on-site amenities now look less divey and more like the refurbished lap pool shown in the photo at top.

Other aquatic areas that took on more than they could handle include the complex’s other pool:

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The Deep End
07/02/18 4:30pm

Residents of the Memorial Club apartments at 955 Westcott St. now have 5 months left to beat it from the complex in order to make way for a new residential building that’s set to rise in its place. According to a letter that landlord Greystar sent out on June 11, the deadline to vacate is December 31. Up until then, the company “is engaging a relocation specialist” to assist tenants with their moves.

The photo at top shows the apartment’s yard sign, with an arrow (since covered up) pointing across Westcott to where its leasing office once sat within the demolished eastern portion of the complex. Greystar tore that section down in 2014, about a year after buying both halves of the complex and announcing a 2-phase redevelopment plan for the land, to include 550 units spread across a pair of buildings.

297 of them are already housed across the street in the 6-story Elan Memorial Park building — pictured below — that the developer put up in 2016:

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Exodus on Westcott St.
06/28/18 12:15pm

Here’s what’s now being stabbed onto the vacant Midtown block bounded by Gray, Austin, Webster, and LaBranch streets catty-corner to the parking lot fronting St. Joseph Professional building and its recently-fallen cross: a 216-unit apartment building. The 5-story brick-and-stucco structure — pictured in the rendering above from architect Steinberg Dickey Collaborative — rests on 2 stories of parking. Its developer Winther Investment bought the full block along with the adjacent one southeast of it in 2013, where it plans to plant another residential building once this current cube is complete.

Rendering: Steinberg Dickey Collaborative

Stack of Bricks
06/22/18 5:00pm

About 2-and-a-half floors of the soon-to-be-5-story Broadstone Studemont apartment building are now standing on a 4-acre parcel between Hicks and Summer streets. The shot above takes a look at the complex from an extension of Summer St. laid down west of Studemont — and Kroger — prior to the apartments’ groundbreaking in February.

The road segment cuts between the north side of the apartments and the planned Studemont Junction retail center opposite them, highlighted in the site plan below:

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Graveside Mid-Rise
05/31/18 11:00am

HHA’S FIRST NEW MIXED-INCOME COMPLEX IN A DECADE DEBUTS AT CROSSTIMBERS AND N. MAIN The Houston Housing Authority has finished building its first development in 10 years: the 154-unit Independence Heights Apartments. Situated at the southeast corner of Crosstimbers and N. Main St., the garden-style complex has units available to tenants who earn less than $41,500 per year and have qualified for public housing vouchers. (The median household income in Independence Heights is around $25,000.) Mayor Turner okayed the project back in November, 2016 — 2 months after he killed a similar mixed-income complex that had been proposed for Briargrove, in place of one of the housing authority’s own office buildings on Fountain View Dr. That decision prompted a federal investigation in which HUD eventually found that the city’s rejection “was motivated either in whole or in part by the race, color or national origin of the likely tenants.” Of the $45 million Houston has received from HUD since 2011 (in response to Hurricane Ike) only $12 million has been spent — all of it on this just-built project. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Independence Heights Apartments under construction: Apartments.com

05/17/18 2:30pm

The Tree Tops at Post Oak apartment complex on Briar Hollow Pl. has been abandoned since August, “with many windows and doors open as well as no maintenance to the yards,” writes a reader. Also noted: survey markers, like the one stuck between the fence and the curb in the photo included. First floor units at the complex sit below street level, and had water “up to the ceilings,” during Harvey.

From the corner of Briar Hollow and Post Oak Park Dr., you can see wooden scaffolding fronting the lower-level units, behind the fence — and the overgrowth — that separates them from the street:

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Out of Order
05/11/18 4:00pm

Houston’s City Planning Commission approved a variance yesterday permitting a developer that plans to build a 4-story apartment building on the corner highlighted above not to extend Dunlop St. through the site, as otherwise required. Instead, plans call for the street to end at the south side of the complex, where it’ll be bounded by a new, 8-ft. tall fence.

The request first showed up on the commission’s agenda on April 26, at which time a couple of residents came forward to complain about the heavy traffic on nearby Karcher and Angelo streets — which northbound drivers use to avoid the light at the intersection of Link and Fulton. Extending Dunlop through the site, they argued, would clear up some of that congestion.

But a 60-ft.-wide swath of road like that would run over the garage, parking lot, pool, and dumpster area the developer plans to build at the center of the complex, as shown in the site plan below:

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Transit Corridor
05/08/18 2:30pm

Shots of the massive waterfront development planned in Kingwood east of Woodland Hills Dr. show it situated around 2 adjacent and existing lakes that neighbor both the San Jacinto River and the Clubs of Kingwood golf course. The 300-acre project — dubbed Herons Kingwood Marina and recently stumbled upon by online architectural sleuth Urbannizer — lays out a plan to link the 2 bodies of water and transform them into marinas with docks, pedestrian paths, and outdoor amusements.

The water-level rendering above from Italian architecture firm Torrisi & Procopio shows a boat parking lot fronting a shopping center that’s planned beside the west marina. From the air in the rendering at top, you can see the eastern marina neighbored by skyscrapers, described by the architect’s website as home to hotels, restaurants, shops, and apartments. A narrow channel leads to the other, aquatic area in the distance.

Here’s where both lakes sit now, just south of Barrington Kingwood — a 200-acre, loop-shaped neighborhood:

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The Liveable Lake