07/12/17 1:15pm

Sure, the Texas Junk Company has decamped from its longtime spot at 215 Welch St. — and the building has been put up for lease. But even with a whitewashing the building still shows its recent provenance. Well — somewhat. The corner-hugging brick structure’s new coat of white paint, which appeared over the weekend, now covers over some of the painted signage, artwork, and uh, beauty marks that once festooned its façades. But not all. Carefully avoided by the painters and still visible on the structure are the Texas Junk Company sign and its accompanying snake mascot facing Welch St. (pictured above) and the cactus-and-mesa tableau on the Taft St. side:

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Releasing East Montrose
06/20/17 11:15am

You may remember that the scootin’ of Texas Junk Company and its boot collection out to Moulton, TX, started up early last fall; while the snake-bedecked garage structure on Welch St. at Taft has been pretty much closed since last November, the building itself was finally marked as up for lease over the weekend, a reader tells Swamplot. That’s following in the wake of April’s sale of the property to a corporate entity bearing the Texas Junk Company name in county records — but tracing back address-wise to the owner of nearby Fairview St. bar Boheme. (The Boheme folks also appear to have purchased the 2-story brick building across Welch to the north in 2013 — and were previously purported to be working on Brewheme Brewery about 6 blocks to the southeast at 2505 Mason St.) The city okayed a permit for some reroofing work in April as well.

Photo: MontroseResident

Junk Co. Refurbishment
05/08/17 11:30am

The green-and-yellow speckled warehouse at 1005 Sawyer St. has a new blue leasing sign from Braun Enterprises tacked to its forehead, as regular real estate surveillor Chris Andrews noted over the weekend. Braun bought the mid-sixties building last month, per county records of the transaction; the 6,360-sq.-ft. structure sits north of Washington Ave. sports-nightclub Social Junkie (which Braun also bought early last year), under the watchful gaze of the 24eleven Washington apartment midrise (to the left below):

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Center St. Industrial Turnover
04/03/17 4:30pm

Zone D'Erotica, 2626 West Loop South, Galleria Area, Houston, 77027

The always-open pink-and-purple site of adult accessories shop Zone d’Erotica, which has long served as a retina-searing guidepost to westward-bound Galleria traffic, is currently listed as for lease on the website of retail real estate brokerage The Retail Connection, a keen-eyed reader noted this morning. The trapezoid-heavy building is tucked on a trapezoidal plot of land between the yellow-bedecked corner Shell station and the austere gray facade of Dillard’s, and served as a Luke’s Hamburgers in a past life before making the Zone transition well over a decade ago (presumably with the aid of Houston’s lack of zoning laws). Just down the road along the Galleria’s Westheimer Rd. edge, a younger, prettier pad site (built recently as part of the Galleria’s ongoing makeover and reconstruction) has now been filled in with the likes of Michelin-starred dim sum joint Yauatcha, which opened last week.

Photo: The Retail Connection

Westheimer Zone-ing
03/13/17 11:30am

Wabash Feed and Garden Store, 5701 Washington Ave., Houston, 77007

The greying former site of the Wabash Feed & Garden Store is fully back on the market again, after high hopes for a new Creek Group restaurant on the site slowly faded into lengthy delays and an eventual leasing sign out front last year. Nancy Sarnoff notes in the Chronicle that the property went back up for sale last month, looking somewhat more worn down than the first time. A glance at CBRE’s marketing materials for the site shows many of the recent newcomers to the garden store’s stretch of Washington Ave., including the new storage midrise across the street, and the Pearl and Elan apartment complexes each about 2 blocks away in opposite directions from the just-over-half-an-acre property:

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Washed Out on Wash Ave
02/21/17 11:30am

3904 Leeland St., Eastwood, Houston, 77003

Across a parking lot from the stripy blue office of Air Alliance Houston, the 1940s building that has hosted Lee Printing Company since 1970 is now up for lease. The Lee family has closed the printing business, and the current listing for the property says the spot will be available starting in March. Eponymous co-founder Gene Lee (who started the business with his wife Hedy, and spent a decade running Houston’s first English-Chinese newspaper in the mid 70s and early 80s,) retired in 1994 and passed away in 2010. The storefront is being marketed as potential office, retail, or art studio space; Sandy Lee says the family is open to selling some of their old-school Chinese printing equipment, as well. The structure is a block up Hussions St. from Houston Elbow & Nipple Co.’s facility toward the corner with Jefferson St., and about a block south along Hussions from Super Happy Fun Land, which sits around the bend on Polk St.

Photo: Robert Downs

Eastwood End
02/17/17 3:30pm

Former Skinny Rita's at 607 W. Gray St., North Montrose, Houston, 77019

Former Skinny Rita's at 607 W. Gray St., North Montrose, Houston, 77019The large and unambiguous letters now hovering out front of the new North Montrose version of semi-diet Tex-Mex joint Skinny Rita’s are accompanied by a small lockout notice, a rain-spattered reader notes this afternoon. The For Lease By Landlord declarations have replaced the restaurant’s logo on both sides of the freestanding sign on the property at 607 W. Gray St. (across the road from now listed as in-contract Cecil’s Pub); another banner is hung on the fence facing the restaurant’s parking lot, in view of the Skinny Rita’s logo still up on the side of the building:

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North Montrose Lockup
01/12/17 11:30am

Midtown Entry Portal work site, Brazos St. at I-45 and Pierce St., Midtown, Houston, 77003

More signs of the Midtown Redevelopment Authority’s current 3-part landscaping project: the large hill being crafted where the long I-45 exit ramp into Pierce St. hits Brazos St. Bid documents for the project also mention landscaping walls, accent lighting, and decorative stone as part of the rest of the plan for the spot. The newly elevated site sits east across the I-45 offloader from the former home of high-gloss steak and seafood house Mr. Peeples, which shut down back in March. The Bagby-facing building, which served as a Boy Scouts of America office prior to the restaurant makeover, is still up for lease; a marketing flier advertises all 3 stories as up for grabs, along with the 8,702-sq.-ft. basement. Here’s the full frontal:

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Moving Up in Midtown
12/29/16 10:45am

J. Black's, 110 South Heights Blvd., Memorial Heights, Houston,  77007

J. Black's, 110 South Heights Blvd., Memorial Heights, Houston,  77007The building housing the Houston expansion of Austin’s J. Black’s at the southwest corner of Washington Ave and Heights Blvd. now bears a new for-info-please-call sign, a reader notes. The bar appears to have events planned through at least New Year’s Eve; the 5,948-sq.-ft. space was only listed online as up for lease about 2 weeks ago. Back before 2012, the property was home to Phil’s Texas Barbecue, for about the same amount of time as it took Phil himself to restaurantize the corner’s original muffler shop setup. And soon another corner at the intersection will be getting a full workover as well, if all goes as planned — J. Black’s sits across Heights Blvd. from the subsection of the Memorial Heights apartments slated to go away some time next quarter, to make way for that planned Midway midrise with the H-E-B at the bottom:

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Cornered in Memorial Heights
12/14/16 10:45am

Long Sing Market Leasing Flier, 2017 Walker St., East Downtown, Houston, 77003

The Long Sing Supermarket building is now up for grabs, per a fresh leasing listing that appeared last week. The 8,260-sf.-ft. retail space and its internal lunch counter sit across Walker St. from physicist-mascotted Neil’s Bahr, and next to Little Woodrow’s EaDo (visible in yellow to the right, with its face toward the corner with St. Emanuel St. where Warehouse Live hangs out). The pagoda-topped grocery store was listed for sale a few times since 2014 — back before the glassy Marriott Marquis highrise started photobombing the building’s listing shots from across 59, as it does in the photo below:

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Market To Market
10/14/16 12:30pm

Rendering of Fairview District

Fairview + Mason renderingsAbove is an updated view of plans for the stretch of Fairview St. between Taft and Genesee being redeveloped by the owner of the redeveloped restaurant strip containing Cuchara and Max’s Wine Dive — a CBRE marketer announced that the project will be branded as the Fairview District, and will include 4 buildings of the mixed-office-retail-restaurant variety. In the center of the rendering above is a sleeker view of the 5-story bike-encrusted parking garage previously drawn up for the former site of Meteor Lounge (which sent its drag show over South Beach and shut off the showers for the last time over the summer). It’s unclear from this vantage whether the garage’s bicycle decor is still part of the plan for the area, but some bike lanes appear to be. The glassy structure on the far left looks to be the standalone structure planned for the parking lot next to Max’s Wine Dive (previously tagged as a dessert shop): CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Viewing Fairview District
09/14/16 4:45pm

Rendering of under-construction Kirby Collection, Kirby Dr. at Colquitt St., Upper Kirby, Houston

Rolling-sphere-themed restaurant and entertainment chain Pinstripes has just leased up some space in the under-construction Kirby Collection (and hey — there might even be some bocce players nearby still looking for a new court!) That’s the first confirmed tenant for the project, which Thor Equities wants to open by the end of next year; the 33,600 sq. ft. of leased space makes up around half of the total retail space available, and is split across both retail floors of the complex (shown in the foreground above, with a row of trees peeking down at Kirby Dr. from the edge of the roof). Pinstripes will take over a 7,260-sq.-ft. subdivision of first floor space, out of the segment labeled 23,900 in the ground floor plan below:

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Leasing Ball Rolling
09/07/16 11:00am

Wabash Feed and Garden Store, 5701 Washington Ave., Houston, 77007

Wabash Feed and Garden Store, 5701 Washington Ave., Houston, 77007

A sign of possible second chances for anyone looking to make a play for the former Wabash Feed & Garden Store building at 5701 Washington Ave: the leasing notice now up out front, shown here as spotted by a reader yesterday. Onion Creek owner Gary Mosley bought the land early this year and announced plans to turn the building into a restaurant and bar called Driftwood once the garden store headed out to its new spot. At that time, the moveout was planned for June; Wabash owner Betty Heacker tells Landan Kuhlman this month that the new location in the former Mechanical Plumbing, Inc. warehouse at 4537 N. Shepherd should finally be ready to go by late October.

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Options on Wash Ave
08/22/16 1:30pm

Buffalo Fred's Ice House, 2708 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008

Buffalo Fred's Ice House, 2708 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008After a month or so on the market at $3.75 million, the asking price on Buffalo Fred’s Ice House has dropped by half a million as of early last week. The 37,500 sq.ft. property, positioned right across the northern boundary of the potentially moistening Heights dry zone at 2708 N. Shepherd Dr., sits a few blocks north of the ongoing culinary redevelopment zone near the recent Fiesta Mart breakup. The HAR sales listing notes that leasing the space is an option (and a matching LoopNet leasing listing has been added for the property in the last few weeks).

The listing claims the early-1980s ice house is now running on a month-to-month lease; the bar building is up for grabs along with the 2,100-sq.-ft. building formerly occupied by Speedy Cycle Lube (on the right hand side, both above and below):

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Room to Roam in Houston Heights
08/02/16 3:45pm

Westlake Four, 200 Westlake Park Blvd., HoustonPlease don’t turn around and stare, but suddenly another entire office tower in the Energy Corridor has become available for lease — all 20 floors of it. Any takers?

So far, only one of the 2 extremely available towers appears to qualify as a genuine see-through building — that would be the 22-story completed-but-never-occupied Energy Center Four, at N. Eldridge Pkwy. and I-10, which back in June ConocoPhillips announced it was giving up on moving into but hoped some other company (or 32) would sublease from them. And now from Nancy Sarnoff comes the other dropping shoe: energy company BP, announcing that by early next year it plans to vacate Four Westlake Park, aka WestLake Four, a little more than a mile west along the freeway feeder road, at 200 Westlake Park Blvd. BP has 7 years to go on its lease for that 22-year-old property from New York-based Falcon Real Estate Investment Management.

Photo of Westlake Park Four: Steven Baker

Getting Lonely on the Katy Fwy.