04/10/17 11:30am

Bible Days Church, 501 Quitman St., Near Northside, Houston, 77009Bible Days Church, 501 Quitman St., Near Northside, Houston, 77009

Bible Days Church, 501 Quitman St., Near Northside, Houston, 77009Showing up on the market this month, just in time for Easter: a couple of buildings and lots belonging to Bible Days Revival Church, formally located at or around 501 Quitman St. in Near Northside. The church gives 1935 as the construction date for at least one of the included structures up for grabs, which sit on a block along the northern light-rail line next to a formerly Exxon-branded gas station. Along with the sanctuary, the new listings include a few multifamily structures and empty lots: 

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Come Into the Light-Rail
03/20/17 2:00pm

Chase Bank at 500 W. 20th St., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008

Heights Reservoir land saleAs the digging around has started recently across the road, the Chase Bank on W. 20th street has gone up for sale, a reader notes. Most of the land west of Nicholson St. between 19th and 20th streets is owned by Chase (which has a drive-in on the block), as is the parking lot on 20th across Lawrence. The property is wedged in with those 2 pieces of Heights Waterworks land (outlined here in red) that the city sold last year to Alliance; the apartment developer’s plan for the catty-corner sites includes a pair of 8- and 6-story midrises plus a conversion of the protected reservoir structure itself for restaurant and-or retail use. The signage at the corner of 19th and Lawrence St. (shown above) note that the bank will be seeking its fortune elsewhere.

Images: “Random Property Gossip” (top); City of Houston (bottom)

Banking on Heights Densification
12/14/16 12:45pm

BP MOVING ONSHORE HQ OUT OF HOUSTON, WAY FURTHER ONSHORE Helios Plaza, Energy Corridor, Houston, 77079BP announced today that it plans to move the main office for its onshore oil and gas branch to Denver at the start of 2018, starting with about 200 employees (compared to about 450 currently in the Houston office). The company announced late this summer that it was pulling its employees out of the WestLake 4 tower (about 7 years before that lease would’ve been up); that news was followed up a few days later with an announcement that BP would also sell off its LEED-platinum Helios Plaza building (pictured above), which it built in 2010 as a trading office. The plan at the time was to lease back space in Helios from the new owner; the rest of the company’s Energy Corridor employees will stay in the WestLake 1 office tower, which BP also owns. [BP Media Affairs via Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Helios Plaza at 201 Helios Way: BP

09/20/16 11:00am

13200 and 13302 FM 359, Hempstead, TX, 7744513200 and 13302 FM 359, Hempstead, TX, 77445

Up for grabs just down the road from the Monaville General Store: family-friendly biker bar and pool hall The Thirsty Parrot Bar & Grill. A PR rep tells Swamplot that the owners are retiring from running the Waller County restaurant, which has been open since 2006. Concurrent listings on LoopNet and HAR (at 13200 and 13302 FM 359, respectively) are both running with a $1.6-million asking price, which includes the 14-ish-acre swath of land that the bar sits on, all kitchen equipment, and all of the other buildings on the property: that’s a 3-bedroom ranch house, a second guest house, a pavilion, a barn, and a stocked fishing pond, plus a few other hangers-on. Here’s a quick tour around the place, including a stop by the live parrot collection:

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Hempstead Restaurateurs Flying the Coop
09/19/16 5:45pm

King Biscuit Patio Cafe, 1606 White Oak Dr., Houston, 77009

King Biscuit Patio Cafe, 1606 White Oak Dr., HoustonThe artsy building at the pointy intersection of White Oak Dr. with Morrison and Beauchamp streets appears to be prepping for the possibility of a new gig. City permission for some interior wall smashing in the former King Biscuit space (shown above in full 2011 Technicolor) was granted at the beginning of August, and a reader sends the topmost photo of the scene this afternoon with reports of some recent scuttling about inside.

The space at 1606 White Oak is currently listed for sale on LoopNet as part of a 2-fer: buy the Biscuit for $2.17 million, and the owner will throw in the well-camouflaged house across Morrison at 1528 White Oak for free:

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White Oak 2-Fer
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
08/19/16 11:30am

4411 Dallas St., Eastwood, Houston, 77023

Now on the market for $2.5 million: the triangular Telephone Rd. block bounded by Dallas and Eastwood streets, complete with the still-well-labeled former complex of the storied Church of the Redeemer. The church’s congregation moved out of the literally crumbling structures in 2011 after receiving some $5-to-7-million estimates on bringing them up to minimum habitability standards. The property was later bought by Dominion Church International, which wrangled a new certificate of occupancy for the site in early 2014.

The current listing shows that the crown of T-mobile relay equipment atop the church’s bell tower appears to still be in place — county records show a rooftop lease agreement for the building was renewed for another 50 years in mid-2014:

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Salvation or Salvage?
07/25/16 4:00pm

1901 N. Main St., Near Northside, Houston, 77009

Chris Andrews has caught a few snapshots of what appears to be a soil sampling crew at work at 1901 N. Main St., formerly the site of Uncle Johnny’s Good Cars. Most of the 37,679-sq.-ft. property, occupying the block on the east side of N. Main between Hogan and Gargan streets (including the 1950s auto shop and the next door 1930s Beer’s Building), was transferred to a legal entity called Cerveza Four in May of 2015. Shortly thereafter, Keller Williams Realty posted the cheerily-soundtracked video listing below showing the ins and outs of the property, nestled between the Casa De Amigos city health clinic to the south and the former home of Alamo Thrifty Bail Bonds (now bike shop HAM Cycles 2) across Gargan:

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Movement on N. Main
07/15/16 1:30pm

LONGABERGER EMPTIES 7-STORY PICNIC BASKET FOR SALE OR FORECLOSURE Meanwhile, in Newark: Yesterday Ohio-based basket weaver Longaberger finished moving the last of its employees out of its former corporate headquarters, a replica of the company’s Medium Market model (albeit 160 times larger than life). The company, which saw a 90 percent drop in sales between 2000 and 2014, is currently trying to sell off the building, which consists of a 7-story office structure behind a stucco-over-steel faux-woven facade, complete with 2 enormous handles that heat up to prevent icing in the winter.  The company has accumulated more than half a million dollars in unpaid taxes on the property; if a buyer cannot be found, the city may foreclose and offer the structure up for public auction. [Columbus Dispatch via Houston Chronicle]

03/29/16 11:00am

1931 Fairview St., Vermont Commons, Houston, 77019

Just a few blocks northwest from the ballroom in the works on Woodhead, a reader sends a shot of the former McGowen Cleaners at 1931 Fairview St., now up for sale by NewQuest Properties. The cleaners closed shop on Friday the 13th back in November, though they allowed straggling clients to come by for their left-behind clothes through the end of last year.

The once-actually-on-McGowen business’s 3090-sq.-ft. former building (on a 15,000-sq.-ft. lot) is surrounded to the north and east by townhomes, and by older homes and duplexes to the south and west; 1 block down Fairview is the former Te House of Tea, which the reader reports just got a new parking lot where its back garden used to be. NewQuest’s  sales flier for the McGowen Cleaners property also shows the Te’s spot tagged for a new restaurant:

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Fairview Fare
03/01/16 10:15am

First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002

First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002A new gig appears to be on the horizon for the turquoise-and-concrete Christian Science church at 1720 Main St. A notice announcing an application for a TABC license for the spot is up at the site; the license is being sought by an entity under the name of 1720 Main Reception Hall. Attached to that name, in the public notice for the application, is another: Salim Dehkordi (of nightclub Clé Bar down the road at 2301 Main) is listed as president, secretary, and treasurer.

The Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects put in a bid on the space back in January, hoping to use the sci-fi Brutalist building as their new headquarters. The organization purportedly lost out to a cash buyer asking for no due diligence period, spurring suspicions that the structure would be torn down. It seems, however, that the building will be maintained in some form by its next owners (though there could be a very different set of activities going on beneath that geometric gold spire).  A new setup for the interior might be on the horizon as well:

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Getting Saved Downtown
01/22/16 3:30pm

First Church of Christ the Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002

Take in this nice long view of the gleaming spire atop the part-Modernist-part-Brutalist-part-Islamic-part-1960s-science-fiction sanctuary of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, which was listed on HAR and now seems to be circling in on a finalized deal.  The church received a large number of offers on the property despite a short bid period, and the Houston AIA chapter’s hopes to buy the building as its new headquarters were dashed over the weekend.

Once the church changes hands, members of the congregation will move to any of the other CS branches in the Greater Houston area (which number at least 7). While the sale wraps up, a service is still being held on the first Sunday of each month in the turquoise glow of the inner sanctum:

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Selling a Space-Age Sanctuary
01/20/16 4:00pm

First Church of Christ the Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002

First Church of Christ the Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002Now pending: the sale of the First Church of Christ the Scientist at 1720 Main St., north of Jefferson St. The 1961 structure, designed by Texas architect Milton Foy Martin, was listed for $2.25 million; the listing caught the attention of the Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects, who had hoped to buy the building and move into it.

The organization made an offer, and even got Mayor Annise Parker to write a letter to the Church’s congregation in early December — Parker’s letter asked the Church to consider selling the building to AIA for the sake of historical preservation, citing fears that “any other purchaser would tear the building down.”

AIA was apparently outbid, however, by a cash buyer asking for no due diligence period. The sale is currently listed as pending on HAR. More detailed photos of the inside and out below, including that golden spire and turquoise tile:

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It’s Blue Inside
04/06/15 3:45pm

HOUSTON CHRONICLE BUILDING GOES ON SALE TOMORROW, THE CHRONICLE REPORTS Houston Chronicle Building, 801 Texas Ave., Downtown HoustonThe Houston Chronicle’s 10-story downtown headquarters and neighboring parking garage will be listed for sale tomorrow — with the Hearst newspaper’s reporters and other employees still working away inside.Chronicle executives said prospective buyers have already expressed interest in the property and that more are expected once word spreads that the building at 801 Texas and an adjacent parking garage are up for sale,” writes real estate reporter Nancy Sarnoff from somewhere inside the complex. Indeed, company executives have already suggested to her the story’s conclusion: “’This building is likely to be torn down and replaced with a modern skyscraper that will generate more revenue for the city. It’s in a prime location,’ Paul Barbetta, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Houston Chronicle Media Group, said Monday.” Chronicle employees will be allowed to exit the building and take their belongings with them to a revamped, smaller, outside-the-Loop just-inside-the-Loop facility before that happens. [Prime Property; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Walter P Moore

03/13/15 11:45am

OFF-MENU SPECIAL AT GEORGES BISTRO ON WESTHEIMER: THE WHOLE SHEBANG Georges Bistro, 219 Westheimer Rd., Lower Westheimer, Montrose, HoustonGeorges Bistro co-owner Monique Guy tells Eater Houston’s Jakeisha Wilmore that the French restaurant in the space formerly occupied by whole-hog-HQ Feast — and before that by Guy’s Chez Georges — is not on the verge of closing. Who could be spreading rumors to the contrary? Well, there is that online listing for the 3,114-sq.-ft. converted foursquare that houses the property at 219 Westheimer that went up a few weeks ago, offering the building, the 5,500-sq.-ft. lot, and the restaurant, including all fixtures, furniture, and equipment, for $1.295 million. Guy, who with her husband, Georges, owns the building and operates Georges, tells Wilmore the couple only listed the property “to see what kind of interest it would generate.” She declined to say if they had received any notable offers. [Eater Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo: LoopNet