12/17/18 9:45am

BAYOU PARK APARTMENTS HAVE ABOUT A YEAR BEFORE THE HIGHRISING STARTS Nitya Capital, which closed on the ’70s-era Bayou Park Apartments at 4400 Memorial Dr., east of Shepherd, last month “plans to carve out a spot for a high-rise condo tower” as soon as a year from now, reports the Chronicle’s Katherine Feser. That shouldn’t be too hard, seeing as the new tower will take up “less than an acre,” says Nitya CEO Swapnil Agarwal, within the 15-acre environs of the 3-story complex that’s there now. Some of its existing 679 units should be receiving a few touch-ups under the new landlord: “new floors, granite counters, stainless steel appliances,” and “new lighting and fixtures,” reports Feser. And outside, she writes, plans call for “fresh landscaping, new signs and changes to the leasing center,” which neighbors a handful of retailers in the spot shown above where the complex lets out onto Memorial. [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Apartments.com

12/12/18 5:30pm

The new owner of 812 Main St. (shown above) is the same entity that owns the JW Marriott next-door at 806 Main St. Well, sort of. Technically, the properties belong to 2 separate entities, but they both tie back to the same real estate overlord: Pearl Hospitality, a Houston-based hotel operator with a few extra properties in Lubbock. Pearl closed on the 812 Main St. building last month for $3.6 million.

Designed by Houston architects Joseph Finger and George Rustay the recently-transacted tower was completed in 1950 for the Battelsteins’s department store — which occupied each of its 10 floors. It’s now been vacant for roughly 30 years. Battlestein’s signage has been replaced by the smudges visible above the mural-ized storefront face in the photo at top. But 2 naked flagpoles remain on either side of where the lettering once was.

After visiting the property in December, 2015, PDG Architects estimated it’d cost nearly $17 million to renovate it into something suitable for office tenants to inhabit. Just bringing it up to code could cost $8 million, according to public records.

The JW Marriott next-door at Rusk St. — formally known as the Samuel F. Carter building — underwent its Pearl-Hospitality redo starting in 2010 with a bit of financial help from the city and HUD, as well as architectural know-how from Gensler:

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Department Store Skyscraper
12/10/18 1:00pm

You may remember the Jack in the Box at 2001 N. Shepherd that was left high and dry in September after shutting down. It’s got a new owner: an entity connected to New York brokerage firm Edry Real Estate. The sale closed last month and includes just over half an acre at the northwest corner of Shepherd Dr. and W. 20th St.

Photo: Swamplox inbox

Burger Flip
12/07/18 11:30am

ARE THE NEW FITZGERALD’S OWNERS PLANNING TO BRING DOWN THE HOUSE? “They came and tested for asbestos,” Fitzgerald’s longtime owner Sara Fitzgerald tells the Chronicle’s Marcy de Luna, “so I think they’re looking to tear it down. It was their original intention to build a high-rise there.” Fitzgerald sold Fitzgerald’s along with 3 home lots behind it on E. 6½ St. in July to the same Chicago-based company, Easy Park, that’s been planning that automated parking garage a few blocks west down White Oak Dr. in place of the existing, analog garage next to Tacos A Go Go (which it also owns, along with some other retail nearby). She’s now renting the building at 2706 White Oak from her new landlord and running the 41-year-old business remotely from Seguin, Texas, outside San Antonio, de Luna reports. Following a spree of farewell shows scheduled throughout the month, the club will close with a New Year’s Eve party featuring ’70s and ’80s cover band SKYROCKET! [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Caramels D.

12/07/18 9:30am

Evidently, those plans to put another car dealership across 59 from the existing 7-story Audi Central Houston won’t be panning out since the land where it would’ve gone is now up for sale. A newly-erected sign at the corner of the Greenbriar and the Southwest Fwy. feeder road advertises its availability.

A group connected to Sonic Automotive bought the property — which stretches all the way east to Shepherd Dr. — in January 2017. When news orgs got wind that it’d changed hands, Sonic’s executive vice prez Jeff Dyke told them he’d have more info on what the dealership would end up looking like near the end of the year. The parcel’s 2.4-acre size prompted at least one guess that’d the plans — like those Sonic implemented across the street — would involve something tall.

Amidst all the hubbub, it’s been business as usual at Stahlman. It’s entering its 59th year at 4007 Greenbriar Dr.

Photo: Lulu

59 at Greenbriar
12/04/18 3:15pm

Nearly the entire block-face of Richmond Ave between Roseland and Stanford streets is now up for sale; altogether: just over 19,400 sq.-ft. for $4.2 million. The offerings include the 2-story former Drew’s BBQ house pictured above, the residential lot behind it, the eastern half of the Chapultepec Lupita restaurant next-door to it (the portion of the restaurant with a red awning has a different landlord), and the former notary shop between the restaurant and the Koelsch Gallery on the corner of Stanford St.

The restaurant’s lease on its building at 817 Richmond — shown below — runs until next April:

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Fitze Homestead
11/30/18 2:15pm

An entity connected to Kaldis Development is the proud new owner of the Cameron Iron Works complex across the railroad tracks from the shuttered coffee plant on Milby St. And already, the developer — which has a thing for refilling old Houston buildings — is marketing its purchase for lease as The Cameron and promising to renovate it into something that restaurant, bar, and event venue tenants can get in on.

The 1.43-acre property at 711 Milby St. is home to 2 buildings: the 3-story brick one shown above with Cameron’s name set in stone above the main entrance, and a less eye-catching warehouse next-door to it, shown below from the corner of Rusk St.

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Forging a New Path
10/19/18 3:45pm

The map above shows the land (in red) that Rice is confirmed to have grabbed around the Midtown Sears (orange) it bought out last October, including 2 new parcels (green) it snatched up through holding companies within the last few months. In an email sent out to university staff on Monday, Rice U. President David Leebron said the school “will ultimately redevelop approximately 14 acres of Rice-owned property,” near the Sears building into what it’s calling the Midtown Innovation District. So what are the latest spots it’s gotten its hands on? The first, catty-corner to the Sears building itself at the corner of Wheeler and San Jacinto, is Jack in the Box‘s nearly half-acre lot; Rice bought it in August.

More recently, the school pushed east by picking up 4201 Caroline St., the brick office building shown below that occupies a quarter-acre directly next to Fiesta:

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Sears and Friends
10/15/18 3:45pm

The new owner of the former Mary Barden Keegan Center along the southbound I–45 North feeder goes by the name Houston Market Center LLC and is connected to J. Luna’s Produce, a longtime vendor at the soon-to-be redone Houston Farmers Market on Airline. The sale closed late last month and included both the parking lot and 5,000-sq.-ft. community garden that sit behind the warehouse, closed-off from Vincent St. and the rest of residential Brooke Smith by a wrought-iron fence. Last week — reports a neighbor — workers got rid of that fence, “cleared out” an onsite homeless camp, began dismantling a retaining wall, and cut down a few trees adjacent to the parking lot.

The seller, Virgata Property Company, picked up the building from the Houston Food Bank 2 years ago and — last summer — leased it to the Peli Peli restaurant group as a prep center for the South African chain’s catering operation and a production hub for its house-brand sauces and spices. Since then, Peli Peli’s added 2 more order-at-the-counter restaurants to its lineup of formal and informal locations: one in the Esperson Building at 808 Travis downtown, and the other in the new 365 by Whole Foods Market on 610.

Photo: Virgata Property

2445 N. Fwy.
10/15/18 10:15am

The owner of the abandoned restaurant storefront on Taft St. south of W. Gray didn’t waste much time in trashing the place after acquiring it in June. A demo permit filed last month condemned both the street-fronting building shown above and its backyard bungalow. The photo at top shows the state of things on Friday afternoon.

The new owner also bought the neighboring brick house on Peden St. around the same time:

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A Flash in the Pan
10/12/18 10:00am

HINES PICKING UP LESS THAN AN ACRE ACROSS FROM MONTROSE WHOLE FOODS PARKING LOT The developer entered into an agreement earlier this year to buy the property at the corner of Waugh Dr. and D’Amico St., reports the HBJ’s Olivia Pulsinelli in her round-up of recent North Montrose land sales. On-site that nearly three-quarter acre parcel right now: a parking lot, driveways, and 2-story dingbat office building that backs up to the adjacent strip housing Pimlico Irish Pub and others. To the east, BMW-focused auto shop Bavarian Machine Specialties buffers the tract from what’ll soon be Stages Repertory Theatre’s new theater and green space on Rosine St. [HBJ] Photo: LoopNet

10/05/18 5:15pm

A few of the tenants inside this 7-unit, now-up-for-sale apartment building on Hawthorne St., 2 blocks from Spur 527 appear to be on the same page design-wise. The photo above shows the living room inside one of the building’s 6 one-bedroom apartments done up with a Persian rug, atop which sits a glass tabletop covered in curios surrounding a floral centerpiece.

Now, compare that to that to the living room the building’s sole 2-bedroom unit, shown below:

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429 Hawthorne
10/01/18 9:45am

The former Berger Ironworks complex shown above behind Walmart and across Koehler St. from the new Heights West End apartments now belongs to Best Friends Animal Society, a national nonprofit that keeps homeless creatures alive by diverting them from shelters where they wouldn’t always be as lucky. To that end, the group hosts adoption and awareness events (like the upcoming Strut Your Mutt charity dog walk planned for Stude Park), partners up with non-lethal shelters, and in some cases operates its own facilities — the largest of which is a 20,700-acre sanctuary in southern Utah. (National Geographic ran a 4-season teevee documentary about it called DogTown.)

At 1414 Bonner St., just under an acre and a quarter currently serve as home to a pair of abutting metal-roofed buildings. Making use of the new vernacular, the land’s previous owner Riverway Properties had been calling it Bonner Heights. A rendering released as part of that group’s old listing showed the buildings with a brand-new gap between them and — in a setup that now seems less likely to materialize — retailers inside them:

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Meet the Buyers
09/24/18 11:15am

The founders of The Greensheet are looking to part with their defunct printing complex at I-45 and the N. Loop after selling the publication earlier this month to MVR Publishing — a newly-formed partnership whose majority owner Jonathan McElvy also publishes The Leader. From 1998 onward, the facility cranked out all Houston editions of the classified paper (it’s also got versions in Dallas and Fort Worth), along with other publications like the New York Times — which Greensheet agreed in 2006 to start printing for local distribution.

Delivery trucks loaded with bundles of The Greensheet’s own reading material rolled out of the parking lot pictured from the north in the aerial above.

Here it is at ground level:

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Shopper Hits the Market
09/11/18 3:00pm

The building’s longtime owners handed it off last week to Fat Property, and the new landlord’s turned around and listed one of 10 units inside for lease already. Built in 1965, the structure grabs some frontage on Stanford St. — pictured above — but most of its exterior and adjacent parking lies to the north along Colquitt.

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4202 Stanford