09/29/14 3:15pm

A RANDALL DAVIS-FLAVORED HIGHRISE FOR THE EAST SIDE OF THE WEST LOOP Aerial View of Parcels at Former Westcreek Apartments, 2021 Westcreek Ln., HoustonThemed-residence developer Randall Davis is planning another Galleria-area condo project, and it looks like this one won’t have to share space with any fast-food drive-thrus — unless, of course, he wants it to. The HBJ‘s Paul Takahashi is reporting that Davis plans to construct an 85-to-100-unit highrise on a 1.8-acre site at 2021 Westcreek Ln., until recently occupied by a portion of the Westcreek Apartments. (It’s labeled Parcel D in the view at left.) Davis’s block is immediately north of the SkyHouse River Oaks, which is already under construction. It fronts San Felipe, across from Ashley Furniture, and its eastern flank abuts the Target parking lot. If Davis still wants some sort of fast-food spot to land next to his so-far-unnamed project, though, he could certainly make it happen: Takahashi reports he’ll be building on a little less than half of the site, and selling off 45,000 sq. ft. of it to developers. [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot] Image: CBRE

07/22/14 1:15pm

Former Houston Post Building, 4747 Southwest Fwy., Houston

Yesterday afternoon’s news came couched in pillowy fluff: Houston’s largest news-gathering organization will be moving to an exciting new state-of-the-art facility in the Galleria area! No, the Houston Chronicle isn’t leaving the heart of the city it covers: Key reporters will remain downtown!

But here’s a rougher-edged reading of the newspaper’s apparent retreat: The Hearst Corporation is getting ready to sell off one of its most valuable Houston assets — a block and a half of prime Downtown real estate — so it’s telling Chron editorial staffers to find room for themselves somewhere in or around the austere 440,000-sq.-ft. concrete fort where the company’s distribution, circulation, local sales, and press operations have been camping out, on 21 acres in the lower right armpit formed by the intersection of Hwy. 59 and Loop 610.

The former Houston Post compound at 4747 Southwest Fwy. (above), designed by Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson in 1970 as a stark Brutalist follow-up to their work on the Astrodome, was part of the booty obtained by the Chronicle when it bought out its rival paper in 1995. The announcement calls the complex its “future campus,” but the extent of renovations or any new construction planned on the site is unclear.

What about that downtown foothold the paper is promising?


A Newspaper Retreat
07/07/14 1:00pm

Central Square Plaza Building, 2100 Travis St., Midtown, Houston

Central Square Plaza Building, 2100 Travis St., Midtown, HoustonThere’s been a bit of action in the ongoing demo-and-rehab of the long-vacant Central Square Plaza complex at 2100 Travis St. in Midtown. Roving photographer Marc Longoria catches the shot from the building’s backside above, showing where you can now see through portions of the 14-story complex, which was originally developed by Houston oil tycoon Glenn McCarthy (of Shamrock Hotel fame) and designed by architects Lars Bang and Lucian Hood. And from the Twitter account of the building’s owner, Claremont Property Company, this morning comes the scene portrayed at left, showing crane work on the north-facing Gray St. side of the building.


Office Redo Doings
03/18/14 1:45pm

NEW NORTH MONTROSE APARTMENTS LEAVE HANOVER, MOVE TO RIVER OAKS AMLI River Oaks, 1340 West Gray St., North Montrose, HoustonResidents of the recently opened Hanover West Gray apartments at 1340 West Gray got an unexpected notice in their mailboxes this month: Their new homes at the corner of West Gray and Waugh (replacing the Tavern on Gray and some neighboring structures) now feature a River Oaks address. Hanover sold the 275-unit structures effective March 13 to AMLI. And the new owner is calling the complex AMLI River Oaks, after the tony no-apartments-please neighborhood whose eastern border is three-quarters of a mile to the west. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Hanover Company

02/27/14 11:00am

Proposed Design for 6 Houston Center Office Tower, on Block Surrounded by Walker, Caroline, Rusk, and San Jacinto Streets, Downtown Houston

Mimicking the pipe-wrench-jaw-like multistory balcony near the top of BG Group Place (seen in blocky form at right in the rendering above), there’ll a tree-toothed notch carved into the eastern edge of the top floors of the just-unveiled design for 6 Houston Center. But this new $250 million spec office tower won’t just be a little more roughly cut than its neighbor — it’ll be a bit shorter, too. The 30-story structure is planned for the block surrounded by Rusk, Walker, Caroline, and San Jacinto streets, directly north of the LyondellBasell Tower at 1 Houston Center, on what’s currently a surface parking lot.


Tree-Lined Sky Views
01/28/14 4:45pm

Aerial View of Former Westcreek Apartments, Westcreek Ln., Highland Village, Houston

It’s mixed use, Houston style! Which means one use over here, and another over there. The Houston Business Journal‘s Jenny Aldridge has a full accounting of plans to divvy up the low-slung (at least in retrospect) Westcreek Apartments once they’re all emptied of renters. As Swamplot reported earlier, work has already begun on a 25-story SkyHouse River Oaks tower and adjacent parking garage on the northern portion of what used to be 2041 Westcreek Ln., one lot south of San Felipe and just west of the Target parking lot.


A Little of This, a Little of That
01/13/14 11:45am

The Shoppes at Kingsgate, 1113-1399 Kingwood Dr., Humble, TexasSadly, her report doesn’t include renderings of this little detail, but Real Estate Bisnow’s Catie Dixon notes that the Schreer Partnership’s planned redo (depicted at left) of the 152,000-sq.-ft. Kingwood Shopping Center at the northeast corner of Kingwood Dr. and Chestnut Ridge Rd. it just bought will add gates — “to give the center an exclusive feeling and to mirror the gated community of Kingwood.” Also coming, behind those wrought instigators of shopping security: a kiddie playground and outdoor dining area. The new owners tell Dixon they’re envisioning a “town center” concept (perhaps inspired by the 600,000 “first of its kind” Kingwood Parc town center complex announced last summer and planned for a couple blocks west, directly adjacent to the Eastex Fwy.). The new owners will add only one “e” with their gates, however: the shopping center shall henceforth be known as the Shoppes at Kingsgate.

Rendering: Schreer Partnership Interests

Stein Mart Will Stay
01/07/14 10:30am

Central Square Plaza, 2100 Travis St., Midtown, Houston

Central Square Plaza, 2100 Travis St., Midtown, HoustonA new green-screened construction fence has gone up around the perimeter of the Central Square Plaza building at 2100 Travis St., a reader reports. But the barricades aren’t an indication of impending renovation or demolition work on the long-vacant property. They’re part of an effort to secure the buildings and keep taggers and other would-be occupiers out.


Midtown Wrap-Up
11/18/13 11:46am

3400 Montrose Office Building, Montrose, HoustonSnooping around county records, HBJ reporter Shaina Zucker discovers that apartment developer Hanover Company has placed the long-vacant 10-story office building at 3400 Montrose Blvd. under contract. The developer wouldn’t respond to Zucker’s questions, but an officer of the Montrose Management District hints strongly that Hanover plans to tear down the structure across Hawthorne St. from Kroger and build — surprise! — “luxury apartments” in its place: “There’s no way they could remodel.” Scott Gertner’s Skybar — and Cody’s before it — once occupied the building’s top floor.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

3400 Montrose
10/25/13 10:00am

The Dallas Fort Worth investment group that bought up the vacant 104-acre AstroWorld site in 2010, then sold off portions of it — including a 48-acre chunk to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo late last year — is now trying to find a buyer for the last remaining big piece of the former amusement park: 44 acres fronting Reliant Park across the freeway to the north, Sam’s Club and MetroRail’s end-of-the-line Fannin South Station to the east, and West Bellfort to the south. An odd-shaped 6.3-acre bite taken out of the HalfstroWorld property on the southeast corner belongs to Metro, which is reserving the space for future station expansion or relocation for a future rail line along Route 90A.


10/14/13 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: EAST DOWNTOWN, BROUGHT TO YOU BY MONTROSE “I totally agree with what’s going on in EADO. Face it. It’s way too close to everywhere people want to be not to turn around. And I don’t see any bubble bursting as it’s not inflated at all. Things are still super cheap. Our strategy for EADO, 3rd ward, and med center area can be summarized in 3 words: “BUY BUY BUY” (and sell in Montrose, at stupid high prices, to get the cash to do so).” [Cody, commenting on Townhouses Going Up in East Downtown] Illustration: Lulu

10/07/13 1:15pm

FOOD TRUCKS AMONG THE TREES IN SPRING BRANCH EAST Another parcel of Houston real estate is being given over to food trucks: The Mangum Food Park is set to open in Spring Branch East in about 2 weeks, reports the Leader. The new park will be located at 2924 Mangum Rd., pictured here, just east of Hwy. 290. And unlike the busted concrete, street art, and for-lease signs that lend the Houston Food Park in East Downtown an urban grit, this spot outside the Loop would seem to have more of a rural feel: “The property . . . has been in [co-owner Paige] Hughes’ family since the early 1900s and has been a dairy farm and residence. The main work so far has been clearing ‘lots of dead trees’ . . . Enviably, there’s a row of large trees still standing along the south side of the land, which, along with canopied areas and plenty of tables, will provide shaded eating . . . .” [The Leader; previously on Swamplot] Photo of 2924 Mangum Rd.: Mangum Food Park

10/02/13 12:00pm

Here’s an early rendering of the retail center that might be going up in place of the 2 demolished buildings that once belonged to the Heights Baptist Temple Church. Developed by Braun Enterprises — also responsible for the transformation of the former Harold’s in the Heights on the corner of Ashland and 19th into a new Torchy’s Tacos and the Heights General Store — the retail center, as rendered, would cozy up to the corner of Rutland and 20th and provide parking in the back. Though the old Harold’s building was able to be restored, Dan Braun tells the Leader that that was impossible with the 2 Baptist Temple buildings, which were “[r]oofless and covered in asbestos.”

Rendering: Braun Enterprises