11/30/16 1:15pm

Construction of Hotel Alessandra, Fannin St. at Dallas St., GreenStreet, Houston, 77002

Second Proposed Design for Hotel Alessandra, GreenStreet, Downtown HoustonToday’s look at up-and-coming personified downtown highrises includes a reader’s fresh snap of Hotel Alessandra, which reached full height in August and has been filling out a bit since then. The latest rendering (released after the original question mark design was scrapped) depicts mostly the buildin’s glassier Dallas-St.-facing side; the shot up top is facing the structure’s beige-er south corner. Midway announced a few weeks after the Tax Day flood that the hotel wouldn’t be open in time for the Super Bowl after all, citing weather-related logistical issues. The developers are now planning to open up later on in 2017.

Meanwhile, at the opposite corner of the GreenStreet complex — where Polk and Caroline streets meet — Randall Davis’s Marlowe condo tower is getting off the ground behind The Dirt Bar and Reserve, at the edge of a sea of parked cars:

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Up and Out Around GreenStreet
10/11/16 12:45pm

October 2016 look around Discovery Green and George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas, Downtown, Houston, 77010

Supercolumn Going Up on George R. Brown Convention Center, Downtown HoustonBob Russell sends a fresh slew of downtown updates, this time checking up on the state of the George R. Brown Convention Center area’s ongoing redo. The structure’s main entrance on Avenida De Las Americas has been getting a major facelift — the supercolumns installed last summer have since turned white, and the glassy  facade has stepped outward and dropped a few stripes, in line with the plans released previously by semi-public city branding organization Houston First:

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Super Bowl Conditioning
09/29/16 5:30pm

Hotel Zaza Memorial City, 9749 Interstate 10 Frontage Rd., Memorial City, Houston, 77024

A reader sends over this morning’s sunrise view of the Hotel Zaza Memorial City mid-to-highrise, now slowly rising west of Bunker Hill Dr. directly behind the Guadalajara Hacienda. Unlike the storied original in the former Warwick Hotel by Hermann Park, this one will be getting 4 floors of apartments to wear on top, and Hotel Zaza’s marketing materials also point out that it’ll be the first of the chain to be co-managed by a third party (that’d be MetroNational).  Here’s Kirksey’s rendering of what the place is supposed to look like when it’s done, and done up in a calmer beige — just imagine the Murphy, Cobalt, and Nexen office buildings spread out around it:

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Glamming Up on I-10
09/23/16 5:30pm

Ivy Lofts Retail Listing Images, September 2016

Actually, the rendering above is not the newest look for the Ivy Lofts, PR head Jared Anthony tells Swamplot this afternoon. Anthony says that the 3-week-old images posted in Wednesday’s since-pulled listing for ground floor retail space in the development had been planned for release that same day during a meeting with folks who have reserved units in the project — but some totally different designs came in from the new architect on Tuesday. Anthony says the newest plans will be shown off in mid-October when the sales center relaunches (complete with another scale model of the planned building), and that groundbreaking is now planned for January, with no change to the estimated completion date.

Images: Powers Brown Architecture

East Downtown Loft Swapping
09/22/16 5:15pm

Ivy Lofts Retail Listing Images, September 2016

Update, 9/23: Ivy Lofts PR director Jared Anthony tells Swamplot that another even newer design is in the works following an architect switchup — more info here.

Ivy Lofts Rendering, Leeland at Live Oak, East Downtown, HoustonIs this the new look planned for the Ivy Lofts? A fresh LoopNet listing is now using the top rendering (and another view from the back) to advertise retail space on the yet-unbroken ground at 2604 Leeland St. The images show a building with roughly the same J-shaped double tower proportions seen in the original Ivy Lofts renderings, but with a smoother, gently curved facade and some vertical green striping.

Novel Creative Development VP Wen Pin Tsai did tell Paul Takahashi back in July that there were major condo-hotel-hybridization-related changes being hashed out for the planned highrise after the initial buy-up went more slowly than planned: the 550 units got attention from only 68 buyers — most of whom were actually investors looking to lease out the condos to that same coveted young professional set that wasn’t signing up to purchase them.

Most of the renderings and details up on the Ivy Lofts’ marketing webpage were taken down some time in the wake of the missed June groundbreaking date, and not many new ones been posted yet — but a new floor plan is included with the retail leasing info, showing distinct condo and hotel lobbies: 

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New Angles in East Downtown
08/26/16 5:45pm

Rendering of Tianqing Group/DC Partners Allen Pwky. Mixed Use Site, Allen Pkwy. at Gillette St., Fourth Ward, Houston, 77019

A look at what could be headed for the rest of that 10.5-acre Gillette St. former city park-slash-brownfield property comes from Tianqing Group, the Chinese firm involved with DC Partners’ recently announced mixed-use development at the site (to be funded via the EB-5 investment-for-greencards program). The northern 6 acres of the property (which at various points in its storied history has housed San Felipe Park, a SWAT substation, and the Gillette St. garbage incinerator) were sold to a then-unnamed investor last year, and DC Partners snagged the land in May.

The view above, displayed on Tianqing’s description page for the project, shows 3 highrises and 2 midrises in place at the edge of Fourth Ward, with the Downtown skyline visible in the distance to the right. Another of the renderings includes slightly clipped logo marks from both DC Partners and architecture firm Gensler; that rendering (below) provides a closer look at the towers from the west, as well as some green rooftop terraces:

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West of Downtown
08/12/16 12:45pm

VACANT DOWNTOWN DAYS INN TO GET A TOTAL FACELIFT, BECOME WHATEVER HOTEL IT’S BECOMING 801 Saint Joseph Pkwy., Downtown, Houston, 77002SFK Development’s Nadeem Nasir tells Craig Hlavaty that the owners of the long-vacant hotel highrise at 801 Saint Joseph Pkwy. are, in fact, currently “in the process of rehabbing the building,” though they’re still “waiting to get on the same page as a hotel franchise.” Hlavaty writes this morning that the group won’t answer questions about which hotel franchise that might be, but that the structure will be getting a full strip-down and facial reconstruction as part of the process (in the face of a minimum $25-million cost to tear the structure down and build new). Swamplot’s reader on the scene sends fresh word from a worker earlier this week that the site may become a Sheraton — a story which matches up with a few previous rumors — but no official nods or confirmation have come from either the owners or the hotel chain. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of 801 Saint Joseph Pkwy.: Garrett Robles

08/10/16 1:30pm

801 Saint Joseph Pkwy., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Is this time the charm for the long-vacant all-but-freeway-side former hotel at 801 Saint Joseph Pkwy., on at least its 3rd round of intended redevelopers since it was vacated in 1998? The building began its career in the early 1970s as a Holiday Inn, later becoming a Days Inn before being turned into Heaven on Earth hotel by a group founded by embraced-then-renounced Beatles spiritual advisor Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. That group eventually shut down their increasingly dilapidated hotel and turned the place into a Vedic school before code violations forced the structure’s not-just-for-summer vacation; the spot has been courted by fickle would-be-remodelers on and off ever since.

But some work permits have been issued this year to the most recent owner, SFK Development, which bought the site in late 2012 per county records, and Catie Dixon reported last fall that the building will be turned into a Sheraton (an assertion backed up by some more recent tidbits from the structural scrutinizers over at HAIF). Meanwhile, reader Garrett Robles reports that the site is now the most active he’s seen it in 5 years of wandering around the area. Robles sends this set of recent photos peering at, around, and into the ground floor of the structure:

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Rebuilding Heaven on Earth
06/29/16 1:00pm

Imperial Market, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Johnson Development, the company behind that sugar-company-themed master-planned community in Sugar Land, announced yesterday that it has officially handed over the land for the project’s refinery-centric Imperial Market mixed-use district to the folks who will develop it. The 26 acres freshly sold are along Oyster Creek just north of the crossing of Hwy. 90 (visible on the far left of the rendering above, which faces south). That’s Kempner St. running directly alongside the proposed development and crossing the creek as well; a pair of former railroad bridges currently upstream of Kempner are shown replaced with car and pedestrian bridges respectively.

Plans for the development incorporate structures from out-of-use former facilities of the Imperial Sugar Company. The refinery’s silos (instead of becoming an art space) are marked to host a couple of fast-casual restaurants; the 1925 char house, where huge quantities of carefully burned animal bones were once used to whiten and filter cane sugar syrup, will become a boutique hotel. Both structures are more prominently visible in the southeast-facing view below — the boxy brick char house appears to the left of the single-pour-concrete silos:

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Refining Sugar Land Master Plans
06/10/16 4:00pm

ZC Renderings of 2120 Post Oak Blvd.

Following this week’s report from the HBJ that the Loews hotel chain is currently considering an Uptown locale, a sharp-eyed reader points to a lot previously marked for 2 more towers to keep the BBVA Compass building company, just north of 2200 Post Oak Blvd. The land has been owned by Loews since 2014 (or by someone using the address of the company’s NYC headquarters); a tipster separately tells Swamplot that the company has been pricing out construction work on that particular spot, though nothing was official as of mid-May.

Architecture firm Ziegler Cooper has posted some renderings (including the one above) of a mixed use project apparently designed for the same BBVA-adjacent land (though labeled only as Confidential Hotel & Mixed Used Development). TRC Capital (formerly The Redstone Company) currently has some very similar renderings more prominently displayed on its website, once again labeling the residential piece of the project as the Perennial Hotel and Apartments, along with another office tower marked as 2100 Post Oak:

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Newly Perennial
04/07/16 3:15pm

Proposed 30-story tower on former Macy's site, Galleria, Houston, 77056

This morning Simon Property Group released renderings of a planned residential highrise in the Galleria, shown here at the corner of W. Alabama St. and Sage Rd. in what’s left over of the land previously occupied by the mall’s second Macy’s. The tower is slated for the same spot previously colored purple for “future retail/office residences” on one of the developer’s Galleria redo maps back in 2014. (That map didn’t mention a highrise specifically, but previous info on the redevelopment plans floated the idea.) Simon says it plans to break ground on the tower by the end of 2017, with a 2019 or 2020 opening in mind.

The rendered view above looks northeast over the Berachah Church across W. Alabama at the glassy highrise, which may hold somewhere between 75 and 100 residential units atop 220 hotel rooms (with separate amenities areas for permanent and temporary residents). The design shows 2 pool decks; the nearby Westin Galleria’s existing pool can be spotted on the right, past an existing parking garage.

Here’s the view from the other side, looking south down Sage across Westheimer Rd. over the new Saks Fifth Avenue building (set to open at the end of the month):

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One Tower to Live Above the Mall
04/06/16 12:15pm

Proposed Blossom Hotel on Lehall St. at Bertner Ave., Cecil Street Courts, Houston, 77030

Here’s a preview of the 9-story hotel planned for the stretch of now-mostly-cleared land along Lehall St. at Bertner Ave. south of the Texas Medical Center. The land slated to hold the Blossom Hotel Houston is right across Bertner from where the TMC wants to build a double helix park and collaborative campus; Zhejiang Blossom Tourism Group has been buying up lots on the east and northeast of the block, which have held a mixture of homes, a commercial building, and nothing over the last few decades.

Not shown in the rendering:  the lone house still standing right on at the corner of Lehall St. and Bertner Ave.:

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Last One Standing
02/25/16 3:00pm

Demolition of Solvay America Building, 3333 Richmond, Greenway Plaza, Houston, 77098

A rainbow sheen hangs at the foot of the Solvay America building as it crumbles back into the 3333 Richmond Ave dust from whence it came. A reader sends the above shot of the newly-stripped structure getting the ol’ hose-and-wrecking-ball treatment just before high noon today. The 1992 office building had its demo permit issued in late December; the building’s garage got one yesterday, just in time to join in on the fun.

The soon-to-be-formerly 8-story building is backed up against the 18-story office tower at 3737 Buffalo Spdwy. which wrapped up construction in November. Solvay has already shifted its offices over into the upper stories of the new tower, making way for construction of that 20-story hotel-slash-apartment highrise that was planned for the demolished building’s spot.

Meanwhile, the grove of oak trees northwest of the new construction seem to have weathered the construction as intended, and now stars prominently in PM Realty Group’s leasing brochure: 

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Breaking News
02/24/16 10:30am

Construction of Hotel Alessandra, Fannin St. at Dallas St., GreenStreet, Houston, 77002

Here’s the latest glamour shot of Hotel Alessandra, looking sharp at the northern edge of the GreenStreet complex (and being photobombed by the former Sakowitz building from across Dallas St.). The hotel — initially planned around a 25-story question mark before it was reigned in to a less introspective 21-story design — was issued a set of floor-by-floor building permits at the end of January following its September foundation pour.  Only 20 floors-worth of permits were issued, though, and Midway’s partner-in-highrise Valencia Group has updated its online description of the hotel’s specs to match the lower number since last spring.

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Growing at GreenStreet
02/04/16 11:30am

Proposed Apartment Tower at 6750 Main St., Medical Center Area, Houston, 77005

Greystar plans to squeeze a 375-unit apartment highrise on the same 1.35 acre lot at 6750 S. Main St. as an in-the-works hotel from Medistar. That Medistar project, which was originally planned as a 220-unit hotel-slash-apartment building on the same spot, will now be a 357-room just-hotel, and will share a lobby with Greystar’s apartment tower on the southern half of the block between Travis St. and S. Main at Old Main St. (across the street from the Texas Women’s University building.)

The two towers (rendered above styled as 1850, seemingly in reference to the Old Main address) will slip in between a Best Western and a Wyndham Hotel, and would total in the neighborhood of 800,000 sq.ft. of floorspace, Greystar’s David Reid tells the HBJ’s Cara Smith.  The apartment unit floorplans range significantly in size— the largest 2 suites measure in around 3,800 sq.ft., and the smallest bottom out at an Ivy-Lofts-esque 349 sq.ft.

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Old Main St. at Main St.