12/24/18 10:15am

For the past 2 weeks, workers have been gutting the gray-painted 1940s bungalow at 1408 Sul Ross St., opposite the Rothko Chapel. In some cases, they’ve chucked the removed house parts in the dumpster that’s parked in the driveway.

In other cases, they’ve been saving them for reuse by stockpiling them inside:


Special Exhibition
07/23/18 12:30pm

A Swamplot reader sends a photo of the big white public hearing notice now up outside the Rothko Chapel; it’s the first sign of the work chapel management has planned for both the octagon and its surroundings. The proposed replat detailed by the notice would take 6 originally single-family deed-restricted lots occupied by the chapel, adjacent administration bungalows, and their surroundings — and merge them into a single parcel.

It’s all part of the prep work for modifications planned next spring that’ll alter the chapel’s skylight and tweak its acoustics, HVAC system, weatherproofing, and entrance vestibule. New York–based firm AROhired in 2016 — is overseeing all those changes, as well as plans for the 4 additional lots the chapel owns on the north side of Sul Ross St.

Now occupied by a few Menil-gray-colored housesincluding one on the corner of Yupon St. home to the Da Camera music society — those properties are slated for their own consolidation under the proposed replat. Planned to rise afterward: a visitor welcome house (gift shop included) and energy building including a backup power station. Later on, a new administration and archive building with adjacent community engagement center will also move in on that side of the street.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Gift Shop Incoming
07/16/18 10:00am

LAST NIGHT’S ROOFTOP SMOKE SHOW AT THE SUSANNE APARTMENTS Update, 2 p.m.: A spokesperson for The Susanne’s owner, the Finger Companies, tells Swamplot that the fire was caused by a “flying sky lantern,” not by faulty piping. According to the spokesperson, 2 Susanne residents launched the decorative airborne device from the complex’s parking garage, but “the wind unexpectedly caused the lantern to land on the roof of the apartment building along the West Alabama driveway and burned long enough to cause a fire on the roof itself.” The 2 residents called 911 and later reported its cause to fire department arson investigators. A loose rooftop gas pipe sparked this scene at The Susanne Apartments on the corner of W. Alabama and Dunlavy last night at around 9 p.m. Firefighters choked off the blaze by shutting off a valve that fed the pipe — reports the Chronicle — but not before smoke damaged portions of the 8-story building’s top floor. One apartment sustained some water damage, too, but thanks to a layer of steel on the roof — none of the flames made it inside. No firefighters were harmed — and though hundreds evacuated, all residents remained uninjured as well. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

12/01/16 4:15pm

Big Tex Montrose, 1810 Richmond Ave., Dearborn Place, Houston, 77006

richwood-market-freaky-foods-west-viewThe doors opened last week at that 4-story 100,000-sq.-ft. storage facility that has replaced the boarded-up Shell Food Mart just west of the corner of Richmond  and Woodhead — itself a makeover of the 24-hour Richwood Market, known back in the day as Freaky Foods (affectionately or not). The 4-story building started going up next to King Cole Liquor some time after the nearby trees got cleared out about a year ago (with the city’s OK, Annise Parker said at the time).

Big Tex has since widened the sidewalks and added some new baby trees in a series of landscaped rectangles along Richmond; the company’s press release also says there’s gonna be an Art Wall.

Photos: Big Tex Storage via Urbannizer (panoramic of Big Tex at 1810 Richmond Ave.), Swamplot inbox (2014 shot of 1810 Richmond Ave.)

Boxes on Richmond
02/24/16 4:15pm

Metal flashing at the The Susanne, Dunlavy at W. Alabama Streets, Lancaster Place, Houston, 77006Metal flashing at the The Susanne, Dunlavy at W. Alabama Streets, Lancaster Place, Houston, 77006

Highlighted in yellow along the top edge of The Susanne by the now-exposed construction materials beneath: some spots where metal flashing has been peeling off and escaping from the 8-story building at the corner of Dunlavy and W. Alabama streets. A pair of readers send photos and a report from some nearby offices this afternoon, after the latest of the metallic runaways crashed audibly onto the sidewalk out front: “They are metal and full of nails and are falling from 8 stories,” writes 1 of tipsters, adding that “this happened a few weeks ago as well.”

The Susanne opened about a year ago on the former grounds of the Dunlavy Fiesta. Another of the strips had already taken the plunge by about 7 AM this morning; the tipsters caught it curled up on the grassy strip next to W. Alabama:


Ex-Fiesta Party Foul
04/28/15 12:30pm

SUSANNE DISCOVERS THE GROCERY LURE H-E-B Montrose Market, 1701 W. Alabama St., Lancaster Place, Montrose, HoustonHow nice to live where there’s a grocery store just across the street! And how nice to have your apartments across from the supermarket — at least when you’re trying to fill them up: Ellie Sweeney, property manager for Finger Companies’ 396-unit Susanne apartment complex on the site of the former Montrose Fiesta Mart at 3833 Dunlavy St., tells reporter Catie Dixon that 80 percent of traffic to the leasing office from potential residents has been from shoppers at the Montrose H-E-B across the street (where the Wilshire Village apartments once stood). The Susanne’s website speaks highly as well — though somewhat distractedly — of its neighbor: “You’ve got your very own café right across the way,” the marketing copy announces, explaining that the H-E-B was “Designed to be the flagship Lake /Plato [sic] extravaganza.” Nine people have already moved into the Susanne’s first floor; the second floor opens for move-ins next month. All construction should be complete by the end of October. [Real Estate Bisnow; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Finger Companies

12/12/14 10:30am


Is there more change coming to lower Richmond?

The former Shell station and grocery at 1810 Richmond Ave known until recently (formally) known as Richwood Market and (informally) as “Freaky Foods” is boarded up and graffiti-tagged:


Death Knell For The Shell?
08/18/14 4:15pm



Note: The pricing history noted previously in this story was inaccurate. We’ve corrected it below.

From a pint-sized perch above a set of arched windows, saintly statuary appears to be keeping an eye o’er a updated 1925 Spanish Revival cottage near the Menil Collection. The heavenly presence might also guard against any sleepwalking encounters with the steep steps at the bottom of a flight of stairs . . .


09/20/13 1:00pm

The wraparound porch of this updated 1928 bungalow in Lancaster Place lands on the side of the home on the far side of the former Fiesta Mart site 3 lots to the west, where the announced 8-story Finger apartment project (The Susanne) is about to go up. The recessed porch’s overhang shades the bedrooms that line up along the driveway, but the living and dining side of the property appears to get plenty of light — for now at least –  from the west and apartment-free south. The home appeared on the market Wednesday; it has a $520,000 asking price.


08/08/13 10:00am

Introducing the Susanne, what appears to be that “Mediterrenean” and “really beautiful” apartment complex that developer Marvy Finger has been saying he was going to build on the site of the recently demolished Montrose Fiesta and the rest of that low-slung strip center at the corner of Dunlavy and W. Alabama. A reader sends a photo of the sign now posted on the construction fence advertising the new complex and its website, on which the rendering above appears; the website provides few details about floor plans and amenities, but it appears that there will be a swimming pool and that the parking garage will provide direct access to each of these 8 stories.


07/31/13 3:15pm

It is no more: A few weeks after the rest of this old strip center on Dunlavy at W. Alabama started coming down, the Montrose Fiesta was finally reduced to rubble, this reader’s photo, taken just before 1 p.m. today, shows. And what’s next for the site? Developer Marvy Finger says he will replacing the grocery store with apartments, telling the Houston Chronicle’s Nancy Sarnoff in early 2012 that the ensuing complex will be both “Mediterranean” and “really beautiful.”

Photo: Thomas Stazer

07/15/13 10:00am

“Soon!” You can almost hear this dormant excavator warning the Montrose Fiesta. The first one started sneaking up on the strip center at Dunlavy and W. Alabama back in March, but it wasn’t until late last week that the permits were granted and the real smashing began. The Fiesta closed for good almost exactly a year ago, not long after the H-E-B Montrose Market went up across the street where the Wilshire Village apartments once stood. Fittingly, developer Marvy Finger has said he plans to replace the soon-to-be-felled grocery store with apartments.

More shots of the carnage:


03/21/13 2:00pm

So the excavator is sneaking up on the old Fiesta. You knew one was coming. And you know there will be more. As of this morning, the low-slung building at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama hasn’t yet received a demolition permit, but it’s been on the smashing block since closing in July, not too long after H-E-B opened the Montrose Market across the street. Developer Marvy Finger, who now owns the property here in Lancaster Place, has said he plans to build something Mediterranean — a 6- to 8-story apartment complex that might or might not have some retail, too: “We’re going to try to create something really beautiful,” he’s told the Houston Chronicle’s Nancy Sarnoff.

Photo: Loves swamplot

10/03/12 5:34pm

A NEW TEETOTALING CIRCLE LANDS ON LANCASTER PLACE By a vote of city council, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School today became the seventh private school in the city to be granted a 1,000-ft. alcohol-free zone around its campus. Included within that circumference around 1800 Sul Ross St.: the H-E-B Montrose Market that opened last November on the former site of the Wilshire Village Apartments. Last year St. Stephen’s lost a court battle over restricting alcohol sales at the grocery store, though the battle did end up delaying the start of H-E-B beer and wine sales until shortly before New Year’s. The new restrictions will not apply to businesses that already hold alcohol licenses, but they could make a difference to other developments planned near the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama. [St. Stephen’s; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Divino restaurant, 1830 West Alabama: Gabe C.

08/07/12 1:40pm

Talk about a gated driveway. This Lancaster Place cottage’s half-a-yard carport extends to the front sidewalk, with a double-garage door and entry gate punched into the lot-line iron fence. The combination gives the front yard a shaded pavilion as well as a parking area. It’s also the starting point of a partly-paved, partly-pebbled path to the front porch and an office in the converted, detached garage at the back of the lot. The 1910-built home has been updated several times, including some work in 2004. Since then, there’ve been big changes a couple blocks away at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama: A new H-E-B Market has replaced some apartments, and some new apartments are about to replace the just-shuttered Fiesta Mart.