- 15900 FM 1097 [HAR]
Sure, nervous economists and friends, go ahead and fret about how the coming robot revolution is likely to decimate the availability of middle-class jobs. But the likely wide-ranging effects of technological change are notoriously difficult to predict. For example, after viewing the dramatic promotional video above, which brings to the treed expanse of a 0.78-acre vacant lot in The Woodlands the full power of remote-controlled robot-camera cinematic glory, does another possibility come to mind? With this marriage of drone footage, music-video-intro aesthetics, desktop video software, and soundtrack punch, has a Woodlands-area real estate agent stumbled upon the secret to unleashing desires hidden deep inside us all . . . to feed a new vacant land boom?
As delicate orchestral swells matched to lingering aerial pans and zooms tug at our emotions and the full majesty of 67 N. Glenwild Cir. (conveniently located between The Woodlands Preparatory School and the entry gate to the Club at Carlton Woods Creekside) comes into view, can we imagine a new — dare we dream? — vacant-lot-buying frenzy, the wider availability of new technologies enabling craftily orchestrated drone footage to surround and tempt us, and transforming this once dowdy sector?
The 500 or so animals on display at the Bayou Wildlife Zoo on FM 517 east of Alvin are still up for grabs along with the zoo itself, Ralph Bivins notes recently in Realty News Report. Bivins writes that owner Clint Wolston has been shopping the 80-acre property around since deciding to retire last November, but so far hasn’t found a buyer who can pull together financing for a $7 million purchase. Wolston’s goal is to sell the place and its myriad exotic creatures to someone who will keep the gang together, either continuing to run the place as a zoo or turning it into a private ranch with periodic public visit opportunities.
On top of the variety of imported and domestic animals featured in the zoo’s listing photos, the property’s perks include a living space for a couple of humans or so:
As 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)
Beacon Island (née Lighthouse Island, in its more pedestrian days) is up for sale once again, Brandon de Hoyos writes this week. The eponymous prison-striped beacon at the northern tip of the property has been in place since at least the late 1980s — by which time the 35-acre piece of land had also completed its transformation from Clear Creek shoreline to peninsula to full island, as channels were carved into the southern edge of Clear Lake to expand waterfront access. The land also currently hosts the roadways and underground infrastructure installed by woulda-been joint developers The Verandah Cos. and Crow Holdings, right before the housing market collapse and 2008 recession.
Current owner Isola Ventura previously had previously planned for a mixture of residential structures on the island, from townhome to highrise. The island has already been divvied up and okayed for those various purposes by League City’s planning department, roughly as labeled below in the current leasing materials:
HITTING THE BRAKES ON THE BELLAIRE HIGH SCHOOL CHEVRON CAMPUS SWAP TALK Prior to this afternoon’s closed HISD executives meeting, trustee Mike Lunceford told Charlotte Aguilar that he’ll no longer be supporting that plan to turn the former Chevron campus at 4800 Fournace Pl. into a new campus for Bellaire High School, citing the potential price and a lack of support from the HISD board for the plan. Bellaire got money to replace the 1955 school at its existing location along S. Rice Ave. during the 2012 bond election; Aguilar writes that the redo “has lagged behind schedule and increased in cost because of the complexities of dealing with Bellaire’s tight zoning regulations, and the question of what to do with the school’s 3,500-plus students during construction.” [InstantNewsBellaire; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Bellaire High School at 5100 Maple St.: Houston ISD
HISD TOSSING AROUND A BELLAIRE HS REBUILD ON THE CHEVRON CAMPUS UP THE STREET On Monday some HISD folks pitched the idea of buying Chevron’s soon-to-be-empty land on Fournace Place to a committee overseeing the lately-stagnant push to rebuild Bellaire High School, Charlotte Aguilar reports this week. The 28-acre tract, which goes on sale on Saturday, is about 2 miles north of the school’s existing 17-acre campus and also fronts S. Rice Ave. HISD trustee Mike Lunceford tells Aguilar that Bellaire, “while one of the largest high schools in HISD, is on the smallest property.” Principal Michael McDonough emailed stakeholders to say that if HISD decides to back the plan and is able to buy the land, funding would probably be put to a bond election; meanwhile, the existing school would still need some work while a new one was built. The Chevron land currently has a 10-story office midrise on it; the shot above looks out the window of that building toward the West Loop and the freeway-side Shell station next door (also up for sale). [Instant News Bellaire; previously on Swamplot] Photo from 4800 Fournace Pl.: Alvin A.
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:
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:
CHEVRON TO SELL OLD BELLAIRE CAMPUS, ALL THAT NEW LAND ON CLAY RD. Nancy Sarnoff notes this afternoon that Chevron will be selling off that 103-acre Clay Rd. tract it bought in 2014, along with the company’s Fournace Place campus in Bellaire (whose sale was noted last week by Michelle Leigh Smith). Despite assurances last year that the office midrise at 4800 Fournace would remain occupied, the company says it will move all of those employees to some of its downtown offices by the end of next year, and will start shopping it around in October. Leigh also notes some of the 28-acre property’s recorded history, including the 1940s and 50s laboratory buildings previously demolished on the site, and Chevron’s (then Texaco’s) purported 1970s request to the Bellaire city council to rename the road to something not reminiscent of their competitor Gulf Oil — the property was originally listed on Gulfton St., which now changes abruptly to Fournace Pl. at of the intersection with S. Rice Ave. [Houston Chronicle; Southwest News via Realty News Report] Photo of Chevron’s office tower at 1500 Louisiana St., previously Enron Center South: Jordan R.
The 24.5-acre plot along the W. Sam Houston Pwky. formerly snagged by Schlumberger’s Cameron International looks to be back on the market, a reader notes. Dow Chemical’s quadruple-decade-plus facility got cleared off the land at the end of 2009 following the purchase of the property by an entity connected to Apache Corporation; the spot was sold to Cameron in 2013, when rumor had it that the company would build a skyscraper’s worth of office space on the site. The property was listed afresh by Newmark Grubb Knight Frank around the end of April.
FOR SALE: CECIL’S PUB ON W. GRAY All 6,250 sq.ft. of Cecil’s Pub are now up for sale, after some 31 years of operation. A reader reports that the bar is still open for now, though an information sign from The Weitzman Group is up out front of the building at 600 W. Gray. Weitzman has a leasing flier up for the property as well; the bar sits on just under half an acre of land east of PJ’s Sports Bar (at the corner with Stanford St.) and north of Skinny Rita’s Cantina (last occupied by Eleven:Eleven); just down the street are the North Montrose branch of Barnaby’s Cafe and the planned site of the West Gray Plaza strip center. Photo: Swamplot inbox
A more permanent fence has taken over for the one previously wrapped around the lot at 3482 Inwood Dr., where possibly-murdered apartment tycoon and singer Harold Farb was midway through building a house for himself and his wife at the time of his death in 2006. The property initially hit the market partial-house-and-all, with the expectation that future buyers could finish up the construction of a 17,404-sq.-ft. estate overlooking the River Oaks Country Club’s golf course. After a steady price decay from $14.75 million to about $10 million by mid-2010, tactics changed; the property got a demo permit and a subsequent smoothing over, and was relisted in October of 2012 (and again in December of 2014, then to the tune of just under $9 million).
The fully re-undeveloped land hit the market again last Thursday, now for $8.5 million, Here’s the current view of the front gate, and what’s inside it:
Here’s the current scene along the north side of Drew St., where the acre-plus of emptied land previously planned for development as the Pearl on Helena now hosts a Morgan Group for sale sign. The block bounded by Helena, Drew, Albany, and Dennis streets was marked a few years back as another addition to Morgan’s string of Pearl midrises; the Helena site’s application went dark during the variance request process in mid-20014, but the land was cleared of its former hospital and mansion occupants near the end of that year.
Morgan Group currently has a Pearl in Greenway Plaza, with another getting polished up on Washington Ave near T.C. Jester; a planned Pearl on Smith (at the site of the former Social Security office right across Smith St. from the Pearl on Midtown) appeared to have been removed from the company’s immediate focus in 2014, only to resurface in renderings the following year as part of an apartment-midrise-grocery-store complex containing a Whole Foods.
A for sale sign has appeared on the fence outside of the 1918 house on the northwest corner of 20th and Harvard streets, notes a reader. The 2-story brick-over-concrete home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 as the Banta House, was listed for sale in February along with the Ink Spots Museum next door at 117 E. 20th. The 21,120 sq.ft. now mentioned by the sign as up for grabs and division appears to include the parking lot behind the 2 buildings, along with the land holding the blue house at 2005 Harvard St. (also penned in by the fence).