04/14/16 10:30am

3482 Inwood Dr., River Oaks, Houston, 77019

Demolition, 3482 Inwood Dr., River Oaks

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:

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Green in River Oaks
04/13/16 12:30pm

Drew at Helena streets, Midtown, Houston, 77006

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.

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New Treatment Plan in Midtown
03/17/16 10:45am

For Sale sign at the Banta House, 119 E. 20th St., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008

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).

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Houses Divided
05/11/15 4:31pm

Wabash Feed and Garden Store, 5701 Washington Ave., Houston

How long can an old-timey Wabash Feed & Garden Store hold out on a totally transformed Washington Ave.? Until the 25,551-sq.-ft. site stretching between Birdsall and Malone gets snatched up. A new commercial listing for the property at 5701 Washington Ave. was posted recently by Boyd Commercial. (Wabash was the voted recipient of the Washington Ave. Award in the 2010 Swamplot Awards.)

Photo: Boyd Commercial

Feeding Time
03/31/15 11:15am

avenue-grill-sale-sign

The Avenue Grill could close sometime soon, but not if somebody doesn’t hurry up and buy the place. Or maybe buy the place and keep it running for the cops, firefighters, judges, judges, lawyers, and other frequenters of the neighboring municipal court and police complex that regularly eat breakfast and lunch there? To hasten either outcome, a small sign went up a week or 2 ago at the corner of Houston Ave. and Center St., a block north of Washington Ave., indicating that the 1940 building and a total of 19,600 sq. ft. of land is available for sale. That spurred attention from a Swamplot reader who — like most people — hadn’t been aware that the property had been on the market since last August.

The $1.5 million asking price includes 4 lots — one where the building sits at 1017 Houston Ave., 2 adjacent parking lots, and an additional surface parking lot across Center St., just where the Houston Ave. underpass begins. That lot is visible just beyond the building in this view from the corner of Washington Ave:

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Over Not So Easy
03/05/15 11:00am

Barbara Jordan Post Office, 401 Franklin St., Downtown Houston

A reader who maintains a post office box at the Barbara Jordan Post Office at 401 Franklin St. Downtown has forwarded Swamplot a notice that showed up with the mail earlier this week, inviting box renters to a “town hall” meeting about the upcoming move of post office services at the facility. “Our projected move date is fast approaching,” the flyer reads — though it doesn’t identify when it will be.

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Barbara Jordan P.O.
02/27/15 2:45pm

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Cattle grazing, dairy farming, and crops of hay and vegetables have been the order of business at this updated 1860s German farmhouse property, designated a “Century Ranch” by the Texas Dept. of Agriculture for its continuous operation by a single family. (Actual reported time of tenancy by the Hillegeist family: more than 130 years.) The Tomball homestead, outbuildings, and pastures occupy 133 acres west of SH 249 near the Oaks of Rosehill area off FM 2920 (which places it about 20 miles west of the new ExxonMobil campus, in case you’re calculating). The property has been on the market since June 2014, for $6.64 million.

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Going Texan
11/25/14 12:11pm

METRO GETTING READY TO SELL OFF THE CLOSED PINEMONT PARK & RIDE Pinemont-Park-RideThis spring the ramp connecting Metro’s Pinemont Park and Ride to Hwy. 290 was removed as part of TxDOT’s 290 widening project. The facility closed down a few weeks before the ramp vanished. Now the 14.8-acre Pinemont site could go up for sale before the end of the year. Because the Park and Ride’s construction had been partially funded by Uncle Sam, the Federal Transit Administration will have to grant Metro permission to sell. Once that hurdle is cleared, Metro will begin reading sealed bids on the property. The site sprawls out behind Hwy. 290’s Cafe Red Onion, abuts an HISD motor pool and fronts Pinemont Dr. It also sports a handy shortcut to the 290 feeder road along Federal Plaza Dr. The Collier Regional Library stands across Pinemont and a trio of parks — Rosslyn, Forest West and Pinemont — dot the cityscape within a half-mile of the site. [The Leader; more infoPhoto: Metro

10/14/14 11:45am

LONGTIME HEIGHTS CAFE JAVA JAVA NOW TRYING TO SELL ITS GROUNDS Java Java Cafe, 911 W. 11th St., Houston HeightsA reader notes that the owner of Java Java Cafe on 11th St. and Herkimer has placed the building at 911 W. 11th St. and its adjacent parking lots up for sale. Java Java is still open for business, however. Pay $1.25 million and you’d get close to 17,000 sq. ft. of land with street frontage on 3 sides, along with the 2,450-sq.-ft. building, which dates from 1940. But you’d need to fetch your own coffee. [HAR]

09/24/14 4:45pm

Gibbs Boats, 1110 West Gray St. at Montrose Blvd., North Montrose, Houston

How cool is it that a boat store with metal siding and a groovy sixties-era sign stood at the corner of West Gray and Montrose Blvd. for 56 years? Well, pieces of the iconic Gibbs Boats sign floated away after the last hurricane; if the property sells, the store won’t be around much longer either.

The giant for-sale sign that went up on the storefront windows yesterday has drawn a bit more attention from potential buyers than the online listing for the 24,925-sq.-ft. L-shaped property, which has been posted for about a month now. The listed asking price is $150 per sq. ft. of land.

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Setting Sail
09/10/14 12:00pm

Parking Garage, 1525 Garrettson Ln., Galleria, Houston

The Winhall Townhomes complex at 1525 Garrettson Ln. — tucked behind Willie G’s on Post Oak Blvd. — appears to be vacant, notes a reader who snapped the above photo of an empty (and chained shut) parking garage on one side of the Galleria-area residence. That’s notable because — unlike various other complexes around town that have been given the all clear in recent months — the Winhall consists of more than 30 independently owned condos. But sure enough, a for-sale listing has been posted online for the almost-2-acre site, which includes 285 ft. of frontage on Garrettson.

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All Together Now
08/14/14 1:15pm

Swiss Alp Dance Hall, 7024 N. US Hwy. 77, Schulenberg, Texas

Swiss Alp Dance Hall, 7024 N. US Hwy. 77, Schulenberg, TexasSeeking a spot about halfway along the drive from Houston to San Antonio where you might be able to kick up your heels — and hang your shingle? Look no further than the tin-roofed Swiss Alp Dance Hall on Hwy. 77 between Schulenburg and La Grange. The concert and wedding venue, which was built in the early 1900s but “remains very much as it was back in the 1950s,” was listed for sale earlier this week.

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Swiss Alp
04/24/14 12:00pm

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Little White Oak Bayou meanders by the back of a property (and so do a couple of uh, hikers in the background of the top photo) located east of N. Main St. and about 3 sidewalk-lined blocks from the Metro rail station at Fulton St. Is the Northside property located in De Noyles, as indicated in the listing, or is it Booth North Main, as recorded by HCAD for all addresses on the block? The listing’s all-cap message is all about redeveloping the acre-plus lot of land, not the 1960 home that sits on it at the end of a long driveway (above). A month ago, the asking price dropped to $1.1 million. Since January (and in a previous listing dating back to September 2013) it had been sitting at $1.6 million. But even that was down a bit from someone’s expectations: In 2008, a six-month listing’s asking price kicked off at $2 million.

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Mind the Gap