09/15/17 12:30pm

Residents of the 79 apartments in the Hogg Palace Lofts are expecting air conditioning in their units to be restored sometime today — for the first time since power went out early on the morning of August 27th. At a meeting earlier this week, attorneys for and representatives of the Randall Davis Company told tenants of the 8-story building at 401 Louisiana St. that they were aiming for Friday for the AC to be turned on, though could not guarantee it — but that work would continue over the weekend if it couldn’t.

A somewhat parallel sequence of events played out after the promised trailer-mounted Aggreko 1 MW generator pictured above was parked along Preston St. in front of the building last Friday; difficulties in connecting it to the electrical system — including a hunt for the unknown owner of a white BMW parked in a tenant spot in the parking garage that stood in the way of a hook-up — delayed the restoration of electrical power until Monday.


Power to the People
09/08/17 11:15am

Today’s the day a 48-ft.-long trailer-mounted 1MW Aggreko generator is expected to park on the Louisiana St. side of the Hogg Palace Lofts, a Randall Davis Companies rep tells residents. The goal: Power restored in all 79 units by the end of the day. But generator power won’t be going to elevators, corridors, or the building’s retail tenants (which include the Pad Thai restaurant on Louisiana). Those areas will have to wait until replacement electrical equipment arrives and is installed to restore permanent power in the building. References to a series of so-far-unsuccessful efforts to repair existing equipment are included in a series of emails sent to residents by the building’s management over the last 2 weeks.

The 8-story building at the corner of Louisiana and Preston has been without power since around 8 am on August 27th. “What we as tenants have been able to piece together is sub-level parking levels of the Lyric Center and the new Lyric Center garage became flooded as the bayou took a short cut down Prairie and took a left on Louisiana,” a tenant tells Swamplot. Water coursed into those parking garages down entrance ramps, then “made it under the street through vaults or conduits or whatever into the basement of the Hogg where it shorted out the electrical equipment.”


Harvey Outages
02/21/14 3:45pm



The 1998 transformation of a former auto shop on Washington Ave to the 9-unit Lopresti Lofts was a bit of a quirky redo. McGregor Real Estate Group gave the building a mash-up of infill materials, various porch-balcony-terrace views of downtown, and a piggyback stucco-faced addition topped by roof flaps saluting crisply above each unit (top). The amalgamation sits right across across the street from the gated entry of peaceful, park-like Glenwood Cemetery. A corner unit (in the building, not the graveyard) listed last week but quickly dropped its asking price by $20K to $370,000. Inside (above), lots of tubing ties together 4 levels of wide, somewhat open, sometimes high gallery space . . .


Show Us the Door
09/12/13 10:00am

Update, 5:45 p.m.: A rep from Midway tells Swamplot that these plans are “nearly a year old” and “conceptual in nature” and writes in an email: “We should have a better idea in the next 60 days of what the project will actually entail.”

Marketing materials on the website of Midway Cos. — developers of CityCentre and GreenStreet — include this rendering of a 16-story office building standing at the corner of Richmond and Wakeforest in Upper Kirby. The materials show the building as part of a “mixed-use pedestrian-focused transit node,” with additional restaurants and retail, that Midway appears to be planning with the Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority here to jazz up Levy Park. An application to reduce the setback on this site along Richmond was approved in July.

Also included in the materials are renderings of a 300-unit loft building facing the Southwest Fwy. and flanking a greenspace:


08/29/13 12:00pm

Hold the phone! Rumored to be a goner, the 1957 Telephone Museum on the corner 18th and Ashland, which was sold about a year ago, will soon be cleaned up and converted into 24 luxury lofts, says Donna Sonne Wright of homebuilders Rohe & Wright. And Wright also tells Swamplot that 21 cottages will be built here too, replacing the fenced-in surface parking lot off 17th. Unfortunately, no renderings of the project are yet available. Rohe & Wright is the same firm responsible for the Saint Honoré gated community under construction off San Felipe.

Photo: Allyn West

07/10/13 3:00pm

Even without the billowing sailcloth and Seussian shrubs accenting the double-height ceiling, a penthouse-level unit in downtown’s St. Germain condo mid-rise is a lofty space. Developer Randall Davis converted the former 1913 Kress & Co. building back in 1999. This bi-level corner unit appeared on the market in June with an asking price of $315,000. It last sold in June 2010 at $259,900.


06/19/13 3:00pm

Early in the last-century rush to loft downtown properties, this 1914 warehouse got converted into 15 condo units, each with a glass-and-iron fronted balcony. That was back in the mid-eighties. A see-it-all-at-a-glance corner spot on the 2nd floor within the San Jacinto Lofts showed up in the listings last week for $195,000.


04/01/13 3:00pm

Main Street and its rail line lie 6 floors below this lofty condo unit within a converted 1908 downtown office and retail property. The unit has a grilled-out balcony right across from the limestone frieze of the former-but-still-formidable Gulf Building, a 1929 skyscraper that’s now the J.P. Morgan Chase building. Architect Alfred C. Finn designed both buildings.


07/07/11 2:42pm

Teevee news cameras provide a glimpse of the open-plan home fashioned out of a 12-ft.-by-25-ft. RV and boat storage unit in a long shed across the street from the I-10 East Golden Corral Restaurant. Prince and Charlomane Leonard have their home of 3 years all to themselves now, but they’re not happy about it: After a single 3-hour visit from Harris County’s Child Protective Services last month, the couple’s 6 children, ages 2 through 12, were removed from the home on McNair St. near Sheffield Blvd., which was declared an “unsafe environment” for the children. The Chronicle‘s Anita Hassan reports the Leonards had been planning to build a home for themselves on land they own in Liberty County, but couldn’t get a loan.


05/19/10 12:53pm

Converted from an office building to apartments in 2004 by NBC Holdings’ Tracy Suttles and The Randall Davis Company, the Kirby Lofts at 917 Main Downtown went condo a little later. How did that ball get rolling? The federal government’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force suggests one answer: a few “sham sales” from January to October 2006. Indictments charging Veronica Frazier, Robert Veazie, and Felton Greer with several counts of conspiracy and wire fraud were unsealed Friday.

Frazier, 42, of Pearland, allegedly recruited buyers with good credit in 2006 to act as straw borrowers and use false information to apply for home loans, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. She and other unnamed co-conspirators then allegedly used the loan proceeds for themselves and to pay kickbacks to the fake borrowers.


02/18/10 12:16pm

How has that condo conversion of the former Commerce Building at the corner of Main St. and Walker Downtown been working out?

The building has 122 finished units and a two-story-tall penthouse that has not been built out yet.

A total of 69 units have been sold, and another 25 have been leased. [Commerce Towers sales and leasing agent Susan] Speck said some of the renters are interested in buying.

Prominent Houstonian Jesse Jones built the first part of the structure in 1928, and added onto it in the 1930s, Speck said.

An entity named Premier Towers bought the building in 1999. It was redeveloped by New York-based Whitney Jordan Group with Tarantino Properties Inc. of Houston.

The first condo units were finished and people starting moving in during 2002.

Photo of Commerce Towers, 914 Main St.: Sandra Gunn Properties

05/06/09 2:57pm

Okay, everybody out with your Regent Square renderings! HAIF’s lockmat digs up images of additional structures planned for the 15-acre North Montrose mixed-use complex, including two separate projects from the Venezuelan Miami architect Luis Pons.

What’ve we got here?

Pons’s “Regent Square Launch” looks more like a transit station than a boathouse. But who knows? Buffalo Bayou is just across Allen Parkway!

Many more pics:


02/05/08 8:09am

Living Room of Manhattan Lofts Unit 808, Houston

Here’s as dramatic a perch as any from which to enjoy a high-price-condo meltdown: the empty cupola atop the 8th-floor penthouse of the Manhattan Lofts building in Uptown. And hey, it looks like quite a fall to the floor below. Maybe stepping down slowly would make some sense?

Almost exactly a month after our original report on this over-the-top, oversized, and overpriced Manhattan penthouse, the price was cut a sixth time, to $1.65 million. How long before it breaks into six figures?