10/04/17 2:30pm

Update, 6 pm: At the request of Lovett Commercial, the company’s renderings of this project originally included in this story have been removed.

Hadn’t heard that Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and his Office for Metropolitan Architecture have been designing the massive redo planned for the 16-acre campus around Houston’s shuttered Barbara Jordan Post Office at 401 Franklin St. Downtown? Or that the project’s owner and developer, Lovett Commercial, is boasting that the 530,000-sq.-ft. redevelopment, on a site along Buffalo Bayou, will include the world’s largest urban rooftop farming operation, supplying a 40,000-sq.-ft. festival food market below? Maybe that’s because none of this has been officially announced yet.

There’s more to the plans being waved about: apartments, live-work studios, coworking and maker spaces, parks, events venues, a combined 100,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor markets and even a digital library honoring Barbara Jordan. More than just that library is being named after the former post office facility, however: As of last year, the entire venue has been dubbed Post Houston (or Post HTX for sorta-short.) Also, because it’s what comes next for the city — get it?

“Post Houston aims to be a world class creative campus for technology, the arts, culture, and dining,” announces a Lovett Commercial leasing brochure. Here’s a walkthrough of some of the ambitious project’s proposed main features, using images that appear to date from earlier this year:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Post HTX
09/27/17 2:30pm

Here are a couple renderings from the Michael Hsu Office of Architecture in Austin of the new 3-story building the firm is designing for the corner spot at 2132 Bissonnet St. in Boulevard Oaks. A representative of the Platform Group, the building’s developer, tells Swamplot an “all-day cafe/coffee shop” is being planned for the ground floor, and that the upper 2 floors will contain “boutique office space.” The cafe won’t be a Gringo’s Tex-Mex, but the developers do have a connection to that restaurant chain: The Platform Group is headed by a son and daughter-in-law of Gringo’s owner Russell Ybarra.

In the top rendering, the 11,300-sq.-ft. building is shown lining Shepherd Dr., with an L-shaped parking lot wrapping around it. A patio with outdoor seating will go in front of the structure along Bissonnet St. The Houston office of SWA Group is designing the landscape.

Here are views of the current site from similar angles:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Remaking Boulevard Oaks
01/10/17 10:30am

Meteor Lounge brick reuse, Fairview at Genesee streets, East Montrose, Houston, 77006

Meteor, 2306 Genesee St, Montrose, HoustonThe deconstruction crew that brought Meteor Lounge to the ground at Fairview and Genesee streets last week got in a last round of crushing digs at the fallen structure over the weekend, a reader reports: “They piled up all the bricks and ran over them with the huge excavator, crushing them.  They then moved the debris and spread it over the dirt in the ‘parking’ lot across the street from Max’s Wine Dive.” The obliterated former club’s corner property is planned as the location of a proposed 5-story parking garage for the Fairview District redevelopment; here’s the view from Fairview of the rearranged structure itself, facing southeast toward the CenterPoint electrical substation on Genesee:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Fairview Impacts
09/09/16 11:15am

Hardy Yards sign, Burnett at Main St., Near Northside, Houston, 77026

Hardy Yards sign, Burnett at Main St., Near Northside, Houston, 77026The letters strung out under the Red Line overpass at Burnett St. and N. Main to label the area as Hardy Yards are now back in place once again, Chris Andrews notes. After a few ups and downs earlier this year the letters were removed altogether for a bit; they’re now back in place, standing on what appear to be some slightly buffed-up legs. The ones shown above are on the north side of Burnett; here’s the southern companion piece, with the stairs leading to the Burnett Transit Center visible on the left:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Knocked Down, But Up Again
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:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

West of Downtown
08/01/16 4:30pm

Revised Plans for Heights Central Station, Heights Blvd. at 11th St., Houston Heights

Fresh from the architects (Kirksey), here are revised plans (above) for Heights Central Station, the retail-and-office center MFT Interests is planning for the site at the corner of Heights Blvd. and 11th St. (and Yale) in the Heights where the former main post office for the Heights still sits, awaiting its fate. And whaddya know, the strip-mall-style parking that in the previous plan for the new development was shown fronting Yale and 11th St. has now been stripped away, allowing twin 10,000-ish-sq.-ft. 2-story buildings to front 11th St., right on up to the sidewalk:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Heights Station
03/30/16 4:30pm

Hardy Yards sign, Burnett at Main St., Near Northside, Houston, 77026

Hardy Yards sign, Burnett at Main St., Near Northside, Houston, 77026

The second A, R, and D of the signage at the intersection of Burnett St. and N. Main are now back in action (up top) beneath the Red Line light-rail overpass. The letters have been patched up and sent back to their assigned places above a freshly-repaired concrete planter, following an unfriendly run-in (or -into) near the end of January (pictured second, with the A dramatically sprawled backward onto the mulch).

The sign, marking the intended redevelopment of the former Hardy Rail Yards into a mixed-use complex in Near Northside, was added as part of the street and infrastructure work that’s been going on at the 43-acre brownfield site. Some of that work is visible in the site plan for the property posted by landscape architecture and planning firm Design Workshop: 

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Near Northside
02/29/16 10:15am

Fisher Homes, 832 Yale St., Houston Heights, Houston, 77007

Fisher Homes, 832 Yale St., Houston Heights, Houston, 77007

The custom home and office building of Heights homebuilder Fisher Homes at 832 Yale St. is currently up for sale or lease. Construction on the just-under-15,000-sq.-ft. building south of 9th St. wrapped up near the end of 2014; the property listing indicates that availability started in January of this year.

Amenities at the Morrison Heights and Studemont Mid-Rise developer’s mixed-use space include an indoor basketball court, downtown views from the above-3rd-story rooftop terrace, and various conference rooms. Floorplans of the building show the middle-of-the-house driveway (which provides access to the backyard parking lot) separating a 437-sq.-ft. apartment (circled in dotted red below) from the main structure:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

For Sale on Yale
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: 

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

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.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Growing at GreenStreet
01/22/16 10:30am

Rendering of Chapman & Kirby, 2118 Lamar St., East Downtown, Houston, 77003

A clearer picture is emerging of Ancorian’s East Village development, headed for 2 blocks along St. Emmanuel St. in East Downtown between Lamar and Polk Sts. A Houston branch of the Swedish Our/Vodka distillery project plans to move in at the corner of Lamar and Hutchins St.; a block of office space in the complex has been claimed by Three Square Design Group, whose past work includes projects for Buffalo Bayou, Fort Bend, and Karbach breweries. On Polk St. at the other end of the development, The Secret Group’s not-so-secret comedy club has been under renovation for some time.

Investor-geared materials on the development also name Dallas’s Truck Yard as a planned occupant — the food-truck friendly beer and cocktail bar currently sells drinks out of an open-air building, an Airstream trailer, and a treehouse at its existing location up north.

Meanwhile, renderings have been released of the Chapman & Kirby gastropub, headed for the warehouse at the corner of Lamar at St. Emanuel St. The building was occupied until the start of this year by Asian-American restaurant supplier Kitchen Depot (which has moved out to a location on Harwin Dr. at S. Gessner Dr. near Beltway 8); the East Downtown space will be renovated and made over per designs by Māk Studio.

The front of the building is depicted with nearly a dozen new windows or entryways:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Added To The List
01/08/16 11:00am

Proposed East Village Development, Polk and Lamar at St. Emmanuel and Hutchins Sts., East Downtown, Houston, 77002

From the folks currently in the process of bringing you Heights Mercantile: plans for East Village, a 2-block mixed-use complex planned along St. Emanuel and Hutchins Sts. between Polk and Lamar in East Downtown — a few blocks south of the Dynamo’s BBVA Compass Stadium, and across 59 from the George R. Brown Convention Center and Discovery Green. New real estate investment and development firm Ancorian (founded by Finial co-founders Neil Martin and Michael Sperandio with Matthew Donowho) is behind the development; as of two months ago, land for the project (across the street from the Yen Huong Bakery and the now-closed Kim Hung Supermarket) was still being acquired.

A few renderings are up on the Ancorian website — the view above is of a Lamar-facing courtyard and a renovated version of the warehouse currently housing Kitchen Depot. But a presentation dated late November shows many additional angles, siteplans, and renderings of the planned development, one block of which is credited to the design firm of Austin-based Michael Hsu, and the other to Māk Studio Architecture:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Beer Before Liquor on Hutchins
12/07/15 11:30am

Proposed Gilley's, SH 146, La Porte, TX Urban cowboys, hold your horses: A Gilley’s rebirth is in the works near the Ship Channel, but it will be neither as rootin’ nor as tootin’ as its world-famous Pasadena ancestor. Last month La Porte’s city council approved a proposed general plan for the La Porte Town Center, a $55-million mixed-residential-and-retail-and-sports-and-entertainment district anchored by a Mickey Gilley’s Family Entertainment Center.

Modern-day Wes Hightowers would best look elsewhere to shoot mezcal and brawl — a floorplan for the dancehall shows that the 50,000-sq.-ft. facility is geared towards more wholesome pastimes, offering “Branston-type stage performances”, roller skating, laser tag, billiards, video games, boutique bowling, bumper cars, a Western duds shop and a cafe. The inevitable mechanical bull is located by the entrance to the restrooms:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

East Side Town Center
12/01/15 1:30pm

Meteor, 2306 Genesee St, Montrose, Houston

Wholesale changes could be coming to East Montrose next summer, if all goes according to the grand lower-Fairview plans of restaurateur-turned-developer Fred Sharifi. The stated goal for his latest development — planned along 3 blocks of Fairview stretching from Taft to Genesee — is to bring a little more diurnal activity to the area, better known for its narrow, potholed streets and vibrant nightlife. That nightlife seems likely to dim, as the new plans call for the eventual extinguishing of Meteor, a mainstay of Houston’s drag community.

“We are not going to have any bars in the neighborhood,” Sharifi recently told Mark Boyle of KPRC, apparently classifying his own Max’s Wine Dive on Fairview at Taft as either beyond the neighborhood or not a bar. Sharifi’s other nearby holdings on Fairview include Gratifi and Cuchara, the Mexico City-style restaurant with rule cards for kiddos.

A 5- or 6-story parking garage perched atop 10,000 sq. ft. of office and retail space (labeled “E” in the rendering below), is proposed for the Meteor site at 2302-2308 Genesee St.:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

East Montrose Overhaul
06/12/15 12:45pm

Construction of 350 Degrees Bakery, 2009 Polk St. at Chartres St., East Downtown, Houston

East Downtown residents have been following the construction of a 2-story steel-framed structure going up on the corner of Polk St. and Chartres St., just beyond the I-69 overpass from the backside of the George R. Brown Convention Center. Photos sent to Swamplot show some of the framing going up last week (above) and a more recent view from the frontage at 2009 Polk St. (below).

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

350 Degrees and Up