06/21/18 1:00pm

The east side of the building that fronts McDuffie St. — next door to the River Oaks Theatre — has been quiet since an early Monday morning blaze torched Nail-Tique salon, doing some damage to the Steinway Piano Gallery in the process. It all started when an air conditioner on the roof overheated and caught fire, shorting the connection to an electrical box on the building that then ignited as well, reports the Chronicle.

No pianos caught fire — according to an employee at Epicure Cafe around the corner on W. Gray — but there was smoke damage in the music store, and firefighters busted out some of its windows to access the flaming salon next door. Nail-Tique is now closed indefinitely, while the adjacent piano store plans to reopen next month, as decreed by the sign now posted in its window. Unharmed by the blaze: the building’s movie theater anchor, reports one of its employees.

Photos: Swamplox inbox

McDuffie St.
06/13/18 12:45pm

Permits were approved yesterday for construction on the 285-unit apartment tower Hines and TH Real Estate plan to build behind the La Colombe d’Or mansion-turned-hotel on Montrose Blvd. The rendering at top views all 34 floors of the new building — designed by Houston architectural firm Muñoz + Albin — from above Harold St. (opposite the recently re-domed Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral). That puts it 4-stories higher than the adjacent and somewhat stockier Hanover Montrose apartments shown greyed-out on the right.

Dubbed the Residences at La Colmobe d’Or, the tower takes the place of the once-adjacent Le Grand Salon de la Comtesse ballroom erected and decked out by the hotel’s owner Steve Zimmerman. It’s shown here in the Colombe d’Or’s backyard, before crews stripped it down and demolished it in March:

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18 Hotel Rooms Included
06/05/18 10:30am

A new eatery is its way to the Montrose shop called Montrose at 1723 Westheimer, a block west of Dunlavy. The toponymic women’s clothing boutique had about a 3-year run in the space before it went out of business, leaving the building vacant. Just last week, the developers behind the coming Eastern European restaurant filed plans with the city to remodel the 1,830-sq.-ft. structure into something more Turkish and culinary: Cafe Bosphorus. A banner hung up on the left storefront window store heralds its arrival.

Photos: Hipster Hotspots (Montrose Shop); Cafe Bosphorus (sign)

Cafe Bosphorus
05/24/18 3:30pm

This just in: Photos from a Swamplot reader show the wreckage at KHOU’s 58-year-old Buffalo Bayou–side headquarters, abandoned since staff fled it for Houston Public Media’s less flood-prone Elgin St. newsroom shortly after Harvey. Following a few days of demolition, the building at 1945 Allen Pkwy has been almost entirely leveled.

The second photo above shows the Service Corporation International building looming over the dead news building. An entity connected to SCI — a national funeral home business — recently acquired KHOU’s former 3.2-acre spot.

KHOU’s antennastripped of its lettering since February — is now the only thing that fronts the neighboring tower’s west side:

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Breaking News
05/15/18 5:00pm

Renovations are about to begin at 1304 W. Alabama in order to turn the shuttered dog boarding facility into a new wine bar. The former doghouse, dubbed Jackson’s Place, was originally converted from a 1928 bungalow. It advertised itself as a “cage-free pet resort,” and bakery that not only cared for pets, but also fed them with “yummy, all natural dog treats and pastries, made from premium ingredients.” The business closed down about 2 months ago, but an additional location remains open on Dunlavy 2 blocks south of W. Gray.

A lawn sign identifying Jackson’s Place has since been yanked from former its yard on the corner of Graustark St. — 2 doors down from hot dog restaurant Good Dog’s Montrose location — and the building’s windows are now browned out with paper. A construction permit issued yesterday for the space names Light Years Wine as its new occupant.

Photos: Swamplox inbox

Hair of the Dog
05/03/18 10:15am

A reader sends photos looking inside a gutted corner of the southern River Oaks Shopping Center building east of McDuffie St. Formerly home to California Pizza Kitchen, Evolve Fitness Studio, Birraporetti’s, and Sherlock’s Pub, it’s now slated for a 2-floor Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille. A TABC notice has been posted on the storefront since March:

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W. Gray & McDuffie
05/02/18 11:30am

THE MENIL DRAWING INSTITUTE: 6 MORE MONTHS What’s been going on at the Menil Drawing Institute’s new building since its opening — originally scheduled for last October — was postponed over the summer? A lot of sensing and measuring: “It’s extremely important to monitor the climate control and the humidity gauges for a number of months to make sure there are no deviations,” the museum’s director Rebecca Rabinow tells the New York Times’ Andrew R. Chow., outlining what kind of ambiance is required for the paper works the structure will soon house. (Last year’s cold winter didn’t speed things up either — reports the Chronicle’s Molly Glentzer, killing off many of the new plants that had just been installed in the surrounding park according to the plan from landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.) Now that both the indoor and outdoor environments have been stabilized, the official opening date for the 30,000-sq.-ft. building designed by L.A. architect Johnston Marklee has been set: November 3. It will cap off a 3-year building process that began in place of the since-completely-demolished Richmont Square apartments’ backsisde off Branard St. The new structure’s first residents: 41 works on paper by Jasper Johns. [New York Times; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Menil Drawing Institute: Paul Hester/The Menil Collection

04/17/18 10:15am

Wharton Elementary School’s 3-story backyard addition has moved up steadily from its previous grade level since 2016 and is now standing tall behind the existing single-story schoolhouse at 900 W. Gray. The least-finished portion of the new building shown in the photo at top is where the school’s new glassy main entrance will go in supplement of the current one at the front of the existing building. North of the 3-story entry atrium facing Columbus St., the new first floor will house mostly administrative offices — with some added classrooms above them.

A shady but still grassless courtyard separates the new structure from the old:

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Schooling North Montrose
04/16/18 4:30pm

Two-tone design elements run the show at 4104 Greeley — from the front entry (top) to the dining room tableware (above). The 2,471-sq.-ft. house 2 blocks north of  Richmond was built in 1920 and sold to its current owner about 60 years later.

It’s been a bed and breakfast dubbed the Robin’s Nest for nearly 30 years:

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The Robin’s Nest
04/05/18 12:30pm

A bunch of pipes arrived yesterday in the vacant field behind a pair of Montrose video stores, a Swamplot reader reports. Audio Video Plus shut down 6 years ago, next door to it on W. Clay is the warehouse home to the lesser known Astro Audio Video equipment rental store — also shuttered. The photo above shows the scene on Peveto St. behind the latter store.

Audio Video Plus neighbors another vacant storefront — Quintanilla Jewelers — in the strip mall on the corner of Waugh:

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North Montrose
03/28/18 4:00pm

A closeup shot of the close-up notice now posted on Fuzzy’s Taco Shop’s freestanding building — tucked behind the curved southernmost strip in the River Oaks Shopping Center — reveals that the restaurant has shut down indefinitely. The photo at top shows Fuzzy’s fronting a driveway to the shopping center’s back parking lot off Peden. The taco shop took over the space at the beginning of last year; it had been vacant since Pesca World Seafood shuttered in it 4 years prior.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Peden St. Pad Site
03/26/18 4:00pm

The Aqua Hand Car Wash & Detail on the corner of W. Dallas could get even wetter pending the TABC’s permission for the business to serve mixed drinks on-site. The photo above, sent in by a Swamplot reader, shows the 680-sq.-ft., butterfly-roofed building where a notice naming Aqua Heights LLC as the applicant for a mixed beverage permit now hangs in the window.

The building went up on the long-vacant field at 1013 Montrose in 2011. Washing, waxing, and detailing take place in a parking lot to the east and south of the structure.

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Wet Bar
03/22/18 9:45am

The building on the corner of Montrose Blvd. and Bomar St. is showing signs of rebranding as Les Ba’get’s owners prepare to open a new, more pho-friendly joint in its place — dubbed Les Noo’dle. February 2 was closing day for the original Vietnamese restaurant; it’s now getting situated in a new Oak Forest shopping center on Ella Blvd. where it will double its space.

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Apostrophe Intact
03/14/18 4:45pm

The Oxberry Group is ready to rechristen the vacant Gibbs Boats building at 1110 W. Gray St. as Rêve at Montrose: a new, patio-fronting shopping center. The boat business shuttered in the 11,696-sq.-ft. warehouse building it had occupied for 56 years after selling off the last of its fleet in 2014.

Major changes slated for the building now include a takedown of its shed-roofed portion closest to Montrose Blvd. In place of that area, outdoor seating — shown above in the rendering from Tipps Architecture — will line the street. A clock tower planted between the existing 1- and 2-story parts of the building would be its new high point. And at the north end of Gibbs’ former lot — next to the U-Plumb-It hardware store — a 2,630-sq.-ft. retail add-on would take the place of a yard once used for boat work.

The site plan below shows the addition (colored red) jutting out and separating the pedestrian plaza from a driveway to the planned parking lot:

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Rêve at Montrose
03/12/18 10:30am

Banners for Cedars Tapas Bar — the new restaurant on its way to 403 W. Gray — are now covering up both the plywood board on the building’s forehead and the sign left over from Ship & Shield’s tenancy in the space. The Viking-themed restaurant abandoned the building last December, and property owner Braun Realty is now waiting on the new Lebanese bakery to move in.

Braun bought the the 2,055-sq.-ft. restaurant building in 2016, the same year Ship & Shield took it over from Byzantio’s. Since then, the developer has put up a new retail building on the once-vacant lot just east of restaurant, near Taft St. Its west side is visible beyond Cedars’ sign in the photo above.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

North Montrose Makeover