02/15/19 3:30pm

At least one Swamplot reader was left puzzled by the recent appearance of this strange, standalone tower and surrounding scaffolding off Richmond Ave, just west of the Spur 527 overpass. Turns out it’s an elevator bank, planned to serve the upper stories of a not-yet-built building on Jack St. that’ll house a new location for workout venue Timberline Fitness. An entity connected to the gym’s owner Dean Theriot bought the long-vacant parcel of land where the structure is now going up in 2017. The gym’s current location is just a few blocks away, on Branard St. off Montrose Blvd.

For the past few years prior to the beginning of construction, the property has done stints as a parking lot. It’s been empty ever since a pair of houses were demolished on it in the mid-2000s.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Timberline Fitness Warmup
02/13/19 2:00pm

International fitness chain Barry’s Bootcamp plans to pick up where Luke’s Locker left off in the easternmost portion of the River Oaks Shopping Center south of W. Gray, and before doing so, will dress the storefront in the full military-style regalia that’s typical of its existing locations. The photo above looks south to show the space shortly after the former running store left it. At top: Barry’s’s chevron-heavy vision for what it will become.

As indicated by the awning on the right, some kind of retail component appears to be planned inside, along with room for a fitness studio. With a just a bit more detail, the windows drawing might also show a reflection of the new 30-story highrise, dubbed The Driscoll, that Weingarten’s got going on the opposite of W. Gray, in place of Café Ginger and a few of its former neighbors.

Photo: Katie Schon. Drawing: Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission

Fitness Invasion
02/06/19 10:30am

The yellow excavator pictured above showed up yesterday in the driveway behind 912 Marshall St., a roughly 100-year-old home that’s been empty since its previous owners moved out December, according to a neighbor. Its new owner, an entity known simply as Montrose & Marshall LLC, also holds the deed to the vacant third-of-an-acre field next door that ends at the corner of — as you might expect — Montrose Blvd. and Marshall St.

Formerly home to a lowrise building, the deserted lot more recently served as a parking lot and is now doing time as a grassy backdrop for Bacco’s Wine Garden’s boozy patio next door:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

912 Marshall St.
01/25/19 4:30pm

This pair of drive-by shots shows what remained on Tuesday of the Hyde Park building that until recently housed South and Central American craft store Corazon. After receiving a series of short-term lease extensions, the store’s owner Chris Murphy told Swamplot last October that he only had a month left in the space at 2318 Waugh Dr., which had housed the store since 1998 and served as a canvas for Houston’s fifth red dot on its Fairview-St. side. (It opened a year earlier on Montrose Blvd. a few blocks south of 59 in a spot within the former Gramercy Apartments that’s now occupied by the Museum Tower.)

Murphy began renting the blue and gray building that’s now collapsing for $650 a month over the discouragements of his friends, reported the Chronicle’s Ileana Najarro, who warned him of its location in “the middle of nowhere” and of the visibly lopsided posture it’d assumed over its 100-year lifespan. (Joke’s on them: the building, wrote Najarro, went on to survive 8 car crashes during the time Corazon was inside.) Harris County’s appraisal district dates its construction to around 1880. Since then, it’s done stints as a smithy, glass-blowing studio, antique store, general store, and furniture refinishing shop.

Once the dust has settled from the demolition, a set of 3 townhomes are set to rise in its place. Murphy plans to continue dealing products from South and Central American artists online.

Photos: Grey Stephens

Fairview Farewell
01/23/19 1:15pm

The development team that had hoped to put a 7-story, 24-unit condo building dubbed Mandell Montrose on the corner of Commonwealth and Fairview streets appears to have given up entirely on that effort now: 3 days ago, the property — which includes the house-turned-leasing-office pictured above — was listed for sale at a price of $2.6 million. It’s the second condo project that failed to get off this particular ground in the past 2 years. The seller Midtown Uptown Development Partners picked up on the site after a different developer’s plans to put an 8-story building called Flats on Fairview there fell through.

The good news is that this porch view from the adjacent house remains totally unobstructed:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Condo, Discontinued
01/16/19 4:00pm

The shopping center at the southwest southeast corner of Montrose Blvd. and 59 known as Chelsea Market has just recently gotten the chain-link wraparound, as shown above from the west (top) and east (above). Its days had been numbered ever since plans showing a Broadstone apartment tower in place of the 3-building retail complex surfaced online last year.

Renderings of the tower, to be named Broadstone Museum District, show it rising 16-stories high:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Montrose Blvd. at 59
01/07/19 1:15pm

Documents put out by Houston’s planning commission reveal that Sweetgreen isn’t the only tenant signed up to take over Doc’s Motorwork’s empty structure at 1303 Westheimer; there’s also a Steel City Pops on the way to the back of the building. The site plan at top shows it grabbing about 900 sq.-ft along Graustark St., leaving the rest of the 4,400-sq.-ft. building reserved for the plant-based anchor tenant.

This is Sweetgreen’s first step into Texas, according to Eater’s Alaena Hostetter (or second, if you count the other not-yet-open location it has planned for Rice Village) and it wants to make Doc’s building look like this before setting foot in it:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

On Deck Along Westheimer
12/24/18 10:15am

For the past 2 weeks, workers have been gutting the gray-painted 1940s bungalow at 1408 Sul Ross St., opposite the Rothko Chapel. In some cases, they’ve chucked the removed house parts in the dumpster that’s parked in the driveway.

In other cases, they’ve been saving them for reuse by stockpiling them inside:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Special Exhibition
12/20/18 10:30am

In just under a month, longtime Richmond Ave record shop and turntable repair destination Sound Exchange will move from the brick house pictured above to a Second Ward spot near the corner of N. Milby and Commerce. The 39-year-old business didn’t originally open in Montrose, but it got there right away: After a one-year stint in Rice Village, it moved to the strip at 1617 Westheimer, where it spent 19 years before relocating to its present digs at 1846 Richmond.

Already in the works for the block where Sound Exchange sits: rejiggering the property lines to create a new 29,466-sq.-ft. parcel out of the lot shown above, plus 2 additional lots behind it on Colquitt St. that house apartments. Houston’s city planning commission is set to review the proposed replat at the beginning of next year.

Photo: Vinylhub

Winlow Place
12/18/18 10:30am

THE ALLEN’S LATEST MIXED-USE MAP NIXES THE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE ACROSS ALLEN PKWY. Remember that pedestrian bridge that previous maps and renderings for The Allen showed crossing Allen Pkwy. in order to link the planned development to Buffalo Bayou Park? Well, it appears to be gone now: New marketing materials put out by Transwestern include no indication of it whatsoever. (Earlier versions of the map above had shown it plugging into the building labeled 1, a lowrise retail structure.) All 6 acres of the site — between Allen Parkway Village and the Federal Reserve building — remain vacant right now, except for a tiny portion near the southwest corner where a newly-poured concrete foundation has given rise to a yet-unidentified wood-framed structure over the past couple of days. [Transwestern (PDF) via HAIF; previously on Swamplot] Map: Transwestern

12/17/18 1:30pm

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN THE MONTROSE SHAKE SHACK OPENS THIS THURSDAY Aside from the standard beefy fare, here’s what you can expect to encounter at the chain’s new Burger-King-replacement location on Westheimer west of Montrose Blvd. when it opens this Thursday: tabletops made from “reclaimed bowling alley lanes,” a mural from local artist Michael Rodriguez (the same guy behind new female astronaut artwork next to Shake Shack’s Rice Village location and the colorful first floor of the former Battelstein’s building downtown), and a free Shake-Shack-themed holiday ornament for the first 100 customers (doors open at 11 a.m.). There are also a few Montrose-specific menu items planned at the 1002 Westheimer restaurant including custards acquired from nearby UB Preserv and less-nearby Fluff Bake Bar, as well as a carrot cake offering served with coffee grounds from the location’s next-door neighbor Blacksmith. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of construction on Montrose Shake Shack: Swamplox inbox

12/10/18 5:30pm

A Swamplot reader sends these 2 photos showing what longtime Avondale brunch spot Baba Yega Cafe looks like after a Friday night fire did a number on the building. Damage to the roof has mostly been covered up now by a blue tarp. At ground level, new orange fencing signals the business’s current status: closed until sometime next year, say the owners.

Next-door, scattered debris and furniture are at rest in the parking lot behind the former Montrose Mining Company. Both the Mining Company and its lot are owned by one of the same partners behind Baba Yega, Fred Sharifi, and have remained empty for the past few months while the shuttered gay bar gets reshaped into Houston’s second Postino Wine Bar.

Photos: Swamplox inbox

Avondale
12/07/18 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE MONTROSE DUAL DEALERSHIP WELCOME THAT WASN’T “Too bad . . . I had imagined an identical building being constructed, and as bookends would have made a fantastic ‘gateway‘ into the Montrose/Museum area.” [city cynic, commenting on Stahlman Lumber Up for Sale by Landowner That Didn’t Replace It with a Car Dealership] Photo of Audi Central Houston: Audi Central Houston

12/05/18 9:45am

Last Wednesday, a new paintjob completely erased the blue and gold artwork on Reeve’s Antiques’ Taft-St. side. The whitewashing, Reeves owner Matt Reeves tells Swamplot, has created a blank canvas upon which a rotating series of new murals will appear over the next few months before a final, more permanent work takes their place.

He didn’t comment on the flying fish now levitating above it all:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

And Aerial Fish
12/04/18 5:00pm

The building that the Texas Junk Company left in 2016 is now home not only to a brand-new Verizon 5G broadband connection, but a whole array of gadgets designed to show off the service that the carrier launched in Houston a few months ago. Pictured above is the mock living room where for the next week, anyone can make themselves comfortable in front of a 4K resolution TV and a host of other mobile devices while they stream video through the telecom company’s new, purportedly higher-speed lines.

For a more immersive experience, try the virtual reality basketball range shown below off to the right:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

East Montrose