08/17/18 10:00am

MONTROSE SHAKE SHACK CONSTRUCTION IS ABOUT TO BEGIN A building permit filed yesterday for the corner where Burger King’s been lying in pieces on Westheimer near Montrose Blvd. reveals construction is imminent on the Shack Shake set to replace it. Upon completion, it’ll be Houston’s fourth Shake Shack location, after the one in Rice Village, at the Galleria, and in section 157 at Minute Maid Park. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

08/15/18 12:15pm

Everything is operational now at the Transart Foundation for Art and Anthropology‘s hulking white headquarters north of the Menil — which took the place of a house earlier this year. The organization’s mission is to study the role of art in everyday life by supporting “experimental work at the intersection of art and anthropology.” It’s one door down from the intersection of W. Alabama and Yupon St., next to the Neon Gallery bungalow partly visible in the photo above.

Inside, a first floor gallery is divided by a central stairway that climbs up to a roof deck and garden:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Transart Foundation
08/14/18 1:45pm

No need to knock on your way into 2309 Morse St. — the mer-person standing in the doorway will see you and can even receive envelopes through a crotch-level mail slot. On the other side of the door, the dining room’s decor is less watery, with a peacock perched up on the accent wall shown on the left in the photo above.

Although it’s now under contract, the house is still showing, so here’s a closer look at those wallflowers:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Deep-Sea Listing
08/13/18 9:45am

MW Cleaners’ bowtie logo is now going out of style on the corner of Shepherd and Colquitt St. as the franchise dresses down all of its 36 black-tie-branded locations in Houston and redecorates them under the Tide detergent logo. At the Montrose shop, the tall sign pictured behind the dumpster in the photo at top looking south is just about all that’s left of the cleaners’ old look.

New lettering and logoing at 3425 Shepherd has already taken the place of the old (pictured above), and under the angled porte-cochère, fresh window decals mark the transformation as well:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Tidal Wave
08/09/18 5:15pm

Houston’s latest Bacco-branded wine venue Bacco’s Wine Garden has begun its takeover of 3611 Montrose Blvd. by adding this corral to the house’s front parking lot, although nothing’s being consumed on site yet; a TABC application is still pending approval. Now enclosed within the pen: the gable-roofed sign once colored by the logo for Tony’s Place, the homeless center for LGBT youth under 26 that relocated last summer to a Midtown space it shares with the Salvation Army’s own youth shelter on McGowen St.

On the north side of the building, Bacco’s’s own sign is now up:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Bacco’s Wine Garden
08/09/18 2:15pm

A Swamplot reader sends a photo (top) of the trees that appear to have grown up outside the former McGowen Cleaners real fast since plant life was first added to the bed (above) earlier this year. That’s because the crew now converting the place into a restaurant called Vibrant tore out the bushier trees just over a week ago and replaced them with a row of taller new cedars.

The swap-out left the bed short on plant life last Wednesday and Thursday:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Growth Spurt
08/06/18 9:30am

Saturday was teardown day for this Cherryhurst bungalow catty-corner to the Wilson Montessori School where the Indiana St. pavement goes brick for a single block. The 2-man crew pictured above made it about halfway through the job by the afternoon, leaving the yard beyond the fence littered with house parts as they slashed and sprayed.

Once the wreckage is cleared away, some kind of new single-family structure is slated to take over at 1524 Indiana St., according to plans the 5,000-sq.-ft. lot’s new-ish owner filed after buying it in May.

Here’s what the deconstruction looks like from Yupon:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Half Off Everything
07/31/18 1:15pm

DEMOLISHED WESTHEIMER SPY EMPORIUM’S NEXT MISSION: SURFACE PARKING The new-ish owner that brought down Spy Emporium‘s abandoned building at 1550 Westheimer Rd. earlier this year is now getting ready to turn the property into a parking lot, reports one local urban planner. The building changed hands at the beginning of this year — around the time the spy shop left for 610 and Westpark — to a group that owns the parcel home to Hugo’s on the other side of Mandell St.. That roughly half-acre property already includes its own set of spots in a back lot north of the restaurant building. Spottier in terms of parking availability: the recently-opened UB Preserv restaurant that took over Poscol’s former space in the strip center across Westheimer from Hugo’s about 2 months ago. It currently shares one lot with the other tenants lined up next door to it: Star Tailors & Alterations, D & S laundromat, and Urban Vapes. [C Money; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Spy Emporium

07/26/18 5:00pm

Crews are ripping into the 3-story Mediterranean house on the corner of Hyde Park Blvd. and Whitney St., as well as the adjacent bungalow that Clark Gable lived in for 2 years during his time in Montrose in the late ’20s. Already, the shingled structure has been reduced to the pile of lumber pictured above (although its door’s remains intact).

It lost its face-off with the excavator pictured below just this morning:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

L’Encore
07/23/18 12:30pm

A Swamplot reader sends a photo of the big white public hearing notice now up outside the Rothko Chapel; it’s the first sign of the work chapel management has planned for both the octagon and its surroundings. The proposed replat detailed by the notice would take 6 originally single-family deed-restricted lots occupied by the chapel, adjacent administration bungalows, and their surroundings — and merge them into a single parcel.

It’s all part of the prep work for modifications planned next spring that’ll alter the chapel’s skylight and tweak its acoustics, HVAC system, weatherproofing, and entrance vestibule. New York–based firm AROhired in 2016 — is overseeing all those changes, as well as plans for the 4 additional lots the chapel owns on the north side of Sul Ross St.

Now occupied by a few Menil-gray-colored housesincluding one on the corner of Yupon St. home to the Da Camera music society — those properties are slated for their own consolidation under the proposed replat. Planned to rise afterward: a visitor welcome house (gift shop included) and energy building including a backup power station. Later on, a new administration and archive building with adjacent community engagement center will also move in on that side of the street.

Photo: Swamplox inbox

Gift Shop Incoming
07/19/18 5:00pm

Next Saturday, Houston’s historic commission is set to consider a request that new old signage be installed on the former Gibbs Boats building at 1110 W. Gray as part of the renovation to turn it into a new shopping center dubbed Rêve Montrose. The QUALITY LAUNDRY lettering is a nod to the 1936 structure’s original tenant — pictured above — which turned the place over to Gibbs in 1958. According to the rendering above, the replica sign and accompanying pyramidal support structure are set to be installed in the same location as the originals.

Since the Oxberry Group announced its redo plan for the building in March, some of its W. Gray façade has been scratched off, revealing traces of the original brick underneath where the G in Gibbs used to front the street:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

W. Gray and Montrose
07/19/18 4:00pm

In other abandoned Montrose restaurant news: crews have finished smashing up the Burger King on Westheimer a block west of Montrose Blvd., leaving the property in fast food limbo ahead of its planned takeover by Houston’s fourth Shake Shack location. Pictured above is the restaurant’s drive-thru lane minus the accompanying drive-thru infrastructure.

A Cherry Demolition excavator is still picking through scraps left behind from the teardown; they’re now spread out atop the former building’s foundation, visible below:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Nothing-Burger
07/16/18 5:00pm

A row of 3 tall windows now opens up the Fairview-St.-side of the former McGowen Cleaners, currently being converted into a health-minded restaurant dubbed Vibrant on the corner of Morse St. As for a patio shown cut into the building’s windowed corner in earlier renderings from architect Lake Flato — it’s yet to be installed. But a bunch of other outdoor features such as shrubs, grasses, and the beds that hold them are now in place outside the structure.

They’ve taken over the frontage previously occupied by chopped-up pavement:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Hyde Park
07/16/18 10:00am

LAST NIGHT’S ROOFTOP SMOKE SHOW AT THE SUSANNE APARTMENTS Update, 2 p.m.: A spokesperson for The Susanne’s owner, the Finger Companies, tells Swamplot that the fire was caused by a “flying sky lantern,” not by faulty piping. According to the spokesperson, 2 Susanne residents launched the decorative airborne device from the complex’s parking garage, but “the wind unexpectedly caused the lantern to land on the roof of the apartment building along the West Alabama driveway and burned long enough to cause a fire on the roof itself.” The 2 residents called 911 and later reported its cause to fire department arson investigators. A loose rooftop gas pipe sparked this scene at The Susanne Apartments on the corner of W. Alabama and Dunlavy last night at around 9 p.m. Firefighters choked off the blaze by shutting off a valve that fed the pipe — reports the Chronicle — but not before smoke damaged portions of the 8-story building’s top floor. One apartment sustained some water damage, too, but thanks to a layer of steel on the roof — none of the flames made it inside. No firefighters were harmed — and though hundreds evacuated, all residents remained uninjured as well. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

07/05/18 12:00pm

The sales center for the not-yet-built Mandell Montrose condo slated for Fairview St. is now closed, and a representative of its sales team tells Swamplot that the developer has no plans to reopen it. Since the building’s abandonment, signage outside the converted Hyde Park residence taken over by the agents has adopted a lower position than it previously held on the structure, pictured above.

And in the neighboring 12,493-sq.-ft. lot on the corner of Fairview and Commonwealth streets — where Midtown Uptown Development Partners planned a 7-story, 24-unit midrise to overtop the surrounding neighborhood — the tallest structures are still the signs stuck up there just over a year ago:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Fairview and Commonwealth