01/10/17 2:45pm

Tarkett Site, Katyville, Houston, 77007
Tarkett Site, Katyville, Houston, 77007This afternoon a wall of orange and white barricades along the edge of the Heights hike & bike trail just south of I-10 is hemming in the construction equipment recently migrated onto Tarkett’s former Texas Tile Manufacturing warehouse site. Permits for some earthmoving on the former industrial side were issued just before the close of the year under the name Lower Heights District, and the Katyville property showed up on last week’s city planning commission agenda for some preliminary approvals and flood-potential scrutiny. No official word yet whether the site’s owner’s previous mention of stacked big box possibilities is still on the table.

Reader and tower scrutinizer Lucky Gutierrez also took a closer look at the oil derrick hanging around next to the site, on the edge of the bike trail:

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Grading Katyville Heights
01/05/17 4:30pm

Construction site at 1540 W. Alabama, WAMM, Houston, 77006Proposed Alabama Row Shopping Center, 1518 W. Alabama St., Montrose, HoustonA little brown box is now in place about where the gray and blue boxes of the Alabama Row retail strip are supposed to go, a reader notes. The construction trailer recently popped up inside the newish construction fencing now framing the long-empty lot along Mandell St. (across W. Alabama from the block holding the Menil Collection’s parking lot, and part of its bungalow herd). The new strip would sit just west of the 2-story brick house now holding cat spa and boarding facility Fat Cat Flats.

So far Alabama Row looks like it may be bookended by Vietnamese and burger joints, with room for some non-food offerings in the middle — that’s W. Alabama toward the bottom in the preliminary site plan below, with the strip’s parking tucked in back:

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Menil Munchies
01/04/17 12:15pm

1801 Richmond Ave. Demo, Richwood Place, Houston, 77098
1801 Richmond Ave., Richwood Place, Houston, 77098From beneath yesterday’s sunset glare off the new Big Tex Storage midrise on Richmond Ave, a reader captured the splintery wreckage of long-empty Cierra Interiors at the corner with Woodhead St. Plans to stick a new Starbucks in its place were submitted back in early November by an entity connected to experienced Starbucks constructor Vaquero Ventures, and the knockout of the building was officially sanctioned just before Christmas. Next door, the land opened up by Vaquero’s teardown of the pair of 2-story brick 4-plexes at 1823 and 1827 Richmond back in August looks to be marked for another Inner Loop outpost of oil change chain Take 5.

And one more door eastward, the former Ruthie’s Place on Richmond looks to be headed for new use by strip-center gelato shop Sweetcup, per some early-stage permits issued in November that note a bar-to-ice-cream-shop conversion. Sweetcup bought the building at 1829 Richmond in September after the bar’s early 2016 shutdown (in the wake of the passing of long-time former owner Ruth Vardilos). Here’s a shot of the whole corner taken in August, shortly after the apartment removal, showing Ruthie’s tucked next to Ely’s Beauty Salon on the far right:

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Richwood Place Replacements
12/05/16 11:30am

Construction at Shepherd and Allen st.

Now rising at 1202 Shepherd Dr., atop the former sites of the Sarco Enterprise used car lot and its various adjacent industrial-retail odds and ends: a 4-story self-storage building from Provident Realty. The Dallas-based developer (which is also behind the redo of the former Texaco building Downtown and its potential future companion highrise) bought the land in October of last year from an entity called Shepnett Holdings, which also owns the land across Nett St. at 1112 Shepherd  — on that site, the former graffiti-slathered home of relocated art and framing shop Alva Graphics is being converted into the burger restaurant initially planned for the ex-Ruggles Grill lot on Westheimer.

The Provident storage facility will be conveniently located about 4 minutes by car from the Uncle Bob’s Life Storage building that just opened along Washington Ave across from the former Wabash Feed & Garden store. A storage-atuned reader in the neighborhood sends a few more angles on the new building’s in-progress skeleton — the building extends from Nett St. toward the southern of Allen St.’s 2 parallel roadways, laid along either side of the Southern Pacific railroad line:

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Boxes of Brunner
11/30/16 1:15pm

Construction of Hotel Alessandra, Fannin St. at Dallas St., GreenStreet, Houston, 77002

Second Proposed Design for Hotel Alessandra, GreenStreet, Downtown HoustonToday’s look at up-and-coming personified downtown highrises includes a reader’s fresh snap of Hotel Alessandra, which reached full height in August and has been filling out a bit since then. The latest rendering (released after the original question mark design was scrapped) depicts mostly the buildin’s glassier Dallas-St.-facing side; the shot up top is facing the structure’s beige-er south corner. Midway announced a few weeks after the Tax Day flood that the hotel wouldn’t be open in time for the Super Bowl after all, citing weather-related logistical issues. The developers are now planning to open up later on in 2017.

Meanwhile, at the opposite corner of the GreenStreet complex — where Polk and Caroline streets meet — Randall Davis’s Marlowe condo tower is getting off the ground behind The Dirt Bar and Reserve, at the edge of a sea of parked cars:

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Up and Out Around GreenStreet
11/30/16 11:00am

Rendering of Club Nomadic at 2121 Edwards St., First Ward, Houston, 77007

A 62,500-sq.-ft. structure going by the name Club Nomadic is now being put in place in the empty lot next to the Shops at Sawyer Yards, for 3 days of concert use during the week leading up to the Super Bowl. As for what happens to the site after the planned Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift shows wrap up: Permits for foundation and site work at the Edwards St. address issued earlier this month refer to the building as temporary, and Corey Garcia says the building will be packed up and taken elsewhere at the end of the short Houston run. The folks at Connecticut-based Nomadic Entertainment plan to set the building up at a series of future events elsewhere — but the Super Bowl lead-up week will be the club’s first gig.

Renderings released yesterday by Nomadic show 3 tiers of stage-gawking space:

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Swift Setup in Sixth Ward
11/22/16 5:15pm

Rendering of Heights Mercantile Building 4

Expanding organic Rice Village fast-casual chain Local Foods will fill in one of the tenant holes in the biggest structure of under-construction Heights Mercantile, judging from the permits issued earlier this month for a buildout at 714 Yale St. The joint is supposed to share the double-decker structure with a fitness studio, per current marketing materials, though that tenant hasn’t been formally announced yet either. The leasing listing for the various subsections of the retail development is still active on LoopNet, indicating a handful of retail spaces potentially still up for grabs in the 2 buildings across 7th St.:

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More Mercantile Merchants
11/16/16 1:30pm

907 Westheimer Rd., WAMM, Houston, 77006

Some grooming is going on this week in the trio of lots at 907, 903, and 817 Westheimer, formerly home to Ruggles Grill and its fellow departed companion structures just east of the corner with Montrose Blvd. Back in 2012, the folks who developed Triniti were planning a casual-ish burger restaurant on the spot, but chef Ryan Hildebrand told Phaedra Cook this past August that Triniti’s owners later decided a single restaurant wasn’t the best use of the land. That burger restaurant is headed to Shepherd Dr. at Washington Ave. instead, and the Westheimer lot will get a retail project — with some flavor of restaurant included. 

Permits were issued last month for a new shell on the site, and a reader reports some mowing and general cleanup on Monday, from a vine-and-wire-crossed vantage point in the surrounding urban jungle:

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Montrose Mission Modification
11/14/16 1:15pm

Proposed Las Ventanas development at Goliad and Crockett St., Old First Ward, Houston, 77007

Down at the Old First Ward corner of Goliad and Crockett — catty-corner from where New Hope Missionary Baptist Church made its last stand in August — another crop of townhomes is moving off on the digital drawing board and toward construction phases, according to a rep from Titan Homes. (Bypassing opportunities for thematic streetname tie-ins, the company appears to have steered away from the Alamo-nouveau aesthetic deployed in its project on the newly-thinned edge of Little Thicket Park in Shady Acres.)

The 6 members shown above of 8 home set (together called Las Ventanas by the developer) face Goliad St.; newly drawn lot lines on file with the city suggest the 2 other houses will face Crockett. A rendering from one of the 4th floor terraces facing toward downtown suggests a view unobstructed by all the other townhomes cropping up in the area:

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Winds of Change in First Ward
11/10/16 5:15pm

Meadowcreek Village Park, Houston, TX 77017
Meadowcreek Village Park old pavilion structure

Members of the area civic club send some shots of the now-demolished basketball pavilion and its under-construction replacement at Meadowcreek Village Park, off Forest Oaks Dr. south of Patterson Elementary. The arched structure shown above, designed in 1961 by partial River Oaks Shopping Center architect R.H Brogniez, was originally constructed from wood (which got some repairs and lamination in 1997, but was in pretty bad shape by the court’s closure in 2014).

The city initially planned to replace the structure with something else, but received a string of requests from neighborhood residents to keep and repair the original design. Instead, the replacement pavilion (designed by M2l Architects) will look a lot like the original, but done in steel:

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Mod Sports Court Redo
10/18/16 11:00am

Worcester's Annex site, 1433 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights, 77008

The Kirby Group folks (behind Midtown beer and cocktail bar Wooster’s Garden and those since-demolished converted funeral home bars in Upper Kirby) look to be setting up for their Worcester’s Annex cocktail project south of N. Shepherd and 15th St.  The new bar (which is taking off the linguistic gloves and using the full-on British spelling of the name) is being built on the far southern end of the former Longhorn Motor Company lot at 1433 N. Shepherd, previously tapped as the intended site of the Heights Bier Garten; Greg Morago reported this summer that the 2 developments would be near one another. The bar is going up across the street from legally-tangled tortilla factory La Espiga De Oro (which was infiltrated and raided by ICE officers last year, after which the company’s owners were indicted for allegedly hiring undocumented immigrants).

Photo: Worcester’s Annex

Seeding the Heights
10/14/16 12:30pm

Rendering of Fairview District

Fairview + Mason renderingsAbove is an updated view of plans for the stretch of Fairview St. between Taft and Genesee being redeveloped by the owner of the redeveloped restaurant strip containing Cuchara and Max’s Wine Dive — a CBRE marketer announced that the project will be branded as the Fairview District, and will include 4 buildings of the mixed-office-retail-restaurant variety. In the center of the rendering above is a sleeker view of the 5-story bike-encrusted parking garage previously drawn up for the former site of Meteor Lounge (which sent its drag show over South Beach and shut off the showers for the last time over the summer). It’s unclear from this vantage whether the garage’s bicycle decor is still part of the plan for the area, but some bike lanes appear to be. The glassy structure on the far left looks to be the standalone structure planned for the parking lot next to Max’s Wine Dive (previously tagged as a dessert shop): CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Viewing Fairview District
10/11/16 12:45pm

October 2016 look around Discovery Green and George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas, Downtown, Houston, 77010

Supercolumn Going Up on George R. Brown Convention Center, Downtown HoustonBob Russell sends a fresh slew of downtown updates, this time checking up on the state of the George R. Brown Convention Center area’s ongoing redo. The structure’s main entrance on Avenida De Las Americas has been getting a major facelift — the supercolumns installed last summer have since turned white, and the glassy  facade has stepped outward and dropped a few stripes, in line with the plans released previously by semi-public city branding organization Houston First:

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Super Bowl Conditioning
10/05/16 12:00pm

HCC Expansion east of Pressler and Main streets, Texas Medical Center, Houston, 77030

A crane and 2 egrets were spotted on Brays Bayou just east of Main St. by a curious reader, along with the rising superstructure of the new Houston Community College Coleman College for Health Sciences building. The midrise, which will eventually connect to the other HCC buildings across Pressler St. via skybridge, should have 10 stories by the time the building opens (which, per HCC’s current plans, will be next August). The building is going up between the UT’s Sarofim Research Building and the large parking lot where the Shamrock Movie Theater once stood, across Main St. from the currently-also-mostly-a-parking-lot Shamrock Hilton site where the new DeBakey High School campus is going up.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

 

Med Center Operations
10/03/16 5:15pm

Aris Market Square Tower, Travis and Preston Streets, Downtown Houston

Hines’s increasingly pointy 609 Main and flat-topped Chase Tower are visible to either side of the company’s Aris Market Square apartment highrise in this recent shot from Congress at Travis streets (sent in by a reader, who noted the top-out tree temporarily hoisted onto to the rooftop). Following the latest growth spurt, the tower has now gotten about as tall as it’s going to (and the newly-craneless Market Square Apartment Tower, now leasing across the eponymous Square, will always have 8 stories to lord over it). Here’s a closeup of the Aris’s Preston-facing facade, as the glass and exterior finishes start to creep up the sides:

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Highrise Done Rising