02/10/17 2:45pm

Former City of Houston Code Enforcement Building, 3300 Main St., Midtown, Houston, 77002

Those Swamplot commenters who’ve been taking particular and unabashed pleasure in the long, slow demise of the former city code enforcement office at 3300 Main St. may also enjoy the shot above of the flooded pit spotted recently where the Mod office building once stood. Reader Diaspora (who sent in the photo late last week) suggests the site as potential competition for the folks behind the Houston Needs a Swimming Hole campaign, which Kickstartered a feasibility study a few years ago (and also passed around an illustration of an optimistically blue-watered bayouside beachfront, shown below):

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Lakes of Main St.
01/31/17 1:30pm

2531 Kuester St., Montrose, Houston, 77006

Right across Kuester St. from where that paving prep looks to be going on this month, some building permits have been issued recently for a new honky tonk and bar listed as Goodnight Charlie’s. A couple of readers noted that the long-empty triangle of partially grazeable land behind Buffalo Exchange also sports the TABC notice signage above, and the space looks to be owned by the same legal entity that owns the jilted corner lot. The fenced-in land sits at the trailing end of Kuester, which blends into Missouri St. and the back edge of the parking lot of Mexican seafood-themed bar La Grange (which took over the 2-story building formerly occupied by gay bar EJ’s on Ralph St., behind the Westheimer-facing Central Houston Animal Hospital). 

Here’s a wider shot of the permitted honky tonk site; that’s the back of the Community Endowment Foundation’s Swelha House visible just to the right of all those early-2010’s townhomes:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Fenced In Off Westheimer
01/27/17 5:30pm

Dillon Kyle Architecture office, 1500 W. Alabama St., Menil, Houston, 77006

Dillon Kyle Architects’s new dramatically cantilevered headquarters at 1500 West Alabama at the corner with Mulberry St. is now largely enveloped by the leafy wooden screens mentioned in the firm’s announcement of the building early last year. The company moved into the space in December, around the time work crews wrapped up most of the cherry-picker-assisted installation of the paneling (shown below):

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Both Made of Trees
01/23/17 5:00pm

Fairview District Update, January 2017, Fairview at Mason St., East Montrose, Houston, 77006

The renderings in Edge Realty’s marketing material for the mixed-use office and retail redevelopment planned for the area around Fairview and Mason streets now include signage for another outpost each of New York-based Shake Shack and Alabama-based Steel City Pops. The eccentric popsicle shop is shown inhabiting that freestanding dessert island planned in the parking lot east of Max’s Wine Dive; Shack Shack is depicted in a corner unit in the multi-story building planned across Mason St., next to the empty former site of Meteor Lounge (and catty-corner across Fairview from Meteor’s current crumbly resting place). A reader tells Swamplot that Shake Shack was also mentioned as a future Fairview District tenant at last week’s meeting of the East Montrose Civic Association, though possibly placed in a different spot in the development.

Also showing up in the latest images is Houston-based yoga and bike-in-place fitness outlet Revolution Studio; other names dropped on the flier include Austin-based barber shop Finley’s, California-based and -flavored fast-casual restaurant lemonade, haberdashery chain Goorin Bro.’s,  shoe-polish-brand-turned-upscale-watch-retailer Shinola, and — down on the Genesee St. corner — enthusiastic burger joint Eureka!:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Fairview Views
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:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

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:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

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:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

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:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

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:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

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:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

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.:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

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:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

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:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

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:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

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