04/20/18 5:00pm

During- and after-school views east across Oakdale St. show the 4-story, Gensler-designed school building that First Presbyterian Church plans to build adjacent to its current one in the Museum District. The new building is tucked into the pie slice of streets and parking lots north of the MFAH between Montrose Blvd. and Main. It sits on 2 vacant lots totaling just under one fifth of an acre in the loop formed by Oakdale and Pinedale streets. Catty-corner to it is the existing First Presbyterian School’s driveway — visible at the bottom of the daytime view above.

A sliced-open view from the building’s backside shows its lobby fronting the existing pre-K-through-8 school:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Museum District
04/16/18 1:00pm

The marketing materials for Hunington Properties’ new apartment building planned in place of Bethel Church a block north of Wash Ave come chock full of cultural references. There’s the Seinfeldian restaurant sign depicted on the corner of Shepherd and Center St, pick-up and drop-off zones adjacent to the parking garage’s entrances labeled Uber (sorry, Lyft!) in the site plan — and if that’s not enough, the leasing brochure notes that tenants “will be given latitude to incorporate unique elements into their storefronts promoting their individual brand identity.

Of the 4 corner retail segments planned — 25,000 sq. ft. total — 3 include patios. To accommodate them, Hunington is requesting several modifications to the setbacks: on Center St., on Durham, and the boldest on Shepherd — where the patio would sit only 5 ft. from the roadway, 20 ft. closer than is typically allowed. Last Thursday, Houston’s planning commission deferred the variance request. It’s now waiting on more information regarding the proposed patios before reconsidering the developer’s plans.

Bethel Church’s building currently takes up half of the block:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

The Interpose
04/04/18 1:00pm

Braun has a 2-step plan for developing the former Aztec Rental Services property on 34th St. between Oak Forest and Ella. A brochure on the developer’s website designates the portion of the site to the east as that of future residences. On the western edge of the would-be housing spot, Aztec’s former storefront — pictured above — looks toward an additional 2-acre parcel the equipment outfitter gave up.

That’s where Braun wants to plant a pair of 10,050-sq.-ft. retail buildings surrounded by a moat of parking:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

One of Each
04/03/18 12:00pm

Here’s the new 2,500-sq.-ft. strip center planned in the parking lot next door to Prince’s Hamburgers’ abandoned building on Ella Blvd. north of 34th St. The photo above, sent in by a Swamplot reader, views the former restaurant from the north, outside the closed-down A1 Auto Deals used car lot near the train tracks that cross Ella south of Judiway St. Between the auto dealer and the restaurant is where the strip center would go, at the west end of what’s now an additional 13,204-sq.-ft. parking lot.

Prince’s took over the restaurant building from Jack in the Box in 2016:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Garden Oaks Preview
04/02/18 4:00pm

Developer Patrinely Group is getting ready to start construction on one of the 12 mid-rise office towers it has planned for the 60-acre zone dubbed CityPlace within Springwoods Village — south of Exxon’s new-ish campus off I-45. The rendering at top shows the 5-story CityPlace 1 building — which will fit 2 retailers in its ground floor: one fronting a central green space to the east dubbed CityPlace Plaza, and another along City Plaza Dr., a road that begins at the park and heads between several of the office towers.

You can see the road cutting its way west past CityPlace 1 — at the far edge of the park — in the aerial rendering below:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

I-45 and Grand Pkwy.
03/29/18 4:00pm

Ancorian subsidiary CityLands has plans to plant a medical office building with street-level retail in place of the barrel-vaulted 1970 Goodyear auto shop at 3720 Westheimer. Leasing materials dub the new 40,250-sq.-ft. building the Surgery Center of River Oaks. However, the anchor tenant that CityLands says has leased more than half the structure’s square footage has a different take on its whereabouts — the partnership of doctors calls itself the Upper Kirby Surgical Center.

The rendering above shows a drive-up entrance fronting the planned building — which the developer says will include “integrated parking.” The lot that CityLands bought from the car center’s owner earlier this year backs up about 160-ft. north from Westheimer to abut the cul-de-sac of Locke Ln.

Photo: Arch-ive. Rendering: CityLands

Westheimer Retirement
03/23/18 4:00pm

Tradition Senior Living has kicked off construction on a new, 23-story tower it’s building on the site of the Ripple Creek Townhomes just east of the Second Baptist Church complex on Woodway Dr. — which were demolished last year. The tower will overlook the concrete-lined Bering Ditch as shown in the rendering at top — taken from the website of a Vietnamese firm that’s touting the project as a way for foreigners to earn green cards by investing in it.

The new apartment’s parking lot and landscaping on Woodway are shown hugging Texas Dow Employees Credit Union’s branch building on the corner of S. Ripple Creek Dr. East of the bank — in place of what are now 2 vacant strip buildings — a dog park, water feature, porte-cochère, and driveway onto Woodway are planned:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Vietnamese-Firm-Funded
03/22/18 3:00pm

Houston City Council voted unanimously yesterday to purchase 2 vacant parcels of land — just under 8 acres total — off Reed Rd. in Sunnyside for a new community service center and health clinic, as well as an adjacent park. Unlike the more remote site the officials first proposed for the new service center — on city property next to a former landfill that’s still home below ground to 3.5 million tires — the Reed Rd. location has never been developed, is just down the street from the existing center at 9314 Cullen Blvd. (pictured at top), and is now privately-owned.

A garbage incinerator once located on the 299.5-acre landfill on Bellfort St. just east of 288 closed in 1974 after a report from the Environmental Protection Agency said it was letting off deadly levels of lead into the air. The city commissioned new soil tests last year and argued that the brownfield — shown above — was safe. But the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says it’s still contaminated with metals, pesticides, solvents, and potentially toxic volatile organic compounds.

Here’s what the furnace — dubbed the Holmes Road Incinerator — looked like around the time the city shut it down:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Holmes Road Incinerator
03/21/18 2:00pm

KING’S BIERHAUS OWNERS WILL HATCH EGGHAUS NEXT DOOR Egghaus Gourmet is what the father-and-son owners of King’s Bierhaus are planning to call the new breakfast restaurant they have planned next to their existing beer hall in the strip center on T.C Jester, just off Ella. The Chronicle’s Greg Morago reports that Hans and Philipp Sitter have already “secured the Egghaus space” on the east side of the building. Upon opening, the new restaurant will bring the tenant count of the 17,500-sq.-ft. strip to either 3 or 4, depending on the state of another neighboring business: Tea & Victory. Announced last September, the board game cafe is still in its incubation phase, but a representative now tells Swamplot it’s looking at an early April opening. [Houston Chronicle] Photo of 2042 and 2044 E. T.C. Jester: JJ J.

03/16/18 12:30pm

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE THIRD WARD’S RIVERSIDE GENERAL HOSPITAL CAMPUS? The 3-acre Riverside General Hospital campus is home to 3 buildings: Houston’s first hospital for black patients fronting Elgin (pictured above) and a former nurses’ quarters along Holman (both opened in 1926 as the Houston Negro Hospital), as well as a newer 1961 hospital building. The entire facility closed in 2015 after its former CEO Earnest Gibson III was convicted of Medicare fraud. Earlier this week, the Harris County Commissioners Court voted to buy all 3 buildings. If they don’t become a part of the new mental health facility the county plans to open on the site, what purpose might the 2 older buildings serve? The neighborhood may get a chance to review smaller-scale proposals for those historic structures: a job training center, small business incubation facility, maker space, cultural museum, library, youth hostel, swing dance club, chess club, or dominoes club. UH architecture professor Alan Bruton tells Houston Matters host Craig Cohen that the Emancipation Economic Development Council — a Third Ward nonprofit — invited him to collect residents’ ideas for the space. His students next fall will create designs for some of those concepts; the Council may use them to raise money and rally support for the proposals. [Houston Public Media; audioPhoto of former Houston Negro Hospital building at 3204 Ennis St.: Ed Uthman [license]

03/15/18 11:15am

Here’s another development that the Oxberry Group has planned: a strip center for the northwest corner of San Felipe and Chimney Rock Rd. dubbed Shops at Tanglewood. The 2-story retail building and its parking lot would go in place of 4 houses that currently occupy the corner east of the Gables Tanglewood apartments — one pair fronts San Felipe and the other sits along Chimney Rock, as you can sort of see in this map:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Residential Replacement
03/14/18 11:45am

At least 4 different breeds are at play on the central lawn in front of Houston Dogbar & Boarding, but only humans are depicted with drinks in hand. Still, animals might be the ones that spend the most time in the new venue planned across from Hubcap Grill on W. 19th St.: preliminary permits filed for the project describe it as a “Dog Boarding House and Bar/Lounge.

A pet reception area borders the park on its west side, opposite the bar:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Booze and Hounds
03/13/18 12:00pm

The teeth, eyes, and . . . uh, overall shape of the new shopping center Braun Enterprises is planning for N. Shepherd and 24th St. can be considered taken care of, now that Lovett Dental, Eyes on the Heights Optometry, and Club Pilates have each signed leases for space in the development. That leaves 11,555 sq. ft. still available in 3 separate end-cap spots for any nail salon, podiatrist, or dermatology clinic that wants to fill out the theming for the complex, which would go on the block catty-corner to the H-E-B Heights Market currently under construction.

This would fit in with N. Shepherd’s ongoing transformation: Braun plans to demolish the Miller’s Auto Body Repair Experts facility (as of now still open for business) as well a building formerly occupied by Auto Electric Service on the site in order to construct the 24,000-sq.-ft. shopping center, which includes structured parking as well as a parking lot on the roof of one of the 2 buildings.

A full human-body-part-focused buildout for this planned complex at 2401 N. Shepherd Dr. isn’t so far-fetched: the latest renderings released for the development include generic signage for both a nail salon and a fitness club:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Body Shop to Body Shopping
03/09/18 4:45pm

With a few exceptions, new buildings are required to sit back 25 ft. from their property lines along major thoroughfares in Houston —  lending the city’s feeder roads, for example, their familiar drive-right-up demeanor. But the Gold Quest Group wants to do things a little differently along the westbound Katy Fwy. feeder, west of T.C. Jester.

The rendering at top, from architecture firm BDC Nomadas, shows the feeder-hugging 5-story office building Gold Quest is proposing: its 3 stories of offices on top of 2 garage levels are set back just 10 ft. from the property line. A 10-ft.-deep berm would block most of the lower-level parking from street view. Not pictured: the garden planned atop its roof.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Off Shoulder
03/06/18 1:15pm

10-STORY CELL TOWER WANTS TO SPIKE UP ALONG FIFTH WARD RAILROAD TRACKS A new cell tower is proposed behind a warehouse on Schweikhardt St., just north of where the road ends at Clinton Dr. Vertical Bridge Development, an entity that manages towers for telecom companies, filed an application with the city’s Tower Commission for permission to build the 100-ft. tall structure just north of the train tracks that cross Schweikhardt late last year. The tracks are more or less the dividing line between the industrial zone that spreads out along Buffalo Bayou between Hirsch Rd. and Route 90, and the residential portion of the Fifth Ward that extends south of I-10. City rules require a waiver for towers to be built in residential neighborhoods, and in order to get one, the owner of the 1.5-acre lot where the tower is proposed argues that the parcel is deep enough for the antenna to hang back far from the road. Still, however, the nearest residential property would be just over 200 ft. away from the new sky wire. [Houston Tower Commission Agenda] Photo of signage at proposed tower site: Swamplot inbox