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

08/16/18 2:00pm

Petco, Michaels, Bed Bath and Beyond, and a big Dick’s Sporting Goods store are among the retailers now lining up for spots in Newquest Properties‘ new Grand-Parkway-adjacent shopping center dubbed The Grand at Aliana. They’ll be buffered from the highway by a roughly 2,400-car-parking lot and a front-line of fast food restaurants. The whole Grand plan hits the Houston Planning Commission’s desk later this afternoon at City Hall Annex, 20 miles away from where the development would be built off W. Airport Blvd.

The map at top shows it vying for attention up there amid the blue jigsaw grid of proposed and recently-built neighborhoods that keep appearing around the highway. In orange is the shopping center’s namesake, the 2,8000-house-and-counting Aliana community that wraps it to the east.

Viewed from the east in the conceptual shot below, you can see some of those houses in the foreground:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Grandstanding
08/16/18 10:00am

A vast pet boarding facility is now taking over the Winport Furniture building at 6393 Richmond — which stretches back south nearly the entire block along Unity Dr., pictured above. After sitting on the place for 6 months, the pet resort operator that bought it filed a building permit yesterday indicating it’s about to rejigger the former 19,497-sq.-ft. showroom with the help of Slattery Tackett Architects.

Before shifting its focus to office furniture in 2016, the building dealt in home items and called itself The Chair King:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Gone to the Dogs
08/14/18 11:30am

ALEXAN MEMORIAL APARTMENTS ARE HEADING TO RICE MILITARY A group linked to Dallas developer Trammell Crow recently filed plans with Houston’s planning commission to prep the shaded 2.5-acre parcel shown on the map between Sandman and the dead end of Reinerman St. for new apartments under the Alexan name. The complex would be backed by a ramp that diverges from the north side of Memorial Dr. and neighbored by a 3-story building that forms part of the DePelchin Children’s Center’s main Houston campus. Ordered off the site to make way for the new construction: some parking for the adjacent adoption and foster care center and a vacant, H-shaped office building to the west. Map: Houston Planning Commission

08/13/18 12:00pm

A new sketch of the Almeda Rd. building that Art Supply on Main wants to construct and move into shows the borders and outlines of what’s planned for its exterior. Like the current store — soon to make way for the highrise that’s taking over its lot between Drew and Dennis streets — the new one will include studio and living spaces along with retail, all within 2 stories. It’ll sit on a 2-plus acre site — highlighted by the red polygon in the map above (and nuzzled by a pale blue limb of 500-year floodplain) — originally part of Riverside Terrace, now just west of 288 and across from Our Legends Cigar Bar off Oakdale St.

Parking will remain in the back, with entrances off Oakdale and an alley to the south indicated in the site plan below:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Midtown Moveout
08/10/18 12:00pm

RICE PICKS UP 1.75 MORE ACRES NEAR WHEELER TRANSIT CENTER, STRIPPED-DOWN SEARS A pair of entities connected to Rice University have purchased some extra property near the molted Midtown Sears the school bought along with 3 adjacent acres last year. Included in the deal: the surface parking lot at 4510 Main St. — west of the Wheeler Transit Center — the Shipley Do-Nuts on the corner of Richmond, and the Gulf station next to the Spur 527 overpass. Nothing’s gone down on the land recently except for the gas station; it was demolished in June. But A long list of proposed Houston residential developments put out by mortgage bank Berkadia — now being passed around on HAIF — shows the surface parking now slated for a 243-unit highrise from developer Horizon Real Estate. Last time someone planned to do something with that parcel, ground-floor retail was in the mix, too, with 327 units of affordable housing upstairs. [Berkadia via HAIF; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Lou C.

08/09/18 1:00pm

A POST OAK PARKING GARAGE SOLUTION TO THE DEMAND FOR DRIVE-IN THEATERS The head of the company now bringing a movie theater to the top of the BLVD Place garage at Post Oak and San Felipe tells the Chronicle’s Ileana Najarro that he “hopes to offer a social experience for those nostalgic for drive-in theaters.” What better place to do it than in Houston, where people drive in and out of buildings all the time? The catch: you’ll have to get out of your car and amble up to the garage’s top floor above Whole Foods and other retail, where it might get noisy — especially with that bus lane construction happening now on Post Oak. But there’s a solution: wireless headphones for each audience member — which Rooftop Cinema Club’s head says will “replicate the intimate setting of one’s car,” just like the old days. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Whole Foods at 1700 Post Oak Blvd.: Dung L.

08/09/18 9:45am

Ground beef chain BuffBurger is about to move into the new Citywest Retail Center 3 blocks outside Beltway 8 and just down the street from Phillips’s year-old headquarters and garage-top sports complex. So far, the strip center’s lineup includes almost exclusively food joints of the fast-casual variety, with a lone Ideal Dental office in middle of the east building. Its coming soon sign is pictured in the photo above, west of Yogurtland.

BuffBurger’s spot — its third since opening in the new Alabama Row strip across W. Alabama from the Menil in March — is in the shorter and stouter east building, where it’ll fill in corner at the far end from Panera’s already-open endcap:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Westchase
08/03/18 12:45pm

A new brewery is now in the works for the industrial building that sits across the Downtown 59 on-ramp from the Houston Center for Sobriety. Just like the adjacent drunk tank which opened in 2013, the new business at 100 N. Jackson will be housed in a repurposed warehouse. Its lawn includes several signs pointing drivers to the neighboring sobering center — like the one shown above fronting the exit ramp off the Eastex, on the west side of the soon-to-be beer venue dubbed Industry Brewery. (Also in the frame: signage for the building’s most recent tenant the American Engine & Grinding Company.)

At that corner, a left on Ruiz St. followed by another quick one on Chenevert gets you outside the recovery facility:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Downtown Wet and Dry Spots
07/31/18 3:00pm

THE BUILDUP TO TEAR THINGS DOWN FOR THE NEW I-45 HAS BEGUN “I’ve noticed a trend in lower Fifth Ward to start building or planning to build in the path of the upcoming I-45 reroute,” writes a Swamplot reader. “Is there a chance that developers can make more money on their buyout if they have developed plans?” Developed or not, there’s certainly been some action along the right of way that TxDOT plans to crater for the new highway segment — like that recent buying and selling in East Downtown across from the GRB. No one’s signed up to build anything new on those parcels yet — but with roadwork not slated to start until 2020, that’s plenty of time to get something ready ahead of the demolitions the highwaymen have planned to make way for the reroute. [Previously on Swamplot] Diagram of I-45 reroute: TxDOT

07/27/18 1:45pm

Here’s another Midtown development development: Georgian breakfast restaurant Flying Biscuit Café is the first tenant to line up for a spot in the tower Caydon Property’s putting up off Main St., between Drew and Tuam streets. The 27-story building — viewed above from the east side of Fannin St. — is just south of the Art Supply on Main store that Caydon just recently snatched up and plans to replace with one in the threesome of towers that’ll eventually stretch up to McGowen.

Flying Biscuit’s other destination as part of its 2-pronged Houston entrance strategy: the west side of the strip on Kingsride Ln. off Gessner where Reginelli’s Pizzeria decamped earlier this month:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Flightplans
07/26/18 2:00pm

Catty-corner to the soon-to-be aerated Spaghetti Warehouse building on Commerce St., its 2-story brick neighbor between Travis and Milam has a similar plan for dealing with its own floody first floor: get rid of all downstairs law offices and replace them with parking. Currently, the decades-old Abraham Watkins Building is bookended by 2 surface parking lots to the east and the west (pictured above). By filling in the gap between them with 14 more spots, the owner hopes it’ll no longer have to keep repairing the decades-old place like its done at least once yearly for the past 4 years, according to an application it filed this month. (Personal injury firm Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz has managed to stay safe in the building throughout that time, though staff retreated to the top floor after Harvey.)

Houston’s historic commission approved that application yesterday, clearing the way for this new garage door to crop up on Commerce in place of the center storefront panel as shown below:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

800 Commerce
07/25/18 5:00pm

SIZING UP BROADSTONE ARTS DISTRICT, THE UNBUILT APARTMENTS ACROSS FROM SAWYER YARDS 328 units will crowd into the planned building according to a rundown of coming Houston residential developments put out by investment firm Berkadia and dug up by HAIF sleuth Urbannizer just the earlier today. (That’s a bit smaller-scale than the 375-unit Broadstone Studemont mid-rise now going vertical on a slightly larger 4-acre block of land half a mile away on Studemont at Summer St.) Although nothing’s changed physically at the site since several warehouse buildings were demolished on it 2 years ago, it has seen some recent action on paper: In March Houston’s planning commission approved a request to consolidate 2 separate, abutting parcels of land into a single nearly–4-acre property on which the apartment will rise just north of the railroad tracks that cross Sawyer St. The property owner: an entity connected to developer Frank Liu of Lovett Commercial and InTown Homes. He’s also got his hands on the 2 warehouses-turned-retail-buildings across the street where new tenants continue to file in, as well as the Salvation Army structure south of them. [Berkadia (PDF) via HAIF] Photo: Swamplot inbox

07/12/18 10:00am

One keenly observant HAIFer who’s been watching for signs of change at 5521 Navigation Blvd. has now pieced together what’s happening there: it’s planned to house a new beer venue dubbed Symbolic Brewing. Renovations haven’t begun yet on the empty brick warehouse — shown see-through from its east side in the photo above — but according to a recent Facebook post from the business, brewers are now in talks with contractors about what to do with the place.

The building sits on narrow, just-under-an-acre plot that fronts Navigation — as shown in the photo at top — and backs up to a rail line running along the southern oxbow in Buffalo Bayou dubbed Turkey Bend. Roughly five times its size is the Farmer Brothers coffee plant across the street, where production emits strong notes of java.

Photos: Swamplox inbox

East End Uppers and Downers
07/06/18 1:00pm

KICKING OFF CONSTRUCTION ON THE HOUSTON SABERCATS’ PERMANENT HOME RUGBY TURF Building permits filed yesterday indicate that crews are about to get started turning the existing field at 2055 Mowery Rd. into a sportier one, fit for the Houston SaberCats rugby team (formerly the Houston Strikers) to call home. The land off Hwy. 288 remains owned by the city, which granted the team a 42-year lease in exchange for the promise it’ll host free kid-friendly rugby training events, on-site matches for high-schoolers. The city will also shell out $3.2 million to cover the costs of the 760-space parking lot the team plans to plant, along with seats to accommodate 3,500 fans (about half the capacity of what’s now the team’s temporary turf at Houston ISD’s Dyer Stadium, adjacent to the Northwest Mall). The expected completion date: sometime before next season — which the team hopes will go a little better than this current one. (After winning their second game of the year back in April, they’ve lost every match since, putting them in last place with a 1-7 record.) [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of 2055 Mowery Rd.: Swamplox inbox