01/20/17 4:00pm

1920 Houston Ave., First Ward, Houston, 77007

1920 Houston Ave., First Ward, Houston, 77007Despite being marketed previously as a potential site for up to 15 freestanding townhomes, the townhome-fringed lot at the corner of Houston Ave. and Spring St. now sports a TABC permit notification instead. A reader caught some evening views of the corner and the sign announcing mixed-beverage and late-night plans for its little 1996 building (which names Spring Street Beer and Wine Garden as the incoming occupant). New owners (at least the 6th to purchase the property since 2005, per county records) purchased the property in the fall, and the Attack of the Killer Condos mural previously facing the Heights Hike & Bike Trail along Spring St. has already been painted over:

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Holding the Line in First Ward
01/20/17 12:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW 2-SYLLABLE NEIGHBORHOOD NICKNAMES ARE BORN October 2016 look around Discovery Green and George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas,  Downtown, Houston, 77010“I’m with WR: who are these supposed ‘Houston residents’ who call it ADLA? I’ll bet those ‘residents’ are people who got here 6 months ago (and/or are the writer and his buddy). As far as the headline question: I think it may be too early for us to claim ‘World’s Best Super Bowl Host City‘ — or as a Houston resident, I call it WBSBHC, which rolls off the tongue.” [Wolf Brand Chili, commenting on Houston Rents Slide; Post-Flood Calls for Action] Photo of redone George R. Brown Convention Center on Avenida de las Americas: Bob Russell

01/18/17 2:30pm

Spire Houston in former First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002

Spire Houston in former First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002Steeple-themed nightclub and Swampies also-ran Spire is now up and running in Downtown’s converted First Church of Christ, Scientist at 1720 Main St., following last winter’s covert purchase by the group running Clé bar. The remodeled Mod space officially opened last weekend and is currently advertising upcoming events on a marquee along Jefferson St., including a Playboy-sponsored pre-Super Bowl party (scheduled against the Taylor Swift concert at temporary 3-story nightclub Club Nomadic, among other goings-on).  Other upcoming Spire events include this weekend’s Waka Flocka Flame concert and the VS vs Fredericks Lingerie Contest scheduled for next Wednesday.

Some promotional photos from the club provide a few views of the former altar (above, with a view of the original for comparison), as well as the added balconies and new seating arrangement possibilities in the main sanctuary:

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Downtown Conversions
01/10/17 10:30am

Meteor Lounge brick reuse, Fairview at Genesee streets, East Montrose, Houston, 77006

Meteor, 2306 Genesee St, Montrose, HoustonThe deconstruction crew that brought Meteor Lounge to the ground at Fairview and Genesee streets last week got in a last round of crushing digs at the fallen structure over the weekend, a reader reports: “They piled up all the bricks and ran over them with the huge excavator, crushing them.  They then moved the debris and spread it over the dirt in the ‘parking’ lot across the street from Max’s Wine Dive.” The obliterated former club’s corner property is planned as the location of a proposed 5-story parking garage for the Fairview District redevelopment; here’s the view from Fairview of the rearranged structure itself, facing southeast toward the CenterPoint electrical substation on Genesee:

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Fairview Impacts
01/05/17 11:30am

Lowell St. Market renderings, 718 W. 18th St., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008

The details for Radom Capitol’s Lowell St. Market makeover of the industrial warehouses at the corner of W. 18th St. and N. Shepherd Dr. seem to be getting firmed up, and a slew of new building permits were issued last month for the site. The latest depictions of the space show both a less neon green color-and-finish scheme and more detail as to how the redeveloped and new buildings will be sliced up for tenants. The current leasing plan shows the former Airmakers Cooling & Heating warehouse along N. Shepherd (depicted above on the left wearing what what Steve Radom describes as its Japanese-barn-inspired replacement skin) as the planned site of a single restaurant. The middle building, now shown with a brown forehead, appears to be getting sliced up into 3 shops. And the current leasing materials for the development show all of the dark blue spots below as already leased out:

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Lowell St. on W. 18th
12/29/16 4:30pm

Meteor, 2306 Genesee St, Montrose, Houston
Demolition of Meteor, 2306 Genesee St, Montrose, Houston

Demolition of Meteor, 2306 Genesee St, Montrose, HoustonSome fluffy pink batting stands out amid the debris spotted this week at the corner of Genessee and Fairview streets, being swept clean of shower-centric nightclub and regular drag venue Meteor. The teardown makes room for work to start on that 5-story parking garage (the one that might be getting the artful crust of bicycles). Construction on the Fairview District, a six-block project including the parking garage, some office space, and more restaurant and retail spots, is supposed to get rolling in January, according to developer Fred Sharifi (also behind the Max’s Wine Dive visible peeking out from the left of the shot above, as well as its re-bricked strip-center companions).

A reader driving by caught a few shots of an excavator and a big red dumpster on the scene, loitering close to the Fairview-facing side where the Midtown Aegean Auto shack was — both the auto shop and Meteor received their very own demo permits just in time for Christmas, and the club was reportedly well on its way toward obliteration by Monday afternoon. A view from across Genesee shows that the club’s clumps of privacy bamboo were still standing as of Tuesday:

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Fairview Farewells
12/28/16 4:00pm

AN EERIE SURVEY OF NORTHWEST MALL’S APACHES, ALCOHOLICS, AND CHRISTMAS CAST Northwest Mall, 555 NW Mall, Spring Branch East, Houston, 77092A spiritual throwback to John Nova Lomax’s semi-regular walkumentaries of various Houston neighborhoods is part of January’s edition of Texas Monthly: an account of his recent trek through sorta-back-from-the-dead shopping center Northwest Mall. Lomax ponders the center’s past, present, and future while interviewing the locals (like the photo-ready Santa and elf team) and collecting dramatic snippets of eavesdropped conversation outside the mall’s Alcoholics Anonymous meeting facility (located not too far from the alcoholic bundt cake shop). Lomax writes that he sees the decidedly not-as-decrepit-as-it-used-to-be complex, complete with mysteriously closed Southern Apache Museum and $2 hurricane simulation tube, as a “window into modern, cosmopolitan Houston,” noting that “today’s Northwest Mall is more identifiably Bayou City than it was in the boom times. Where it was once just another outpost of corporate American capitalism, it is now as diverse as the city around it. . . . What you will find among these [one-off shops] you will find nowhere else, and the scenes you will take in are often exotic, quirky, or somewhat spooky — and occasionally some combination of all of the above.” [Texas Monthly; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Northwest Mall Entrance C: Moni

12/19/16 12:45pm

Rendering of Buffalo Heights Mixed Use Phase I, at Washington Ave. at Waugh Dr.

H-E-B preliminary plans for Washington Ave. at Heights Blvd.The complex containing Midway’s planned H-E-B-and-midrise at the southeast corner of Heights Blvd. and Washington Ave. won’t be named Northbank Buffalo Bayou after all, Nancy Sarnoff reports this week — it’ll be called Buffalo Heights. Above is Ziegler Cooper’s rendering of the proposed structure, which would take up the northwest corner of the old Archstone Memorial Heights apartments property (which was bought in 2014 by the current owners). That development previously gave its moniker to the surrounding neighborhood; it remains to be seen if this latest rebranding attempt will stick.

The new midrise would sit about half a mile south of the official southernmost edge of the Houston Heights (as drawn for voting in last month’s local-option Heights moistening election), and about half a mile north of Buffalo Bayou (though only a quarter mile from the Buffalo Wild Wings a few blocks west down Washington Ave). The new design shows off 5 stories of apartments (tallying up as 232 units) on top of the 2-story H-E-B, with about 37,000 sq. ft. of office space and a couple of other retail spots in the mix.

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First of Its Name in Memorial Heights
12/12/16 11:15am

Rendering of Heights Market, 7122 Old Katy Rd., Hempstead Industrial, Houston, 77055

7122 Old Katy Rd., Hempstead Industrial, Houston, 77055

Here’s a peek at what the old Delta Fastener warehouse at 7122 Old Katy Rd. might look like once Braun Enterprises gets done with it. The property — located just inside the W. Loop in that wedge of industrial parks hemmed in by I-10 and Hempstead Rd., west of Cottage Grove — was snagged by Braun at the end of November. A handful of renderings from Tipps Architecture (also behind the design for another of Braun’s not-in-its-namesake-neighborhood redevelopments) depict the 57,845-sq.-ft. warehouse done over in brown and bearing the label Heights Market.

The renderings show some new windows, large and small, sliced into exterior of the 1940s warehouse, and an existing loading dock redone as a cafeteria space:

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Changes for Delta
11/09/16 11:15am

One Allen Center, 1200 Smith St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Planned Remodel of One Allen Center, 1200 Smith St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

From over the fence at the corner of Smith and Dallas streets, a reader sends a shot of the ongoing scrape-out at One Allen Center. The glassed-in space protruding toward Smith will be undergoing a major reconstructive procedure to square up its corners, if all goes according to Brookfield’s previously depicted plan. Meanwhile, that skybridge in the back on the left is looking a good deal more put together than it did at the end of June, when it got the strip-down treatment; it’s now sporting a brighter, more silver-y skin to match the renderings, which show it backing up a band in that planned twixt-the-towers events space:  CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Going Gray Downtown
11/08/16 1:30pm

Hardy Yards, Near Northside, Houston, 77026

Not many signs of the buildings yet — but Chris Andrews notes the new benches, sidewalks, and railyard-themed signage recently installed in the formerly-a-railyard Hardy Yards site, along some initial roadways laid out for that planned mixed-use redevelopment complex. The signage above, complete with what appear to be segments of decorative rail track, is at the corner of now-extended Chapman and Leona streets.  Here’s a look at a new industrial-chic bike rack installed nearby, with a bonus glimpse of a few of the warehouses along parallel-ish Burnett St. visible to the north:

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Tracking Near Northside
11/04/16 12:45pm

H-E-B mapped on Washington Ave. by Braun Enterprises

Looks like the logo spotted in that Braun flier earlier this year wasn’t too far off the mark: a lease signed in May by H-E-B for a new store on Washington Ave., which Nancy Sarnoff noted yesterday afternoon, includes some preliminary layout drawings for the grocery chain’s claimed spot — at the foot of what looks to be a mixed-used midrise planned on the Memorial Heights apartment complex property. (Also included in the document: the name Northbank Condominium #1, which sounds a lot like that trademark that Midway was working on earlier this year.) H-E-B Houston president Scott McClelland told Sarnoff that this doesn’t change the company’s interest in putting a store on the former N. Shepherd Fiesta site (and backing the ongoing campaign to get the Heights dry laws dampened); Sarnoff reports that the company would ideally like stores on Washington Ave., N. Shepherd, and in Garden Oaks, if they can find places to put them.

Where exactly will the Washington store land? The lease shows a preliminary footprint right at the corner with Heights Blvd., stretching not quite to Wagner St. to the east. H-E-B’s yet-to-be-built space looks to include a 91,000-sq.-ft. ground floor store, topped by a layer of parking on the second level of the structure (plus about 6,600 sq. ft. more of non-parking space). The document filed with the Harris County clerk’s office also shows plans for 5 more levels split between more parking and room for other tenants — including what it tallies up as about 36,000 sq. ft of office space and about 262,900 sq. ft. of multifamily residential space. A 2,200-sq.-ft. retail spot is also tucked in on the ground floor on the east side of H-E-B’s main store area.

Drawings in the doc depict the H-E-B-footed structure fitting into the space marked Zone A in the diagram below, just north of the northern edge of the Memorial Heights Villages midrise:

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Northbank on Washington Ave.
10/27/16 11:00am

210 Glen Park St., Near Northside, Houston, 77009

A few twists and turns up Little White Oak Bayou from N. Main St. and the White Oak Music Hall complex, work is underway on a bayou-side brewery on another piece of land owned by W2 development (and going by the name Black Page Brewing Co.) The city issued a few more permits for the brewpub this week (fast on the heels of the permit issued Tuesday for the music venue’s permanent outdoor stage — a few days after construction allegedly got rolling, though not quite in time for tonight’s planned outdoor The Head and The Heart concert). Owner Anthony Heins tells Swamplot the pub is just leasing the land from W2, which country records show bought the property in April of last year. And builder KUEHN Inc. has been snapping photos of progress at the former warehouse, which sits near the stretch of waterway where an area resident took those videos of chainsaw aftermath back in May; that area is down beyond the orange fencing below on the left:

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Near Northside Neighbors
10/24/16 3:45pm

Former Palace Bowling Lanes, 4191 Bellaire Blvd., Cambridge Place, Houston, 77025

The Palace Bowling Lanes building on Bellaire Blvd. (which picked up the new moniker Bowl on Bellaire about a year ago) appears to have been closed since Friday, says a reader who “showed up [Saturday] morning for the youth bowling league to find that the locks have been changed and they are not open for business.” Katherine Feser confirms this afternoon that the property is still closed, though a note on the door says the tenant can have new keys if and when all the delinquent rent is paid.

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Southside Displaced
10/24/16 12:30pm

Riel Restaurant under construction at 1927 Fairview, Montrose, Houston, 77006

French-Canadian-Ukrainian-Texan fusion restaurant Riel is still being installed at 1927 Fairview St., formerly home to Te House of Tea and Trudy’s Boutique Re Sale at the corner with Woodhead St. A reader snagged the shot above yesterday afternoon, showing the former mid-60’s retail strip dressed up in green construction fencing and still sporting that above-it-all street number signage. Ex-Reef chef Ryan Lachaine last said in September that the place should be opening some time next month.

Photo: Mosaic Clinic Dermatology

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