05/18/18 10:00am

All car-related signage has come down from the Heights building North Loop Auto Supply once occupied 9 blocks south of the North Loop on the northeast corner of Harvard and E. 20th. In its place, a banner for new restaurant Neo Baguette now hangs over the building’s 20th-St. doorway. An entity connected to developer Steve Radom bought the 2,331-sq.-ft. freestanding structure late last year and set about reworking it into something more suitable for a restaurant tenant to occupy.

Included in that effort: gardening work to add the tufty beds of flora that now front 20th St., the removal of the front gates and awning from the storefront entrance, the addition of new windows, and the erection of the 4 steel columns now attached to the building’s face. A parking lot to the east separates it from its next-door neighbor, Revive Salon and Spa.

Photo: Ken Barnes (Neo Baguette); LoopNet (auto parts)

Sandwich Signage
05/17/18 11:45am

Title Boxing Club is the latest tenant on its way to the block-long former Midtowne Spa at 3100 Fannin St. Braun bought the building the same year the bathhouse shuttered in 2016, set up a 4,664-sq.-ft. office on the second floor, and began ushering other tenants into the building. Two months ago, Verizon opened at the south end of the structure, on the corner of Elgin and Fannin. In between it and the national boxing chain’s new location, a Bishops hair salon is planned.

The bathhouse — pictured above from the north before its recent whitewashing treatment — had been in the building since at least the ’80s. Other locations still operate under the same brand in Denver and Los Angeles.

Its first floor included this swimming pool and hot tub setup:

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No Longer Midtowne Spa
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:

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Body Shop to Body Shopping
12/27/17 12:30pm

The pile of mangled disco parts beyond the fence pictured at top is all that remains of the less-than-2-year-old La Roux nightclub building at 4011 Washington after crews brought down the house last week. In March, a real estate company connected to Zadok Jewelers bought the entire 39,000-sq.-ft. block on Washington between Leverkuhn and Jackson Hill St. La Roux was evicted earlier this year.

The club’s entrance was off Leverkuhn:

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La Roux-ined
12/14/17 12:45pm

The former packaging warehouse at 7800 Washington — on its way to being reworked so that offices, furniture showrooms, and a restaurant can move into it, likely next year — already has a new tenant in place: The Study, a pop-up gallery and shop selling prints, greeting cards, and design-y gifts. Los Angeles-based artist Jacqueline Levine runs the store, which opened late last month in the southeast corner of the 66,000-sq.-ft. building.

Levine’s father, Larry Levine, is hoping a restaurant will take over the space once more of the building is ready for tenants. He’s the president of Levcor, the development firm that bought the building last year. The Study will be open through January, although it’ll take some holiday time off beginning on December 24.

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The Study
12/12/17 3:30pm

Study the photo at top carefully and you’ll see 2 eye-catching features that were installed in November: the gaping, cycloptic sculpture at the entrance to the parking lot outside 7800 Washington, as well as new lettering spelling out THE STUDY on the warehouse’s awning. Developer Levcor bought the 66,000-sq.-ft. brick building — at that time home to Brian Thomas Display & Packaging — last year and filed construction permits in September to begin renovating it into a space for offices, furniture showrooms, and a restaurant.

Before and after views show how the building’s front side on Washington, just northwest of the Katy Fwy., will be transformed:

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Cottage Grove
12/06/17 3:15pm

A Swamplot reader sends photos of the partial demolition now underway along Commerce St. just off Colby in the Second Ward just north of East Downtown. Ancorian bought 3 warehouses between Commerce and Canal St. last November and plans to redevelop the site into a single dock-front building with a parking lot along its west side. The new development, dubbed The Block, would consist of 44,000 sq. ft. of “creative workspace and retail.

Here’s an aerial view looking west along Commerce St taken from before the demolition.:

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Second Ward Redo
12/06/17 12:15pm

The 4949 Convenience Store, heir to the Sunrise Grocery spot on the northeast corner of Bissonnet and Shepherd, has been demolished — this time in its entirety, and with a little less fanfare. Back in September, crowds gathered to watch ceiling-mounted wrecking balls bust up parts of the building’s interior as part of a “site specific, kinetic installation” by artist Trey Duvall.

Cherry Demolition’s more conventional performance took place yesterday, a reader tells Swamplot; the photo at top shows the lot after it was cleared out this morning. A 3-story office building with a street-level cafe is planned for the site.

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Boulevard Oaks
11/14/17 2:45pm

Site work has begun on the block of Birdsall St. just north of Memorial Dr., where demolition of the 2-story buildings comprising the former 57 Off Memorial apartments was finished up a couple of weeks ago. The photo above, sent to Swamplot by photographer Sonya Cuellar, shows a view of 160 Birdsall St. looking east in its current naked condition; Birdsall in the foreground and Venice St. on the right. The vacated portion of the Malone St. block beyond is also part of the project.

Going up in place of the 120 apartment units knocked out by the excavators: Jonathan Farb’s new City Place Memorial Park apartments, which renderings show would follow the pattern of Farb’s City Place Midtown apartments, only taller because the garages will be underneath and with more prominent cornices and balconies: 4 wood-framed stories will sit on top of 2-level concrete parking garages fitted with courtyard swimming pools on their decks. It’ll have 264 units in 2 separate buildings.

Photo: Sonya Cuellar. Rendering: Farb Homes/Wallace Garcia Wilson Architects

Farb Homes
10/24/17 12:45pm

Not too much in the way of timelapse settings, drone footage, pulsating but string-infused soundtracks, supertitles, or accompanying sound effects appears to have been spared in the making of this video ode to the Arch-Con crane assembly now hovering over the southeast corner of Washington Ave and S. Heights Blvd. That’s the location of the planned H-E-B Market with the office space and 5-story apartment building on top of it soon to be known as the first phase of Midway’s Buffalo Heights development, on the northwest corner of the former Memorial Heights apartments.

Video: Midway Companies

Going Vertical
10/17/17 4:45pm

A couple of Houston architects have a proposal for the northern portion of the soon-to-be-shuttered Greenspoint Mall at the northeast intersection of Beltway 8 and I-45: Turning it into a driving range surrounded by 3 golf holes. Why such an abbreviated course? Well, there’s only so much land available. But Paul Kweton and Hidekazu Takahashi of Studio Paulbaut consider the paring down an attractive update to convention that could help to make the sport more accessible:

“It takes up to 5 hours to play a decent round of golf,” they write. Their Greenspoint green would offer a quicker golfing proposition: A round of golf in 60 minutes. 

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Greenspoint Greens
10/09/17 10:45am

The anticipated departure of Hyde Park gift shop Corazon from its perch at the corner of Fairview and Waugh has been delayed by 3 months at least. Although the property it sits on has been sold to a new owner interested in building a trio of townhouses, demolition of the former smithy, antique store, and glass-blowing studio won’t take place this year: Corazon now has a new short-term lease that runs until December 31st and will convert to a month-to-month status after that.

If the lease does get extended for a few months into 2018, it’ll mark the store’s 20th anniversary at 2318 Waugh Dr. In either case, it’ll probably be an awkward extended goodbye: A clearance sale begun in August on the store’s current inventory of Lucha Libre masks, guyaberas, and other items from South and Central American artisan cooperatives is ongoing, but popular items will probably be restocked for the holiday season. The store’s owner is searching for a new location.

Photo: Corazon

Townhome Fodder
10/03/17 12:30pm

The sleepy 1.33-acre site at the eastern end of the Target parking lot on San Felipe just inside The Loop was rudely awakened from a long slumber last week with the action of some demolition equipment. A couple of structures that formerly housed Dream’s & Bros. Hand Car Wash and Lube, opened by former UTSA basketball player and brother-of-Hakeem Afis Olajuwon in 1998, had sat vacant on the lot at 4303 San Felipe St. since its closing in 2014.

Judging by the name given to the site in a replat document filed with the city in April of this year — “Bank of America River Oaks,” with the address taken down a couple notches to 4301 San Felipe — it’s likely a new bank branch will be going up in its place.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Sitewashing
09/29/17 1:30pm

The 3 office buildings that stood on the block bounded Town & Country Blvd., Town & Country, Ln., Town & Country Way, and the Katy Fwy. eastbound feeder road just north of CityCentre are all cleared now, a reader reports. Except, that is, for the underground parking garage below the concrete — and its liquid contents. The closeup view above, taken from the office building known as CityCentre Five, shows the water level this week at the lower reaches of the entrance ramp. Think it’ll be easy to drain? Take a close look at the concrete surface and you’ll see evidence of previous efforts:

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All Over, Except for the Garage Water
09/27/17 2:30pm

Here are a couple renderings from the Michael Hsu Office of Architecture in Austin of the new 3-story building the firm is designing for the corner spot at 2132 Bissonnet St. in Boulevard Oaks. A representative of the Platform Group, the building’s developer, tells Swamplot an “all-day cafe/coffee shop” is being planned for the ground floor, and that the upper 2 floors will contain “boutique office space.” The cafe won’t be a Gringo’s Tex-Mex, but the developers do have a connection to that restaurant chain: The Platform Group is headed by a son and daughter-in-law of Gringo’s owner Russell Ybarra.

In the top rendering, the 11,300-sq.-ft. building is shown lining Shepherd Dr., with an L-shaped parking lot wrapping around it. A patio with outdoor seating will go in front of the structure along Bissonnet St. The Houston office of SWA Group is designing the landscape.

Here are views of the current site from similar angles:

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Remaking Boulevard Oaks