11/13/18 12:30pm

WHAT’S NEXT FOR HALLIBURTON’S EMPTY OAK PARK CAMPUS ON BELLAIRE? A newly-formed group of real estate experts is now brainstorming ideas for Halliburton’s 48-acre former Oak Park campus at 10200 Bellaire Blvd., just west of Beltway 8. Included in the brain-trust: architecture firm HOK and landscape and planning firm SWA Group — as well as Hines and Transwestern, which will handle property management and leasing, respectively. They’ve all been called in by a private investment group that bought the complex over the summer and that’s headed up — reporter Ralph Bivins has said — by longtime Sharpstown land huckster Lawrence Wong. Halliburton employees began trickling out of their offices in the bow-tie-shaped 1979 building 3 years ago, leaving behind the amenities (a basketball court, daycare center, and auditorium) and adjacencies (a conference center and 5-story garage) that the new owner is now touting. Photo: LoopNet

11/13/18 10:15am

Aside from the presence of workers, the only hint you’ll find that construction has begun on the MDI Superfund site is the sign now standing at the location itself (and the HAIF thread where a user first called attention the whole scene). It’s facing toward the end of Gillespie St., a tiny Fifth Ward road that crosses over Hirsch Rd. and some railroad tracks 3 blocks north of Clinton Dr. before petering out into the eastern edge of the vacant, 35-acre industrial site. There, 3 acres are now giving rise to 42 new townhomes put there Urban Living, the Houston developer that received a multi-million dollar bill in court last week for copying copyrighted townhome plans at a handful of other sites. It’s calling this latest batch East River Yards (an apparent nod to the other industrial tract just south, the gradually crumbling KBR campus that’s been redubbed East River.)

The East River Yards houses will cluster around 3 shared driveways, all of which let out onto Press St.:

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East River Yards
11/07/18 12:30pm

League City’s city council voted to relegate the Chester L. Davis Sportsplex on I-45 to a less prime spot on the other side of the interstate so that a whole bunch of buildings — collectively dubbed Epicenter League City — can take its highway-adjacent place and hopefully, “make League City a dynamic cultural center and national destination,” according to the official press release. (The map above shows the plans with east facing up.) Freeway exposure for it all is limited by the pair of car dealerships — Mac Haik Toyota and Clear Lake Nissan — situated right up on the northbound feeder road. But behind them lies the 106-acre development’s urban nucleus, a shop-lined central green space bookended by some kind of water park and an opposing “Live/Work Village,” with an outdoor entertainment complex and convention center to the immediate north. Beyond that core, things give way to the parking lot, retail, and office hodgepodge that’s more of a familiar sight.

While a private developer has signed up to fund the Epicenter’s construction, League City officials appear to have their work cut out for them on the new, larger sportsplex — which they want to look something like this:

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The Epicenter off I-45
11/06/18 10:00am

Rice is getting ready to plop a few units of student housing on the corner lot long-occupied by the Morningside Court Apartments, a 54-unit building just south of Rice Village that the school bought in 2001. Wasting no time, Rice kicked all the tenants that weren’t students out of the complex that same year — according to Nancy Sarnoff — but kept the 5 buildings standing until last summer. (During that limbo period, the school’s attention was on the opposite side of the Shakespeare St., where the 4-story Rice Village Apartments, also for students, went up in 2008 in place of houses and smaller apartments.)

Three stories of townhouse-like dwellings appear now to be planned for the former Morningside Court corner, where their main entrances will front Shakespeare St. On Thursday, Houston’s planning commission decides whether they can be built up close to that road — about 20 ft. from it as opposed to what’d typically be some extra distance.

Images: Houston Planning Commission

2401 Shakespeare
11/05/18 4:30pm

Note: This story has been updated to include Beard Papa’s in the list of tenants planned for Bellaire Food Street.

The steel is up for Bellaire Food Street‘s 3-level garage, as shown in the twilit photo at top looking west down Bellaire Blvd. So far popsicle shop Popfancy, Japanese cream puff dealer Beard Papa’s, Japanese gather-’round-the-grill restaurant Pepper Lunch, Vietnamese restaurant Migo, Taiwanese shaved ice shop Meet Fresh, and — just today — Beijing-style skewered meat spot Fat Ni BBQ have punched their tickets for entry into ground floor of the 24,000-sq.-ft. strip next door, reports Eater, adding that more are on the way. The developer Kevin Kan has laid claim to the building’s second story office outpost.

Work on the 2-acre site between Beltway 8 and Gessner got off the ground earlier this year:

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Where Diho Apartments Left Off
11/05/18 2:30pm

Lovett Commercial’s latest post-industrial venture in East Downtown will take place just 4 blocks down Polk St. from the one it’s already got going at the former Houston Post building. The target this time: 2 blocks between Delano and Ennis streets now home collectively to more than 99,000 sq.-ft. of buildings — including the one where Frankel’s Costume Shop closed early this year. Most of the existing structures will stay standing with new shops, offices, restaurants, and some kind of art exhibition or creation spaces shoved inside them. The aerial at top shows off the whole thing in not-so-fine detail from the corner of Delano and Polk. And the street-level rendering looks in the opposite direction, depicting a patio-ed and pedestrian-ized eastern block with its western counterpart in the background.

A cold-storage box once home to Freedman Meats takes up the whole eastern block right now, shown below from Polk.:

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Polk & Ennis
10/31/18 5:00pm

Looking east from what’s now the top of the soon-to-be-7 story Giorgetti Condo midrise on Steel St., you get a real eyeful of the planned 32-stories taller Hanover River Oaks apartment tower that’s rising next to it (and a glimpse at 2727 Kirby in the distance). Both unfinished buildings are going up on the northern half of what used to be the Kirby Court Apartments and together will occupy almost the entire block south of the former West Ave retail and apartment complex that’s recently made quite a new name for itself as “The Shops at Arrive.” A handful of houses and retail buildings along Kipling St. — including the Becks Prime on the corner of Kirby — are the only veterans sticking around.

A look in the opposite direction shows the Giorgetti’s bald head backed by neighboring townhouses along Virginia St.:

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Furniture-Themed Development
10/24/18 1:15pm

A Swamplot reader sends a photo of the crane that’s gone vertical at the corner of Welch and Revere streets just outside River Oaks where Pelican Builders plans to put its 9-story Revere at River Oaks condo midrise. The ’50s-mod condo complex its replacing was torn down last year, leaving an empty patch running lengthwise along Welch St., adjacent to the homes and townhomes that make up the rest of the block. They’re all overlooked by the 34-floor Huntingdon condo tower a few blocks west, shown looming large in the photo at top.

Photo: Swamplox inbox. Rendering: Kirksey Architecture

 

Spiking the Lot
10/23/18 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE NEXT HEIGHTS WANNABEES NEED A BRIDGE TO GET WHERE THEY’RE GOING “They are trying to punch Patterson St. to the north and call it an extension of the Heights. There was an apartment group looking at the Baton Rouge tract a while ago.” [bocepus, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: Swift Removal] Map of 8.6-acre tract between the MKT trail and W. 6th St., across the bayou from Paterson St.: Houston Planning Commission

10/23/18 2:30pm

  

Following “four or five 3-month lease extensions,” the landlord of 2318 Waugh Dr. dropped by Corazon last Friday to give the business its 30-days notice, reports store owner Chris Murphy. Its exit date is now set for November 20, a Tuesday, so final sales will take place the weekend before. Murphy says he’d been working to track down a new location for the store since learning it’d have to leave more than a year ago — but hasn’t had any luck. Barring any last-minute workable option, “we’ll reluctantly have to liquidate fixtures and retreat to various online platforms,” he says, in order to keep dealing guayaberas, Luca Libre masks, and other imports like the store has been doing since 1998. It’s shown around that year in the across-the-street photo above, which also gives a view of the landmark red dot on the building’s south side. (The taller building behind it occupies the same piece of land but was torn down in 2016.)

Next up for the 6,250-sq.-ft. parcel: a trio of townhomes. The landowner’s plan, says Murphy, “is to demolish the building immediately once we vacate,” and plant the new residences in a line like this along Fairview St.:

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Towhomes Imminent
10/22/18 10:15am

Note: This story has been updated

Late last week, associates of Capital Retail Partners filed a building permit to get started on the pair of back-to-back gabled buildings it’s had planned for Durham and 18th St. in place of 2 side-by-side houses torn down there earlier this year. It’s the second spot where Capital will begin replacing a pair of old Heights houses with 2 new house-like retail buildings, having already begun work 4 blocks north between Durham and Shepherd on its planned Bungalows on 22nd St. a few months ago. Despite the decidedly less bungalow-like design proposed for 18th St., the firm’s going with the same nomenclature for the duo (shown at top), dubbing it the Bungalows on 18th St.

Pictured but unconfirmed plans of the Bungalows  show its half-as-large north building taken up by some sort of restaurant fronted by a patio and corner landscaping including street-address topiary. A main parking lot sits west of the building and its encircling new sidewalks and crosswalks. You can see a few angled parking spaces peeking out in the aerial rendering below:

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The Bungalows on 18th St.
10/19/18 3:45pm

The map above shows the land (in red) that Rice is confirmed to have grabbed around the Midtown Sears (orange) it bought out last October, including 2 new parcels (green) it snatched up through holding companies within the last few months. In an email sent out to university staff on Monday, Rice U. President David Leebron said the school “will ultimately redevelop approximately 14 acres of Rice-owned property,” near the Sears building into what it’s calling the Midtown Innovation District. So what are the latest spots it’s gotten its hands on? The first, catty-corner to the Sears building itself at the corner of Wheeler and San Jacinto, is Jack in the Box‘s nearly half-acre lot; Rice bought it in August.

More recently, the school pushed east by picking up 4201 Caroline St., the brick office building shown below that occupies a quarter-acre directly next to Fiesta:

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Sears and Friends
10/17/18 11:30am

A couple of drive-by shots from Clinton Dr. show the state of demolition at the former Kellogg, Brown and Root campus, part of the effort to transform it into the new shopping, eating, working, and living complex that developer Midway has dubbed East River. Since beginning Friday, the teardown work has targeted the pair of warehouse buildings at the west end of the site, where their truck-docking holes front Jensen Dr. The 2 structures are the sole remnants of a much larger warehouse complex that once sat within the bounds of the 136-acre bayou-side site. Most of those industrial buildings were demolished between 2011 and 2012, leaving a swath of open space in the middle of the property — between the complex of office buildings that borders Hirsch Rd. to the east and the warehouses that now look to be goners.

In between those 2 bookends, a new black tarp has been added to portions of the construction fence along Clinton Dr., reports a reader. That’s where a multi-block colony of townhomes is planned; they’re shown in yellow on the map Midway put out over the summer:

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Fifth Ward
10/12/18 11:45am

Spotted on the Instagram story for a not-yet-open venue calling itself The Gypsy Poet: TABC signage going up where it plans to move into Core Church Midtown‘s former home at 2404 Austin St. It’s the fifth liquor-purveying establishment planned for the block — bounded by McIlhenny, Austin, McGowen, and Caroline streets — in the past year-and-a-half, none of which are open yet. But which together have now succeeded in reserving almost all of the space there for themselves.

According to its pastor Jim Stern, Core Church had been negotiating to move into a smaller spot at the back 2404 when the landlord tabled that option and switched its current lease over to a month-to-month agreement. Shortly after, in mid-February, the church was given 60 days to hit the road. It left in mid-March. “I am wondering if we were ‘pushed’ out because of the bars,” Stern tells Swamplot.

Photos: The Gypsy Poet (sign); Core Church (Jim S.)

Change Comes Knocking
10/10/18 4:00pm

Nancy Sarnoff has a few more details today on what the Downtown Redevelopment Authority will be paying the private owner of the area shown shaded at top — which wouldn’t give up its one-acre parcel there for a new park but will grant the Authority a 30-year lease for: “$355,992 in annual rent,” during the first 5 years, a spokeswoman says, with a 10 percent hike every 5 years thereafter. With that agreement in place — and the Goodyear Auto Service Center that currently occupies the block’s Fannin-St.-side slated for demo next April — the Authority is now seeking plans from landscape architects that’d be responsible for designing the space, though it notes that whatever the chosen firm comes up with “will have a potentially short life, between 30 and 50 years, per the lease agreement currently in place and options to extend.” (The parking lot shown without shading belongs to the South Texas College of Law and is there to stay.)

But that hasn’t stopped those involved from dreaming big while they can. A conceptual map of the park drawn up Project for Public Spaces — a New York planning firm hired to brainstormed some preliminary ideas for the Authority — shows it divvied up among a pair of buildings and a variety of different green spaces including a dog park:

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