02/05/18 4:30pm

TABC signage tacked to the 2-story office structure at 1803 Pease St. notes that AZ Furniture is applying for permission to serve beverages into the late hours on site. Could it be that a boozy cabinetry boutique is in the works, or a couch showroom that fronts a speakeasy? No, according to building permits filed to convert the 5,952-sq.-ft. building into a bar. The name listed on those permits is more suited for a venue located 3 blocks southeast of the Toyota Center — it’s Slam Dunk Bar & Grill.

Renovations began on the building last year. The photo below views it from its adjacent parking lot on the corner of Pease and Chenevert:


The Hard Court
02/02/18 5:00pm

Construction on Shake Shack’s new burger hub in Rice Village — next door to the coming Rice University clothing boutique on Amherst — looks about medium well now that the brick building has been blackened, stripped of its awnings, and shielded by a metal frame bearing all-caps signage. La Madeleine restaurant left the building last March ahead of renovations planned for the entire Village Arcade structure between Kirby and Kelvin.

A Rice Village property manager announced in 2016 that the born-in-Manhattan chain with current locations as far-flung as Bahrain was on its way to Kirby. Back then, Houston was completely Shack-less, but that changed when a debut location opened in a Galleria parking lot later that year. Since then, one other Shake Shack has cropped up in the city — behind center field in Minute Maid Park.


Faster Food
02/02/18 12:00pm

Now on its way to a portion of the Village Arcade building on Amherst that La Madeleine restaurant abandoned last March: Shop Rice Owls, a clothing and merchandise store selling exclusively Rice University gear. The 1,071-sq.-ft. off-white-walled space beneath the rooftop Rice Village parking garage was once the east end of La Madeleine’s space on the corner of Amherst and Kirby. A partly-built Shack Shake has since taken over the French bakery’s former home — but not all of it, leaving room for the off-campus store to squeeze in between the back side of the fast-food spot and the staircase leading up to the garage.

A view looking east down Amherst shows more renovated storefronts lining the street to the right of the stairs, in place of the black-awninged brick building that stood on the block before 2016:   CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Rice Village Homecoming
02/01/18 3:45pm

Update: Despite Swamplot’s earlier report, The Ginger Man’s Rice Village building is not up for lease, says a Braun Enterprises representative. The W. Gray location will be an expansion for The Ginger Man.

A flyer now being passed around by Braun Enterprises shows The Ginger Man’s 1,907-sq.-ft. house and outdoor furnishings in Rice Village up for lease ahead of its planned relocation expansion to a vacant Fourth Ward building. An entity connected to Braun bought the tap house at 5607 Morningside Dr. last December.

Renovations are now underway on a soon-to-be new location of The Ginger Man at the crossroads of W. Gray and Webster — in the building where the Junction Bar & Grill shuttered last year. When it opens, the expansion will be the 7th Ginger Man in Texas. 4 exist in and around Dallas and Fort Worth, and one is located in Austin. The chain also claims a more tenuous connection to a group of restaurants on the East Coast.

The photo below shows the Fourth Ward building with a new green paint job:


Village Bar Expansion
01/29/18 4:00pm

The Fish ’n Flush toilet-tank aquarium can’t support life without a connection to a power outlet — unavailable in this particular guest bath — but that didn’t stop the owners of the 3-bedroom at 3838 Southmore from extending the piscine theme to the rest of their bathroom after moving into the home. The couple bought the house in 2016 and renovated the room, which was previously featured on Swamplot. Having documented the work on their own blog, they now send these photos in an update on the porcelain apparatus.

The photo below shows the bathroom with new wainscoting, navy paint, and two framed fish renderings hanging above the window next to the shower. To the right of the window, the toilet sits in a separate room:


Water Feature
01/17/18 12:30pm

Replica weaponry is now up on the white brick building at 1318 Telephone Rd. ahead of coffee shop Coral Sword’s planned opening in the space next month. Backed by former Houston Astro and self-professed video- and board-gamer Hunter Pence along with his wife Alexis, the venue will include communal gaming areas, a private podcast and game session recording booth, and “a membership driven co-gaming space.” Record and book store Wired Up closed down in the building last year, and renovations have been underway on the space since last month. The photo at top shows Coral Sword’s main entrance and storefront window to the right of it.

The cafe will share the building with East End Barber, which takes up the southeast portion of the structure. Below, you can see the barber shop’s sign on the corner of Telephone and Fourcade St.:


Waiting on Deck
01/10/18 11:30am

Following the trail of industrial buildings transformed in the First Ward, a Swamplot reader in motion this morning sends this photo of workers getting a boost to install new siding along the Spring St. frontage of the former Halliburton manufacturing plant at 1907 Sabine St. A company overseen by developer Jon Deal bought the 1.3-acre complex of industrial buildings between Spring and Shearn streets in 2016. Five years earlier, Deal bought the property across Spring St. from the Halliburton plant and transformed it into Spring Street Studios. He also developed the Silos at Sawyer Yards studio as well as 2 other art spaces nearby it — all 3 blocks south of the former plant.

The complex includes a vacant lot on the corner of Spring and Silver streets:


Oilfield Services Redo
01/03/18 2:15pm

New renderings released by Sydness Architects show the street-level changes planned for the Bank of America Center, which sits across the street from Jones Plaza on one side and Philip Johnson’s other notable downtown office tower, Pennzoil Place, on the other. Last fall, building owner M-M Properties announced plans to remove the mummified 2-story Western Union building that had been encapsulated within the Bank of America Center’s northeast quadrant since 1983 (see photo above).

Windows and doors are shown added to the skyscraper along Capitol and Louisiana streets — in 2 of the walls that once entombed the telegram building. The rendering at top shows the reconfigured view from outside Jones Hall, with new 2-story openings facing Capitol St.

Only one new street-level entrance is clearly shown in that rendering, however: the awninged door to a new restaurant along Louisiana St. That restaurant is planned for a portion of the former Western Union building’s ground floor in the northeast corner of the Bank of America Center:


Philip Johnson’s Ghosts
01/02/18 4:30pm

Flower Child — the health-minded restaurant that announced it was coming to Houston back in October — will take over the space that houses women’s clothing boutique BB1 Classic in the Cafe Express building at Uptown Park. Bidding is already underway for construction that will turn the 2-story, corner-side store into the new restaurant, whose owners already run North Italia and True Food Kitchen, both located in the same shopping center just south of Uptown Park on Post Oak Blvd. at the corner of San Felipe St.

Ads for a moving sale were posted on the high-fashion retailer’s Facebook page last Thursday. BB1 Classic’s current location opened in 2003. Before that, the store had spots in Memorial City, south of Uptown Park on Post Oak, in River Oaks, and in the Galleria.

Photo: BB1 Classic

Dining in Style
12/29/17 11:00am

What’s happened to this storied Walnut Bend Mod by Robert Pine from the 1960 Houston Chronicle Parade of Homes since it last appeared on Swamplot in 2010? Well, it finally soldfor $120K — the following year. (In 2014, it traded hands again, for approximately $287K, without making an appearance on MLS.) Also, new windows were cut into the living room and master bathroom, adding openings to the once-blank stone-faced walls on the front facade. There’s also this brand new screened-in patio, inserted between the carport and the main house in back, like so:


Eyes on the Street
12/11/17 12:00pm

A new banner just tacked to the forehead of the building on Richmond Ave., barely east of I-610 announces what’s due to move in: a second Galleria-area showroom for Nazar’s Fine Jewelry. The photo at top, sent in by an on-the-spot Swamplot reader, shows workers getting a boost to place the sign at sundown on Sunday. The northeast crotch of the 59-West Loop interchange is visible south of the building at 4901 Richmond.

Interior renovation permits for the 25,890-sq.-ft. building — formerly home to Morton Kuehnert Auctioneers & Appraisers, and, even more formerly, to Parvizian Signature Rugs — were filed in September. Before it closed down in October 2016, the auction house’s windows were covered with photos of artifacts:


Richmond Riches
12/08/17 1:15pm

WHAT IT TAKES TO JACK A HOUSE “Adam Bakir, a Houston builder and remodeler, does one or two home elevations a year. The job is akin to major surgery. Workers tunnel under the house, Bakir said, then raise the whole thing on jacks—the slab and the house that rests on it. Since Harvey, Bakir has received more than 20 inquiries about home elevation. If potential customers ask for a cost estimate, he’ll tell them: between about $75 and $100 per square foot. ‘If you have a 2,500-square-foot house, which is typical,’ he said, ‘the upper end of it would be about $250,000. The lower end, around $180,000.‘” [CityLab] Photo: Arkitektura Development

12/07/17 12:00pm

Sure, Houston Axe — just off 59 on Larkwood Dr. — is convenient to Sharpstown and Bellaire, but Houston’s soon-to-come second indoor axe-throwing venue will likely be better located. Ratchet Hatchet plans to take over the former Vue Nightclub space on the second floor of the strip center at the corner of Waugh Dr. and Allen Pkwy., across the street from Whole Foods and the America Tower. But that also puts it very close to the Marshall Back & Body Wellness Center, the Montrose Eye Care clinic, and a branch of Farmers Insurance in the same strip center. Also, both the Hand Care Center and Foot Surgery Specialists of Texas are located only a block south.

Permits filed with the City of Houston show that the facility at 524 Waugh Dr. will be 1,700 sq. ft. That address likely puts it right above Bayou Liquor in this photo:


Ratchet Hatchet
12/01/17 1:30pm

Work has begun outside the former McGowen Cleaners — closed since 2015 — on the corner of Fairview and Morse streets, the site of the planned Vibrant restaurant. Last May, Vibrant’s owners bought the 3,909-sq.-ft. brick building, along with 2 adjacent neighbors to the south; they plan to open their Lake Flato-designed restaurant inside the corner building in March. The above rendering shows a patio that would be cut into its corner — and a garden lining the street, where chunks of chopped-up pavement now lie.

The rendering also shows tall windows being created where clerestory windows currently face Fairview. The clerestories are visible in the center of this photo of the 1931 Fairview St. building from last year, when the property was up for sale:


Lake Flato in Hyde Park
11/29/17 5:00pm

Work is almost complete on Pipeline Realty’s conversion of the 2-story office building at 2617 Bissonnet (seen at top in a recent photo) into a new second-story coworking space called Local Office. The 13,500-sq.-ft. building, pictured above before the 2 trees standing in front were removed and larger windows were poked into its north and west facades, previously served as the offices of Industrial Audio/Video.

Local Office, due to open sometime next month, will be joined early next year by a ground-floor coffee shop, labeled “Local Coffee” on the rendering below but more likely to be a third outlet of the growing local Cavo Coffee chain:


Offices of West University