04/03/18 3:00pm

Yet another Randalls is seeing itself out of a major shopping center space — this one in the Keegan’s Meadow complex at the corner of W. Bellfort Ave. and S. Kirkwood Rd. in Stafford. The photo above looks beyond the pumps at the grocery chain’s street-fronting gas station to show the store decorated with a liquidation sign identical to the one that’s currently posted on the Oak Forest location. The white Randalls lettering on the 53,250-sq.-ft. grocery store at 11711 W. Bellfort came down last month from the façade now taken up by the banner. An in-store Wells Fargo branch occupies the northeastern portion of the store, opposite the Avalon Discount Liquor adjacent to the its west side.

Photo: Swamplox inbox. Site plan: Brixmor

Stafford Send-Off
03/26/18 4:00pm

The Aqua Hand Car Wash & Detail on the corner of W. Dallas could get even wetter pending the TABC’s permission for the business to serve mixed drinks on-site. The photo above, sent in by a Swamplot reader, shows the 680-sq.-ft., butterfly-roofed building where a notice naming Aqua Heights LLC as the applicant for a mixed beverage permit now hangs in the window.

The building went up on the long-vacant field at 1013 Montrose in 2011. Washing, waxing, and detailing take place in a parking lot to the east and south of the structure.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Wet Bar
03/26/18 2:00pm

The 1950 building at 4502 Greenbriar formerly home to the Neal & Company antique shop has been taken over by Fleet Feet Sports. The running gear retailer bought the building — last renovated in 2005 — just under 2 months ago. Shortly before the sale, Fleet Feet closed its nearby store in Rice Village — on the north side of Rice Blvd. next to Tea Bar and Organics.

Head-in parking now fronts 2 sides of the Greenbriar location — as opposed to just one at the old Rice Village store:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Head-to-Head Head-In Parking
03/12/18 10:30am

Banners for Cedars Tapas Bar — the new restaurant on its way to 403 W. Gray — are now covering up both the plywood board on the building’s forehead and the sign left over from Ship & Shield’s tenancy in the space. The Viking-themed restaurant abandoned the building last December, and property owner Braun Realty is now waiting on the new Lebanese bakery to move in.

Braun bought the the 2,055-sq.-ft. restaurant building in 2016, the same year Ship & Shield took it over from Byzantio’s. Since then, the developer has put up a new retail building on the once-vacant lot just east of restaurant, near Taft St. Its west side is visible beyond Cedars’ sign in the photo above.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

North Montrose Makeover
09/28/17 3:15pm

THAT THING ABOUT THE CITY OF HOUSTON AND DIGITAL BILLBOARDS A reader with “nothing better to do today” writes in with a question for Swamplot readers: “I do not see any digital billboards in Houston city limits. I see them popping up in Baytown and I’m sure elsewhere, but why not H-Town? One would think that this would be a win-win for the owners of the billboards and the businesses wanting to advertise their product. I see them all over Dallas — Houston, not so much.” Photo: Houston Public Media

08/16/17 5:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BIG SIGNS FOR BIG TEXAS CORNERS “I wish they’d rethink the billboard laws in Texas. Allow more and bigger billboards. The billboards could be taxed, and the money earmarked to our State Parks — they desperately need it. Scenic routes could be designated in certain places, and billboards banned there. This would turn the buildings at the intersections of freeways into major advertising opportunities. It wouldn’t matter if the buildings lose money, the giant billboards on the roofs would make whatever profit the owners need. Or they might wind up demolishing the buildings to put billboards up in their place.” [ZAW, commenting on Comment of the Day: The Black Holes Where Freeways Intersect] Illustration: Lulu

01/30/17 11:30am

Glenbrook Valley neighborhood signage, Glenbrook Valley, Houston, 77061

Glenbrook Valley neighborhood signage ca. 1956, Glenbrook Valley, Houston, 77061The retro Glenbrook Valley neighborhood entry sign above is now standing on Broadway St. north of the intersection with Santa Elena St., Robert Searcy notes. The neighborhood civic club’s new Mod marker echoes one that stood in the area shortly after the subdivision’s early 1950s founding (shown here in a black and white excerpt from a brochure for the 1956 Parade of Homes tour) and replaces the much more rectilinear sign long planted in about the same spot. The new sign’s cursive also mimics the throwback style of the script on the nearby Glenbrook Valley Apartments on Bellfort St.:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Pregaming on Broadway St.
01/25/17 5:30pm

Metro Red Line, University of Houston Downtown, Downtown, 77002

On the growing list of things getting dressed up for the Super Bowl: this Red Line light-rail train, caught above at the corner of Main and Franklin streets this afternoon wearing a shiny new red-and-stadium-colored suit. Buildings around the Discovery Green and George R. Brown Convention Center complex have also been getting advertising wraps draped in place in the past week or 2, as have a few other buildings around town (including the BBVA Compass building near the Galleria). Across the intersection, a reader also noted the installation of new security cameras at the Islamic Da’wah Center, founded after former Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon bought the 1928 former Houston National Bank building in 1994:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Downtown Prep
11/03/16 3:45pm

Magic Island sign removal, 2215 Southwest Fwy., Houston, 77098

As of lunchtime, more than half of the MAGIC & COMEDY SHOW lettering has been removed from the sloped wall of vacant freeway-side magic club and faux Egyptian temple Magic Island. A reader spotted the scene — “just the cherry picker and the demolished letters on the ground” — during a feeder road drive-by around noon.

Talk of rebooting and reopening the former magic club (which became increasingly family-oriented until its Ike-and-fire-fueled shutdown in 2008) has been going on periodically since 2012; some permits for sign renewal and restaurant repairs were issued back in 2013, and a representative of owner and neurologist Mohammed Athari told Leah Binkovitz in early 2015 that some contracts for work on the building had finally been signed, even though things were moving slower than originally planned.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Beneath the Pharaoh’s Gaze
04/01/16 2:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT KEEPS HOUSTON BILLBOARDS STANDING TALL Freeway Billboards“If you only knew how much the city has gone through to reduce billboards. Their billboard ordinance was pioneering. Existing billboards in the city are under an abatement condition – if you take one down, you can’t replace it. However, many billboards are highly, highly profitable, and the industry has a formidable lobby to defend what they already have, and try to reinstate the ability to add billboards where they’ve been banned or removed. From a property rights perspective, sign regulation is already an iffy business. So while yes, most of us would like to see further reduction in billboards, please try to appreciate what’s already been done.” [Local Planner, commenting on City Inspector: Those Who Want You To Live In The Glass House Should Not Post 130-Ft. SignsIllustration: Lulu

03/18/16 1:45pm

Garden Oaks Deed Restrictions Signs, Garden Oaks, Houston, 77018

What’s the story behind the tiny question marks that recently appeared at the end of the low-dangling “DEED RESTRICTIONS ENFORCED” signs on at least a couple Garden Oaks welcome-to-the-neighborhood markers? More than just your usual neighborhood grumbling and graffiti-ing, it appears.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Punctuation Add-Ons
03/10/16 11:45am

Signs in parking lot across from Rudyards, Waugh Dr. at Welch St., Hyde Park, 77006

Update, 2 pm: Another reader sends a shot from the scene; this story has been updated.

A reader sends some snapshots from Hyde Park, where some new anti-theft infrastructure has been installed in the parking lot across Waugh Dr. from Rudyard’s British Pub and nextdoor The Next Door. The banner wooden sign shown above augments previously-posted-though-significantly-smaller signage in the vicinity, which already disavows any responsibility on the part of the nearby bars for loss of property from break-ins to cars parked in the lot. Meanwhile, a second sign was captured hanging out a bit closer to the intersection with Welch St., looking nonchalant:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Watch Out at Welch
03/02/16 11:30am

Blue tile sign at 2500 block of Westheimer Rd., Upper Kirby, Houston, 77098

Houstorian James Glassman sends this photo of a shiny new blue tile street sign along a Westheimer Rd. curb just east of Kirby Dr., where months of road and sidewalk construction is wrapping up. The fresh mosaic is in the style of those installed around Houston in the 1920s and into the 1950s before the rise of auto traffic made foot-level street markers less practical than eye-level signage. 

The new sign doesn’t yet appear on the online map maintained by Joey Sanchez of the Blue Tile Project, which documents the locations of the original tile markers, though Sanchez noted the sign this morning on the project’s Twitter feed:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Westheimer Blues
12/08/15 12:30pm

Billboard, 312 Main St., Downtown Houston

Were you kinda liking that new billboard installed on the second story of the building at 312 Main St. — the one that posed serious, possibly life-changing questions to passengers exiting the Preston St. light-rail station? Well, you’ve got less than 10 days to enjoy it, depending on long fast used-car-dealer Texas Direct Auto wants to take to comply with a city citation posted to the building yesterday — unless it can get those pesky inspectors to back off.

A notation on the red tag declares that the facade-smothering sign is in violation of the city’s sign code — namely that it was not erected in connection with a “business purpose”: “A business purpose shall not include any property, building, or structure erected or used for the primary purpose of securing a permit to erect a sign,” the note reads. (That echoes a portion of the definition in section 4602, in case you’re following along at home with regulations in hand.) Here’s a snapshot of the documents stuck to the building’s ground floor, as submitted to the Twitterverse by Houston Chronicle writer Evan Mintz, whose employer last week declared in an editorial that the sign should be illegal:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

A Red Tag Downtown