08/13/18 9:45am

MW Cleaners’ bowtie logo is now going out of style on the corner of Shepherd and Colquitt St. as the franchise dresses down all of its 36 black-tie-branded locations in Houston and redecorates them under the Tide detergent logo. At the Montrose shop, the tall sign pictured behind the dumpster in the photo at top looking south is just about all that’s left of the cleaners’ old look.

New lettering and logoing at 3425 Shepherd has already taken the place of the old (pictured above), and under the angled porte-cochère, fresh window decals mark the transformation as well:

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Tidal Wave
08/01/18 11:15am

There’s now some still life clinging to the Kirby Grove office building across from Levy Park where Slowpokes plans to debut its second location sometime this fall. Already open in the 16-story building’s ground floor: Kiran’s Indian restaurant and a branch of PlainsCapital Bank — whose ATM you can make out to the left of the exhibition wall in the photo above.

From their current vantage point, each of the 3 framed faces — mainstays at the cafe’s original Garden Oaks location — will have a good view of the park across the street as they wait for the new restaurant to take shape:

 

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Garden Oaks to Kirby Grove
07/19/18 5:00pm

Next Saturday, Houston’s historic commission is set to consider a request that new old signage be installed on the former Gibbs Boats building at 1110 W. Gray as part of the renovation to turn it into a new shopping center dubbed Rêve Montrose. The QUALITY LAUNDRY lettering is a nod to the 1936 structure’s original tenant — pictured above — which turned the place over to Gibbs in 1958. According to the rendering above, the replica sign and accompanying pyramidal support structure are set to be installed in the same location as the originals.

Since the Oxberry Group announced its redo plan for the building in March, some of its W. Gray façade has been scratched off, revealing traces of the original brick underneath where the G in Gibbs used to front the street:

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W. Gray and Montrose
06/27/18 12:00pm

Buc-ee’s scored a sweeping victory in Texas federal court last month when a judge found rival rest stop chain Choke Canyon guilty of 4 wrongs: trademark infringement, dilution, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment. But the battle might not be over: “Choke Canyon is expected to appeal,” reports Law360, “and Texas intellectual property experts say the store has a strong case that it was wrongly barred at trial from presenting key defense evidence.

Among the facts unheard during the 4-day trial: findings from an expert Choke Canyon commissioned to ask 300 people what they thought of the logos’ similarity. 99 percent of them “said there was no likelihood of confusion,” between the two.

Then there are the images that went unseen during the jury’s deliberation. Within that 6-hour period, jurors’ first question to Judge Keith P. Ellison was whether they should compare the set of logos pictured above — which includes the brands’ names — or picture-only versions, like the ones shown below:

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Anatomy of the Case
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
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.

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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:

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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.:

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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:

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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.

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Beneath the Pharaoh’s Gaze