06/11/18 2:15pm

NEW RESTAURANT COMES KNOCKING AT WAREHOUSE BY BBVA COMPASS A TABC flyer up on the front door of 612 Live Oak signals some impending action for the brick warehouse building, one block east of BBVA Compass Stadium’s frontage on Emancipation and south of the light rail line along Texas Ave. Brass Tacks Workspace LLC is applying for both mixed beverage and late hours permits. Residential developer Bercon bought the 5,000-sq.-ft. parcel on which the building sits — along with almost the entire rest of the block — in early 2017. However, there’s nothing residential about the new owner’s plans for this particular structure: a permit filed for it last month — 10 days before the liquor sign appeared — included plans to turn the building into a yet-to-be-named restaurant. Photo: Swamplox inbox

06/11/18 12:15pm

Spotted from Canal St. just east of Navigation: signage for Southside Flying Pizza’s fifth location and first in Houston. The Austin restaurant chain is making its way into the southeast corner spot of the right-angled Shops on Navigation strip center that Ancorian Hunington Properties built over the last 2 years. It’s mapped out in the image above from Ancorian, the developer behind another property just east of the corner strip. Aside from Southside’s next-door neighbor 9Round kickboxing gym, other existing cohabitants include Maldives Nail & Spa, Bottles Wine & Spirits, EaDo Dental, Go Cleaners, Cajun Town, and the largest of the bunch — a corner Frost Bank branch:

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Second Ward
03/27/18 12:00pm

The massive illuminated crosses that once adorned the St. Joseph Professional Building next to the Pierce Elevated have been stripped from the structure’s east and west sides by its new-ish owner, but haven’t yet been removed from the block. West of the tower and adjacent to the highway, the fenced enclosure pictured above now holds the de-crucified metal parts along with the Scrabble-like remnants of the lettering that once spelled out the building’s name below the crosses.

The scrap yard borders the surface parking lot that fronts the 135,586-sq.-ft. building’s garage podium on La Branch St.:

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Cross-Word Jumble
03/05/18 4:15pm

Yet another sign of incoming retail is up on the Mid Main Lofts, where both Kura Revolving Sushi Bar and a 9Round kickboxing gym made their marks last week. Big Mike’s Entertainment LLC is the applicant named on the TABC notice that’s posted on the apartment building’s Travis St. side, near the corner at Holman and across the street from the Holman Draft Hall bar. The photo at top — taken by a Twitter user who’s been monitoring street-level activity outside the Lofts — shows where the storefront is situated, just north of the entrance to the garage that occupies nearly all of the complex’s frontage along Travis.

Photos: Natalie W

Big Mike’s
03/05/18 11:45am

A new banner is up in place of La Baguette’s lettering in the Mekong Center — on Milam St. between Drew and Tuam — announcing the coming Fukuoka Sushi Bar & Grill. The former Vietnamese sandwich shop shuttered in the space at the end of last year, leaving a void between Pho Saigon and the dentist’s office in the L-shaped retail center which includes parking on its roof. When the new raw fishery moves in at 2808 Milam, it’ll bring the Mekong Center back to full occupancy.

Photos: Chibuike O. (Mekong Center); Natalie W (Fukuoka Sushi Bar & Grill)

Below the Parking Pad
02/28/18 11:45am

Cricket Wireless shuttered in the northwest corner of the building on N. Main at Pecore St. a few years ago, leaving O’Reilly Auto Parts alone in the structure. Now, signage for Asia Market Thai-Lao Food is up on the carrier’s former location. The aerial photo above views the building at 3600 N. Main adjacent to Whataburger from up over El Taquito Rico’s former spot (also undergoing a turnover) on the narrow corner across the street.

The original Asia Market included a store in addition to the restaurant. Here’s what it looked like in the strip on Cavalcade between Norhill Blvd. and Michaux St. it occupied since 1987:

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Under the Hood
02/26/18 1:00pm

Crews took down the letters on KHOU’s antenna tower one by one last Friday — as shown in the drone footage above — leaving the channel’s signage absent from the vacant studio next to Houston’s main drainage channel, Buffalo Bayou. At the beginning of this month, the station reported that an undisclosed buyer had the 1945 Allen Pkwy. property under contract.

For the past 5 months, the teevee crew has been broadcasting temporarily from Houston Public Media’s office at UH, which it expects to leave for a permanent home at the end of this year. The whereabouts of the new newsroom — which will incorporate the original KHOU signage in its design — haven’t been announced yet. However, plans were revealed last December for a coming satellite studio that’s slated to open opposite Discovery Green in the GRB before the station goes live from a new main headquarters.

Video: Shern-Min Chow

Channel Changes
02/26/18 11:45am

Postino hasn’t opened yet, but there’s already been a notable change to the decor at the Arizona-based wine cafe chain’s first Texas location. Gone from the construction fencing outside the restaurant’s patio are the signs pictured at top that read, “DRINKING WINE AT LUNCH IS NOT A CRIME.” In their place, new banners featuring only Postino’s name and social media handle have appeared. The photo above views them from the west side of the Heights Mercantile development at the corner of 7th St. and Yale.

Here’s another look at the current fence abutting Rye 51’s storefront on 7th St.:

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Restaurant Rebranding
10/24/17 4:00pm

The lights have been changed again in the vacant office building at the center of Midway’s newly renamed East River site on Buffalo Bayou in the Fifth Ward. The 12-story former Building 3 on the KBR campus the development firm bought last year has progressed from referencing Amazon minus a couple of vowels to spelling out our city’s well-accomplished hometown baseball team minus its initial A. The view above was captured by a Swamplot reader from Clinton Dr. last night

The AMZN lettering lives on, though, at the end of a promo video Midway produced to rep Houston — and its mostly vacant 150-acre former industrial site:

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’Stros in Lights
10/09/17 4:30pm

Here’s the backside of the 12-story former KBR office building that Midway has for the last week lit up with a new message in hopes of signaling to Amazon and avian passers-by that it buys into the concept underlying many of Jeff Bezos’s business decisions. Also: That the surrounding 150-acre property on the north side of Buffalo Bayou east of Downtown Houston that the company has renamed East River would make a fine second headquarters campus for the online and offline retailer. Day 1 is the name assigned successively to 3 different Amazon buildings in Seattle, the latest a new 37-story downtown tower that itself features a lit-up sign on its lower floors that reads HELLO WORLD. Day 1 is also a common catchphrase in the company, a reminder to itself, among other things, to focus on outcomes rather than process and to make decisions quickly, even if you have less information available than you’d like.

Day 1 for this Houston sign was October 2nd. As a reader reported last week, since then the vacant building has been sporting the company’s NASDAQ ticker symbol on the opposite side to match:

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Day 1 on Clinton Dr.
10/06/17 1:00pm

The tallest of the 5 vacant structures remaining in the 136-acre former KBR campus fronting Buffalo Bayou east of Downtown that new owner Midway has dubbed East River has been sporting a new night-time look as of this week. The lights in the photo above, taken last night by a reader, spell out the NASDAQ ticker symbol of Amazon — which has announced a nationwide search for a second headquarters campus.

Previously, the lights in the 12-story office building at 4100 Clinton Dr. in the Fifth Ward had been tuned to HTX:

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Hey Lookie Here!
10/06/17 10:15am

THE PIERCE ELEVATED’S GREAT UNCROSSING What’s going to replace the giant crosses on the east and west sides of the St. Joseph Professional Building towering over the Pierce Elevated once its new owner takes them down and redoes the exterior? “I want something that’s going to be iconic to Houston,Boxer Property CEO Andrew Segal tells Katherine Feser. The company has commissioned artists to develop ideas for the 18-story building’s new cross-free exterior look, Segal says: “It may be something that changes at night. It could involve a projector.” Also in the plans for the 135,586-sq.-ft. building at 2000 Crawford St., which dates from 1965: new shared lounges, workspaces, and conference facilities, changes to its ground-floor retail spaces, and a new name TBD. The steel crosses were added to the building in 2009. [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Russell Hancock, via Swamplot Flickr pool

05/10/17 1:00pm

DOWLING ST. NOW BEING EMANCIPATED The folks at Project Row House posted this snapshot of a new street sign along Emancipation Ave., née Dowling St., which is getting its shiny new labels affixed in the leadup to this year’s Juneteenth festivities. (That’s when the name change will officially take effect, and when majorly overhauled Emancipation Park is once again planning to reopen, as well.) This particular set of signage is at the corner with Francis St., across Dowling Emancipation from the Tiny Treasures house, the crumbling remains of the Beauty Box, and the former site of the Flower Man’s toxic-mold-filled arthouse; the new signs look to have started going up along the road last week.  Photo: Project ROW House

03/01/17 11:30am

Signage at Kroger, 239 W. 20th St., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008

Signage at Kroger, 239 W. 20th St., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008The removal of the “Right Store Right Price” sign tacked onto the side of the Kroger at 239 W. 20th St. briefly revealed long-buried evidence of the building’s long-hidden relationship with Weingarten, a parking lot cruising reader notes. Yes, that Weingarten (which currently owns the shopping center): the company’s account of its own history notes that the Weingarten family started out in the grocery biz, then got into real estate to build its own stores. The company dropped supermarkets altogether in the early 1980s and went into real estate full time.

By mid-afternoon yesterday, the newly unearthed traces of the company’s former association with the building had already been beiged out:

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Uncovered on W. 20th