07/13/17 2:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE BIG THINGS YOU GET WHEN YOU LEAVE JUST A TINY SPACE BETWEEN HOUSES “The City of Houston’s codes are different for a ‘free-standing’ or ‘detached’ ‘single-family’ home, as opposed to a two- or multi-family property of some sort. Detention, lot coverage, building code, legal description, all different. So maintaining even the tiniest gap means you have a fee-simple, stand-alone property.” [dave102, commenting on Can You Beat This Townhome Gap?Photo of 3108 Baer St., Fifth Ward: HAR

07/11/17 3:00pm

Here’s a first entry in what appears to be an impromptu, informal competition among Swamplot readers — to track down and photograph the narrowest findable gap between townhomes — and then speculate on what methods might be employed one day to repair or repaint the exteriors of the adjoining walls. The photo here shows a pair of townhomes lining Cage St. just north of Melva St. in the lower Fifth Ward, amidst a slew of similarly dimensioned homes in a larger complex. Think you can find a gap in the Houston area tighter than this one? Send pics and addresses to Swamplot’s tipline.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

 

Do Not Touch!
06/29/17 2:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: HOW TO ADDRESS THE TOWNHOME GAP “I’ve always wondered how it will be possible to maintain (or one day have to replace) the fiber cement siding in between all those 3-story homes separated by what looks like mere shoulder width. Super thin scaffolding?” [Progg, commenting on Comment of the Day: The Real Difference Between a Townhome and a Patio Home] Photo of 3108 Baer St., Fifth Ward: HAR

06/28/17 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE REAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TOWNHOME AND A PATIO HOME “I see you crossed out townhouse and wrote patio home. So just what makes it a patio home? Does a 4 x 6 ft. space outside constitute a patio? Are all town-homes devoid of outdoor space?” [icerad, commenting on If You Like the Idea of Living Upstairs from Kay’s Lounge, Here’s the Next Best Thing] Illustration: Lulu  

06/27/17 11:00am

Newly posted to MLS: a listing for 1 of the 6 townhomes patio homes from Frasier Homes intended for the site of the former Kay’s Lounge. Garages, spare bedrooms, and side yards only will grace the ground floors of the properties in this shared-driveway 6-pack, however, because Kay’s Lounge itself — an establishment that was founded back in 1939 — was demolished last year. The new residential compound covers both the Kay’s lot, formerly known as 2334 Bissonnet, and the one immediately to the west at 2332 Bissonnet, which formerly housed an adjacent structure as well as longtime bar’s parking lot.

But if it’s the idea of living very close to storied nightlife that attracted you to this property in the first place, don’t be disappointed: Just next door to this property, in the former Bissonnet Auto Service Center at 2322 Bissonnet, a new brewery and lounge called Baileson Brewing Company is about to open. The fourth-floor patios at the top of the homes at 2332 Bissonnet (pictured at top right in the rendering above) will overlook Baileson’s driveway-turned-drinking-patio directly.

Here’s the second view from the listing, showing how the shared-drive fronts of the 3 units on the Baileson side might look if they’re completed before the other 3 are begun (they’d be in the foreground):

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New Neighbors in Rice Village
04/03/17 1:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: FOR IF YOU GAZE LONGINGLY AT TRENDY DEVELOPMENT, IT GAZES ALSO BACK AT YOU Looming Townhomes“All you ‘trendy people’ in Spring Branch need to bear in mind that even though your property values have risen dramatically, legacy homeowners don’t just immediately convert or turn over into ‘trendy people.’ That’s a process that takes time — [and] once it happens, you’ll feel nostalgia for the way things were. The newcomers won’t be ‘trendy’ — that term has positive connotations and you’ll reserve it for yourself. You will speak of them in derogatory tones, using words like yuppie and hipster. You’ll complain about how they’ve overrun your neighborhood, creating parking SNAFUs, cyclist-disrespecting traffic, and drunk drivers. You’ll complain about how closely packed the new townhomes are, even though you live in one; and about how loud the bars are, even though you bought a house next to one that had been there for 20 years. You’ll complain about how your property taxes rise 10 percent per year every year, and simultaneously protest new public housing, even though your unrealized capital gains are being subsidized by state statue — and you’ll demand even more subsidy! You might even vote for Dan Patrick. You’ll vote for localized prohibition and think that it’s ‘weird,’ kind of like living in Austin would be, except you don’t live in Austin and aren’t as weird as them — which is a terrible thing because they aren’t very weird either. You will have been co-opted by the powers that be. This is understandable. You were trendy, and will fall in line with somebody, sort of thoughtlessly, and complain relentlessly. That’s what it is to be trendy. It’s what you always wanted.” [TheNiche, commenting on Comment of the Day: Send the Trendies Outside the Loop, PleaseIllustration: Lulu

03/24/17 2:30pm

5415 Lawndale St., Sims Woods, Houston, 77023

The earth being pushed and shoved around on Lawndale St. between Hackney St. and the railroad tracks to the west this weekend looks like it’s being primed to sprout a field of new townhomes, if all goes according to Drake Homes’s plans. The irregularly shaped former warehouse site is already divvied up into more than 130 townhome-ready plotlets in the Harris County Appraisal District’s records system, each labeled with the moniker Magnolia Gardens. The land spreads between and behind the Eastwood post office and the Lawndale Street Carwash, right across Lawndale from the KIPP Explore Academy:

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Mowing Lawndale
03/16/17 1:00pm

La Familia Meat Market, 2440 Canal St., Second Ward, Houston, 77003

Variance Request for townhomes at Commerce and Saint Charles, Second Ward, Houston, 77003The plans submitted to the city along with a variance request being advertised lately along Canal St. show that the developer — an entity which traces back to Frank Liu — is asking for permission to drop below a required 3,500-sq.-ft. minimum lot size on its new property. That would allow the company stick about 29 houses on the L of land the documents refer to as Williams on Canal, which wraps around the brightly muraled La Familia Meat Market building and 2 pre-1950’s homes just south of it on St. Charles. The drawings in the request show 64 townhomes altogether, including the company’s adjacent land on the same block (extending all the way to Commerce St.):

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Second Ward Stock
12/30/16 12:30pm

Chenevert at Prospect streets, Museum Park, Houston

Ready or not, 2017 is right around the corner. Swamplot is taking a couple of days to tidy up and get in gear — join us back here Wednesday morning as we wade boldly forward into a new calendar of Houston real estate shenanigans. Until then, we hope you enjoy the last dregs of 2016, and that your new year starts out rosy and bright.

Photo of 5313 Chenevert St.: Swamplot inbox

Happy New Year!
11/14/16 1:15pm

Proposed Las Ventanas development at Goliad and Crockett St., Old First Ward, Houston, 77007

Down at the Old First Ward corner of Goliad and Crockett — catty-corner from where New Hope Missionary Baptist Church made its last stand in August — another crop of townhomes is moving off on the digital drawing board and toward construction phases, according to a rep from Titan Homes. (Bypassing opportunities for thematic streetname tie-ins, the company appears to have steered away from the Alamo-nouveau aesthetic deployed in its project on the newly-thinned edge of Little Thicket Park in Shady Acres.)

The 6 members shown above of 8 home set (together called Las Ventanas by the developer) face Goliad St.; newly drawn lot lines on file with the city suggest the 2 other houses will face Crockett. A rendering from one of the 4th floor terraces facing toward downtown suggests a view unobstructed by all the other townhomes cropping up in the area:

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Winds of Change in First Ward
10/14/16 5:00pm

Art Colony Phase 2, 5313 Chenevert St., Museum District, Houston, 77004

Like the looks of this light-display-slash-townhouse-trio at Prospect and Chenevert streets on the Almeda side of the Museum District? All 3 of the homes hit the market yesterday for between $925,000 and $975,000 (that’s 5313 Chenevert, 1805 Prospect, and 1807 Prospect, from left to right). Developer Dreamscape Modern posted the (rendered) view above to its website for Phase 2 of its The Art Colony townhouse development, which includes a see-through panel to catch shifting colored light projected onto the house after dark.

The light displays shown in the rendering and in the video above are a bit more intricate than the particular pattern shown in the new listing photos — though the illuminated driveway strips appear to be the same shade of aqua, amid the xeriscaping in place of the grass lawns originally depicted:

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Lighting Up in the Museum District
10/05/16 1:45pm

Proposed Rio Vista townhomes from Titan Homes, Shady Acres, Houston

Check out the first 6 of what Titan Homes says will be 18 townhomes planned for the area alongside Little Thicket Park off W. 25th St. in Shady Acres. The land for the project, which was purchased by the builder in 2014, isn’t technically part of the park, though its leafy coverage runs up to the edge of the property and blends in. The first set of 6 homes — to be called Rio Vista North — appear to come in 3 styles of crinkle-cut top-offs to the facade, and will sit north of a to-be-extended stretch of W. 25th St.

The 6-by-1 arrangement will back up to the property immediately north, which BMRJ Development is seeking to subdivide for a separate 3-by-2 sixpack facing Ohsfeldt. That potential development isn’t shown in this north-facing rendering of the Titan project’s back yard:

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Growing in Shady Acres
09/08/16 5:30pm

Former Site of National Flame and Forge, Ashland and 24th St., Houston Heights

The field above, on the block between W. 24th, W. 25th, Ashland and Rutland streets in the Heights, will be the subject of a public meeting next month, a reader who got a letter about it from the city notes to Swamplot. The land (an also-ran in the Best Teardown category for the 2010 Swampies) was previously the site of some of National Flame & Forge’s operations, which extended into the double block immediately to the north (now sprouting the townhomes visible in the distance). The owners have spent some time in the last few years taking stock of some industrial leftovers on the property, and are now seeking a Municipal Settings Designation for the land, which will legally nix any future use of the site’s chromium-and-trichloroethylene-spiked groundwater for drinking purposes.

The letter, addressed to nearby property owners and water-well-havers, emphasizes that no city water sources are affected by the contamination, and adds that the city is also legally required to send the meeting invite to anyone who owns a water well within 5 miles of the site. The map below is included with the application from NFF Realty for the no-drinking label; the aerial shows the rough boundaries of areas where water sampling over 2014 and 2015 showed more-than-you-want-in-your-coffee levels of chromium (in red) and trichloroethylene (in yellow):

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Forging Ahead
09/06/16 3:30pm

Texas Junk Company at 215 Welch St., East Montrose, Houston, 77006

Texas Junk Company at 215 Welch St., East Montrose, Houston, 77006The last of the footwear kicking around at the Texas Junk Company’s curiosity-filled warehouse at 215 Welch St. could be packed up and shipped out as soon as September 30. Per owner Bob Novotney’s telling on social media, the company was told last week to be out of the space by the end of the next month, though he’s hoping to get that deadline pushed back to April; Novotney has already started moving goods to a new space planned at 121 N. Main St. in Moulton, TX (halfway between Shiner and Flatonia). The 1930s building that’s been hosting Texas Junk sits immediately north of the field of townhomes rising on the former site of Ecclesia’s since-reincarnated church-plus-coffee-shop.

Photos: Texas Junk Company

Boots Scooting Out of Town