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
08/30/16 3:00pm

DOCUMENTING HOUSTON’S TOWNHOUSIFICATION, ONE TWEET AT A TIME @densifyingHOUWhile you’re waiting for Kuukibot’s polite but insistent stream of air toxics tweets to come back, another Houston-obsessed account has just hit the Twittersphere — this one documenting the city’s infill development, as evidenced by daily before-and-after shots pulled from Google Streetview (like the 2-house-t0-7-townhome transition shown above, from near the intersection of Gibson and Snover streets in Brunner).  The account’s Philadelphia-based author (who’s looking for submissions, by the way) points to the 1999 changes in minimum lot size requirements as the catalyst for the subsequent waves of tightly-packed townhouse do-overs in previously large-lot neighborhoods around town, as explained by Daniel Hertz earlier this summer: Hertz writes that  the decision to allow lots as small as 1,400 sq.ft. within the Inner Loop (a decree later expanded city-wide in 2013) allowed the building of way more housing stock in the city’s core without a switch to multifamily-style buildings. “An important research project in the coming years ,” Hertz notes, “will be to see if Houston’s willingness to allow more housing—and especially missing middle housing—in the center of a growing metropolitan area can reduce the growth of housing prices and keep neighborhoods more diverse and affordable than they would otherwise be.” [City Observatory] Screenshot of Densifying Houston tweet: @densifyingHOU

08/30/16 1:15pm

Former New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 1221 Crockett St., First Ward, Houston, 77007

The brutal Sunday scene at the former New Hope Missionary Baptist Church was caught by a reader on Goliad St. in First Ward this weekend.  The 1940s structure is making way for new CitySide townhomes; 3 lots in the new 7-way split will face Goliad, while the other 4 keep watch on Crockett St. Here’s a look from Crockett at building’s insides spilling out under the guiding influence of that excavator, and of the corner tower’s last stand:

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Last Stand in First Ward
08/18/16 10:30am

Kay's Lounge, 2324 Bissonnet St., Rice Village, Houston, 77005

The city’s permitting records show that the land beneath soon-to-close Kay’s Lounge (and that recently freed-up cute lot next door) have been sliced into a total of 6 new pieces (not counting the shared driveway running down the middle). The application for the property line redraw, noted by a reader, was submitted last October and approved a few weeks later. The same records say the 2-turned-6 lots at 2332 and 2324 Bissonnet St. are intended for single family residences; the properties were bought last May by an entity connected to Frasier Homes. Kay’s last night in action will be Saturday the 3rd, providing final visitors with a Labor Day recovery buffer. 

Photo: Thomas C.

Last Calls on Bissonnet
06/20/16 1:45pm

Former New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 1221 Crockett St., First Ward, Houston, 77007

The Texas Revolution-themed southeast corner of Goliad and Crockett streets looks to be getting blanked out to make way for more townhomes in the increasingly formerly industrial section of First Ward between Sawyer St., Washington Ave., and White Oak Bayou. Chris Andrews  noted the planning commission application asking  the city to chop up the land beneath the former New Hope Missionary Baptist Church buildings into 7 smaller pieces. Also probably getting chopped up into smaller pieces: the structures themselves, which the city’s archaeological and historical commission says may have been among those designed by 1940s African-American church architect James M. Thomas.

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Remember Goliad Grove
05/19/16 11:30am

Lovett Homes site at Buffalo Spdwy. and Main St., South Main, Houston, 77025

Lovett Homes site at Buffalo Spdwy. and Main St., South Main, Houston, 77025A mid-day shot from the Starbucks at the intersection of S. Main St. and Buffalo Spdwy. shows the new fencing now up around the 4-and-a-half-ish acres boxing in the coffee drive-thru. The snapping reader says the lot was cleared out and fenced off last week, a little more than a year after the America’s Best Value Inn and its abandoned grocery-and-nightclub strip center friend were demolished in the name of Lovett. Here’s a peek through the chain link at the palm-lined lot:

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S. Main
05/17/16 5:00pm

Eado Edge subdivision, Clinton Dr. at Jensen Dr., Fifth Ward, 77020

A reader sends fresh snaps from north of Buffalo Bayou in Fifth Ward, where Urban Living’s long-time cornerside “coming soon” sign at the intersection of Clinton and Jensen has been joined by a more specific banner advertising the planned Eado Edge subdivision. A 2014 replatting created 80 new lots out of the former Standco Industries warehouse complex at 2701 Clinton Dr., which Colliers sold following the oil equipment company’s bankruptcy proceedings a few years prior. The not-yet-townhomes sit across Clinton from the former KBR site bought by Cathexis back in 2012; the currently empty land is also just west of InTown Homes’s Regent Park subdivision.

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EaDo Creeping North