04/09/14 10:00am

Rendering of the Proposed Collection on Kirby, 3200 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

The website of New York real estate firm Thor Equities has switched out the renderings for the full-block Kirby Collection mixed-use development it’s been threatening to build on the west side of Kirby Dr. between Colquitt and W. Main St. for almost 6 years now. And the new Collection drawing collection does look pretty whizzy. It appears to show 2 levels of retail facing Kirby, a dozen-or-so-story office tower along Colquitt, and a taller squashed-cylinder-shaped residential tower on top of a parking-garage base hanging back toward Lake St.:


The Kirby Collection
04/07/14 12:15pm

Installation of Tree and Three Flowers Sculpture on Kirby Dr. South of Westheimer, Upper Kirby, Houston

Here’s an overhead view of the installation over the weekend of the 38-ft.-tall, 7,000-lb. sculpture by James Surls on the previously treeless median between West Ave and the 2727 Kirby condo tower on Kirby Dr., just south of Westheimer. Assembled from bronze and stainless-steel components, Tree and Three Flowers was commissioned by the Upper Kirby District; it’s meant to move in the wind. It’ll join other Surls public works in Houston — at Rice University, in Market Square, and at the Parks and Recreation department headquarters on Gragg St. The Kirby sculpture went in on this base:


Won’t Grow, but Will Move
03/19/14 2:45pm

River Oaks Glass, 2635 Greenbriar Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

Proprietor Tim Linehan wants to make sure longtime and potential customers who noted the smashing of the former River Oaks Glass location at 2219 Richmond Ave. in a Swamplot Daily Demolition Report last week don’t think the company has been pulled apart by excavators as well. The company with the “We Fix Humpty Dumpty” sign in the front window escaped to a new converted residence last month — one that’s a full half-mile closer to the actual River Oaks. It had been leasing the Richmond Ave. building for 17 years. “You have not lived until you’ve moved a crystal and porcelain repair shop, piece by piece,” he tells Swamplot. The new spot is a former bungalow at 2635 Greenbriar, just south of Westheimer. This time, says Linehan, “we bought the place and will never move again.”

Photo: James Timothy Linehan

House Broken
02/26/14 4:30pm

59 FEEDER ROAD CONSTRUCTION WITHOUT END Road Construction, North Side Feeder Rd., U.S. 59 West of Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston“Why is there always construction on the feeders between Weslayan and Kirby especially when it seemed like nothing needed to be done?” writes a Swamplot reader, who is under the impression that the work started sometime last summer. “It looks like they are only redoing the road, not adding sewers, nor laying power lines, and doesn’t seem to making it wider. One side is done and then they come back and do the other side! . . . I hope you can find out why they are tearing up a perfectly good feeder road.” Alas, doing so would spoil the chance to indulge in the fantasy of having encountered along the Southwest Fwy. a truly eternal feeder-road replacement cycle. We’ll illustrate that here with the above photo from earlier today of a fresh concrete placement (with shopping cart) on the north side feeder just west of Kirby Dr. Update, 2/27: Clever reader JD finds an actual report outlining the scope of the reconstruction project from last year posted in an obscure online publicationPhoto: Swamplot inbox

02/26/14 10:15am

NEW LOCAL FOODS IN FORMER TACO MILAGRO ON KIRBY AT WESTHEIMER KINDA ALMOST READY TO OPEN SOON Future Location of Local Foods, 2555 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, HoustonThe project manager from homebuilder Frasier Homes busy turning the interior of the shuttered patio-fronting Taco Milagro space at 2555 Kirby Dr. into a second location for Benjy Levit’s upscale sandwich shop Local Foods tells Eater Houston’s Darla Guillen that construction will likely be complete in a couple of weeks. How long after that before it opens for duck confit and falafel on wheat? “Shouldn’t be too far behind that completion date,” Guillen says an employee tells her. But we’re guessing they’ll take down the old Taco signage outside before then. Photos snapped of the corner shopping center space’s innards show a completed serving counter with display case and some colorful banquettes. The first Local Foods took over the former Antone’s space in the Rice Village in 2011. [Eater Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Eater Houston

02/07/14 1:30pm

Interior, 2121 Kirby Dr. Unit 33, Upper Kirby, Houston

The Huntingdon, 2121 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, HoustonA slideshow featured on the website of the Houston Business Journal (and noted in our Headlines post this morning) features the 7 most expensive homes sold in Houston last year. Coming in at No. 3 is the full-floor Huntingdon condo unit where former Enron CEO Ken Lay used to live. 2121 Kirby Dr. Unit 33 and its mopey-castle-in-the-sky interior (shown below after the furniture was removed) was listed for sale by his widow, Linda Lay, back in 2010 and featured on Swamplot occasionally over the following years as it hopped on and off the market a few times and descended in fits and starts from an initial (off-market) asking price of $12.8 million to the mid-single-digit millions. MLS and county tax records show the 9-bathroom, 6-elevator, 12,827-sq.-ft. pièd-a-terre with the $10K+ monthly maintenance fee finally sold last February to an entity controlled by another local CEO, for a (still-record-making, but more than half-off) $5.5 million, though the list price had by that time fallen $100K lower.


Much Lower, but Still Sky High
11/27/13 10:00am

A WESTHEIMER WENDY’S LONG JOURNEY TO A $200 BURGER Construction of 60 Degrees Mastercrafted, 2300 Westheimer Rd., Upper Kirby, HoustonTracing the culinary histories of several switched Houston hotspots, Marene Gustin catalogs successive scenery changes at 2300 Westheimer in Upper Kirby: “And take the new 60 Degrees Mastercrafted on Westheimer Road. The former home of John Moore’s Palazzos Trattoria, this building goes way back. Originally built as a fast food drive through, when I first came to Houston it was Armandos, then something I vaguely remember called Dish either before or after it was an outside the Loop version of Two Chefs Bistro, which had wonderful angels on horseback, a hot appetizer of baked oysters wrapped in bacon by chef Andreas Zierau. Then for a long time it was Arturo Boada’s Beso before becoming Palazzos. And now 60 Degrees Mastercrafted, yet another new restaurant I haven’t gotten to yet. New restaurants opening in Houston in the final months of 2013 have been as numerous as bluebonnets sprouting in springtime.” [Culturemap] Photo: 60 Degrees Mastercrafted

11/21/13 3:00pm

Demolition of Former Elgin-Butler Brick Co. Building, 2619 Westpark Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

Behold the final moments this afternoon of the Goode Company building at 2619 Westpark, just west of Kirby Dr. A reader sends in these images of the once-swank former Elgin-Butler Brick Company Building, built in 1966 with a fine sampling of the company’s glazed wares attached to its facade and converted in 1988 to an office building and commissary for the extended Goode Co. barbecue-seafood-taqueria-armadillo empire. In this hallowed hall — and the attached warehouse building, totaling more than 14,000 sq. ft. altogether — many a brick was spec’ed and many a pecan pie was congealed. But it’s all going away now.


Goode Riddance
11/15/13 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHICH HOUSTON HOTSPOTS WILL MERGE FIRST “I think West Ave.-to-Rice Village will become contiguous before Highland Village-to-Galleria ever will.” [Anon22, commenting on Comment of the Day: A Linear Shopping District from Highland Village to the Galleria] Illustration: Lulu

10/04/13 3:30pm

CUPCAKES AND COCKTAILS FOR THE DOME It’s been a long week for the Astrodome. And whether you want to see the old thing saved or destroyed you might feel fairly wrecked yourself at this point. Could you stand to tip one back or perk up with some sugary calories? Well, a pair of local retailers are providing wares that just might do the trick: Through November 5, the date voters will decide whether to approve that bond measure that would pay for the Dome’s conversion into convention space, Triniti on S. Shepherd will be offering a special cocktail, the Colt 45. And through October 24 Crave Cupcakes will be selling at its Uptown Park and Upper Kirby locations the “Save the Dome” cupcake toppers shown in this photo. [Preservation Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo: @KPRCawillis

09/12/13 10:00am

Update, 5:45 p.m.: A rep from Midway tells Swamplot that these plans are “nearly a year old” and “conceptual in nature” and writes in an email: “We should have a better idea in the next 60 days of what the project will actually entail.”

Marketing materials on the website of Midway Cos. — developers of CityCentre and GreenStreet — include this rendering of a 16-story office building standing at the corner of Richmond and Wakeforest in Upper Kirby. The materials show the building as part of a “mixed-use pedestrian-focused transit node,” with additional restaurants and retail, that Midway appears to be planning with the Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority here to jazz up Levy Park. An application to reduce the setback on this site along Richmond was approved in July.

Also included in the materials are renderings of a 300-unit loft building facing the Southwest Fwy. and flanking a greenspace:


08/26/13 11:00am

It appears that this former caterer’s at 3030 Audley St. and Sul Ross is being converted into a restaurant. Photos of the building show that permits for the Upper Kirby location on the other side of W. Alabama from Lamar High School have been acquired to rebuild the roof, which, according to info on NuHabitat, was damaged by Hurricane Ike. The name of the new restaurant will be the Audley Street Cafe.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

08/16/13 12:15pm

Seems the concerned neighbors around that 17-story office building that Hines is considering building on San Felipe aren’t worried only about traffic. This map, created by a member of the recently formed nonprofit East San Felipe Association — which says it is committed to supporting “reasonable development” in this area around S. Shepherd, Kirby, and San Felipe — suggests another threat to the ’hood: copycatting.

Clearly speculative, the map takes pains to show those sites where other unreasonable highrises could pop up in response to the precedent that Hines is setting with 2229 San Felipe. On S. Shepherd, for ex., you might see the Red Lion Pub forgo its street-level scale, or Petco abandon the confines of its big box. (But wouldn’t that long elevator ride down give you some quality time to bond with your recently adopted pup?) If this map is to be trusted, it seems like it would be only a matter of time before the bug spreads north and Chipotle throws up a tower of burritos. The last thing the neighbors want, says just one of the messages on that oppositional website that they set up, is for this residential area to become “the next Greenway Plaza.”

Image: Swamplot inbox

08/16/13 10:30am

Now that Cafe Adobe is coming down on the corner of Westheimer and S. Shepherd, Hines says it is going to start building this apartment complex later this month. A Hines rep tells Swamplot that this rendering of the so-called 21 Eleven at — wait for it — 2111 Westheimer is current — though it doesn’t appear to be all that different from the one published back in April that Hines said wasn’t. At any rate, the complex is planned to hold 215 units in 5 stories that will sit atop 2 levels of “podium parking.” And no ground-floor retail.

Rendering: Hines