09/03/14 4:15pm

Demolition of Greenway Inn and Suites, 2929 Southwest Fwy., Upper Kirby, Houston

Demolition of Greenway Inn and Suites, 2929 Southwest Fwy., Upper Kirby, HoustonLike the Houstonaire Motor Inn, the Colonel Sanders’ Inn, and the Ramada Inn before it, the Greenway Inn and Suites on the south side of Hwy. 59 between Kirby Dr. and Buffalo Speedway is only a memory now. But it took more than a name change to off it: This redo is final. Thanks to a reader, we have these postcard-ready images from the final checkout proces over the weekend to remember it by. The buildings at 2929 Southwest Fwy. were built in 1965.

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Chickening Out
08/13/14 11:00am

Kuhl-Linscomb, 2424 W. Alabama St., Upper Kirby, Houston

Penguin Arms Apartments, 2902 Revere St., Upper Kirby, Houston (4)The application for a parking variance submitted to the city by the owners of design store Kuhl-Linscomb last week is notable for the details it reveals about the company’s plans for a 17,489-sq.-ft. addition to the Googie-monument Penguin Arms Apartments (pictured at right) it bought in 2011. But it’s also an entertaining read for the stories Pam Kuhl-Linscomb and Dan Linscomb tell about their own retail venture, in making the case that their soon-to-be 7-building campus in Upper Kirby doesn’t need as much off-street parking as city ordinances otherwise require: “Kuhl-Linscomb sells expensive, high-end designer goods, furniture and kitchen systems in a 6 building campus near Kirby and West Alabama,” the application reads. And it goes on to explain why its parking situation is different from those of other design and home-goods stores:

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Reaching for Penguin Arms
08/12/14 2:30pm

Penguin Arms Apartments, Kuhl-Linscomb Campus, 2902 Revere St., Upper Kirby, Houston

The owners of the quirky Kuhl-Linscomb home-goods store, arrayed in 6 separate repurposed buildings just east of the Upper Kirby Whole Foods Market, have plans to attach a large addition behind and next to the Penguin Arms apartment building at 2902 Revere St. — and to turn the completed building into an additional showroom. The proposed addition to Arthur Moss’s distinctive 1950 structure (above), one of the best surviving examples of the Frank-Lloyd-Wright-meets-diner-mashup ‘Googie’ style, would almost quadruple the amount of space in the building, from the current 5,938 sq. ft. to 23,427 sq. ft. A proposed site plan submitted to the city shows how the addition would hang back and to the side of the structure, preserving views of 3 of the rock-and-glass building’s corners:

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To Preserve and Expand
08/12/14 12:15pm

hanover-river-oaks-render-se

Renderings of the 30-something-story highrise apartment tower Hanover plans to build on the site of a portion of the Kirby Court Apartments (and a couple of nearby retail buildings) across from the Whole Foods Market show the building hanging back from Kirby Dr. That’ll leave room for a bit of a restaurant complex facing the busy north-south street (at right in the above rendering): One of them will be the existing Becks Prime drive-thru at the corner of Kirby and Kipling, which is not a part of the project. But a new (and likely more upscale) standalone restaurant structure next to it at the corner of Kirby and Steel St. will replace the structure currently housing Ashly Fine Rugs:

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Hanover River Oaks
08/11/14 5:15pm

Kirby Court Apartments, 2612 Steel St., Upper Kirby, HoustonThe apartment tower the Hanover Company is planning to replace the northeastern chunk of the Kirby Court Apartments on Steel St. and a few surrounding properties will defer to a range of cuisines. Sure it’ll be directly across the street from the Whole Foods Market on Kirby Dr. But it’s also leaving alone the property on the corner of Kirby and Kipling St., where Becks Prime will continue to pump out burgers to customers passing through its drive-thru. If that bit of culinary contrast doesn’t impress, wait for the building to be finished: According to documents submitted to the city for the variance the developer is seeking, the ground floor of the 370-unit Hanover River Oaks apartment complex will have lease space for restaurants.

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Stand Back from Steel
08/11/14 12:00pm

kirby-court-and-sign

Variance Sign at Kirby Court Apartments, 2700 Block of Steel St., Upper Kirby, HoustonApartment developer the Hanover Company appears to be the purchaser of the Kirby Court Apartments — or at least a portion of it. A chunk of the 1949 garden apartment complex, which faces Steel St. west of Kirby, directly across from Whole Foods Market, is outlined in a variance application submitted to the city by Hanover for what the company is calling the Hanover River Oaks. The property earmarked for the development extends halfway (or 350 ft.) into the block between Kipling St. and Steel St. from Kirby Dr., but leaves out the Beck’s Prime drive-thru on the northeast corner.

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Just South of West Ave
07/31/14 5:00pm

Rendering of Levy Park, 3801 Eastside St. at Richmond Ave., Upper Kirby, Houston

The Office of James Burnett has posted more detailed renderings of the newly expanded Levy Park just north of the Southwest Fwy. at Eastside St. as it’s supposed to look when work is complete sometime after next fall. Included in the $10 million plans for the 5.9-acre space are a performance pavilion, 2 big lawns, a dog park, and a food kiosk. A winding “children’s garden” will have tree houses and fountains around the middle-aged live oak trees relocated to the center of the park. There’ll be restrooms and room for farmers’ markets as well.

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Putting the Groove in Kirby Grove
06/30/14 10:30am

Mustang Stuck in Concrete, Southwest Fwy. Feeder Rd. at Greenbriar, Upper Kirby, Houston

The closest thing Houston has to a Bermuda Triangle — also known as various patches of curing roadway concrete known to appear in and around the intersection of Kirby Dr. and the Southwest Fwy. — claimed its third (known) victim over the weekend. It wasn’t a Lexus this time, or a Jaguar, but a bright red Mustang that found itself solidly rooted in the recently poured stew on the westbound feeder road between Greenbriar and Kirby Dr. early Saturday morning.

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Feeder Road at a Standstill
06/20/14 1:30pm

DON’T BOTHER THE FINE FOLKS AT CAFE JAPON, BUT WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEASE THEIR BUILDING? Cafe Japon, 3915 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, HoustonA listing for the 4,000-sq.-ft. restaurant space tucked deep into the space at 3915 Kirby Dr. just north of the Southwest Fwy. appeared last week on LoopNet. “Please do not disturb the tenant,” the listing says, noting that the building is currently occupied month-to-month by “a Japanese restaurant.” That would be longtime sushi purveyor Café Japon. How long might it be until some new-kid-in-town restaurant displaces it? An interloper would have to pay $14,000 per month in addition to a share of property taxes, the listing says. [LoopNet, via Chris Frankel] Photo: LoopNet

06/02/14 3:30pm

Brio Tuscan Grille, 3029 Kirby Dr., Centre at River Oaks Shopping Center, Upper Kirby, Houston

The sign is down and workers are moving equipment out of the Brio Tuscan Grille at the corner of Kirby and West Alabama. The restaurant shut down yesterday, a reader informs Swamplot. “They had a bunch of stuff all over the floor and about 3 rental moving trucks with guys hanging out,” writes the informant, who adds that one of the unnamed workers said the restaurant had been “not that busy” and wasn’t making enough money. Brio took over the space formerly occupied by Pesce at the 3029 Kirby Dr. spot in the Centre at River Oaks Shopping Center 2 years ago, around the same time the former Borders Books in the same building was being carved up into separate spaces for a pediatric clinic and Ulta Beauty. The Brio CityCentre location remains open.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Moving Out Senza Brio
05/22/14 3:45pm

CAFE EXPRESS ON KIRBY IS CLOSING AT THE END OF MAY Cafe Express Closing Flyer, Kirby Dr., HoustonWhat’s this little flyer employees at the Café Express at 3200 Kirby Dr. have begun stuffing into to-go bags? Just a little announcement that the location, which has been open since 1987, will be shutting down before the month is out. And sending customers to one of the 13 other spots in the chain, with a coupon. Thanks, but might cost a bit more to eat at some of the restaurants in the site’s replacement when it opens. Thor Equities has been showing whizzy images of the Kirby Collection, a mixed-use grouping of 3 structures planned for the entire block of Kirby between Colquitt and West Main St., on its website. The site is being redeveloped, the flyer says. [Previously on Swamplot] Image: Loves Swamplot

05/12/14 3:30pm

THERE IS TALK OF THE CITY AS A WHOLE IN THAT BAD FOOD THERE Grace's on Kirby, 3111 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, HoustonKatharine Shilcutt gets into a few extra-culinary issues in her review of Johnny Carrabba’s new restaurant on Kirby Dr.: “The narrative at Grace’s is one of unironic kitsch, a longing for the good old days that were only good for a select few. The menu speaks volumes about Houston, but about a Houston we are far removed from not only in time but in attitude. We are not a Houston whose provincial understanding of the world at large is manifested in clumsy, token ways; we are a Houston of effortless inclusiveness. We are a city of weavers. We are a city of builders and big ideas, not sad, sweaty plates of tuna or bland, underseasoned steaks. We are also a city that knows where to get a good tampiqueña plate for less than $22, and a city that knows better than to employ ‘Chinese Takeout’ font for the two Asian dishes on a menu. But hey — at least Grace’s has ample parking and excellent service, which goes pretty far these days.” [Houstonia; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Loren A.

05/05/14 10:45am

Replat Signs for Kirby Collection, Kirby Dr. at Colquitt St., Upper Kirby, Houston

Replat Signs for Kirby Collection, Kirby Dr. at Colquitt St., Upper Kirby, HoustonRenderings and reports of a giant mixed-use development that would swallow up the entire block on the west side of Kirby Dr. between Colquitt and West Main St. have been shopped around for almost 6 years. But recently there’s been some action: Last week the planning commission approveddeferred for a couple of weeks a hearing on the proposed combination of the various properties on the block into a single “unrestricted” lot. The original hearing date was announced on signs posted in front of the Hendricks Pub (at right), Roak, and the OTC Patio Bar, created back in 2011 from portions of the former Settegast Kopf funeral home, as well as in front of Cafe Express (above). The website of New York real estate firm Thor Equities features the latest renderings of the block’s proposed replacement, called the Kirby Collection:

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Collecting Kirby
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.:

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The Kirby Collection