10/05/18 10:30am

All that foreplay over the sex doll brothel planned inside the 2 story building pictured above on Richmond Ave just east of Chimney Rock ended up going nowhere Wednesday when city council blocked its opening by amending an ordinance that regulates adult businesses within city limits. Following the council’s unanimous vote, having sex with what the amendment calls “anthropomorphic devices” inside stores that offer them is now illegal in Houston. However, selling the dolls for take-home use remains no problem — provided that the retailer is more than 1,500 ft. from all nearby schools, churches, daycare centers, areas with 75% residential density, and public parks

City-owned Anderson Park is just about catty-corner to the brothel’s planned location at 5615 Richmond — meaning the property is now off-limits to any kind of R-rated establishment. (Existing PG tenants include Kaan Cafe, Omni Salsa Dance Studio, and a handful of clothing shops.)

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5615 Richmond
10/03/18 1:00pm

A Swamplot reader perched up in the SkyHouse River Oaks apartment building on Westcreek Ln. has been sending in updates on the new strippy building rising directly south of Robbins Brothers Jewlers’ W.-Loop-Feeder location. The photo at top shows the current state of progress on the new structure, and the other one above shows where it was at 2 and a half weeks ago.

Although nobody’s piped up just yet to say what it’ll look like when its done, a temporary address board hanging outside the construction site gives its location as 2111 W. Loop S. — reports the reader — which is the same spot where the city has signed off on permits for a 3-story retail and parking building over the last few months. It’s also the former site of Joe’s Golf House (though its address, 2121 W. Loop S., was slightly different the one now in use) and its feeder-fronting golf ball sign which remains teed-up today.

Here’s a closer view of the site from September:

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Behind Joes’s Golf Tee
08/29/18 10:15am

HOW POST OAK’S NEW ROOFTOP MOVIE SCREEN PLANS TO GET TEXANS BEHIND IT Tickets sales start today at noon for the first movie to hit the new Rooftop Cinema Club screen atop the Whole Foods BLVD Place garage on October 3: Dirty Dancing. Following a few more blockbusters like Coming to AmericaBack to the Future, and Footloose the London-born chain will begin courting Texans with a home-grown lineup including Rushmore, Reality BitesDazed and Confused, Selena, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (with a showing of Black Panther thrown in there on October 16 just because). At the end of its second week, the theater takes a hard turn out of state with Mel Brooks’ Mike Nicholls’ South Beach feature The Birdcage, only to come back in a big way with Texas Chainsaw Massacre the day before Halloween. [KHOU; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Whole Foods at 1700 Post Oak Blvd.: Dung L.

08/28/18 2:00pm

The latest generically named Houston co-working space is on its way to the BBVA Compass Plaza office building at 2200 Post Oak. Despite the corporate moniker, the brand isn’t all business. Its existing locations offer a few options for blowing off steam, like workout and shower facilities in the Austin Firmspace, as well as weekly catered lunches and “after hours events” both there and in Denver. (There’s even a private Firmspace social network that allows you to take your office relationships digital.) Topping things off are the picturesque views; the Austin location overlooks Lady Bird Lake, and Denver: the Rockies.

Setting the scene outside the planned Houston location: the Galleria. It’s just a block away from BBVA Compass Plaza, buffered from the tower by the Centre at Post Oak shopping center. Since going up in 2013 on the site of the former 15-stories-shorter Compass Bank building, the 22-floor tower shown above has changed hands once — in 2015 for what veteran real estate reporter Ralph Bivins then termed Houston’s new per-sq.-ft. record high price: $524.

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Nice Coworking if You Can Get It
08/28/18 11:45am

MATTRESS1ONE HAS SHUTTERED IN THE PLAZA ON RICHMOND, ACROSS FROM THE OTHER MATTRESS1ONE The closed location at 5132 Richmond Ave is the younger one: it opened up in 2016 on the north side of the street, opposite the 5129 location that’d already been in business for 2 years. On deck for the empty 6,555-sq.-ft. Plaza On Richmond box indicated above: Amazing Lash Studio. The cosmetic chain has roughly a dozen outer-Loop Houston locations. Map of The Plaza On Richmond: Greenwich Management

08/09/18 1:00pm

A POST OAK PARKING GARAGE SOLUTION TO THE DEMAND FOR DRIVE-IN THEATERS The head of the company now bringing a movie theater to the top of the BLVD Place garage at Post Oak and San Felipe tells the Chronicle’s Ileana Najarro that he “hopes to offer a social experience for those nostalgic for drive-in theaters.” What better place to do it than in Houston, where people drive in and out of buildings all the time? The catch: you’ll have to get out of your car and amble up to the garage’s top floor above Whole Foods and other retail, where it might get noisy — especially with that bus lane construction happening now on Post Oak. But there’s a solution: wireless headphones for each audience member — which Rooftop Cinema Club’s head says will “replicate the intimate setting of one’s car,” just like the old days. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Whole Foods at 1700 Post Oak Blvd.: Dung L.

07/25/18 1:00pm

Post-oak removal, the sidewalk outside The Wynden wedding venue and adjacent properties south of it on S. Post Oak Ln. are looking stumpier than they have in previous memory. About 15 trees total went down within the span of just an hour last Friday, reports a Swamplot reader. They’re now laying low between Tilbury Dr. and S. Wynden Ln., along a roadside stretch home to buried utility cables and some recently-planted flag markers — indications that work may be planned for the underground infrastructure.

Some trees, like the ones pictured below, managed to stay standing — but not by much:

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Stumped
06/29/18 11:30am

A view from up in the U.S. Home building at 1177 West Loop South shows the white house originally home to architecture firm Caudill Rowlett Scott — and for the last couple decades home to Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists — now getting crunched along Buffalo Bayou. The properties now occupied by 1177 and its nearly-demolished neighbor at 1111 West Loop South were bought together as a single tract by CRS in the late ’60s.

A 1997 feature on the iconic (and difficult to photograph) building in Cite magazine by architect Jay Baker explains that prior purchasing the land, the firm had been working out of the Dow Center at the corner of Richmond and Edloe — but having become the largest architectural practice in Houston, its execs wanted to get into a more eye-catching workspace. The 8-acre, largely-in-the-floodplain property they bought, however — which included a 40-ft. drop-off — proved tough to design on . . . and its tenants tough to design for. In June 1967, CRS founder Bill Caudill wrote to his mother: “Boy what a week I am having . . . In my twenty years of practice I have never had such a terrible client. Imagine an architect doing a building for 15 other architects.

The completed building went as much into the site as on it: Two office levels were fitted facing bayou-side greenery, low enough (and ultimately beneath the 100-year-flood level) to allow a 50-ft.-long bridge from the 610 feeder road to access the roof-deck parking lot that was placed on top.

Here’s a closer-up view of the ruins:

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The Final Photo
06/18/18 1:00pm

The first stretch of concrete is down along a northern portion of the dedicated bus route that’s set to run up the middle of Post Oak Blvd. between Westpark Dr. and the West Loop. The photo at top looks north to show the freshly-paved southbound lane lying in the middle of the existing roadway, where it’s now making a stop at San Felipe St.

Its next drop-off point: Ambassador Wy., as indicated in the map below:

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Trailblazing
05/04/18 4:15pm

The 2 new METRO bus lanes — linking a proposed Bellaire transit center to the new middle-of-the-road path up Post Oak Blvd. — won’t run over the actual building at Chick-fil-A’s Richmond Ave location, but they will cut through the property. Last month, the fast-food company agreed to vacate its spot at 5005 Richmond after the State of Texas initiated an eminent domain proceeding against it — and the location subsequently closed. (The 4 strip tenants in Weingarten Realty’s surrounding Richmond Square Shopping CenterBestBuy, Mattress1One, Cost Plus World Market, and Luggage & Leather — are also targeted in the proceeding.)

Adding the new transit route (shown in the map below as a vertical orange line partly covered-over with yellowish-gray) is part of a whole tangle of changes TxDOT has planned for the 610-59 interchange:

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Eminent Domain
11/07/17 1:00pm

In case you were curious what the 9th-floor 1-bedroom condo in the Cosmopolitan owned by southwest Houston charter school Accelerated Interdisciplinary Intermediate Academy looks like, here are some photos taken when the property was listed for sale in February of 2011, for $468,500. The school purchased the condo that June. 250 elementary and middle school students attend Accelerated Interdisciplinary Intermediate Academy on its mostly bare 7-acre campus at 12825 Summit Ridge Dr., near the intersection of Alt. 90 and the Fort Bend Pkwy. Toll Rd. The taxpayer-funded school’s 2 buildings have no windows.

So what’s the condo for? An unidentified school representative emails the Chronicle‘s Jacob Carpenter to explain it’s used for “”back office support and SECURE storage of historical records.” Repeated break-in attempts, according to the representative, prevented the records from being kept at the school. “The writer also reasoned that the charter preferred buying property instead of paying rent, and that its options were ‘very limited,’” writes Carpenter. “The author didn’t explain why the school opted for the condo when cheaper storage and office space were available.”

The almost-floor-to-ceiling windows and balcony in the school’s Cosmopolitan condo face south, down Post Oak Blvd.:

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A Charter School’s Uptown Holdings
10/02/17 3:30pm

Here’s evidence that the scheduled reconstruction of the entire West Loop—I-69 interchange just southeast of the Galleria is about to begin. “Crews have been ripping out trees and other vegetation,” reports reader and 610 traveler John Greiner: “Much more than could be argued for improving traffic sight lines.”

These pics show the scene:

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Foliage First
05/17/17 5:00pm

A waste-no-time tipster briefly stuck on the southbound West Loop earlier this week spent the downtime documenting some of the current activities of various cranes hanging around north of the US 59 junction. On the right is Tilman Fertitta’s The Post Oak, being fleshed out behind the Landry’s headquarters as part of a new mixed-use development; the previously tipped hand of 4 logo diamonds are already being framed at the top:

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