10/28/14 1:45pm

Goode's Armadillo Palace, 5015 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

The Goode Company 4-restaurant fiefdom on Kirby Dr. near Westpark is planning another expansion. Plans submitted to the city show the local chain is seeking to expand Goode’s Armadillo Palace with additional covered patio space, a new courtyard facing Bartlett St., and covered walkways connecting them — all on the current parking lot directly across the street from Goode Company BBQ. In addition, a new Goode’s Armadillo Palace General Store is planned for the far eastern end of the site, with a raised covered porch in front of its entrance facing Bartlett St. The single-story structure housing the store, according to the documents, would be built in a “traditional German country style.”

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Moving Around the Corner
08/14/14 11:15am

Variance Sign in Front of Hollywood Vietnamese Restaurant, 2409 Montrose Blvd., Montrose, Houston

A variance notice now up on the south side of Fairview St. at the corner of Montrose Blvd. is one sign that a full-block apartment complex is being planned for the site. Another clue: A reader tells us the Hollywood Vietnamese & Chinese Cuisine restaurant at 2409 Montrose Blvd., which occupies the only building on the block, is planning to shut down before the end of the month. A spokesperson for the planning department says a complete set of documents for the variance hasn’t been received yet.

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Farb Montrose
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
08/11/14 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
06/17/14 1:45pm

Black Eyed Pea, 4211 Bellaire Blvd., Houston

Variance Sign at Kilmarnock Dr. and Gramercy  St., Ayrshire, Braeswood Place, HoustonHere’s the variance sign (at right) that went up over the weekend at the intersection of Gramercy St. and Kilmarnock Dr., backing up to the power-line easement and ditch that separates the city of Bellaire (beyond the sign) from Houston. Supra Color Enterprises, the Florida-based landlord of the Black-eyed Pea restaurant at 4211 Bellaire Blvd. (above), is requesting a variance from the city as part of an effort to redefine its 1.8-acre property at that address as an “unrestricted reserve.” The variance application doesn’t reveal Supra Color’s plans for the land, but it does refer to a “proposed multifamily development” on the site.

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Development Rumors and Mashed Peas
05/21/14 10:45am

Proposed Elan Heights Apartments, 2222 White Oak Dr., Woodland Heights, Houston

The latest rendering for the Elan Heights apartment complex Greystar is planning for the site of the former Skylane Central Apartments (more recently called 2222 White Oak) it’s getting ready to demolish shows a few changes: The 325-unit building is now projected to rise 7 stories above a 3-level parking garage perched on a raised slab (useful for keeping lower-level cars dry on the bayou-side property). But this design from Meeks + Partners will require a variance from the city, because it scoots 12 and a half ft. closer to White Oak Dr. than city rules currently allow.

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Taking the Skylane to Elan Heights
05/13/14 4:45pm

AN APARTMENT DEVELOPER’S NEW MIDTOWN PEARLS ARE MISSING Site of Proposed Pearl on Smith, 3100 Smith St., and Pearl on Helena, 105 Drew St., Midtown, HoustonThe Morgan Group’s Pearl Midtown apartment building is still under construction at the corner of Elgin and Smith streets in Midtown, but a couple of follow-on projects have recently drifted away from the process for gaining city approval — for now, at least. Signs announcing a variance request for the Pearl on Smith went up last month in front of the 1940 building at 3100 Smith St. that used to house the Social Security Administration’s offices (pictured at top), across the street from the Pearl Midtown. And on the block surrounded by Helena, Dennis, Albany, and Drew, a sign is still up for a variance request to allow construction of the Pearl on Helena. On that block is the building that until last fall housed the Kindred Hospital Midtown (bottom photo) — along with this 1930 mansion. Applications for both projects showed similar 5-story apartment complexes built around a small courtyard on top of 2 garage levels. But both projects have now gone quiet in the city’s tracking system. The variance application for the Pearl on Smith was withdrawn before its scheduled April 17th hearing. And the Pearl on Helena is listed as an “inactive application” in the city database, even though it was originally scheduled for a hearing on the same date. Photos: O’Connor & Associates (3100 Smith St.); Swamplot inbox (Kindred Hospital)

05/05/14 4:30pm

15-HOME WESTMORELAND PLACE DEVELOPMENT CLEARS HURDLES, MORE TREE SPACE Sign for Masterson Oaks at Westmoreland, Westmoreland Place, HoustonWhen last we left the 0.83-acre lot tucked up against Spur 527 between Marshall and Alabama St. (catty corner from the Broadstone at Midtown second block), developer Carnegie Homes was seeking city approval for a variance for reduced setbacks from the spur and Alabama St. The variance was approved last November; the site plan, which lays out space for 7 homesites within the Westmoreland Historic District (on the north portion of the property) and another 8 tighter townhome lots on the free-range southern end, has been adjusted slightly to allow a 5,000-sq.-ft. promenade and private park area leading up to and surrounding the enormous live oak tree (branches visible in the above photo) near the property’s northwest corner. A new sign announcing the development went up last week. It’s been renamed a couple times too. The former Carnegie Oaks at Westmoreland — described on the company’s website as The Oak at Westmoreland — is now Masterson Oaks at Westmoreland, Carnegie’s Arpan Gupta tells Swamplot, after the Masterson Mansion that stood on the site as recently as the 1950s, but was torn down after the spur bisected its grounds. Gupta is still seeking approvals within the Westmoreland historic district for a reduced setback along Marshall St. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

04/16/14 11:00am

Rendering of Proposed 3615 Montrose Condo Tower with Green Garage Wall

A representative of Riverway Properties, the developer proposing a 7-story condo tower on the vacant former site of the River Cafe in Montrose, says a rendering submitted as part of an application for a variance from the city isn’t an entirely accurate representation of the garage wall the company wants to build in front of the sidewalks on Montrose Blvd. and Marshall St. The rendering of the 3615 Montrose building featured on Swamplot earlier this week showed a blank wall at the base surrounding a single-level parking garage on the ground floor, punctured only by a driveway entrance with an overhead door along Montrose. But Riverway Properties partner Michael Carroll says his company is planning either a “green wall system” or an installation by an artist for the wall.

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Montrose Street Life
04/14/14 12:15pm

Proposed Condo Tower at 3615 Montrose Blvd., Montrose, Houston

The developers hoping to build this 12-unit condo building on the former site of the River Cafe at the corner of Montrose Blvd. and Marshall St. are requesting a variance from the city so they can scooch the project’s blank-wall parking-area front 15 ft. closer to Montrose Blvd. than city rules ordinarily allow. And if they don’t get their way, they’ll make the 7-story structure even bigger, the variance application threatens. That would mean fencing off the building’s front; putting the parking garage on 2 floors instead of one, and adding “additional living floors . . . making the building much taller than others adjacent.”

A submitted site plan prepared by Element Architects shows the existing right-of-way reduced by 5 ft. along Montrose Blvd. in addition to the setback requirement, to allow for future widening:

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At Variance
03/17/14 10:30am

Proposed Studemont Midrise, 1011 Studemont St., Memorial Heights, Houston

Morrison Heights Midrise, 2802 Morrison St., Woodland Heights, HoustonThe developer behind the Morrison Heights midrise building (pictured at left) now under construction in the southeast corner of Woodland Heights has plans to build a similar “apartment and condo” complex at the southwest corner of Studemont and Center St., just north of Washington Ave. Like its neighbor to the northeast, the Studemont Mid-Rise would be a 4-story structure of 36 units mounted over an open parking area underneath. To fit the proposed building on the lot at 1011 Studemont St., however, Fisher Homes needs a variance from the city that would allow a reduced setback on either Studemont or Court St. Its application was deferred at a meeting earlier this month, and is up for consideration by the planning commission this Thursday.

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All the Single Bedrooms
01/22/14 11:15am

Proposed Timbergrove Heights Townhome Development, W. 12th St. Between Seamist and Ella, Timbergrove Manor, Houston

Proposed Timbergrove Heights Townhome Development, W. 12th St. Between Seamist and Ella, Timbergrove Manor, HoustonSuburban-style retail and apartment complexes may have all but conquered the former industrial block southeast of the Heights Swamplotters have taken to calling Katyville, but there are still plenty of warehouse-y buildings to tear down — often of the more Mod variety — south and west of Timbergrove Manor. Here though, just inside the West Loop, isolated pods of townhome colonies would be the more likely result. A resident of the area tells Swamplot neighbors only found out about a 131-unit townhouse subdivision planned off of W. 12th St. between Ella and Seamist because developer InTown Homes is seeking a variance (in a hearing before the planning commission this Thursday). The variance is to gain approval for not including a north-south street through the 6.916-acre property.

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Heights Townhomes, Now in Timbergrove!
01/17/14 10:45am

Former Stables Restaurant, 7325 S. Main St., Old Braeswood, Houston

7200 S. Main St. at Greenbriar, Old Braeswood, HoustonThere’s a stub end of North Braeswood Blvd. that extends just east of where the Stables Restaurant (pictured above) stood until 2007 at the corner of Greenbriar Dr. and South Main St. It leads to the St. Nicholas School along the northern bank of Brays Bayou, southwest of the Texas Medical Center. A reader alerts Swamplot that a variance sign has gone up on the now-vacant 8.5-acre parcel (at right) that surrounds the school and extends along S. Main up to Pressler St., and which used to house the Stables, the Red Lion restaurant, and the Bermuda Apartments. The variance lists 7200 Main and Springwoods Realty Company as the developers of the site, but doesn’t announce what the development is. Springwoods Realty is best known in Houston as the developers Springwoods Village, the curious 1,800-acre eco-themed development also of possible Aristotle Onassis origin whose announcement preceded that of the adjacent new ExxonMobil campus south of The Woodlands. And 7200 Main shares the New York address of Springwoods Village’s somewhat mysterious developer, Coventry Development Corp. The variance asks for permission not to extend North Braeswood or terminate it in a cul-de-sac, as would normally be required:

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What’s up at Greenbriar and S. Main?