12/06/18 4:00pm

THE MARQUIS II IS GETTING ITS SECOND ENCORE Well, that was fast. After shutting down on Sunday without any timeline for a return, the Marquis II reopened at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, according to a note posted on Facbeook by longtime bar employee Al Jara. According to the Chronicle’s Marcy de Luna, Jara is now the owner of the place, having purchased it from his boss during the 2-day timeout. The last time a Marquis employee pulled a stunt like this, it was a pair of devoted cocktail waitresses who bought the place after the owner, their boss at the time, died in the late ’60s. (Adding “II” to the name was their idea.) In this case the former owner is still alive, just sick of dealing with the sustained construction activity outside the bar on Bissonnet St., which Jara says has cost the business $1.2 to $1.5 million since it began in 2014. “They’ve broken up our parking lot and we are not getting business because people can’t access us,” he tells de Luna. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Marquis II

12/03/18 12:15pm

A flyer posted on the Marquis II at 2631 Bissonnet yesterday announces that the place is now closed indefinitely, leaving West University almost entirely devoid of bars (except for the one inside the Whole Foods on Bellaire Blvd.). The Marquis II’s predecessor, the Marquis, opened in the then-fledgling River Oaks Shopping Center in 1945. After the bar’s original owner died in the late 1960s, a pair of cocktail waitresses bought it and decamped to Bissonnet and Buffalo Spdwy., where the suffix became part of the venue’s name.

Following a stint at Bissonnet and Weslayan, the bar wound up in its current spot near Kirby in 1985. Houston architect Lars Bang had originally designed the building to house a branch of California donut chain The Big Donut, which it did until the 1970s when a gentleman’s lounge dubbed The Bunny Club blacked out the windows and took over. It left after a fire in the early ’80s, but not entirely: During the Marquis II’s last major remodel in 2011, workers uncovered a painting of a women wearing a low-cut outfit with a bushy tail that had been hiding behind one of the building’s walls, an unmistakable relic of the shuttered strip club. “Although badly charred,” according to the bar’s website, “the painting underwent a little restoration and still hangs proudly on our wall.

Photos: Marquis II

Last Last Call
07/30/18 4:15pm

A Swamplot reader sends photos of a few street-fronting changes over at the new Pizza Motus moving in next to West University Masonic Lodge No. 1292: There’s now a sign on the storefront and some benches on the sidewalk outside it. A bit tougher to spot is the door in the middle of the concave façade; it recently turned green.

Former tenant Edloe St. Cafe had the whole place painted red during its time inside:

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On Deck in West U.
07/06/18 5:00pm

Signs are up outside AT&T’s West U. building on Bellaire Blvd. announcing the changes the carrier wants to make to allow service vehicles to load and unload gear in its backyard. Laid down on a row of 4 former residential lots in 1970, the parking lot was expanded by 2 parcels in 1975 and now backs both the telecom building and the Whole Foods–anchored shopping center adjacent to it. Service vehicles and their associated personnel have used the lot since it was first paved, according to the company’s rezoning application.

West U. officials signed off on the land’s new use for parking back when it was first paved. The question now is what is what sort of backyard activities are permitted within that area — an issue on which the city has flip-flopped. In 2016, it gave AT&T the all-clear to keep conducting service activities in the lot. But following a challenge from a neighboring resident that same year, officials changed their minds. AT&T filed a lawsuit in response, but just this January agreed to work toward a settlement with the city.

A public hearing on the zoning request was originally scheduled for June 11 but was postponed to a date TBD — prompting some timely yard sign edits like the one shown below

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West U.
11/15/13 10:00am

The uncommon 62 (and a half!)-ft. width of this West University lot near the city’s park on Sunset Blvd. gives a 1992 contemporary home by the late Preston Bolton room to change up the typical front, flow, and footprint found in the plethora of Georgians built around that time in the neighborhood. Bolton’s custom design for the current owner stacks living space back from the street, on a 20-ft.-setback block, and features a well-established lattice espalier as well as distinct geometric gates and grill work a spider would be happy to call its handiwork, despite slightly shaggy landscaping creeping onto the front walkway:

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03/28/13 12:05pm

This white box, covering up the emergency exit of a vacated belly-dancing studio, will be the new entrance of Houston’s first indoor rowing facility, says founder Greg Scheinman. In West University Place, ROW Studios is building out the former Sirrom Dance behind the Randall’s in Weslayan Plaza and resurfacing the parking lot facing Academy St.

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08/14/12 9:32am

There’s a stuccoed Dutch-Colonial-Swiss Colony on the not-so-mountainous streets behind Weslayan Plaza’s west side in the College Court section (aka the “chimney”) of West University Place. The lookalike cottage and quarters are steps away from the new Buffalo Grille and a U.S. Post Office. West U’s Judson Park to the south and a proposed rail station for Metro’s supposed University Line are also blocks away. Railroad tracks, meanwhile, are just up the street.

During construction of the 1983 main house, a former 1940s “barn” on the site became a 2-story guest house in lieu of a garage. HCAD cites some remodeling in 1991 to the home. Last Friday, the property re-listed at $462,500 after a previous listing by the same agent initially sought $575,000 in April 2012, with adjustments to $565,000, $550,000, and then a summer of $524,990. The home’s side entry and hipped roof make for an atypical floor plan:

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