- 6506 Mercer St. [HAR]
The letters are down at the Cabo Grill in the West U Shopping Center (the one with the Kroger and all the oaks) on Buffalo Speedway between Westpark and Bissonnet. This Cabo Grill — not to be confused with the also shuttered Cabo Mix-Mex Grill known best for its former location at the corner of Travis and Prairie Downtown (now home to El Big Bad) — was formerly named Fish City Grill. A reader tells Swamplot that a sign posted on the front door of the shopping center slot at 5172 Buffalo Speedway says that the locks have been changed as a result of a payment failure. The place appears vacant.
Photos: Swamplot inbox
Is it Rice’s manifest destiny to extend its land holdings all the way from the Texas Medical Center to West U? The university already owns a bit of frontage on Kirby Dr., on West U’s eastern border, between University Dr. and Amherst St., but the holdings between that far outpost of the Village Arcade and the main campus are a little spotty. Two recent purchases — and accompanying demolitions — appear poised to make the swath more continuous, however.
This week occasioned the demolition of the house at 5606 Chaucer Dr., 2 blocks west of Rice Stadium, directly over the back fence from Little Woodrow’s on Morningside Dr. The home appeared in this morning’s demo report — along with a neighbor at 5608 Chaucer St. (at center left and left in the top photo). County tax records show that an entity connected to Rice purchased both houses late last year. (The second house is listed as 5612 Chaucer St. on the tax rolls).
When architect Tom Wilson designed a contemporary residence for himself in West U back in 1977, he divvied the lot down the length, giving home and extensive poolscape each narrow side-by-side footprints. Twenty years later, the current owners took over, paying $535K for the privilege. Last week, the property popped up on the market with a $1.45 million price tag. Architectural guides peg the design as “a low-key medium tech house” engineered with steel and panels of metal and wood. The “front” door is on the side; it lies inside the porch and privacy screen (above) facing the street, which is located south of University Blvd. and west of Buffalo Speedway.
Which sections of this bi-level West University house were part of the 1938 original? Don’t count on the listing aerial map’s (incorrectly placed) marker to find it; the property sits one lot south of University Blvd. on a street east of Buffalo Speedway. The $1.578 million listing from mid-January features an actual occupied basement, though it isn’t pictured.
Tweaks and conversions over time appear to have shifted around room assignments. The dining room (top), for example . . .
Here’s a shadow sighting sure to knock the winter doldrums out of any emerging groundhog: Signs are up at the West U Court townhomes marketed by Urban Living at the corner of Weslayan and Law streets, dangling hefty Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, and Best Buy gift cards — among other prizes — free, with your casual purchase of townhome. “It appears from the flier and the website that only one of the units has sold so far; they start at $699,900,” notes the reader who sent in these pics of the festooned not-sold-yet properties. . . . It looks like Urban Living is offering the same incentives on all of their properties.”
Photos: Swamplot inbox
Over in West University, one of the updated brick bungalows in the Rice Court neighborhood makes a few good points — in its windows, archways, and a section of living room ceiling vaulted into the sharply pitched roofline. The 2008-renovated 1934 property has been on the market since an August listing aimed at $799K; it dropped its price a month ago to $765K. Two-and-a-bit years ago, the current owner picked it up for $551K. CONTINUE READING THIS STORY
It’s not the largest of the townhomes lining West University’s Northern border, but it might be the tallest — and it’s certainly the whitest. The stucco contemporary’s listing at $485K mid-month points out the home was built in 1983, not the 1973 found on HCAD. A 3-story design amid 2-story neighbors, the front loader comes with a crow’s nest view north and west that takes in Greenway Plaza. H-E-B’s Buffalo Market is across and down the street.
Rather than choose between more yard and more house, a 1991 custom home in West University appears to have simply put everything but the front lawn under roof, including a free-range atrium vignette in the living room (top) and a garden patio (above middle). The home was relisted by the same agent last Friday and has an asking price of $1.249 million. The previous listing, at the end of February, lasted a month and was aiming for $1.399 million.
. . . Well, at least as long as Brays Bayou is able to handle whatever rains come. Late last month, an excavator (pictured above) yanked out the last piece of a 3-year-old 6-ft.-by-6-ft. concrete panel used as a “restrictor” and meant to make sure rainwater that fell in West U stayed in West U for a good long time. The restrictor (shown in place blocking the right side of the drainage channel pictured at left) had been put in place by the Harris County Flood Control District after West U, working with the city of Southside Place and Metro, completed $8 million worth of drainage improvements in 2010 on the colorfully named Poor Farm Ditch, which drains along the east side of Edloe St. through much of West University and further south to Brays Bayou. Those improvements had been meant to solve West U’s frequent flooding problems. But without some place for the water to go, that solution for West U might have caused flooding elsewhere downstream. So the district placed the restrictor on Poor Farm Ditch on the south side of the Edloe St. bridge across Holcombe St. — until the city could somehow come up with 13.5 acre-ft. of flood detention to hold the runoff.
With flood improvements completed but the restrictor still causing water to back up on Poor Farm Ditch, West U flooded again in January 2012 after a hard rain.