- 6346 Mercer St. [HAR]
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.
Note: Story updated below.
Yes, we have another Inner Loop recycling center closing to mark for the new year. Swamplot reader Jon Morris caught these shots of the final evening of bottle-clinking at the West University RecyclExpress at 5004 Dincans St., behind Goode Company Seafood, last night. You’ve got only a few minutes left to get rid of those New Year’s shindig empties — the center closes forever at noon today. “Scene was calm but with steady traffic when I was there,” reports Morris. “All the bins were overflowing though.”
DON’T WORRY, YOUR LISTING IS STILL SAFE Police arrested 4 individuals on the scene early this morning after a break-in at the Houston Association of Realtors “SuperCenter” at 3693 Southwest Fwy., west of Edloe. The suspects were not believed to have made off with anything, but are being investigated for possible involvement in another organizational crime: The Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Building across 59 and Buffalo Speedway at 3110 Southwest Fwy. was also broken into overnight. [KHOU] Photo: Andrew Horansky
A city permit was approved last week to convert a portion of the building that once housed the A&M Pet Clinic at 5010 Dincans St. into a wine bar. The 2-story building is across the street from the new apartment block Hanover is completing between Bissonnet and North Blvd. just west of Kirby Dr. The Swamplot reader who visited the closing-after-New-Year’s West U recycling center just to the north of the property finds the posted TABC notice, which identifies the applicant as Catering Plus. Ray Memari, co-owner of the Antica Osteria Italian Restaurant on Bissonnet just west of Greenbriar, purchased the building last year.
Looks like the typical rush to get rid of empties right after New Year’s could be a little compressed this year from Rice Village to Upper Kirby. A Swamplot reader sends in pics of the new sign that’s gone up at the sort-it-yourself recycling center at 5004 Dincans St., across the street and behind Goode Co. Seafood. West University’s city council voted in October to close the 24-hr. drive-up facility, and the sign announces the January 2 closing date.
In the earlier waves of West U’s great residential reboot, before the 21st Century stucco surge, ruddy brick finished out a fair amount of the city’s new housing. The townhomes of Rutgers Place, for example, worked bricks, bricks, and more bricks into the development’s exteriors, fencing, and patios. An oft-updated corner unit in that street-straddling enclave, which dates from 1981, popped up on the market last week. Asking price: $484,500 — plus a $120 monthly maintenance fee.
That steel frame on Centenary St. that roused some West U residents to name-calling and concern-raising 2 years ago now has a steel house built around it — and a single father and his two sons inside. Still, says architect Cameron Armstrong, the build wasn’t as smooth as it might have been: “[C]ertain neighbors were actually quite hostile — they heckled the subcontractors (and not always from across the street!), and made numerous frivolous complaints to the police about things like (non-existent) parking violations by workers. . . . They thought they were living on a street with a predictable visual future, which turned out not to be the case.” Adds Armstrong: “[I]t’s hard to identify substantive objections. . . . The good news is that most of the neighbors are just fine with how the design turned out.”
Going out, coming in: It looks like the work to update this former Rice Epicurean Market at 2617 W. Holcombe into The Fresh Market is well underway. Set back in that shopping center on the southwest corner of W. Holcombe and Kirby Dr. in West University, this will be one of the 4 Rice Epicurean spots that the North Carolina chain said it would be freshening up this year; the others are on Weslayan, Tanglewood, and Memorial.
Photo: Allyn West