The Commotion at the Corner of Westheimer and Dunlavy

The antique-bearing bungalow at the northwest corner of Westheimer and Dunlavy was demolished over the weekend. Due to replace it — and the site of the former-duplex-turned-art-gallery next door, which was destroyed in a fire last summer — a 4,829-sq.-ft. retail center. The planned new building will hold the same front sidewalk line along Westheimer as its neighbor, Agora. That’s likely a plus for fans sidewalkable Montrose. But will Westheimer get a front door? Edge Realty Partners is leasing the space for developer SFT Investments; the company’s brochure shows the 36-car parking lot tucked behind the building, facing Dunlavy:


Photos: Karen Dressel (top); Swamplot inbox (from car). Images: Edge Realty Partners

32 Comment

  • So, the memorial bike that has been there for years to honor the victim is gone, too?

  • SFT generally does a beautiful job with their structures, plantings and parking lot design. They tore down my historic-but-irreparable-eyesore apartment building a few years ago to make a parking lot for the old Hyde park Supermarket at Fairview and Taft. They did a great job on the old building, restorative update rather than a teardown, considerate sidewalks and plantings and one of the nicest looking parking lots around. Even though I did have to move!

  • That is the ugliest building facade I have seen in many a day… I can’t imagine any retail bank that would want to set up an ATM on that edifice…let alone “Casual Cafe?”

  • Maybe Brasil can use the parking too? Winlow Place currently provides Brasil’s owners with gratis parking, trash disposal, and outdoor restrooms.

  • Is it just me, or does this look like a car dealership?

    I like the way this building is oriented to the street, but the architecture is …unconvincing.

  • Looks like a very nice development . . . Glad to see some new development along westheimer. It’s nice that it will be to the sidewalk.

  • Happy to see some new development there and happy they are building along the sidewalk. The rendering isn’t much, but hey, at least they aren’t putting the parking in front. Good luck turning left in and out of that parking lot though…

  • Much better than those rat traps which needed to go long ago. At least they are preserving some setback. Hopefully the materials they chose provide some reference to the hood.

  • R.I.P Leigh Boone. Wrong place at the wrong time.

    As for the new development, anything that brings more food and drink to my neighborhood is a welcome addition.

  • As of today the bike is still there.

  • Westheimer @ Dunlavy is a great intersection, really the heart and soul of funky, interesting, walkable Montrose. I hope the developer comes up with more inspired and unique architecture that is equal to the location. In my opinion, what’s shown in the rendering falls pitifully short. Please keep Montrose weird!

  • For what it’s worth, googling SFT Investments brings up Hungry’s Cafe as the first search return.

    The development is a welcome change, but that rendering is really, really underwhelming. A boring, uninspired development surrounded by Brasil, Agora, Empire Cafe and the new restaurants down by Montrose may not fare well.

    It’s amazing to me that developers often don’t see the value of good design. For a small investment in a good architecture firm, you’d get something inviting and atmospheric instead of, well…..a bland car dealership.

  • I think it’s reasonable to remove the bike as well as other mini-shrines and crosses with plastic flowers around town that have been in place for over a year, marking the spot where someone died. Cemeteries are for permanent markers. It was a tragic accident and it’s appropriate to remember it, but at some point it’s time to move on.

  • This is a step in the right direction for that corner. Also, a bit off topic, but why has the retail space next to Empire Cafe never been leased? It’s not my favorite new building, but surely there is a market for that space? Any updates?

  • Mouzoon architects?

  • It’s kind of like a Discount Tire with the corner waiting room, except that they just glassed in all the auto bays and got rid of the front door.

  • Wish they preserved a Westheimer entrance, and given a nod to Montrose’s vibe based on neighborhood cues. Maybe future efforts will involve thoughtful redesign? (Winlow Westheimer, Brasil, Anvil, Domy, Underbelly, Uchi, Hugos, Duo, Trinity, Inversion, El Real etc).

  • Another blah block blob as the shift from funky-to-fashionable continues in Montrose. Those antique stores soon will be antiques for sale themselves.

  • Argh, not really an improvement imo. Seems like new buildings on busy streets should be made taller. No front door either. Dumb.

  • Traffic at that corner has gotten really bad since the HEB opened. A left turn arrow may be needed to get from Dunlavy to Westheimer. At peak times Dunlavy backs up to near Kipling south and Fairview north.

  • Eh, backing up to Fairview at peak times is really not too bad, and it doesn’t take much planning to avoid that intersection. That being said, I’d love to see Westheimer restriped to one lane each direction +center turn lane

  • well Bill, for most of us that have spent our lives and money to keep that corner from becoming just another ugly strip center, it is very disheartening. We in the area have heard one of the tenants is Dunkin Donuts. Wouldn’t that be lovely. That is exactly the reason the ugly strip center by empire cafe has never rented out. IT BELONGS somewhere else! My business has ben there thirty years, we area trying to keep a cool boho vibe for that corner, but of course in Houston all streets must be laced with stucco, glass or west ave. Why can’t they leave it be! Don’t like living by Brasil? Then move!

  • Bill: I’ve heard that the company upstairs in the space next to Empire signed a contract that allows them first pick of any business that’s going to go downstairs. A friend was looking into leasing there, but the restrictions for everything (music volume, window displays, parking) changed her mind. It’s been vacant for what, 3 or 4 years??

  • HCAD shows 1740 Westheimer (across from Empire) as having been built in 2007, owned by “1740 Pursuit LLC” – funny. The structure is dreadful – it belongs Uptown or in
    Sugarland, not Montrose. Will the Montrose Management District pinheads counter or champion these kinds of ‘development’ efforts?
    Keep Montrose weird – but hose it down a little.

  • Dunkin Donuts!!!!!! Yea Ha, BTW they do a lot of original and complementary buildings in The NorthEast. Get out your pitch forks and torches and let the owners know that shit wont sell in the ‘Trose. Keep it Funky.

  • What is this Katy, TX????
    My question is, how can we stop this from happening! This area of Montrose needs to be kept eclectic. This proposed building is a travesty. Who can organize a plan to protest? Someone-in-the-know, we need some help.

  • I would like to see a 2 story bar/resturaunt with open bar patio on the 2nd story on the corner. I think another ‘Creek’ aka Onion, Cedar, Dry, Canyon Creek would be badass.


  • @Tracy, your choices are to either buy property and build your own eclectic place, or to put up with whatever the owner decides to build. It’s not really anyone’s business but the owner’s as to what a building ought to look like.

  • @markd, Winlow Place “provides” parking to fellow tax-paying Houstonians? Wow, how gracious of you all to allow us to use our own public property.

  • I’ve seen more character and personality on a shoe box. I know Lovely architectural details cost money, but geeez, is it too much to ask that they invest even 1% of the construction cost on flavor and texture.

  • HopDoddy. According to my sources. :)

  • Anyone have an idea what is going in? Gratefully, dunkin donuts is off the list!