07/20/17 5:30pm

A Sunday field trip earned a reader a peek into the main sanctuary of the Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral, now being cracked open so a dome can be placed on top (along with more seating down below). The renderings of the planned changes, shown here facing the corner of Kipling St. and Yoakum Blvd., have been updated since they were submitted last year for that variance request application:


Montrose Revelations
07/20/17 4:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW TO HELP CANINO’S NET THAT DESTINATION FISH MARKET APPEAL “Something that seems to make other markets around the world such successful destinations (Pike Place, Borough Market, Reading Terminal, etc.) is their accessibility within a dense urban core. In each case, the locations are accessible to pedestrians and located near high-traffic public transit locations. They are also near other walkable destinations like stores and restaurants, art galleries and museums; within walking distance from hotels and other destinations. It will be interesting to see how this works out in Houston on Airline Dr., with all of the car traffic and expansive space needed to accommodate parking. I hope Airline and Cavalcade get to be a little more walkable, and buses run there more often.” [Nearnort, commenting on Destination-Ization Plans for Airline Dr. Farmers Market Show New Rooftops, Playground, Multistory Observation Tower, Some Whitewashing] Rendering of plans for Canino Market on Airline Dr.: MLB Capital Partners

07/20/17 12:45pm

As mentioned earlier today, more details on the plan to redo the 1940’s farmers market on Airline Dr. are now out — MLB released some sketches and site plans this morning, which the company says are meant to help turn the spot into a “destination retail experience.” The renderings show most of the gaps between the existing market buildings bridged by new rooftops and green spaces, connecting the structures into a single complex (some of which will likely get air conditioned for fish and dairy operations and the like).

It’s not totally clear whether some the existing buildings are actually going to be painted white, or if the details of planned finishes just haven’t made their way into the renderings at this stage of design — but the currently-yellow front of Canino’s can be spied rocking a pale grey skin in the sketches above and below, behind the market’s new double-height entry facade:


The Canino’s Retail Experience
07/20/17 12:00pm

Sponsoring Swamplot today: the Downtown District, to highlight the recently launched Downtown Houston web portal. Thanks for supporting this site!

Take a good look at the new Downtown Houston website. It’s your destination for everything Downtown. The website should answer what most people want to know about heading into the city.

Curious about what events are happening? Check. Have an itch to discover hidden gems? Check. Hungry for good eats from a chef-driven restaurant, or looking for great brunch and breakfast spots? Check. Not sure where to find parking around your destination? Visiting for work and searching for leisure activities? Check and check.

The Downtown District’s new online platform aims to inform, educate, and entertain — so that residents, visitors, and commuters can enjoy the abundance of Downtown’s amenities and offerings: dining, playing, enjoying the arts, worshipping, and learning!

“The Downtown Houston website has always been a great one-stop shop for information about restaurants, parking, events, and more,” says Angie Bertinot, director of marketing and communications for the Downtown District. “With this major update, we have expanded our focus on living, working, exploring, and staying Downtown, as well as improving upon the resources that the public has come to rely on.”

In addition to comprehensive guide listings and an all-inclusive event calendar, the website features an interactive map that assists with parking (where to park, for how much, and an option to reserve spaces), while also letting visitors know what’s nearby and what events are happening that day — a feature you cannot find in a parking app or by using Google Maps alone.

The new site features portraits of Downtown’s unique and historic neighborhoods — as well as an editorial section with articles and videos highlighting Downtown lifestyles and area businesses. The content reflects the Downtown District’s efforts to support the growth of the residential population, provide a premier work environment, and attract locals and out-of-town visitors.

Your adventure begins Downtown!

Let locals know what you’re doing: Become a Swamplot Sponsor of the Day!


Sponsor of the Day
07/20/17 10:30am

CANINO MARKET HAD ALREADY KINDA GENTRIFIED, SAY FOLKS PLANNING UPCOMING $10-MILLION REDO “Over time,” writes Nancy Sarnoff for the Chronicle this morning after talking to some of the folks behind that in-the-works redevelopment of the recently sold Canino farmer’s market on Airline Dr., the market has already become “a place where produce [is] shipped and trucked in from places like Mexico and elsewhere, like it is to a grocery store.” The local farmers and early-morning bread-seekers are mostly gone, and property values  in the neighborhood are already on the rise — as are the townhomes. “We’ve come to the realization that no matter what we do here, it’s already happening,” MLB Partners’s Todd Mason tells Sarnoff; “We’ve looked around to buy more over here, and prices have already escalated.” The developers also run through some of the details for the $10-million project with Chris Baldwin over at PaperCity, who writes that “the 17.5-acre site is being almost completely re-imagined” — potential changes include some 60,000 sq. ft. of additional space, a “large lounging lawn,” a children’s play area, and “a distinctive towering sign from Studio Red Architects that can be seen from the freeway.” [Houston Chronicle and PaperCity; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Canino Produce Market

07/20/17 8:30am

Photo: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

07/19/17 5:30pm

The revised word from H-E-B on a construction start date for the 2-story store planned at N. Shepherd Dr. and 23rd St. was August 25th, as of late last month. Until then, some of that empty space is being put to use by a small bonsai tree sales operation, a reader in the neighborhood reports. And in case anyone else in the area is looking for a place to crash briefly, a small pile of mattresses has appeared near the dumpster at the back end of the lot.

The footprint of the departed Fiesta building, meanwhile, appears to have let itself go during the long period of unemployment. As of yesterday the previously cleared spot was sporting a shaggy new look, accessorized with at least one snappy yellow tag noting the city’s disapproval of the new growth: 


Business in the Front
07/19/17 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHERE THE TEXAS OFFICE SPACE BUBBLES TEND TO BLOW “Houston is somewhat more diversified in terms of total jobs than it used to be – that’s why the region never went negative on job growth during this downturn. . . . That said, as far as users of large-scale office space go, there’s no question that diversification is sorely lacking. The energy industry and its service providers are still extremely dominant and drive the major swings in the market. This is a huge contrast to the Dallas side of the North Texas region . . . Look at the major relocations to the north suburban market there: huge deals — none of them are energy companies. . . . Around here, when an oil and gas boom is on, it seems to suck up all the oxygen, and growth in other sectors is squeezed out. When the inevitable downturn happens, there’s no rush by other economic sectors to fill the vacuum, despite the availability of high quality space and housing (and labor). I believe the Austin office market’s level of dependency on its tech sector is akin to Houston’s energy sector dependence, so a tech bust would be a disaster for them.” [Local Planner, commenting on Hines Parting Ways with 21 Eleven; The Most Expensive ZIP Code for Renters in HoustonIllustration: Lulu

07/19/17 1:30pm

The self-styled “House of a Million Parts” at 1225 Sawyer St. once known as Johnny Frank’s Auto Parts Company was torn to pieces last summer. Freshly applied to the chain-link fence surrounding the now-vacant lot: a new TABC notice, announcing to passers-by that an establishment named the Sawyer Ice House is hoping to sling cocktails on the premises before too long. The land is across the road from those arted-up rice silos on Sawyer St., which are across Edwards St. from the Shops at Sawyer Yards. It appears to be another of the projects in that neck of the woods that trace back to Lovett Commercial, which is working on parking lots and a slew of other developments in the area as well. Here’s what Sawyer Ice House might look like, per what appears to be the bar’s new save-the-name Facebook page:


Car Lot Reincarnation
07/19/17 12:00pm

Our sponsor today is the pair of new homes at 928 Adele St. in Sunset Heights. Thank you for supporting Swamplot!

These 2 modern homes were designed and constructed by the Ferguson Home Group. Each home is 2 stories, has 3 bedrooms and 3-1/2 bathrooms, and has a fenced-in yard in back. The main living spaces are on the first floor; the living rooms open directly to the back yard through a 3-panel “telescoping” sliding glass door (pictured at top) that disappears entirely into the wall when fully open — a neat way to open the indoors to the outdoors on beautiful days.

The kitchens have floor-to-ceiling modern cabinetry, pendant light fixtures, and bar seating at the island. You’ll find a vaulted stained-wood ceiling in the upstairs master bedroom of each home, as well as a signature claw-footed tub in the master bath.

You’ll find plenty of great places to eat nearby: The cheeses and treats at Houston Dairymaids are just a block away; Asia Market is just a few blocks south. The entire Heights 19th St. shopping district is just a 7 minute bike ride to the west.

To view more photos and find out more about these homes, view the property website. If you’d like to see them in person, come by this Sunday, July 23rd, for an open house scheduled to run from 1 pm to 3 pm. If that time doesn’t work out for you, contact the listing agent, Rogelio Olivetti, at 713.320.2867 to make a private viewing appointment.

Imagine your home featured here! Become a Swamplot Sponsor of the Day.

Sponsor of the Day
07/19/17 11:30am

Heads up, California-ization vigilantes: A diligent transaction sifter over at HAIF noted last night that In-N-Out Burgers recently bought 8373 Westheimer Rd. (currently home to a branch of public employment center Workforce Solutions in the parking lot of the nearby Walmart Supercenter on Dunvale Rd.). The 1997 standalone building is right around the corner from the AMC Studio 30, and sits in something of a Whataburger gap — not one of the 5 nearest Whataburger locations is closer than 1.7 miles by car. The space had been put on the market a few times in the last few years with no takers; the sale to In-N-Out went through in late May, per county records.

Noises have been made before about In-N-Out possibly moving to (or near) Houston, but CBRE VP Jazz Hamilton told the Chronicle’s Katherine Feser only this past February that he expected the chain’s first location to open by the end of the year — adding that Houston will “see [more locations] come in quietly . . . All of a sudden, they’ll start building all at once.”

Photo of 8737 Westheimer Rd.: LoopNet

Out and In on Westheimer