01/19/18 4:30pm

Something new is on the table for the building at the corner of Westheimer and Stoney Brook Dr.: Prime Social, a card and board game venue with an onsite restaurant. The not yet full house is advertising chess, backgammon, cribbage, and a number of poker variants — with 2 daily tournaments (up to “$5,000 GUARANTEED”). Also, “professional armed security” will be present on the premises, according to the house website, in case anything gets out of hand.

Churrasca Brazilian Steakhouse closed down in the 11,448-sq.-ft. building, pictured above, last year. The restaurant took over from sushi joint and nightclub Fish & the Knife, which shuttered in its newly-built space at 7801 Westheimer in 2014, 9 months after opening.

Raising the Stakes
01/19/18 2:30pm

Davis Commercial is showing images of a renovated building on the corner of 11th St. and Rutland in hopes of enticing a burger-flipping collective or something similar to take over the space. Q St. Salon & Boutique shared the 2,712-sq.-ft. building behind the parking-lot gazebo with Heights Discount Dry Cleaners until the latter closed down last year. A bungalow that now sits adjacent to Q St.’s spot to the west (hidden behind the building in the photo at top) is excised from the renderings.

The rendering above shows the building’s windows wiped clean of advertisements for laundry deals and extended to the ground. New awnings are shown in place of the blue vinyl ones now covering the storefronts at 402 W. 11th.

An 800-sq.-ft. patio is also planned for the building’s frontage along 11th St.:

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Wash Cycle
01/19/18 12:30pm

Here’s the site on the block of 22nd St. bookended by the Vapor Gypsy e-cigarette shop and the Carl Barnes Funeral Home — and peppered with townhomes, an auto repair shop, and Refrigeration Gaskets of Texas — where 2 new row houses are about to be built. Wile Interests and Capital Realty are constructing the pair they’re calling the Bungalows on 22nd St. between Durham and Shepherd — in place of 2 dilapidated bungalows that were torn down on the same site last year.

A rowing-focused workout center called Crew Fitness will occupy the eastern bungalow in the development at 715 W. 22nd St.:

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One Oar the Other
01/18/18 4:00pm

Excavators are now moving dirt around on the corner of Kirby and oak-lined Steel St. where a 39-story apartment tower dubbed Hanover River Oaks is planned. Hanover bought a 1.6-acre portion of the former Kirby Court Apartments along Steel St. in 2016; funding issues had left the project in limbo for most of the prior year. The photo above, taken from the highrise at 2727 Kirby, looks southwest past the corner tower of the Gables West Ave apartments to show a portion of the crater where the new apartment tower is now under construction.

Although the project has a Kirby Dr. address, the building won’t actually front the street. Instead, it will sit behind Becks Prime at the corner of Kirby and Kipling (partly visible in the bottom left of the image above). Earlier renderings showed a new standalone restaurant building fronting Kirby just south of Becks Prime. West of the drive-thru restaurant zone, an entrance driveway for the apartment will run between Kipling and Steel.

A recent rendering from architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz views the tower from southeast of 2727 Kirby:

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Hanover River Oaks
01/18/18 1:30pm

A Swamplot reader sends this photo of new signage fronting Hwy. 6 along the vacant Macy’s parking lot at West Oaks Mall. The space left behind by the former anchor tenant — which closed its doors last year — will be turned into a new store called The Outlet at West Oaks that will specialize in clothing and home goods and open within the next few months. Dress shop Formal Gallery has been announced as the new store’s first retailer. Other additions have been announced for the rest of the mall, HBJ’s Cara Smith reports: a gym, a trampoline park, a daycare facility, a food hall, restaurants, event venues, and some sort of maker space.

1st Emporium, the real estate division of Houston-based Mehta Investments, quietly bought most of the mall — out of bankruptcy, Paul Takahashi reports in the Chronicle —  last August. (The mall’s former owner, Pacific Retail Capital Partners, bought the shopping center out of bankruptcy, too, back in 2009.)

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Anchors Away
01/18/18 11:30am

AMAZON WILL NOT BE DELIVERING HQ2 TO HOUSTON Despite campaigns that included coordinated office light displays and banner flybys over the company’s current headquarters in Seattle, none of the Houston proposals to house Amazon’s new campus made it past the first round. The company announced this morning that 17 U.S. cities plus northern Virginia, Toronto, and Montgomery County, Maryland would be finalists for the new HQ2. Among those that did make the cut: Dallas and Austin. [USA Today; map; previously on Swamplot] Photo of former KBR Building 3: Swamplot inbox

01/17/18 4:45pm

Snapshots from the scenic Robbins Brothers jewelry store parking lot on the West Loop show how much progress has been made on the 34-story Arabella (formerly Arábella) condo tower next to the Target parking lot on San Felipe. Construction on the bumpy building began in 2015 on a portion of the former Westcreek Apartments at the corner of San Felipe and Westcreek. The photo at top shows the new building at 4521 San Felipe towering over the 25-story SkyHouse River Oaks apartment building, as well as the 17-story Wilshire condo tower.

A closer view of the trio:

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In Height Order
01/17/18 12:30pm

Replica weaponry is now up on the white brick building at 1318 Telephone Rd. ahead of coffee shop Coral Sword’s planned opening in the space next month. Backed by former Houston Astro and self-professed video- and board-gamer Hunter Pence along with his wife Alexis, the venue will include communal gaming areas, a private podcast and game session recording booth, and “a membership driven co-gaming space.” Record and book store Wired Up closed down in the building last year, and renovations have been underway on the space since last month. The photo at top shows Coral Sword’s main entrance and storefront window to the right of it.

The cafe will share the building with East End Barber, which takes up the southeast portion of the structure. Below, you can see the barber shop’s sign on the corner of Telephone and Fourcade St.:

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Waiting on Deck
01/16/18 1:30pm

Heights Vinyl is getting ready to box up its collection of grooved disks, turntables, and other analog audio items before bolting from the building it shares with Cat Veterinary Clinic at 3122 White Oak Dr. (The record store’s former neighbor and industry peer — 3mA Audio — moved out of the space directly next to the vet’s office last year.) Last April, an entity connected to developer Ancorian bought the 8,900-sq.-ft. strip — as well as the adjacent apartment building at 3110 White Oak.

On Sunday, Heights Vinyl announced via Facebook that it would be moving to a Fifth Ward warehouse building south of I-10 at 3301 Cline St. That building is divided into 2 tenant spaces — Heights Vinyl will take over the one shown below, fronting the parking lot along Grove St.:

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Fifth Ward Bound
01/16/18 10:45am

GENERATION PARK’S HIGHLY TARGETED MARKETING Here’s the banner that aerial advertisers towed across the skies in the airspace above Amazon’s Seattle offices last Friday. McCord Development enlisted the (off camera) airplane to help tout its 4,000-acre Generation Park complex as a good spot for the online giant to build its new HQ2 office. [KOMO; Generation Park’s pitch; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Lindsay Cohen

01/12/18 4:00pm

There’s some news about the space next door to Athleta in the Rice Village Arcade shopping center on University Blvd. where mannequins were spotted limbering up on the sidewalk the other day: it’s about to shut down. A source tells Swamplot that national retailer Yankee Candle will close the store — one of 8 locations in the Houston area — on January 28.

A sign in the storefront window announces its last big blowout:

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Leaving the Village
01/12/18 3:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHY IT PAYS TO RAISE THOSE FLOODED MEYERLAND HOMES “Also, let’s remember that flood insurance pays out $250k for structure and $100k for contents max (and these Meyerland homes are pricey, so maxing out the payment is possible). So, paying $350k to raise a house to avoid a future claim is — long-term — a better use of money. Yes, the amount itself is a shock out of context. Yes, it borders on ridiculous that this is related to the 2015 flood. Yes, the tax base would benefit more from paying to knock down the house and build new million dollar homes, but this is a better solution than buying the properties and removing them from the tax base.” [travelguy, commenting on What Houston Will Spend To Raise a Few Floody Houses in Meyerland] Photo of 5150 Braesheather Dr., to be elevated: HAR

01/12/18 2:45pm

The 3 fluorescent-vested figures in the photo at top are standing on the third floorplate of the 15,000-sq.-ft. mixed-use building now going up on the northwest corner of Studewood and Omar streets. Developer Chris Dray of NewQuest is planting the 18,731-sq.-ft. property at 927 Studewood with a 3-story office structure including ground-floor retail called Heights Central (not to be confused with Heights Central Station). A house and 2 small retail structures — one of them formerly home to Dan’s Chrysler Marine Service — were demolished on the property in 2015.

Boulevard Realty plans to move into the complex from its current office in the space formerly occupied by Oolala, Heights Candy Bar, and Tulips & Tutus 2 blocks to the south. The storefront portion of company’s future digs is indicated below in a site plan taken from NewQuest’s leasing brochure:

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Heights Corner Redo
01/11/18 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: THERE’S STILL A MISSING LINK IN THE BAYOU BIKE CONNECTOR “It’s not complete if you are trying to take the MKT Trail from the Heights into downtown and beyond while staying off streets. The Bayou Greenways interactive map still shows a dotted line for the missing connection between the MKT Trail and the stretch of the trail at Stude Park. When completed, that tiny section will make a big difference.” [Gretchen Lindquist, commenting on Houston’s Bayou Biking Connector Is Now Complete] Image: Bayou Greenways 2020

01/11/18 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: DIDN’T MEAN TO STOP AT PJ’S SPORTS BAR THAT NIGHT “Love the ‘he forgot his bumper’ story, but it’s not true. I was driving my S4 eastbound on W. Gray, and the Ford apparently ran the stop sign at Stanford northbound and knocked me across the road and into PJ’s. My car was smashed on both ends and definitely could not be driven. Maybe the cops towed it promptly — I was busy bleeding on the lawn and talking to witnesses as I waited on an ambulance. Two nights in the hospital, but I’ll be fine.” [Stefan, commenting on The New Audi-Sized Hole Drilled into PJ’s Sports Bar on W. Gray Last Night] Photo: Swamplot inbox