12/13/18 12:00pm

So long to that double-decker dwelling on the corner of 20th and Ashland St. After being tagged for demolition on Monday, the 1904 house came down yesterday. It’s departure leaves 8 contiguous 28,000-sq.-ft. lots lined up for development along 20th St. And recent permit filings reveal what’s likely to be next: a hotel.

It’ll shoot the gap between 2 existing commercial neighbors: the Heights Hospital for Animals to the east, and Heights Floral Shop to the west, across Ashland. As noted when commercial realty signage first sprouted in front of the house at 347 W. 20th St. last year, it’s the only property at the intersection not already occupied by some kind of money-making enterprise.

Photos: Swamplox inbox

Hidden Heights Holdover
12/10/18 1:00pm

You may remember the Jack in the Box at 2001 N. Shepherd that was left high and dry in September after shutting down. It’s got a new owner: an entity connected to New York brokerage firm Edry Real Estate. The sale closed last month and includes just over half an acre at the northwest corner of Shepherd Dr. and W. 20th St.

Photo: Swamplox inbox

Burger Flip
12/07/18 11:30am

ARE THE NEW FITZGERALD’S OWNERS PLANNING TO BRING DOWN THE HOUSE? “They came and tested for asbestos,” Fitzgerald’s longtime owner Sara Fitzgerald tells the Chronicle’s Marcy de Luna, “so I think they’re looking to tear it down. It was their original intention to build a high-rise there.” Fitzgerald sold Fitzgerald’s along with 3 home lots behind it on E. 6½ St. in July to the same Chicago-based company, Easy Park, that’s been planning that automated parking garage a few blocks west down White Oak Dr. in place of the existing, analog garage next to Tacos A Go Go (which it also owns, along with some other retail nearby). She’s now renting the building at 2706 White Oak from her new landlord and running the 41-year-old business remotely from Seguin, Texas, outside San Antonio, de Luna reports. Following a spree of farewell shows scheduled throughout the month, the club will close with a New Year’s Eve party featuring ’70s and ’80s cover band SKYROCKET! [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Caramels D.

11/02/18 10:30am

Black Dog Records blew the lid off its classified relocation plans yesterday by filing a permit on its soon-to-be new address: 726 W. 19th St., the strip center storefront previously home to kids’ karaoke venue Gipsy Girls. Incoming management now plans to redo about 1,700-sq.-ft. of space inside and fill it with the vinyl that populated its last shop — shown above — at 4900 Bissonnet St. until about a month ago. (The location between S. Rice and 610 had been a fertile spot for record junkies since even before Black Dog got there thanks to its longtime previous tenant Don’s Record Shop.)

A few of the neighbors Black Dog can expect to meet once it gets situated in its new Heights environs: alcoholic art joint Painting With a Twist (to its immediate west), Gold Rush Collective Tattoo Parlour, Replay Games old school video game shop, and Texas Dry Clean InStep Pilates. Across the street lies Re:Vive Development’s new-ish 2-building retail complex made up of a standalone Benjamin Moore paint store and a strip home to — among others — Fat Cat Creamery.

Photos: Gipsy Girls (Gipsy Girls); Mark B. (Black Dog Records)

Kids Karaoke Takeover
10/22/18 5:30pm

Renovations to turn the former Parsley Studios building at 1504 Yale St. into Blue Line Bike Lab‘s new Heights location are now nearly finished, and the most dramatic change is the new coat of light blue paint the structure’s 15th-St. side, pictured above. During the 75 years it housed the family photo business and functioned as a portrait studio for mayors and celebrities like Roy Rogers and Loretta Lynn — according to The Leader — the building underwent its fair share of paint jobs; the last big one washed out a checkerboard pattern along its Yale-St. side, leaving the structure mostly brown.

Last September, a liquidation sale emptied the place of “a quarter of a century’s worth of photo equipment, furniture, frames and photos,reported the Chronicle‘s Jaimy Jones. By that time, most of the owners’ work focused on photo restoration, so brick-and-mortar amenities like formal seating — “and even a small dressing room with bright, round bulbs that frame a mirror atop an old-fashioned dressing table,” wrote Jones — were no longer necessary. The building sold to a group that’s linked to Blue Line, which has its nearest shop on the corner of White Oak Dr. and Columbia St. That existing location (which predates the shop’s other spot on Telephone Rd.) is now set to close, but not until a fleet of new bikes arrives the Yale St. building.

It’s shown empty in the photo below, although a newly-hung sign along Yale makes clear what will fill it:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

1504 Yale St.
10/22/18 10:15am

Note: This story has been updated

Late last week, associates of Capital Retail Partners filed a building permit to get started on the pair of back-to-back gabled buildings it’s had planned for Durham and 18th St. in place of 2 side-by-side houses torn down there earlier this year. It’s the second spot where Capital will begin replacing a pair of old Heights houses with 2 new house-like retail buildings, having already begun work 4 blocks north between Durham and Shepherd on its planned Bungalows on 22nd St. a few months ago. Despite the decidedly less bungalow-like design proposed for 18th St., the firm’s going with the same nomenclature for the duo (shown at top), dubbing it the Bungalows on 18th St.

Pictured but unconfirmed plans of the Bungalows  show its half-as-large north building taken up by some sort of restaurant fronted by a patio and corner landscaping including street-address topiary. A main parking lot sits west of the building and its encircling new sidewalks and crosswalks. You can see a few angled parking spaces peeking out in the aerial rendering below:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

The Bungalows on 18th St.
09/27/18 5:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHITE OAK’S WOULD-BE TALLEST BUILDING “So the robo-garage on White Oak will be ‘no taller than 75 ft.‘ ?” That’s about 5 or 6 stories, which is exceedingly tall in that particular location. It will certainly stick out, when no other building in the immediate area is even half that height.” [Donald (not that one), commenting on How Houston’s 2 Planned Robo-Parking Garages Compare in Size] Map showing proposed automated parking garage on White Oak Dr.: Centric Commercial

09/27/18 4:30pm

Tune Up: The Manly Salon got the city’s approval yesterday to start renovating the building shown above into the latest member of its barber-shop chain, now roughly 20-stores strong. Following those locations’ lead, the 626 W. 19th St. shop — next to the former Southern Goods — would appeal to guys by offering them free drinks and access to an arcade stocked with video and old-fashioned games while they wait to get groomed. Hair care services include standard cuts, beard trims, straight shaves, and eyebrow waxing. Perhaps less manly are the cosmetic offerings: manicures, pedicures, and a mani-pedi combo for 4 bucks less than the cost of the two combined.

Photo: LoopNet

Making the Cut
09/20/18 11:15am

In the span of just 3 days, the Heights Jack in the Box has closed down and abandoned both its sky- and street-level boxes. The photo above shows the empty store and its parking lot off Shepherd, where a green cherry-picker‘s now the only vehicle present.

The property’s longtime owner — a national real estate firm that owns the land beneath lots of fast food joints — sold it in 2016, which was a transformational year for the rest of the intersection as well. A few months later, Abel Motors left its spot across Shepherd, making way for the Burger Joint that’s now moving in. And on the south side of 20th St., pizza joint Mellow Mushroom and adjacent desert shop Moody Ice opened up — in what used to be Dealer Sales‘ garage and office building.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

The Leftovers
09/17/18 12:45pm

Most of the corrugated metal buildings that occupied the inner sanctum at 620 W. 9th St. are down now, but the hidden Heights compound’s still got its edge. “There are strange things poking up from the fence,” the same ones that have been there for over a decade — reports a reader — sticking up, “like heads on spikes.

Actually, not all the props on W. 9th St. east of Waverly are heads; torsos, full bodies, and skeletal figures appear as well, along with some more abstract metalwork:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Neighborhood Fixtures
09/17/18 9:45am

Red hyphenated signage hasn’t yet put a name to the building, but you can see all the other makings of H-E-B’s second second-story Houston grocery store from above in the video at top. The footage starts off over N. Shepherd, then pans around the corner of 23rd St., offering a view of the former Fiesta site from the south.

Back in March a spokesperson for the grocer told The Leader’s Landan Kuhlmann to expect a “late fall opening,” meaning the store’s debut could coincide roughly with the 2 year anniversary of the dry zone modification its management pushed for prior to construction.

Video: Brandon DuBois

Doubly Decked Out
09/10/18 5:15pm

And that’s all for the 610 Allston St. bungalow Mary Cerruti refused to sell before she was found dead inside it last March. This past week’s demolition comes a little later than Trammell Crow had hoped when it began developing the adjacent 5-story apartment complex off Yale St. in 2013. After the developer’s attempts to buy Cerruti’s 6,600-sq.-ft. lot were rebuffed, it decided to build around both it and the same-sized parcel directly to its south. (Cerruti continued to speak out against the development even after construction began in 2013, appearing publicly at a planning commission meeting that February.)

Now, her property and the one next door have been snatched up by the same owner: Sandcastle Homes, an inner-Loop builder. You can see part of the company’s new 2-story handiwork at 606 Allston St. on the right in the photo above.

It went up over the last few months on what was once vacant land next door to Cerruti’s house:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Holdout No More
09/06/18 2:30pm

A sign spotted up on the chain’s East End location (pictured at top) by a thrifty Redditor informs customers that the last 2 Sand Dollar stores will be closing at the end of this month, bringing an end to the retailer’s 37-year run. Both the 7018 Harrisburg Blvd. and 1903 Yale St. stores are now in clearance mode: All purchases over $20 (before tax) are half-off.

Down in Pasadena, the 2535 Spencer Hwy. store has already been emptied:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Everything Must Go