10/11/18 11:30am

A Swamplot reader reports that renovations to the shopping center on Westheimer across from Light Bulbs Unlimited “suddenly stopped about a month ago,” leaving a few gaping holes open in the face of the strip. Pictured at top is the space where Radio Shack once stuck out a few ft. from the rest of the building before it shut down along with the rest of the chain and sat vacant prior to the remodeling that began earlier this year.

Despite their presence on the marquee shown above, a number of the other tenants recently hit the road from the center as well: Tanacious Tanning, which occupied the spot (also wide open) just west of Radio Shack; Stars Cleaners, located off Commonwealth St. to the far west; and Consign It!, which punctuated the building’s eastern end. Their spaces are all up for lease right now, according to a LoopNet listing posted back in June. Nidda Thai Cuisine and its next-door neighbor Erotic Cabaret on the other hand appear to be sticking around.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

An Inside Look
09/26/18 2:45pm

Wooden siding now covers up all but a small portion of Shake Shack‘s coming store at 1002 Westheimer, in the spot where Burger King collapsed 2 months ago. The new coverings have the restaurant looking a little more like what’s shown in the rendering put out by the burger brand at the end of last month, right around the time that work started on its new building.

Here’s what progress looks like from the west, outside Blacksmith:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Beefing Up Westheimer
08/17/18 10:00am

MONTROSE SHAKE SHACK CONSTRUCTION IS ABOUT TO BEGIN A building permit filed yesterday for the corner where Burger King’s been lying in pieces on Westheimer near Montrose Blvd. reveals construction is imminent on the Shack Shake set to replace it. Upon completion, it’ll be Houston’s fourth Shake Shack location, after the one in Rice Village, at the Galleria, and in section 157 at Minute Maid Park. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

08/09/18 2:15pm

A Swamplot reader sends a photo (top) of the trees that appear to have grown up outside the former McGowen Cleaners real fast since plant life was first added to the bed (above) earlier this year. That’s because the crew now converting the place into a restaurant called Vibrant tore out the bushier trees just over a week ago and replaced them with a row of taller new cedars.

The swap-out left the bed short on plant life last Wednesday and Thursday:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Growth Spurt
07/19/18 4:00pm

In other abandoned Montrose restaurant news: crews have finished smashing up the Burger King on Westheimer a block west of Montrose Blvd., leaving the property in fast food limbo ahead of its planned takeover by Houston’s fourth Shake Shack location. Pictured above is the restaurant’s drive-thru lane minus the accompanying drive-thru infrastructure.

A Cherry Demolition excavator is still picking through scraps left behind from the teardown; they’re now spread out atop the former building’s foundation, visible below:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Nothing-Burger
07/16/18 5:00pm

A row of 3 tall windows now opens up the Fairview-St.-side of the former McGowen Cleaners, currently being converted into a health-minded restaurant dubbed Vibrant on the corner of Morse St. As for a patio shown cut into the building’s windowed corner in earlier renderings from architect Lake Flato — it’s yet to be installed. But a bunch of other outdoor features such as shrubs, grasses, and the beds that hold them are now in place outside the structure.

They’ve taken over the frontage previously occupied by chopped-up pavement:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Hyde Park
07/05/18 12:00pm

The sales center for the not-yet-built Mandell Montrose condo slated for Fairview St. is now closed, and a representative of its sales team tells Swamplot that the developer has no plans to reopen it. Since the building’s abandonment, signage outside the converted Hyde Park residence taken over by the agents has adopted a lower position than it previously held on the structure, pictured above.

And in the neighboring 12,493-sq.-ft. lot on the corner of Fairview and Commonwealth streets — where Midtown Uptown Development Partners planned a 7-story, 24-unit midrise to overtop the surrounding neighborhood — the tallest structures are still the signs stuck up there just over a year ago:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Fairview and Commonwealth
02/16/18 10:30am

Shake Shack has taken over the lease on the building Burger King left last month at the corner of Westheimer and Lincoln, a block west of Montrose. The fast-casual restaurant with 2 current Houston locations and one in the works signed off last week on at least a 15-year residency at 1002 Westheimer, next to Blacksmith. Behind the soon-to-be re-burgerized building’s frontage on Westheimer — shown above — a parking lot backs up to California St. along Lincoln.

Photo: MontroseResident

Fast Food Turnover
01/03/18 5:00pm

Here’s the first sign of the new law office that plans to migrate to the corner of Dunlavy and W. Bell St., right behind the River Oaks Plaza shopping center. A Swamplot reader reports that a notice announcing the pending presence of David A. Breston and his Associates went up on the 1820 W. Bell property on New Years Eve. The law firm’s current office is on the corner of Main and Preston streets downtown.

In the portion of River Oaks Plaza directly across W. Bell St. from the site are the former Mama Fu’s and VERTS Kebap locations, now being remade into a new Café Ginger.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Letters of the Law
12/19/17 2:45pm

The Hyde Park townhouse at 1942 Indiana St. designed by Bart Truxillo — the architect and Houston preservationist who passed away earlier this year — is listed for sale along with its neighboring bungalow. A Swamplot reader reports that for sale signs first went up outside the 3-story home and the adjacent bungalow on the corner of Indiana and Morse St., pictured on the right, on Friday. Although the 2 buildings have separate listings, the seller hopes to find a buyer who will purchase them both together.

Truxillo built the house in 1970 in what was then the bungalow’s backyard and lived in it for several years before moving to the Heights, where much of his preservation work was focused. The corner-side bungalow faces Morse St., while the townhouse directly behind it fronts Indiana.

The photo at top shows the 2,096-sq.-ft. townhouse’s first-floor interior, with a courtyard visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Behind the stairway, another ground-floor room fronts the outdoor space:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Double Listings
12/01/17 1:30pm

Work has begun outside the former McGowen Cleaners — closed since 2015 — on the corner of Fairview and Morse streets, the site of the planned Vibrant restaurant. Last May, Vibrant’s owners bought the 3,909-sq.-ft. brick building, along with 2 adjacent neighbors to the south; they plan to open their Lake Flato-designed restaurant inside the corner building in March. The above rendering shows a patio that would be cut into its corner — and a garden lining the street, where chunks of chopped-up pavement now lie.

The rendering also shows tall windows being created where clerestory windows currently face Fairview. The clerestories are visible in the center of this photo of the 1931 Fairview St. building from last year, when the property was up for sale:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Lake Flato in Hyde Park
10/09/17 10:45am

The anticipated departure of Hyde Park gift shop Corazon from its perch at the corner of Fairview and Waugh has been delayed by 3 months at least. Although the property it sits on has been sold to a new owner interested in building a trio of townhouses, demolition of the former smithy, antique store, and glass-blowing studio won’t take place this year: Corazon now has a new short-term lease that runs until December 31st and will convert to a month-to-month status after that.

If the lease does get extended for a few months into 2018, it’ll mark the store’s 20th anniversary at 2318 Waugh Dr. In either case, it’ll probably be an awkward extended goodbye: A clearance sale begun in August on the store’s current inventory of Lucha Libre masks, guyaberas, and other items from South and Central American artisan cooperatives is ongoing, but popular items will probably be restocked for the holiday season. The store’s owner is searching for a new location.

Photo: Corazon

Townhome Fodder
08/10/17 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE HYDE PARK SALES AND CLEARANCE RUSH “My family moved out of Hyde Park four years ago, and it’s incredible how much the neighborhood has changed in that time. Yes, I know change is inevitable and can be for the better, but this neighborhood has changed at a breakneck pace. I’m pretty sure at least half of the houses/buildings along Commonwealth and Waugh have been torn down since we left (admittedly some of them really needed to go, given the terrible shape they were in). I guess this will be added to the heap.” [Courtney, commenting on Corazon Now Being Removed from Its Big Red Dot Spot at Waugh and Fairview] Photo of Corazon, 2813 Waugh Dr.: Margo