Swapping in for the tubelight-bedecked elm that’s been standing in the middle of Axelrad Beer Garden at the corner of Almeda Rd. and Alabama St.: this way-past-sapling Shumard red oak, carefully trucked, tipped, and dropped into place earlier this week, as captured in the Yakety-Sax-tracked video montage above. The changeover comes at the end of the original tree’s years-long shuffle toward death, per the bar’s telling: the group was advised to evict the tree when they first started setting up the space — as it was already old, and had been hit pretty hard by that tire-revealing 2011 drought — but opted to keep it around for a few years instead.
Following a recent lightning strike from which it would never quite recover, the tree finally lost enough branches that the bar owners opted to put it out of its misery:
Once complete, the Vanderbilt promises 55 teevees airing football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, boxing, and UFC, an “upscale menu,” and a third-floor cocktail lounge with a panoramic view of the city.
The building is owned and being renovated by Cody Lutsch of Fat Properties Property, a frequent Swamplot commenter and until now, known more as a purchaser of aging Inner Loop apartment buildings.
Lutsch sent us a few pics of the Vanderbilt’s ongoing renovations, along with a few “before” shots:
“I like how this view makes it look like Fiesta is exploding,” writes engineer and Metro board member Christof Spieler of this photo he snapped last night at dusk. No fire clouds are expected, but the Montrose Fiesta Mart will be closing for good on July 15th — to make way for a Finger Companies apartment complex on the site. Spieler’s photo was taken from the shelter of the half-year-old H-E-B across Dunlavy, just south of West Alabama.
Vernon Caldera, proprietor of video-a-day website Keep Houston Rich, writes in to show off his friend Adam Gibson’s pad at Isabella Court in Midtown — and to round up votes for it in a “smallest, coolest home” contest hosted by design blog Apartment Therapy.
Gibson’s apartment, pictured above, has already advanced to the second round of competition in the “little” category (at 710 sq. ft., the apartment apparently doesn’t qualify as tiny, teeny-tiny, “international,” or small — each of which has its own separate contest). Today, it’s pitted against a “compact but . . . spacious and cozy” (and slightly smaller) apartment in Brooklyn.
What’s so special about this little home? Gibson tells the judges:
I love [the] wrought-iron window between the bedroom and the living room. I love the original sink in the kitchen from when the building was built in 1929. I love the beautiful non-working fireplace. But I would have to say my favorite element is the beautiful wrought iron staircase in the living room with the butterflies sculpted to match the lines of the stairs.
There is a short registration, if you are not already a member, but other than that voting is fairly easy. I believe Adam’s apartment is the only one selected from Houston. . . . The winner after each 24-hour elimination round moves onto the next round with the division elimination on Wednesday. Night-owls like myself start voting as soon as the contest opens at 2AM our time and continue to vote until the last hour.
You can find more pics of Gibson’s definitively little apartment — and vote for the winner in the current round — on the Apartment Therapy website.
Houston art blogger Sean Morrissey Carroll remixes a glowing profile of the Isabella Court Apartments at Main and Isabella — penned recently by Corilyn Shropshire for the Chronicle — with resident Cathy Matusow’s terse response in Hair Balls. The result? Pure magic.
Here’s a taste, with source indicators removed for full effect (but really, it’s not too tough to figure out which lines come from which report):
When Vernon Caldera walked through Isabella Court’s ornate wrought-iron gates and spotted the courtyard that seemed magically transplanted from his grandmother’s hometown in Nicaragua, he gasped.
Then he fell in love.
The picturesque 80-year-old building in Midtown, a Spanish Colonial with original porcelain sinks and no-two-are-the-same apartments, “had me at hello,” he said.
When I first heard the Chronicle was doing a story on the building I live in, Isabella Court, I thought, “Oh great, is rent going up now?”