With water levels on Buffalo Bayou around Shepherd Dr. now forecast to recede, this drone video of one stretch of the waterway — taken yesterday during a lull in the rains — may turn out to be one of the best views available of the extent of flooding at the northwest corner of Montrose. A few video highlights, still visible above the floodwaters: The top floor of The Dunlavy, high above the now-complete-subsumed Lost Lake; the fuzzy treetop semi-circles formed by the twin stands of crape myrtles at Waugh Dr.; the Waugh Dr. bridge itself, now looking like a causeway; and the patterned grounds of the Beth Yeshurun Cemetery.
Just a few blocks down the street from that River Oaks Shopping Center highrise site, a reader checks in this week on the French-esque midrise apartment complex that’s been slowly coming together at 1916 W. Gray St. The Houston Ballet’s converted clothing factory headquarters made a grand exit from the site back in the pre-oil-bust days; since then the project has been rechristened from Graybelle to Le Palais, and this sketchy view of a facade has been circulated by the developers:
The yet-unbuilt retail strip planned for the empty land next to Ship & Shield (the Viking-themed restaurant and bar that replaced Byzantio’s last fall) is now fully leased out, Katherine Feser notes. The planned 4,316 sq. ft. are set to be occupied by a second location of Houston restaurant Viet’s Express and a second location of Hawaiian animal hospital Feather and Fur. The project is another show of new construction from serialadaptivereuserBraun Enterprises, which bought both the restaurant space and the adjacent lots from Byzantio’s previous owners over the summer.
If the retail strip turns out to look much like those leasing fliers that’ve been floating around this spring, the layout will be mostly business in the front, parking in the back — plus a strip or 2 of pervious paving off to the sides:
That empty lot at the southeast corner of Taft and W. Gray streets has been getting its concrete skin broken up and cleared out lately, a number of readers note, as early work for the Alta at West Gray apartment midrise and its basement parking gets going. (The particularly dramatic shot above of the Downtown skyline peering over the wreckage was captured during the Friday morning mist by reader MontroseResident, though a few other cameras were on the scene before and after.) Until 2009 the site housed the Good Neighbor Healthcare Clinic (a conversion of another ex-Weingarten’s grocery, according to the business); Good Neighbor had plans to build a midrise healthcare and community center on the site, but ended up selling the land to serial Alta developers Wood Partners early last year. The new plan for the site may look something like this:
The large and unambiguous letters now hovering out front of the new North Montrose version of semi-diet Tex-Mex joint Skinny Rita’s are accompanied by a small lockout notice, a rain-spattered reader notes this afternoon. The For Lease By Landlord declarations have replaced the restaurant’s logo on both sides of the freestanding sign on the property at 607 W. Gray St. (across the road from now listed as in-contractCecil’s Pub); another banner is hung on the fence facing the restaurant’s parking lot, in view of the Skinny Rita’s logo still up on the side of the building:
From the AIG tower neighboring to the north, a reader peers down behind the construction fencing now up at the corner of Waugh Dr. and D’Amico St., in an effort to figure out what might be gettin’ real in the Whole Foods Montrose parking lot. An employee tells Swamplot over the phone that the store is planting additional parking spaces on top of what was previously a walkway lined with grass and picnic tables, adding parking has been a squeeze on the weekends (which lines up pretty well with earlier reports from the scene). The rep also says that the tables (positioned across Waugh from BMW service garage Bavarian Machine Specialties and catty-corner to the health-and-beauty-shop-laden strip center across D’amico), were almost never used. Permits for the pave-over were issued at the end of May.
The Panera marker previously spotted all by its lonesome in the leasing flier for Braun Enterprises’ redevelopment of 1705 W. Gray has picked up a companion in the form of the Kriser’s Natural Pet logo. The marker for the grain-averse pet supply and grooming store now appears on the freestanding former home of International Hair Salon & Nail Spa (shown above), previously marked up in Braun’s renderings as a possible coffee shop.
The reader who snagged the shot above also spent some time sniffing around the back and sides of the complex (to be known as the River Oaks Collection). The wall in the shot below is starting to get its coat of grey paint cleaned off to match the mottled brick exterior shown in the redo renderings:
Here’s a look at renderings of redeveloperBraunEnterprises‘s plans for some of its holdings just east of the intersection of W. Gray St. with Dunlavy down the street from the River Oaks shopping Center. The view above shows preliminary plans for the makeover of 1705 W. Gray St., which has also been collecting various light building and demo permits issued for the past few months.
The drawings currently on Braun’s leasing fliers (dubbing the center the River Oaks Collection) shows a Panera Bread settled in at the corner once occupied by Zephyr Hair and Chateau Grooming. Other potential future businesses are depicted in a more minimalist manner; the words books and boutique appear on the second floor space previously housing Passport, Photo & Visa Service Center, while salon and restaurant fill out the ground floor offerings.
Below is a site plan of the center, including the freestanding former home of International Hair Salon & Nail Spa, on the right across a driveway:
The metal arm of a future traffic signal is now reaching out of the ground across a few westbound lanes of Allen Pkwy. at the intersection with Dunlavy St. The new crosswalk will protect foot traffic on the way to bayou-side party-venue The Dunlavy and to the Adath Yeshurun Cemetery next door.
A reader sends this photo of an excavator at work yesterday on a house behind the former Teala’s Mexican Restaurant at 3210 W. Dallas in North Montrose. Teala’s — not to be confused with nearby Tila’s Restaurante and Bar on the Shepherd curve — changed hands in mid-September. Teala’s closed around the same time.
The new owner of the 20,000 sq. ft. parcel underneath the restaurant is an entity connected to NewQuest Properties, which specializes in retail development.
A reader sends pics of 3 notable new features near the western end of Buffalo Bayou Park that appear to be just about complete: The multi-purpose private event space known as The Dunlavy, overlooking a restored and upgraded pond now called Lost Lake — and its signature central feature, a bell-mouth spillway to suck up the overflow, referred to more commonly as a morning glory. That’s the hole in the middle of the water feature; if you look closely at the photos of it below you can see the odd sight of the tip of a construction ladder peeking out at the top:
A BETTER FENCE FOR THE AXIS APARTMENTS SITE The construction fence surrounding the burned site of JLB Partners’ planned Axis Apartments at 2400 West Dallas St. in North Montrose is receiving an upgrade — from veiled chain link to wood plank. A reader who wonders if the property still qualifies as a construction site notes that the fence still blocks the sidewalk along W. Dallas. This photo shows the current intersection of the 2 fence types along Montrose Blvd. The apartments burned during construction last year. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox
Last week in gay Paris, authorities removed panels from the Pont des Arts that had been weighted down by hundreds of thousands of attached padlocks — installed there since late 2008 by visiting couples (and sure, probably an obsessed stalker or 7) who sought to commemorate their passions with a lockup and a ritual toss of the key into the River Seine below. Meanwhile, hereabouts in North Montrose, the “Love Lock” scene on the Rosemont Bridge over Buffalo Bayou just west of Downtown appears to be just getting started — the Buffalo Bayou Park version appears to be well behind copycat venues in other cities. While crossing the longer section of the bridge yesterday, Twitter user marathonjohn found 20 to 30 locks attached to the pedestrian crossing’s supports. Here are pics of a few of the ritual lockups he spotted: