11/14/17 2:45pm

Site work has begun on the block of Birdsall St. just north of Memorial Dr., where demolition of the 2-story buildings comprising the former 57 Off Memorial apartments was finished up a couple of weeks ago. The photo above, sent to Swamplot by photographer Sonya Cuellar, shows a view of 160 Birdsall St. looking east in its current naked condition; Birdsall in the foreground and Venice St. on the right. The vacated portion of the Malone St. block beyond is also part of the project.

Going up in place of the 120 apartment units knocked out by the excavators: Jonathan Farb’s new City Place Memorial Park apartments, which renderings show would follow the pattern of Farb’s City Place Midtown apartments, only taller because the garages will be underneath and with more prominent cornices and balconies: 4 wood-framed stories will sit on top of 2-level concrete parking garages fitted with courtyard swimming pools on their decks. It’ll have 264 units in 2 separate buildings.

Photo: Sonya Cuellar. Rendering: Farb Homes/Wallace Garcia Wilson Architects

Farb Homes
05/08/17 1:30pm


The strip center nook at 5801 Memorial Dr. last occupied by fast-casual pan-Asian chain Express Rolls has been taken over by Peruvian-Mexican joint Pollo Bravo, which was previously shooed out of the since-pulverized standalone building just down the street at 5440 Memorial. Both properties are owned by companies connected to the Taghdisi brothers, who’ve also been collecting permits for the construction of a new retail mini-strip on Pollo Bravo’s former turf, as announced last fall. The new structure planned at 5440 Memorial looks like it’ll more or less match the general fashion sense of strip center at 5801, though it won’t fit as many tenants:

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Chicken Back In On Memorial Dr.
12/05/16 11:30am

Construction at Shepherd and Allen st.

Now rising at 1202 Shepherd Dr., atop the former sites of the Sarco Enterprise used car lot and its various adjacent industrial-retail odds and ends: a 4-story self-storage building from Provident Realty. The Dallas-based developer (which is also behind the redo of the former Texaco building Downtown and its potential future companion highrise) bought the land in October of last year from an entity called Shepnett Holdings, which also owns the land across Nett St. at 1112 Shepherd  — on that site, the former graffiti-slathered home of relocated art and framing shop Alva Graphics is being converted into the burger restaurant initially planned for the ex-Ruggles Grill lot on Westheimer.

The Provident storage facility will be conveniently located about 4 minutes by car from the Uncle Bob’s Life Storage building that just opened along Washington Ave across from the former Wabash Feed & Garden store. A storage-atuned reader in the neighborhood sends a few more angles on the new building’s in-progress skeleton — the building extends from Nett St. toward the southern of Allen St.’s 2 parallel roadways, laid along either side of the Southern Pacific railroad line:

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Boxes of Brunner
09/08/16 10:30am

5400 Memorial Dr., Rice Military, Houston, 77007

5400 Memorial Dr., Rice Military, Houston, 77007The sides of the 1965 Memorial Towers highrise apartment complex are currently getting the blues as part of a period remodel, a reader reports. Serial multifamily fixer-upper The Barvin Group bought the property in May. The side of the complex pictured above (also shown pre-paint for comparison) faces west down Memorial Dr. toward the recently flattened former roost of Pollo Bravo (occupied before that by Hartz Chicken Buffet).  A rendering of the complex’s planned new look (including a throwback cursive replacement of the signage currently pointed at east-bound drivers) is on display in the lobby:

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Rice Military Remake
08/04/16 10:30am

Demolition of Kicks Indoor Soccer, 611 Shepherd Dr., Rice Military, Houston

Here’s a view of the scene this morning at 611 Shepherd Dr., which until late last year was the home of Kicks Indoor Soccer. The metal structure that housed the indoor artificial-turf field and bar is being kicked to the curb in anticipation of a new apartment complex planned by Mill Creek Residential, which is now in control of the full block bounded by Shepherd, Floyd, Blossom, and Durham, lodged between Rice Military and Magnolia Grove.

Photo: Mosaic Clinic

Kicks Out
07/28/16 1:30pm

Demolition of former Pollo Bravo at 5440 Memorial Dr., Rice Military, Houston, 77007

Here’s the last pieces of the former Pollo Bravo at 5440 Memorial Dr. still holding out against the excavator onslaught today. A reader sends the snapshot above from the Starbucks end of the strip center across the street. The demo permit for the structure came through on Thursday of last week, trailing in the wake of the property’s May 2015 sale and the restaurant’s subsequent December departure.

The owner of the Peruvian fusion chicken chain said at the time that she was seeking new locations; a few more Pollo Bravo spots seem to have opened up since then, including branches on Long Point Rd. east of Gessner, and on Mason Rd. south of Kingsland Blvd. Here’s one last look at the rapidly clearing site, between a Chase bank and the Memorial Towers apartments:

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Fowl Flattening
06/13/16 10:15am

Proposed Observation Tower In Buffalo Bayou Park

Proposed Observation Tower In Buffalo Bayou ParkArchitect Paul Kweton sends his idea for a multi-deck observation tower for Buffalo Bayou Park, adding to the list of unsolicited but interesting projects dreamed up for the public space. The plans and drawings show stairs spiraling continuously upward around a central elevator shaft, enclosed only by a giant net-like facade (as well as a smaller actual net preventing visitors from exploring the exterior of the structure).

Kweton has 2 potential locations in mind — the rendering above shows the tower on the lawn in Eleanor Tinsley Park, across the bayou from the now open Cistern (the long-defunct 1920s subterranean city water reservoir turned found-art piece and potential exhibit space).  The alternative spot is a little further west across Allen Pkwy., near the 1920s Gillette St. waste-incinerator site sold last year year for redevelopment into the Broadstone Tinsley Park Apartments:

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Dreamt Up Near Downtown
04/13/16 5:00pm

Fig & Wasp, 4105 Washington Ave., Rice Military, Houston, 77007

Something is stirring drinks these days inside former location of Beirut Fine Lebanese Cuisine, which reopened last fall as Fig + Wasp Test Kitchen and then quickly closed again. Up & Down on Washington will be officially opening at 4105 Washington Ave. this Friday after a few weeks of soft operation in the upstairs of the space; whether the fig-wasp name was a deliberate nod to the creepy symbiotic relationship between the 2 components is unclear. Photo of 4105 Washington Ave: Kuehn Inc.

Rice Military Buzz
02/29/16 12:30pm

La Roux, 4011 Washington Ave, Rice Military, Houston, 77007

A reader reports some spicy action at the corner of Washington Ave and Leverkuhn St., where nightclub La Roux has opened its doors in the last 2 weeks for (separate) Rodeo-cookoff- and lingerie-themed events. The new building, which has risen into place behind and around the former Guadalajara bakery, is shown from the Leverkuhn side in the photo above.

The former bakery’s window still boasts an April TABC application notice for Black Orchid Gastro Lounge, which was anticipated to open last year. The new black box to the right of the 1930 brick structure is the other side of La Roux:

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Blooming in Rice Military
01/26/16 10:30am

St. Theresa The Little Flower Thrift Shop, 5334 Washington Ave, Rice Military, Houston, 77007

The business wilted several years ago, but the location of the church-run St. Theresa The Little Flower Thrift Shop at 5334 Washington Ave is getting a new tenant: a branch of Dallas’s Clutch Bar will be moving into the space. An entity associated with the thrift shop bought the property  back in 1991, and the store blossomed until the early ’10s, closing by mid-2013.

Clutch Bar’s website touts a Summer 2016 opening; as far as what will be served in the space, the site for the chain shows a large draft beer selection and mentions a weekly special on “adult milkshakes”.

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Little Flower Going Wild
06/22/15 10:30am

Camera Co-Op, 801 Durham Dr., Rice Military, Houston

Camera Co-Op, 801 Durham Dr., Rice Military, Houston

A big for-lease sign has been posted to the door of the building at 801 Durham Dr. in Rice Military. Longtime building tenant Camera Co-Op (see above photo) shut down here at the beginning of last month. The camera-lens mural that surrounded the camera store’s front door has been painted over.

Photos: Stephen J Alexander (door); Camera Co-Op (building)

Houston’s Retail Canon
05/11/15 4:31pm

Wabash Feed and Garden Store, 5701 Washington Ave., Houston

How long can an old-timey Wabash Feed & Garden Store hold out on a totally transformed Washington Ave.? Until the 25,551-sq.-ft. site stretching between Birdsall and Malone gets snatched up. A new commercial listing for the property at 5701 Washington Ave. was posted recently by Boyd Commercial. (Wabash was the voted recipient of the Washington Ave. Award in the 2010 Swamplot Awards.)

Photo: Boyd Commercial

Feeding Time