- 3263 Avalon Pl. [HAR]
Snapshots from the scenic Robbins Brothers jewelry store parking lot on the West Loop show how much progress has been made on the 34-story Arabella (formerly Arábella) condo tower next to the Target parking lot on San Felipe. Construction on the bumpy building began in 2015 on a portion of the former Westcreek Apartments at the corner of San Felipe and Westcreek. The photo at top shows the new building at 4521 San Felipe towering over the 25-story SkyHouse River Oaks apartment building, as well as the 17-story Wilshire condo tower.
A closer view of the trio:
The blue dot stuck on the window of West Elm’s Highland Village furniture gallery announces the store’s plans to decamp from its spot below and next to RA Sushi, near the eastern side of the shopping center on January 21. Both West Elm and RA Sushi’s only other Houston locations are at CityCentre. That West Elm location opened in 2015, while the current spot at 3922 Westheimer has been in business for over 9 years.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE ONLY MACKIE AND KAMRATH HOMES LEFT ON THE TIEL WAY LOOP “. . . My husband and I drove around Tiel Way after the storm to check on all the MacKie and Kamraths. There were several homes on the street that flooded — and not just by a few inches but into their second levels. One of the things that make the Kamraths of this era (and really, many high-end midcentury homes) so gorgeous and unique is the abundant use of wood panels for all walls, doors, built-in storage cabinets and seating — everything. But it also makes them particularly expensive and hard to fix after extensive water damage. As Swamplot reported earlier this year, the home at 2 Tiel Way was bought with the intention to restore but had so much termite and water damage it would have cost double to restore compared to a full rebuild price. So that’s what they are doing: rebuilding the same house. . . . It’s a controversial choice but in my opinion it’s the best architectural conservation alternative to demolition. But not everyone has the resources to undertake something like a full architectural rebuild. So while the demo of this house, one of Kamrath’s finest, is certainly a punch in the gut . . . I get it. They probably would have saved it if they could. Tiel Way was the last concentration of MacKie and Kamrath’s great residential works, at one point having 7 homes on the loop. After this demolition we will be down to 2.5: the Gold Brick–awarded restoration at 67 Tiel Way (which thankfully, did not appear to have Harvey flooding issues), Kamrath’s own residence at 8 Tiel Way (definitely flooded, but appears to be safe at the moment), and the rebuild currently in progress at 2 Tiel Way. 48 Tiel Way won’t be the only midcentury treasure lost to Harvey, but it’s certainly one of the saddest to see go.” [Rabbit, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: Tiel Repeal; previously on Swamplot] Photo of 48 Tiel Way: HAR
Does tearing down historic Houston architecture run in the family? The 1930’s house built for Harry C. Hanszen at 2945 Lazy Lane Blvd. (which showed up on Wednesday’s Daily Demolition Report last week) did in fact get the full knockdown treatment over the weekend, a couple of stunned readers tell Swamplot. The River Oaks home, designed by architect John F. Staub, was owned for a few decades by John Mecom Jr.; more recently, it was sold in 2014 to Matthew B. Arnold, per county records. The 5-acre-ish lot sits right across the road from Bayou Bend, and from the Lazy Lane spot where the historic home known as Dogwoods used to stand — before former Enron trader and experimental drone surveillance funder John D. Arnold knocked it down to make room for a boxy replacement. (Staub also designed Bayou Bend, and collaborated with Birdsall Briscoe on the Dogwoods design.)
It’s worth noting that the Hanszen house was majorly added-onto between 1979 and 1981, back when it was owned by the Mecoms — and it was largely stripped of its original interiors during that time, archi-historian Stephen Fox tells Swamplot. It’s now been stripped of its exteriors as well — which previously looked like this:
Neighbor-with-a-security-cam Bill Curry has now posted to YouTube 6 additional time-lapse videos covering days 2 through 8 of the demo of the Googie-style River Oaks Manor condo complex at 2325 Welch St. The structure went down at the end of last month across from his home just east of Revere St., in an unnamed neighborhood real close to River Oaks.
If you thrilled to the jumpy frames from Curry’s Nest camera chronicling the removal of a 26-unit, 2-story structure dating from 1950 (in favor of a 32-unit, 9-story structure dating from 2018) but wanted to see what more it took to remove the row of Welch St.-facing carports left standing in the first video, follow the rest of the sequence, beginning with Day 2 (above) and continuing with the third day (June 27th) below:
It may not come as much of a surprise to the city’s more meticulous athletics outlet trackers that the Luke’s Locker at the corner of W. Gray and Driscoll streets has taken off: on January 20 the Texas chain announced via Facebook that they would be temporarily closing their Houston store, among others; a follow-up post a few days later clarified that the company had filed for Chapter 11. As of late last week, the name markers were coming down from the store’s exterior, a couple of “For Lease” signs were up, and the space had been emptied out.
The company still lists 1953 W. Gray address as a store location, complete with an image of the shop wrapped up in a bygone era of River Oaks Shopping Center aesthetics, when everything was more black-and-white:
What with that 30-ish-story tower planned for on top of them, the businesses at the far end of the River Oaks Shopping Center (including Café Ginger, the King Ranch Saddle Shop, and Local Pour) now appear to have an ambiguous expiration date on their current locations. Café Ginger has already found a new place to crash when the time comes: staff at the restaurant confirmed today that they’ll be moving just a few blocks down W. Gray St. to River Oaks Plaza, which hosts Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, and Office Max in some of its bigger boxes. The move probably won’t happen until next year, but restaurant’s name is already included in the leasing flier for the center (as is the new Carter’s Babies & Kids scheduled to open in the complex at the end of March).
What else might change as Weingarten plants the 30-ish story residential tower it announced yesterday on a spot currently occupied by a few of the River Oaks Shopping Center’s northeastern storefronts? Specifics on the design of the 300-plus-unit project (which the company hinted at in late 2015) are still scant, though construction may start as soon as next year. The planned footprint of the highrise, per the site map above, stomps out the far end of the building housing Cafe Ginger, Local Pour, and the King Ranch Saddle Shop, spreading out past the edge of the non-protected city historical landmark toward the would-be alignment of Driscoll St. The Hanover-developed tower will reportedly replace those storefronts with some 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space on its ground floor (leaving room, potentially, for a few more Starbucks).
The remodeling permit issued last fall for 2 Tiel Way (shown above in its previous listing portrait) was augmented by a demolition permit at the end of January, as Diane Cowen reports in this weekend’s Chronicle. The 1960s house (designed by Karl Kamrath, like a few others of the not-yet-demolished original houses on the street) was bought last July after a 10-month stint on the market; Cowen writes that the new owners had planned to restore the home, but structural issues including uncovered termite and water damage boosted cost estimates to around twice the likely cost of a rebuild.
The house was torn down to the slab and fireplace late last month, and some of the interior redwood paneling and light fixtures were salvaged. The new home designed for the site will purportedly mimic the old one to a significant extent — here’s a rendering from Robertson Design, the architecture firm of the new owners’ son: