- 3747 Elmora St. [HAR]
Bankruptcy and, today, demolition — so ends the journey for the Black-eyed Pea at 4211 Bellaire Blvd. Swirling rumors and previously filed variance requests suggested that apartments would go up on the site, and an actual design for a multifamily midrise was even floating around as early as last year — but the property changed hands again in the fall, as a reader noted. The new plan for the site, evidently part of Dallas-based serial apartment developer Ojala Holdings’s bid to cash in on the Texas big-box storage market, looks to be a 4-story storage facility. And permitting reviews look to have started in the fall, not long after Ojala’s Uncle-Bob’s-turned-Life Storage got wrapped up across from the no-longer-listed-for-lease Wabash Feed Store:
The Palace Bowling Lanes building on Bellaire Blvd. (which picked up the new moniker Bowl on Bellaire about a year ago) appears to have been closed since Friday, says a reader who “showed up [Saturday] morning for the youth bowling league to find that the locks have been changed and they are not open for business.” Katherine Feser confirms this afternoon that the property is still closed, though a note on the door says the tenant can have new keys if and when all the delinquent rent is paid.
NEW ALEXAN BLAIRE HOUSE WILL EAT BLAIR HOUSE APARTMENTS ON BELLAIRE BLVD. Even though the location isn’t specified, there’s enough detail in a press release put out by Bluerock Residential Growth REIT last week announcing its joint venture with Trammell Crow Residential to build a 269-unit apartment complex “2 miles from the Texas Medical Center” to identify where the new construction will take place. And to know that if it goes forward, it will spell doom for the Blair House Apartments, next door to the Palace Bowling Lanes, at 4139 Bellaire Blvd. in Southside Place. The biggest giveaway: The new project’s name, Alexan Blaire House, which combines Trammell Crow’s multifamily brand with a can’t-quit-it developer addiction to adding a trailing ‘E’ wherever it might stick. Plus, both Blair(e) houses sit on 4.16 acre sites. The existing 12-building complex of 2-story structures was built in 1963. [Bluerock Residential, via Houston Business Journal] Photo: Apartment Science
Another section of the former Shell Tech Center on Bellaire Blvd. in Southside Place is hitting the dirt this week, this time for a townhome community proposed by builders Rohe & Wright, whose previous developments include 30 Sunset, Winfield Gate, and Cáceres. The company is planning to build a townhome development on the site at 3747 Bellaire Blvd. called Crain Square — for which, the company’s website declares (without much more detail), “the classic American townhouse featuring southern traditional architecture is the muse.” (E.L. Crain was the founder of Southside Place.) The Village News provides more info, reporting that the company plans to fit 62 townhomes on the 5.5-acre center section of the former research complex — which occupied 3 properties totaling 9.7 acres.
This map from what a reader says is a “recent” Cushman & Wakefield flyer shows a couple of interesting things that might be in store for Southside Place: Not only is the land underneath the smallest of the 3 buildings of the vacated Shell Bellaire Tech Center described as “under contract for future bank,” the 5.5 acres next to it, underneath the company’s original 1936 geoprocessing center at 3737 Bellaire Blvd., appears to be the subject of residential or retail development.
Does the green fence mean go? It looks like demolition is just a shot away for this westernmost building of the former Shell Technology Center. Lovett Homes has said it plans to build 39 3-story homes — scaling back after some Southside Place residents raised concerns at public hearings its original plan for 45 3.5-story ones — on the 3.2 acres here at the corner of Braes and Bellaire Blvd.
BIG PLANS FOR NEW SOUTHSIDE PLACE HOMES A LITTLE SMALLER Those 45 3-and-a-half-story houses that Lovett Homes said it was planning for the western end of the old Bellaire Technology Center site (shown here) met a lot of resistance, reports the Examiner‘s Robin Foster: “In a packed public hearing Jan. 29, neighbors expressed concern over traffic, visitor parking and the taller buildings.” Since then, writes Foster, Lovett Homes met with some of those “neighbors” to share scaled-back plans, which were presented at a second Southside Place hearing on February 27: The revised plans are for 39 homes no taller than 3 stories, with an interior street for more parking, wider setbacks, more common space, and “larger-than-average trees.” [The Examiner; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Candace Garcia
Shell Oil moved out the last of its things from the 3-building Bellaire Technology Center in 2012, consolidating R&D operations about 15 miles west of Southside Place in a spruced-up campus near Texas 6 and Richmond. Now, it appears that these 3.2 acres (shown in the map) of the 9.7 that the Center vacated are being eyed for residential development.
It’s 1 down and 2 to go for the properties comprising Shell Oil’s Bellaire Technology Center on Bellaire Blvd. A 3.2-acre slice leased by Shell for years is under contract for future redevelopment. The tech facility’s remaining 2 properties on the same megablock — one leased, one Shell-owned — will also hit the market as Shell ceases its 75-year presence in Southside Place later this year.
The oil company had announced in 2008 that it would close the center and relocate its operations to other facilities. City of Southside Place sources said the exodus ought to wrap up by the end of November.
Listed a month ago, 3747 Bellaire Blvd. (above) is at the west end of the block that stretches from Braes Blvd. to Poor Farm Ditch. The asking price was about $50 per sq. ft., Transwestern’s listing rep says. He had nothing to add about the buyer or plans for the property, which has 475 ft. of frontage on Bellaire and 300 ft. on Braes Blvd. It’s zoned (yes, zoned) for low-intensity mixed-use development. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.
Had the Brady Bunch built their iconic midcentury home in the late seventies (and somewhere other than sunny southern California), its interior might have looked something like this listing in Southside Place. Granted, the street elevation shows more snout (at right) than a classic suburban split level that just happens to harbor a 2-story interior. And, yes, the interior finishes are darker and heavier than the sitcom’s flower-powered set. But something about the open-riser staircase (top) begs for a brood to gather for annual family photos. There’s also a massive hearth for the wood-burning fireplace. A big kitchen. A bar. Plus, generously proportioned rooms for earnest conversations with mom or dad about making the right decisions or getting along despite jealousy, middle child angst, and misguided yearnings for singing careers.
University of Houston architecture professor Susan Rogers explores the Bellaire-Holcombe corridor from Highway 6 to the Med Center and finds a donut in her path.
For each census tract that intersects Holcombe or Bellaire Blvd., Rogers tallied the total number of residents born outside the United States and those residents’ country of origin, using 2000 Census data. The results surprised her:
Most of the action is in the zone between the Loop and the Beltway. “The diversity drops steeply inside 610,” she notes:
I had graphed the street from just 610 to Hwy. 6 for a talk on the links between Asia and Houston and then decided to add the rest as a potential “contrast” – what I found when I completed it absolutely astounded me – the absolute drop is so stark – and of course the income graph is nearly the exact opposite . . .
That graph showing median household income in the same census tracts:
Unlike properties featured in previous rounds, the home in this week’s Neighborhood Guessing Game wasn’t for sale. It was listed on HAR as a rental.
Maybe that’s what made it so difficult?
Well, someone must have found it. Sometime between Tuesday and today the listing disappeared.
Your guesses? Three for Montrose. West University, Southampton, and Southgate attracted 2 each. There were a number of long or inventive neighborhood names, such as “near the Menil,” Bellaire outside the Loop, the “Vassar/Milford/Banks” area, “somewhere off Fountainview somewhere near 77056,” off Hammerly/Long Point, East University (“whatever the area west of Greenbriar, north of Holcombe, east of Kirby and south of the Village is called”), “the Mandell/W. Mandell area bordered by Westhiemer to the North, W. Alabama to the South, S. Shepherd to the West and Montrose to the East,” “the area between Westheimer and West Gray bounded by Shepherd to the West and Montrose to the East,” “that neighborhood that’s just west of Weslayan on the north side of the SW freeway,” and “in the Meyerland area, all the way in along da bayou to the med center area.” The rest: Medical Center, Museum District, the Heights, Hyde Park, Riverside Terrace, Garden Oaks, Lynn Park, and Weslayan Plaza.
No winner this time. But we have 2 strong runners-up: Brad, who came close enough to set up his own neighborhood:
. . . for lack of a better idea, I’ll guess whatever the area west of Greenbrier, north of Holcombe, east of Kirby and south of the Village is called… East University?
And marmer, who tells a pretty convincing story:
This is a nice little pre-war two story that someone added a big den to the back of. Notice how there’s painted brick to the right of the fireplace but not the left? That’s where the end of the original wall was. The fireplace brick is different (though the chimney brick looks similar though unpainted.) Enclosed sunroom was probably the sleeping porch, originally screened. The dining room bay window keeps it from being too old. You see this kind of thing all the time in Galveston where someone will make a historic southern townhouse livable by adding a big den and kitchen in the back. But I don’t think it’s Galveston. Probably more likely Montrose, Southgate, or Southampton.
Keep going with those “South”s . . . !
But the real answer is . . .