08/22/13 12:30pm

Just north of the just-underway River Oaks District and in the shadow of the Highland Tower, 24 of these homes are going up in what will be another cheek-to-jowl gated community. The first 8 are almost done, apparently, and all but 1 has sold; the whole set of ’em should be ready by March. Located at 2200 Briarglen Ln. just south of San Felipe on the site of some apartments that were knocked down in 2008, the homes range in size from 1,989 sq. ft. to 2,305 sq. ft. They’re starting at $600,000.

Rendering: Pelican Builders

08/12/13 2:30pm

The Bayou Land Conservancy is really pushing to raise $4 million in the next week or so in order to outbid a homebuilder on a 50-acre patch of prairie in Deer Park. The video above is part of what the Houston Chronicle’s Lisa Gray describes as a “Hail Mary pass” to raise the money before August 20.

The sought-after patch is among the last 1 percent of the Gulf Coast’s original prairie, reports Gray. The conservancy has been attempting to raise the money to buy it for the past year and a half — an attempt that’s now being hastened by a recent $4.25-million offer from a developer with plans for a 201-home subdivision on the land near Spencer Hwy. and Luella Ave.

And what would the conservancy prefer for the prairie? Here’s Gray:

The prairie’s fans imagine a visitor’s center fashioned from a next-door ranch house. They imagine busloads of visiting schoolkids. They imagine research into the still-mysterious workings of the prairie biome. They imagine harvesting native seed, to be used in eco-conscious plantings in the area. They imagine Battle of San Jacinto re-enactments more realistic than those that take place at the battlefield itself.

Video: Bayou Land Conservancy

07/18/13 10:00am

This corner of Richmond and Wakeforest appears likely to be developed into a new office building, part of what a recently approved application to reduce the building setback on both streets from the Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority suggests is a plan to transform this block between Wakeforest and Eastside into a “mixed-use pedestrian-focused transit node.” The demolition of vacant office buildings here near Levy Park appears to have begun in 2009; the office building shown in the photo above, also apparently vacant, is likely the next to go.


07/17/13 10:00am

Note: Read more about that tree here.

The sign shows that a variance is pending to reduce the setback here along Spur 527 — at left in the photo above — the better to fit 15 single-family lots on the less-than-an-acre property between W. Alabama and Marshall St. in the Westmoreland Historic District. A site plan included in the variance application for the subdivision Carnegie Oaks at Westmoreland shows that the 0.83-acre lot would be parceled out, with driveway access to the north from Marshall and to the south from W. Alabama. The lot’s right across the street from that fixed-up former Skylane complex the Spur. A city rep says that the planning commission will decide on the variance next week.


07/15/13 4:00pm

A reader wants in on the scoop with this swath of fenced-in property, bound by Ewing, Jackson, and Hermann Drive in Museum Park: “There has been a lot of surveying and staking of the empty lot . . . between The Parklane highrise and The Plaza Museum District condos. Off-and-on for a month, Bury Partners personnel have been surveying both the perimeter and interior of the property as well as inspecting the sewer access on Hermann Drive. Any thoughts on what this means?”

Photo: Allyn West

07/09/13 3:00pm

This solid swath of property neighbored by tightly packed cul-de-sacs in Hunters Creek Village appears to be swinging that way: County records show that just one 7,549-sq.-ft. home now stands on these 4.4 acres at the corner of Memorial and Voss, and a Hunters Creek Village employee tells Swamplot that the property is being subdivided and 7 new homes will be arranged inside the gated community called Reynolds Court Addition.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

06/17/13 3:00pm

Here come more billboard double entendres: The Baytown Sun reports that Buc-ee’s is building a big ’un on the I-10 feeder and John Martin Rd. later this year. And, apparently, the proposed 60,000-sq.-ft. convenience store, gas station, and jerky trafficker will get top billing: Part of the deal — a Chapter 380 Agreement — involves a waived height restriction for the store’s beaver beacon, so Buc-ee’s can raise one 100 ft. into the air. In return, Baytown will get a bit of room to put its own name up there too. (This will be the first time, the Sun reports, that Buc-ee’s will share its sign.) The store’s planned for about 18 acres on the southwest corner of John Martin Rd. and I-10 near the San Jacinto Mall. The Sun reports that it’s expected to open in 2014.

Photo of Lake Jackson Buc-ee’s: Judy Baxter [license]

06/17/13 11:15am

Just down the block from that recent fence-related mishap at the all-cleared Ashby Highrise site is the proposed site of the . . . Ashby Midrise? Well, the official moniker of this 5-story condo box at Ashby and Sunset is Chateau Ten. And if that name (or the purple-hued rendering pictured on the sign) seems familiar, it’s because an identical building from the Randall Davis Company is already going up on Spann and Welch on the lot adjacent to where Hines might or might not be building that 17-story office tower off San Felipe.


06/14/13 11:05am

It looks like the 10.53 acres behind this sign where the Spring Branch RoomStore stands have been fosoldale, and the buyer has said it plans to build some rental townhomes. Broker David Littwitz says that the RoomStore here at 1009 Brittmoore Rd. facing the Katy Fwy. closed about a year ago, after the Richmond, Virginia, company filed for bankruptcy near the end of 2011. Real Estate Bisnow’s Catie Dixon reports that the buyer, a joint venture called Houston Texas Properties, intends to tear down the showroom to develop what they’re dubbing Arabella, desribed by Dixon as a “240-unit, upscale rental townhome community.” And they’re not wasting time: Dixon adds that the RoomStore should be coming down within the next few weeks.

Photo: Real Estate Bisnow

06/03/13 3:45pm

This sign, which showed up recently on the fence outside the 136-acre former KBR site at Hirsch Rd. indicates that the air over Clinton might soon be filled with choppers — but for what? City building inspector and helistop specialist Larry LaHaie says that that hasn’t been disclosed, but he does know that it’ll be a “private facility . . . not for hospitals, not for police.” The work will involve clearing the former industrial property that seems to have been “left to go au naturel,” he says, and cleaning up a defunct landing pad that had been discontinued “6 to 7 years ago.” The Ship Channel-fronting site in the Fifth Ward has sat vacant since most of its buildings were demolished a little more than a year ago and it was sold by KBR to undisclosed buyers.

Photo: @GoingUpCity via Twitter

05/31/13 3:00pm

It doesn’t seem that this grassy, fenced-in lot along Montrose between W. Dallas and Allen Pkwy. is going to change very much: All that scraping and dragging a few weeks ago was to level the ground for a cricket field, according to a contractor at the firm responsible for doing the dirt work. The Aga Khan Youth and Sports Facility, the contractor says, will comprise that cricket field, a pair of soccer fields, and a concession stand. In 2006, the Aga Khan Foundation purchased and demolished the Robinson Warehouse on this frequently flooded 11-acre property and said it was planning to build an Ismaili Center here.

Photo: Allyn West

05/21/13 10:00am

A pair of Swamplot readers, employees at Hughes Hangar across the street and Kwik Lube next door, and the Facebook page of late-night weekend jitney service Houston Wave all have heard that this building going up on Washington Ave will be a new Sonic. But a rep from the company can’t confirm the location, saying yesterday that there is nothing to add about “the specific possibility” of a Sonic here at 2720 Washington, and there doesn’t appear to be any tell-tale signage up yet.


05/20/13 3:10pm

“There’s a lot that’s recently been cleared immediately behind the Asia Society,” reports a reader. You know the one, at the corner of Oakdale and Caroline St.? The one whose owners refused to sell, forcing Asia Society architect Yoshio Taniguchi to design around it? Where there was that 1930s vine-covered home being used as a doctor’s office that was supposed to be sold and renovated into a restaurant, but never was?

Well, in February, 5219 Caroline appeared in the Daily Demolition Report. And this photo taken from the median shows what the site looks like now. The reader continues:

All of the neighbors have questioned who owns the property and what is to happen to it. According to HCAD it appeared to be owned by Balcor, the company behind the rather unpopular Parc Binz. . . . We’re wondering if the Asia Society is trying to buy the land . . . [T]he neighbors who live in the town homes across from Asia Society have complained that the social events held on site tend to be quite loud, quite late. Overall, the neighborhood couldn’t be happier to have this organization in its bounds. And, if they were to own that land, if only they’d open a little gourmet coffee shop. That would please hundreds of people. . . . I’ve heard from Asia Society . . . that they’re trying to purchase the land. I think there is something more going on there — but no one is talking at this point.

Photo: Allyn West

05/20/13 1:00pm

Here’s a second rendering of that new office tower Hines tells the Houston Chronicle it hasn’t announced it will build. Of course, a different story is coming out of this neighborhood near River Oaks, where the 35,000-sq.-ft. property on the corner of Spann and San Felipe, purchased in November by an entity connected to Hines, has been cleared of its garden home and staked with flags, as the photos after the jump show:


05/15/13 4:05pm

This is the rendering for Harbor Hospice, what Three Square Design Group and Camden Construction are saying they hope will serve as a kind of template for similar facilities to be built in Texas and Louisiana. The whole 24,000-sq.-ft. thing will have room for 32 beds and a 5,000-sq.-ft. outpatient clinic; Real Estate Bisnow’s Catie Dixon reports that construction could begin as early as this summer. A site plan from Camden shows the hospice going up outside the Loop southeast of Sunnyside, across from the Houston Amateur Sports Park on Mowery Rd. That’s west of Hwy. 288, between Airport Blvd. and W. Orem.

Rendering: Camden Construction