10/12/18 10:00am

HINES PICKING UP LESS THAN AN ACRE ACROSS FROM MONTROSE WHOLE FOODS PARKING LOT The developer entered into an agreement earlier this year to buy the property at the corner of Waugh Dr. and D’Amico St., reports the HBJ’s Olivia Pulsinelli in her round-up of recent North Montrose land sales. On-site that nearly three-quarter acre parcel right now: a parking lot, driveways, and 2-story dingbat office building that backs up to the adjacent strip housing Pimlico Irish Pub and others. To the east, BMW-focused auto shop Bavarian Machine Specialties buffers the tract from what’ll soon be Stages Repertory Theatre’s new theater and green space on Rosine St. [HBJ] Photo: LoopNet

10/05/18 5:15pm

A few of the tenants inside this 7-unit, now-up-for-sale apartment building on Hawthorne St., 2 blocks from Spur 527 appear to be on the same page design-wise. The photo above shows the living room inside one of the building’s 6 one-bedroom apartments done up with a Persian rug, atop which sits a glass tabletop covered in curios surrounding a floral centerpiece.

Now, compare that to that to the living room the building’s sole 2-bedroom unit, shown below:

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429 Hawthorne
08/27/18 2:00pm

The outline of a 20-story apartment building called Montrose Gardens made its first public appearance late Friday in the city’s planning commission agenda, where its footprint covers over that of the Khun Kay Thai Cafe on the corner of Montrose Blvd. and W. Clay St. Only 9 of those stories will be for living, so what’s going into the rest? According to the building’s engineer: “A variety of retail stores, restaurants, and coffee shops” — all 24,000 sq.-ft. of which would be buffered from the 150-or-so upstairs apartments by 9 stories of resident-only parking. Underground, a separate 2 floor garage will gobble up retail traffic from an opening on W. Clay.

Also present on the 19,900-sq.-ft. site where the apartment’s staking its claim: the restaurant’s 2 parking lots. The northern one ran over the duplex-turned-psychic-shop directly south of it after the structure — memorialized in the aerial below — was demolished in 2016:

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Montrose Gardens
08/23/18 12:15pm

The aftermath of Bacco’s Wine Garden’s latest design choice at 3611 Montrose Blvd. has the place looking a little less like a homeless shelter and more like a bar.  Empty bottles were as close as the venue could get to the real thing before its TABC license got approved on Tuesday. Now that that’s all squared away, real booze will be stored inside.

It’s a marketing strategy similar to the one Postino employed with the bright yellow wine promos hung up on its Heights Mercantile patio before it opened. Except by the looks of their attachment, these reds, whites — and even a few proseccos — are here to stay.

They line the bar’s fencing all the way out to the sidewalk:

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The Pre-Game
08/15/18 12:15pm

Everything is operational now at the Transart Foundation for Art and Anthropology‘s hulking white headquarters north of the Menil — which took the place of a house earlier this year. The organization’s mission is to study the role of art in everyday life by supporting “experimental work at the intersection of art and anthropology.” It’s one door down from the intersection of W. Alabama and Yupon St., next to the Neon Gallery bungalow partly visible in the photo above.

Inside, a first floor gallery is divided by a central stairway that climbs up to a roof deck and garden:

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Transart Foundation
08/09/18 2:15pm

A Swamplot reader sends a photo (top) of the trees that appear to have grown up outside the former McGowen Cleaners real fast since plant life was first added to the bed (above) earlier this year. That’s because the crew now converting the place into a restaurant called Vibrant tore out the bushier trees just over a week ago and replaced them with a row of taller new cedars.

The swap-out left the bed short on plant life last Wednesday and Thursday:

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Growth Spurt
07/23/18 12:30pm

A Swamplot reader sends a photo of the big white public hearing notice now up outside the Rothko Chapel; it’s the first sign of the work chapel management has planned for both the octagon and its surroundings. The proposed replat detailed by the notice would take 6 originally single-family deed-restricted lots occupied by the chapel, adjacent administration bungalows, and their surroundings — and merge them into a single parcel.

It’s all part of the prep work for modifications planned next spring that’ll alter the chapel’s skylight and tweak its acoustics, HVAC system, weatherproofing, and entrance vestibule. New York–based firm AROhired in 2016 — is overseeing all those changes, as well as plans for the 4 additional lots the chapel owns on the north side of Sul Ross St.

Now occupied by a few Menil-gray-colored housesincluding one on the corner of Yupon St. home to the Da Camera music society — those properties are slated for their own consolidation under the proposed replat. Planned to rise afterward: a visitor welcome house (gift shop included) and energy building including a backup power station. Later on, a new administration and archive building with adjacent community engagement center will also move in on that side of the street.

Photo: Swamplox inbox

Gift Shop Incoming
07/19/18 10:00am

It’s crunch time at the vacated original Café Ginger in the northern portion of the River Oaks Shopping Center, where a new 30-story apartment tower dubbed The Driscoll is planned to rise up over W. Gray St. Views from beyond the blaze orange barricades scattered around the parking lot since site work began in March show the crushing scene.

Since yesterday, the building’s been spilling its guts out onto the pavement in this particular area:

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The End of the Endcap
07/05/18 4:00pm

On-the-ground footage from KHOU reporter David Gonzalez shows just how much water the Johnny Steele Dog Parkredone and reopened 3 weeks ago following its last flood — took on yesterday. By the end of the downpour, floodwaters had risen up a few steps from where the park begins at the foot of the staircase leading to Allen Pkwy., as shown in the photo above.

That left these 2 out of luck:

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Bayou Spillover
06/13/18 12:45pm

Permits were approved yesterday for construction on the 285-unit apartment tower Hines and TH Real Estate plan to build behind the La Colombe d’Or mansion-turned-hotel on Montrose Blvd. The rendering at top views all 34 floors of the new building — designed by Houston architectural firm Muñoz + Albin — from above Harold St. (opposite the recently re-domed Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral). That puts it 4-stories higher than the adjacent and somewhat stockier Hanover Montrose apartments shown greyed-out on the right.

Dubbed the Residences at La Colmobe d’Or, the tower takes the place of the once-adjacent Le Grand Salon de la Comtesse ballroom erected and decked out by the hotel’s owner Steve Zimmerman. It’s shown here in the Colombe d’Or’s backyard, before crews stripped it down and demolished it in March:

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18 Hotel Rooms Included
06/05/18 10:30am

A new eatery is on its way to the Montrose shop called Montrose at 1723 Westheimer, a block west of Dunlavy. The toponymic women’s clothing boutique had about a 3-year run in the space before it went out of business, leaving the building vacant. Just last week, the developers behind the coming Eastern European restaurant filed plans with the city to remodel the 1,830-sq.-ft. structure into something more Turkish and culinary: Cafe Bosphorus. A banner hung up on the left storefront window store heralds its arrival.

Photos: Hipster Hotspots (Montrose Shop); Cafe Bosphorus (sign)

Cafe Bosphorus
05/21/18 1:00pm

The owners of the hamburger, Mexican food, barbecue, and fish restaurant on the northwest corner of Taft and Peden — dubbed “Greased Lightning Pit Stop” by the sign hanging on it for over a decade — have listed it for sale at $750,000. Also included in the offer: the storefront adjacent to it and a run-down bungalow diagonally behind the restaurant.

The bungalow sits on a separate, 5,000-sq.-ft. lot beyond the fence shown below:

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Taft and Peden
03/14/18 4:45pm

The Oxberry Group is ready to rechristen the vacant Gibbs Boats building at 1110 W. Gray St. as Rêve at Montrose: a new, patio-fronting shopping center. The boat business shuttered in the 11,696-sq.-ft. warehouse building it had occupied for 56 years after selling off the last of its fleet in 2014.

Major changes slated for the building now include a takedown of its shed-roofed portion closest to Montrose Blvd. In place of that area, outdoor seating — shown above in the rendering from Tipps Architecture — will line the street. A clock tower planted between the existing 1- and 2-story parts of the building would be its new high point. And at the north end of Gibbs’ former lot — next to the U-Plumb-It hardware store — a 2,630-sq.-ft. retail add-on would take the place of a yard once used for boat work.

The site plan below shows the addition (colored red) jutting out and separating the pedestrian plaza from a driveway to the planned parking lot:

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Rêve at Montrose
03/02/18 4:45pm

Excavators have begun clawing at the ballroom that sits behind the La Colombe d’Or hotel’s main building on the corner of Montrose Blvd. and Harold St. — in order to make way for a new apartment tower. Demolition began on the structure formally and formerly known as Le Grand Salon de la Comtesse in late January after portions of its rococo interior — including oak paneling, gold-framed mirrors, and chandeliers — were catalogued, extracted, and shipped to an offsite storage facility by teardown crews.

That’s just about the reverse of how those interiors got there in the first place. La Colombe d’Or owner Steve Zimmerman bought the furnishings — crafted in the 1730s for members of the French royal family — in 1995 from the son of oilman John Mecom Sr., who’d kept them stored in a blimp hangar he owned at the former Hitchcock Naval Air Station of Hwy. 6. He’d been stockpiling other French home goods (including one of Marie Antoinette’s bathrooms) for more than 30 years. Once Zimmerman got ahold of the decor, he built the less pedigreed stucco structure at 3410 Montrose Blvd. behind the hotel building where the items served as a backdrop for weddings, corporate functions, and the occasional speech.

In this view of the neighboring 30-story apartment tower now known as the Hanover Montrose (previously 3400 Montrose), the Colombe d’Or and its ballroom can be seen at the bottom left:

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Montrose Stack-Up