11/19/18 2:45pm

Coming soon to the former CVS Pharmacy building at Westheimer and Eldridge Pkwy.: La Michoacana Meat Market. A group with ties to the grocery chain bought the 1.9-acre property earlier this year and filed a building permit last week to get started on the conversion. The photos above show what the 19-year-old building looked like during CVS’s tenancy. It’s been sign-less for the better part of this year.

Photos: Chinh (first) Colliers (second)

Standalone Redo
11/08/18 10:30am

Frenchy’s Chicken is gearing up to open a new restaurant on Scott St. so that it’s original — there since 1969 — can get out of the way of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church‘s planned expansion. (You can see the church’s slated roofing peeking out behind Frenchy’s in the photo above.) The restaurant’s new location: 2 blocks south of the current one, in the former O’Sat Auto Detail shop pictured at top on the northwest corner of Blodgett St. There, a spate of building permits filed within the last few months reveal Frenchy’s management is about to get started on renovations.

It’s a bit of a detour from the chain’s original relocation plan. Last May, Frenchy’s top brass Percy Creuzot III (the son of the chain’s founder Percy “Frenchy” Creuzot, Jr.) told the Chronicle‘s Cindy George he’d staked out a spot 5 blocks north of the current one where Alabama St. ends across from UH’s indoor football practice building. Sure enough, Creuzot’s business partner Anthony Gaynor consolidated several adjacent lots he owned at the southwest corner of Alabama and Scott 2 into a single property last year — and a few months afterward, demolished the building it that’d done stints on it as number of different barbecue joints:

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Third Ward
11/07/18 10:30am

The art venue formerly known as galleryHOMELAND has selected Bayou City Cycles‘ old shop at 1303 Cullen Blvd. for its new exhibition space, headquarters, and — as shown in the rendering above — curbside landscaping. The 6-year lease it’s taking across from Kroger should allow it to make a new name for itself as Space HL, a rebranding that Glasstire‘s Brandon Zech explains is supposed to call attention to the organization’s new focus on stuff besides art, like lectures, experimental performances, and other programs. About 1,000 sq.-ft. of the building will be for exhibitions, reports Zech, but don’t discount the backyard — which could host outdoor events, or you never know, he writes, maybe even “built-out shipping container projects spaces.”

That’d be a new one. The gallery’s last location across in the industrial row across Commerce St. from Tout Suite was a shared parking lot. It’d flirted with relocating from there to a quarter portion of the Imperial Linen & Cleaners building on Harrisburg Blvd. that’s slated to get redone as something retail- and restaurant-ready but changed its mind when the building took on Harvey damage, writes Zech.

What’ll become of the paint-job Bayou City gave its building when it took over from El Miramar Bar in 2016?

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Eastwood Micro Galleries
11/02/18 10:30am

Black Dog Records blew the lid off its classified relocation plans yesterday by filing a permit on its soon-to-be new address: 726 W. 19th St., the strip center storefront previously home to kids’ karaoke venue Gipsy Girls. Incoming management now plans to redo about 1,700-sq.-ft. of space inside and fill it with the vinyl that populated its last shop — shown above — at 4900 Bissonnet St. until about a month ago. (The location between S. Rice and 610 had been a fertile spot for record junkies since even before Black Dog got there thanks to its longtime previous tenant Don’s Record Shop.)

A few of the neighbors Black Dog can expect to meet once it gets situated in its new Heights environs: alcoholic art joint Painting With a Twist (to its immediate west), Gold Rush Collective Tattoo Parlour, Replay Games old school video game shop, and Texas Dry Clean InStep Pilates. Across the street lies Re:Vive Development’s new-ish 2-building retail complex made up of a standalone Benjamin Moore paint store and a strip home to — among others — Fat Cat Creamery.

Photos: Gipsy Girls (Gipsy Girls); Mark B. (Black Dog Records)

Kids Karaoke Takeover
11/01/18 10:15am

  

A handful of building permits filed recently over at the Marq’e Entertainment Center indicate that kids training center Soccer Hub is kicking off renovations directly behind the spot reserved for the new Spaghetti-Warehouse-like eatery the brand’s parent company is calling Warehouse 72. Together, both new venues will be taking over the space Korean buffet Kpop gave up last year on the shopping center’s non-movie-theater side, across the arch-fronted alley from Dave and Buster’s‘s almost-but-not-entirely standalone building. (There’s now a mystery-themed escape room up in its business, as indicated on the map above.)

It’s not an entirely even split: Soccer Hub is getting about 6,000 sq.-ft. while Warehouse 72 will have 8,600 — enough room for seating, prepared food retail fixtures, and a double-sided bar serving both the restaurant’s insides and a planned 750-sq.-ft. patio, reports Eater‘s Alaena Hostetter. Until the 2 get situated — or get beat to the punch by the Hugh O’Connors Irish-themed restaurant opening in space number 25 on the map —specialty soda and candy shop Rocket Fizz will remain the only thing inside the Marq’e’s center building. It’s been there by itself since Cafe Adobe closed in what’s shown on the map as spot number 26, leaving 10,000 sq.-ft. up for grabs.

Photo: Kpop. Map: Levcor

Tag Team Takeover
10/31/18 1:00pm

Here’s another highlight from the city council’s meeting this morning: Plans to get rid of the cloverleaf interchange that moves traffic between Waugh Dr. and Memorial Dr. got the green-light and will be sent over to the Houston Galveston Area Council as part of an application for funding. The idea first emerged in the Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s 2002 Master Plan as a way to make room for more bayou-side park space at the crossroads. Right now, all the land adjacent to the ramps — shaded gray in the map above — is vacant, except for the portions lassoed by the circular roadways, where 4 isolated tree groves continue to undergo seasonal color changes. You can see they’re gone in the east-facing rendering at top included in the Partnership’s plan — replaced by inlets, islands, stormwater detention, and what looks to be a boathouse at the southeast corner of the 2 roads — all accessible from a network of new walkways that link up to existing bayou-adjacent trails.

In total, 16 new acres are expected to become part of the park — providing a continuous swath of green between Spotts Park and Cleveland Park, shown below on opposite sides of Waugh in a map from the 2002 plan:

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Traffic Lights Likely
10/31/18 10:00am

PAVING THE WAY FOR A BIKE LANE ON W. FUQUA This morning, City Council plans to vote in support of some roadwork that’d add on-street bike lanes to W. Fuqua St. between Chimney Rock and Houston’s border with Missouri City, just west of Fondren Rd. Over that 1.7-mile stretch — which crosses over the Fort Bend Pkwy. — a couple upgrades for cars would be put in as well, including turning lanes at Fondren and traffic lights at W. Ridgecreek Dr. in place of what’s now a 3-way stop. It’s all lumped into that application the city plans to submit to the Houston Galveston Area Council in order to get funding for a bunch of other transportation projects around town, too, like that widening and heightening effort on Dairy Ashford. [Houston City Council; previously on Swamplot]

10/29/18 5:00pm

The indie coffee shop and practitioner of advanced siphon-brewing techniques suspended its service last Wednesday so that big-name instant and pre-ground coffee producer Cafe Bustelo could take over barista duties inside for the week. The photo above shows the storefront going off-brand with temporary fixtures that dub it a “Cafecito” using Bustelo’s classic color scheme. Closer to ground level, you can see the new matching window dressings, too — added on too along the store’s glass facade.

Even Siphon’s standalone sign at the corner of W. Alabama and Greeley St. has been transformed:

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Food Substitutes
10/29/18 12:45pm

CITY WISHLIST FOR DAIRY ASHFORD: WIDER ROADWAY, HIGHER BAYOU BRIDGE On city council’s agenda for tomorrow: a vote of support for widening Dairy Ashford Rd. from 2 to 3 lanes on each side between Westheimer and I-10. As part of the roadwork, the existing bridge across Buffalo Bayou would be rebuilt — potentially above 500-year floodplain level, though the city hasn’t decided yet. New, wider sidewalks are on the table, too. With the council’s blessing, Houston’s public works department would next submit an application for the project to the Houston Galveston Area Council, which could choose to help pay for it with state and federal money. [Houston City Council Agenda] Map: Houston City Council

10/26/18 5:15pm

 

Note: This story has been updated to indicate that City Council’s October 23 vote approved funding for previous work that was already completed on the plaza, not for future renovations.

This week Houston City Council voted to cut a check to workers that finished the first round of renovations on the plaza. The results of their work  — including new fencing, gates, and a terrace — clear the way for the second chapter of redos to begin. The video at top winds it way through round 2 of changes, showing off the new children’s reading area, stage, and outdoor seating bound for the 0.75-acre space between the Jesse H. Jones Building (AKA Central Library) and the Julia Ideson building directly east of it.

While 25-year naming rights are already locked down on the Phillips 66 Jumbo Video Screen (on the right in the rendering abvoe) and Janice and Robert C. McNair Performance Stage (left), the puppet theater depicted below is still in need of a namesake:

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Downtown Redo
10/22/18 5:30pm

Renovations to turn the former Parsley Studios building at 1504 Yale St. into Blue Line Bike Lab‘s new Heights location are now nearly finished, and the most dramatic change is the new coat of light blue paint the structure’s 15th-St. side, pictured above. During the 75 years it housed the family photo business and functioned as a portrait studio for mayors and celebrities like Roy Rogers and Loretta Lynn — according to The Leader — the building underwent its fair share of paint jobs; the last big one washed out a checkerboard pattern along its Yale-St. side, leaving the structure mostly brown.

Last September, a liquidation sale emptied the place of “a quarter of a century’s worth of photo equipment, furniture, frames and photos,reported the Chronicle‘s Jaimy Jones. By that time, most of the owners’ work focused on photo restoration, so brick-and-mortar amenities like formal seating — “and even a small dressing room with bright, round bulbs that frame a mirror atop an old-fashioned dressing table,” wrote Jones — were no longer necessary. The building sold to a group that’s linked to Blue Line, which has its nearest shop on the corner of White Oak Dr. and Columbia St. That existing location (which predates the shop’s other spot on Telephone Rd.) is now set to close, but not until a fleet of new bikes arrives the Yale St. building.

It’s shown empty in the photo below, although a newly-hung sign along Yale makes clear what will fill it:

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1504 Yale St.
10/18/18 3:15pm

STATE OF QATAR CHIPS IN $2.5M FOR RIVERSIDE GENERAL HOSPITAL REDO Standing alongside ambassador Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani yesterday in the archway of the hospital’s 92-year-old nurses’ quarters, Ed Emmett thanked Qatar for its donation to help get the hospital back open. It’s the first allocation the country has made from the $30M Qatar Harvey Fund it created last September. (Its diplomatic rival the United Arab Emerites volunteered $10M the same day, according to Al Jazeera) What is it that the money will actually pay for at the Third Ward property the county bought earlier this year? TBD, Emmett tells News 88.7’s Davis Land, although he notes that the county does plan “to have Riverside provide primary and mental health care as part of the Harris Health System,” the network of publicly-owned county hospitals that provide care to under- and uninsured patients. [Houston Public Media] Photo: Ed Emmett

10/15/18 12:15pm

A building permit filed last Thursday reveals that an ice cream shop plans to take over the corner Hazard-St.-and-Westheimer storefront shown on the left in the photo above. Backed by a group that calls itself Milk + Sugar Creamery LLC, the new store plans to grab just a 1,542-sq.-ft. portion of the building’s west side — which has been occupied by a trio of clothing shops over the last decade.

Mio Boutique was the last of them; it picked up from Coquette in 2014, which picked up from Pixie & Ivy about 8 years ago. Although all 3 of the stores dealt in womenswear, Coquette went a step beyond, retaining an “onsite psychic” — reported Culturemap — to assist customers along with its regular sales staff.

Photo: LoopNet

Vermont Commons
10/12/18 2:45pm

A local franchisee of nationwide chain Camp Bow Wow is getting started transforming about 8,000 sq.-ft. within the 30,000-sq.-ft. warehouse building shown above into something more pet-friendly than what’s inside now. About 150 Camp Bow Wow kennels are currently spread across the U.S. and Canada, according to the chain’s promotional materials, but this so-called “Greater Heights” location would be the first in Houston.

The building is one of 3 with identical exteriors that make up the Wynwood Park industrial complex, part of the even larger landscape of industrial buildings north of Hempstead Rd. and just east of 610. Some of the dog facility’s soon-to-be neighbors in those whereabouts: laser printer retailer Alpha Laser, construction tool supplier Expert Equipment, and a distribution center for specialty food purveyor Swiss Chalet.

Photo: First Industrial Realty

Camp Bow Wow
10/12/18 11:45am

Spotted on the Instagram story for a not-yet-open venue calling itself The Gypsy Poet: TABC signage going up where it plans to move into Core Church Midtown‘s former home at 2404 Austin St. It’s the fifth liquor-purveying establishment planned for the block — bounded by McIlhenny, Austin, McGowen, and Caroline streets — in the past year-and-a-half, none of which are open yet. But which together have now succeeded in reserving almost all of the space there for themselves.

According to its pastor Jim Stern, Core Church had been negotiating to move into a smaller spot at the back 2404 when the landlord tabled that option and switched its current lease over to a month-to-month agreement. Shortly after, in mid-February, the church was given 60 days to hit the road. It left in mid-March. “I am wondering if we were ‘pushed’ out because of the bars,” Stern tells Swamplot.

Photos: The Gypsy Poet (sign); Core Church (Jim S.)

Change Comes Knocking