05/25/18 3:00pm

Although not yet open to the public, the grounds of new soccer bar Pitch 25 have come a long way from their earthy beginnings (second photo) along Walker St., catty-corner to BBVA Compass Stadium. The indoor soccer field that bar owner and former Houston Dynamo Brian Ching pitched to prospective investors on NextSeed last fall as the venue’s centerpiece has germinated inside the 25,000-sq.-ft. warehouse that’s being redone.

Also realized as part of the renovations — plans to tear a hole in the building’s roof in order to ensure a bright future for these semi-outdoor trees:

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Walker St. Redo
05/16/18 4:00pm

Paperwork filed recently with the city’s Historical Commission reveals the extent of flood damage at the 1960 Frame-Harper house on Westminster Dr. and what Stern & Bucek has planned for the home’s second redo in 11 years. The Houston architecture firm’s first renovation of Harwood Taylor’s original design smoothed out the rough edges of its previous additions and restored its ’50s swagger. Floodwaters from Harvey filled the home’s Buffalo Bayou–facing living room, pictured above after the 2007 redo, to nearly half its height.

This interior view shows how the structure chaperones you down towards the living room and the bayou:

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Wash and Wear
05/15/18 5:00pm

Renovations are about to begin at 1304 W. Alabama in order to turn the shuttered dog boarding facility into a new wine bar. The former doghouse, dubbed Jackson’s Place, was originally converted from a 1928 bungalow. It advertised itself as a “cage-free pet resort,” and bakery that not only cared for pets, but also fed them with “yummy, all natural dog treats and pastries, made from premium ingredients.” The business closed down about 2 months ago, but an additional location remains open on Dunlavy 2 blocks south of W. Gray.

A lawn sign identifying Jackson’s Place has since been yanked from former its yard on the corner of Graustark St. — 2 doors down from hot dog restaurant Good Dog’s Montrose location — and the building’s windows are now browned out with paper. A construction permit issued yesterday for the space names Light Years Wine as its new occupant.

Photos: Swamplox inbox

Hair of the Dog
05/15/18 2:00pm

The signage above Fallas’ storefront — pictured above — has already come down, reports an employee of a neighboring business. Now on its way to that 25,480-sq.-ft. space in the chamfered corner of the L-shaped Northtown Plaza shopping center: Dallas supermarket El Rancho. A building permit was filed yesterday for the grocery conversion. It’s the second location that the North Texas chain has in the works for Houston; a Greenspoint location 6 miles up I-45 is planned to open in June.

But Fallas’ discount clothing presence won’t be entirely displaced by the new supermarket:

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Northtown Plaza
05/14/18 11:15am

The dramatic remake of a 1941 single-story is winding down on the corner of McHenry and Carothers streets, and one plastic couple has now stripped down completely and headed inside the building. From the glass picture window upstairs, you can see an unclothed male figure (shown in the closeup) on the left, who bears a striking resemblance to one member of the mannequin construction team that had been at work (and arranged in various tableaus) in the house’s yard over the past few years.

His apparent female partner — on second glance — appears not entirely nude after all:

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Model Home
05/04/18 5:00pm

UNEARTHING THE SPLENDORS OF HWY. 59’S EGYPTIAN TOMB “Unless people were here the first time,” a renovator at the mock-Egyptian temple on 59 tells the Chronicle’s Craig Hlavaty, “they had no idea of the magnitude of it inside.” (And even if they tried to find out, they might still be left in the dark: “There is no longer a lick of electrical wire inside,” adds another worker.) And so, for the crew’s next trick: “We need to tear everything out and start over.” In doing so, some of what’s been left behind in the shadowy former club known as Magic Island is now being brought to light: “A covered patio and valet area on the building’s east end is today a graveyard of tables and chairs ripped out of the dining rooms,” reports Hlavaty. “Egyptian art and murals sit idle, some covered in graffiti. Broken marble and glass are strewn about the grounds.” On the opposite side of the building, a few doors down, “renderings of what the two-story, 22,000-square-foot property could look like in the future reside on a table at a doctor’s office” where neurologist Mohammad Athari — who owns Magic Island — practices. After years of on-and-off work to revive it, his current plan is to have it back up and running by the end of the year as a “Houston nightlife destination.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

05/04/18 10:45am

Black-tie renderings show off the porte-cochere that’ll soon front the former Delta Fasteners warehouse at 7122 Old Katy Rd., one door down from the West Loop. It’s one element in the batch of changes that party planning firm A Fare Extrordinare has slated to transform the building not only into its office, kitchen, and storage space — but also into an event space dubbed The Revaire. Inside the venue portion of the structure, 2 rooms — one 10,200-sq.-ft., the other 4,130-sq.-ft. — will be up for grabs by party-throwers.

Adaptive reuser Braun Realty had previously planned to turn the 57,925-sq.-ft. building — pictured below — into a festival marketplace including a brewery and food hall, but sold it to the events company last year:

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The Revaire
05/03/18 10:15am

A reader sends photos looking inside a gutted corner of the southern River Oaks Shopping Center building east of McDuffie St. Formerly home to California Pizza Kitchen, Evolve Fitness Studio, Birraporetti’s, and Sherlock’s Pub, it’s now slated for a 2-floor Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille. A TABC notice has been posted on the storefront since March:

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W. Gray & McDuffie
05/02/18 4:00pm

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN JOHNNY STEELE DOG PARK’S FLOOD-INDUCED REDO The caretakers of that oft-flooded pet park near Buffalo Bayou now say that “After careful consideration, we are making changes to the Johnny Steele Dog Park to improve maintenance operations and the park’s functionality.” Among those changes: getting rid of the pond in the large dog play area, rerouting the pond in the small dog area so that it flows through both sections, adding a “new seating wall” at the edge of the water, expanding the lawns throughout the park, enlarging the entrance to the large dog area, and creating a new entrance to the small dog area — all of which is expected to be done by early summer. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Releasing the Hounds
04/20/18 2:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: FROM THE DOWNTOWN DAYS INN WATCH TEAM “Before I left work, a guy was at the very top pulling a long rope he had tied to a wooden structure hanging on the corner of the building. It looks like a homemade trebuchet. I’ll keep posting updates if anything major happens; hell, it’s in my sight line all day.” [Kim, commenting on Cleanup Crews Now Polishing Downtown Houston’s Most Famous Abandoned Building] Photo of former Days Inn at 801 St. Joseph Pkwy.: Guy Mahaffey

04/20/18 11:00am

SHUTTERED LANCASTER HOTEL’S POST-HARVEY REDO HAS BEGUN The latest purchasers of the recently-renovated Lancaster Hotel hotel at 701 Texas Ave. had only owned it for about 2 months before 2 ft. of water entered its lobby — and 12 its basement — during Harvey, reports the HBJ’s Cara Smith. Its last redo in 2013 was along the same lines (“significant alterations to the lobby, guest rooms, suites and meeting spaces,” the HBJ wrote then) as what Magnolia Lodging has planned for it now: “a redesigned lobby, guest rooms, a new restaurant and bar, an indoor mezzanine, an espresso bar and a new cardio fitness studio.” The 92-year-old structure has been shuttered since the storm, leaving its 12 stories and adjacent parking lot (where 2 buildings were demolished on Louisiana in 2016) unoccupied. [HBJ ($); previously on Swamplot] Photo: Jay H.

04/19/18 11:30am

CLEANUP CREWS NOW POLISHING DOWNTOWN HOUSTON’S MOST FAMOUS ABANDONED BUILDING A reader in the KBR Tower 2 blocks east of the former Days Inn at 801 St. Joseph Pkwy. reports sightings of several different crews that have appeared outside the north face of the hotel within the past week. A pair of crane trucks have been parked at the foot of the hotel’s garage, and a swing-stage scaffold is hanging near the top of the podium. Also noted: Workers have cleared out debris from inside the garage, and accumulated trash has been removed from the pool of the 31-story hotel-turned-Vedic-school. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Kimberly Knight

04/18/18 4:30pm

One week oil and gas equipment warehouse just north of the Katy that Work America Capital is converting into a place of business has been partially skinned. Its street-fronting side is now open and the illuminated sign that spelled out the Surefire Industries name atop the front entrance has been replaced with Burton Construction’s unlit banner.

Work America says the structure at 1336 Brittmoore will anchor a 25-acre business campus it’s developing, dubbed The Cannon. It’s slated to include co-working offices, as well as an event center, athletic facility, restaurants, retail and some sort of living space.

Here’s a view of what the barn-like structure will look like re-sided and with new windows:

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The Cannon
04/13/18 5:00pm

Crews are now peeling back the corrugated metal paneling that covers over the original façade of the Sears building on the corner of Main and Wheeler, exposing some of the 1930s art deco details underneath. The plain skin was added onto the 4-story structure in the 1960s. It remained in place after the company that manages Rice University’s endowment bought out Sears’ lease on the property 6 months ago and the department store closed in January.

Yesterday, Mayor Turner announced that an extensive redo of the building — overseen by Hines and designed by Gensler along with New York-firm James Carpenter — would transform it into a startup incubation center, the anchor of a 4-mile “innovation corridor” planned between Downtown and the med center. The vertical mosaic pattern pictured above on the south side of the building is one of the first hidden touches to see the light of day as part of the work that’s now beginning to restore the exterior.

Also uncovered is the row of metal beams used to mount the outer shell:

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Art Deco Unveiling
04/13/18 3:00pm

The former Haliburton manufacturing plant at 1907 Sabine St. is now the eighth structure to take on a post-industrial life by joining the group of First Ward art buildings collectively dubbed Sawyer Yards. Developer Jon Deal oversaw the redo of what he’s now calling Sabine Street Studios. Its new look consists of freshly-installed siding as well as added clerestory windows and doors along the parking lot on the corner of Silver and Spring streets. Spring Street Studios — another Sawyer Yards building — is just north across the street.

To the south, the building spans the entirety of Shearn St. between Silver and Sabine:

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Done Deal