07/19/18 5:00pm

Next Saturday, Houston’s historic commission is set to consider a request that new old signage be installed on the former Gibbs Boats building at 1110 W. Gray as part of the renovation to turn it into a new shopping center dubbed Rêve Montrose. The QUALITY LAUNDRY lettering is a nod to the 1936 structure’s original tenant — pictured above — which turned the place over to Gibbs in 1958. According to the rendering above, the replica sign and accompanying pyramidal support structure are set to be installed in the same location as the originals.

Since the Oxberry Group announced its redo plan for the building in March, some of its W. Gray façade has been scratched off, revealing traces of the original brick underneath where the G in Gibbs used to front the street:

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W. Gray and Montrose
06/11/18 2:15pm

NEW RESTAURANT COMES KNOCKING AT WAREHOUSE BY BBVA COMPASS A TABC flyer up on the front door of 612 Live Oak signals some impending action for the brick warehouse building, one block east of BBVA Compass Stadium’s frontage on Emancipation and south of the light rail line along Texas Ave. Brass Tacks Workspace LLC is applying for both mixed beverage and late hours permits. Residential developer Bercon bought the 5,000-sq.-ft. parcel on which the building sits — along with almost the entire rest of the block — in early 2017. However, there’s nothing residential about the new owner’s plans for this particular structure: a permit filed for it last month — 10 days before the liquor sign appeared — included plans to turn the building into a yet-to-be-named restaurant. Photo: Swamplox inbox

05/18/18 10:00am

All car-related signage has come down from the Heights building North Loop Auto Supply once occupied 9 blocks south of the North Loop on the northeast corner of Harvard and E. 20th. In its place, a banner for new restaurant Neo Baguette now hangs over the building’s 20th-St. doorway. An entity connected to developer Steve Radom bought the 2,331-sq.-ft. freestanding structure late last year and set about reworking it into something more suitable for a restaurant tenant to occupy.

Included in that effort: gardening work to add the tufty beds of flora that now front 20th St., the removal of the front gates and awning from the storefront entrance, the addition of new windows, and the erection of the 4 steel columns now attached to the building’s face. A parking lot to the east separates it from its next-door neighbor, Revive Salon and Spa.

Photo: Ken Barnes (Neo Baguette); LoopNet (auto parts)

Sandwich Signage
04/03/18 3:00pm

Yet another Randalls is seeing itself out of a major shopping center space — this one in the Keegan’s Meadow complex at the corner of W. Bellfort Ave. and S. Kirkwood Rd. in Stafford. The photo above looks beyond the pumps at the grocery chain’s street-fronting gas station to show the store decorated with a liquidation sign identical to the one that’s currently posted on the Oak Forest location. The white Randalls lettering on the 53,250-sq.-ft. grocery store at 11711 W. Bellfort came down last month from the façade now taken up by the banner. An in-store Wells Fargo branch occupies the northeastern portion of the store, opposite the Avalon Discount Liquor adjacent to the its west side.

Photo: Swamplox inbox. Site plan: Brixmor

Stafford Send-Off
03/26/18 4:00pm

The Aqua Hand Car Wash & Detail on the corner of W. Dallas could get even wetter pending the TABC’s permission for the business to serve mixed drinks on-site. The photo above, sent in by a Swamplot reader, shows the 680-sq.-ft., butterfly-roofed building where a notice naming Aqua Heights LLC as the applicant for a mixed beverage permit now hangs in the window.

The building went up on the long-vacant field at 1013 Montrose in 2011. Washing, waxing, and detailing take place in a parking lot to the east and south of the structure.

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Wet Bar
03/26/18 2:00pm

The 1950 building at 4502 Greenbriar formerly home to the Neal & Company antique shop has been taken over by Fleet Feet Sports. The running gear retailer bought the building — last renovated in 2005 — just under 2 months ago. Shortly before the sale, Fleet Feet closed its nearby store in Rice Village — on the north side of Rice Blvd. next to Tea Bar and Organics.

Head-in parking now fronts 2 sides of the Greenbriar location — as opposed to just one at the old Rice Village store:

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Head-to-Head Head-In Parking
03/12/18 10:30am

Banners for Cedars Tapas Bar — the new restaurant on its way to 403 W. Gray — are now covering up both the plywood board on the building’s forehead and the sign left over from Ship & Shield’s tenancy in the space. The Viking-themed restaurant abandoned the building last December, and property owner Braun Realty is now waiting on the new Lebanese bakery to move in.

Braun bought the the 2,055-sq.-ft. restaurant building in 2016, the same year Ship & Shield took it over from Byzantio’s. Since then, the developer has put up a new retail building on the once-vacant lot just east of restaurant, near Taft St. Its west side is visible beyond Cedars’ sign in the photo above.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

North Montrose Makeover
09/28/17 3:15pm

THAT THING ABOUT THE CITY OF HOUSTON AND DIGITAL BILLBOARDS A reader with “nothing better to do today” writes in with a question for Swamplot readers: “I do not see any digital billboards in Houston city limits. I see them popping up in Baytown and I’m sure elsewhere, but why not H-Town? One would think that this would be a win-win for the owners of the billboards and the businesses wanting to advertise their product. I see them all over Dallas — Houston, not so much.” Photo: Houston Public Media

09/18/17 1:00pm

Popular yet again in Houston: The DID NOT FLOOD sign topper. Here’s a new one spotted by wandering photographer Joshua House in front of the Covington Builders 4-story townhome development at 3821 N. Braeswood Blvd., one block north of Brays Bayou and a couple blocks east of Stella Link.

Where have you spotted signs like these in Harvey’s aftermath? Please send pics and coordinates to us. Swamplot wants to know what DID NOT FLOOD.

Photo: Joshua House

Above It All
08/16/17 5:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BIG SIGNS FOR BIG TEXAS CORNERS “I wish they’d rethink the billboard laws in Texas. Allow more and bigger billboards. The billboards could be taxed, and the money earmarked to our State Parks — they desperately need it. Scenic routes could be designated in certain places, and billboards banned there. This would turn the buildings at the intersections of freeways into major advertising opportunities. It wouldn’t matter if the buildings lose money, the giant billboards on the roofs would make whatever profit the owners need. Or they might wind up demolishing the buildings to put billboards up in their place.” [ZAW, commenting on Comment of the Day: The Black Holes Where Freeways Intersect] Illustration: Lulu

12/20/16 10:45am

Montrose Management District marker, W. Dallas at Montrose

Montrose Management District marker, W. Dallas at MontroseThe Montrose Management District reports that the first of its shiny new neighborhood marker signs went up over the weekend at Montrose Blvd. and Dallas St., despite the recent movement in the ongoing lawsuit between the organization and the group of property owners petitioning to dissolve it. The case, which was filed in 2012, is still open, though the judge recently filed a handful of findings and judgment documents stating that not all of the signatures that went into forming the district were valid, and that the agency must pay back the $6.5 million it’s collected since then. The district has said it has no plans to do that any time soon, and intends to keep on keepin’ on until any appeals wrap up, which could be years from now.

The signage is part of the sundry prettification projects the district has planned for the neighborhood, which include redoing the colored lighting on the bridges over US 59 — thanks to a funding assist from the city, TxDOT, and the Houston Galveston Area Council:

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Sightings on W. Dallas
09/22/16 10:30am

LANIER MIDDLE SCHOOL CEREMONIALLY CHANGES NAME TO LANIER MIDDLE SCHOOL Bob Lanier crestThe Lanier-Lanier name change got the official seal of approval as of yesterday morning by way of a seal-updating and renaming ceremony at the middle school’s campus at Woodhead St. and Westheimer Rd. That previously threatened lawsuit over the HISD’s plan to flush out Confederate sympathizers from its campus name roster was in fact filed in late June by a group of parent-and-alumni-types; documents filed with the district clerk’s office show that a request by the plaintiffs for a temporary injunction to stop the renamings from moving forward was denied by the judge on August 22nd. Lanier’s campus is keeping all but its first name, swapping author Sydney for former Houston mayor Bob; the other 7 schools on the changeover list started the year with more dramatic shifts in nomenclature. [HISD Blog; previously on Swamplot] Image of new Bob Lanier Middle School seal: HISD    

03/18/16 1:45pm

Garden Oaks Deed Restrictions Signs, Garden Oaks, Houston, 77018

What’s the story behind the tiny question marks that recently appeared at the end of the low-dangling “DEED RESTRICTIONS ENFORCED” signs on at least a couple Garden Oaks welcome-to-the-neighborhood markers? More than just your usual neighborhood grumbling and graffiti-ing, it appears.

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Punctuation Add-Ons
12/08/15 12:30pm

Billboard, 312 Main St., Downtown Houston

Were you kinda liking that new billboard installed on the second story of the building at 312 Main St. — the one that posed serious, possibly life-changing questions to passengers exiting the Preston St. light-rail station? Well, you’ve got less than 10 days to enjoy it, depending on long fast used-car-dealer Texas Direct Auto wants to take to comply with a city citation posted to the building yesterday — unless it can get those pesky inspectors to back off.

A notation on the red tag declares that the facade-smothering sign is in violation of the city’s sign code — namely that it was not erected in connection with a “business purpose”: “A business purpose shall not include any property, building, or structure erected or used for the primary purpose of securing a permit to erect a sign,” the note reads. (That echoes a portion of the definition in section 4602, in case you’re following along at home with regulations in hand.) Here’s a snapshot of the documents stuck to the building’s ground floor, as submitted to the Twitterverse by Houston Chronicle writer Evan Mintz, whose employer last week declared in an editorial that the sign should be illegal:

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A Red Tag Downtown
12/02/15 1:00pm

Twin Mattress Firms, 1003 Westheimer Rd, Montrose, Houston, 77006

The strip mall at the corner of Westheimer and Montrose now sports two “Mattress Firm” storefronts right next door to one another, operating independently. The western Mattress Firm, on the right in the photo above, has been converted from a Mattress Pro through the subtle but definitive application of a small banner, filling the gap left by the removal of the word “Pro”. All Mattress Pro stores had until November 6th to convert signage, following a mid-September announcement that Mattress Firm would be discontinuing the subsidiary brand.

What exactly has changed? Not the Mattress Pro logo, which still bounces along in contrast to Mattress Firm’s aggressive yellow swipe. The relabeled store, now styled as a Mattress Firm: Final Markdown facility, will sell Mattress Firm products at a bargain-bin discount, while the regular Mattress Firm next door will continue to sell those products at full price.

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Doubling Down