David Adickes’s Big-Headed Summer Street Studio Getting a Redo

The launching pad for I-45’s Mount Rush Hour, that presidential muck circle in Pearland, and more outsize sculpture projects has a buyer. David Adickes — creator of the giant Sam Houston of Huntsville and the disembodied cellist in front of the Lyric Center Downtown, and yes, the original owner and projectionist for sixties psychedelic Commerce St. hangout Love Street Light Circus — is selling his SculpturWorx compound off Sawyer St. to Phil Arnett and L.E. “Chap” Chapman. Arnett and Chapman are best known for turning an old staple manufacturing building down the street from the original Goode Co. Bar-B-Q on Kirby into the Bartlett Lofts. Their plan for Adickes’s 78,175 sq. ft. of warehouse space at 2500 Summer St.: keeping the “artist flavor” (and most of the tenants) of the old buildings, while renovating the property and using up to 22,000 sq. ft. of it (Adickes’s first-floor studio, for example) as commercial space — maybe including a restaurant or two.


The 3-building, just-under-3-acre compound, which was listed for sale at just shy of $4 million, lies immediately south of the Sawyer Heights Target, but the developers’ plans so far appear to be steering clear of the replace-old-industrial-properties-with-suburban-style-shopping formula that shaped that development. Chapman tells Swamplot they’ll seek historic designation for at least portions of the former paint-and-varnish manufacturing facility (a portion of which may have been built as a cotton-oil refinery), and want to “preserve and save as much as we possibly can.” He says they’re hoping to put a green roof on some portion of the buildings, and gardens somewhere on the grounds as well.

Artist Melanie Millar, who rents studio space in the project, tells Swamplot it’s seemed like Adickes has had a new prospective buyer for the property about every 3 weeks. Arnett and Chapman plan to close on the building in December, but already they’ve sicked the architects from Metalab on the project, and Millar admits it does look like things are moving fast:

the next day [after she heard about the project] bill clinton, george bush the 1st and barack obama had been moved out of the middle of the parking lot and the following day when i showed up at the studio there was a GIANT crane unloading very fancy containers: shipping containers (2) with solar panels that they will use as their construction offices.

Yes, those solar-powered shipping containers. Metalab’s Joe Meppelink says they’ll actually be used as a sales center and leasing office for the project, as they were for the Mirabeau B. in Montrose.

Chapman tells Swamplot he and his partner are focused on making a place that’s “great for all sorts of creative types,” and are looking at different options for first-floor tenants. Writes Millar: “I think this is very cool for david’s building and very cool development for that sawyer heights area . . . but the skeptic in me says hmmm whats the catch. for one thing i am wondering if i will be able to afford my studio space.”

Photos: Candace Garcia

18 Comment

  • Nice idea. They should make easily accessible to the Target parking lot with signage so the can get the captured audience. It’ll be hard to advertise on Sawyer itself.

  • Not to be negative, but…artists, start packing your bags.

  • That is not a retail/restaurant site. No need to worry – artists are safe.

  • It can be retail restaurant if the front doors to those places face Target. It would be that wonderful street adjacent retail/restaurant space that many of you want so bad.

  • This proposed renovation sounds like a great start and will be a great example for future development to others in the area. I know I will be one to make a point to patronize the new commercial ventures located in this space.

  • what ever happened to the plan to place the beatles sculptures on I-10?

  • They should tear it down and build something new. Everyone loves NEW!!!

  • My daughters are going to miss checking out Addickes’ works in progress. We detour through there often on our way to Targét.

  • The beatles sculpture was damaged in the hurricane, I love it too. Would love to see it on the highway too, but Houston doesn’t seem like a beatles town, were it some C&W hillbilly we’d embrace it, but don’t think the beatles really exemplify Houston as an icon.

  • Maybe a ZZ Top statue!

  • ZZTop, there you go!! I’d love it.

  • A haw haw haw!

    And it needs to be “out in the sticks off of Highway 6.”

  • Ugh, no, don’t spoil ZZ Top by letting Adickes the Hack depict ’em.

  • I prefer ZZ as well….. but the chron did report he was installing the fab 4 at westcot and i-10 on the south side where he bought some land….

  • Oh, looks like they’ll be holding court real close to the new Walmart on Yale.

  • i see no comparison to walmart at yale. this is multi-use renovation of an existing building by local developers who have done great historic renovations in houston in the past.
    not a multinational category crushing bohemeth (or however you spell that word)

  • Uh, you might read the whole thread.

    I was responding to the comment from gary that the fab 4 would be put on some land that Adickes owns on I-10 near Wescott.

    The thread is about repurposing the Adickes Studio but the last few comments were not.

    No need to get your knickers in a wad.

  • I recently moved my offices into the larger building on the first floor. Our design agency, Neue Creative, had been working out of a house for several years and the new space offers a lot of new space and possibilities. Phil has been great to work with and the space is very affordable. We see new progress everyday and can’t wait to see everything completed. We hope to call this home for a while.