07/09/15 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: RISE OF THE MEMORIAL CITY MONSTER Memorial City Mall, Houston“Does any else remember the old Memorial City Hospital that used to sit on the east-bound Katy Freeway feeder (west of Gessner)? It was once just a small 3 stories tall. Then they built 3 more floors on top of those, making it 6. Then it kept growing/morphing until it turned into the crazy space alien tower that it is today. Memorial City Mall has similarly morphed and changed continuously over the past 3 decades, constantly changing its footprint, accessibility, and façade. I would love to see some sort of time lapse of all the changes. With this expansion across I-10, I’m envisioning an eventual network of skywalks spanning the freeway to connect it all, like a great big vampire squid.” [Superdave, commenting on Memorial City Prepares To Cross the Katy] Illustration: Lulu

05/19/15 12:30pm

Wortham Tower Parking Garage, American General Center, 2919 Allen Pkwy., North Montrose, Houston

A banner for Manhattan Construction is flying on the side of the Wortham Tower parking garage, just south of the Wortham Tower itself at 2919 Allen Pkwy. The company is adding on a few floors of parking to the massive structure. A Swamplot reader sent in these views, taken from the adjacent parking lot for the Whole Foods Market on Waugh Dr.


Wortham Tower Parking
04/20/15 3:15pm

Framing of Galleria Jewel Box, 5085 Westheimer Rd., Houston

Framing of the new “Jewel Box” on-garage drive-up pad site Galleria add-on has begun. A reader sends in this view from above, showing how the building has been perched onto the next-to-top level of the Blue Garage, which underlies the mall’s parking-lot approach from Westheimer. Westheimer runs from left to right at the top of the photo.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Drive Up Luxury
10/28/14 1:45pm

Goode's Armadillo Palace, 5015 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

The Goode Company 4-restaurant fiefdom on Kirby Dr. near Westpark is planning another expansion. Plans submitted to the city show the local chain is seeking to expand Goode’s Armadillo Palace with additional covered patio space, a new courtyard facing Bartlett St., and covered walkways connecting them — all on the current parking lot directly across the street from Goode Company BBQ. In addition, a new Goode’s Armadillo Palace General Store is planned for the far eastern end of the site, with a raised covered porch in front of its entrance facing Bartlett St. The single-story structure housing the store, according to the documents, would be built in a “traditional German country style.”


Moving Around the Corner
09/04/14 12:00pm

Accident at Canopy Restaurant, 3939 Montrose Blvd., Montrose, Houston

Accident at Canopy Restaurant, 3939 Montrose Blvd., Montrose, HoustonAbout 3 years ago, Canopy added an actual canopy to the south side of its spot at the end of the 3939 Montrose strip center. (It required a variance from the city.) More recently, the restaurant has been busy installing a new coffee bar and bar bar in the space next door, which it’ll be expanding into. (Former neighbor Montrose Dry Cleaners relocated further north in the same center a while back.) But the latest addition proceeded much more suddenly: Yesterday afternoon, around 2:30, a customer saw fit to install a drive-thru directly in front of the restaurant, by stepping on the gas pedal while under the impression that the car was in reverse.


Not So Fast
10/24/13 11:00am

This building at the corner of Washington Ave and Wagner between Studemont and Heights Blvd. will soon be the home to a restaurant-bar-market combo called Lucky’s Urban Eats. At least that’s what Swamplot reader Debnil Chowdhury has deduced, from careful study of the TABC notice now hanging in the window — and the new venture’s website. Heights-area homebuilder Robert Sanders Homes put a new brick facade on the older 2-story structure (which it owns) back in 2005; more recently, the company tacked on the stucco-clad addition to the east side of the building, which is adjacent to Houston Fire Station No. 6. Here’s a site plan:


09/20/12 2:00pm

Construction of the complex’s overall expansion isn’t quite finished yet, but a new section of the resale shop at the Memorial Assistance Ministries in Spring Branch will open officially for the first time this weekend anyway. And oh, by the way, says the group’s marketing manager, in advance of that the shop at 1625 Blalock Rd. north of Long Point is actually open already. The new section adds 4,000 sq. ft. of retail space to showcase more of the used clothing and household stuff people keep donating. Another 4,200 sq. ft. was also added to the warehouse area to sort through it all. New totals: 14,000 sq. ft. for the store, plus 8,400 sq. ft. in the warehouse. The program’s executive director says the store typically generates enough income to fund MAM adult education programs and other assistance for more than 800 families.

The new store space, designed by Kirksey, is at the northern end of the complex’s original building (in the front at right in this new photo):


06/20/12 1:24pm

The last time this 1920 Houston Heights home was on the market, it was a tiny bungalow and sold for $235,000. That was way back in 2009, before Arnold Builders remodeled and spiffed it up as the builder’s own home. Earlier this month, the renovated property hit the market — at a much heftier $750,000.

As part of the overhaul, a driveway-covering 1,600-sq.-ft. addition more than doubled the now 2,708-sq.-ft. house. Its revised elevation sports a third gable and a new front room so the porch, formerly off-center, now sits squarely between old and new construction. The redo pumped up many of the home’s Craftsman-y design details, inside and out.


06/11/10 12:01pm

A reader sends photos to document the advance of Montrose’s Kipling Street Academy. The 2-story private preschool was set back deep in the 50-ft.-wide residential lot at 1425 Kipling a few years ago. Now it’s expanding one lot further, to the corner of Mulberry St. Owner Jennifer Pierce bought the small apartment complex on that site last year and had it demolished. The finished building will feature a wide second-story gallery tiptoeing over the back row of parking spaces, leaving the front of both lots clear for cars and kiddie drop-offs: