Here’s evidence that the scheduled reconstruction of the entire West Loop—I-69 interchange just southeast of the Galleria is about to begin. “Crews have been ripping out trees and other vegetation,” reports reader and 610 traveler John Greiner: “Much more than could be argued for improving traffic sight lines.”
If a year or so from now you find yourself holed up in acute or intensive care in the North Campus Tower of the Houston Methodist hospital in the Texas Medical Center and for some reason start to wonder how that bathroom behind you was constructed, have we got a video for you! (It’s posted above.) It’s a time-lapse showing how workers from interior finishes contractor Marek pieced together 207 prefabricated restroom pods in the McCorvey Sheet Metal Works warehouse at 4800 Fidelity St. (just southeast of the intersection of I-10 and the East Loop), then shrinkwrapped and transported them, 1 or 2 at a time, to 6551 Bertner St., where they were they were lifted and dollied into place and hooked up to the building’s plumbing.
How’s construction on the $700 million, 960,000-sq.-ft. 22-story north tower Med Center expansion going so far? Here are a couple of views from today — from construction cams trained on the project:
The neon signage facing the I-10 feeder road at the former home of the Mason Jar has been stripped off, as the spot gets built out for a takeover by the Goode folks (as seen in this shot captured by a reader this week). After the ongoing expansion andÂ patio-making wraps up, the spot will offer a menu at least somewhat reminiscent of the company’s Kirby Dr. taqueria, based on barbecue heir and current owner Levi Goode’s musings to Eric Sandler last month. The new brand’ll be called theÂ Goode Company Kitchen & Cantina; Goode told Sandler there’s a second one planned for the Woodlands.
A few old Mason Jar labels are still visible to the east of the building:
A Sunday field trip earnedÂ a reader a peek into the main sanctuary of the Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral,Â now being cracked openÂ so a dome can be placed on top (along with more seating down below). The renderings of the planned changes,Â shown here facing the corner of Kipling St. and Yoakum Blvd., have been updated since they were submitted last year for that variance request application:
Currently listed for an undisclosed amount on CBRE’s website: a 10.69-acre chunk of the former Union Pacific railyard brownfield property previously sketched upÂ for future conversion to theÂ Hardy Yards mixed-use development. The section up for grabs appears to snuggle up to the west against a piece ofÂ land owned by Metro, whose Burnett Transit Center and light-rail Red Line are elevated above that semi-catchingÂ segment of N. Main St. tunnel; the parcel extends east to the new-ishÂ segments of Fulton and Leona St., likely not too far fromÂ the spot where that rail car full of lithium batteriesblew up back in April.
On the other side of the site, meanwhile, the Residences at Hardy Yardsapartments are under construction, perÂ photos fromÂ theÂ Zieben Group publishedÂ back in May:
Just a few blocks down the street from that River Oaks Shopping Center highrise site, a reader checks in this week on the French-esque midrise apartment complex that’s been slowly coming togetherÂ atÂ 1916Â W. Gray St. The Houston Ballet’s converted clothing factory headquartersÂ made a grand exit fromÂ the site back in the pre-oil-bust days; since then the project has beenÂ rechristened from Graybelle toÂ Le Palais,Â and this sketchy view of a facadeÂ has been circulated by the developers:
Remodeling along the lines of what’s depicted here is now underwayÂ on Amherst St. between Kelvin St. and Kirby Dr., according to aÂ Rice Village District rep. A couple of newly released drawings shown here fill inÂ details to some of the previously mentioned changes planned forÂ the south side of Amherst, including the conversion of part of the roadway itself intoÂ more walking and sitting room behind some protective planters. And that narrow passageway in the building, running between Amherst and University Blvd., appears to be gettingÂ its own signage labeling it as The AlleyÂ (complete with light-up arrow directing shoppers inside).
The plans also call for some rooftop greeneryÂ and the chopping off of some pointy brick pediments —Â a swap which the District says will make all that 2-hours-free rooftop parking more visible, in the wake of theÂ recent parking scheme changes:
Don’t feel like hopping on your bike to see how construction on that northern piece of the White Oak Bayou hike-and-bike trail is coming along? The click-and-drag-able digital mapÂ released this week by the Bayou Greenways 2020 folks may be a decent substitute for the real thing (depending on how often it ends up getting updated). Zoom in closer onÂ the map above to check out completed trail sections (outlined in green), under construction spots (traced in dark purple), and areas planned for trail-ification at a later date (highlighted in a purple haze).
A weekend wanderer sends a few photos of theÂ new sproutsÂ now poking out ofÂ someÂ recently beheaded trees alongside the Lyric Centre parking garage construction site on Smith St. It’s unclear exactly when the shortening occurred, though a shot taken of the site back in late October seems to show at least a few of the trees still tall enough to peek over the construction fencing:
Michael Morrow (that’d be the -morrow in kinneymorrow architecture) sends along this update from his latest visit to Westheimer Plumbing & Hardware’s showroom at 3600 Kirby Dr., which turned out to be still closed in the wake the February incident that shut it down temporarily. (You know — the one where a driver hit the wrong pedal and fell off the 7th story of the nextdoor River Oaks Tower’s parking garage, landing on and through the roof of the strip mall.) A somewhat incredulous but friendly note on the door from the hardware store’s owner says that, though the 17-year-old driving luckily sustained surprisingly little injury, the showroom has been pretty roughed up, including severed water,sprinkler, and electrical lines (not to mention the hole). The note says that the business is currently operating out of its warehouse on E. T.C. Jester Blvd., and will be back in its spot on Kirby as soon as possible. (Neighboring sugar pusher Dessert Gallery, however, reopened just a few days after the accident in early March.)
The damage to the parking garage itself is still visible from ground level:
THE TUNNEL BENEATH THE DEAD CHRONICLE BUILDING IS NOW OPEN AGAIN Management for 717 Texas (or Calpine Center, if you’re less of a fanÂ of numerically-forward tower vernacular)Â just sent outÂ word that the tunnel from that building to Chase TowerÂ at 600 Travis St. is now open again. The route takes a turn beneath the pretty-much-doneÂ demo of the newly former Houston Chronicle headquarters,Â evidently still slated by Hines for surface-lotdom for nowÂ — plus whatever work the folks next door have planned below ground to tie their own developmentÂ into the tunnel network. Meanwhile, another block southwest down the same tunnel system (asÂ visible in the 90-degrees-or-so rotated schematicÂ above), Skanska has just signaledÂ the go-ahead on the above-ground section of its Capitol Tower;Â no word yet on whether that construction will have another round of tunnel closure associated with it. [Previously on Swamplot] Map of Downtown tunnel connections: Skanska
Leasing signage was tacked up not too long ago at the Dolce Midtown apartment development straddling Bailey St. along the north side of W. Gray, notes a reader relayingÂ years of curiosityÂ about the project’s slow-but-maybe-not-always-so-steady progress.Â The development’s website doesn’t offer any clues as to when move-in might be possible, but the company has opened a leasing office down the street (in one of the not-getting-knocked-down-any-time-soon segments of the River Oaks Shopping Center).
A few of the hawk-eyedÂ cranewatchers over atÂ HAIF claim to have spotted some backward clock-ticks on the workÂ in the form of partialÂ de- and re-construction of the 2 midrises’Â upper stories during late 2015, possibly related toÂ all the torrential rainÂ that year on the building’s siding andÂ wooden framing.Â But the buildings apparently re-reached their full heights not long after; as of last Friday, there’re even some relatively complete-lookingÂ facade sections on the eastern midrise (as shown above). The western building of the 2 still looks to have only been issued its Hardi-plankÂ balconyÂ flaps, however: