Renovations to turn the former Parsley Studios building at 1504 Yale St. into Blue Line Bike Lab‘s new Heights location are now nearly finished, and the most dramatic change is the new coat of light blue paint the structure’s 15th-St. side, pictured above. During the 75 years it housed the family photo business and functioned as a portrait studio for mayors and celebrities like Roy Rogers and Loretta Lynn — according to The Leader — the building underwent its fair share of paint jobs; the last big one washed out a checkerboard pattern along its Yale-St. side, leaving the structure mostly brown.
Last September, a liquidation sale emptied the place of “a quarter of a century’s worth of photo equipment, furniture, frames and photos,” reported the Chronicle‘s Jaimy Jones. By that time, most of the owners’ work focused on photo restoration, so brick-and-mortar amenities like formal seating — “and even a small dressing room with bright, round bulbs that frame a mirror atop an old-fashioned dressing table,” wrote Jones — were no longer necessary. The building sold to a group that’s linked to Blue Line, which has its nearest shop on the corner of White Oak Dr. and Columbia St. That existing location (which predates the shop’s other spot on Telephone Rd.) is now set to close, but not until a fleet of new bikes arrives the Yale St. building.
It’s shown empty in the photo below, although a newly-hung sign along Yale makes clear what will fill it:
Late last week, associates of Capital Retail Partners filed a building permit to get started on the pair of back-to-back gabled buildings it’s had planned for Durham and 18th St. in place of 2 side-by-side houses torn down there earlier this year. It’s the second spot where Capital will begin replacing a pair of old Heights houses with 2 new house-like retail buildings, having already begun work 4 blocks north between Durham and Shepherd on its planned Bungalows on 22nd St. a few months ago. Despite the decidedly less bungalow-like design proposed for 18th St., the firm’s going with the same nomenclature for the duo (shown at top), dubbing it the Bungalows on 18th St.
Pictured but unconfirmed plans of the Bungalows show its half-as-large north building taken up by some sort of restaurant fronted by a patio and corner landscaping including street-address topiary. A main parking lot sits west of the building and its encircling new sidewalks and crosswalks. You can see a few angled parking spaces peeking out in the aerial rendering below:
Tune Up: The Manly Salon got the city’s approval yesterday to start renovating the building shown above into the latest member of its barber-shop chain, now roughly 20-stores strong. Following those locations’ lead, the 626 W. 19th St. shop — next to the former Southern Goods — would appeal to guys by offering them free drinks and access to an arcade stocked with video and old-fashioned games while they wait to get groomed. Hair care services include standard cuts, beard trims, straight shaves, and eyebrow waxing. Perhaps less manly are the cosmetic offerings: manicures, pedicures, and a mani-pedi combo for 4 bucks less than the cost of the two combined.
In the span of just 3 days, the Heights Jack in the Box has closed down and abandoned both its sky- and street-level boxes. The photo above shows the empty store and its parking lot off Shepherd, where a green cherry-picker‘s now the only vehicle present.
The property’s longtime owner — a national real estate firm that owns the land beneath lots of fast food joints — sold it in 2016, which was a transformational year for the rest of the intersection as well. A few months later, Abel Motors left its spot across Shepherd, making way for the Burger Joint that’s now moving in. And on the south side of 20th St., pizza joint Mellow Mushroom and adjacent desert shop Moody Iceopened up — in what used to be Dealer Sales‘ garage and office building.
Most of the corrugated metal buildings that occupied the inner sanctum at 620 W. 9th St. are down now, but the hidden Heights compound’s still got its edge. “There are strange things poking up from the fence,” the same ones that have been there for over a decade — reports a reader — sticking up, “like heads on spikes.”
Actually, not all the props on W. 9th St. east of Waverly are heads; torsos, full bodies, and skeletal figures appear as well, along with some more abstract metalwork:
Red hyphenated signage hasn’t yet put a name to the building, but you can see all the other makings of H-E-B’s secondsecond-story Houston grocery store from above in the video at top. The footage starts off over N. Shepherd, then pans around the corner of 23rd St., offering a view of the former Fiesta site from the south.
Back in March a spokesperson for the grocer toldThe Leader’s Landan Kuhlmann to expect a “late fall opening,” meaning the store’s debut could coincide roughly with the 2 year anniversary of the dry zone modification its management pushed for prior to construction.
And that’s all for the 610 Allston St. bungalow Mary Cerruti refused to sell before she was found dead inside it last March. This past week’s demolition comes a little later than Trammell Crow had hoped when it began developing the adjacent 5-story apartment complex off Yale St. in 2013. After the developer’s attempts to buy Cerruti’s 6,600-sq.-ft. lot were rebuffed, it decided to build around both it and the same-sized parcel directly to its south. (Cerruti continued to speak out against the development even after construction began in 2013, appearing publicly at a planning commission meeting that February.)
Now, her property and the one next door have been snatched up by the same owner: Sandcastle Homes, an inner-Loop builder. You can see part of the company’s new 2-story handiwork at 606 Allston St. on the right in the photo above.
It went up over the last few months on what was once vacant land next door to Cerruti’s house:
A sign spotted up on the chain’s East End location (pictured at top) by a thrifty Redditor informs customers that the last 2 Sand Dollar stores will be closing at the end of this month, bringing an end to the retailer’s 37-year run. Both the 7018 Harrisburg Blvd. and 1903 Yale St. stores are now in clearance mode: All purchases over $20 (before tax) are half-off.
Down in Pasadena, the 2535 Spencer Hwy. store has already been emptied:
A recent tax filing reveals Sweet Bribery is the moniker of the corner ice cream shop Braun Enterprises has been showing in its site plan for 250 W. 19th St. without daring to speak its name. It’s the last of the 5 new tenants that the developer’s been ushering into the former Chippendale Eastlake Antiques store since buying it in 2015. (One of which — an ice cream offshoot of Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts called Lee’s Creamery — appears no longer bound for the building.) Pictured above is the western flank it’d occupy, which backs up to Urban Float sensory deprivation spa’s entrance off Rutland St.
Next door to the creamery, clothing stores Mary & Moss and Proper are already doing business along 19th St.:
After the owner of the yellow bungalow went to jail in 2015 for conspiracy, the townhome neighbors bought it and begun looking to put some distance between the house and their own. Last Wednesday, the city’s historical commission reviewed their plans however and told them no can do. The extra 7-ft.-8-in. they wanted to add between the 2 structures would take the bungalow — part of the Heights South Historic District — out of its original 1920 location at 922 Columbia St. And the other change — sliding it 5-ft.-3.5-in. back from the curb to line up with its taller neighbor — would make it less prominent along the street.
The decision is binding, so there’s no shying away now from the current situation:
The Midwestern investment syndicate that developed the Heights originally planned it as a modest outpost for middle-class families. So it’s a little puzzling when Amy Lynch Kolflat — the realtor for Houston architect Bart Truxillo’s Heights pad — tells Nancy Sarnoff a day after posting the listing that “it’s one of two remaining homes built by the founder of the Houston Heights, Omaha and South Texas Land Co.” Take a look at the video tour Kolflat conducts around the property at 1802 Harvard St. Kind of opulent for what historian Stephen Fox called an “industrial working-class suburb,” right?
That’s because Truxillo’s house is modeled directly on the other longstanding Heights structure Kolflat mentions — 1102 Heights Blvd. — situated 7 blocks away. Along that spinal street — planned as Houston’s first divided boulevard — many of the homes went above and beyond those found in the rest of the neighborhood. 1102 was one of those exceptions:
Here’s a glimpse of what 317 W. 19th St. might look like with a roof over its head for the first time in a few decades and something inside that presumably isn’t junk. An entity connected to the next-door Maryam’s Cafe bought the 6,600-sq.-ft. lot in February. Shortly after, all the odds and ends that once kept it occupied vanished.
Gone as well: the sheet-metal facade that shielded them from the public eye. But not entirley: