08/04/16 10:30am

Demolition of Kicks Indoor Soccer, 611 Shepherd Dr., Rice Military, Houston

Here’s a view of the scene this morning at 611 Shepherd Dr., which until late last year was the home of Kicks Indoor Soccer. The metal structure that housed the indoor artificial-turf field and bar is being kicked to the curb in anticipation of a new apartment complex planned by Mill Creek Residential, which is now in control of the full block bounded by Shepherd, Floyd, Blossom, and Durham, lodged between Rice Military and Magnolia Grove.

Photo: Mosaic Clinic

Kicks Out
03/12/15 12:15pm

Rendering of Proposed High School for Law and Justice, Scott St. Between Coyle and Pease, East Downtown, Houston

HISD says it’s completed the purchase of land on Scott St., just north of the Gulf Fwy. between Coyle St. and Pease, for its new High School for Law and Justice, pictured above in a rendering from the DLR Group and Page, the building’s architects. HISD jettisoned the criminal enforcement elements of the school’s name last year; it was formerly known as the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. The site is near the southern edge of East Downtown, adjacent to the Leeland station of the about-to-open Purple light-rail line.

Notable features of the new 104,866-sq.-ft. building include a courtroom and law library, special spaces for both ROTC and visual arts programs, a gym, and a black box theater. The facility also appears to be designed for easy surveillance: “From the ground floor, transparent walls will allow visibility into labs on the second level for a crime scene area, fire science and a 911 training call center,” an HISD account notes. And that’s just how principal Carol Mosteit wants it: “I love the idea of having all this transparency and glass because we’ll be able to see the learning that’s taking place throughout the building,” she told an HISD blogger. “The way traditional schools are set up, it’s almost like an interruption when you open up a classroom door. We won’t have to worry about that with a 21st century building design.”


They’ll Be Watching
10/13/14 5:15pm



Not many homes come with their own meat locker (top), but this one has kept its cooler from a previous life as a meat market and corner store. Located in the townhomey Magnolia Grove neighborhood of Brunner, south of Washington Ave. and east of N. Shepherd Dr., the former Laurnicella Meat Market (later Snow’s Corner Store) had living space upstairs for the proprietor. A 3-year renovation with various reconfigurations by the current owners (on top of efforts by their predecessors) converted the 1921 building into a tin-roofed home (middle) with back yardlet (above). Its listing, posted last Thursday, asks $2.1 million.


On the Corner
11/14/13 1:15pm

WHEN THE BROKER YOU SIGN WITH SUES YOU When you’re looking to buy a home, do you sign an agreement with an agent before that agent has shown you any properties? Testifying in a trial going on now at the Harris County Civil Courthouse downtown, a former VP of sales for real estate firm Urban Living says it was the firm’s policy not to show customers any homes unless they’ve signed a buyer representation agreement first. And that’s what’s landed Christopher Drummond, buyer of the townhouse drawn above at 4245 Dickson St. in Magnolia Grove, in court: The parent company of Urban Living is suing Drummond for the commission it says the company should have earned in 2011 after Drummond found and purchased the home using a different broker. Drummond claims Urban Living didn’t explain what the agreement required of him when he signed it, and that the company hadn’t used its “best efforts” — as the document requires — to find him a home. Drummond heard about the Dickson townhouse, then under construction, from a Sudhoff Properties agent he met at a party. Nancy Sarnoff has been tweeting live from the trial, which is expected to continue into next week. [Houston Chronicle ($); more on Prime Property] Drawing: NuHabitat

10/16/13 10:00am

The bids that were submitted to HISD yesterday to buy the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice High School in Magnolia Grove rang up almost $5 million more than those the first time around in July: Neighboring St. Thomas High School is still in the running to purchase the 11-acre campus on Dickson St., just north of Memorial Dr. and Buffalo Bayou; it offered $45 million, compared with the $42 million the private school said it would pay in July. But St. Thomas was again outbid, this time by an entity called Elk Mountain Ltd. — connected, it appears, to the Gordy Oil Company — which submitted a flat $47,927,114.


07/18/13 2:00pm

BIDS TO BUY LAW ENFORCEMENT HS PUNISHED FOR NOT FOLLOWING RULES HISD gave a unanimous no today to those competing bids from nearby St. Thomas High School and developer AV Dickson Street to buy the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice in Magnolia Grove. Apparently, the reason the offers for the 11-acre campus at 4701 Dickson St. were rejected had less to do with the numbers than with HISD’s preferred S.O.P.: “[T]he board’s attorney, David Thompson, stated immediately afterward that both bidders had violated the district’s ‘code of silence’ policy, which prohibits communication between trustees and those with pending business before them.” Superintendent Terry Grier tells the Houston Chronicle that the building will be going right back on the market: “Hopefully if we do that, the bidders will take our ethics policy seriously.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: HISD

07/10/13 10:00am

HOW ONE BUYER WOULD USE HISD’S LAW ENFORCEMENT HS PROPERTY If the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice is sold to St. Thomas High School competitor AV Dickson Street, the investment company has said it plans to link the 11-acre Magnolia Grove property with the adjacent and recently purchased Bayou Park apartments at 4400 Memorial to create a mixed-use district: Alison Malkhassian of AV Dickson Street tells The Leader‘s Charlotte Aguilar that “the long-term goal . . . could be to create a 26-acre mixed-use luxury retail-office-residential development on the combined properties — a process that would take about a decade.” Yesterday, HISD received the 2nd round of bids: St. Thomas is offering $42 million, about $800,000 more than AV Dickson Street — but Aguilar suggests that the sale might come down to rent: St. Thomas said it would charge the school $225,000 a month to lease the space for the next 5 years, compared with $100,000 a month from AV Dickson Street, a difference of $7.5 million over that time. [The Leader; previously on Swamplot] Photo: HISD

07/03/13 10:00am

A STANDOFF TO BUY HISD’S LAW ENFORCEMENT HS CAMPUS The 11-acre parcel for sale in Magnolia Grove where the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice stands has been the object of some poker-faced one-upmanship between two interested contenders: In one corner, you’ve got St. Thomas High School, whose campus is immediately south of here, and in the other you’ve got AV Dickson Street, a recently formed LLC named for the street the HISD magnet school stands on. The first round, reports the Leader’s Charlotte Aguilar, yielded a $40 million offer from little-known AV Dickson, with St. Thomas countering and raising it by $100. The next round will go off early next week. Aguilar adds that whoever buys the campus will be required to lease it back to HISD for the next 5 years, while a new spot is sought: “In keeping with a move by HISD to relocate its specialty high schools close to beneficial community resources –– the DeBakey High School for the Health Professions to the Texas Medical Center, the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts to the Theater District downtown –– a downtown location near police and sheriff’s headquarters and courthouses is being scouted.” [The Leader] Photo: HISD

06/28/13 10:00am

No tenants? Worry about that later: PageSoutherlandPage is designing a 25-story spec office tower for the West End. Dubbed 22 Waugh, the proposed 220,000-sq.-ft. building would sit just south of Washington Ave. A rep from PageSoutherlandPage, which is partnering with Stream Realty on the project, says that the building would be located on the corner of Waugh and Barnes. It appears that it would be directly behind that Bank of America branch. The Houston Business Journal reports that the building could begin going up as soon as November.


05/29/13 4:30pm

From Magnolia Grove to a previously vacant lot with a single sickly magnolia: What a journey it’s been for this little bungalow! After being sold in 2012 and cleared for demo, then suddenly spared last week and trucked away from its home at 4414 Gibson St., the 1,200-sq.-ft., split-pea-soup-green bungalow has finally come to rest. Where? Almost 6 miles away on Hussion St. in the East End. It’s now behind the for-sale Finger Furniture on the I-45 feeder and catty-corner (well, almost) from the Houston Elbow & Nipple Company.

Photo: Allyn West

05/24/13 10:15am

This 1940 bungalow in Magnolia Grove had been all set to be torn down, showing up in the Daily Demolition Report on Wednesday. But the previous owners, who bought the 1,200-sq.-ft. Gibson St. house in 2005 and sold it in 2012, say that it has been “spared.” Here’s their story:

After discovering that we were expecting our second child, we quickly realized that the 2 bed, 1-1/2 bath was not large enough for our growing family. We hoped that perhaps a single person or couple would purchase the property. We were naive, of course, as the only offers received were from builders planning to build the typical 3 story, 4K square foot beast near downtown. After much heartache and a few tears, we accepted an offer from Urban Living and fully expected the home to be demolished.


04/10/13 2:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT TO CALL THE GREATER WEST END “Forgive me if this has been discussed before, but am I the only one who thinks that the Wash Ave area needs one, unifying neighborhood name? I live in Magnolia Grove, but no one knows what that is, so I have to just say “Off Wash Ave” (though that implies that I moved there to be close to Wash Ave bars, which is NOT the case) or say that I’m in between Montrose and the Heights (which is a stretch). Rice Military stops at Durham/Shepherd so that isn’t accurate. The neighborhoods can continue to retain their individual neighborhood names, but the entire area [PDF] can have one unifying name so that folks know what you’re talking about (e.g., Montrose is the larger neighborhood that contains Hyde Park). I would think realtors and retailers would both jump at the chance to not have to describe the area by referring to street names. Part of the area is called the West End (I think the area between Shepherd, Wash Ave, Heights, and Katy Freeway), and I think that would be a cool name to describe the whole area (particularly given the fact that the area used to be the end of town). I’m sure there are other cool names too, but any name should not contain ‘Heights’ in the title, as the area is decidedly not the Heights and the feel/look is incredibly different. The area’s former name, ‘Smokeytown,’ should also be out for obvious reasons.” [Eric, commenting on New Shepherd Dr. Little Woodrow’s To Serve Pub Fare, Too]

11/18/11 1:24pm

INDIANS ON SCOTLAND After a ceremony yesterday, this 1984 office building across from the Cleveland Park at 4300 Scotland St. in Magnolia Grove is the new official home of the Consulate General of India. The Indian government bought the building in August. Next door: the Gables Memorial Hills apartments. [Voice of Asia] Photo: LoopNet

11/11/11 5:13pm

Montrose preschool Kipling Street Academy has purchased a 1-acre lot at the corner of Shepherd Dr. and Blossom, where it plans to open a “sister school” to its main (and recently expanded) tiny-tot campus at the corner of Kipling and Mulberry. The 600 Shepherd Dr. address in Magnolia Grove belongs to the former Shepherd Drive Methodist Church; the 1955 church building on the site is currently home to Center Street Ministries. An email sent to parents of Kipling kids indicates that construction on its new facility across the street from the Kicks indoor-soccer complex will begin early next year, and that the new school is scheduled to open next fall — but doesn’t specify whether or how much of the existing buildings on the lot will be retained.

Photos: Swamplot inbox