08/31/18 2:45pm

Note: The neighborhood names in this story have been updated.

Arden’s Picture Framing and Gallery bows out of Lancaster Place for a spot in Avondale mid-next-month. It’s been in the brick building pictured above at 1631 W. Alabama St. for 18 years (though the business is more than 3 times that old).

Its new converted house at 239 Westheimer will fit a workshop, design area and gallery space. Previous tenants there have dealt mostly in the insurance and financial realms — with the exception of Smoke Alley, a vaporizer store that split from the 1915 building a few years back.

Photos: Arden’s Picture Framing and Gallery

Picture This
05/02/18 11:30am

THE MENIL DRAWING INSTITUTE: 6 MORE MONTHS What’s been going on at the Menil Drawing Institute’s new building since its opening — originally scheduled for last October — was postponed over the summer? A lot of sensing and measuring: “It’s extremely important to monitor the climate control and the humidity gauges for a number of months to make sure there are no deviations,” the museum’s director Rebecca Rabinow tells the New York Times’ Andrew R. Chow., outlining what kind of ambiance is required for the paper works the structure will soon house. (Last year’s cold winter didn’t speed things up either — reports the Chronicle’s Molly Glentzer, killing off many of the new plants that had just been installed in the surrounding park according to the plan from landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.) Now that both the indoor and outdoor environments have been stabilized, the official opening date for the 30,000-sq.-ft. building designed by L.A. architect Johnston Marklee has been set: November 3. It will cap off a 3-year building process that began in place of the since-completely-demolished Richmont Square apartments’ backsisde off Branard St. The new structure’s first residents: 41 works on paper by Jasper Johns. [New York Times; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Menil Drawing Institute: Paul Hester/The Menil Collection

01/29/18 12:45pm

The newly built shopping center on the corner of W. Alabama and Mandell St. is of the business in the front, parking in the back variety — and will soon be even more so when 2 restaurants and a dentist’s office open in its ground floor. BuffBurger, new Vietnamese restaurant Lúa Viet Kitchen, and Lovett Dental are all slated to debut in the gray box with what look like wooden slats on its forehead, under construction since last January opposite the Menil’s territory in Montrose. TABC signage now up in BuffBurger’s window near the corner shows that the store — on its way to Mandell Place from its original location on Wirt Rd. — is seeking beverage permits ahead of its first business day.

A view from the sidewalk shows where the ground floor beef joint will fit in a 2,500-sq.-ft. space below the strip’s lettered-up corner tower:


New Fillings
11/26/14 2:30pm



More a reconstruction than a renovation, extensive work on a 1938 Mandell Place property is believed to have kept only the original slab, exterior walls and roofline. The rest has been reimagined by Fisher Homes, which looks to have reduced the number of interior walls but boosted the white trim package big time. Like a line of creamy frosting, wainscoting panels finish much of the home, which is located west of Mulberry St. and north of W. Alabama St. For the rebuilt results, the seller is now asking $1.35 million. The previously updated property last sold in 2011 for $485K.  Do the modifications add up to the “90 percent new” touted in the listing, which went up earlier this month?


All Trimmed Out
01/20/12 11:59am

Is the corner of West Alabama and Dunlavy the busiest intersection in Inner Loop real estate right now? Two months after the opening of the new H-E-B Montrose Market on the former site of the Wilshire Village Apartments on the southwest corner of that intersection, and just a week after developer Marvy Finger’s official announcement of his plans to replace the Fiesta Food Mart on the southeast corner with a 6-to-8-story “Mediterranean” apartment building, there is a report that the 2 apartment complexes on the northeast corner may be next to fall. It may be a bit more than a rumor: While taking these photos yesterday, Swamplot’s Candace Garcia came across workers who appeared to be surveying the site. For what?


01/11/12 12:01pm

The Sicardi Gallery’s impending move to its new Brave Architecture building currently under construction at the corner of West Alabama and Mulberry in Montrose (above) should send a few ripples through the local gallery landscape, art blogger Robert Boyd notes. Headed for the current Sicardi Gallery space at 2246 Richmond (across the street from Blue Fish House and the Hobbit Cafe), according to Boyd’s sources, will be Thom Andriola’s New Gallery:


07/20/11 12:27pm

City workers were on the job late yesterday repairing what appears to have been a broken water main on Kipling St. just east of Dunlavy in Mandell Place. The crews dug out the driveway and installed new pipe only 2 days after Swamplot’s report on neighborhood pumping operations (and a Houston Press follow-on) — but more than 2 weeks after the leak was originally reported to the city. No word yet on whether repairs have been completed.

Photo: Candace Garcia

07/18/11 10:31am

What to do when the city can’t get around to fixing that leak on your street? An enterprising resident of Kipling St. near Dunlavy bought an $80 pump at Southland Hardware and connected it to a hose, allowing neighbors to take turns watering their lawns with the water, which has been running for about 2 weeks. “I hope the cost of the electricity is less than the water cost savings,” he tells Swamplot photographer Candace Garcia. Garcia herself called 311 about the leak more than a week ago, and says others who have reported it say they’ve been told by city officials that the heat and drought has caused more than 400 water leaks around the city, and that the biggest leaks are being tackled first. As of last night, a second pump has begun operating up the street.

Photos: Candace Garcia

06/29/11 1:35pm

After a 3-year delay, construction is ready to begin on the new Sicardi Gallery at 1506 West Alabama, catty-corner from the Houston Center for Photography at Mulberry St. and across the street from the Menil parking lot. A groundbreaking ceremony was held yesterday. There’s been at least one design change from Brave Architecture’s earlier versions of the project: The latest rendering (above) shows a large window in the building’s formerly blank south-facing forehead, looking onto the parking lot in front.

Rendering: Brave Architecture

05/11/09 8:29am

Reader rdan weighs in on Swamplot’s recent discussion about the boundaries of Montrose:

In order to address the confusion/questions over Montrose neighborhood designations, I dug up the attached map that was put together a few years ago by the Neartown Association, the umbrella organization for the roughly 20 neighborhoods and civic associations that constitute the area known as “The Montrose”. Some of the civic associations, such as Mandell Place, Winlow Place, and Cherryhurst, represent the original legal subdivisions that were established in the 20’s. Others, such as WAMM (Westheimer Alabama Montrose Mulberry Civic Association), were established more recently to help property owners re-establish deed restrictions that had lapsed over the years.

In doing a little research on HCAD, it appears to me that the areas represented by WAMM,
Audubon Place, a portion of Avondale (south of Westheimer?), and all or part of the UST campus covers what was the original Montrose subdivision.

Image: Neartown Association, via Swamplot inbox

03/06/09 7:47pm

Construction on the new 2-story, 5,200-sq.-ft. Sicardi Gallery was supposed to start last year, but architect Fernando Brave says the project was delayed after the owner decided she wanted the new building to be LEED-certified. New target for construction to begin: this summer.

That’ll be charcoal-colored zinc and masonry on the exterior. Inside, there’ll be three connected gallery spaces, and a library upstairs. Two large light wells included in the design were recently axed in favor of more display space. The parking lot will be in front.


09/25/08 9:26pm

Neighborhood Guessing Game 25: Kitchen

Where is this week’s mystery pad? Three of you guessed the Heights. Eastwood and Montrose got 2 votes each. Other guesses: Woodland Heights, Braes Heights, Riverside Terrace, “Wahtever that area is called bordered by West Gray/Shepherd.Westheimer and Commonwealth. Behind Hugo’s and around Mockingbird Bistro,” Southampton, Southgate, Cherryhurst, Castle Court, West University, and Spring Branch.

First out of the gate was Miz Brooke Smith, who called:

Montrose. A single-family home or maybe a converted upstairs-downstairs duplex, with bathrooms updated in the ’80s. The big-plant curtains betray the ’80s, and the sun porch off the master bedroom is the Montrose giveaway.

And what about the checkerboard tile Kitchen floor? Is that even legal in any other part of town? Another player might have trumped Miz B. S. by mentioning Mandell Place, but Montrose is good enough to win it. Congratulations!

A special commendation goes to this week’s secret agent, David W, who was one of two readers to write in with the actual answer, but followed up with this distracting “guess”:

From the windows and sunroom off the master I would say it was built in the 30’s. From the black and white kitchen floor, glossy cabinets, and white Sub-Zero I would say remodeled (and not inexpensively) in the eighties. Could be Montrose but I am going to guess Riverside Terrace probably on the South side of the bayou since the updates aren’t more recent.

The home’s actual details?


02/22/08 11:57pm

Smaller homes in Montrose haven’t disappeared entirely over the last few years; they’ve just been busy knocking down interior walls and undergoing price-lifts. We’ve rustled up a few shy senior citizens from around the neighborhood for this weekend’s tour.

1737 Indiana St., Hyde Park, Montrose, Houston

Location: 1737 Indiana St.
Details: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths; 1,288 sq. ft.
Price: $275,000
The Scoop: Smallish 1930 cottage in nice condition on divided lot in Hyde Park. Built-in Mahogany bookshelves in Living Room; beamed ceiling in Dining Room. No garage. Just listed.
Open House: Sunday, 2-5 pm

The tour continues . . .