Hereâ€™s a look at the new HQ that Houston nonprofit Avenue CDC wants to build at 3527 Irvington Blvd. just north of the roadâ€™s fork with Fulton St. and east of Moody Park. The rendering emerged yesterday following news that the United Arab Emirates was coughing up $6.5 million of the $10 million it pledged to give Houston after Harvey. After its donation gets disbursed to a handful of local recipients, Avenue CDC will come out with $2.6 million â€” reports the HBJâ€™s Olivia Pulsinelli â€” all of which it plans to put toward the 3-story, 30,500-sq.-ft. building. An additional $8.7 million for the structure will be collected from elsewhere.
According to a press release from the folks set to inhabit the new HQ, their idea is to â€œconveniently co-locate a variety of vital resources for residentsâ€ inside, such as a health clinic, early childhood education center, post-disaster housing counseling offices, and a realty office. The residents theyâ€™re talking about include homeowners in the CDCâ€™s nearby Avenue Place development — aÂ neighborhood ofÂ 95 three- and four-bedroom homes — as well as Avenue Terrace, an adjacent 192-unit apartment project. Both communities went up on what used to be FedExâ€™s 20-acre truck depot off Irvington and Weiss St. over the course of the last few years.
Parts left over from the metal barn that Black Page Brewing leased out beside White Oak Bayou out a few years back are now lying in a heap next to a wooden skeleton that’s taken the demolished structure’s place. The deconstruction began last month according to neighbors who called 311 on August 31 to report that it was happening, potentially, they said, without the required permits. An inspector showed up the next day to check things out, one of several field trips the city would make to the planned brewpub’s digs at the end of Glen Park St. over the next few weeks in response to multiple follow-up calls from nearby residents.
By the time a demo permit did show up last Friday, the site had already been tagged twice by city officials: first for the premature teardown, and once again — as shown below — for additional unpermitted work:
Here’s the next target in Houston’s continuing warehouse-to-brewery turnover trend: 1504 Chapman St. A group of local brewers got their hands on the 6,283-sq.-ft. building — pictured aboveÂ from the south — in April and a budding Facebook page now shows its address as the location of a venue they’re calling Local Group Brewing.
It’s within the same general parish as St. Arnold’s recently-opened beer cathedral and existing brewery. They’re both less than half a mile away on the other side of the former Union Pacific brownfield pictured below, now giving rise to the complex of mixed-use buildings dubbed Hardy Yards:
Houston’s City Planning Commission approved a variance yesterday permitting a developer that plans to build a 4-story apartment building on the corner highlighted above not to extend Dunlop St. through the site, as otherwise required. Instead, plans call for the street to end at the south side of the complex, where it’ll be bounded by a new, 8-ft. tall fence.
The request first showed up on the commission’s agenda on April 26, at which time a couple of residents came forward to complain about the heavy traffic on nearby Karcher and Angelo streets — which northbound drivers use to avoid the light at the intersection of Link and Fulton. Extending Dunlop through the site, they argued, would clear up some of that congestion.
But a 60-ft.-wide swath of road like that would run over the garage, parking lot, pool, and dumpster area the developer plans to build at the center of the complex, as shown in the site plan below:
The transit-themed entryway Lennar Homes wants to build to its 39-lot development — dubbed Fulton Station — on the corner of Fulton and Cavalcade will get another shot at city approval when it goes before Houston’s planning commission this afternoon. Lennar’s new residential neighborhood hugs the Charisma Design Studios & Art Gallery Building, west of the southbound stop for METRO’s Red Line in the middle of Fulton St.
The gated entrance would go at the foot of a private park Lennar has planned just across the street from the rail platform, on the parcel highlighted red in the map below:
A show-stopping announcement posted on the Walter’s Downtown Facebook page yesterday brings sad news for thrashers, metal-heads, punks, and indie fans: the 18-year-old live music venue on the corner of Naylor and Vine streets plans to close down on February 4. Walter’s moved to its current location — the former classic car showroom, video production studio, car parts distribution center, and cabinet warehouse pictured above — in 2011. Before that, the club was located on Washington Ave, in a building just east of Thompson St. that’s since been transformed into the office of Carnegie Custom Homes.
The photo below views the venue from its north side on Naylor back in 2014:
There’s a new outdoor stairway zig-zagging its way up to the top of the Raven Tower’sÂ above-ground spot at theÂ northwest corner of the White Oak Music HallÂ complex.Â The elevated bar opened in January 2016 on North St., just off N. Main east of I-45, but shut down in May of that yearÂ after its developer decided to address accessibility issues through renovations. It only received a certificate of occupancyÂ — allowing the venue to operate as a bar — in April of this year.
Railings and landings are still missing from the new stairway. Inside the podium, anÂ indoor stairwayÂ wraps around a central elevator shaftÂ that rises from the base of the tower up to its peacock-blue penthouse.
Here’s aÂ view of the tower from beyond an adjacent concert venue, one of several surrounding the White Oak Music Hallâ€™s main building:
More new features are imagined for the center of Houston than just the new Green LoopÂ highlighted in the just-released Plan DowntownÂ proposal. There’s also a mysterious new Downtown island. Where did it come from?
It’s the result of digging the long-whisperedÂ North Canal Channel Bypass, a re-linking of White Oak and Buffalo Bayous north of Downtown. Existing bends and narrow banks along the 2 bayous just east of Main St. restrict the flow of stormwater during flooding events. According to reports, engineering studies have estimated that cutting a straighter diversion channel to bypass the oxbow couldÂ reduce flooding Downtown by 3.5 ft.
But digging a new canal while maintaining the existing path of the bayou would create an island out of the area just north of Commerce St. An imagined map of the area in Plan Downtown’s report (rotated so North is aimed down and to the right) shows what car and pedestrian bridges might link it to the mainland:
The new Holiday Inn Express about to begin construction at 3401 N. Main St. in the Near Northside will have some consistently quiet neighbors and some occasionally very loud ones — with the steady drone of the adjacent North Fwy.Â available to somehow bridge the gap. The 1.44-acre site, where the Casa Grande Mexican Restaurant stood until it was torn down 2 years agoÂ (and Stuarts Drive-In before it), sits across N. Main St. from the Hollywood Cemetery (yes, the same cemetery featured in Wes Anderson movieÂ Rushmore). And it’s just a bit more than a quarter-mile up N. Main from the White Oak Music Hall complex, whose outdoor concert habit spurred nearby residents kept up late at night by the noise to file suit against the venue — and later, the city of Houston — for failing to follow (and enforce) local sound ordinances.
Late last month, crews removed the concrete paving left behind after the Casa Grande demolition (see photos above). Just this week, a city permit was granted for aÂ 58,929-sq.-ft., 95-room Holiday Inn Express on the site — up 10 rooms from the 85 promised a couple of years ago, when the developers submitted these drawings as part of an application for a variance that would allow them not to have to extend or widen Norma St., on the north end of the lot:
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:
Not to be outdone by last week’s midday plug-upÂ of the Alfred Hernandez Tunnel beneath the railroad tracks and the Burnett TCÂ Red Line stop, another semi making its way through the passage got lodged in the tunnelÂ late this morning — getting torn open end-to-end in the process. But that’s not even the first truck stuckage incident at the underpass in the last 24 hours, according to a reader who’s had both a camera and a Twitter account trained on the recently retooled intersection for at least the last few months.
The reader tells Swamplot that another truck got stuck briefly last night, and that it happens about 6 times a week:Â “Our camera system auto-wakes when it hears something beyond a certain threshold; most drive away, presumably nervous[ly] on their way to have a talk with the boss.” Some work on the tunnel has been on the city’s docket this spring, and was approved at a mid-April meeting; that’s likely to start aroundÂ the end of the month.Â
Here’s the scene from above as of early this afternoon:
The rapidly disappearing elevated segment of Elysian St.Â pointing north out of Downtown is the latest aging roadway structure to be crumbled apart, thoughÂ itÂ won’t be the last. But death is a natural part of the Houston roadway cycle! AndÂ a healthier, brawnierÂ replacement viaduct is planned to take its place along roughly the same right-of-way — this one with broad shoulders and a sidewalk. TxDOT spokesman Danny PerezÂ told Houston Public Media‘s Gail DeLaughter last monthÂ that work on the new structure, which connects Downtown to Near Northside by funneling drivers over Buffalo Bayou and I-10, shouldÂ start before the demo of the mile-and-a-half-long original wraps up.
AÂ hunchedÂ excavator wasÂ spotted helping to bring the aging bridge down from above: