A building permit filed yesterday reveals what’s going up on the half-acre vacant tract across Caroline St. from the Oaks On Caroline condo building: a 16,000-sq.-ft. parking garage. Home previously to a pair of 2-story homes, the property’s been vacant since early 2016, around the same time Nan and Company put the finishing touches on its neighboring 5-story condo structure which sits between Arbor and Rosedale streets. As shown in the photo at top, the garage’s construction site is surrounded entirely by townhomes. Not pictured: the Houston Museum of African American Culture, which is situated just north of the garage, at the northeast corner of Caroline and Wentworth St.
Photo: Swamplot inbox
PHOENIX TOWER DOUBLING DOWN ON PARKING
A new 8-story parking garage will be built next to the Phoenix Tower’s existing 8-story parking garage writes Ralph Bivins over at Realty News Report. The planned “garage annex,” he reports, “will adjoin Phoenix Tower’s original eight-story garage and also provide direct, covered access to The Hub,” the restaurant-heavy core of Greenway Plaza, between Buffalo Spdwy and Edloe St. Architect HOK has already signed up for the project, which the developer says should start before the end of the year. [Realty News Report] Photo: Parkway Properties
HOW HOUSTON’S 2 PLANNED ROBO-PARKING GARAGES COMPARE IN SIZE
The one that’d go next to the proposed Railway Heights food hall will be bigger: 89-ft. tall with a roughly 18,000-sq.-ft. footprint, reports Nancy Sarnoff. A site plan for the development at Wash Ave and Hempstead previously indicated it’d hold 600 cars. The other high-tech garage — planned in place of the existing analog facility on White Oak Dr. next to Tacos A Go Go — is being designed for a third of that capacity: 200 vehicles, reports Sarnoff, would fit there in a structure “no taller than 75 ft.,” with a 6,500-sq.-ft. footprint. The same tech company — New Jersey-based U-tron — is behind both buildings, in cooperation with Chicago developer Easy Park. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Image: Centric Commercial
Crews are now coating the garage on the corner of Travis and Rusk with strips of glass curtain wall similar to those seen on its much taller neighbor to the north, the Capitol Tower. While the 35-story office building got its exterior finish soon after topping out in April, the garage — built 2 years earlier — was left naked. It took over from the former Houston Club garage Skanska expanded and then demolished on the block in 2015.
Even after construction wrapped up, the new parking structure viewed below from Milam still looked mostly like this:
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First Come Last Serve
A POST OAK PARKING GARAGE SOLUTION TO THE DEMAND FOR DRIVE-IN THEATERS The head of the company now bringing a movie theater to the top of the BLVD Place garage at Post Oak and San Felipe tells the Chronicle’s Ileana Najarro that he “hopes to offer a social experience for those nostalgic for drive-in theaters.” What better place to do it than in Houston, where people drive in and out of buildings all the time? The catch: you’ll have to get out of your car and amble up to the garage’s top floor above Whole Foods and other retail, where it might get noisy — especially with that bus lane construction happening now on Post Oak. But there’s a solution: wireless headphones for each audience member — which Rooftop Cinema Club’s head says will “replicate the intimate setting of one’s car,” just like the old days. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Whole Foods at 1700 Post Oak Blvd.: Dung L.
Workers are now applying paint to the 5-level garage stump of the former Americana building at 811 Dallas St. Over the last year, the 10-story office tower that sat atop the southern half of the garage was removed.
9-in. aluminum louvers were added to the portion of the parking podium pictured above on the corner of Dallas and Travis streets during a renovation in 2000. That exterior layer was stripped off as part of the recent work on the building, however, exposing the original clay block surface underneath.
30,000-or-so-sq.-ft. of ground-floor retail are also receiving touch-ups as part of the current work on the property.
Photos: Drew (parking garage); Boxer Property (Americana)
Clay Tile Refresh
Last December a demolition permit was filed on the car hangar parked between Tacos A Go Go and Christian’s Tailgate on the north side of White Oak Dr. Now, a leasing flyer for a neighboring development indicates a new 244-car garage is proposed in place of the existing structure. But that lot measures only 100 by 140 ft. How could 244 parking spaces fit on a lot where fewer than 20 spots exist now?
Well, what if the owner of the property was connected to Easy Park, a developer specializing in automated parking garages? An entity associated with the developer bought the garage at 2912 White Oak in 2016 along with the strip of 3 buildings around it — that includes Tacos A Go Go, Pho Binh Heights, and Lucky Food Mart to the west, and Barnaby’s Cafe and Public House Heights to the east. The Chicago-based company manufactures parts for automated parking developments, finances them, and operates them. It’s been involved in past projects in New York, Philadelphia, Vancouver, Washington D.C., and Mexico City.
Here’s what a robo-valet with parts produced by Easy Park looks like inside The Lift at Juniper St., an 8-story, 228-car garage in Philadelphia:
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Direct flights to Cuba from the US are back on the table (probably, eventually) per last week’s agreement between Havana and the State Department — and whenever that happens, Southwest Airlines is looking to get in on the action from its newly-minted international concourse at Hobby Airport. The concourse has been launching passengers to Central America and the Caribbean since its mid-October opening, which marked the airport’s return to the international game for the first time since IAH opened in 1969.
Other major additions to Hobby include a 3,000-spot parking garage (shown above) still partially under construction on one of the former EcoPark lots, just west of the original garage (now labeled the Red Garage). The new structure (known as the Blue Garage) is rising in phases: Phase I opened just in time for Thanksgiving, and the rest of the structure should be ready to receive rather less anxious travelers some time next year. The pedestrian bridge shown in the photo above connects Level 3 of the new garage to the newly-expanded Terminal area:
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Park and Fly