- 732 Lester St. [HAR]
Site work has begun on the block of Birdsall St. just north of Memorial Dr., where demolition of the 2-story buildings comprising the former 57 Off Memorial apartments was finished up a couple of weeks ago. The photo above, sent to Swamplot by photographer Sonya Cuellar, shows a view of 160 Birdsall St. looking east in its current naked condition; Birdsall in the foreground and Venice St. on the right. The vacated portion of the Malone St. block beyond is also part of the project.
Going up in place of the 120 apartment units knocked out by the excavators: Jonathan Farb’s new City Place Memorial Park apartments, which renderings show would follow the pattern of Farb’s City Place Midtown apartments, only taller because the garages will be underneath and with more prominent cornices and balconies: 4 wood-framed stories will sit on top of 2-level concrete parking garages fitted with courtyard swimming pools on their decks. It’ll have 264 units in 2 separate buildings.
Photo: Sonya Cuellar. Rendering: Farb Homes/Wallace Garcia Wilson Architects
The strip center nook at 5801 Memorial Dr. last occupied by fast-casual pan-Asian chain Express Rolls has been taken over by Peruvian-Mexican joint Pollo Bravo, which was previously shooed out of the since-pulverized standalone building just down the street at 5440 Memorial. Both properties are owned by companies connected to the Taghdisi brothers, who’ve also been collecting permits for the construction of a new retail mini-strip on Pollo Bravo’s former turf, as announced last fall. The new structure planned at 5440 Memorial looks like it’ll more or less match the general fashion sense of strip center at 5801, though it won’t fit as many tenants:
The old Wabash Feed & Garden building on Washington Ave. may still be sorting out its current relationship status, and missing the company of Los Dos Amigos and Premo’s Grocery (knocked down across the street last year) — but at least it’s no longer the only property on the corner with an out of date sign (as pictured in the shot above from a reader). The new Uncle Bob’s Self Storage across the street, which replaced Premo’s and Los Dos Amigos, is already waiting on a branding swap-out — the storage company acquired Life Storage in July and decided to take the new name, simplifying its box-of-boxes logo in the process. The 6-story storage midrise is set toward the corner with Malone St. where Premo’s stood, while Los Dos Amigos got the parking-lot treatment:
The sides of the 1965 Memorial Towers highrise apartment complex are currently getting the blues as part of a period remodel, a reader reports. Serial multifamily fixer-upper The Barvin Group bought the property in May. The side of the complex pictured above (also shown pre-paint for comparison) faces west down Memorial Dr. toward the recently flattened former roost of Pollo Bravo (occupied before that by Hartz Chicken Buffet). A rendering of the complex’s planned new look (including a throwback cursive replacement of the signage currently pointed at east-bound drivers) is on display in the lobby:
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
Here’s the last pieces of the former Pollo Bravo at 5440 Memorial Dr. still holding out against the excavator onslaught today. A reader sends the snapshot above from the Starbucks end of the strip center across the street. The demo permit for the structure came through on Thursday of last week, trailing in the wake of the property’s May 2015 sale and the restaurant’s subsequent December departure.
The owner of the Peruvian fusion chicken chain said at the time that she was seeking new locations; a few more Pollo Bravo spots seem to have opened up since then, including branches on Long Point Rd. east of Gessner, and on Mason Rd. south of Kingsland Blvd. Here’s one last look at the rapidly clearing site, between a Chase bank and the Memorial Towers apartments:
The spot Braun Enterprises has been sprucing up at 1815 Washington Ave appears to have been leased out last week to the folks behind the Texas expansion of Tennessee’s Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. Documents filed with the county show that an entity called Texas All Fry (registered to the address of the Gus’s location in Austin) signed for the space on Wednesday. Pandora and Throne Ultra Lounge are among the latest in the succession of night clubs and bars to have recently occupied the late-1940s structure, which sits across the street from B&B Butchers.
The above rendering (from the same leasing flier that accidentally leaked word of H-E-B’s negotiations for the Archstone Apartments spot at the corner of Washington and Heights Blvd.) shows the front facade with a new patio and a few more windows. A careful look at the building’s past listing photos show that some of the apparent reshaping may actually involve the un-bricking of some former doorways:
Something is stirring drinks these days inside former location of Beirut Fine Lebanese Cuisine, which reopened last fall as Fig + Wasp Test Kitchen and then quickly closed again. Up & Down on Washington will be officially opening at 4105 Washington Ave. this Friday after a few weeks of soft operation in the upstairs of the space; whether the fig-wasp name was a deliberate nod to the creepy symbiotic relationship between the 2 components is unclear. Photo of 4105 Washington Ave: Kuehn Inc.
The business wilted several years ago, but the location of the church-run St. Theresa The Little Flower Thrift Shop at 5334 Washington Ave is getting a new tenant: a branch of Dallas’s Clutch Bar will be moving into the space. An entity associated with the thrift shop bought the property back in 1991, and the store blossomed until the early ’10s, closing by mid-2013.
Clutch Bar’s website touts a Summer 2016 opening; as far as what will be served in the space, the site for the chain shows a large draft beer selection and mentions a weekly special on “adult milkshakes”.
CHICKEN OUT TONIGHT ON MEMORIAL DR. Hybrid Peruvian-Mexican restaurant Pollo Bravo will be flying the coop at 5 PM — the Memorial Dr. and Reinicke St. location will close permanently this evening. The chain’s remaining 2 locations on Hillcroft and Richmond will remain open, and the owner is currently looking for a new space to roost. The locale, which previously housed Hartz Chicken Buffet, converted to a Pollo Bravo by the end of 2012. An LLC connected to developer Amir Taghdisi purchased the property in May, adding to his existing holdings a few blocks west across the street; his strip center at 5801 Memorial Dr. currently houses a Dunkin’ Donuts and Piada Italian Street Food. Photo: Google Places
A big for-lease sign has been posted to the door of the building at 801 Durham Dr. in Rice Military. Longtime building tenant Camera Co-Op (see above photo) shut down here at the beginning of last month. The camera-lens mural that surrounded the camera store’s front door has been painted over.