11/02/18 2:45pm

A tower crane and accompanying high-altitude construction equipment are now hovering over the northwest corner of S. Braeswood and Greenbriar where work on a new 14-story 7-story Houston Methodist office midrise is underway. Next door, a separate, 8-level structure will be devoted to parking. It’s all taking off on what used to be the Astrodome Marriott hotel, torn down after the Methodist system bought the land in 2000.

For more than a decade the 10-acre parcel remained unbuilt until a new single-story daycare for Houston Methodist employees’ kids (ages 0 through 5) sprung up on its western portion last year. The center — a brightly-painted and multi-gabled structure to the left of what’s shown in the photos above — enrolled 130 kids when it opened. Once some of them age out, it’ll consider taking on children of Methodist’s business partners, too, as well as those without any parental ties to the hospital system.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

South of Brays Bayou
03/29/18 4:00pm

Ancorian subsidiary CityLands has plans to plant a medical office building with street-level retail in place of the barrel-vaulted 1970 Goodyear auto shop at 3720 Westheimer. Leasing materials dub the new 40,250-sq.-ft. building the Surgery Center of River Oaks. However, the anchor tenant that CityLands says has leased more than half the structure’s square footage has a different take on its whereabouts — the partnership of doctors calls itself the Upper Kirby Surgical Center.

The rendering above shows a drive-up entrance fronting the planned building — which the developer says will include “integrated parking.” The lot that CityLands bought from the car center’s owner earlier this year backs up about 160-ft. north from Westheimer to abut the cul-de-sac of Locke Ln.

Photo: Arch-ive. Rendering: CityLands

Westheimer Retirement
11/21/17 2:15pm

Medistar is planning to build its 550,000-sq.-ft. medical tower right next to the InterContinental Houston Medical Center hotel and the Greystar apartment highrise it is already constructing on the west side of South Main St. The aerial photograph above, looking south toward the Texas Medical Center campus on the east side of South Main, shows the apartment structure under construction on the west side of the block and the shorter hotel tower also in-progress behind it, fronting the street. North of that construction, the photo shows a yellow highlight around the former Best Western Plaza Hotel at 6700 South Main. That hotel is now scheduled to be replaced by the new 20-or-30-something-floor medical tower pictured at the top of this story.

A single ground-floor lobby facing Old Main St. will serve both the 357-unit hotel and the 375-unit apartment building. Retail and restaurants are planned for the new medical tower’s street level. A skybridge, visible in the rendering below, plugs into the south side of the tower just above its garage level and is intended to connect the hotel and apartments to the medical tower:


TMC Medical Tourism Hub
09/15/16 2:45pm

O'Quinn Medical Building, 6624 Fannin St., Medical Center, Houston, 77030

The double hypodermic needles atop the Cesar Pelli-designed O’Quinn Medical Building have just gotten brightened up: a lighting designer from FUSE sends Swamplot these bare-all shots of the Madonna tower’s roof following the company’s just-wrapped installation of a new LED setup around the tips. Down below, Texas Children’s Hospital announced earlier this week that it has bought the tower from Baylor-slash-St.-Luke’s, along with a Baylor outpatient clinic down the street. Texas Children’s told the Chronicle that it isn’t planning to boot tenants until they can move into that under construction campus on Cambridge St., somewhere around 2020.

Nor does the new owner have plans to change the tower’s name right away — though many of the physicians who petitioned against the building’s O’Quinn christening in 2005 aren’t likely to mind if they do. At the time, dozens of doctors signed a document insisting that the current namesake, Houston’s own John O’Quinn (of fen-phen and breast implant lawsuit fame), “bears partial responsibility for the litigious environment in which we work,” and that it was offensive “to have money we earned — and which he took by suing us — going to name after him a medical building in which we work every day.”

The sunset shot above looks west across the Rice campus (that’s the stadium that played backdrop to JFK’s go-to-the-moon speech, given 54 years ago this past Monday, on the right above the octagonal base); the itty-bitty silhouette of the distant Williams Tower can be seen poking up from the horizon on the left. Here’s the tip itself, so close you can almost see the filament in the flashing bulb:


Feeling Shiny and New on Fannin
06/27/16 5:30pm

Above is Rewire’s interactive map of what happened to most of the abortion clinics in Texas since the 2013 passage of  HB2, parts of which were struck down today by the Supreme Court. The 5-3 ruling this morning overturned a section of the law that would have required prohibitively expensive remodeling of many clinic buildings, as well as a section requiring that abortion providers make arrangements that let them personally admit patients to nearby hospitals.

The latter requirement alone, when it went into effect in November 2013, caused more than half of the state’s 41 abortion providers to stop offering the procedure (including 4 out of 10 inside the Grand Pkwy. at the time). The University of Texas says that the full law, had it gone into effect, would have left Houston with 2 providers (compared to 33 in New York City, 10 in Los Angeles, and 13 in Chicago). Those 2 — the geometrically questionable Planned Parenthood HQ near University of Houston’s main campus, and the Texas Ambulatory Surgical Center in the Heights — show up on the map in green when the Ambulatory Surgical Center layer is activated:


SCOTUS Rules on Texas
04/07/16 12:45pm

Cullen's, 11500 Space Center Blvd, Houston, 77059

The couple behind Cullen’s Upscale American Grille and Whisk(e)y Bar announced yesterday that the Vegas-style restaurant near Ellington Field had shut down, following some hard reflection on the “brevity and uncertainty of life” after the unexpected death of GM Ryan Roberts last August. Sandra and Kevin Munz released a statement on the restaurant’s webpage indicating that the 37,000-sq.-ft. space would be converted into a healthcare facility, starting immediately; the couple says they plan to focus their attention on the business ventures which will “most dramatically enhance the quality of [their] lives,” and to spend more time with their kids.

The choose-your-own-china-pattern restaurant opened in 2008 as a green-certified, 700-seat anchor for Kevin Munz’s Clearpoint Crossing development, which includes retail strips next to residential complex just north on Space Center Blvd. south of Genoa Red Bluff Rd. Much of the rest of the retail center has already gotten on board with the medical theme: the development currently houses the UT Physicians Bayshore Family Practice facilities, Bailey Orthodontics, and Clearpoint Dentistry.

Photo of Cullen’s at 11500 Space Center Blvd.: Jason L. 

Changing Direction at Ellington
04/05/16 11:30am

UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Building for Personalized Cancer Care, Morsund St. at M.D. Anderson Blvd., Texas Medical Center, Houston, 77030

Here’s a glance down MacGregor Dr. across Cambridge St. toward the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Building for Personalized Cancer Care — now labeled the “Sheikh Zayed Building” for short, a reader notes. The 4-tower structure, now standing where Moursund Dr. meets MD Anderson Blvd., is one of the projects funded by the $150 million grant given to MD Anderson in 2011 by the building’s namesake’s son, current UAE president Khalifa bin Zayed al Nayhan. HDR designed the building, which went up on the space formerly occupied by UT’s Mental Science Institute (shipped off to the nearby UT Research Park back in 2010).

Here’s a glitzier shot of the building, looking east across MD Anderson Blvd. with The Spires condominium tower rising on the left in the background:


Med Center Labels
12/21/15 10:00am

Proposed Baylor McNair Campus, 7200 Cambridge Dr., Texas Medical Center, Houston, 77030

After a 4-year coma and slow recovery, the Baylor College of Medicine’s McNair Campus at the corner of Cambridge St. and Old Spanish Tr. may be back on track to eventually lead a normal life — new renderings released late last week to Joe Martin of the HBJ show the next phase of construction for what is now being called the Baylor College of Medicine Medical Center facility. Following a bleed-out of construction financing and subsequent failed merger negotiations between Baylor and Rice University, the building’s shell was completed in early 2010 and sat empty until a partial buildout gave the structure new life in late 2013.

St. Luke’s (owned by Catholic Health Initiatives) teamed up with Baylor shortly thereafter and made plans to move its Texas Medical Center hospital operations to the new facility. The Texas Heart Institute, which operates independently in St. Luke’s existing building,  will also be transplanted into the new facility.

The newly released site plan ties in to the double-helix-reminiscent campus recently proposed by the TMC for the parking lot next door — the campus is shown at the top of the site plan below:


Recovery on Cambridge St.
03/11/15 1:45pm

Medical Office Building, 7620 Bellfort St., Glenbrook Valley, Houston

Real estate agent Robert Searcy sends in make-’em-look-pretty pics of a few of the small Modern office buildings to be found along Bellfort St. between Telephone Rd. and Broadway in Glenbrook Valley. The buildings were built in the 1960s, many of them to serve doctors connected to the former Southeast Memorial Hospital on the northwest corner of Bellfort St. and Glenloch. (Later operated by Riverside General Hospital as its Edith Irby Jones Campus, the structure was torn down a few years ago after suffering extensive damage from Hurricane Ike.)

Pictured above: The Bellfort Women’s Care Clinic at 7620 Bellfort, formerly the office of Dr. Hans Altinger, who also lived in Glenbrook Valley. Next on the tour:


Some of the Doctors Are In
04/17/14 11:00am

Proposed New Trauma Building, Memorial Hermann Hospital System Texas Medical Center Campus, Cambridge St. and Taub Rd., Texas Medical Center, Houston

Included in the $650 million expansion and renovation of its Texas Medical Center campus approved by the Memorial Hermann Health System last month: the new, presumably 16-story patient care building across the street from Hermann Park and the Houston Zoo shown at the lower left of the rendering above. It’ll be on the corner of Cambridge St. (renamed from North MacGregor Dr. a while back, while you weren’t paying attention) and Taub Rd. Partially hidden behind it in the image above is a new parking-and-mechanical structure to go with it.


More Beds for the Med Center
01/07/14 3:00pm

Baylor Hospital Bldg., 7200 Cambridge St., Houston

The shiny new building on the northwest corner of Old Spanish Trail and Cambridge St. south of the Texas Medical Center that the Baylor College of Medicine built but then let sit as an empty shell for nearly 4 years will soon be filled with hospital beds, the institution announced today. And the complex will eventually become the new home of the successor to the Texas Medical Center’s St. Luke’s Hospital. Catholic Health Initiatives, which has its headquarters in Denver, bought the entire St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System last May for $2 billion; a new nonprofit joint venture between CHI St. Luke’s Health and Baylor will operate the new 250-bed hospital, which will be inserted into the structure’s vacant floors by next spring and bear the unwieldy name of Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center McNair Campus.

The same joint venture will also run the existing 850-bed St. Luke’s hospital on Bertner Ave., now conveniently known as the Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center TMC. But that Texas Medical Center institution appears to be going south: A yet-to-be-created master plan and timeline will guide the eventual replacement of that facility — it’ll move south of Brays Bayou to the McNair Campus, which is outside the official boundaries of the Texas Medical Center:


Back to Health
10/07/13 12:00pm

A NEW MIXTURE OF USES FOR THE OLD SPRING BRANCH MED CENTER The proud new owners of the 300,000-sq.-ft. Spring Branch Medical Center say they plan to flip the 18-acre property on Long Point Rd. into a residential and retail development. Investor Bruce Phillips tells the Houston Chronicle that the old medical buildings, most of which were built in the ’80s, might not have to come down to make the change happen and could be repurposed. The purchase was led by BlackSwan, which is also developing with Stream Realty that 25-story office tower near Washington on Waugh and Barnes. [Houston Chronicle ($); previously on Swamplot] Photo: MAM Jobs Network

07/31/13 10:00am

Here’s the latest rendering of the once-protested Parc Binz development that’s going up on the corner of Binz and Chenevert in Museum Park. Prime Property reports that this mixed-use building, designed by Energy Architecture, should be all ready by the end of the year. During construction, though, the scale of it seems to have shrunk: Originally proposed to stand 6 stories and have 75,000-sq.-ft. of office, retail, and medical space, Sarnoff sizes what is actually being built at 50,000 sq. ft., and this brighter new rendering shows only 5 floors.

You can compare it with the previous one — featuring a solitary fellow brooding in the gloaming out on the terrace — after the jump:


07/17/13 4:30pm

Construction is well underway at the site of the torn-down Studewood Fiesta on the Village of the Heights. This updated (and softer) rendering shows the 4-story, 103-unit senior living facility as seen from near the intersection of 14th and Studewood; it will be bordered on the north by Algregg. A rep from developer Bridgewood Properties — which operates 3 similar facilities in Houston — says that the 1st floor will be devoted to a clinic for “memory care,” and the 2nd floor will include a fitness center, library, beauty salon, and assisted-living suites; the top 2 floors will be reserved for apartments, ranging from 1-bedroom, 524-sq.-ft. spaces to 2-bedroom, 753-sq.-ft. ones.


05/23/13 11:10am

That excavator first rolled out here on La Branch and Binz last summer — and 11 months later this is how the site looks: Catty-corner from the Children’s Museum, the Museum Point Professional Building appears to be all but complete. The 4-story building at 1401 Binz was originally planned to be 30,000-sq.-ft., with retail on the first floor, a clinic and offices on the middle floors, and some kind of residence (“with a garden terrace”) up top. A 160-car parking garage was also planned.