10/15/18 12:15pm

A building permit filed last Thursday reveals that an ice cream shop plans to take over the corner Hazard-St.-and-Westheimer storefront shown on the left in the photo above. Backed by a group that calls itself Milk + Sugar Creamery LLC, the new store plans to grab just a 1,542-sq.-ft. portion of the building’s west side — which has been occupied by a trio of clothing shops over the last decade.

Mio Boutique was the last of them; it picked up from Coquette in 2014, which picked up from Pixie & Ivy about 8 years ago. Although all 3 of the stores dealt in womenswear, Coquette went a step beyond, retaining an “onsite psychic” — reported Culturemap — to assist customers along with its regular sales staff.

Photo: LoopNet

Vermont Commons
10/15/18 10:15am

The owner of the abandoned restaurant storefront on Taft St. south of W. Gray didn’t waste much time in trashing the place after acquiring it in June. A demo permit filed last month condemned both the street-fronting building shown above and its backyard bungalow. The photo at top shows the state of things on Friday afternoon.

The new owner also bought the neighboring brick house on Peden St. around the same time:

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A Flash in the Pan
10/12/18 10:00am

HINES PICKING UP LESS THAN AN ACRE ACROSS FROM MONTROSE WHOLE FOODS PARKING LOT The developer entered into an agreement earlier this year to buy the property at the corner of Waugh Dr. and D’Amico St., reports the HBJ’s Olivia Pulsinelli in her round-up of recent North Montrose land sales. On-site that nearly three-quarter acre parcel right now: a parking lot, driveways, and 2-story dingbat office building that backs up to the adjacent strip housing Pimlico Irish Pub and others. To the east, BMW-focused auto shop Bavarian Machine Specialties buffers the tract from what’ll soon be Stages Repertory Theatre’s new theater and green space on Rosine St. [HBJ] Photo: LoopNet

10/11/18 11:30am

A Swamplot reader reports that renovations to the shopping center on Westheimer across from Light Bulbs Unlimited “suddenly stopped about a month ago,” leaving a few gaping holes open in the face of the strip. Pictured at top is the space where Radio Shack once stuck out a few ft. from the rest of the building before it shut down along with the rest of the chain and sat vacant prior to the remodeling that began earlier this year.

Despite their presence on the marquee shown above, a number of the other tenants recently hit the road from the center as well: Tanacious Tanning, which occupied the spot (also wide open) just west of Radio Shack; Stars Cleaners, located off Commonwealth St. to the far west; and Consign It!, which punctuated the building’s eastern end. Their spaces are all up for lease right now, according to a LoopNet listing posted back in June. Nidda Thai Cuisine and its next-door neighbor Erotic Cabaret on the other hand appear to be sticking around.

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An Inside Look
10/08/18 10:15am

Soon it appears there’ll be only one Mattress Firm again in the Westmont Shopping Center at Montrose Blvd. and Westheimer: The one on the right at 1005 Westheimer is set to close while the one on the left at 1003 Westheimer is sticking around — for now, at least; more closures are on the way according to the plan Mattress Firm announced in its bankruptcy filing last week to, among other things, thin out areas it thinks are too crowded with its own stores by closing 700 of them after an initial group of more than 200 get axed “within the next few days.”

In a court filing, the chain said no liquidation sales are planned at any of its ill-fated stores. But signage outside the former Mattress-Proturned-Mattress-Firm Final Markdown this morning indicates otherwise:

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Final Days of a Final Markdown
10/05/18 5:15pm

A few of the tenants inside this 7-unit, now-up-for-sale apartment building on Hawthorne St., 2 blocks from Spur 527 appear to be on the same page design-wise. The photo above shows the living room inside one of the building’s 6 one-bedroom apartments done up with a Persian rug, atop which sits a glass tabletop covered in curios surrounding a floral centerpiece.

Now, compare that to that to the living room the building’s sole 2-bedroom unit, shown below:

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429 Hawthorne
09/26/18 2:45pm

Wooden siding now covers up all but a small portion of Shake Shack‘s coming store at 1002 Westheimer, in the spot where Burger King collapsed 2 months ago. The new coverings have the restaurant looking a little more like what’s shown in the rendering put out by the burger brand at the end of last month, right around the time that work started on its new building.

Here’s what progress looks like from the west, outside Blacksmith:

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Beefing Up Westheimer
09/26/18 10:30am

 

By its own count, Mattress Firm now has just over a dozen shops open inside the 610 Loop after closing its 202 Westheimer location next to the (also recently shuttered) Njoy Thai restaurant on Sunday. The full-strip store pictured above took over from Hollywood Food & Cigars #3 and its neighbor Tejas Boots under the name Mattress Pro 3 years ago before its parent retailer scrapped that pseudonym and rebranded all of its locations under the Mattress Firm moniker.

Over the last year, the chain’s shut down hundreds of storesreports USA Today‘s Nathan Bomey, who echoes other murmurs that the retailer’s South African parent company Steinhoff could soon file for bankruptcy. And as the legal battle between Mattress Firm and a trio of brokers it says profited through reckless dealmaking continues to play out in court, the company’s been hit with another suit. In it, mattress brand Tempur-Pedic — which lost its contract to sell products in 3,300 Mattress Firms last year — alleges that the retailer’s “Therapedic“-branded product line is a copycat version of its own bedding and that gullible consumers will be “will inevitably be confused and harmed,” by the knockoffs.

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Laid to Rest
09/04/18 4:00pm

POSTINO WINE BAR IS GETTING ALL TINGLY AGAIN ABOUT OPENING A NEW LOCATION IN AN OLD BUILDING Back in April, the Chronicle’s Greg Morago reported that the management behind Postino Wine Bar “got goosebumps” while checking out the portion of the old Pappas Restaurants complex off Yale St. that eventually became their debut Houston location in Heights Mercantile. Now, the sensation has come back to haunt them: “Walking into the old Montrose Mining Company – such a storied space that’s been a neighborhood gathering space since the 1970s – gave us goosebumps,” the chain’s owner tells him. And so: Renovations will begin soon to bring the longtime gay bar at 805 Pacific St. back into service as Houston’s second Postino. The venue’s former proprietor Charles Armstrong sold it to a group overseen by Fred Sharifi — the owner of the neighboring Baba Yega Cafe — in January, following the bar’s shutdown in 2016. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

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
08/31/18 10:30am

4 FLOORS OF APARTMENTS EYEING AVONDALE HALF-ACREAGE BEHIND BISTECCA The owner of 214 Avondale St. has plans to build a 4-story apartment complex on-site and is now seeking an off-street parking variance for the would-be development. If the planning commission signs off on it next month, the building would be permitted to go up with 60 spaces, 5 less than city rules mandate for the just-under-half-acre site, 2 blocks west of Bagby and directly north of Bistecca Ristorante. (Seven bike racks capable of holding 28 bikes total would also be included.) The public hearing for the proposal goes down on Thursday, September 13. Map: Houston Planning Commission

08/27/18 2:00pm

The outline of a 20-story apartment building called Montrose Gardens made its first public appearance late Friday in the city’s planning commission agenda, where its footprint covers over that of the Khun Kay Thai Cafe on the corner of Montrose Blvd. and W. Clay St. Only 9 of those stories will be for living, so what’s going into the rest? According to the building’s engineer: “A variety of retail stores, restaurants, and coffee shops” — all 24,000 sq.-ft. of which would be buffered from the 150-or-so upstairs apartments by 9 stories of resident-only parking. Underground, a separate 2 floor garage will gobble up retail traffic from an opening on W. Clay.

Also present on the 19,900-sq.-ft. site where the apartment’s staking its claim: the restaurant’s 2 parking lots. The northern one ran over the duplex-turned-psychic-shop directly south of it after the structure — memorialized in the aerial below — was demolished in 2016:

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Montrose Gardens
08/23/18 12:15pm

The aftermath of Bacco’s Wine Garden’s latest design choice at 3611 Montrose Blvd. has the place looking a little less like a homeless shelter and more like a bar.  Empty bottles were as close as the venue could get to the real thing before its TABC license got approved on Tuesday. Now that that’s all squared away, real booze will be stored inside.

It’s a marketing strategy similar to the one Postino employed with the bright yellow wine promos hung up on its Heights Mercantile patio before it opened. Except by the looks of their attachment, these reds, whites — and even a few proseccos — are here to stay.

They line the bar’s fencing all the way out to the sidewalk:

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The Pre-Game
08/22/18 12:15pm

The recent removal of Drew’s BBQ’s signage at 819 Richmond Ave has left a piece of its predecessor Tonala Rustic Furniture uncovered along the street. The barbecue joint closed down last month after 3 years in the 100-plus-year-old house pictured above, tucked in the southeastern portion of Montrose near Spur 527 that’s known officially as Roseland Estates.

When Drew’s first picked up there in 2015, the house was white-ish and fronted by signage for the Living Mosaic Inclusive Christian Church. That display moved, along with the church itself, to The Montrose Center’s 3 story dingbat building 7 blocks away:

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Richmond Retrospective
08/17/18 10:00am

MONTROSE SHAKE SHACK CONSTRUCTION IS ABOUT TO BEGIN A building permit filed yesterday for the corner where Burger King’s been lying in pieces on Westheimer near Montrose Blvd. reveals construction is imminent on the Shack Shake set to replace it. Upon completion, it’ll be Houston’s fourth Shake Shack location, after the one in Rice Village, at the Galleria, and in section 157 at Minute Maid Park. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox