06/29/16 1:00pm

Imperial Market, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Johnson Development, the company behind that sugar-company-themed master-planned community in Sugar Land, announced yesterday that it has officially handed over the land for the project’s refinery-centric Imperial Market mixed-use district to the folks who will develop it. The 26 acres freshly sold are along Oyster Creek just north of the crossing of Hwy. 90 (visible on the far left of the rendering above, which faces south). That’s Kempner St. running directly alongside the proposed development and crossing the creek as well; a pair of former railroad bridges currently upstream of Kempner are shown replaced with car and pedestrian bridges respectively.

Plans for the development incorporate structures from out-of-use former facilities of the Imperial Sugar Company. The refinery’s silos (instead of becoming an art space) are marked to host a couple of fast-casual restaurants; the 1925 char house, where huge quantities of carefully burned animal bones were once used to whiten and filter cane sugar syrup, will become a boutique hotel. Both structures are more prominently visible in the southeast-facing view below — the boxy brick char house appears to the left of the single-pour-concrete silos:


Refining Sugar Land Master Plans
02/29/16 1:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: GETTING HOOKED IN TO THE HOUSTON UNDERGROUND Downtown Tunnels“The condo where I live is connected to the tunnels. It makes it very easy [to get] to and from work, home for lunch, etc. And during the rush hours I don’t have to worry about avoiding cars, delivery trucks, and unsightly ‘street people’ hanging out around Main Street Square. I hope that many of these new residential developments downtown can be connected to the tunnel system.” [Walker, commenting on Comment of the Day: Fighting Tunnel Vision on Downtown’s Pedestrian Experience] Illustration: Lulu

12/29/15 12:00pm

FARM-THEMED PLANNED COMMUNITY RIPENING ALONG THE WESTERN GRAND PARKWAY HousHarvest Green, 618 Vineyard, Bluff Hollow Ct, Richmond, TX 77469ton’s first farm-centric master-planned community is moving forward on the Grand Parkway along Oyster Creek in Richmond, writes Paul Takahashi of the HBJ. The Harvest Green residential community will be structured around working farms and themed accordingly throughout: in addition to opting for a backyard planter (available in L-shaped or rectangular), residents can elect to work a plot in a 5-acre community garden, part of the 300 acres of farmable land that will be associated with the development. Not sure what to do with a backhoe? An on-site farmer will offer classes in both agriculture and nutrition. Those less keen to get their hands in the dirt will be able to visit the farm-to-table restaurant instead — or simply partake of the edible landscaping. Johnson Development has recently opened model homes at the site, and is currently constructing non-model homes as well. [HBJ] Photo: Johnson Development  

03/25/15 2:00pm

HOW THE 610 LOOP EARNED ITS PRESTIGE Traffic on West Loop, Galleria, Houston“I’ve heard 610 called a lot of things, but never ‘prestigious,'” writes a Swamplot reader who is curious to learn how the phrase “the prestigious 610 Loop” nevertheless came to appear in Wikipedia — in the entry for Hines’s gated Somerset Green complex, now under construction on 46 acres of an old industrial operation at 7002 Old Katy Rd., just east of the Houston Design Center. Ah, but such is the value of Wikipedia’s references and external links sections: The source of the phrase turns out to be Hines itself. A press release that predates by a couple of years the billboards now seen advertising the 500-home development along a few (less-prestigious, no doubt) Inner Loop highways still bears the implicit declaration in its headline: “Hines to Develop 46-acre Planned Community Inside Houston’s Prestigious 610 Loop.” And so it is. [Wikipedia; press release] Photo of the 610 Loop: PINKÉ (license)

03/16/15 12:15pm

Townhome Under Construction, 5902 Schuler St., Woodcrest, Houston

The upper floors of a townhome under construction at the corner of Knox and Schuler streets in Woodcrest were dismantled by workers over the weekend. Late last week, the mostly framed but still unsheathed building went askew after — according to a reader report — a forklift bonked it a little too hard. The damage appeared to be restricted to the bottom floor, with studs gaining a noticeable lean. The reader also reported seeing bulges appear in the back of the structure.

At the time of the accident, workers under contract to Suca’s Home Builders had framed 3 and a half stories of the 4-story townhome at 5902 Schuler St. By Saturday, the building was down to 2 stories, as pictured above. The following day, most of the second floor was removed as well, and the structure had been pulled straight by the forklift, according to the reader — as shown here:


Downright Upright in Woodcrest
03/13/15 5:45pm

Townhomes Under Construction at 1301 Knox St. and 5902 Schuler St., Woodcrest, Houston

“Yesterday around 4:30 pm we heard a strange creak, and when we looked across the street, this is what we saw,” reports a Swamplot reader who was at the corner of Knox St. and Schuler in Woodcrest. The unintended lean in the first floor of the westernmost of 2 townhouses under construction on the site was apparently caused by a nudge from a high lift forklift. The 4-story structures at 1305 Knox and 5902 Schuler are under construction by Suca’s Home Builders.

“It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the back of the house has bulged out about a foot as well,” writes reader Matthew, who also reported seeing workers around, in, and on the building today, which he considers “in serious danger” of collapsing.


Don’t Fall for This
03/09/15 1:00pm

Rendering of Mimosa Place, 2415 Mimosa Dr., Avalon Place, Houston

HBJ reporter Paul Takahashi has details on the gated compound of 18 homes Pelican Builders is planning to fit onto the about-an-acre site of the recently vacated Mimosa Lane Apartments and Argonne Forest Apartments at the corner of Mimosa Dr. and Argonne St., behind the Huntingdon condo tower in Avalon Place. And — surprise! — they’ll be very similar to the townhouse-style structures in Pelican’s Bancroft Place compound 2-1/2 miles to the west, which was designed by the same architect, the Hopkins Company.


Avalon Place
07/23/14 12:15pm

Here’s the scene from above Morningside Dr. in the Rice Village, where Hanover is building a 12-story apartment structure between Tangley and Dunstan, just north of the 6-story Hanover at Rice Village apartments it completed last year. Ziegler Cooper Architects’ design for the 206-unit complex will include a pool deck on the top story and a courtyard on the third:


Hanging Over the Hanover Southampton
06/13/14 2:00pm

Rendering of the Hampstead, 1508 Blodgett St., Museum Park, Houston

Deccan Development is the firm behind the unlabeled and unannounced 36-unit brick-and-stucco apartment building now under construction at 1508 Blodgett St. just north of MacGregor Elementary in Blodgett Park. And here’s a grayscale version of a rendering of the design, by Houston’s Clerkley Watkins Group (architects of the new District at Greenbriar apartments in town, among other apartment projects). For the Hampstead, 4 stories of apartments are going on top of 2 garage levels, which will be accessed from separate driveways on Blodgett and La Branch.

Rendering: Clerkley Watkins Group/Deccan Development

The Hampstead
06/13/14 10:15am

Fire Aftermath at 717 E. 8th St., Houston Heights

Builders of a home under construction in the 700 block of E. 8th St. in the Heights, near Antidote coffee house, are looking at the damage to the large structure after an apparent fire that took place a few hours ago. “We heard a fire truck, with sirens blaring, at 4:30 this morning,” reports a Swamplot tipster. The house, which is being constructed by Whitestone Builders, “dwarfs its bungalow neighbors and appears to fill the lot,” writes the tipster: “I have no idea how the fire started but it appeared to have been underneath the house with visible damage to the siding on both sides and on the porch.”


Under Construction
05/06/14 3:30pm

Construction Crew at Ashby Highrise Site, 1717 Bissonnet St., Boulevard Oaks, HoustonWhat? No friendly neighborhood groundbreaking celebration? No pics of developers and local politicos wearing hard hats and wielding pointless shovels? A mere 7 years after Buckhead Investment Partners first quietly upgraded utility service, prepared traffic-impact studies, and replatted the property of the former Maryland Manor Apartments hoping no one would notice, some sort of construction work appears to have begun on the 21-story apartment tower planned for 1717 Bissonnet St. At least that’s what this photo, taken at the scene and sent this afternoon to Swamplot by a reader, appears to show. Last week, a district court judge refused to grant an injunction that would have blocked the building’s construction.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Moving Dirt
05/02/14 12:15pm

Ashby Highrise, 1717 Bissonnet St., Boulevard Oaks, HoustonA spokesperson for Buckhead Investment Partners, the developers behind the building slated for 1717 Bissonnet St. in Boulevard Oaks known as the Ashby Highrise, tells Swamplot that they now “plan to move forward with construction as soon as possible,” on the 21-story apartment tower — “without delay.” Yesterday, Judge Randy Wilson rejected a request from neighbors of the project to issue a permanent injunction that would have barred its construction. In a press release issued yesterday, Buckhead said it planned to appeal the judge’s ruling that the developers must pay 20 neighbors the approximately $1.2 million a jury decided would compensate them for their loss of market value.

Rendering: Buckhead Investment Partners

Judge This
04/09/14 11:00am

Aerial View of Galleria McDonald's and Astoria Condo Tower Under Construction, San Felipe St. at Garretson, Uptown, Houston

Rendering of Astoria Condo Tower, Post Oak Blvd. at Garretson, Uptown, HoustonThe photo above — sent to Swamplot by a HAIF user who goes by the handle SkylineView — is our best view yet of the project themed-condo developer Randall Davis has been working on for more than 5 years: convincing the Galleria McDonald’s to scooch over just a smidge and sell him part of the fast-food restaurant’s parking lot so he could build a 30-story highrise on it with all the benefits and cachet of drive-thru adjacency. Davis’s $70 million Astoria (portrayed in more glamorous circumstances at left) is being funded in part by the immigration dreams of 29 well-to-do foreigners, who have ponied up $1 million a piece to gain themselves status as U.S. residents, a path to citizenship, and a piece of whatever action the investment brings.


Between Whole Foods and Fast Food
03/06/14 4:45pm

View of Midtown from Downtown, Including Site of Proposed Alexan Midtown, Main St. at Hadley, Midtown, Houston

Some earth-moving work has begun on the half-block surrounded by Main St., Hadley, and Travis, where a new red-colored 7-story apartment block called the Alexan Midtown is about to go up on land once reserved for a Houston Fire Museum expansion. “Not exactly the January groundbreaking we were expecting, but I’m glad it is finally happening,” writes the photographer who sent in this aerial view from the north. The 1.44-acre apartment site is the naked dirt portion smack dab in the center of the photo, on the near side of parking lot. Here’s a zoomed-in view:


Looking Down on Midtown
01/30/14 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE FAR NORTH HEIGHTS TOWNHOUSE BOOM Housing Boom“A ride around the far north Heights (bordered roughly by Yale, Shepherd, 610 and, say, 23rd) reveals a staggering amount of residential construction activity. The Sullivan Brothers project on 23rd is finally nearing completion. A dozen new townhouses at 26th and Ashland. Eight single-family homes at the same corner, with 20 or so to follow between 26th and 27th. Eight single family houses at 26th and Rutland. Twenty townhouses about to go up at 24th and Lawrence. Plus a dozen or so 2-to-6-house developments. The numbers easily reach into the triple digits, and that’s without anything on the old National Flame & Forge site (the double block between Nicholson, Rutland, 25th and 26th), which could add another hundred.” [Angostura, commenting on Where a Couple Dozen Townhomes Are Going in the Far North Heights] Illustration: Lulu