12/05/18 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT’S ON THE RISE AT ALLEN PKWY. AND GILLETTE? “And as of yesterday, a wood frame has gone up. It definitely does not look like the lower floors of the 11-story-ish building shown in the upper right of the rendering.” [Chris C., commenting onA First Concrete Step Toward Building That Mixed-Use Complex at Allen Pkwy. and Gillette St.] Photo of new concrete pad on Gillette St. south of Allen Pkwy.: Swamplox inbox

12/05/18 3:30pm

Perched up in the parking garage of the Ashton on West Dallas apartments, a Swamplot reader has been monitoring recent progress on the empty field once home to a garbage incinerator between Allen Parkway Village and the Federal Reserve building. The new flat work shown at top across Gillette St. is the first man-made addition to the 6-acre site since renderings showed a few mixed-use towers including a Thompson hotel, condos, office space, and retail cropping up on it last year.

Crews began clearing the southwestern corner of the property for the new pad 3 weeks ago by busting up some older concrete that stood in its way. Next, they took their work underground:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

The Allen
12/04/18 1:00pm

At least one new retail building is about to sprout on the vacant 2.6-acre strip of land across from the Wayside Dr. Walmart, according to a recent building permit filing. The rendering above shows the Good Stuff that could end up in the middle of the new building next-door to a More-Or-Less-occupied storefront that’s bounded by apastrophic endcap tenant Pete’s.

It’ll all be set back quite a distance away from Wayside in order to leave some room for a future building that’s planned directly east of the strip later on:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Good Stuff Inside
11/30/18 10:30am

FIRST PHILIPPINE BAPTIST CHURCH’S NEW NEIGHBOR: SPIKE SPORT VOLLEYBALL CLUB Site work is about to begin on a volleyball gym off the Fort Bend Pkwy. that’ll fill in the gap between First Philippine Baptist Church (shown above) and the Missouri City drainage ditch officially known as VIII-BI. The planned 8-court gym is the latest from Spike Club, which previously held court in a complex next to the post office on S. Gessner north of W. Bellfort. Since moving out of there earlier this year, its players and staff have taken temporary refuge in the Westbury Christian School’s athletic complex over on Fondren Rd. They plan to arrive in the Missouri City location sometime next spring. Photo: Southern Baptist Convention

11/27/18 4:45pm

Here’s a toilet-side look at the new Regions Bank that’s going up at Fountain View and San Felipe in place of the Dino’s Texaco gas station torn down there in September. It’s a replacement of sorts for the bank’s shuttered branch inside 5005 Woodway, a lowrise office tower about a mile and a half away, near Sage Rd. It’s also one of 14 new branches the bank announced plans to open earlier this year, at which time it had 29 existing locations in the Houston area.

The new building hasn’t yet gotten off the ground, though excavators are busy prowling the half-acre site across from the Tanglewood H-E-B. The bank’s 20-year lease (with 4 consecutive 5-year renewal options) officially begins next March.

Photos: Swamplox inbox

San Felipe at Fountain View
11/20/18 1:30pm

ESCAPE ROOM CHAIN NOW GETTING SETTLED IN MID MAIN LOFTS The latest tenant cropping up in the Mid Main Lofts’ Main-St. side: Project Panic, a 3,395-sq.-ft. escape room venue. Judging from the size and layout of the chain’s other Houston location at Fry Rd. and Park Row Dr. — home of zombie-apocalypse-, ski-resort-, abandoned-school-, and hospital-themed challenges — the new spot will probably house multiple rooms. It’s going in between Kura Revolving Sushi Bar’s corner restaurant off Holman St. and the recently-opened URBN Dental office a few doors south of it. [Previously on Swamplot] Map of Mid Main Lofts’ ground floor: LoopNet

11/13/18 3:00pm

The 2016 lawsuit that just last week resulted in a multi-million dollar judgment against Houston developer Urban Living isn’t the only litigation the firm’s caught up in right now. Since the beginning of the year, the same plaintiff, Preston Wood & Associates, has filed 4 more suits against the developer and its partners, alleging that at least 6 more Urban Living projects were based of derivatives of the design firm’s copyrighted townhome plans.

One of the projects, dubbed The Modern on Sabine, is shown at top on the corner of Sabine and Bingham streets. Another, The Modern on Austin, went up in place of a few row houses torn down at Austin and Tuam near the end of 2013:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

The Kicker
11/13/18 10:15am

Aside from the presence of workers, the only hint you’ll find that construction has begun on the MDI Superfund site is the sign now standing at the location itself (and the HAIF thread where a user first called attention the whole scene). It’s facing toward the end of Gillespie St., a tiny Fifth Ward road that crosses over Hirsch Rd. and some railroad tracks 3 blocks north of Clinton Dr. before petering out into the eastern edge of the vacant, 35-acre industrial site. There, 3 acres are now giving rise to 42 new townhomes put there Urban Living, the Houston developer that received a multi-million dollar bill in court last week for copying copyrighted townhome plans at a handful of other sites. It’s calling this latest batch East River Yards (an apparent nod to the other industrial tract just south, the gradually crumbling KBR campus that’s been redubbed East River.)

The East River Yards houses will cluster around 3 shared driveways, all of which let out onto Press St.:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

East River Yards
11/05/18 4:30pm

Note: This story has been updated to include Beard Papa’s in the list of tenants planned for Bellaire Food Street.

The steel is up for Bellaire Food Street‘s 3-level garage, as shown in the twilit photo at top looking west down Bellaire Blvd. So far popsicle shop Popfancy, Japanese cream puff dealer Beard Papa’s, Japanese gather-’round-the-grill restaurant Pepper Lunch, Vietnamese restaurant Migo, Taiwanese shaved ice shop Meet Fresh, and — just today — Beijing-style skewered meat spot Fat Ni BBQ have punched their tickets for entry into ground floor of the 24,000-sq.-ft. strip next door, reports Eater, adding that more are on the way. The developer Kevin Kan has laid claim to the building’s second story office outpost.

Work on the 2-acre site between Beltway 8 and Gessner got off the ground earlier this year:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Where Diho Apartments Left Off
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 Houston Methodist office midrise is underway. Eight of those levels will be devoted to parking, the project manager over at Hunt Construction tells Swamplot. 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: Swamplox inbox

South of Brays Bayou
10/31/18 5:00pm

Looking east from what’s now the top of the soon-to-be-7 story Giorgetti Condo midrise on Steel St., you get a real eyeful of the planned 32-stories taller Hanover River Oaks apartment tower that’s rising next to it (and a glimpse at 2727 Kirby in the distance). Both unfinished buildings are going up on the northern half of what used to be the Kirby Court Apartments and together will occupy almost the entire block south of the former West Ave retail and apartment complex that’s recently made quite a new name for itself as “The Shops at Arrive.” A handful of houses and retail buildings along Kipling St. — including the Becks Prime on the corner of Kirby — are the only veterans sticking around.

A look in the opposite direction shows the Giorgetti’s bald head backed by neighboring townhouses along Virginia St.:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Furniture-Themed Development
10/29/18 2:00pm

This recent aerial survey of Australian developer Caydon’s 357-unit Fannin St. apartment tower between Drew and Tuam streets shows just how much it now sticks out from the rest of Midtown’s surrounding flatlands, the buffer between Downtown and the Med Center. Though the apartment’s planned 27 stories aren’t complete yet, it’s already one-upped everything in the nearby building-scape — most dramatically, the tiny park structures that occupy the superblock on the other side of Main St.

And there’s more where that came from: The developer still plans to get started on 2 more adjacent towers — in place of the departing Art Supply store and on the block that’s bounded by McGowen, Fannin, Dennis, and Main streets. Both will include all kinds of street-level retail (depicted in renderings that have now been scrubbed from the internet) and should begin rising after the apartments going up now are complete.

Video: Phillip White

First Stateside Development
10/24/18 1:15pm

A Swamplot reader sends a photo of the crane that’s gone vertical at the corner of Welch and Revere streets just outside River Oaks where Pelican Builders plans to put its 9-story Revere at River Oaks condo midrise. The ’50s-mod condo complex its replacing was torn down last year, leaving an empty patch running lengthwise along Welch St., adjacent to the homes and townhomes that make up the rest of the block. They’re all overlooked by the 34-floor Huntingdon condo tower a few blocks west, shown looming large in the photo at top.

Photo: Swamplox inbox. Rendering: Kirksey Architecture

 

Spiking the Lot
10/19/18 10:00am

“Houston must have looked huge to Lyndon Johnson as he drove toward it across the flat Gulf plains in his battered little car,” writes Robert Caro in his biography of the former president. Johnson’s destination: Sam Houston High School (shown at top), which opened in 1921 in place of the even-older Central High School on the block bounded by Austin, Rusk, Caroline, and Capitol — the same spot where the new Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts is now “90 percent complete,according to Paper City’s Annie Gallay.

Hired to teach public speaking and coach the debate team, Johnson — writes Caro — promised his new principal he’d win the state championship. He didn’t, coming in second at the tournament in Austin. Still, Johnson had succeeded in making a name for himself among staff — who gave him a $100 raise and a contract for the next school year — and among the school’s 1,800 students — who jockeyed for enrollment in “Mr. Johnson’s speech class” during the following school year. By the end of LBJ’s first full year at Sam Houston, reports Caro, enrollment had increased from 60 to 110 new students.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Sam Houston High to HSPVA
10/03/18 1:00pm

A Swamplot reader perched up in the SkyHouse River Oaks apartment building on Westcreek Ln. has been sending in updates on the new strippy building rising directly south of Robbins Brothers Jewlers’ W.-Loop-Feeder location. The photo at top shows the current state of progress on the new structure, and the other one above shows where it was at 2 and a half weeks ago.

Although nobody’s piped up just yet to say what it’ll look like when its done, a temporary address board hanging outside the construction site gives its location as 2111 W. Loop S. — reports the reader — which is the same spot where the city has signed off on permits for a 3-story retail and parking building over the last few months. It’s also the former site of Joe’s Golf House (though its address, 2121 W. Loop S., was slightly different the one now in use) and its feeder-fronting golf ball sign which remains teed-up today.

Here’s a closer view of the site from September:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Behind Joes’s Golf Tee