02/15/19 3:30pm

At least one Swamplot reader was left puzzled by the recent appearance of this strange, standalone tower and surrounding scaffolding off Richmond Ave, just west of the Spur 527 overpass. Turns out it’s an elevator bank, planned to serve the upper stories of a not-yet-built building on Jack St. that’ll house a new location for workout venue Timberline Fitness. An entity connected to the gym’s owner Dean Theriot bought the long-vacant parcel of land where the structure is now going up in 2017. The gym’s current location is just a few blocks away, on Branard St. off Montrose Blvd.

For the past few years prior to the beginning of construction, the property has done stints as a parking lot. It’s been empty ever since a pair of houses were demolished on it in the mid-2000s.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Timberline Fitness Warmup
02/15/19 11:30am

Now that the former Espiga de Oro tortilla manufacturing facility on Shepherd Dr. between 14th and 15th streets has been torn down, work has begun on the new 337-unit apartment building — dubbed The Tortilla Factory — that’s taking its place. The photo at top looks north up Shepherd to show a crane and some construction vehicles at work beyond fencing emblazoned with the mark of the project’s developer, Alliance Residential. It bought the 2-acre site from the folks behind the tortilla operation late last year, following an undercover ICE operation that revealed about half of the factory’s employees between 2011 and 2015 were undocumented immigrants. After entering a guilty plea, Espiga de Oro agreed to pay the feds $1 million for “conspiracy to induce and encourage unlawful immigration.”

The new Tortilla Factory will stretch almost the entire length of the block between 14th and 15th:

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Where Espiga de Oro Left Off
02/14/19 2:00pm

A Swamplot reader up in the St. Josephs Professional building sends these photos looking south to show construction on the new 5-story, 216-unit apartment building that developer Winther Investment has going at 2111 Austin St., as well as the vacant lot just east of it that’s currently serving as a staging area for construction. The developer has been mulling putting a “a 12- or 20-story” building on the empty block, the HBJ’s Fauzeya Rahman reported last month, a project that probably won’t kick off until next year. When it does, some ground floor retail could be in the mix according to Winther Investment’s head honcho, who told Rahman he “would like to see a restaurant” at street level. Plans for the midrise that’s already on the way up include only parking and dwelling space.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

2-Step Process
02/13/19 10:30am

The founder and public face of 4-state sandwich shop Ike’s Sandwiches, Ike Shehadeh, is about to have his bald, goatee-ed likeness installed in 3 more spots: on the north (top), east, and south (above) sides of the new Heights Central Station shopping center at Heights Blvd. and 11th St. The restaurant signed a lease last year to move into the complex’s east building — reported The Leader‘s Betsy Denson — where it’ll neighbor Shine in the Heights salon, the bakery known as Tiff’s Treats, and 2 forthcoming businesses: Ocean Juice and women’s clothing store RichGirls Boutique.

They all sit across from a new Kolache Shoppe drive-thru and next door to the building Dish Society plans to split with a dentist:

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11th St. Newcomer
02/12/19 12:00pm

Note: This story has been updated to make clear that the planned garage and office building are 2 separate structures.

A Swamplot reader perched up in the Texas Children’s Pediatric Human Resources building at the east corner of S. Braeswood Blvd. and Greenbriar sends this photo looking out the window to show how Houston Methodist’s soon-to-be 7-story admin building is shaping up on the south side of Brays Bayou, where a growing handful of medical admin buildings are hunkering down to support their more clinical neighbors on the other side of the waterway. All 3 stories shown above — along with 4 more floors to sit atop them — will be for office space. Adjacent to them, an 8-level garage is planned. Although it hasn’t yet risen, its foundation has been poured.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Med Center Outskirts
02/08/19 1:00pm

Construction appears to have picked up lately on the not-yet-named bar going up on the corner of Emancipation Ave and Rosewood St., according to the photo at top sent in by a Swamplot reader. The new structure is across the street from longstanding Third Ward watering hole Dbar and its adjacent parking lot. (Formerly known as Dowling Street Lounge, Dbar did away with that name around the same time that Dowling St. became Emancipation Ave.)

The new build on the west side of the street looks to include a few parking spots of its own on both Emancipation and Rosewood. One casualty of the work so far: the sign shown above telling truckers not to use Rosewood as a thru-street to the 288 feeder, which runs one block west of the construction site.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

4420 Emancipation
01/25/19 3:15pm

TALLYING UP NEW HOUSTON HOME CONSTRUCTION IN 2018 The year-end numbers from Houston’s planning department are in: 5,483 new single-family home building permits were issued in 2018. At least 615 of them were issued for properties within the 100-year floodplain, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis published by Matt Dempsey and Mike Morris back in October, a month after the city’s new rules for development in floodplains took effect. And at least 600 were issued for homes in the 500-year floodplain. Since September, new homes in both of the 100- and 500-year zones have been required to go up at least 2 ft. above the 500-year floodplain elevation. [Houston Planning Department] Photo of 1505 and 1503 Everett St.: HAR

01/14/19 4:00pm

Now that the former XCars service center across from the Silber St. Walmart has been torn down, construction is underway on the Enterprise Rent-a-Car building that’s taking its place. The new 960-sq.-ft. building’s placement on the third-acre lot suggests there will be plenty of room to fit a fleet of cars there, too. The L-shaped structure that stood on the property previously was a bit bigger — 1,200-sq.-ft. — and featured a long canopy extending out over its parking lot and toward the El Pollo Loco that went up directly across the street in 2015.

Right now, Enterprise’s closest rental office is just down the street, across Silber from the Marq-E Entertainment Center and directly adjacent to Italian car dealership Helfman Imports.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Walmart’s New Neighbor
01/14/19 10:45am

A Swamplot reader perched up in the SkyHouse Main Apartments has been documenting the evolving scene 3 blocks away from his living room, where the block once home to U-Haul Moving and Storage of Midtown at San Jacinto now completely demolished — is now giving rise to a larger, replacement U-Haul building. The photo at top looks east down Pease St. to show workers planting the earth with beams for the new structure. On the left, you can see what the previous moving and storage building looked like during its final stand at the end of last year.

The demolished building consisted of 28,376 sq.-ft. for self-storage, moving supplies retail, and truck parking. Building permits filed for its replacement indicate it’ll be 220,160-sq.-ft.:

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Downtown Block 348
01/11/19 12:00pm

BELLAIRE FOOD STREET SCRAPS FOOD HALL PLANS, WILL GO FULL STRIP-STYLE INSTEAD The 10,000-sq.-ft. food hall that had been planned as part of the 24,000-sq.-ft. pan-Asian restaurant building just in side Beltway 8 dubbed Bellaire Food Street will not come to be, reports Eater’s Alaena Hoestetter. Instead, that space will be used to give a 3 more not-yet-named restaurant their own individual storefronts. So far 10 restaurants — Shi Miao Dao, Fat Ni BBQ, Peppery Lunch, Beard Papa’s, Popfancy, Migo, Meet Fresh, Waistation, Chatime, and a South Korean coffee chain called Tom N Toms that serves a “baked sweet potato latte” — have been announced as tenants. Upstairs is reserved for developer Kevin Kan’s office. [Eater Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Bellaire Food Street

12/17/18 1:30pm

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN THE MONTROSE SHAKE SHACK OPENS THIS THURSDAY Aside from the standard beefy fare, here’s what you can expect to encounter at the chain’s new Burger-King-replacement location on Westheimer west of Montrose Blvd. when it opens this Thursday: tabletops made from “reclaimed bowling alley lanes,” a mural from local artist Michael Rodriguez (the same guy behind new female astronaut artwork next to Shake Shack’s Rice Village location and the colorful first floor of the former Battelstein’s building downtown), and a free Shake-Shack-themed holiday ornament for the first 100 customers (doors open at 11 a.m.). There are also a few Montrose-specific menu items planned at the 1002 Westheimer restaurant including custards acquired from nearby UB Preserv and less-nearby Fluff Bake Bar, as well as a carrot cake offering served with coffee grounds from the location’s next-door neighbor Blacksmith. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of construction on Montrose Shake Shack: Swamplox inbox

12/14/18 3:30pm

Get a load of this multi-chromatic character that’s recently taken shape on York St., between Lamar and McKinney streets: EaDo Storage. Built in place of the Randolph Office Furniture Exchange warehouse that bit the dust in early 2017, the new 107,677-sq.-ft. facility takes up the entire block. It isn’t yet open.

You can see a few cherry-pickers applying the finishing touches to the structure’s exterior in the photo above. If the rendering the business put out last month is to be believed, new trees and hedges should be on the way, too:

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EaDo Storage
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:

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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:

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Good Stuff Inside