01/18/18 4:00pm

Excavators are now moving dirt around on the corner of Kirby and oak-lined Steel St. where a 39-story apartment tower dubbed Hanover River Oaks is planned. Hanover bought a 1.6-acre portion of the former Kirby Court Apartments along Steel St. in 2016; funding issues had left the project in limbo for most of the prior year. The photo above, taken from the highrise at 2727 Kirby, looks southwest past the corner tower of the Gables West Ave apartments to show a portion of the crater where the new apartment tower is now under construction.

Although the project has a Kirby Dr. address, the building won’t actually front the street. Instead, it will sit behind Becks Prime at the corner of Kirby and Kipling (partly visible in the bottom left of the image above). Earlier renderings showed a new standalone restaurant building fronting Kirby just south of Becks Prime. West of the drive-thru restaurant zone, an entrance driveway for the apartment will run between Kipling and Steel.

A recent rendering from architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz views the tower from southeast of 2727 Kirby:

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Hanover River Oaks
01/17/18 4:45pm

Snapshots from the scenic Robbins Brothers jewelry store parking lot on the West Loop show how much progress has been made on the 34-story Arabella (formerly Arábella) condo tower next to the Target parking lot on San Felipe. Construction on the bumpy building began in 2015 on a portion of the former Westcreek Apartments at the corner of San Felipe and Westcreek. The photo at top shows the new building at 4521 San Felipe towering over the 25-story SkyHouse River Oaks apartment building, as well as the 17-story Wilshire condo tower.

A closer view of the trio:

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In Height Order
01/12/18 2:45pm

The 3 fluorescent-vested figures in the photo at top are standing on the third floorplate of the 15,000-sq.-ft. mixed-use building now going up on the northwest corner of Studewood and Omar streets. Developer Chris Dray of NewQuest is planting the 18,731-sq.-ft. property at 927 Studewood with a 3-story office structure including ground-floor retail called Heights Central (not to be confused with Heights Central Station). A house and 2 small retail structures — one of them formerly home to Dan’s Chrysler Marine Service — were demolished on the property in 2015.

Boulevard Realty plans to move into the complex from its current office in the space formerly occupied by Oolala, Heights Candy Bar, and Tulips & Tutus 2 blocks to the south. The storefront portion of company’s future digs is indicated below in a site plan taken from NewQuest’s leasing brochure:

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Heights Corner Redo
01/09/18 5:00pm

The steel is up on the site of Lamar High School’s new campus, nearly in its sophomore year of construction adjacent to the existing building at 3325 Westheimer. Photos of the new schoolhouse — which will front Eastside St. to the east of the old building — show it still in assembly on what used to be the high school’s track and athletic field. When it’s done, the planned 4-story structure will house 2,800 to 3,100 students, who will spend most of their class time in the new building, but still be able to access its neighbor through a 2nd-story concourse that links to it.

The perspective section below from architect Perkins + Will slices open both the planned and existing buildings and peers south into their classrooms. On the right, it shows the concourse plugging into the old building’s gray exterior:

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Secondary Education Building
12/28/17 2:00pm

THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN–THEMED BREWERY COMING TO GARDEN OAKS’ BEER ROW Construction began earlier this month, reports Jen Para, on a 1,600-sq.-ft. brewhouse for Walking Stick Brewing Co. in Garden Oaks. Also on tap for the 16,948-sq.-ft. site at 957 Wakefield Dr., pictured above from the back, which faces Judiway: a 3,600-sq.-ft. bar and patio featuring the brewery’s 7 beers, each of which is named after a peak in the Rocky Mountains. Walking Stick will sit directly across the street from the volleyball courts at Wakefield Crowbar and its neighboring Great Heights Brewing Co. microbrewery. Petrol Station is at the end of the block, at Golf Dr. [Houston Business Journal] Photo: Walking Stick Brewery

12/26/17 3:45pm

There’s a new outdoor stairway zig-zagging its way up to the top of the Raven Tower’s above-ground spot at the northwest corner of the White Oak Music Hall complex. The elevated bar opened in January 2016 on North St., just off N. Main east of I-45, but shut down in May of that year after its developer decided to address accessibility issues through renovations. It only received a certificate of occupancy — allowing the venue to operate as a bar — in April of this year.

Railings and landings are still missing from the new stairway. Inside the podium, an indoor stairway wraps around a central elevator shaft that rises from the base of the tower up to its peacock-blue penthouse.

Here’s a view of the tower from beyond an adjacent concert venue, one of several surrounding the White Oak Music Hall’s main building:

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WOMH and Friends
12/20/17 3:00pm

Architect and townhome builder Parra Design Group is showing off its almost-complete new headquarters building at 4619 Lyons Ave. in the Fifth Ward. The 7,815-sq.-ft. office-warehouse complex sits on the corner of Lyons and Schweikhardt St. The firm’s offices are on the 1,500-sq.-ft. second floor. (That’s Camilo Parra doing his scale-figure impression on the balcony in the photo above.)

No other tenants are in the building yet. A statement from the firm, which moved its offices from Rice Military, indicates that the building’s double-height atrium space will be made available to the new building’s neighbors for “meetings and other activities.”

A 2-story brick section fronts Lyons Ave. A view from the Schweikhardt side shows the back portion of the building, a larger single-story warehouse-style space that Parra will use as a work area and to store building materials and supplies:

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Fifth Ward
11/28/17 5:00pm

The steel is up for the cathedral-like beer-entertainment complex that Saint Arnold is building across Semmes St. from its Lyons Ave. brewery. The view at top shows what you’ll see now if you look southeast from the corner of Semmes and Lyons. Bocce courts and a multi-purpose lawn will sprout in the foreground. An extended cupola will have lettering that spells out the brewery’s name.

The complex’s restaurant, shown in the recent rendering above, will include stained-glass images of holy figures and murals featuring brewing iconography:

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Beer Gardening
11/14/17 2:45pm

Site work has begun on the block of Birdsall St. just north of Memorial Dr., where demolition of the 2-story buildings comprising the former 57 Off Memorial apartments was finished up a couple of weeks ago. The photo above, sent to Swamplot by photographer Sonya Cuellar, shows a view of 160 Birdsall St. looking east in its current naked condition; Birdsall in the foreground and Venice St. on the right. The vacated portion of the Malone St. block beyond is also part of the project.

Going up in place of the 120 apartment units knocked out by the excavators: Jonathan Farb’s new City Place Memorial Park apartments, which renderings show would follow the pattern of Farb’s City Place Midtown apartments, only taller because the garages will be underneath and with more prominent cornices and balconies: 4 wood-framed stories will sit on top of 2-level concrete parking garages fitted with courtyard swimming pools on their decks. It’ll have 264 units in 2 separate buildings.

Photo: Sonya Cuellar. Rendering: Farb Homes/Wallace Garcia Wilson Architects

Farb Homes
11/06/17 2:15pm

Latest promised opening date for the new beer-and-wine serving, credit-card accepting (cash still preferred, and please pay before eating) Cleburne Cafeteria, now appearing in the late stages of construction at the corner of Bissonnet and Edloe St.: sometime this month. Photos from the scene show a new sidewalk, accompanied by 8 new trees from Trees for Houston, making an appearance along the Bissonnet frontage, in place of what used to be a portion of the restaurant’s parking area.

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Opening in November
11/01/17 12:45pm

Here’s a view from 2 Houston Center onto the construction site where a new 13-story precast-concrete parking garage is in the early stages of assembly. The site is the west half of the block bounded by Rusk, Fannin, and Walker streets Downtown. On the eastern half: The newly opened Le Meridien hotel (partly visible in the right foreground), built in the renovated former Melrose Building; and (hidden) behind that, the 11-level 1110 Rusk parking garage. On the opposite side of Fannin St. is another recent Downtown hotel: The Aloft, at 820 Fannin (in the left foreground of the image), with BG Group Place directly behind it.

The new parking garage going up on Downtown’s Block 94 appears to be an accessory to another development not visible in the photo, however: It’s a project of developers Lionstone and Midway, to go with the companies’ Jones at Main redo of the former Gulf Building and the adjacent Great Jones building at 712 and 708 Main St. respectively, both 2 blocks away to the northwest.

The parking garage site has been a surface parking lot since not long after Memorial Day 1986, when the retail building on the site was decimated by a natural gas explosion. The replacement structure is expected to be complete by the end of next year.

Photo: Eric Ramon

Block 94
10/31/17 10:30am

MUD AND WATER AT THE PINE CREST GOLF COURSE Aerial, Pine Crest Golf Club Tomorrow City Council is scheduled to approve a new municipal utility district for a proposed development on the Pine Crest Golf Course at Gessner and Clay Rd. in Spring Branch that would include enough new homes to house 800 residents. MetroNational is selling the 116-acre site to Meritage Homes. “The district would be served by the City’s regional plant, West District Wastewater Treatment Plant,” reads the agenda item. “The nearest major drainage facility for Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 552 would be Buffalo Bayou, which flows into the Houston Ship Channel.” [City Council; previously on SwamplotPhoto of Pine Crest Golf Course: Meritage Homes

10/26/17 4:15pm

The mocha-colored drive-thru Starbucks that’s been brewing at 1801 Richmond Ave. since its predecessor building was torn down in January now appears just about ready to serve. Landscape crews are plopping in plants on the Richmond Ave. side; this view taken from an upper floor of the nearby Fairmont Museum District Apartments shows how the new building looks nestled next to its notable neighbors, which include the Big Tex Storage facility and King Cole liquor store across Richmond and Mexican restaurant La Tapatia just across Woodhead:

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Montrose Drive-Thru
10/24/17 3:30pm

This exterior rendering of Bungalow Heights, the new bar-restaurant going up at 1919 Beall St., the former site of Air Cool and the Junk Goes Green recycling center one block west of the Cedar Creek Bar & Grill on 20th St., shows a building with a lot of bungalow parts assembled in somewhat bungalow-ish fashion, being patronized by what appear to be normal-sized humans. But take a close look at the scale of the thing in proportion to the surrounding figures — and the actual framing now up on the site pictured above — and you’ll soon realize this is a building where every part is probably going to be a whole lot bigger than what it’s modeled after.

For starters, the structure itself measures 5,000 sq. ft. — about the size of the typical lot you might find a bungalow sitting on. This site itself is two-thirds of an acre. Contractor Avan Construction installed the building’s trusses last week with a crane. (The longest truss spans almost 70 ft. and weighs over 400 lbs.) Inside, you’ll find a floor plan significantly different from the typical living-dining-kitchen on one side, bedroom-bath-bedroom on the other arrangement of an unexpanded bungalow:

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Bungalow Heights
10/24/17 12:45pm

Not too much in the way of timelapse settings, drone footage, pulsating but string-infused soundtracks, supertitles, or accompanying sound effects appears to have been spared in the making of this video ode to the Arch-Con crane assembly now hovering over the southeast corner of Washington Ave and S. Heights Blvd. That’s the location of the planned H-E-B Market with the office space and 5-story apartment building on top of it soon to be known as the first phase of Midway’s Buffalo Heights development, on the northwest corner of the former Memorial Heights apartments.

Video: Midway Companies

Going Vertical