07/13/18 2:00pm

See that faint watermark in the aerial photo taken from up on the balcony? That’s the lap pool at the Parkside at Memorial Apartments just south of Memorial Dr., buried under more water than it’s designed to hold after the release of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs last August. Throughout the first floor of the surrounding buildings, the tide peaked at over 5-and-a-half ft. Workers spent the last 9 months helping the 4-year-old complex make a comeback; its leasing center officially reopened late last month — and on-site amenities now look less divey and more like the refurbished lap pool shown in the photo at top.

Other aquatic areas that took on more than they could handle include the complex’s other pool:

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The Deep End
07/13/18 10:00am

YOUR ODDS OF WINNING A YEAR’S SUPPLY OF CHICKEN SANDWICHES AT CHICK-FIL-A’S NEXT PEARLAND GRAND OPENING One in 1,365, a little slimmer than the chance of landing heads on a coin toss 10 times in a row. The Chick-fil-A in question, Pearland’s fifth, opens at Hwy. 288 and Aldine-Fort Bend Rd. on July 25, and in keeping with custom, the store is giving away 52 free #1 meals (chicken sandwich, medium Waffle Potato Fries, and a medium drink) to a group of 100 lucky loyalists selected from those who spend the night before camped out at the location, reports the Chronicle’s Dana Burke. This time though, the franchise is taking measures to ensure that only hometown competitors 18-and-up get access to the prize by limiting eligibility by zip code. The challengers: 77584, 77581, 77588, 77578, 77048, and 77047 — home to 136,500 legal adult residents of Pearland, Brookside Village, Shadow Creek Ranch, Manvel, and parts of Southeast Houston including Crestmont. To keep things competitive, reports Burke: “All participants must remain in their designated spots the entire time, with the exception of bathroom breaks.” [Houston Chronicle] Photo of 2016 Chick-fil-A First 100 event in Prestonwood, Texas: Chick-fil-A

07/10/18 3:30pm

Surf’s up at El Segundo Swim Club, the Second Ward swimming pool bar that’s now soaking up the sun on the formerly vacant lot at 5180 Avenue L, north of Navigation Blvd. The watering hole has been inviting swimmers in to take a dip over the past few days through a series of ticketed preview events that are planned to continue through this weekend.

Shade comes courtesy of the bright orange umbrellas now surrounding the pool deck — in place of the folded-up, gray ones shown above during the site’s transition phase back in February. A few modified shipping containers give visitors room to get out of the sun, too — except for the one on the left in the photo at top; it houses the bar.

The 15,000-sq.-ft. lot didn’t have much flora before the redo, but that’s changed thanks to these transplants:

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Wet Bar
07/09/18 3:00pm

Since longtime Times Blvd. tenant G&G Model Shop left its storefront last August, the space has been whitened, renovated and snapped up by ArtMix Creative Learning Center — a children’s art school that relocated from 3701 W. Alabama St. earlier this year. But the model shop — located at 2522 Times for over 60 yearsremains attached to the space. A G&G representative told Swamplot previously that the metal sign would follow the business over to its new spot in the strip center at the corner of 59 and Shepherd (home to a few more elderly Rice Village expats as well).

But just last Thursday, a poster on HAIF noted that address is still crowned by a temporary vinyl banner:

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Rice Village Relics
07/09/18 10:00am

The lights are on but no one’s home anymore at the Toys R Us on OST, shuttered along with the rest of the chain’s 18 Houston locations (including Babies R Us stores) since the end of last month. Flyers advertising everything-must-go-style sales have come down from the building’s front windows — and they weren’t exaggerating: restroom signs, cash registers, and other normally priceless appointments were pawned off during the store’s last days, reported KHOU’s Jessica Borg.

But not all of them. A few extra glances through the glass fronting the parking lot reveals a good deal of hardware that last-minute shoppers didn’t manage or didn’t care to get their hands on:

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No More Fun and Games
07/05/18 2:00pm

Permanent closing time has arrived at Upper Kirby bar Hops Meet Barley — which is now sporting leasing signage from Parkway Partners next to its own grains-themed marquee at 2245 W. Alabama St., between Revere and Greenbriar. The venue checked out just shy of a 2-year run in the space formerly home to Überrito and more formerly Mission Burrito — both of which fronted a playground that once stood in the patio pictured above.

West of the building’s entrance, a parking lot wraps around and behind the structure as part of the 19,036-sq.-ft. lot it sits on: CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Tapping Out
07/05/18 12:00pm

The sales center for the not-yet-built Mandell Montrose condo slated for Fairview St. is now closed, and a representative of its sales team tells Swamplot that the developer has no plans to reopen it. Since the building’s abandonment, signage outside the converted Hyde Park residence taken over by the agents has adopted a lower position than it previously held on the structure, pictured above.

And in the neighboring 12,493-sq.-ft. lot on the corner of Fairview and Commonwealth streets — where Midtown Uptown Development Partners planned a 7-story, 24-unit midrise to overtop the surrounding neighborhood — the tallest structures are still the signs stuck up there just over a year ago:

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Fairview and Commonwealth
07/03/18 5:00pm

Coming soon to the west side of the warehouse-turned-Shops at Sawyer Yards building on the corner of Sawyer and Edwards streets: Awesome Bites, a health-minded bakery specializing in fruit- and vegetable-based muffins made without eggs, butter, or milk. A building permit filed last Friday for the strip at 2313 Edwards — the nearer building in the photo above — has the new 1,600-sq.-ft. venue slotted into suite 185. That puts it west of Pokeology in either the box labelled B above (where B&B Butchers once left its mark but never materialized) or potentially right next door to the raw fishery — if the adjacent, yet-to-be announced taco shop’s plans fall through.

Images: Lovett Commercial

First Ward
07/02/18 2:30pm

Bethany United Methodist Church has officially closed its doors at 3511 Linkwood Dr. after 68 years of services, putting a question mark on the map between Timberside Dr. and Buffalo Spdwy. At the back of the 5.5-acre religious complex, a portion devoted to the Bethany Methodist Weekday School remains open. But the church — which occupies the majority of the structure’s 48,000 sq. ft. — has been shuttered since early last month.

The last time Bethany planned to use its land for non-clerical purposes, it signed off on a 4-story senior living development that would’ve gone right up on a portion of the church complex — but the midrise never got off the ground. Had it risen, it would’ve been the first real shakeup on the block since the late ’90s, when the decades-old Dome Shadows nightclub fronting Buffalo Spdwy. bit the dust and nearly 70 newly-built homes rose up in its place — just east of the church.

Here’s what the club looked like on one of its slower days:

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Latest Religious Relics
06/29/18 9:30am

Caffé di Firenze is the name of the coffee shop now on its way to the 127-year-old Henry Brashear building at 910 Prairie St., across from El Big Bad and Local Foods’s downtown location. Despite a renovation in 2016 that added red face-paint to the building’s formerly-black façade, its first floor has remained vacant for the past several years. Plans now call for that story to include a sidewalk seating area that’ll hang out in front of it.

Meanwhile, the building’s longtime owner is still working to get one or more tenants in the upper 2 floors — which include this outdoor patio:

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Coffee Grounds
06/25/18 3:45pm

Get ready to bid goodbye to Etro Lounge’s current location on Windsor St., where it splits a building with Anvil. Tucked back from Westheimer behind the wider front face of its bar neighbor, the ’80s-themed club has been around for over a decade. Its plan now — after a last dance on July 28 — is to relocate to a twice-as-large downtown space on the 100 block of Main St.

That’s where developer Dan Zimmerman of NewForm Real Estate recently finished up renovations on the Raphael, Dorrance, and Brewster buildings — at 114, 110, and 108 Main, respectively — which he’s folded into a mixed-use complex dubbed Main & Co, pictured below:

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Anvil’s Other Half
06/21/18 1:00pm

The east side of the building that fronts McDuffie St. — next door to the River Oaks Theatre — has been quiet since an early Monday morning blaze torched Nail-Tique salon, doing some damage to the Steinway Piano Gallery in the process. It all started when an air conditioner on the roof overheated and caught fire, shorting the connection to an electrical box on the building that then ignited as well, reports the Chronicle.

No pianos caught fire — according to an employee at Epicure Cafe around the corner on W. Gray — but there was smoke damage in the music store, and firefighters busted out some of its windows to access the flaming salon next door. Nail-Tique is now closed indefinitely, while the adjacent piano store plans to reopen next month, as decreed by the sign now posted in its window. Unharmed by the blaze: the building’s movie theater anchor, reports one of its employees.

Photos: Swamplox inbox

McDuffie St.
06/11/18 12:15pm

Spotted from Canal St. just east of Navigation: signage for Southside Flying Pizza’s fifth location and first in Houston. The Austin restaurant chain is making its way into the southeast corner spot of the right-angled Shops on Navigation strip center that Ancorian Hunington Properties built over the last 2 years. It’s mapped out in the image above from Ancorian, the developer behind another property just east of the corner strip. Aside from Southside’s next-door neighbor 9Round kickboxing gym, other existing cohabitants include Maldives Nail & Spa, Bottles Wine & Spirits, EaDo Dental, Go Cleaners, Cajun Town, and the largest of the bunch — a corner Frost Bank branch:

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Second Ward
05/31/18 1:30pm

WHAT’S NEXT FOR COCA-COLA’S 6 SOON-TO-CLOSE HOUSTON FACILITIES? Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages’ new million-sq.-ft. facility in Hines’ Pinto Business Park at I-45 and Beltway 8 won’t be complete for another 2 years — reports the Chronicle’s Paul Takahashi — giving the franchisee time to make plans for the 6 existing locations it’s looking to close as part of the consolidation. Among them: the 343,118-sq.-ft. bottling plant pictured above that’s stood at 2800 Bissonnet, 2 blocks west of Kirby, since 1950. Less than half its size is the bottler’s Pecan Park plant off the South Loop at Berkley St. Three smaller outer-Loop warehouse and distribution centers — in Conroe, Brittmoore, and Channelview — are also set to expire, as well as one off I-45 in Glenbrook. [Houston Chronicle] Photo of 2800 Bissonnet St.: RoadArchitecture

05/15/18 2:00pm

The signage above Fallas’ storefront — pictured above — has already come down, reports an employee of a neighboring business. Now on its way to that 25,480-sq.-ft. space in the chamfered corner of the L-shaped Northtown Plaza shopping center: Dallas supermarket El Rancho. A building permit was filed yesterday for the grocery conversion. It’s the second location that the North Texas chain has in the works for Houston; a Greenspoint location 6 miles up I-45 is planned to open in June.

But Fallas’ discount clothing presence won’t be entirely displaced by the new supermarket:

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Northtown Plaza