07/16/18 5:00pm

A row of 3 tall windows now opens up the Fairview-St.-side of the former McGowen Cleaners, currently being converted into a health-minded restaurant dubbed Vibrant on the corner of Morse St. As for a patio shown cut into the building’s windowed corner in earlier renderings from architect Lake Flato — it’s yet to be installed. But a bunch of other outdoor features such as shrubs, grasses, and the beds that hold them are now in place outside the structure.

They’ve taken over the frontage previously occupied by chopped-up pavement:

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Hyde Park
07/12/18 12:00pm

Update: A Swamplot reader notes that BurgerIM originated in Israel — and that in Hebrew, the suffix “-im” adds a plural meaning to the word it ends. Read with that grammar in mind, the restaurant’s name translates roughly to “burgers.”

Although BurgerIM’s previous attempts to come online next to Subway in the corner of the strip center at Richmond and Shepherd were met with red tags from city inspectors, those notices have now been taken down — reports an employee at the neighboring Honey Art Cafe — and a building permit filed yesterday grants the new instant-messenger-themed restaurant clearance to proceed with renovations to the space.

Previous high-tech retailers in the endcap include Clear Wireless and Wireless Toyz; analogue merchandiser Gold and Silver Buyers held the place down in between their tenures and Mattress Overstock retired from the space most recently, at the end of last year. When the burger place opens, it’ll be the franchise’s first inner-Loop spot, topping off its existing Cypress and W.-Lake-Houston-at-Beltway-8 locations.

Photo: Fox E.

Strip Steak
07/11/18 4:45pm

Victorian’s Barbecue has now made its mark at 19 N. York St., including a bovine play on that lovable Austin mural; it’s featured on the East End building’s McAshan-St.-side. The former food truck business put its vehicle up on Craiglist last month and began blackening the exterior of the stationary spot it plans to take over.

Both its street-fronting sides started out pink (as shown above), with some green in the rear:

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Keep East End Werid
07/11/18 3:00pm

A new downtown hole-in-the-wall is making its debut at the foot of the city’s longstanding famous buildings. Among all the openings in the house now standing in the middle of Sam Houston Park, the most accessible one (ADA-certified) is at the end of the ramp pictured above. Cherry Moving was the first to add holes to the building: it inserted the more conventional windows after scooping up the 80-year old, 16-by-24-ft. single-story from the East End in order to resell it. The buyers: serial house tweakers Dan Havel and Dean Ruck, who perforated its façades and lined the bubbles with PVC piping to make them watertight.

You can see the piping’s light blue tint from the angle below:

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Say Cheese
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
07/02/18 10:00am

TEXADELPHIA’S TAKEOVER OF THE WOODEN BOX ON MONTROSE BLVD. NOW NEARLY COMPLETE With construction on Houston’s second Texadelphia now wrapping up ahead of its planned opening, it appears the restaurant’s remodelers have opted to preserve the woodsy exterior decor originally added onto the end of the strip center just shy of 2 years ago — when the storefront switched over from Berryhill Baja Grill to Yucatan Taco Stand. That gives the restaurant a different outward character than the chain’s only other Houston location — its first step back into the city after and 2-year absence — on the corner of Westheimer and Dunvale Rd. Over there, renovations stopped short of any exterior work as well (save for the installation of the brand’s signage in place of longtime tenant Potbelly Sandwich Shop’s), leaving the restaurant to pick up in a pale stucco endcap that’d been unchanged for over a decade. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

06/28/18 10:00am

And just like that, the next Houston warehouse-to-doghouse conversion is underway at 1029 W. 26th St. — just over two thirds of a mile away from that other pet project near 34th and Ella. Unlike the outer-Loop facility however, this latest post-industrial vision foresees a “dog training and enrichment center” dubbed Believe in Dog Training on its property — pictured at top a quarter mile west of Durham — as opposed to just a place that looks after the animals. A building permit was just filed yesterday for the job, but interior work — pictured above — has been going on inside the 4,500-sq.-ft. structure since at least April.

Photos: LoopNet (exterior); Believe in Dog Training (interior)

Shady Acres
06/21/18 4:15pm

The plaza outside UH’s basketball arena — soon-to-feature a statue of the building’s former namesake Roy Hofheinz — is currently a mess of dirt and constructions vehicles working to make the place look like the rendering above. The big red Fertitta Center sign isn’t up yet; it’s set to rise over the glassier new entrance fronting Cullen Blvd.

On the inside, a new scoreboard, new AV equipment, bigger bathrooms and new food and retail are being added. The ceiling is going up 30 ft. above a brand-new court and some lower seating sections, creating a crater-like hole in the roof that — viewed from nosebleed land — will look something like this:

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Hofheinz No More
06/21/18 10:30am

The shaggy customer base seeking a trim at the 1415 Richmond strip between Mandell and Yupon should see some increased biodiversity once The Pet Barber moves in 2-doors down from Henry’s Barber Shop. At nearly double the size of the neighboring human hair care facility, it’s ready to start transforming the space that once housed D&S Washateria (pictured at top) into a Castle Court companion to its existing Spring Branch grooming location.

The laundromat left sometime after Pepino’s gave way to Ms. Saigon Cafe and Michael’s Outpost on the west side of the building. Since then, The C Store also took off; its still-vacant Suite A — shown below in blue at the strip’s east end — is now the only hole left in the building:

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Well-Groomed
06/20/18 3:30pm

Photos from the middle of Riverside Dr. between 288 and N. MacGregor Wy. show the new paint job underway on the building once home to the shuttered LaDet Motel. The central 88-year-old Riverside Terrace mansion now receiving a fresh coat is about 50-years older than the ring of 2-story lodging buildings that wrap it as well as its surrounding parking lot on 3 sides — closing off the inner court from all angles, except through the gate at the front of the 2612 Riverside complex.

Now up on that fence, these brighter-hued red tags from the city’s code enforcers:

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Ruddy Complexion
06/18/18 10:45am

B&B Butchers owner Benjamin Berg has a new restaurant in the works for the former Caddy Shack Bar & Grill building pictured at top, across the street from his existing venue’s parking lot on Wash Ave and 2-doors down from the redone building now housing Gus’s Fried Chicken. An entity connected to Berg filed a permit last Friday to prep 1809 Washington for the new business it’ll host, dubbed Cafe Lemon.

Caddy Shack (not to be confused with Candy Shack, the drive-through daiquiri spot 2 miles west on Washington) debuted in the 1,968-sq.-ft. structure 6 years ago following the Broken Spoke Cafe’s shutdown and posthumous fire. After a brief stint as Turkey Leg Hut — a Cajun restaurant which brought hookahs to the patio pictured above — the space rebranded back to Caddy Shack before shuttering for good around the end of last year.

Photos: Gil G. (Caddy Shack); Te Y. (patio)

Cafe Lemon
06/15/18 10:45am

The Red Door Cafe’s red door remains at 1918 E. NASA Pkwy., but Hubcap Grill has refashioned the rest of the space into something more chop-shop chic: a new paintjob sets off the chrome appointments now covering the once-white front facade and a new headlamp illuminates the door. There’s also BURGERS on the grille above the entrance.

But that’s just the bodywork. The interior got a full remodel, too, including new floors, appliances, AC, electrical, and this custom chandelier:

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Auto Body Transformation
06/13/18 10:45am

Almost all the metal siding that covered up the Midtown Sears building at 4201 Main has now been taken down, leaving behind rows of metal brackets used to mount the outer shell. Mayor Turner announced 2 months ago that the building would be turned into a startup incubation headquarters, and work to pull down the cladding began shortly after.

A few decorative details are now visible from the street, as shown below from Fannin:

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2401 Main
06/12/18 2:00pm

A construction permit filed yesterday reveals that Astral Brewing — the new beer venue headed to 4816 N. Shepherd — is beginning renovations to turn 9,208 sq. ft. of the 27,575-sq.-ft. warehouse building once home to Southern Truck Pros into a hub for brewing and drinking. The structure’s parking lot off Shepherd is shown full of trucks in the photo above, taken back before the auto shop shuttered.

A site plan posted on the brewery’s Facebook page indicates a combination of public amenities and mission-critical brewing facilities included in the redo:

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Independence Heights
06/08/18 12:00pm

When Paws Pet Resort finishes renovating the 2 warehouses south of its current one on Couch St. — east of Ella and in between 34th and 34th 1/2 streets — its total paw-print will include over an acre and a half of continuous land. Following about 5 years in the 6,000-sq.-ft. Garden Oaks warehouse building pictured above, the boarding house is expanding to the nearly twice-as-big former industrial building behind it at 3415 Couch St., as well as another smaller adjacent structure further south. The owners of Paws Pet Resort bought the soon-to-be-converted spaces last year — both of which sit off camera to the left.

Photo: Cortney K.

Paws Pet Resort