02/22/18 5:00pm

Here’s the 1,340 sq.-ft. storefront Modern Acupuncture is now stuck in near the east end of the River Oaks Shopping Center building that hugs Origin Bank on the corner of W. Gray and Shepherd. The clinic took over the vacant spot at 2021 W. Gray earlier this month after women’s wear shop Em & Lee abandoned it several years ago. It’s the chain’s first treatment center in Houston, although 2 others are nearby in Webster and Sugar Land. So far, the company has 23 locations either open or in the works across 10 states — and expansion plans call for 20 more in and around Houston alone.

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You’ve Got a Point There
02/22/18 4:30pm

Update, 7:00 pm: At the request of the copyright holder, the images of Caydon Properties’ proposed development have been removed.

The Australian company that’s already begun construction on a residential tower in place of the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Association building on the corner of Main and Tuam has plans for a pair of additional towers on the 2 blocks north of that site, along Metro’s red line. These renderings from visualization studio Large Arts show the extent of the complex — including a hotel, offices, residential space, and street-level retail fronting the rail up to McGowen St.

The rendering at top views the development from the corner of Main and Drew St. to show the new southern tower — home to a hotel — fronting Fannin while the northern one faces Main. Further up the tracks, a train pulls into the northbound McGowen St. station stop — shown lined with storefronts that sit below the north tower. An alley runs along the north end of the development, between the building and Greensheet Media’s former office — just out of view on the left at the corner of Main and McGowen.

More retail fronts the alley, adjacent to the McGowen platform:

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New Main Drag
02/21/18 3:30pm

Spear Street Capital is teasing a rendering of what it has planned for Exxon Mobil’s former Buffalo Spdwy. research campus, a new complex that takes the initials of River Oaks without daring to speak its name: The RO. The glossy new view above looks west across Buffalo Spdwy. to show 3 new highrises planted on the Upper Kirby site — the stockiest of which rests atop a 3-story windowed pedestal likely to house retail between W. Alabama and a new roadway.

The new street appears in place of the driveway that entered the 16.9-acre complex on Buffalo Spdwy. and ran just north of the 1962 building MacKie and Kamrath Architects designed for the oil giant. The aerial photo above shows what that building looked like from the south before crews began tearing at it last year. South of the new street and directly in place of the MacKie and Kamrath structure, a complex of retail buildings with upper-level patios retreats along a pedestrian corridor that starts at Buffalo Spdwy. and heads toward the 2 other highrises on the west side of the site, near Mercer St. A few outdoor seating areas front Buffalo Spdwy. — one by the footpath, another on the north side of the new street. A larger patio appears on the corner of W. Alabama.

The buildings shown shaded on the left in the rendering likely make up other additions planned for the block. Here it is viewed from its backside looking toward Buffalo Spdwy. last year:

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A Twilit View
02/20/18 3:45pm

2 new signs are now up on the Main St. side of the Mid Main Lofts across from MATCH: one for Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, and the other for kickboxing gym 9Round. The photo at top looks across the platform of Metro’s Ensemble Theatre stop to show Kura’s new name tag affixed near the corner of Main and Holman. Identical markings appear on the Holman St. side of the new raw fish restaurant, which uses touch screens and an automatic conveyor belt to deliver your food. The 3510 Main location is Houston’s second Kura; one opened in the Westchase Shopping Center last year. Another debuted in Sugar Land last month.

9Round — shown in the photo above — sits further south down the block on Main, near Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails’s spot at Winbern. All 18 of the workout venue’s current locations are in west South Carolina. The new gym follows 4 others the chain already operates inside the 610 Loop.

Photos: Natalie W

And in This Corner
02/20/18 10:45am

The Label Warehouse clothing resale store 3 doors down from Boomtown Coffee on 19th St. is now selling off the last of its stock ahead of the planned closing announced on its Facebook page earlier this month. The Heights thrift venue and its Midtown sibling location on the corner of Main and Eagle streets — also on its way out of business — are the last 2 spots remaining in the chain, which once held outposts in Conroe, Misouri City, and Angleton, as well as others in Houston. Its first location — opened at 6708 Harrisburg under the name Insurance Claims Fire Sale Warehouse in the early 60s — closed last year.

The photo at top looks south across 19th St. to show the few items left in the soon-to-be shuttered 7,425-sq.-ft. Heights building.

Photos: Some Random Property Gossip (storefront); Chelsi H. (sign)

Hand-Me-Down
02/15/18 4:30pm

If the Platform Group has settled on a plan for redeveloping the corner of W. Gray St. and Stanford, it hasn’t made it known yet. An entity connected to the developer bought the white corner building home to the Traci Scott hair salon and the former Skinny Rita’s restaurant adjacent to it last December. The firm’s website now explains it’s “in the early stages of feasibility studies” for the pair of 2-stories at 615 and 607 W. Gray.

The 2 buildings share the parking lot visible in the snow-capped aerial above with entrances on W. Gray as well as one on Stanford, behind the hair salon. Not pictured is a narrow patio that runs along the chop shop’s Stanford side. A larger fenced-off seating area and upper deck currently front W. Gray outside the former restaurant, which closed last February after just under a year in the building.

Here’s a closer up view of Skinny Rita’s seating taken from the parking lot entrance between the 2 buildings just after the restaurant vacated the premises:

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Skinny Rita’s Plus One
02/15/18 2:00pm

The skeleton of a new strip center across the street from the Alexan Yale St. apartments — dubbed Heights Village by a banner attached to its construction fencing — is now rising on the corner of Yale and W. 5th St. Construction began on the just-under-an-acre parcel last month, reports the Swamplot reader who snapped the above photo of the site from outside the Alexan complex. The corner — on the opposite end of the block from where Better Luck Tomorrow opened last year — had been vacant since 2010, when a warehouse on the site was demolished.

The aerial rendering above from Cisneros Design Studio shows what an upper-story Alexan Yale St. resident might see out the window when the retail center is complete. Parking lots hug the building on 3 sides and include entrances on Yale, 5th. St., and Yale Ct. — a short dead end that runs behind the property. Patio seating is shown fronting the chamfered corner on the building’s northwest quadrant, and an elevated walkway runs along its storefronts, a few steps up from the lot.

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Yale Retail
02/14/18 11:45am

Braun Realty is gearing up to replace Johnny’s Gold Brick’s next door neighbor and redo the warehouse behind the 2 structures as part of a new retail development it has planned for the corner of Yale and Aurora. An entity connected to the developer snatched up the property on Yale — as well as a few adjacent parcels east on Aurora — last October. The site plan above taken from Braun’s leasing flyer for the complex now indicates all 3 buildings decked out with new adjacent patios. East of the buildings, a parking lot sports entrances on both Aurora and an alley that runs north of the site.

The photo at top shows the front door to Johnny’s Gold Brick next to the brown brick building that Lucas Craftsmanship contractors moved out of in 2015. Here’s the view from the corner of Yale and Aurora showing the 2-story structure that’s slated to replace the former construction office:

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Heights Corner Shake-Up
02/12/18 2:15pm

Landlord Kensinger Donnelly has replaced previous flyers claiming that the Mattress 1 One location on the corner of W. Alabama and Shepherd was shut down for “renovations” with the new one pictured above declaring it has locked the retailer out of its spot at the far north of the strip that includes Mega DJ and Jenni’s Noodle House, across from CVS. Just south at the corner of Shepherd and Richmond, Mattress Overstock is another casualty of the continuing mattress shrinkage trend — it shuttered toward the end of last year.

Now your best bet for bedding is to head north on Shepherd to Westheimer where a Mattress 1 One and competing Mattress Firm have been holding a standoff just south of the intersection since the former showed up on the west side of the street in 2014. It’s one of the 12 Mattress 1 One locations that exist within a 5 mile radius of the shuttered store off W. Alabama — down from 15 last October.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Down for the Count
02/09/18 1:00pm

Here’s the block of land off Kirby between W. Alabama and Steel St. that H-E-B bought last month and plans to plant with a new store, across from the existing Upper Kirby Whole Foods. H-E-B’s idea, reports the Chronicle’s Paul Takahashi, is to pair up with developer Midway to build a new mixed-use complex on the site — mapped out in the middle of the survey above, just south of the block that Stolz Partners and Hanover have already divvied up for their respective Giorgetti Houston and Hanover River Oaks residential buildings. Renderings of what the grocer has planned for the site haven’t been released yet, nor have any details of its where its entrances will be. But plans submitted to the city last year for the 3.8-acre parcel dub it Kirby Crossing.

The block’s northern frontage along Steel St. is lined with dual rows of oak trees that once provided cover for the Kirby Court Apartments, torn down on both sides of Steel in 2015. South of the tree lines and the vacant field in place of the former residences behind them, a retail strip runs along W. Alabama. The photo at top looks across W. Alabama from Bed Bath & Beyond’s parking lot to view J Sussan Interiors former furniture store now repurposed as Giorgetti’s leasing office on the corner of Kirby. East of the office, Allen Cleaners does its business in a smaller building:

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Supermarket Corridor
02/02/18 5:00pm

Construction on Shake Shack’s new burger hub in Rice Village — next door to the coming Rice University clothing boutique on Amherst — looks about medium well now that the brick building has been blackened, stripped of its awnings, and shielded by a metal frame bearing all-caps signage. La Madeleine restaurant left the building last March ahead of renovations planned for the entire Village Arcade structure between Kirby and Kelvin.

A Rice Village property manager announced in 2016 that the born-in-Manhattan chain with current locations as far-flung as Bahrain was on its way to Kirby. Back then, Houston was completely Shack-less, but that changed when a debut location opened in a Galleria parking lot later that year. Since then, one other Shake Shack has cropped up in the city — behind center field in Minute Maid Park.

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Faster Food
02/02/18 12:00pm

Now on its way to a portion of the Village Arcade building on Amherst that La Madeleine restaurant abandoned last March: Shop Rice Owls, a clothing and merchandise store selling exclusively Rice University gear. The 1,071-sq.-ft. off-white-walled space beneath the rooftop Rice Village parking garage was once the east end of La Madeleine’s space on the corner of Amherst and Kirby. A partly-built Shack Shake has since taken over the French bakery’s former home — but not all of it, leaving room for the off-campus store to squeeze in between the back side of the fast-food spot and the staircase leading up to the garage.

A view looking east down Amherst shows more renovated storefronts lining the street to the right of the stairs, in place of the black-awninged brick building that stood on the block before 2016:   CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Rice Village Homecoming
01/31/18 2:45pm

Which suits the new Washington Ave better: sidewalk-fronting buildings or strip centers? If ever there were a project that illustrated that fundamental choice, it’s this one. New exterior renderings from developer NewQuest show the block of Washington between Leverkuhn and Jackson Hill St., just west of Five Guys’s strip center spot, redone as Washington Central — a  shopping center with one building set back from the street and the other left out on the curb.

The 9,040-sq.-ft. planned strip center building shown fronting the parking lot in the renderings above provides some company for the existing brick building east of it. Planted on the corner of Washington and Leverkuhn since 1930, the 2-story structure has been empty since Guadalajara Bakery shuttered in it nearly 6 years ago.

New large windows open the bakery building — shown below with some legalese on its face — onto the street:

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Walk or Drive?
01/29/18 12:45pm

The newly built shopping center on the corner of W. Alabama and Mandell St. is of the business in the front, parking in the back variety — and will soon be even more so when 2 restaurants and a dentist’s office open in its ground floor. BuffBurger, new Vietnamese restaurant Lúa Viet Kitchen, and Lovett Dental are all slated to debut in the gray box with what look like wooden slats on its forehead, under construction since last January opposite the Menil’s territory in Montrose. TABC signage now up in BuffBurger’s window near the corner shows that the store — on its way to Mandell Place from its original location on Wirt Rd. — is seeking beverage permits ahead of its first business day.

A view from the sidewalk shows where the ground floor beef joint will fit in a 2,500-sq.-ft. space below the strip’s lettered-up corner tower:

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New Fillings
01/24/18 11:30am

Victoria’s Secret is the latest retailer to retreat from the Highland Village Shopping Center. The photo at top shows the former underwear and other mentionables store at 3942 Westheimer dressed down with a sign outside announcing its closure — which took place this past weekend. The vacant storefront now blends in better with its neighbor, the former Joseph shoe store that shuttered late last year:

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Ex-Villagers