Monday, August 31, 2015

Will Halloween and Sylvester Season turn things around at the Shepherd Plaza Shopping Center? 3800 Farnham St, Houston, TX 77098


Although the pub closed its doors for good a few months back, the stag's head remains mounted, looking out over Shepherd Plaza. 
    And there is more to observe these days in and around the shopping center that once was a partying hot spot, but has been quiet and in large part vacant for the past decade, losing tenants (Le Peep, Believe Ballroom Dance Studios, and -- most recently The Stag Head Pub) rather than gaining new ones.  But there are new signs of life, judging by the number of cars in the parking lots. 

Sylvester Turner mayoral campaign headquarters at Shepherd Plaza 
And it's not just the occasional influx of music lovers heading for an event at the Cactus. Sylvester Turner has established his campaign headquarters on the West end of the shopping center on Greenbriar (as did Mayor Parker in her time), and another temporary operation -- a Halloween market -- is just about to open in the space on the curve South of the Stag head. Perhaps Shepherd Plaza is making a comeback, though only in a gingerly way so far, with a couple of seasonal tenants. 

3800 Farnham St, Houston, TX 77098
3800 Farnham St, Houston, TX 77098
 Shepherd dressing for success: 
Halloween Express Houston

Soon coming to a store near you 
This section of the sprawling Shepherd Plaza Shopping Center (on Farnham on the curve) will host the temporary
Halloween Store (to open around Labor Day) 

Shepherd Plaza leasing sign obstructs the view of approaching
cars North-bout on Greenbriar to those exiting from the parking lot. 
Cactus Music  store and venue on the corner of Portsmouth and Sandman
 (near S Shepherd)
Stag Head door closed for good - and all the shrub and flowers are gone from the patio.
The Stag Head Pub (formerly) with empty parking lot - Cactus Music at the far end 


Axelrad conversion to beer garden under way (site visit pics) 1517 Alabama St Houston TX 77004


Transformation of Historic Axelrad Building to Beer Garden Restaurant gets under way (August 2015 pics)

While across the street the HCC-owned old villa that had stood vacant but adorned with vibrant colors as a result of an "art attack" (some, including the Houston Chronicle, experienced it as an eyesore, though that's a matter of taste), a brighter future is in store for the historic Axelrad Building in the NW corner Almeda and Alabama. The two-story red-brick structure is in the first stage of renovation for adaptive reuse, with dilapidated windows and frames being replaced. GAGE DESIGN is in charge of the project.

PHOTOS TAKEN ON SITE LAST WEEKEND OF AUGUST


South facade with building name
The Axelrad Building 1517 Alabama Houston TX 77004 

The future beer garden area currently has some potted pants on site. 



Some of the details will likely get lost in the course of conversion: A black-and-white graphic of dancing pair, and some dated posters.




MORE VIEWS OF THE AXELRAD PROPERTY 
FROM VARIOUS DIRECTIONS

GAGE DESIGN (sign) at 1517 Alabama project site 

Corner view of Axelrad Building diagonally across the intersection
of Alameda with Alabama 
Metro Bus Line 11 - Almda- Stop at the Axelrad 

View from the West - Alabama Street 
Door and window detail on South Facade with building name signage



Saturday, August 29, 2015

Theater District Open House Tomorrow, Sunday Aug 30, 2015


Jones Plaza with Pennzoil Twin Towers in Back 

Special deal on Nutcracker Tickets: Half-Price at the Open House Sunday 8/30/2015 afternoon.

2015 Nutcracker Promotion 


Jones Hall 
The Wortham Center 
The Alley Theatre nearing the completion of the make-over 
Performing Arts themed mural at Texas Art Supply in Montrose 





Metro does Paper Transfers Again



PAPER TRANSFERS ARE BACK:
GOOD FOR FRONT OR BACK, 
BUT YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR ONE

Metro is re-introducing paper transfers that allow cash customers to continue their trips on a second bus, or on Metro Rail, without buying a second ticket. Good move. But why only for a limited time?

Help yourself to a hard copy of the paper transfer brochure



Unfortunately, this option is not tourist friendly because it does not allow for multiple hop-off and hop-on along the rail lines. It would have been better if the transfer were time limited -- say three hours -- and otherwise unrestricted as to the number of buses or train units that can be boarded within that time period.


WHAT A METRO PAPER TRANSFER LOOK LIKE 
(front and back shown in combined image)


Friday, August 28, 2015

Clouds of White Powder emanate from County's "Milk Crate" Building

Harris County Administration Building undergoing Facade Renovation

TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: FACADE RENOVATION ON HARRIS COUNTY ADMINISTRATION BUILDING TAXES MOBILITY AND AIR QUALITY 

Downtown is replete with construction sites, with many streets partially obstructed if not closed altogether. Government facilities are also affected. Facade repair work continues on the Harris County Administration Building in the NE corner or Main and Preston.

This county facility, whose street address is 1001 Preston Houston TX 77002 houses the Harris County Tax Office and handles motor vehicle registration and title transfers, but not driver's license renewals and ID cards. It is also the seat of the Harris County Commissioners' Court, and houses numerous other county offices.

Harris County Administration Building undergoing Facade Renovation
Powdery Facelift 
The concrete exterior of the ten-storey office building erected in 1975 has been deteriorating. Its appearance had earned it the nickname "milk crate" building. See Houston Architecture page for 1001 Preston.


The general contractor on the renovation project, which has a price tag of  $5,429,357 is STRUCTURAL CONCRETE SYSTEMS, LLC. Crews are currently working on the West side of the building facing the Main Street Corridor. The sidewalks underneath on Main and on Preston Street have been boarded over to protect passers-by from falling debris. The dust cloud released by the work proceeding above, however, is another matter.

North-West corner of Harris County Admin Bldg. 
The 300 Block of Main Street in front of the Building is currently closed to southbound motor vehicle traffic, albeit for unrelated reasons. Mobility on the northbound portion is affected by the presence of large metal containers and a construction-related tanker truck on the corner. 

Road Closure in 300 Block of Main Street (8/27/2015)
Harris County Administration Building undergoing facade repairs (2015)
Photo from earlier in 2015 when the South facade was being tackled 
SOUTH SIDE OF COUNTY ADMINISTRATION BUILDING
 1001 PRESTON STREET ADDRESS 

1001 Preston: Harris County Administration Building 
Metal poles holding up scaffolding at 1001 Preston entrance
with protective padding 
BUILDING DETAILS FOR 1001 PRESTON FROM HCAD 

1001 Preston St - HCAD Data for this Building 


Thursday, August 27, 2015

State Bar goes Lawless at the Rice


Happy Hours of Lawlessness at The Rice Hotel  


The State Bar -- the erstwhile drinking establishment of the finer kind at The Rice Hotel rather than the entity that oversees Texas lawyers and practice of law -- has given way to Lawless. 

Formerly in these fancy digs: The State Bar with the famed balcony 
Lawless Spirits and Kitchen NOW OPEN 
Lawless, the lounge and kitchen. Now open to all law-abiding Downtowners seeking to partake of pleasures of the spirits in style. -- Unlike the splendid lobby of The Rice itself, which has become more exclusive turf of the polished kind, as reported by Nancy Sarnoff of the Houston Chronicle. What with the new owners having limiting access to post-reincarnation residents and their guests as part of their upscaling and rebranding strategy.  

LAWLESS SPIRITS AND KITCHEN ON TRAVIS STREET 
THE ICONIC, IF RE-PURPOSED, RICE HOTEL 


THE HISTORIC  RICE HOTEL WITH TEXAS FLAG
THE MAGNIFICENT RICE HOTEL WITH TEXAS FLAG 

Sidewalk history lesson on the Rice Hotel 
North facade of the Rice Hotel behind a row of other restored historic
structures

THE LATEST ITERATION OF 
 ICON RE-BRANDING 


Getting word of the rebirth of Rice out to all walkers-by 

The Rice: An Icon Reborn - Stay out unless you pay a deposit first 

THE PREVIOUS VERSION OF
HISTORIC HOTEL MAKE-OVER 

Previously marketed as "PostRice Lofts" (archival photo)







Houston Streetwise Summer 2015 - Thumbnails of Top Photos

Houston Streetwise Summer 2015 - Thumbnails of Top Photos
thumbnails of blog post pics Summer 2015

2015 Mosaic of Sample Pics

2015 Mosaic of Sample Pics
2015 Jan-Feb Pics Posted