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  1. West Ave mixed-use development in Houston's Upper Kirby sold, rebranded From Houston Business Journal: San Francisco-based FPA Multifamily LLC, a vertically integrated real estate investment company, announced Sept. 17 that it acquired the West Ave shopping center and adjacent apartment complex Gables West Ave. FPA plans to rebrand the shopping center as “Shops at Arrive” and the apartment complex as “Arrive River Oaks,” per the Sept. 17 press release. California-based Trinity Property Consultants, which FPA exclusively affiliates with for multifamily property management, will oversee the 397-unit apartment complex. Red Tail Acquisitions LLC will oversee commercial management of the 193,895 square feet of retail, and Redwood Construction Inc. will oversee development and construction. Renovations are also planned for the property at the southwest corner of Westheimer Road and Kirby Drive. Plans include an improved dog park, expanded fitness center and enhancements to the pool area for the apartment complex as well as new exterior paint and improvements to the garage and parking overall, per the release. Changes will occur in phases and are set to be complete next year.
  2. Fairview District (Fairview & Nason)

    From Houston Business Journal on the drama with Fairview District: The article is behind a paywall, but here are snippets: A Montrose mixed-use project's indefinite construction delay stems from disputes involving funding between the developer SFT Investments and the city of Houston, SFT's Fred Sharifi told the Houston Business Journal. The mixed-use development, which was set to contain four buildings totaling 60,000 square feet and a five-story parking garage, is officially on hold. SFT cannot move forward on the project until it finds a joint venture partner, according to Sharifi. Sharifi said the company needs a joint venture partner because the city of Houston allegedly made financial assurances that fell through. Specifically, Sharifi said he was assured by city officials that his project would fall within the bounds of the Montrose Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, or TIRZ, which would have saved him between $2 million and $3 million in development costs. ...The Fairview District was not included in the Montrose TIRZ. "I was very pissed off, to be honest with you," Sharifi said. "As one of the most active investors in the neighborhood … (the city of Houston) kept promising us that they would include us in the TIRZ to get help for infrastructure, and that felt through. I just lost interest in dealing with the city of Houston." The savings from the Montrose TIRZ would have allowed SFT to repair and enhance the surrounding infrastructure, such as building new sidewalks and making repairs to the drainage system. City officials say the Fairview District project wasn't eligible for TIRZ benefits.
  3. 8200 Washington Ave

    From Houston Business Journal, more on Railway Heights, the Housotn food hall and market at 8200 Washington Ave. The article is behind a paywall. Here are the main snippets from my subscription: The 3.6-acre Railway Heights Market is expected to open in 2019 at 8200 Washington Ave. near the western edge of the 610 Loop. Chicago-based developer My Park Easy tapped Anh Mai and Lian Nguyen of Prohibition Supperclub & Bar and food hall Conservatory and sommelier Shepard Ross to help curate the development’s food market inside a two-story, 40,000-square-foot warehouse." After Conservatory, we wanted to do the next step,” Mai said. “And that was trying to do a market at the time when Houston didn't have a huge market like some cities like Spain, with fresh fish and produce, foods, retail, arts and crafts.” For the trio — who are also behind the upcoming Bravery Chef Hall inside Aris Market Square at 409 Travis St. — this is a project they’ve been planning for two years...but finding the right spot for a such a large food market was tricky. "In order for a project of this size to work, the economics have to work,” Mai said. “It had to be in an area that was underdeveloped but still inside the Loop.” Ross added that they needed a large enough piece of land that’s accessible and has reasonable rates. He explained, “It's easy to find a cheap piece of land that nobody can get to.” ...Additionally, reasonable leasing rates are key to the trio’s vision of the market, which will include about 20 restaurants and 20 stalls of bakery items, fish, meat, produce, cheese and artisans’ work. “The rents are affordable, and therefore we can do a lot of cool stuff,” Mai said. “When the stakes are higher, it's harder to take bigger risks. But when it's lower, you can do a lot of cool stuff. So we're getting a lot of really cool concepts that you won't see anywhere else. … It's going to have the same spirit as Conservatory and Bravery Chef Hall; it will be an incubator with a lot of creativity, personality and originality." ...Ross is also excited by the developer’s plans for a half-acre of green space and a 13,000-square-foot beer garden, and he hinted at the idea of a dog park and a wine bar overlooking the green space. “I envision Railway Heights as an all-day destination,” Ross said. “You can spend your entire day there. With that green space there’s the potential of having a farmers market — like a legit farmers market — on the weekends. You can get there in the early morning but can stay there all day and have something to do.”
  4. Chippendale Eastlake Antiques?

    CultureMap on Sweet Bribery, 250 W 19th St, Suite E in Houston: Summer may be winding down, but Houstonians will eat ice cream year-round. Beginning September 14, they’ll have a new option in The Heights for a full range of sweet treats when Sweet Bribery opens its doors. Pastry chef Sharon Leonard (formerly Gofreed) has brought her talents to the shop at 250 W. 19th St that's part of local real estate developer Braun Enterprises' repurposing of the former Chippendale Eastlake Antiques store. Diners should recognize the CultureMap Tastemaker Awards Pastry Chef of the Year finalist from her work at Uchi, Main Kitchen at the JW Marriott downtown, and, mostly recently, State of Grace. Roost chef-owner Kevin Naderi has been linked to the project as a consultant, but all of the recipes are Leonard’s.
  5. Chippendale Eastlake Antiques?

    Sweet Bribery, 250 W 19th St, Suite E in Houston opens today. From The Leader: Pastry chef Sharon Gofreed got married three weeks ago to become Sharon Leonard and that’s not the only big change in her life. This weekend is also the soft opening for Sweet Bribery, the pastry and ice-cream shop she is opening with other investors at 250 W. 19th St. The site of the former Chippendale Eastlake Antiques store was purchased by Braun Enterprises in 2015. Clothing stores Mary & Moss and Proper are already open next to Sweet Bribery. Leonard was previously the pastry chef at State of Grace, the JW Marriott Houston and Uchi. She says that she’s very excited for this newest endeavor and that most everything is being made in house. “There is something for every member of the family,” said Leonard. “Sweets for the kids with premium ice cream and toppings and superior products for parents as well. I am so proud of what we are offering. We won’t be your average ice-cream shop.”
  6. Michaelangos Restaurant @ 307 Westheimer

    Neighbors are upset about the Spenga gym replacing Michaelangos Restaurant at 307 Westheimer Rd. Why are they upset now and why is this news? The plans were announced last spring. Could they have not spoken out to their representative or the developers then? From ABC13 Houston: For third generation business owner Amanda Hoak, it's the perfect place to relocate Arden's Picture Framing from the Alabama property they've been renting. "We wanted something clients could come in to and feel they were instantly in a home, not a strip center. Something with character and history," Hoak said. The house at 239 Westheimer was built in 1915. "I love this property," said Suzanne Anderson, who has owned the prime real estate since 1995. Eyewitness News Reporter Christine Dobbyn asked, "Have you had offers to sell?" She replied, " Oh yeah, all the time. At this point in my life, I'm not interested." Both ladies say they don't oppose progress, but a new build, a fitness center, next to a historical home in this case, equals one tight squeeze. "I can see how it's a gamble. We could benefit from it or it could hurt us," said Hoak. Anderson added, "It's tricky, I'm not sure how they'll put the siding on their property. I'm not sure how I'll maintain mine." Just how tight? About 8 inches from Suzanne's rooftop to the side of the new build. The ground level offers a little more breathing room. The city says the builders are in compliance and they've done nothing wrong. The leasing broker says developers worked for months with the city ensuring all building codes were met and they say they've passed multiple inspections, pointing out that Houston building codes are more stringent than many cities.
  7. Chippendale Eastlake Antiques?

    Website for Sweet Bribery, 250 W 19th St in Houston
  8. Fairview District (Fairview & Nason)

    From the article, there are financial problems with the funding of the development. It could be temporary or not. I'm not giving up yet on Fairview District.
  9. The Rustic across from George R. Brown Convention Center will open in November. From CultureMap Downtown Houston's newest place to party will soon make its debut. The Rustic, a massive live music venue, bar, and restaurant, will celebrate its grand opening on November 1. Located next to the George R. Brown Convention Center at 1936 Polk St., the 25,000-square-foot venue features a restaurant that serves comfort food as well as a bar with 40 craft beer taps. The menu features everything from family-style taco platters with bacon-fat tortillas to shareable starters, salads, and entrees like burgers, pork chops, and seafood. In addition to a stage the features live music every day, the venue includes a large outdoor patio, two VIP areas, and a designated waiting area for people who use ride-sharing apps. The Rustic is owned by FreeRange Concepts, the same company behind popular CityCentre destinations Bowl & Barrel and the General Public, in partnership with Texas country music singer Pat Green.
  10. Fairview District (Fairview & Nason)

    I don't know the status of Fairview District, but found this blurb in today's Houston Business Journal: Nguyen said he had been looking for a space for a Waffle Bus store for over a year. He originally planned to put the restaurant in Fairview District, a $20 million mixed-use development in Montrose from STF Investments. But due to delays involving the project's finances, he decided to look elsewhere.
  11. 8200 Washington Ave

    From Houston Business Journal, Phi Nguyen of The Waffle Bus and The Pho Spot will be a tenant at Railway Heights, the Housotn food hall at 8200 Washington Ave. He added that he’ll also be opening two concepts inside the upcoming Railway Heights Market, a massive culinary project that’s expected to debut in 2019 at 8200 Washington Ave. ...Meanwhile, at Railway Heights Market — a 3.6-acre development that will include a 40,000-square-foot warehouse filled with vendors selling food, art, jewelry and more — Nguyen will open an outpost of The Waffle Bus and a new concept called Seafood Kettle. This new eatery will cook meals in small, personal-sized kettles in front of guests. The Waffle Bus' sales totaled about $956,000 last year, Nguyen said. He used his own savings to open the food truck as well as The Pho Spot, a concept inside downtown food hall Conservatory that he created with Danny Pham. However, to help finance the build-out of the Heights storefront and the upcoming stalls at Railway Heights Market, Nguyen said he plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Houston-based NextSeed in the next few weeks.
  12. 708 / 712 Main Renovation - The Jones on Main

    Screenshot photos of construction and renovation progress of Finn Hall inside the Jones on Main. It's the food hall at 712 Main in Houston. From Instagram on Friday: Video:
  13. Lowell Street Market: 718 W. 18th Street

    Inside Smoosh in Lowell Street Market at 718 W. 18th St.
  14. 201 E 20th Street

    Details on Neo Baguette Cafe at 201 E 20th St in Houston. From CultureMap Meet Neo Baguette and its owner Karim Kasri. A native of Morocco, Kasri went to culinary school in France before moving to New York, where he served as the general manager for several restaurants. He moved to Houston to open his new cafe in a former auto parts warehouse at 201 East 20th St. “I spent 10 days checking out Texas,” Kasri tells CultureMap. “Houston is the right place for me and my family. It’s a family town with parks for the kids. Something about Houston kept me [here].” That “something” could be the building. Kasri has restored the brick walls and added wood paneling on the walls. A couple of chandeliers in the middle of the dining room and orange leather banquettes along the walls add an elegant touch. The building even inspired a change in the menu. “Neo Baguette, it was supposed to be a sandwich place with salads,” Kasri says. “Then, once we have this place, it’s such a nice building. We said, let’s make it more interesting.” Kasri blended his heritage with his training to create recipes that are built around French and Italian classics with a little Moroccan spice. Billed as an all-day cafe, the menu features sandwiches and salads at lunch with a few larger plates at dinner. Breakfast is on the table but won’t be available at launch.
  15. 1835 N. Shepherd

    Details on The Waffle Bus' move to brick and mortar. The restaurant will be in the Heights at 1835 N Shepherd Dr. From Houston Chronicle: Waffle Bus owner Phi Nguyen said he looked for a brick-and-mortar spot for more than a year. After one possible location fell through in the Montrose area, Nguyen landed on a 2,100-square-foot space at 1835 N. Shepherd Dr. Now, instead of trying to catch the food truck around town, locals can count on a Waffle burger from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week. The restaurant will also be open until 10 p.m. on weekends, Nguyen said. The food truck will continue operating after the restaurant opens however. In fact, Nguyen said he plans to add another truck by that time.