10/31/14 5:15pm

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More Gorey than gory in its trimmings, a Queen Anne Galveston home — sporting a slight witch’s hat steeple atop a shingle-sided upper room — popped up on the market just before Halloween. It’s a double-lot property located on a corner 7 blocks from the beach on the East End of the island city. Was it around for the Great Storm of 1900?

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On the Fringe
10/31/14 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: TURNING HOUSTON INSIDE OUT Trains to Office Buildings“It might be that the best outcome for Houston is for the Inner Loop to have an exurban quality of life. Send commuter rail out to the suburbs — not for the suburbanites to commute to downtown — but for the Inner Loopers to commute outbound in the mornings to densely clustered (out of necessity) suburban tall office towers surrounding the stations, and then back into town in the evenings. This is more viable than the traditional idea of New Urbanist suburbs with transit connecting them to a downtown core since politically none of Houston’s suburbs are on board with cultivating a small town ambience, but are ok with letting office builders do their thing. To be sure, suburbanites would still commute to downtown but it will be seen as an aberration. Downtown will still have things to do after dark, but other areas of the Inner Loop, connected by LRT/buses/cars/bikes/sidewalks, will do a much better job of providing the QOL aspiring exurbanites may crave. Suburbanites will, of course, still commute to a large extent to the office towers in their suburb. But they will do so by car, and won’t care about the urbanist quality of life (in other words, nothing will change for them).” [anon22, commenting on Here’s the Freshest Satellite Photo of Downtown Houston You’ll See All Day] Illustration: Lulu

10/31/14 3:30pm

Tree Stumps Along North Blvd., Wendy's Restaurant, 5003 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

The owner of the property at the southeast corner of Kirby Dr. and North Blvd. has indicated he might attempt to evict the Wendy’s franchise whose operator appears to have ordered the nighttime removal of 6 oak trees on public property surrounding the fast-food outlet earlier this week. Lias J. “Jeff” Steen, the property’s landlord, says he sent an email saying “I am extremely disappointed he took down the trees under cover of darkness . . . And I am looking at terminating our lease,” according to a report by abc13′s Deborah Wrigley.

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Removed ‘in Good Faith’
10/31/14 12:15pm

Headed to that spooky Halloween “party” at 3015 Fuqua St. tonight all the kool kids are daring each other about today on Twitter? Here are a few things you should know about what might rank as one of Houston’s eeriest properties still standing, one complete with both its very own murder and a ghost video.

Our chilling tale begins in early February 2008, when the property was last on the market. Back then vandals held sway at the decrepit 11,640-sq.-ft. mansion in Minnetex Place. Was it Swamplot’s showcasing of the home’s skanky indoor pool, 5-acre lot, decorative graffiti, and grand, red-carpeted staircase that made it move? It had languished on the market for 7 months, but just 2 weeks later, the property sold — to an entity controlled by a pair of Houston investors. They snagged the 1950 mansion for just $265,000 — greatly reduced from its original $451,900 listing.

Since then, visiting vandals have been joined by a new, possibly otherworldly tenant.

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Fuqua’s Ghost?
10/31/14 11:45am

Finding a seat in the latest round of musical chairs among Houston’s theater crowd is the Classical Theatre Company, which recently announced it is moving operations into the 175-seat Chelsea Market venue vacated by Main Street Theater earlier this year. For the previously nomadic CTC, the space means a more permanent home for its artists and audiences — as well as a single spot for its offices, storage, rehearsals, and performances.

Main Street Theater, which has a Rice Village venue on Times Blvd. readying for a long-awaited renovation, had rented the Chelsea Market space for its Theater for Youth and educational programming since 1996. Youth activities shifted recently to the Talento Bilingue de Houston center at 333 S. Jensen Dr. That move had been prompted by the kickoff of work on the recently re-christened 20-story apartment project fronting Chelsea Blvd. (The Carter, formerly known as Chelsea Montrose), which took a big bite out of a once-extensive parking area.

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Stage Shuffle
10/31/14 8:30am

Fourth Ward Townhouses and Downtown Towers, Houston

Photo of Fourth Ward townhouses and Downtown: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
10/30/14 3:15pm

View of Downtown Houston from Space, October 30, 2014

Sure, these days with Google Maps and other available sources, we’re all pretty accustomed to seeing recent satellite images of our city. Does that make seeing a moments-ago fresh-from-the-camera view of Houston sent directly to you (and maybe 354,400 or so other Twitter followers) by an astronaut hanging out on the International Space Station less of a thrill? If not (or even if so), behold: Here’s an overhead view of downtown Houston taken just “a little bit ago,” sent by low-earth-orbiting astronaut Reid Wiseman this afternoon.

Photo: NASA/Reid Wiseman

Someone Was Watching Over You
10/30/14 2:15pm

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If portions of this open-plan Woodshire mod look a bit like a stage set (top), that was likely the idea. The 1957 custom designed pad, by architects Dunaway & Jones, was for Joseph T. Finkelstein, the co-founder and former president of the Alley Theatre (and a former actor in New York). Although the double lot’s landscaped scenery has gone a bit shaggy between acts, the overall swank factor still appears intact. Earlier this week, a re-re-relisting dropped the period property’s asking price down to $549,500.

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Scene Stealer
10/30/14 1:15pm

Finca Tres Robles Farm, 257 N. Greenwood St., East End, Houston

Two brothers who have opened a new agricultural venture in Houston’s East End are billing it as Houston’s “first private farm inside the 610 Loop.” Amid the gritty industrial wilds of N. Greenwood St. between Navigation and Canal — just a few blocks south of Buffalo Bayou’s Turkey Bend —Finca Tres Robles (spelled out and illustrated helpfully in the photo above) now sprouts on land owned by Electro-Coatings, a plating company. Other less bucolic neighbors, such as Baker Oil Tools and the US Zinc Houston Dust Plant, lurk nearby.

Until its 1996 purchase by Electro-Coatings (along with a warehouse owned by Sara Lee), the 1.2-acre plot now occupied by the farm served as a TxDOT service site. It lay vacant for the last 18 years. Beginning 6 or 7 months ago, the new proprietors jackhammered away the vestigial asphalt; they’ve since composted the lot and commenced agricultural operations.

Here’s the plan:

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Finca Tres Robles
10/30/14 10:45am

Chopping Down of Trees along North Blvd. at Wendy's Restaurant, 5003 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston

The City of Houston intends to proceed with legal action in connection with the overnight disappearance of half a dozen oak trees from the public right-of-way surrounding the Wendy’s drive-thru at 5003 Kirby Dr., according to 2 separate sources. The trees were chopped down and ground up on site under cover of darkness Tuesday night as part of a renovation of the fast-food spot, which sits at the corner of Kirby and North Blvd. The removals took place on city property, but had not been permitted by the city.

“I have already been assured by the City of Houston’s enforcement officer that the city intends to proceed with a civil case,” writes Trees for Houston executive director Barry Ward in an email sent to members of the canopy-enhancement organization this morning. He calls plans to pursue legal action “a continuation of the recent, positive trend by the current administration to put an end to illegal tree removal in the City right-of-way or on city property.”

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$150K for More Sunlight
10/30/14 8:30am

Downtown Houston from Site of Elan Heights, Taylor St. at Usener St., Woodland Heights, Houston

Photo of Downtown from site of Elan Heights: Ashley Day

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