07/22/16 5:15pm

Yucatan Taco Stand, 3407 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006

The strip-center position formerly held by Berryhill Baja Grill at the corner of Montrose Blvd. and Hawthorne St. is getting new signage this afternoon, a reader notes. The spot appears to be shifting from West Coast to Gulf Coast culinary traditions under the impending occupation of Yucatan Taco Stand. The chain, whose name (almost) maintains all the rhythm and rhyme of the last taco-wielding tenant, was started in Fort Worth by the late founder of Fuzzy’s Tacos, and already has a spot open in the Woodlands.

Here’s a wider view of the scene, showing the restaurant in place next to Nails by TM and back-to-back with the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China:


Going Yucateca
07/22/16 4:30pm

METRORail Light-rail Map

In response to word from the Chronicle‘s Dug Begley this week that the Red Line’s Reliant Park light-rail stop might get its station name updated to an even older name, a Swamplot reader jumps on the case with a system-wide list of potential station name changes that might remain unaffected by the sale, rebranding, or demise of any nearby venues or landmarks. Begley notes it could cost Metro around $486,000 to change the Reliant Park stop’s signage. The agency says it would prefer to make the switch at the same time as 2 other station name changes currently under consideration (if they’re approved) — but not until after the Super Bowl, for which a set of cheaper temporary stickers will be deployed to help visitors find NRG Stadium.

The reader, in the spirit of Houston’s budding redesign-it-yourself urban planning scene, suggests that paying up now to swap out all the names that might become a problem later might actually be a long-term cost-saver. The proposed scheme makes sure every station name mentions a cross-street (or maybe a bayou), and keeps some references to existing transit centers, parks, or neighborhoods.

Here’s the full list of suggested switch-outs, separated by rail line, with the current names on the left:


What’s In a Name
07/22/16 2:15pm

CHEVRON TO SELL OLD BELLAIRE CAMPUS, ALL THAT NEW LAND ON CLAY RD. 1500 Smith St., Downtown, Houston, 77002Nancy Sarnoff notes this afternoon that Chevron will be selling off that 103-acre Clay Rd. tract it bought in 2014, along with the company’s Fournace Place campus in Bellaire (whose sale was noted last week by Michelle Leigh Smith).  Despite assurances last year that the office midrise at 4800 Fournace would remain occupied, the company says it will move all of those employees to some of its downtown offices by the end of next year, and will start shopping it around in October. Leigh also notes some of the 28-acre property’s recorded history, including the 1940s and 50s laboratory buildings previously demolished on the site, and Chevron’s (then Texaco’s) purported 1970s request to the Bellaire city council to rename the road to something not reminiscent of their competitor Gulf Oil — the property was originally listed on Gulfton St., which now changes abruptly to Fournace Pl. at of the intersection with S. Rice Ave. [Houston Chronicle; Southwest News via Realty News Report] Photo of Chevron’s office tower at 1500 Louisiana St., previously Enron Center South: Jordan R.

07/22/16 12:00pm

WLN Invite

Today’s Swamplot sponsor is . . . a party! It’s the gathering Boulevard Realty is putting on before White Linen Night festivities begin in the Houston Heights — from 5 to 8 pm on Saturday, August 6th — and it’s open to all.

Boulevard Realty is billing the pre-party’s location as the most expensive new single-family home listing ever to hit the Houston Heights, and the party will serve as an early open house for it, too: It’s the new 6,814-sq.-ft. residence Smith Family Homes is building at 1035 Harvard St. — which is expected to be completed in the fall.

But there’s room on the home’s 9,900-sq.-ft. lot (plus an adjacent property) for a few party attractions: a live performance by Craig Kinsey & His Band; food trucks Foodgasm and St. John’s Fire; plus specially fortified New Orleans-style snoballs from the Mam’s House of Ice trailer. There will also be lawn games, refreshments, and a shuttle bus to and from the main White Linen Night in the Heights party on the 200 and 300 blocks of 19th St.

Where you planning on attending White Linen Night this year? Stop by here first! See the pre-party’s event page on Facebook for more information.

Need to get the word out about an important local event? Sign up to become a Swamplot Sponsor of the Day!

Sponsor of the Day
07/22/16 11:30am

Jackson Dog Park, 4828 1/2 Loop Central Dr., Pin Oak, Houston, 77081

Update, 2:30 pm: Commissioner Steve Radack tells Swamplot that the dog park itself will also be closed while the parking area is inaccessible. This article has been updated.

Jackson Dog Park, 4828 1/2 Loop Central Dr., Pin Oak, Houston, 77081 A well-labeled notice was spotted by a reader at the Danny Jackson Family Dog Park on Westpark Dr. (south of the Houston Post-turned-Chronicle complex, just inside the West Loop). The sign includes what appears to be a letter addressed to Mike McMahan of Harris County Precinct 3’s parks department, affectionately sign by CenterPoint Energy (which owns the electrical transmission corridor currently borrowed in part as parking for the linear dog run). The note indicates that some or all of the dog park’s lot may be off limits as the company takes care of some work to raise its transmission structures (which cross over the 610 Loop just south of where Westpark crosses under), to get them out of the way of some TxDOT road work planned for the area.

Swamplot is still waiting to hear back as to whether the park itself will stay open Precinct 3 says that the park itself will also be closed during the work period, which the letter says will run from August 15th through June 1, 2017. We’ll update as soon as we have more info; meanwhile, here’s a closeup of the text:


Marking Territory
07/22/16 8:30am


Photo: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

07/21/16 5:00pm


A set of skeletal construction updates are the product of Bob Russell’s downtown photo hunt earlier this week. The view above is a Hines 2-fer: Behind James Surl’s spiky Point of View sculpture is the 32-floor apartment building on its way up at the corner of Travis and Preston (now going by Aris Market Square), with a sliver of all-business 609 Main visible on the right. The office tower has been getting its last few bits of steel stuck into place this week — check out a more centered portrait of the rooftop action (plus more covert snaps of bare beams from around the area) below:


All On The Way
07/21/16 1:15pm

Palm Center Redevelopment Conceptual Plans

Like the looks of the conceptual drawing above, showing one of the possible ways to dress up HBDi’s Palm Center on Griggs Rd.? Or think you’ve got a better idea, and the real estate connections to pull it off? Adolfo Pesquera notes a current call for proposals from developers interested in redoing the site — you’ve got until early October to submit your own plan.

The changes wouldn’t happen all at once: HBDi’s documents show that it hopes to split up the work into a few different phases, dependent on how the economy looks. The first order of business would be to pretty up the old buildings on the site; the next phase would include adding a plaza and some office space, followed by the addition of whatever mix of office, retail, residential, and medical space is eventually selected.  Though most of the images included with the proposal guidelines are speculative, HBDi’s conceptual drawings do show some of the more concrete plans for the site, which is the last stop on Metro’s Purple Line:


Rearranging The First Shopping Center
07/21/16 12:00pm

2207 Devonshire St., Glendower Court, Houston

2207 Devonshire St., Glendower Court, Houston

Today’s site sponsor is the 3-bedroom, 3-1/2-bath home at 2207 Devonshire St. in Glendower Court. Swamplot appreciates the support!

Brick-paved and landscaped spaces frame this 1992 2-story, 3,669-sq.-ft. home near River Oaks. Outside the front entry is a gated-in patio with a fountain feature and plenty of plant life. Straight through the main hallway, past the formal living and dining rooms, French doors (see top photo) open onto a neat fenced-in back patio with more space and more foliage (above) — a space suitable for a morning coffee or an evening cocktail with friends and family.

A balconette off the second-floor master bedroom overlooks the front courtyard. The upstairs is rounded out by 2 more bedrooms; one, with its own full bath, leads to a flex room. Additional rooms downstairs include a den and an office area. The listing notes the home could be outfitted with an elevator.

The home is offered for sale by New Leaf Real Estate, which offers unique savings programs for both sellers and buyers. You can find additional views of and details about the property on the 2207 Devonshire website. If you like what you see, you’ll want to stop by the open house this weekend: from 2 to 4 pm on Sunday, July 24th.

Your home offers privacy — but it needs publicity? Give it a star turn — as a Swamplot Sponsor of the Day!

Sponsor of the Day
07/21/16 10:45am

Thornsen Streetlab Silver St. Redo

In the small but growing city tradition of redoing street plans in your spare time, urban planner and general Houston improvement brainstormer Jesse Thornsen has recently launched a website to showcase weekly ideas for making bits the local streetscape easier to navigate (by bike, foot, car, or other means). This morning’s addition: how to smooth out the westward jog in Silver St. as it crosses Dart St. The spot (shown in the above left-to-right conceptual before and after) is southeast of Annex Houston automobile storage and the Silver Street Studios complex; not quite due west lies the Shops at Sawyer Yards warehouse retail redevelopment.

Thornsen’s plan adds sidewalks and a landscaped median (to discourage vehicles from taking the most direct route straight through the jagged intersection). Thornsen points out that the section is designated for both bikes and cars by the Houston Bike Plan; his redo includes bike lanes, including a queuing spot big enough for multiple cyclists to cozy up together as they wait to turn north. Here’s a close up and a cross section:


Squaring Up in First Ward
07/21/16 8:30am


Photo of I-45: elnina via Swamplot Flickr Pool