11/26/14 3:30pm

Turkey Gully, Clark Pines, Houston

So many dedicated vacation days in a row now at the end of November, each with their own to-do lists: Thanksgiving, of course, but then Black Friday, followed by Returns and Regrets Saturday, and the always entertaining Family Intrigue Sunday. We’ll see you back here at Swamplot on Cyber Monday, ready to go with another full week of real estate fun.

In the meantime, please click on the blue button that says “Like” in the box above, if you haven’t already — thousands of your bestest Facebook friends will thank you for it. (Or simply “Like” the Swamplot Facebook page directly.) And we’ll thank you for signing up to the Swamplot email list as well.  Thanks for being our eyes and ears, Houston!

Photo of Turkey Gully: HAR

Taking a Break
11/26/14 2:30pm



More a reconstruction than a renovation, extensive work on a 1938 Mandell Place property is believed to have kept only the original slab, exterior walls and roofline. The rest has been reimagined by Fisher Homes, which looks to have reduced the number of interior walls but boosted the white trim package big time. Like a line of creamy frosting, wainscoting panels finish much of the home, which is located west of Mulberry St. and north of W. Alabama St. For the rebuilt results, the seller is now asking $1.35 million. The previously updated property last sold in 2011 for $485K.  Do the modifications add up to the “90 percent new” touted in the listing, which went up earlier this month?


All Trimmed Out
11/26/14 12:15pm

BAYOU SWIMMING HOLE PROMOTERS JUMP TO KICKSTARTER TO JUMPSTART PROJECT Proposed Central Houston Swimming HoleJust how feasible would it be to build a 3-acre self-cleaning swimming hole somewhere near the center of Houston, so you could take your own bathing-suits-and-skyscrapers pics like the one shown here — without resorting to Photoshop? If enough people donate to the Kickstarter for the Houston Needs a Swimming Hole campaign, you may get to find out. Promoters Monte Large, Evan O’Neil, and Jeff Kaplan are hoping to raise $30,000 from contributors for a feasibility study for their proposal — including a preliminary site selection component. The study would be conducted by Sherwood Design Engineers, whose Houston branch is a tenant in office space connected to Kaplan’s New Living store on Kirby Dr. The swimming hole, meant to serve as a centerpiece of Houston’s growing our-bayous-are-our-parks system, would be patterned on the natural swimming pool model common in Europe, where adjacent plant-filled “regeneration zones” filter the water, and no chemicals are needed. [Kickstarter; more info] Photo: Houston Needs a Swimming Hole

11/26/14 11:14am

FERTITTA: THAT WAS NOT ME IN THAT STUDEWOOD ST. DIVE fertitta-bloombergBillionaire Landry’s CEO Tilman Fertitta categorically denies that he was recently seen in venerable Houston Heights dive bar the Shiloh Club, knocking back cocktails and peppering regulars for local information. “I was not there,” the world’s richest restaurateur tells the Houston Chronicle‘s Nancy Sarnoff. He also denied rumors of a pending Landry’s land invasion of the Heights. (His Shepherd Dr. Saltgrass-and-Cadillac-Bar mini-stronghold will stay in Cottage Grove south of I-10 for now.) He’s about volume, something the Heights can’t provide him in ample measure: “The way that I’m set up, I have to do a lot of business, and they’re more smaller restaurants.”  With one potential exception: “Brenner’s on the Bayou could be there. But that’s probably around here the only (Landry’s) restaurant that could be in the Heights.” Fertitta went on to reiterate and expand on a bearish short-term real estate market forecast he first delivered on Bloomberg TV earlier this month. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Bloomberg TV

11/26/14 8:30am

I-45 Headed into Downtown Houston

Photo of I-45: Bill Barfield via Swamplot Flickr pool

11/25/14 4:00pm



Tweaks to a 1977 Briarmeadow home have left it looking rather peachy inside, thanks to a dream-state color wash. The heavy-roofed French-ish property last sold in 2013, for $291,040, and has appeared in an assortment of listings and relistings ever since. Updated in that interim, the westward-facing home is now  attempting a flip at $409,000. Previous listings sought a high of $489K in July 2013, with reductions to $459K in September 2013, $449K in April 2014 (which snagged a contract but not a closing), and $429K in July 2014 — before taking a breather from the market in August. Renovations picked the bones clean and added new ingredients . . .


11/25/14 2:26pm


Phase 2 of Texas A&M’s $450 million Kyle Field makeover will get underway in earnest in the early morning hours of December 21, after a season-long pause to slot in the Aggies’ 2014 home-field gridiron slate. That’s when Christmas will arrive early for demolition junkies, as the stadium’s multitiered west side will come down with a bang.

Some prep work has already begun, but the pace will quicken about two hours after the conclusion of the Aggies’ season finale on Thanksgiving Day against LSU. That’s when the whole stadium will once again become a construction zone, and only those with the proper credentials will be granted entry.


Expanding Aggieland
11/25/14 12:11pm

METRO GETTING READY TO SELL OFF THE CLOSED PINEMONT PARK & RIDE Pinemont-Park-RideThis spring the ramp connecting Metro’s Pinemont Park and Ride to Hwy. 290 was removed as part of TxDOT’s 290 widening project. The facility closed down a few weeks before the ramp vanished. Now the 14.8-acre Pinemont site could go up for sale before the end of the year. Because the Park and Ride’s construction had been partially funded by Uncle Sam, the Federal Transit Administration will have to grant Metro permission to sell. Once that hurdle is cleared, Metro will begin reading sealed bids on the property. The site sprawls out behind Hwy. 290′s Cafe Red Onion, abuts an HISD motor pool and fronts Pinemont Dr. It also sports a handy shortcut to the 290 feeder road along Federal Plaza Dr. The Collier Regional Library stands across Pinemont and a trio of parks — Rosslyn, Forest West and Pinemont — dot the cityscape within a half-mile of the site. [The Leader; more infoPhoto: Metro

11/25/14 11:30am

002HOUSTON MAGAZINE GETTING RID OF ITS DOWNTOWN ZIP Cover of 002houston MagazineFor its seventeenth birthday, sleek-stuff-about-downtown glossy 002houston magazine is stripping away the Zip Code part of its name to indicate its (longstanding) willingness to venture into Discovery Green (010), East Downtown (003), Bellaire (401), Montrose (swinging both ways: 006 and 019), the Energy Corridor (079), The Heights (007, 008, and 009), Pearland (584), Sugar Land (478 and 479), The Woodlands (380, 381, and 389), or wherever a nearby polo match is to be found. Starting with the January issue, the free publication’s new name will be Local Houston Magazine. “Local will continue to provide relevant news targeting those who live and work downtown, but with increased coverage throughout Greater Houston,” reads a notice sent out yesterday from 002houston magazine’s Spring St. editorial offices (in 007), “with editors covering food, culture, art and style for Houstonians who make Houston one of the coolest cities in America.”

11/25/14 8:30am


Photo of TDECU Stadium: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

11/24/14 3:46pm


Exxon marks the spot for Ronnie Killen’s latest foray into the Pearland meat market: A burger joint, going in a derelict Exxon station at the corner of S. Main St. and Broadway St. and sharing a busy intersection with Whataburger and folksy Pearland institution the Busy Bee Cafe.

Killen had teased readers of his social media sites earlier this month with snapshots of the gas station, but on Friday, he at last confirmed it as the future home of Killen’s Burger on the Killen’s Barbecue Facebook page:


11/24/14 2:45pm



A Garden Oaks home likes balconies so much, it stuffs a few of them inside looking over the living room (top) as well as facing the street (above). The bones of the property beneath a tree canopied lot located just west of Yale St. date to 1940, but it’s been expanded and updated over the years. Last week, its tidy presence popped up on the market sporting a $695,000 asking price.


Canopied Lot