04/27/15 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHY THEY WON’T BE LINING POST OAK BLVD. WITH POST OAKS Post Oak Forest“So close! Just imagine how impressive it would be to have a forest of 800 post oaks on Post Oak Blvd. Unfortunately, post oaks don’t tend to transplant well compared to live oaks, which is why we use live oaks in our landscaping instead of post oaks. (Source: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)” [GoogleMaster, commenting on Boxed Forest of 800 Trees in Tomball Preparing for March Down Post Oak Blvd.] Illustration: Lulu

04/27/15 2:45pm

THE MCCONAUGHEY IS STRONG IN THIS ONE A mere 6 months after Jim Carrey, Metro is out with its own riff on last year’s series of commercials for the Lincoln MKC emceed by a dusk-cruising Matthew McConaughey. But there’s no Texas Longhorn blocking the road for Metro’s version (above), meant to uh . . . re-introduce the transit agency’s newly reimagined bus service, scheduled to kick off in 4 months. Mixed into the atmospherics is a bus driver’s subtle diss of folks’ reliance on some of the old, less popular routes axed in the bus-map redo: “Where’re you really going on the road less traveled? Probably nowhere really great.” [Metro] Video: Metro

04/27/15 1:00pm

SAVING HOUSTON’S UNZONED ARTISTIC SPIRIT Open House at Inversion by Havel Ruck Projects, Montrose Blvd., Montrose, HoustonGlasstire’s Bill Davenport has a suggestion: “Its famous lack of zoning is one of the few things Houston offers artists that other cities can’t. It’s been a defining feature of the city, and one of its main attractions for artists for decades. But this isn’t happening anymore. Prosperity has put teeth into Houston code enforcement, whose numerous inspectors now patrol the streets, ready to red-tag any unconventional building activity. It’s vital that we preserve a loophole for artistic expression on an architectural scale. What once was an opportunity created naturally by low property prices and underfunded city government must now be maintained purposefully if Houston’s unique character as a city of artistic entrepreneurship is to continue. As part of the new cultural plan, Houston city council should create an ordinance making an exception to the building codes for artistic projects. Of course, there will need to be safeguards against abuse. No one wants to see sleazy builders putting up unsafe, substandard structures. I propose that the city create an alternative path to compliance for creative projects in art and architecture, in which building officials will approve structures on a case-by-case basis, by assessing them on their merits, rather than on whether they conform to the rigid conventions of the International Building Code. Imagine the effect! If you are an artist or architect in San Antonio or Sri Lanka with a great, crazy idea, and you heard that, in Houston, projects like yours were welcomed as part of the city’s freewheeling culture, where would you go?” [Glasstire] Photo of Inversion by Havel Ruck Projects: The Decay of Lying

04/27/15 12:00pm

Former Cabo Grill, 5172 Buffalo Speedway, West University, Texas

The letters are down at the Cabo Grill in the West U Shopping Center (the one with the Kroger and all the oaks) on Buffalo Speedway between Westpark and Bissonnet. This Cabo Grill — not to be confused with the also shuttered Cabo Mix-Mex Grill known best for its former location at the corner of Travis and Prairie Downtown (now home to El Big Bad) — was formerly named Fish City Grill. A reader tells Swamplot that a sign posted on the front door of the shopping center slot at 5172 Buffalo Speedway says that the locks have been changed as a result of a payment failure. The place appears vacant.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Fish City to Cabo to Empty
04/27/15 8:30am

downtown

Photo of Downtown: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
04/24/15 4:30pm

FOOD TRUCK GOING FOOD COURT The Rice Box Food Truck, HoustonNext venue for the 2-truck Chinese-food-about-town hotspot known as the Rice Box? A non-mobile location in the food court at 5 E. Greenway Plaza, Alison Cook reports: “[Owner John] Peterson has signed on Jim Herd’s Collaborative Projects to design a Rice Box Greenway prototype that will set it apart from its more conventional neighbors. Under a crimson sea of 80 Chinese lanterns (one of the visual totems on the original Rice Box truck), informal barstool seating will range across a counter overlooking oscillating video panels and a custom tea bar. The menu will appear on its own video screen. Red roof tiles from China have been ordered to construct an awning over the counter. ‘It’s one step closer to the White Dragon Noodle Bar,‘ jokes Peterson, referring to the Blade Runner food stand that was his visual inspiration for the Rice Box truck. (All he and Herd need to do is rig some kind of periodic rain showers.)” [Food Chronicles] Photo: The Rice Box

04/24/15 3:00pm

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Until neighboring homes now under construction weigh in, the largest home — by just a couple sq. ft. — on its Museum District block in Jandor Gardens is a custom 2006 contemporary by Stern & Bucek. The home stacks up on one side of a wide, slightly terraced, slightly dog-legged lot. The property avoids pesky back neighbors entirely — the lawn, landscaping, and pristine pool extend to the street behind. Earlier this week, the listing appeared on the market with a $3.95 million price tag.

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Back Stretch
04/24/15 2:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE MORNING RITUAL Drive-Thru Line at Starbucks“. . . They subject themselves to the wait. They have to sit in their cars, inching forward, seething with rage at the a-hole in front for being slow, cursing the a-hole behind for being impatient, wasting precious minutes of finite existence, instead of sipping a cup of joe in tranquil splendor with the morning digital paper at the kitchen table. I understand the desire for convenience. I don’t understand how morning rush hour Starbucks can be seen as anything but torture.” [Memebag, commenting on Hedwig Village’s New Freeway-Side Starbucks Drive-Thru Is Coming To Save Your Missed Exit] Illustration: Lulu

04/24/15 1:00pm

Post Oak Live Oaks Growing at Environmental Design, 23544 Coons Rd., Tomball, Texas

Post Oak Live Oaks Growing at Environmental Design, 23544 Coons Rd., Tomball, TexasFor Arbor Day, the Uptown Houston District is showing off the 800 live oaks earmarked for Post Oak Blvd. now being trained in Tomball for a life on the streets. The tree reboxers and transplanters at Environmental Design are breeding the trees on the company’s Tomball campus at 23544 Coons Rd.

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Live Oaks Training for New Post
04/24/15 12:00pm

Little White Church on Barker Clodine Rd. Being Moved to Iglesia Sobre La Roca, 433 S. Barker Cypress Rd., Katy, Texas

The white woodframe church that until recently stood with a collection of small buildings including the Barker General Store on the main, retracted campus of the Marks LH7 Ranch at 1010 Barker Clodine Rd. has been spotted nearby, fleeing encroaching apartment development along the far east end of Kingsland Blvd. at the northwest corner of George Bush Park. The church hasn’t traveled far: It’s arrived on the grounds of the neighboring Iglesia Sobre La Roca, aka Church on the Rock, at 433 S. Barker Cypress Rd. in Katy — just a quarter-mile to the north.

Here’s a photo of the church building as it was picked up from its previous home at 1010 Barker Clodine Rd., beyond the street-facing plaque that explains the remains of Houston’s last ranch:

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Last Roundup at Houston’s Last Ranch
04/24/15 8:30am

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Photo of mural by Wiley Robertson at 3301 Cline St., Fifth Ward: Swamplot inbox

Headlines
04/23/15 5:30pm

Proposed Changes to I-45, I-10, and I-69, Houston

There’s so much to say and gawk at in the latest “proposed recommended alternatives” for reshaping I-45 now being shopped around by TxDOT and a host of freeway-happy consultants — enough for a fourth round of public meetings scheduled for tonight and next week, plus hours of extra-curricular speculation. The plans encompass dramatic changes to the North Freeway all the way from Beltway 8 to a new split adjacent to the Third Ward, including eye-opening widenings, all sorts of exciting tunnels and high-flying overpasses, a slew of spaghetti-like interchanges, and — the pièce de résistance — the wholesale give-up of I-45′s current L-shaped wrap around Downtown, including the Pierce Elevated.

These 5 images from our highway overlords’ exciting imagined future sum it up best:

1. The X-ing-out of the Pierce Elevated (diagrammed above). If the elevated portion of I-45 along the path of Pierce St. goes away, how will anyone be able to tell where Downtown ends and Midtown begins? Don’t worry, a few proposals are being shopped around to turn a de-automobiled structure into a High Line—like public park or bikeway. (Though much bigger, ′cuz Houston.)

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Freeway Frenzy!