09/17/14 1:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: SAMPLING NEIGHBORHOOD GRASSES Barefoot in the Grass“Next time you’re out walking your neighborhood, try playing ‘guess the grass.’ You may be surprised to find that many of your neighbors have fake grass and you never noticed until taking off your sandals and giving it a good rub down with the bottom of your foot. I find I go out of my way to kick off my shoes and ‘sample’ my neighbors’ grass when it looks a little too manicured and beautiful. I’m always surprised when I touch it and it turns out to be fake – this stuff really does look real.” [Brinn, commenting on Yes, Gotta Give ’Em Credit for All the Fake Grass in the Back Yard] Illustration: Lulu

09/17/14 12:30pm

TRICON HOMES STILL TRASHING THE JOSEPHINE Demolition of Josephine Apartments, 1744-1748 Bolsover St. at Ashby St., Boulevard Oaks, HoustonDemolition crews turned the Josephine Apartments into a dusty pile of rubble yesterday (as seen in Swamplot’s on-the-spot report), but Tricon Homes cofounder Tristan Berlanga threw in a little trash-talking of his own about the condition of the 2-story Art Moderne complex, which went down in a heap, original steel-frame windows and all: “This, in fact, was a building in very poor structural condition which would have been practically impossible to save, both for safety and economic reasons,” he says to the Chronicle’s Erin Mulvaney. He goes on to tell the reporter he doesn’t like to see buildings demolished, especially those with “architectural or historical significance,” but appears to lay blame for the building’s demise on a lack of city regulation: “Most cities have zoning laws and designated historical areas that help preserve buildings like this,” he says. “Without that, it is hard to do more . . .” Tricon plans to replace the 8-unit building from 1939 with 4 new townhomes, which are still being designed. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

09/17/14 11:45am

HOW LIBERTARIANS DESCRIBE HOUSTON, PLAYING THE NEW YORK CARD, AND THE SUE ELLEN MISCHKE OF METROPOLISES Site of Future Wayside Walmart, Idylwood, Houston Cort McMurray stuffs more colorful Houston-in-a-phrase quips into his latest in-search-of-the-city essay than will fit in this little lookie-here linkpost, but a few are worth drawing out: “There is a wide difference of opinion on whether [Houston's] messiness is a good thing. Some of us find it distressing. Tory Gattis and the other evangelists of ‘Opportunity Urbanism’ disagree, painting Houston as a sort of libertarian paradise, a place where fully actualized men and woman can work out their destinies through grit, brains, and good ol’ trial and error. Master plan? We don’t need no stinking master plan. Surveys indicate that the majority of Houstonians are quite content to live in this Sue Ellen Mischke of metropolises: we love ‘the whole free-swinging, freewheeling attitude’ of the place, a city that offers us the strange comfort of knowing that no matter our neighborhood, we’re never more than 37 seconds away from a gas station, a Taco Bell, or an all-night tattoo parlor. Eventually, all the world will be Houston, endless rings of toll roads forming concentric circles around some increasingly distant downtown, endless vistas of cars and Costcos and ‘lifestyle environments,’ worlds without end. This sprawl is ‘vibrant,’ and suburban ‘opportunity zones’ (opportunity is a key word for these people) are the inevitable result of vibrant, opportunistic people searching for better schools, better shopping environments, and better quality of life. In the Opportunity Urbanists’ perfect world, the Houston exurbs would stretch from the Sabine River to somewhere around Fort Stockton, and any suggestion otherwise amounts to a betrayal, a ‘de-Houstonizing’ of Our Fair City.” Another, more realist vision of Houston from McMurray’s grab bag: a spread-out, risk-graded, need-more-freeways array of poors-filled “gray zones” and haves-filled “safe zones.” [Houstonia] Photo: Candace Garcia    

09/17/14 8:30am

houston police officers memorial

Photo of Houston Police Officers’ Memorial, Memorial Dr.: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
09/16/14 3:45pm

Post Oak Park Townhomes, Post Oak Park Dr. at River Hollow Ln., Post Oak Park, Houston

Sources have indicated to Swamplot that all 102 separately owned units of a townhome development behind the Park Towers office complex on the West Loop have been sold. The 5.3969-acre site currently occupied by the Post Oak Park Townhomes (shown in the photo above) had been marketed for sale by CBRE. One source tells Swamplot the buyer of the condo development is a “foreign investor,” and that unspecified highrise buildings are reportedly planned for the property.

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Condo Selloff
09/16/14 1:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: FULLY QUALIFIED TO BRING YOU BEER BY TRICYCLE WHILE YOU SHOP Whole Foods Market Tricycle“I submitted my résumé for the position. As an expedition touring cyclist I think I’m qualified to make a few rounds within 55k sq. ft. toting clanging bottles of beer. Instead of wearing weather resistant gear I think I’ll gladly don tweed knickers and a driving cap to look the part. Here’s to 1mph in the meat section. Wish me luck Houston. I ride with the wind.” [Rider of Rohan., commenting on Galleria Whole Foods Market Opening November 6, Will Include Austin-Import Beer-on-a-Trike] Illustration: Lulu

09/16/14 12:30pm

PENNZOIL PLACE’S STICKY DAMAGE CONTROL PLAN Yellow Stickers on Pennzoil Place, 711 Louisiana St., Downtown HoustonChronicle real-estate reporter Nancy Sarnoff has answers to a couple of questions Pennzoil Place tenants, visitors, and passers-by might be asking right about now: 1) Why is this iconic double-towered downtown office building at 711 Louisiana St. downtown now covered with small, round yellow stickers? and 2) If the building gets scuffed up during the implosion of the remaining hulk of the Houston Club Building across the street, how will property managers be able to distinguish new nicks and scrapes from all the old ones? [Prime Property; previously on Swamplot] Photos: Nancy Sarnoff

09/16/14 11:30am

Demolition of Josephine Apartments, 1744-1748 Bolsover St. at Ashby St., Boulevard Oaks, Houston

The 75-year-old art moderne brick steel-windowed structure at 1744 and 1748 Bolsover St. known as the Josephine Apartments is coming apart in a cloud of (watered down) dust this morning. The 8-unit structure at the corner of Ashby St. 2 blocks north of Rice University was designed in the late 1930s by architect F. Perry Johnston, but demolished by contractors under hire by Tricon Homes, which purchased the property earlier this year.

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Boulevard Oaks Rubble
09/16/14 8:30am

downtown trail off i-10

Photo of I-10 near Allen’s Landing: Christof Spieler via Twitter

Headlines
09/15/14 3:45pm

734 E. 8th St., Houston Heights

734 E. 8th St., Houston HeightsIf you’re wondering what an expanse of fake grass is doing in the back yard of a $1.345 million home around the corner from Antidote, Premium Draught, and the Sonoma Wine Bar in the Heights, the architect of the 4-bedroom, 3,769-sq.-ft. structure has an answer for you: “The synthetic grass was the owner’s idea, which had my full support,” Cameron Armstrong tells Swamplot, after an email from a reader alerted us to the astroturfing issue. “It’s 100% recycled material, and significantly reduced our landscape irrigation needs,” the architect notes, “which gained the project some points during LEED certification (Silver).”

Ouch! Does learning that last bit give you a brain cramp? If so, you’re not alone:

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No Mow
09/15/14 1:00pm

GALLERIA WHOLE FOODS MARKET OPENING NOVEMBER 6, WILL INCLUDE AUSTIN-IMPORT BEER-ON-A-TRIKE BLVD Place Whole Foods Market Under Construction, 1700 Post Oak Blvd., Galleria, HoustonThe long-awaited BLVD Place Whole Foods Market will finally open on November 6, reports the HBJ‘s Jenny Agee-Aldridge. And the grocery juggernaut has fed her another notable market-marketing nugget: Shoppers at the new 55,000-sq.-ft. store at 1700 Post Oak Blvd. will be able to make beer orders and receive deliveries while shopping — from a beer-toting store employee riding a tricycle around the market. The non-motorized alcohol delivery setup, Agee-Aldridge notes, is an Austin import. But the beer source is a Houston first: The store will be the first Whole Foods’ anywhere to have its own brewery on the premises, and will feature beer-themed breads and desserts as well. [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Russell Hancock