To celebrate pre-Independence Day, Swamplot is skipping out a little early for the weekend. Our best wishes for a safe and spectacular holiday. Tune in with us again on Monday for more sizzling and sparkling Houston coverage.
Bursting fireworks, or just bursting. Or just crashing down.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOUSTON’S PRIMARY UNIT OF MEASURE “Unfortunately it will take much more than sprucing up Buffalo Bayou Park to make Houston a more pleasant place. The big problem is that for most people in Houston, the only way to get to a nice place like BBP is the only way you can get anywhere — by car. And that fact alone will take years of political will, planning, and hard work to change. And as long as it doesn’t change, Houston will remain what it is currently: a road system that people sleep and work around. The primary datum in a place like NY is the human body. Planning with the human body as the primary reference point generally makes for a pleasant place for people. Here in Houston, the primary unit of reference is the automobile, as such Houston primarily accommodates cars, not people. Scale matters. Infrastructure (such as sidewalks, small neighborhood parks, bike lanes, rails, etc) matters. Buffalo Bayou Park is a nice place because it is designed for people. Houston on the other hand . . . In terms of civic amenities and property values, ‘you can’t have both’ only in the market as it currently exists. We ought to be able to have a decent city and also live in it, but that can’t happen until we decide to decide that enough’s enough and begin actually planning our city. There are people and institutions in Houston working hard to that end, but so far they are too much ‘a voice in the [civic] wilderness.’ I’m optimistic though. I see people noticing what makes a nice city, where our shortcomings are, and working toward implementing necessary changes.” [Andrew, commenting on Comment of the Day: The Buffalo Bayou Park Pinch] Illustration: Lulu
Confirming a rumor Swamplot noted last week, the HBJ’s Roxana Asgarian reports that “one of the largest residential developers in Houston” has plans to transform two-thirds of the site of former pedestrian shopping district Westbury Square into 100 to 125 townhomes. Camelot Realty Group’s Tom Cervone tells Asgarian a group of developers going by the name of Villas at Westbury Square has the property on West Bellfort near Chimney Rock and West Bellfort under contract from its longtime owner, Alfred Antonini.
All 11 remaining Westbury Square buildings — including the longtime home of the Company OnStage theater group — will be torn down in 30 days, the real estate agent says. Two of the more dilapidated structures from the complex were demolished last year; the Home Depot next door (visible in the distance in the photo below) was built on land that previously belonged to the complex.
Here’s a coyote who stepped out in the early evening hours yesterday for a little daylight walkabout in Glen Park — not far from its normal howling grounds in and around the nearby Hollywood Cemetery, Little White Oak Bayou, and Moody Park. These pics were taken at the corner of Glen Park St. and Hyacinth, just one block north of North Main St. and the future site of the White Oak Music Hall.
El Tiempo has come to remove this from our city:
COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE BUFFALO BAYOU PARK PINCH “When I see the improvements come on line at Buffalo Bayou, I keep thinking to myself ‘what’s the catch? Are these on loan from another city? Will Culberson make us take them down so he can build a new highway?’ But it is really happening. Buffalo Bayou is really turning into Houston’s Central Park (NY’s version does have a private restaurant right in the middle of it–Tavern on the Green). The nature playground on the east end is getting finishing touches as well as the performance space and snack bar over the old waterworks. The only problem I have encountered is the mud that slides down the banks and accumulates on the trails after a heavy rain. But it is much better than it used to be. Who knows. Maybe this is for real. And maybe people will actually start moving to Houston because it is a nice place to live.” [Old School, commenting on Finding Buffalo Bayou’s Lost Lake and Its ‘Morning Glory’ Hole, Almost Ready for Business] Illustration: Lulu
MetroNational appears to have concrete plans for the new development it’s putting together for the 24-acre corner of Gessner Rd. and the Katy Fwy. feeder directly across I-10 from the company’s distinctive headquarters: It’s already signed up building materials company Cemex USA to become the lead tenant in a new office building intended for a portion of the site, a source tells Swamplot. The company will be leasing around 80,000 sq. ft. of space in the Energy Gateway District.
A reader notes there’s been some construction activity in and around the entrance and rear drive-thru window of the former Eckerd-turned-CVS Pharmacy along the White Oak Bayou Trail at the corner of T.C. Jester and 18th St., on the west coast of Shady Acres. That’s a notable turn of events: The building has been vacant for about 5 years. The standalone structure’s prospective new tenant appears to be another SignatureCare Emergency Center — last week, a note on the website for the local chain of health clinics had listed 1925 E. T.C. Jester Blvd. as the location of its upcoming “Heights” facility, but the address has since been removed.
Let’s make this quick, and not get caught up in all the little pieces that fall out.