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!
04/23/15 3:15pm

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Incorporated as a city in 1959, Sugar Land was still Imperial Sugar’s company-owned town when the original part of this expanded, updated 1940 home went up east of Main St. in “the Hill” neighborhood of Old Sugar Land (loosely defined as north side of U.S. 90). Listed earlier this week with a $349,900 asking price, the property sports a wraparound side porc  (above) that faces a Texas Historic Landmark across the tree-lined street: Sugar Land Auditorium, formerly Lakeview Auditorium, is the last remaining building of the original 11-structure campus of Sugar Land ISD District 17.

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It’s a Wrap
04/23/15 2:00pm

Demolition of Former Shopping Center, 9714 Buffalo Spdwy., Houston

Crews are already at work (above) removing asbestos from the vacant shopping center at 9714 Buffalo Spdwy., one block up on S. Main St. from the South Loop and a mile and a half west of the Astrodome. Plans have already been made for the 1.26-acre property, as well as for the former America’s Best Value Inn immediately south of it at 9604 S. Main St. An entity controlled by developer Frank Liu bought the motel and its 3.13-acre lot in January, and pre-demolition activities are going on there now too.

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Only the Starbucks Will Remain
04/23/15 12:00pm

Landry's Proposed Post Oak Hotel Complex, 1600 West Loop South, Galleria, Houston

“Remember, I’m the guy that took the old fire station and made it an aquarium,” Tilman Fertitta explains to Nancy Sarnoff. “I took the old Flagship and made it the Pleasure Pier. I took an old fishing village and made it the Kemah Boardwalk.” All of which might help explain the simple concept behind the Landry’s CEO’s latest venture: taking a surface parking lot next to the Landry’s corporate headquarters near the Galleria and turning it into a 35-story hotel-apartment-office-tower with a 2-story auto showroom in front, then filling out the rest of the 10-acre site with a parking garage and couple of pad-site restaurants facing the West Loop southbound feeder.

A row of 4 large lit-up diamonds facing east across the freeway will festoon the forehead of the Gensler-designed tower at 1600 West Loop South. Fertitta calls the not-really-a-sign a “subtle message.” It’s meant to stand in for the 4 diamond shapes in the Landry’s logo — dining, hospitality, entertainment, and gaming — though until a few pesky laws can be changed not all can be offered on site.

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Landry’s Post Oak
04/23/15 8:30am

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Photo of the West Loop: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
04/22/15 3:00pm

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Quiet zone status applies not to the perky exterior’s bold paint combo but to the railroad tracks running behind this restored 1898 Victorian east of Houston Ave. and just south of Winter St. in the First Ward. The corner-lot property, which is also near the Heights bike trail, has been on the market for a month, during which the price has increased by $10K — to $468,000.

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