09/28/16 3:30pm

2700 Polk St., East Downtown, Houston, 77003

A construction fence has gone up around the former King’s Wholesale building in East Downtown, a reader tells Swamplot. The rendering above shows a planned renovation for the structure at the corner of Polk and Nagle streets, just a few blocks northwest of the purportedly-reopening-in-October Ivy Lofts sales center. The curved awning-fin isn’t new, but the glass storefronts are — below is a shot of the building’s pre-redo state, from when it last hit the market:
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Opening Up in East Downtown
09/28/16 1:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: SAVE-THE-DOME SAGA’S PARKING GARAGE ENDING LEAVES ROOM FOR A SEQUEL astrodome“I think people are missing the larger view here. Of course there is plenty of current surface parking — but putting parking beneath the Dome begins to open up the possibility of densification on this site and on the old Astroworld site. This is the first, and necessary, step in transforming this entire area. I am betting that in 20 years or so this site will barely resemble the vast wasteland of parking lots and open space that it is today.” [SH, commenting on County Approves First $10.5 Million for Astrodome Basement Parking Garage Plan] Photo: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

09/28/16 1:00pm

Buffalo Bayou drainage outlet at Woodway Dr., Memorial Park, Houston, 77024

The folks at Save Buffalo Bayou send over some before-and-after photos of the Memorial Park boat launch and companion drainage structure just east of where the stream crosses beneath Woodway Dr. The group says the canoe and kayak put-in spot, on a 30-acre section of the park once used as an archery range, had been slowly greened back up by native river plants following the area’s multi-year closure and workover by the Uptown TIRZ, which involved some de-treeing work and the planting of some contractor-friendly non-native grasses on the newly reshaped slope.

Memorial Park director Jay Daniels told the group that the mowing was not planned, as park groups are currently trying to promote native plant growth in the park. Daniels said that he talked to a work group clearing some bayou access paths this weekend about removing some invasive Johnsongrass at the site; the conversation apparently led to some confusion, which led to mowing, which led to many folks being given a stern talking to.

Here’s a post-op look from July 2014 at the drainage setup (also intended to control bank erosion), partially covered in what appears to be eroding dirt and deposited sediment:

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Trimming the Johnsongrass
09/28/16 11:00am

HISD TOSSING AROUND A BELLAIRE HS REBUILD ON THE CHEVRON CAMPUS UP THE STREET 4800 Fournace Pl., Bellaire, TX, 77401On Monday some HISD folks pitched the idea of buying Chevron’s soon-to-be-empty land on Fournace Place to a committee overseeing the lately-stagnant push to rebuild Bellaire High School, Charlotte Aguilar reports this week. The 28-acre tract, which goes on sale on Saturday, is about 2 miles north of the school’s existing 17-acre campus and also fronts S. Rice Ave. HISD trustee Mike Lunceford tells Aguilar that Bellaire, “while one of the largest high schools in HISD, is on the smallest property.” Principal Michael McDonough emailed stakeholders to say that if HISD decides to back the plan and is able to buy the land, funding would probably be put to a bond election; meanwhile, the existing school would still need some work while a new one was built. The Chevron land currently has a 10-story office midrise on it; the shot above looks out the window of that building toward the West Loop and the freeway-side Shell station next door (also up for sale). [Instant News Bellaire; previously on Swamplot] Photo from 4800 Fournace Pl.: Alvin A.

09/28/16 8:30am

allen-parkway3

Photo of Allen Parkway parking: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
09/27/16 5:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: ANY NEW NAMING EPISODES WELCOME AMID THE ENDLESS EAST HOUSTON RERUNS Houston Neighborhoods on TV“The news calls everything between Downtown and Baytown ‘East Houston’ — so when West U is called ‘Southwest Houston’ for one day, I get a pettiness-fueled satisfaction out of it.” [tempeh, commenting on West U Shelter-In-Place Order Just Lifted Following This Morning’s ‘Southwest Houston’ ShootingIllustration: Lulu

09/27/16 2:45pm

Here’s the map posted by Houstonia’s Katharine Shilcutt this morning showing the usual haunts of 8 taco trucks now also serving as mobile voter registration hubs. This particular registration push, which started yesterday and will last through Texas’s October 11th registration deadline, is a combined effort of communication designer Thomas Hull and the local chapter of political-activity-encourager Mi Familia Vota. The plan developed in the wake of Latinos for Trump founder Marco Gutierrez’s comments earlier this month, which painted an accidentally delicious picture of a future US landscape hosting “taco trucks on every corner”; those comments, in turn, spurred “Guac the Vote” campaign from the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which has been calling for taco-truck-based voter registration at the national level.

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Guac the Vote
09/27/16 12:00pm

6337 Mercer St., West University Place, Texas

6337 Mercer St., West University Place, Texas

Swamplot is brought to you today by the 5-bedroom, 5-bath house for sale or lease at 6337 Mercer St. in West University Place. Thanks for the support!

If you have a big family — or maybe anticipate a lot of visitors — you’ll find plenty of room in this 4,922 sq.-ft. home. Just inside the front door, a curving staircase leads up to all 5 bedrooms: three of the same size, the fourth slightly larger, and the master more than twice the size of any of the others. A jack-and-jill bathroom separates 2 of the bedrooms; there are 3 other bathrooms upstairs, including the master. The fifth, which includes a shower, is located downstairs.

The heart of the home, however, is the kitchen-and-family-room setup at the back, downstairs, which is arranged nicely for entertaining. (It’s pictured above, minus a second row of French doors, just off camera to the right.) The French doors in the family room lead to a patio and back yard that has room for a pool. Behind the kitchen is the formal dining room. Off the 2-story foyer is the formal living room (now used as a den), which leads, through a set of arched double pocket doors, to a private paneled study.

All this within walking distance of both the Rice Village and West U Elementary. You’ll find more details about 6337 Mercer St. on the property websites — one for potential buyers and the other for potential renters.

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Sponsor of the Day
09/27/16 11:30am

COUNTY APPROVES FIRST $10.5 MILLION FOR ASTRODOME BASEMENT PARKING GARAGE PLAN Proposed Astrodome Parking Garage PlansThe Harris County commissioner’s court voted this morning to approve the design phase of that plan to fill in the Astrodome’s below-grade levels with a 2-story parking garage. Mihir Zavari writes that today’s vote okayed the first tenth of the estimated $105 million cost, which the commissioners say will be split between hotel taxes, parking revenue, and the county’s general fund; Zavari notes that “the general fund component, around $30 million, is roughly equivalent to the amount the county estimates it would cost to demolish the Dome.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Image of Astrodome parking garage conversion plans: Harris County Engineering Department

09/27/16 10:45am

New El Rey location, 219 W. 28th St., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008
El Rey at 3330 Ella Blvd., Oak Forest, Houston, 77018The crown sigil of El Rey Cuban & Mexican Cuisine has been sighted by a reader along the south side of the North Loop, just west of Yale St. and of the Burger King that has long reigned on that corner. The official address of the new spot (per the permits issued over the summer) looks to be 219 W. 28th St., and the property appears to have frontage on both W. 28th and the 610 feeder.

The new 2-story building appears to keep some stylistic elements of the Oak Forest spot up on Ella Blvd. at 34th St. (shown in the 2nd photo for comparison); that Oak Forest location looks to be getting knocked down after the business’s lease expires to make room for food truck parking, per current plans for a new shopping center at the corner [that one that — disclosure — sponsored Swamplot a few times this year].

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2-Story Taqueria
09/27/16 8:30am

tejas-treffen

Photo of TejasTreffen classic Porsche show photo shoot setup at Winter Street Studios: TejasTreffen

Headlines