08/27/14 12:00pm

707 Saulnier and 707 Robin Streets, Fourth Ward, Houston

Two separate apartment buildings, one 8 stories tall and the other 5, will be going up at the far east end of the Fourth Ward, just over the Gulf Fwy. from Downtown. The building bounded by Saulnier, Crosby, Heiner, and Robin will cover the entire 1.136-acre block, which is currently a surface parking lot (see photo above), and bear an address of 707 Saulnier St. The (presumably taller) building one block to the south, labeled 707 Robin St., will take up the vacant two-thirds-of-an-acre L-shaped portion of the block bounded by Robin, Crosby, Heiner, and Andrews.

Developer Alliance Residential (the same company behind the Broadstone complexes at Main St. and West Alabama in Midtown and next to the new SkyHouse downtown, as well as other complexes in the Houston area) doesn’t appear to have announced the project publicly, except to let neighbors know that construction will begin on September 8th and will shut down portions of the surrounding streets for the duration of construction, which is expected to last through October 2016.

A Swamplot reader sends these pics of the sites:

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Fourth Ward
08/27/14 8:30am

1625 Alabama St.

Photo of 1625 Alabama St.: Molly Block via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
08/26/14 5:15pm

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Even before hitting the courtyard pool, an Asian-inspired home in Pearland’s Green Tee Terrace golf community takes a dip with its pagoda-style roof — and hand-dipped gold leaf panels on the living room ceiling (top). Could the distinctive 1982 property be too distinctive for the area? In a series of successive listings, its price has kept dropping. Last week, the stately home popped back up on the market again, this time seeking $699,000. In its initial listing back in 2011, the asking price started at $1.2 million and was whittled back to $895,000 over a 2-year period. A 6-month interim listing in September 2013 found no takers at $800,000 or at the $750,000 reduction in December. Back in 2005, it sold at $614,000, down from a 1999 sale for $649,000.

Attention to detail is one of the property’s hallmarks; so are shoji screens in many of the rooms . . .

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Serving Tee
08/26/14 3:30pm

Astrodome Interior Minus Seats, Houston

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett’s new “not fully hashed out” plan for reusing the Astrodome is to turn the structure into the world’s largest indoor public park and recreation area. The park might incorporate a number of public institutions and museums within it. Plus: a pavilion for music and other events, and sports facilities such as archery ranges and hiking and biking trails, an archery center, and a large open green space. The fully air-conditioned park would be open to the public every day — except when used by the Rodeo and conferences such as the OTC.

Will Harris County citizens support turning the Astrodome into a park? Strangely, the best evidence that a majority would favor it may come from a recent survey commissioned by 2 organizations that have been trying very hard to get the building torn down.

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Rodeo Fans on Board?
08/26/14 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: POLLUTION CREDITORS Drawing of Duck in Polluted Waters“It’s good to see that the Feds will help clean up the CES Environmental Services site. I’m of the opinion that bankruptcy law should be revised to require that environmental clean-up be paid for before creditors can be paid. It would help in cases like this, but it would also make lenders push dirty industries to clean up their act. Companies with bad environmental records would feel it in their ability to get credit.” [ZAW, commenting on Predicting Houston Real Estate Hotspots; Drinking Water from Lake Conroe] Illustration: Lulu

08/26/14 2:00pm

How is it that Kyle Naegeli is able to catch so many fish — including bluegills, bass, and catfish — simply by dropping lines into the storm-sewer inlet at the intersection of Carnation St. and Camilia Ct. in Katy? Well, the now-16-year-old has had 4 years of practice fishing in the same sewer, for one thing — as attested to by the many videos demonstrating his more recent exploits, available on his YouTube channel. (His latest bass catch — demonstrating Naegeli’s well-honed long-arm grab technique — is shown above.)

And it doesn’t hurt that the same inlet drains directly into a large pond south of Bartlett Rd. and behind the houses on Carnation St. — where Naegeli regularly fishes as well, and the bass are jumping:

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The Fishing Channel
08/26/14 12:15pm

Former Meridian Nightclub, 1503 Chartres St., East Downtown, Houston

A little more than a year after settling into the new location it rehabbed from the former Phillips Paper Company warehouse at 1100 Elder St. in the First Ward, Ecclesia Church appears ready to begin another renovation project and move — this time to East Downtown. The church, which began its life 15 years ago as part of the Taft St. Coffee House complex in Montrose, signed a contract last Friday to purchase the 50,000-sq.-ft. former Meridian nightclub building at 1503 Chartres St. for $3.75 million, pastor and church founder Chris Seay announced during his sermon over the weekend.

The church plans to continue its serial-renovation, just-add-coffee-house growth strategy in the new space. (Taft St. Coffee House’s successor cafe in the First Ward is Paper Co., built into the church’s space there.) The Meridian building, where the nightclub closed in 2010, lies south of the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Toyota Center on the east side of the 59 overpass. The church had originally made several attempts to purchase the building back in 2009, Seay said. But a new chance arose recently, after a bankruptcy sale:

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Stripping Buildings in East Downtown
08/26/14 8:30am

jefferson heights apartments at 1520 N. Memorial Way

Photo of Jefferson Heights Apartments construction at 1520 N. Memorial Way: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
08/25/14 5:00pm

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Apart from the snazzy red cars parked by the home’s courtyard entry, a flat-topped 1963 Hilshire Village property keeps a low profile beneath the canopy of mature trees on its large lot, which is located in the Burkhardt Plaza neighborhood west of Wirt Rd. and just north of the Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church on the eastbound I-10 feeder road. Updated in 2009, the midcentury modern with the not-so-modern decor landed on the market a week ago, asking $1.1 million. By the weekend, though, the price had dropped to $997,500.

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Price Drop
08/25/14 3:45pm

JUDGE EMMETT SAYS HE’LL REVEAL A ‘MAJOR’ PROPOSAL FOR REUSING THE ASTRODOME TOMORROW Astrodome Interior, HoustonFor a good while now, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has been dropping hints about a new proposal to renovate the Astrodome. He’s set to reveal a few details about it tomorrow afternoon, after he holds a press conference set up in a “special little section” of the Astrodome made safe for media attendees. “Emmett has been in discussions with a series of elected officials, stakeholders and interested parties in recent weeks, laying out the general concept for an innovative reuse of the world’s first domed stadium,” a press release from the judge’s office declares. “All [the judge's spokesperson] could tell me is that it’s ‘public use,’ tweets the Chronicle‘s Kiah Collier. [County Judge Ed Emmett; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Joe Stinebaker

08/25/14 2:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT THE PHOTOS OF THAT REDO YOU’RE BUYING DON’T SHOW Detail of Soffit Construction at Attic“The most value in a flipped home is found in the hidden improvements: foundation, insulation, wiring, plumbing, structural integrity, weatherization, HVAC upgrades, etc. However, HAR only shows cosmetic pics and details. I agree with markd — one peek in the attic should tell you more about the value of the transformed house than anything you can glean off of HAR. Of course, I watch real estate TV shows all the time and see people shopping for homes. Nearly always, the buyers turn up their nose at some real gems because of ‘that paint color‘ in one or two rooms, or the ‘ugly bathroom’ — which could be fixed for under $10k, yet they don’t even ask about the more important mechanical systems or structural issues, which could quickly run up to $100k to fix.” [Superdave, commenting on Going Gray Suddenly at 61, a Braes Terrace Redo Aims for a $698K Flip] Illustration: Lulu

08/25/14 1:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: NAKED PEOPLE, SECURITY CAMERAS, AND YOUR COMMERCIAL LEASE AGREEMENT Drawing of Naked Tenant“It’s a bad idea having naked people in common areas unless it is clearly stated in everybody’s leases that there exists the possibility of naked people turning up in the common areas and presuming that the common areas are not open to the general public. Among other things, the people that wandered into common areas naked after business hours may also not have assumed that there may be security cameras around. From every angle, what happened here was a lawsuit waiting to happen. (I say this as a guy that has owned a multi-tenant commercial property with a clause in the lease that would’ve addressed this situation, and permitted it. Yes, that stuff happens. It’s usually not very interesting; meaning I was never invited to attend.)” [TheNiche, commenting on League of Extraordinary Brewers, World’s First Brewery Incubator Brought Down by Wayward Game of Naked Twister] Illustration: Lulu

08/25/14 12:15pm

View of Street in Sunset Heights, Houston“Beware the manipulative investment buyer,” warns a reader from Sunset Heights who has an interesting home-selling tale to share from the late-summer market: “Yes, I fell for it. The listing went up and 20 minutes later, a dream offer. Over list price. As is. Wants to add on, not tear down. Closing quickly, with two weeks free leaseback. I began looking for homes in my new area. Fell in love with one and put an offer on it.”

What could possibly go wrong?

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Tricks and Scams