- 742 Forest Ln. [HAR]
FLUSHING AWAY ALLEN STANFORD’S LEGACY AT 5050 WESTHEIMER Noting the extensive changes to the office building at 5050 Westheimer across the street from the Galleria that once served as headquarters for the Stanford Financial Group but has since been taken over completely by real estate firm Keller Williams, Real Estate Bisnow’s Catie Dixon zeroes in on the big news: “Stanford’s gigantic personal bathroom is gone.” Reuters reporter Chris Baltimore described the rarely seen first-floor spectacle back in 2009, after an exclusive crime-scene tour, as “a chamber of black granite and mahogany, with a gigantic mirror and granite countertop, flanked with shelves of fluffy white towels and toiletries, including a bottle of ‘Brilliant Brunette’ shampoo.” Notable features: the separate black-toilet room, the huge walk-in shower, and the blank door next to it which served as Sir Allen’s private escape route to the parking deck. Stanford’s entire personal magnet-key-access-only first-floor domain has now been replaced by the offices of KW-affiliated lender and title companies; the Gensler redo of the building has kept some of the green marble but added some red walls, replacing stone-carved messages like Stanford’s HARD WORK, CLEAR VISION, VALUE for the CLIENT with “inspirational and wacky sayings like ‘Complaining=garbage magnet.’” [Real Estate Bisnow; Reuters; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Wikimedia Commons
COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE ANNUAL BATTLE OF THE NEIGHBORHOODS “I love the Swampies, but this category is played out. It is the same thing every year. Everyone knows that the best neighborhoods in town are places like Montrose, Heights, GOOF, and Rice/West U, but won’t admit it because these neighborhoods are just too expensive for the average resident to be able to afford. Then comes the parade of ‘no really, my neighborhood is nice’ nominees by people who have put their bet on the up and coming areas, but are not willing to admit that their neighborhood is just not there yet. Eastwood/Eado always chime in, even though much of the area is still pretty run down and industrial despite some very strong redevelopment activity. The tail coat neighborhoods like Westbury, Brooke Smith, and the few sprigs of Spring Branch where lot value hasn’t hit $400k trumpet how they are a great deal with all the benefits of their big brother neighborhoods without conceding things like lousy 50s housing stock, proximity to ever expanding highways and huge clusters of old garden style apartment complexes teaming with humanity just down the street. And the winner is always the odd little neighborhood in the city with the most followers on its HOA facebook page who flood the results . . .” [Old School, commenting on Nominations Are Now Open for the 2013 Neighborhood of the Year]
Down came the curtains and up went the price of this sturdy 1955 home with stone and tile floors, among other original touches. It sits on an over-sized lot fronting the north bank of Brays Bayou just west of Edloe in Braes Heights. Back in May 2012, the midcentury property sold for $313,000. Its November 2013 listing has a $495,000 asking price. Will it flip? Although the current description touts the lingering livability of the existing home, it makes no mention of any specific updates in the interim, though judging from the latest pics the interior does appear to have lightened up with fresh paint and the jettisoning of old-school window treatments.
All 8 categories in the 2013 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate have been announced and opened for nominations. Next week, we’ll kick things into even higher gear when voting starts.
Before that happens, though, we could still use some help. We’ve received some great nominations so far, but if you think anything’s missing from this year’s crop that simply can’t be left out, please add your nomination now (the most recently announced categories in particular could still use some help). If you like a nomination someone else has made but think you can beef up the explanation to better help it land on the ballot, go right ahead. No explanation at all? Feel free to fix that (otherwise, it likely won’t make it). If you have photos of any of the nominees, definitely send those in, too.
But don’t wait too long. This Sunday at midnight, nominations will close for the first 2 award categories: Favorite Houston Design Cliché and Best Demolition. For the next 2 categories we’ll close nominations Monday night, then Tuesday and Wednesday for the remainder of the categories. On Monday, we’ll announce the official slate of nominees for the first award category and open it for voting. And then continue on from there.
Add your nominations to the comments section below the post that announces each category, or send them to us in an email. Who are the contenders in Houston real estate this year? What deserves recognition? You tell us.
A reader sends in pics showing how construction is progressing on the 3 retention ponds along White Oak Bayou TxDOT is building between Yale and Shepherd — and hoping to trade them for any available updates about plans for the adjacent segment of the planned bayou-side path: “Looks like they are making progress with tree planting and installation of pavers on the slopes. They have left a wide swath of level ground around the entire perimeter. They are still doing earthwork on the north end, and it looks like they still need to excavate more soil from the center pond, but you can make your way around all three detention ponds.”
The photo at top shows the center pond (south of the bayou), looking northeast, with White Oak Bayou barely visible off to the lower right. Below, a view of the northernmost piece, Rutland Pond, a portion of which interrupts 6th St. (where the orange construction fencing is visible):
Getting rid of the used-to-bes, to make room for the what’s-there-nows.
If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll have counted 7 categories announced so far in the 2013 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. And they are: Favorite Houston Design Cliché, Best Demolition, the Best Houston Transplant, the Ground-Floor Retail Award, Houston’s Least Recognizable Neighborhood, Houston’s Most Recognizable Neighborhood and Neighborhood of the Year.
We promised you 8. So here’s the final, and probably broadest, category: What was the Greatest Moment in Houston Real Estate of 2013?
For this same award in 2012, Swamplot readers selected voter approval of funding for the Bayou Greenways Initiative. But we want to know what this year’s big moment was. That’s pretty much the whole point of Swamplot — to find the moments that define, change, and make Houston, day in and day out.
To help find that one big moment from this year, we need your help. Add your comments to this post or send us an email describing the moments you’d like to nominate. And don’t forget to tell us why. If you need to jog your memory, browse through the site. And if you have any questions about how to make a nomination, you’ll likely find the answers here.
Now nominate away! Just make sure you get your entries in by midnight on December 11, when the window for all nominations closes for good.
Eight — count ‘em, 8 — curtain calls have had this updated 1961 Westmont home (near Tanglewilde) on and off the market since February 2010. In the interim, a series of listings, relistings — and a break or two — saw adjustments to the asking price from a low of $149,000 in October 2012 to a high of $199,900 in early November 2013. The price tag has since dropped $10K, making it $189,900. Appearing now as an as-is basic beige home in its from-the-curb portrait, the property displays a more colorful inner life:
Architects of grocery stores, townhouses, and adaptively reused kayak rental places Lake Flato are now trying their hands at Houston park pavilions. These renderings appeared on the San Antonio firm’s blog late last week, giving an early look at some of the stuff planned for Evelyn’s Park. The park has been in the works since 2009, or so; Teas Nursery had operated on this corner of Newcastle St. and Bellaire Blvd., just inside the Loop, for about 100 years before that.
We’re almost done introducing the 8 categories in this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. So far, we’ve opened nominations for Favorite Houston Design Cliché, Best Demolition, Best Houston Transplant, the Ground-Floor Retail Award, Houston’s Least Recognizable Neighborhood and Houston’s Most Recognizable Neighborhood. If you haven’t done so already, please add your own suggestions for each of these.
The next-to-last category is Neighborhood of the Year. What exactly makes a neighborhood a neighborhood of the year? That’s what we’d like to know: As you make your nomination, explain what makes your selection uniquely worthy of this distinction.
As with all “neighborhood” categories, entrants need not be located strictly inside Houston’s municipal boundaries. Swamplot tries to track the idea of Houston as it regularly travels outside the city limits. (Back in 2009, the winner of this award was . . . yes, Galveston.)
You can submit your nominations — along with convincing explanations as to why your nominee should win — in the comments below, or in an email, by midnight on December 11. If you’re just joining us, please consult the official rules. So tell us, who are this year’s contenders for Neighborhood of the Year?
And then haul it off. New stuff is coming.