09/18/14 4:30pm



Crosswalks and No Parking signs related to Reagan High School separate an updated 1920-ish bungalow from the front of campus on 13th St. in the Houston Heights. The residential property includes 2 apartments, located on 2 levels of the still-accessible 3-car garage and its extra-extra wide driveway. The tidy compound backs up to an alley that splits the block, which is located in a section of the Heights East Historic District. Against the home’s recently applied bright blue paint, the freshened exterior’s white trim brightly pops, particularly on the porch’s newish old-style columns and balustrades. Listed on Wednesday, the triplex bears an asking price of $750K.


Compounding Interests
09/18/14 2:30pm

Detail from Installation at Texas Artist of the Year Exhibition, Havel Ruck Projects

Sawzall-wielding housecutters Dan Havel and Dean Ruck have been carving up 3 condemned homes (from Midtown, the Museum District, and the Third Ward) to gather the raw materials for their latest exhibition, which opens tomorrow in the Art League of Houston gallery, on the occasion of their being declared the Art League’s “Texas Artists of the Year.” Collected wall parts will be stacked in a “bowl-like structure” in the complex’s main gallery (see photo above).


Havel Ruck Projects
09/18/14 12:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BUYERS WILL BE COMING TO SCOOP UP YOUR ENTIRE CONDO COMPLEX Condo Prospecting“I don’t know how it went for Park Memorial, but with these Post Oak Townhomes only some number deemed the majority had to approve it, and the hearsay is that there was a lot of misery and gnashing of teeth by those who did not want to sell. I am surprised there was not more media chatter about the sale of this complex. To me, it seemed flat out REMARKABLE that you could get even half to agree in a complex of that size. A big story + a harbinger of the future for aging condos.” [Harold Mandell, commenting on The End of the Post Oak Park Townhomes] Illustration: Lulu

09/18/14 11:30am

Proposed Tunnels and Land Bridge for Memorial Park, Houston

The landscape architecture firm working on a new master plan for Memorial Park is proposing to put portions of Memorial Dr. in tunnels to allow better connections between the long-separated north and south sections of the 1,500-acre space. Drawings shown at a public meeting Wednesday demonstrated a range of strategies Nelson Byrd Woltz is considering to link some of the 24 separate sections of the park so that they are freely accessible to visitors without hazarding traffic. Tunnels over the existing roadway would be covered by an 800-ft. long “land bridge” planted with grass and trees, reports the Chronicle‘s Molly Glentzer:


Land Bridges
09/18/14 10:30am

THIS COULD BE THE END OF THE HEIGHTS POST OFFICE Heights Finance Station Post Office, 1050 Yale St., Houston HeightsNote: This story has been updated. Late yesterday the US Postal Service announced it is “considering relocating the retail services” from the Heights Finance Station at 1050 Yale St. Under the proposed plan, retail services at the single-story building, which sits on more than an acre of land bounded by Yale, 11th St., and Heights Blvd. would be moved to the T.W. House Carrier Annex at the corner of Bevis and 19th St. in Shady Acres. Does the the announcement mean the Yale St. facility will be closed or sold? “Since the relocation of the station is still in the consideration phase and no final determination has been made, there is no available information about the future of the building,” local USPS spokesperson Dionne Montague tells Swamplot. If you’re seeking better answers, you might want to attend Monday’s planned public meeting on the topic, set for 5 pm at the city hall annex downtown. A 15-day official public comment period will follow the meeting. Photo: Swamplot inbox

09/18/14 8:30am

802 n. nagle

Photo of 802 N. Nagle: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

09/17/14 5:15pm




Over in Woodshire, a fifties-vintage neighborhood hugging the South Loop west of Stella Link Rd., a recently renovated 1956 mod returned to the market earlier this month. Its distinctive airplane-wing roof slants nearly to the ground above a brick exterior that’s now been whitewashed. Inside, a few structural changes have opened up the living space, removed a series of exposed ceiling beams, and restored a studio floating above the double-wide driveway. The home last sold in May 2013 — for $240K. After its overhaul and repositioning by P&G Homes — in collaboration with LynnGoode Vintage and Jamie House Design — the flip-ready property now carries a $775,500 asking price. What does the half-million upgrade get you?


Once Beaming, Now Gleaming
09/17/14 1:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: SAMPLING NEIGHBORHOOD GRASSES Barefoot in the Grass“Next time you’re out walking your neighborhood, try playing ‘guess the grass.’ You may be surprised to find that many of your neighbors have fake grass and you never noticed until taking off your sandals and giving it a good rub down with the bottom of your foot. I find I go out of my way to kick off my shoes and ‘sample’ my neighbors’ grass when it looks a little too manicured and beautiful. I’m always surprised when I touch it and it turns out to be fake – this stuff really does look real.” [Brinn, commenting on Yes, Gotta Give ’Em Credit for All the Fake Grass in the Back Yard] Illustration: Lulu

09/17/14 12:30pm

TRICON HOMES STILL TRASHING THE JOSEPHINE Demolition of Josephine Apartments, 1744-1748 Bolsover St. at Ashby St., Boulevard Oaks, HoustonDemolition crews turned the Josephine Apartments into a dusty pile of rubble yesterday (as seen in Swamplot’s on-the-spot report), but Tricon Homes cofounder Tristan Berlanga threw in a little trash-talking of his own about the condition of the 2-story Art Moderne complex, which went down in a heap, original steel-frame windows and all: “This, in fact, was a building in very poor structural condition which would have been practically impossible to save, both for safety and economic reasons,” he says to the Chronicle’s Erin Mulvaney. He goes on to tell the reporter he doesn’t like to see buildings demolished, especially those with “architectural or historical significance,” but appears to lay blame for the building’s demise on a lack of city regulation: “Most cities have zoning laws and designated historical areas that help preserve buildings like this,” he says. “Without that, it is hard to do more . . .” Tricon plans to replace the 8-unit building from 1939 with 4 new townhomes, which are still being designed. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

09/17/14 11:45am

HOW LIBERTARIANS DESCRIBE HOUSTON, PLAYING THE NEW YORK CARD, AND THE SUE ELLEN MISCHKE OF METROPOLISES Site of Future Wayside Walmart, Idylwood, Houston Cort McMurray stuffs more colorful Houston-in-a-phrase quips into his latest in-search-of-the-city essay than will fit in this little lookie-here linkpost, but a few are worth drawing out: “There is a wide difference of opinion on whether [Houston's] messiness is a good thing. Some of us find it distressing. Tory Gattis and the other evangelists of ‘Opportunity Urbanism’ disagree, painting Houston as a sort of libertarian paradise, a place where fully actualized men and woman can work out their destinies through grit, brains, and good ol’ trial and error. Master plan? We don’t need no stinking master plan. Surveys indicate that the majority of Houstonians are quite content to live in this Sue Ellen Mischke of metropolises: we love ‘the whole free-swinging, freewheeling attitude’ of the place, a city that offers us the strange comfort of knowing that no matter our neighborhood, we’re never more than 37 seconds away from a gas station, a Taco Bell, or an all-night tattoo parlor. Eventually, all the world will be Houston, endless rings of toll roads forming concentric circles around some increasingly distant downtown, endless vistas of cars and Costcos and ‘lifestyle environments,’ worlds without end. This sprawl is ‘vibrant,’ and suburban ‘opportunity zones’ (opportunity is a key word for these people) are the inevitable result of vibrant, opportunistic people searching for better schools, better shopping environments, and better quality of life. In the Opportunity Urbanists’ perfect world, the Houston exurbs would stretch from the Sabine River to somewhere around Fort Stockton, and any suggestion otherwise amounts to a betrayal, a ‘de-Houstonizing’ of Our Fair City.” Another, more realist vision of Houston from McMurray’s grab bag: a spread-out, risk-graded, need-more-freeways array of poors-filled “gray zones” and haves-filled “safe zones.” [Houstonia] Photo: Candace Garcia    

09/17/14 8:30am

houston police officers memorial

Photo of Houston Police Officers’ Memorial, Memorial Dr.: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool