Another New Category for the Swampies This Year: The “It’s Alive!” Award

So far, 3 categories in the Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate have been been opened up for your nominations: Favorite Houston Design Cliché, Best Demolition, and the Swamplot Award for Special Achievement in Traffic. Up next: another brand-new category, specially selected for this year’s competition: the “It’s Alive!” Award.

In a dynamic, ever-changing city, 2 opposing themes dominate: extinction and renewal. What better way to celebrate this little circle of life in Houston than with an award for things that you thought were dead and gone — but that have somehow come back. Here, we hope to recognize Houston’s living dead, its undead, and its back-from-the-dead. What, in this lively city this past year, deserves the “It’s Alive!” Award?

Send us your nominations! As usual, your spin will make the difference between a plain ol’ suggestion and a compelling choice for the award. You’ll find all the rules for the nominating process here.

You have until midnight next Monday, December 10, to suggest nominees for both categories announced today. Dig into the comments section below (or the Swamplot inbox) to submit your choices.

21 Comment

  • My wife and I bought a townhome across the street from the apartments on 1624 and 1630 Holman. As much as we LOVE the area, we’ve always hated that property. Our neighbors have complained to the city about the OPEN crime that took place on the apartment steps but nothing got done.
    We would have bet our puppy that the buildings would have been bought and torn down for new development (which is what we were counting on when we bought our place)
    So when I saw this category I had to comment. We thought for SURE this place would be a goner. A few months ago new owners took over and it’s been complete different. We haven’t seen any of the drug dealers or prostitutes we’d see daily before. No more condom wrappers and needles in the street. My wife literally cried with joy at the improvements as we no longer feel we have to move.
    So I nominate the Holman apartments. It was for sure bound for the wrecking ball or to at least be boarded up. Now it’s becoming quite a nice place.
    It’s back from the bed indeed.

  • The Astrodome! … no wait dead… wait.. ALIVE…. wait… dead….. ALIVE…. dead… ALIVE….pergatory….

    I’d also give a nod to Oak Forest, Light Rail, Hermann Park, and NEW contruction projects that languished during the recession, but have since restarted.

  • *dead (don’t see a way to edit. Sorry)

  • I have lived in midtown for 12 years and 100% have to concur with the apartments on Holman. Those dumps have been a development waiting to happen for as long as I’ve been around. I’m very happy to see that someone that gives a damn about the neighborhood has taken those things over. They have so much potential and I’m happy they’ve been “brought back from the dead”

  • More Cody luv:

    Not hatin’ on ya, dude. Glad you’re cleaning them (and others) up.

  • “It’s back from the bed indeed” had a lot of promise.

    I rather wanted that notion to be explored.

  • I have a couple for you.

    1) Viewpoint in the Heights. The midrise condo that fell silent for many years has resurfaced again, this time with a much more vocal opposition in the form of RUDH. Could this be the next target of the anti-Walmart crowd? Definitely.

    2) I-45 expansion has cropped up again after many years of dormancy. Will the Heights be gobbled up by a widening of I-45 into downtown or will the city/txdot engineers use their heads for another solution? Time will tell.

  • Agree with the Holman Apartments. It’s a perfect example of what developers should be doing in this city. The owner deserves an award and as much recognition as possible. Houston needs more guys like him to revitalize crime infested properties that terrorize neighborhoods. He’s like Batman if Batman were a developer.

  • I nominate the King Biscuit. First it was closed for a quick remodel. Then it was closed for permitting violations and a liquor license protest. Then it was closed while various local businesses tried to figure out how many square feet of patio bar they could slap on the roof. Dead for the count as of spring 2011, and now arisen from the ashes like the mighty Phoenix as Avis Frank. The King (Biscuit) is dead. Long live Avis Frank.

  • This is where the fans of “lick and stick” stone should gather. “It’s alive!!!”

  • If I were confined to point to a single structure, I would nominate the repurposing of an old convenience store into Crisp, the new restaurant/bar in Shady Acres. But, more importantly, the “it’s alive” story is the strong movement in the Greater Heights to repurpose and revive existing commercial buildings scattered throughout the neighborhood rather than to try to shove all the commercial activity into a strip mall near the highway. Crisp did a great repurposing of an old convenience store. The Heights Art Gallery just opened in an old grocery store on Harvard and Aurora. Sonoma repurposed an old storefront on Studewood. The Revival guys are doing the same to an old storefront on White Oak for “Coltivare”, a new Italian restaurant. The Liberty Kitchen guys are reviving an old burger shack on Pecore for a fried chicken and doughnut venture. Killen and the Hubcap Grill folks are repurposing an old auto repair shop into a causual steakhouse. The iconic Harolds is being repurposed into a Torchys with potentially another restaurant and some other commercial space. So, what ends up being “alive” is the old way of integrating retail/commercial throughout the neighborhood rather than following the development groupthink of putting everything in a strip mall on a major thouroughfare because more cars on your street is supposed to mean more customers in your business.

  • i came across this site while googling the holman apartments. i moved in about 2 months ago. according to the manager i was one of the first of the new tenants after they bought it. from what ive been told, it was cleaned up quite a bit in the few weeks before I moved in but in the last 2 months its been fixed up alot.
    its not perfect yet at all though. for example, it’s not much different looking from the street except for cleaning, removal of ugly awnings and some nicer screens and the center courtyard area isnt done yet. there are still some giant trash piles from tenant removal and clean up that need to go.
    but in the common area of the building im in its much better. most of the windows inside were baorded up. there was busted drywall and hand drawn “no sleeping in the hallway” (lol) signs. thats all been fixed. its now clean and painted. new lots of lights and paint. new hall windows and doors. and the unit that i am in is very very nice.
    i moved in only because it was a good deal for an apartment in midtown. i didnt feel super safe at first but now i have some great neighbors and actually like the place. they just need to finish up some of the other upgrades that were planned.

  • Lucky Burger. Don’t know how they stay in business, but they’ve been there for more than 30 years.

  • The AIG building on Allen Parkway. I ennoyed the subtle obviousness of removing AIG’s name from its high profile building during the heights of the corporate shame spiral of self-realization, and then just popping it back on there again like nothing happened.

  • I second the nomination for the University line of the light rail. It certainly is in a zombie state. “We’ll figure out how to fund it after we pay off $400M in debt with reduced revenue streams…but we promise! It’s alive!”

  • I might be a bit biased, but I’ll agree with Holman. To say that property was on its deathbed would be an understatement.

  • Penguin Arms. Let’s be real, nobody really figured it would survive. It may not have ever been considered totally dead, but absolutely was on most folk’s death watch list. Instead it was bought and saved by the Kuhl-Lindscomb people. A new life that I bet few saw coming but many rejoiced to hear about.

  • Cody, I vividly remember when you told the Swampers to NOT walk the property. Hope I can sneak a peek one of these days to see all the hard work.

  • Rodrigo: heheh, that was a quote in the for-sale listing for the property. Lots of listings ask “do not walk the property”. This listing added “we mean it. It’s for your own good”
    It’s fine to walk now (IMO). I walk around there all the time :)

  • I can’t believe nobody has nominated Regency Square, that mythical mega-development that was supposed to pack the edge of Montrose/River Oaks with towers and mid-rises composed of offices, shopping and residences. I especially think it merits a place because hundreds, if not thousands of Allen House units were bulldozed to make space for it back in 2007 or 2008, and after numerous teases of workers cutting the grass on the vacant lots and rumors of the project’s revival, the project has finally broken ground as of Nov 2012 on at least one small section of the recession-busted development. Revised plans are much more modest than the originals, but it is now very much alive after approximately half a decade of deep, death-like slumber.

  • Small correction—I was referring to Regent Square, not Regency Square.