02/24/17 12:00pm

Downtown Houston Skyline

Today our sponsor is Houston’s own Central Bank. Thank you for the continuing support of Swamplot!

Central Bank has 4 (central) Houston branches available to meet your business or personal needs: in Midtown, the Heights, West Houston, and Post Oak Place.

Central Bank believes that change is essential to its success; the company actively pursues the latest in service, technology, and products. Central Bank aims to know its customers personally and to be their primary business and personal financial resource. The bank’s staff values relationships and strives to be available when you need them.

To learn more about how Central Bank can meet your banking needs, please call any of the following Senior Vice Presidents: Kenny Beard, at 832.485.2376; Bonnie Purvis, at 832.485.2354; Gary Noble, at 832.485.2366; or Ryan Tillman, at 832.485.2307. You can also find out more on the bank’s website.

Reach Swamplot readers with our Sponsor of the Day program. Find out more here

Sponsor of the Day
02/23/17 12:00pm

Downtown District Clean and Safe Team, Houston

Swamplot today is brought to you by the Downtown District — to let you know about its Clean and Safe program. Many thanks for supporting this site!

City government plays a crucial role in developing Downtown, but with so many areas to address no one administration can accomplish everything. That is why the Downtown District, an organization with strong ties to the business community and city leadership, is important: not only to look at the big picture but also to provide Downtown the continuity it needs to address a multitude of issues, including cleanliness and safety.

For 25 years, the Downtown District’s Downtown Street Teams have performed what many may see as simple tasks, such as picking up litter and trash, reporting needed repairs, and removing graffiti. But by taking care of those “little things,” they provide an environment that people take pride in and have now come to expect.

More recently, the Downtown Public Safety Guide Program was launched. The development of this program came through focus-group meetings with various downtown stakeholders, including representatives of residential, commercial, corporate, arts, and hospitality communities. The Guides focus on assisting pedestrians while identifying and monitoring on-street activities and working with property and business owners, Downtown Street Teams, HPD, social services, and others to help resolve issues and problems.

In 2016 the Downtown District’s combined teams had more than 115,000 civilian interactions. These interactions vary from helping someone find a parked car to giving directions to Discovery Green to helping a homeless person in need — and more. For the week of the Super Bowl alone, the team assisted more than 40,000 Houstonians and visitors!

Without the Clean and Safe program, no matter what you do to improve the Downtown area — building new buildings, increasing green space, adding or improving public art, infrastructure, or holding big events — there will be a reluctance for people to want to visit, stay, work, or live Downtown. Responding to the growing needs and demands of stakeholders, the Downtown District is committed to taking the management of Downtown’s pedestrian and streetscape environment to the next level.

How about taking your organization’s message to the next level? Swamplot’s Sponsor of the Day posts are a great marketing platform.

Sponsor of the Day
02/21/17 12:00pm

Just Buyers Houston Website

Today’s sponsor on Swamplot is Just Buyers Houston, a real estate brokerage that — you guessed it! — represents buyers only. Thanks for supporting this site!

Just Buyers Houston’s Judy Thompson writes: “I am a very analytical person (my husband says I should have been an investment banker, but in investment banking you don’t get the thrill of helping an accomplished professional person or couple find their first house). Helping people buy homes is a great source of satisfaction and I enjoy it a lot. I meet interesting people from all over the world and have pretty intense 6-week adventures in home buying with them. (If we’re lucky it’s all over in 6 weeks. Sometimes it’s not because there is such a shortage of things to buy.)”

The other day Judy was out on a walk admiring the brick bungalows in Winlow Place. Curious about how much they were selling for, she did a price analysis of bungalow sales in 3 Montrose Zip Codes and published it on her website. Here are the numbers: On average, they sell for about $345 per square foot, in 30 days, and were built in 1930. How many will be left in 10 years? You can find her analysis of 1-story Montrose-area brick bungalows here.

Offbeat analyses like these for buyers are a specialty at Just Buyers Houston — she does a lot of them. When the local real estate market was slow after the 2008 near-collapse of financial markets, she created an analysis identifying what percentage of sellers described themselves as “motivated” in their MLS listings. “That was fun for a while,” Judy says. “But then the market took off again and I stopped.”

If there’s a customized analysis you’d like to see, let Judy Thompson know. She’ll work on it.

If you’re working on getting your company’s name out there, here’s an easy help: Become a Swamplot sponsor.

Sponsor of the Day
02/15/17 12:00pm

Interior, 9763 Westview Dr., Spring Branch, Houston

What do we find in today’s sponsor post? The recently completed family home at 9763 Westview Dr. in Spring Branch, offered for sale by Nan and Company Properties. Thanks for supporting Swamplot!

If you enjoy entertaining in a spacious home, you’ll want to take a look at this 2,655-sq.-ft. residence. This 3-bedroom, 2-and-a-half-bathroom property has an open floor plan, tile floors, and plenty of natural light streaming through windows and illuminating the home’s clean lines.

The entry foyer has a 14-ft. ceiling; the living room features a stone-faced fireplace flanked by built-in shelving suitable for a sizable entertainment center.

The kitchen includes granite countertops, an island breakfast area, a gas range stove, and plenty of cabinets for storage. French doors off the foyer lead to the study, which comes with built-in storage and triple windows affording front-yard views. Bedrooms include hardwood floors and spacious walk-in closets; the master suite fronts a back patio deck.

That patio deck, lined with an iron railing, stretches along the entire back of the house. The listing includes renderings showing how a pool could fit in the back yard of the 10,010-sq.-ft. lot.

For a quick tour of this unique property, watch the video above (also available by clicking here). More information and more photos are available on the property website. If you’re interested in this home, please call Patricia Ruiz-Lessa of Nan and Company Properties at 713.714.6454 — or email her at patricia@nanproperties.com.

Unique homes shine in Swamplot’s Sponsor of the Day spotlight! Find out how to get your property featured.

Sponsor of the Day
02/14/17 12:00pm

Drink

ASCOT logoToday’s sponsor: ASCOT, also known as the Alcohol Servers Counsel of Texas. Thanks for supporting Swamplot!

If you work in a restaurant, or in any kind of food-service or food-prep operation, you’re probably already familiar with state requirements for training in food-handling safety. And if you work in a bar or for an alcohol distributor, you probably already know why it’s so important that everyone who has anything to do with selling, dispensing, or delivering any kind of alcoholic beverage complete state-certified training in alcohol safety.

Since 1988, ASCOT has been licensed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to provide TABC-certified alcohol-server training programs. That makes ASCOT one of the oldest and most established food and beverage certification programs in the country — as well as Texas’s longest-running provider of training in this important field. And ASCOT has been a preferred source for training in food handling in Houston since 2004.

If you’re responsible for making sure new employees are trained promptly and well in these particular areas, you can be sure they’re getting the exact program they need — in the most helpful format possible — by sending them to ASCOT. ASCOT offers its training courses both in a classroom setting and online, in both English and Spanish.

Use the discount code ASCOT on the alcoholservers.com website and the online alcohol-server training course works out to just $9.89 per class. The food-handling class costs just $7.00 — no discount code is needed.

ASCOT’s server-training program is certified by the TABC, and its food-handler program is ANSI Accredited as meeting the ASTM E2659-09 standard. For more details, or to sign up, head over to the ASCOT website — alcoholservers.com — or call 713.922.1223.

Supporting Swamplot could be a smart move for your business. Here’s more information about our Sponsor of the Day program.

Sponsor of the Day
02/13/17 12:00pm


Loam AgronomicsToday on Swamplot our sponsor is Loam Agronomics — here to promote the company’s new CSA program for Houston. Thanks for the support!

Houston residents have already begun signing up for Loam Agronomics’ brand-new CSA program, which means they’ll start receiving weekly deliveries of fresh, locally grown vegetables in March! (CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.) If you’ve been looking for a way to get a regular supply of fresh-from-the-local-farm produce for your household, or if you like the idea of eating food that hasn’t been shipped thousands of miles, but is picked at peak ripeness nearby and available to you in 48 hours or less, then this program is for you.

The first crops are growing now on a 40-acre portion of a 288-acre agricultural site the company has acquired in Richmond. And you can participate! When you become a member of the Loam Agronomics CSA, you’re purchasing a weekly “share” of vegetables from the company and supporting the production of local food in your community.

Loam Agronomics is a project of the same people behind Edible Earth Resources, the local gardening firm that’s been transforming some high-profile urban lots in Houston into attractive edible gardens. Loam Agronomics will serve much of the same community, but at a larger scale.

If you’ve got questions about the CSA program or the operation and standards of the farm, take a look at the answers to the FAQ posted on the brand-spanking-new Loam Agronomics website.

Loam Agronomics offers:

  • Drop sites across Houston
  • Pickups on Thursdays and Saturdays
  • Signups available any time
  • Cooking and storing tips
  • Community events

. . . all for just $30 per week.

To join other families who’ve been signing up, all you need to do is select a convenient drop site; fill out a member information profile; and choose a payment plan (4-, 12-, 26-, and 52-week plans are available, some with discounted rates) — all of which you can do from this page on the Loam Agronomics website.

Don’t miss out on a great way to connect with a large audience of potential Houston customers. Become a Swamplot sponsor!

Sponsor of the Day
02/10/17 12:00pm

Downtown Houston Skyline

Sponsoring Swamplot today is Houston’s own Central Bank. Thank you for the continuing support!

Central Bank has 4 (central) Houston branches available to meet your business or personal needs: in Midtown, the Heights, West Houston, and Post Oak Place.

Central Bank believes that change is essential to its success; the company actively pursues the latest in service, technology, and products. Central Bank aims to know its customers personally and to be their primary business and personal financial resource. The bank’s staff values relationships and strives to be available when you need them.

To learn more about how Central Bank can meet your banking needs, please call any of the following Senior Vice Presidents: Kenny Beard, at 832.485.2376; Bonnie Purvis, at 832.485.2354; Gary Noble, at 832.485.2366; or Ryan Tillman, at 832.485.2307. You can also find out more on the bank’s website.

The secret to reaching Swamplot readers? Swamplot’s Sponsor of the Day program. Find out more here

Sponsor of the Day
02/08/17 12:00pm

Personal Coach Cricket Buchler

Today on Swamplot our sponsor is personal coach Cricket Buchler. Thanks for supporting Swamplot, Cricket!

If you’re looking to make some changes in your life, or just searching for a creative spark for a jump-start, consider a 90-minute personal coaching session with coach Cricket Buchler. An experienced corporate trainer who has helped top executives, Hollywood celebrities, and employees in a range of industries address personal and professional development issues, Cricket also works one-on-one, guiding clients to explore and unlock possibilities and design plans to realize change, and coaching them through their journey toward an intentional life.

A coaching session can also be an inspiring gift for anyone who is looking to take the next step forward in life, work, or relationships, but feels a bit stuck as to what next steps might look like. You’ll find a sampling of testimonials from Cricket’s clients on her website, along with more information about coaching sessions.

Get it in gear, this year. Become a Swamplot Sponsor of the Day.

Sponsor of the Day
02/07/17 2:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOUSTON NEEDS A NEW T-SHIRT problem-t-shirt“. . . LA and New York marketers just don’t know enough about Houston or don’t bother to learn more. They just hear ‘Houston’ and queue up the rocket launch. This might have been magnified by the rumor that PR firms in Houston were overlooked to market the Super Bowl. But maybe now that the elites have seen Houston thanks to the Super Bowl that will change. It is like when you tell your great-aunt you like Lord of the Rings when you are 12 and so she buys you LOTR T-Shirts for the next 20 years.” [rex, commenting on Taking on the ‘Houston, We Have a Problem’ Problem]

02/07/17 12:45pm

HOUSTON-TO-DALLAS BULLET TRAIN PUTTING THE BRAKES ON ALL THOSE LAWSUITS Map of Proposed Route of Proposed Texas Central RailwayThe company planning to build a bullet train between Houston and Dallas appears to be altering the legal strategy it had been using to try to get landowners to allow crews on their land to survey property along the proposed 240-mile route. Texas Tribune reporter Brandon Formby says Texas Central Partners has withdrawn 17 lawsuits across the state (including one in Harris County that had a trial scheduled for July) and settled 21 others that had sought court-ordered access. Officials of the private company now say they will seek an “open dialogue” with property owners about letting crews in. The company tells Formby it has already reached land-purchase options with more than 3,000 landowners, accounting for 30 percent of the total number of parcels it needs, and 50 percent in the 2 counties along the route adjacent to Harris County: Grimes and Waller. The company announced last week that the train is now expected to begin operating in 2023. [Texas Tribune; Houston Business Journal; previously on SwamplotMap of proposed high-speed rail routes: Texas Central Railway

02/06/17 4:30pm

memorial-heights-gate

The peculiar scene pictured above, of a freestanding but fenceless gate, greeted residents of the Memorial Heights Apartments near the corner of Washington Ave and Studewood late last week. Demolition of buildings 1 through 6 of the complex, on the northwest corner of the complex, for a planned new 5-story apartment complex atop a new H-E-B market, appears imminent.

In anticipation, workers have been constructing fencing (now attached to the above gate) that appears to be intended to surround a portion of the remaining parking lot of the remaining complex. There’s also this construction going up at the corner of Studewood and Washington Ave.:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Approaching Buffalo Heights
02/06/17 2:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: Y’ALL NOT TALKING ABOUT THAT DUCT TAPE SOLUTION HOUSTON CAME UP WITH TO FIX THAT PROBLEM WE HAD Apollo 13 Repair Assembly“‘Problem solved, crisis ended, astronauts saved,’ should be the answer the world should know. ‘Houston’ — actually JSC — solved the problem, saving the astronauts on Apollo 13.” [Blake, commenting on Taking on the ‘Houston, We Have a Problem’ Problem] Photo of device installed in-flight on Apollo 13 using duct tape, maps, and other materials on hand: NASA