11/01/16 5:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: GREEN SPACE IS JUST A STATE OF MIND Hermann Park golf course“In my mind, green space isn’t something that has to be ‘used’. I enjoy jogging the trails next to the Hermann park golf course as much as I like jogging in or around any other green space — just like I enjoy jogging through a River Oaks neighborhood with immaculate landscaping. It is even nicer to see landscaping when you know someone else is paying (mostly) for it. I don’t have to be able to kick a soccer ball, watch a concert, or have a place for my dog to poop on it to enjoy its beauty. It can be ‘utilized’ without stepping foot on the space. Green space can be enjoyed from adjacent space or blocks away in its sights, smells, and sounds (or lack of).” [Rex, commenting on Grassy Knolls, Children’s Swamp Part of Possible Hermann Park Parking Coverup] Photo of Hermann Park Golf Course: Hermann Park Conservancy

10/31/16 3:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW ANOTHER KIDDIE TRAIN COULD PRESERVE HERMANN PARK’S PARKING HERITAGE New Hermann Park Train“Right now is a bad time to be predicting parking lot requirements for the next 20 years. Driverless cars may make them obsolete. If that happens, they can turn the parking lot into a ‘parking lot museum’ — kids of the future can visit it to get a feel for what life in the 20th century was like. They could even ride the Vulture Express, a 2mph trip up and down row after row of filled parking spaces that goes on for hours.” [Memebag, commenting on Grassy Knolls, Children’s Swamp Part of Possible Hermann Park Parking CoverupPhoto of Hermann Park kiddie train: Lou Minatti

10/28/16 5:30pm

GRASSY KNOLLS, CHILDREN’S SWAMP PART OF POSSIBLE HERMANN PARK PARKING COVERUP Existing Hermann Park MapThis week landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh has been discussing some of his firm’s preliminary designs for the next 20-year master plan for Hermann Park, writes Molly Glentzer this afternoon — including the possibility of turning the park’s central parking area, between Miller Outdoor Theatre and the Houston Zoo, into “a place where children could scamper up a knoll to a creature forest, swings and a marsh,” with parking spaces underneath. Van Valkenburgh says that a few hundred of the 1,300 spaces in the main lots may also be moved to the corner of MacGregor and Cambridge streets, and would also be covered over by ecological and built attractions. Glentzer writes that “along with the forest and marsh, the preliminary drawings for the central knoll include a sensory maze, a desert ruin and a slide bluff. The smaller knoll would have a water play dell.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Map of existing Hermann Park layout: Hermann Park Conservancy

09/16/16 11:30am

5925 Almeda Rd. #12809, Hermann Park, Houston, TX 77004

Mosaic and Montage Towers, Hermann Park, HoustonThat mosaic-filled penthouse in the north tower of the split-up-then-stuck-back-together Mosaic highrise complex has been relisted once again as of Friday, this time down at $1.49 million. The unit hit the market in 2014 asking for $2.05 million (up from the $930,000 it originally sold for in 2012, in the wake of the original owners’ bank-rupturing bankruptcy). Since then, the listing has taken only a few quick days off here and there to step down the price. The customized 3-bedroom pad includes the mother-of-pearl show-off-whatever-you-want slots in the main entryway (shown above; sick guitar collection not included). Here’s a look around at some of the unit’s other tilework:

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Hermann Park Outlook
08/18/16 3:15pm

DIVINING HERMANN PARK’S FUTURE TRANSIT NEEDS New Hermann Park TrainAnother 20-year master plan for Hermann Park is currently in the works as the last one gets wrapped up, writes Molly Glenzter this morning. Per designer Chris Matthews, who’s working on the project as part of landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the planning isn’t all “fun things like choosing what tree to plant:” unlike the 1995 master plan redo, the design team this time includes a “consultant for all things mobile, which in the old days used to mean cars. Now it means cars, bikes, transit and pedestrians — how to balance all that stuff.” Matthews notes that the planning is further complicated by the need to predict what mass transit will look like 2 decades from now; Hermann Park Conservancy president Doreen Stoller adds that “with Houston getting ever more dense, each square inch of park space is becoming more precious and will need to be put to its highest and best use.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Hermann Park kiddie train: Lou Minatti

06/29/16 3:45pm

Mecom Fountain from COH
2120 Sabine St., First Ward, Houston, 77007This morning the city announced that it’s giving protected historic landmark status to the Mecom Fountain, in the wake of this year’s partial tuscanization of the 1960s mod landmark (and subsequent crowdfunded reversal thereof). All that bright blue primer has been cocooned over, and full de-restoration was scheduled to be finished by the end of last month.

Also getting the same protective status bump today: the 1883 house at 2120 Sabine St., formerly the First Ward home of state representative August von Haxthausen, who in the late 1800s ran Houston’s German language newspaper the Texas Deutsche Zeitung. That house got its own (more permanently) colorful restoration in 2015 — below are some close-up photos of the newly-technicolor wraparound porch from a previous listing of the property on HAR:

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Colorful Histories
05/03/16 10:30am

MFAH Stickers at Fannin at Montrose, Museum District, Houston, 77005

A reader sends a few shots of a developing piece along Fannin St. composed of traffic signal poles and discarded Museum of Fine Arts visitor stickers. The section above can be viewed from the intersection of Fannin with Montrose Blvd. (just south of the Mecom Fountain near the name change to Hermann Park Dr.) To the southwest lies Hermann Park’s Grand Gateway corridor (the string of light-rail-divided esplanades that started getting jazzed up as part of Hermann Park Conservancy’s 100th birthday present to the space); the landscaped strip runs directly north-south from the fountain roundabout to the Sam Houston statue.

Poles in the vicinity have been accumulating stickers since at least 2013. Here are a few more artsy angles on the scene:

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Stuck in the Museum District
02/26/16 10:15am

Mecom Fountain, Main at Montrose, Museum District, Houston, 77006

A group called Friends of the Fountain has started an online campaign to raise $60,000 for reversing the recently-halted-after-all changes to the Mecom Fountain, at the roundabout confluence of Main St. and Montrose Blvd. near the entrance to Hermann Park. The group’s crowdfunding page says the money will be used to remove the limestone panels recently screwed around the concrete wall of the 1964 modernist fountain’s elliptical main basin, as well as to repair the concrete and to repaint. A member of Mayor Turner’s transition committee involved with the project also tells Swamplot this morning that around $25,000 of those funds will replace the grant money spent to add the panels in the first place.

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In Reverse at the Roundabout
02/11/16 10:30am

Mecom Fountain with Limestone Paneling, Main at Montrose, Museum District, Houston, 77006

Here’s a late-afternoon look at the limestone slabs that have been working their way around the concrete oval basin of the Mecom Fountain in the last week, which the Texas Historical Commission is hoping that TXDoT and the city will stop applying for the moment, according to the Chronicle’s Lisa Gray. Commissioner Linda Henderson told Gray that the organization approved work to redo the north entrance to Hermann Park without realizing that the updates included work on the fountain itself (which is currently being looked at for potential inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, and for city protected landmark status).

Meanwhile, the city planning department has been receiving complaints about the work that include phrases like “suburban mall,” Margaret Wallace tells the Chronicle. As of yesterday evening, the panels had already marched around both ends of the ellipse, with a gap remaining on the southwest side:

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Getting Stoned at Main and Montrose
02/01/16 12:15pm

Japanese Garden, Hermann Park, Houston, TX 77005 Japanese Garden, Hermann Park, Houston, TX 77005 Delicate pink surveyor’s flags echo the magenta of the early cherry blossoms in Hermann Park’s Japanese Garden, where maintenance, new features, and a new gate are under construction. Sections of the 5.5-acre space are currently sectioned off by orange construction fencing, and many of the larger water features (including the one pictured in the top photo) are temporarily in rock garden mode.

The Hermann Park Conservancy’s website estimates wrapping up the first phase of the renovation project this summer. Currently, the koi that inhabit some of the garden’s ponds are set up in temporary housing along the eastern edge of the park:

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Fish in a Barrel
06/08/15 12:15pm

Brays Bayou Trail at Almeda Rd., Hermann Park, Houston

Reader Scot Luther, who claims to have witnessed “wrecks and several flat tires” on a gap in the bayou-side trail along the north side of Brays Bayou just across N. MacGregor Way from the eastern border of Hermann Park wonders why this portion of the several-year-old concrete trail was never completed. Here’s a photo of the scene — where more cautious bike riders regularly dismount for the muddy or bumpy path under the Almeda Rd. bridge. A few hundred ft. beyond the bridge, the trail picks up again on its way to Riverside Terrace.

Photo: Scot Luther

Water’s Edge
02/04/15 2:00pm

2201-hermann-02

2201-hermann-01

Higher-density development has been closing in on a renovated 1938 property on a corner in Turner Court (a pocket of Museum Park). The same trend has been under way within, where sleek office spaces stack up — though the column-studded buildout is more elegant than found in a common cube farm. In its listing earlier this week, the home-or-office property’s asking price is identified as $549,999. Some NOLA-inspired ornamentals trick out both levels of the front porch, which faces south on a stub of Hermann Dr. with access to the South Fwy. feeder road. But it’s cut off from the section a block south that heads west through Hermann Park from a big intersection shared with MacGregor Way at MacGregor Park.

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Housework
12/05/14 10:30am

tema-hermann-park-residences-site-plan-cropped

And here is how Tema hopes all of its developments will fit together one day on the northern edge of Hermann Park.

That just-begun 7-story apartment building — “Phase I” above — is going in at 1699 Hermann Dr., immediately west of Tema’s thirtysomething-year-old, 35-story Parklane Houston Condos tower.

Phase II — also 7 stories, groundbreaking TBA — slots in behind the 7-story building and looks over Ewing St. towards downtown.

And then there’s the proposed tall and twisty Tower at Hermann Place, the 42-story behemoth that was once slated to be up by the middle of next year

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Museum Park Plans
12/04/14 4:30pm

Hermann-Park-Residences-wide

Construction commenced earlier this week on Tema Development’s Hermann Park Residences you see rendered above. The 7-story building is going up at 1699 Hermann Dr. overlooking the park and a heartbeat or two east of the Health Museum, a little to the west of Tema’s 35-story Parklane tower, and possibly within earshot of the lions roaring at the zoo.

The Residences are intended to be the first of Tema’s three-phase plan for their 6.8 acre plot. That twisty 42-story tower Tema has proposed is still 4-6 years away, according to a company spokesperson.

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Parklife
12/01/14 3:30pm

FINE DINING, 24-HOUR ROOM SERVICE AND BUTLERS TOTING WINE COMING TO MOSAIC ON ALMEDA RD. davis-st-restaurant-mosaic-almeda A reader sends in this photo of Davis St. at Hermann Park, a fine-dining establishment officially opening Wednesday on the ground floor of the Mosaic on Hermann Park at 5925 Almeda Rd. According to our reader this stretch of Almeda —across the street from the park’s golf course and south of Binz St. — is something of a restaurant desert. “I am eagerly awaiting more variety than Fuddruckers & Luby’s” the reader says. Mosaic residents can avail themselves of 24-7 in-room dining, as well as  “private wine storage with handpicked wines from around the world by our in-house sommelier featuring 24-hour access through our bonded butler service.” Non-Mosaic-dwelling Houstonians will have to avail themselves of the restaurant’s fare in the dining room and during normal business hours. [Davis Street at Hermann Park] Swamplot inbox