02/05/18 10:00am

I-45 STRIP CLUB SAYS HPD’S 3-FT. DEAL WITH COMPETITORS IS DRIVING IT OUT OF BUSINESS A new lawsuit filed by Fantasy Plaza — just south of North Bank Rd. at 8503 N. Fwy. — accuses the city and other strip clubs of working together on what Fantasy claims “amounts to a commercial bribery scheme.” Five years ago, 16 of Fantasy Plaza’s competitors — some of which had been accused of facilitating human trafficking — settled a series of lawsuits with the city. As part of the settlement, the clubs agreed to get rid of their “VIP rooms” and also “to donate annually to a fund that maintains a Houston Police Department unit dedicated to investigating human trafficking,” writes the Chronicle’s Francisca Ortega. The clubs now pool together at least $1 million each year for the fund. In return, HPD agreed not to enforce a law that prohibited topless dancers from coming within 3 ft. of customers — but only for the 16 clubs making payments. Fantasy Plaza wasn’t one of them. Now, according to the club’s suit: “Because Fantasy Plaza must abide by city law, Fantasy Plaza cannot compete for customers in the same manner as the Clubs. This has caused-and will continue to cause, Fantasy Plaza to lose business and ultimately fail.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Fantasy Plaza

03/15/10 2:25pm

THE LINGERING SOUNDS OF SELLING BY THE FREEWAY Almost a week after the daylong feeder road-side furniture sale they held on the abandoned grounds of the former Landmark Chevrolet next to I-45 North near the West Gulfbank exit, wacdesignstudio designers and guerrilla marketers Scott Cartwright and Jenny Lynn Weitz-Amaré Cartwright were still feeling the effects: “We were there for nine hours, thankfully it was cloudy… but the sound pollution really affected one of us to the point that even today our head and bodies still hurt… can you imagine how hard of a job road workers have when building or fixing the streets?” [Swamplot inbox; previously on Swamplot]

03/12/10 11:02am

So much vacant freewayside selling space, there for the taking! At least temporarily. Alas, no pieces were sold in last weekend’s guerrilla furniture sale — an all-day event staged on the abandoned concrete campus of Landmark Chevrolet at 9111 North Freeway near West Gulf Bank. But wacdesignstudio‘s Scott Cartwright and Jenny Lynn Weitz-Amaré Cartwright came prepared for their Sunday digs:

Because the space was not rented, Scott and Jenny brought an envelope full of cash to pay off potential security guards (there were none), as well as food for any wandering homeless people. The crowd was a mix of architecture students, writers, and curious locals from the adjacent Hidden Valley ranch-style development located behind the dealership.

Well, you know those kinda folks are just showing up for the ambience and cheese anyway. Did you really think they’d be buying up the prototypes in your new furniture line? But hey — marketing is marketing! And look at some of the pix you’ve got to show for it:


02/01/10 5:19pm

DESOLATE FEEDER ROAD CAR LOT LANDSCAPES What’s become of the 20-some Houston-area car lots dealers have shut down over the last year or two? Here’s a sampling: “‘My mother lived here 27 years, and we never had any trouble with Landmark Chevrolet,’ said Rhys Everett, who was cleaning out his mother’s former residence in the Hidden Valley neighborhood behind the defunct dealership. ‘But now it is filled with vagrants who have taken everything that wasn’t nailed down, and it’s a jumping-off point for crime in our neighborhood.’ The dealership, one of 13 outlets nationwide that Bill Heard Enterprises closed in September 2008, sprawls for blocks near the intersection of Gulf Bank and the North Freeway. It looks as if it had been hit by a cyclone. The main showroom’s exterior and interior windows are shattered. Ceiling tiles are torn away, exposing duct work that dangles like limp straws. Awnings hang in tatters. . . . The ravaged Chevrolet dealership’s antithesis can be found on Interstate 10 in Baytown, where the defunct Baytown Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealership is preserved in near-pristine condition.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot]

10/02/08 7:09pm

Neighborhood Guessing Game 26: Bar

Where was this week’s paneled palace?

Three of you guessed Champion Forest. There were 2 guesses each for Inwood Forest, Sharpstown, the FM 1960 area, and Tanglewood. The rest? Memorial near Dairy Ashford, Lakeside, “North or West Houston,” near Hobby Airport, Bellaire, Third Ward between North MacGregor and OST, Briarmeadow, Antoine and Little York, Kingwood, Champions “on the way to Tomball,” Oak Forest, Timber Grove, Shepherd Park Plaza, Inwood, Braeswood area, “off Braeswood,” Maplewood, Glenshire, Westchase, Willowbend, Fondren Southwest, and off 249 near Cypresswood.

There was no winner this week, unless you want to give credit to Chris for mentioning, in passing, “North or West Houston.” Instead, how about some honorable mentions to the folks who came closest? That’d be tcpIV and Dave, who guessed Inwood Forest; CK, who mentioned both Shepherd Park Plaza and Inwood, and Richard, who got stuck at Antoine and Little York.

Great work, everyone! But how about . . . Aldine? Acres Homes? You’re looking at the original Hidden Valley Ranch!

What makes this place so hard to find?