LOCAL RESTAURANTS YOU’VE HEARD OF MAKE IT TO THE IAH RUNWAY The Breakfast Klub, Hubcap Grill, El Real Tex-Mex Café, Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack, Hugo’s Cocina, Pink’s Pizza, Cadillac Mexican Kitchen and Bar, Café Adobe, and Landry’s Seafood — where might you be able to go to sample them all? Anywhere — as long as your travel takes you through Bush Intercontinental Airport. Amid a bunch of protests from other bidders who lost out, a vote from city council last month approved $1.6 billion worth of airport concession contracts that will land the group of local restaurants and locally based chains a 10-year deal. [Food Chronicles; more details] Photo of Hubcap Grill, 1111 Prairie St., Downtown: 2 Dine For
Dunkin’ Donuts announced yesterday where it’ll be sprinkling 4 new stores across Houston. This rendering shows the standalone planned for 18315 W. Lake Houston Pkwy. in Humble. There’ll also be a location inside IAH’s Terminal E, one at 4130 Fairmont Pkwy. in Pasadena, and another, as suspected, at the renovated former Arby’s at 2330 S. Shepherd and Fairview. Last month, the chain opened the first of a reported 24 stores planned for the Houston area at 10705 Westheimer in Westchase.
Rendering: Rogue Architects via Houston Business Journal
COMMENT OF THE DAY: TOO EASY “I was really interested in buying . . . when it wasn’t for sale.” [northside girl, commenting on On Second Thought: Yeah, It’s Available]
A few amendments appear to have been made to that giant “Property Not for Sale” sign on JFK Blvd. near Greens Rd. just south of IAH featured on Swamplot last month, notes reader Brett Jensen. Plastered over that simpler earlier sign (shown at right) are now indications of the property’s size, a revised phone number, a real-estate company name and contact, and what appears to be a complete reversal of the previous marketing strategy. An indication that that “don’t even ask” strategy was a flop? Or that it worked too well, and now a new owner of sign and land is simply trying a more practiced strategy to flip it?
Photos: Brett Jensen (for sale) and Katie Pearson (not for sale)
“I’ve often thought about calling the owner of the lot and asking how much the property is selling for,” writes Swamplot reader Katie Pearson of this not-for-sale sign on JFK Blvd. near Greens Rd., just south of IAH. “The five foot tall digits of the phone number are just so irresistible!”
Photo: Katie Pearson
3-year-old 11-building condo complex at the intersection of Beltway 8 and Hwy. 59; great feeder-road-U-turn access to IAH. Swimming pool — okay, it’s a retention pond — at the center. And bank-owned. Well, not anymore. Interra Capital Group bought 112 of the 128 flex-space industrial condo units at the High Ridge Business Park from the lender last month, and for the 60-some units still available, it’ll be lease only.
THE AIRPORT DIRECT SHUTTLE’S LONG GOODBYE After a ride on Metro’s newly discounted but still cold-as-a-meat-locker Downtown-to-IAH shuttle, Texas Watchdog reporter Steve Miller hears from an Airport Direct staffer just how last-ditch an effort last month’s price cut was. The new $4.50 one-way fare has increased revenue only slightly, the staffer reports, “but it will have to do more or the plug will be pulled in June.” In less-direct language, a Metro spokesperson backs up that statement. [Texas Watchdog; previously on Swamplot]
The New York sculptor behind those new splashy welcome signs on JFK Blvd. outside IAH passed away over the weekend after a short bout with liver cancer. Dennis Oppenheim explained the inspiration behind the Radiant Fountains sculpture and light show to the Chronicle‘s Douglas Britt last August: It was a sign he had seen as a child from the Bayshore Freeway in Oakland, California, which featured an animated version of the famous Sherwin-Williams “Cover the Earth” logo.
It was the world globe and then a bucket of paint dripping on top of it, and this captivated me. I told them [the Houston Arts Alliance] quite frankly that I would be extremely satisfied if I accomplished something like that, because it really did capture the ongoing traffic. I also said that it would be nice if these works were so … whatever … that people would turn around and come back to see them again.
Video: Andrew Vrana
COMMENT OF THE DAY: WOULD MAKE A MORE PROPER HOUSTON WELCOME “All that said, I still regret that we didn’t put up two enormous inflatable gorillas, standing on either side of JFK Blvd., like the statues of [Isildur] and Anárion flanked the river Anduin in The Lord of the Rings.” [RWBoyd, commenting on Here’s Your Splashy New Welcome Sign, Houston]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: WELCOME TO THE FUTURE OF HOUSTON “This is the kind of thing that every kid who lives here will remember 40 years from now. ‘Remember that weird light show thing they had at the airport?’” [Cap’n McBarnacle, commenting on Here’s Your Splashy New Welcome Sign, Houston]
Backsplash from a stream of strange particles falling from the sky, or is that just some mucky stuff bubbling up from underfoot? Either way, what better way to say, “Welcome to Houston”? The night lights are now on at “Radiant Fountains,” the new collection of pipe-assembly sculptures by New York artist Dennis Oppenheim, commissioned by the Houston Arts Alliance, working with Houston Airport Systems — whose offices are nearby — under the city’s 11-year-old “percent for art” policy. Recently completed on JFK Blvd. near Rankin Rd., they’re meant to greet newly arrived passengers from IAH. Andrew Vrana from Metalab — the local architecture firm that coordinated the installation — captures an early glimpse of the splashy action on video:
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In this edition of our occasional photo feature, a new shipment of street art opens around town. First up: this bit of spray-painted enthusiasm for BP cleanup efforts, installed in an impromptu outdoor gallery at the corner of Missouri and Commonwealth in Montrose.
What’s next to see?
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COMMENT OF THE DAY: BRING THOSE TV CAMERAS TOO CLOSE AND ZZZZAP!!!! “It’s actually a bug-zapper to bring Wayne [Dolcefino] … he is attracted to the glow of money being spent on anything other than polyester suits and Golden Corral.” [PaxMcKatz, commenting on IAH’s New Welcome to Houston Sign: We Hope Your Splashdown Was Pleasant]
Newly arrived visitors driving along JFK Blvd. at Rankin Rd. will soon encounter a landscape-appropriate welcome to our marshy city after they land at Bush Intercontinental Airport: three 60-ft. pipe assemblies festooned with animated LED light arrays on cables. New York artist Dennis Oppenheim sees the lights as
representing a giant twenty five foot tear drop falling into a pool, creating the upward sensation of a splash, which rises to sixty feet and consists of a multitude of colored lights cascading and sparkling toward the top and beyond, emerging in bright, spherical globes; representing giant droplets.
No stuck-in-the-muds here! Andrew Vrana of local architecture firm Metalab, who’s coordinating the installation, tells Swamplot the sculptures will have an 18-ft. diameter at the base and a 50-ft. diameter at the top. He says all 3 should be in place and complete “later this spring.”
Metalab’s blog has pix of a few of the pieces:
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