OCCASIONAL HAZARDS OF A FEEDER ROAD STRIP CENTER The Shogun Japanese Grill and Sushi Bar in a strip center fronting the northbound feeder of the Grand Parkway in Richmond opened its storefront involuntarily this morning to accept an oncoming 18-wheeler. The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s office has sent out the photo shown here of the restaurant at 7417 W. Grand Parkway South, showing the truck swallowed completely by the restaurant. The adjacent Gossip nail salon was also damaged after the truck broke through the interior wall separating the 2 businesses. According to the Sheriff’s office, the truck was carrying hazmat gasses; the words “nitrogen refrigerated liquid” are visible on the back of the trailer in the photo. The driver is in critical condition, and 3 people who were in the building suffered “minor injuries,” according to the report. The building has been evacuated. Update, 11:45 am: More from the Sheriff’s office: “The driver of the 18-wheeler has passed. We believe the crash was caused by a medical issue he was experiencing.” [FBCSO] Photo: Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office.
RICHMOND MANNEQUIN MANSION NOW HAS A FAN PAGE, REGULAR DRIVE-BYS, AND LOOKY-LOOS, BUT NO BUYER YET More than 3 million people have now viewed the listing for the 5-bedroom gated home at 4302 Colony West Dr. — a bit of an uptick from the 200 or so per week its real estate agent, Diana Power, says typically look up one of her less unusual home offerings. But this 2-acre property on Jones Creek has a bit more going on in its photos. Sandy Walsh, the Richmond jewelry and clothing designer and artist behind the tchochke-, mannequin-, and set-piece-stunt-filled 5-bedroom home, has now done 3 teevee interviews to show off her handiwork and stand up to viewer insults (“Don’t just hate it and think it’s creepy . . . take a second look.”); she’s also started a Facebook fan page for the property, which she regularly populates with jarring closeups of its done-up mannequin residents. Law enforcement officers, writes Chronicle reporter Emily Foxhall, have been alerted to “the issue of curious people driving past” the home. “It requires time to take everything in,” Foxhall notes. “Some potential buyers have wanted the mannequins included,” Powers tells her, “but Walsh does not plan to part with them all.” The asking price remains at $1,275,000. [Houston Chronicle ($); previously on Swamplot] Photo of 4302 Colony West Dr.: HAR
IN WHICH THE OWNER OF THAT MANNEQUIN-PACKED HOUSE IN RICHMOND ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS AND THE REST OF THE COUNTRY’S “I’m just trying to sell my house,” says the long-time artist resident of 4302 Colony West Dr. in Richmond (the mind-boggling contents of which sent no fewer than 10 readers scrambling to send the listing to the Swamplot tip line earlier this week). “No, I’m not a hoarder. I could go down the list of things people are accusing me of. Yes, I own a weird business, but artists are weird, and if you find a normal artist [they’re] probably not a good one.” Those answers are all prompted by questions from Marcelino Benito, who toured the house this week for KHOU after the listing went nationally viral. The house and its contents have been viewed millions of times and have made the news in such far flung locations as St. Louis, MO, (where local station KMOV referred to its interior decor as ‘the stuff of nightmares‘) — in addition to being gawked at by readers of both the Huffington and the New York posts. As for what seems to be another burning question on the minds of some of the folks calling in with actual offers on the home — “Will you leave a mannequin for me?” — the owner’s answer appears to be a furrowed eyebrow or 2 and a “well . . . okay.” [KHOU; previously on Swamplot] Photo of 4302 Colony West Dr.: HAR
Having a little trouble navigating through that 5-bedroom house at 4302 Colony West Dr., packed full of a dizzying array of odds, ends, puppets, paintings, and plants? Never fear — here’s a walkthrough of the property, which has been an object of fascination for well over half a dozen Swamplot readers this morning (several of whom laud the home’s potential as a horror movie setting). That sentiment is fueled at least in part by the full spread of mannequins and large dolls dispersed throughout the various settings of the home (from front yard to back, floor to ceiling, and in various states of undress). Let’s start with the lone capped figure standing guard at the gate to the 2-acre property, just listed for $1.275 million:
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Hanging Out by Jones Creek
W.A. PARISH COAL PLANT NOW RUNNING ‘CLEAN’ IN RICHMOND, HELPING BOOST OIL EMISSIONS FURTHER SOUTH The years-long retrofitting of the W.A. Parish coal plant next to Smithers Lake in Richmond was capped off last week by a valve opening ceremony, at which the plant’s new Petra Nova carbon dioxide collection machinery was ceremonially turned on (though NRG says its been running since September). The new machinery is currently the largest such capture operation in the country, and might help knock the plant down a few notches from its recent high score on the carbon pollution rankings. Monica Simmons of the San Antonio Current, however, points out this week that whether the project actually results in a net reduction of CO2 emissions is something of a question mark: The project, which has been in the works since the over-$70-a-barrel days of 2010, is helping to pay for itself by piping that excess CO2 down to Jackson County and into the ground at the West Ranch oil field — which NRG says will help the folks there squeeze out 15,000 barrels of oil a day instead of 300. [San Antonio Current; previously on Swamplot] Photo of W.A. Parish Generating Station and labeled Petra Nova add-ons: NRG
The finishing touches have been applied to the first Houston-area outpost of Urban Bricks Pizza Co., in time for the location’s end-of-January grand opening. The Boerne-based pizza place has squeezed in next to Zesty Cleaners and James Avery in the newest piece of the growing strip center puzzle known as the Shops at Bella Terra, itself sandwiched between the Lakes of Bella Terra and Parkway Lakes subdivisions south of the EZ TAG-only intersection of Westpark Tollway and the Grand Parkway. The most recent add-on to the center is near the bottom left corner in the detention-pond-spangled siteplan below:
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Lakeside Pizza Views
There’s a 7-entry roster of Total Wine & More locations now included in the Yellow Pages listing for the Houston area — though the first Houston outpost of the Maryland-based liquor store only opened up in late October, in the decommissioned Office Max near Willowbrook Mall. But apparent new addresses for the store (known in Connecticut for its run of criminally low alcohol prices) include the former sites of 3 of Houston’s 4 remaining Fresh Market locales (all of which shut down in May). Those old Fresh spots (the ones of Holcome Blvd., Memorial Dr., and San Felipe St.) have all been issued recent remodeling permits with Total Wine noted as the occupant. Other locations apparently in the works are in Baybrook Mall (which is hiring) and a box site in Richmond at 5472 W Grand Pkwy., reclaimed following Sports Authority’s fall and retreat from Texas.
Photo of Total Wine & More at 7640 Cypress Creek Pkwy. in Willowbrook: Total Wine & More
Box Wine Refresh
TxDOT has been doing some circling around over the thoroughly soaked Brazos River valley this week grabbing a few snapshots, including some taken yesterday morning as 31 East and Central Texas counties picked up flood-related disaster declarations from the governor’s office. Running north-to-south (right-to-left) under the murky waters shown above is FM 723 in Rosenberg, TX; you can spot the bridge rising up to cross the river’s normal channel on the left side of the photo, while SH 36 stretches away to the northwest.
Flash- and non-flash flood warnings are in effect around the region through at least Friday night, depending on how intense the rest of this week’s predicted downpours turn out to be. Meanwhile, the already-feet-past-the-previous-record flood gauge at nearby Richmond, TX, is still creeping upward this morning toward 55 ft.:
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Water Under the Bridges