07/26/18 10:15am

Museum movers are now lugging cargo out of 2204 Dorrington St. as part of the Houston Maritime Museum‘s move to the Second Ward, where it’ll remain landlocked. Two years ago, the museum announced plans to build a new $50 million facility designed by architects at Gensler next to the dock for the Sam Houston boat that conducts tours of the ship channel. But nothing’s opened up yet along that section of waterfront, south of Clinton Dr. and east of Wayside Dr. in Denver Harbor.

In leaving behind its current converted house southwest of the Med Center for new 3-story office-building environs on the corner of Canal and Navigation, the museum will take on a more businesslike appearance than it’s sported so far.

It’ll also get used to sharing its space; existing tenants in the new building include The Polnick Law Firm and Andes Cafe, pictured below from the west:

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Anchors Up
07/10/18 3:30pm

Surf’s up at El Segundo Swim Club, the Second Ward swimming pool bar that’s now soaking up the sun on the formerly vacant lot at 5180 Avenue L, north of Navigation Blvd. The watering hole has been inviting swimmers in to take a dip over the past few days through a series of ticketed preview events that are planned to continue through this weekend.

Shade comes courtesy of the bright orange umbrellas now surrounding the pool deck — in place of the folded-up, gray ones shown above during the site’s transition phase back in February. A few modified shipping containers give visitors room to get out of the sun, too — except for the one on the left in the photo at top; it houses the bar.

The 15,000-sq.-ft. lot didn’t have much flora before the redo, but that’s changed thanks to these transplants:

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Wet Bar
06/11/18 12:15pm

Spotted from Canal St. just east of Navigation: signage for Southside Flying Pizza’s fifth location and first in Houston. The Austin restaurant chain is making its way into the southeast corner spot of the right-angled Shops on Navigation strip center that Ancorian Hunington Properties built over the last 2 years. It’s mapped out in the image above from Ancorian, the developer behind another property just east of the corner strip. Aside from Southside’s next-door neighbor 9Round kickboxing gym, other existing cohabitants include Maldives Nail & Spa, Bottles Wine & Spirits, EaDo Dental, Go Cleaners, Cajun Town, and the largest of the bunch — a corner Frost Bank branch:

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Second Ward
04/24/18 2:15pm

After hauling all 6 of their endangered Victorian cottages 8 blocks and arranging them neatly off Sampson St. 4 years ago, Michael Skelly and Anne Whitlock are now ready to part with the 2 pictured at top. $700,000 is the asking price for both structures — which occupy a single 5,000-sq.-ft. lot at 3408 Garrow St. They’ve been on the market for a week.

Since relocating them, Skelly and Whitlock have also redone the interiors of the 2 cottages:

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Firehouse Backyard
02/12/18 4:30pm

Coming soon to the long-vacant lot next to the Cemex cement plant on Navigation east of Lockwood: El Segundo Swim Club, a swimming pool bar shown still under construction but already watered in the photos above. Work on the 1,350-sq.-ft. pool and its surroundings began last July, 2 months after an entity connected to developer Matthew Healey bought the property on the corner of Avenue L and N. Edgewood St. The photos above look over the barbed wire up on the corner of Avenue L to show the 15,000-sq.-ft. yard planted with umbrellas, chairs, a hammock, and a converted shipping container.

A view from N. Edgewood St. shows the freight container fronting the pool:

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Adult Swim
12/06/17 3:15pm

A Swamplot reader sends photos of the partial demolition now underway along Commerce St. just off Colby in the Second Ward just north of East Downtown. Ancorian bought 3 warehouses between Commerce and Canal St. last November and plans to redevelop the site into a single dock-front building with a parking lot along its west side. The new development, dubbed The Block, would consist of 44,000 sq. ft. of “creative workspace and retail.

Here’s an aerial view looking west along Commerce St taken from before the demolition.:

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Second Ward Redo
07/28/17 12:30pm

BUFFALO BAYOU PARTNERSHIP NOW LOOKING EAST OF DOWNTOWN, MAKING PLANS The landscape architecture firm that rejiggered the grounds of the Menil Collection and has put forward a new plan for Hermann Park will now be turning its attention to Buffalo Bayou east of Downtown, where the waterway widens ahead of the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates will lead an effort to create a new master plan for the bayou’s “East Sector” — the section between Hwy. 59 and the Turning Basin — the Buffalo Bayou Partnership announced yesterday. Also on the team of consultants the nonprofit waterway overseers has selected to create the plan: the firm formerly known as Morris Architects, which a few months ago switched its name to that of its parent company, Huitt-Zollars. The partnership says it wants a plan that reflects the cultural and industrial background of the area, that will help connect surrounding neighborhoods to the bayou, and that creates green spaces that can help revitalize that part of Houston. [Buffalo Bayou Partnership] Photo: Buffalo Bayou Partnership

07/26/17 2:30pm

The HAR listing for the home at 5116 Avenue H in the Second Ward, for sale for $99,990, identified the property’s subdivision as MEX Y CAN. Which seemed notable enough in the rapidly changing neighborhood for the curious name to appear as discussion fodder yesterday on Reddit. The subdivision name is accurate, appearing on county tax records: The property’s developer was required to give a name to the subdivision when the single 5,000-sq.-ft. lot on which it stood (at the time part of a subdivision named Engel) was divided into thirds last year, in order to allow him to sell off individually the 3 existing homes on the property. “Actually no one had any comments [on the name] at the time of replatting,” the developer notes.

MEX Y CAN, the name he assigned to the subdivision, “is for the name Mexican and (Y in Spanish) Canadian,” he explains to Swamplot. “The love of my life is Mexican and I am Canadian. . . . There is no other meaning or significance behind it.” The motivation for choosing this particular name? “Having myself, the love of my life, and our desire to be memorialized in the area for eternity like our love.”

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Subdivided
03/16/17 1:00pm

La Familia Meat Market, 2440 Canal St., Second Ward, Houston, 77003

Variance Request for townhomes at Commerce and Saint Charles, Second Ward, Houston, 77003The plans submitted to the city along with a variance request being advertised lately along Canal St. show that the developer — an entity which traces back to Frank Liu — is asking for permission to drop below a required 3,500-sq.-ft. minimum lot size on its new property. That would allow the company stick about 29 houses on the L of land the documents refer to as Williams on Canal, which wraps around the brightly muraled La Familia Meat Market building and 2 pre-1950’s homes just south of it on St. Charles. The drawings in the request show 64 townhomes altogether, including the company’s adjacent land on the same block (extending all the way to Commerce St.):

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Second Ward Stock
02/22/17 5:30pm

BRAD MOORE AND FRIENDS SNATCH EMPTY BODY OF INVASION ICE HOUSE Invasion Ice House, 823 Dumble St., Eastwood, Houston, 77023 Formerly apostrophe-averse Grand Prize co-owner Brad Moore and his business partners have a new bar now up and running in the work-out-the-kinks, wait-for-the-liquor-license phase. The business, operating under the syllable-rich name Lil’ Danny Speedo’s Go Fly a Kite Lounge, has taken over the space in the 1950s building at 823 Dumble St. (shown here as seen early last year in its then-new alien mural skin). Danny Speedo’s is the latest link in a long chain of bars on the property — most recently including Invasion Ice House, which the Ramos family opened last spring before shutting it down at the end of October. Phaedra Cook reports that Lil’ Danny Speedos is limiting the alcohol menu to beer, wine, and frozen shandies until the liquor permit comes through. [Houston Foodfinder; previously on Swamplot] Photo of former Invasion Ice House at 823 Dumble St.: Swamplot inbox

08/25/16 11:00am

Rendering of Emancipation Park, Dowling St., Third Ward, Houston

Houston Planning Commission chief of staff Brian Crimmins announced yesterday that tomorrow will be the day a proposed name change of Dowling St. is announced to those with property along the road. The planned timeline for a few public meetings and some comment-taking stretches over the course of the next few months, with the if-everything-goes-as-planned rededication date of the street as Emancipation Ave. set for Sunday, November 6. The proposed change would mark the second de-Dowling in Houston this year, following the shifting of Dowling Middle School’s allegiance over to Audrey H. Lawson as part of HISD’s lawsuit-inspiring Confederate expulsion.

Rendering of under-renovation Emancipation Park at 3018 Dowling St.: Phil Frelon

Emancipation Anticipation
07/06/16 11:30am

Guadalupe Park Plaza Redo, 2311 Runnels St., Second Ward, Houston, 77003

The forest of columns behind the newly planted trees above are most of what’s left of the original central plaza structure in Second Ward’s Guadalupe Plaza Park, which the Greater East End Management District says will reopen on July 30th as several years of de- and re-construction work are wrapped up. The 1980s park now caps the western end of the previously redone Navigation Blvd. esplanade, and a landscaped sidewalk now connects the park to Buffalo Bayou at the crossing of Jensen Rd. (right across from the 136-acre KBR campus recently purchased by mixed-use developer Midway).

Here’s the view looking south along the walkway toward the main square from alongside cultural center Talento Bilingue, which the management district says won’t be knocked down until funding is in place to rebuild it: 

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Plaza Placement
02/18/16 1:15pm

Future Seafarers International Union Hall, 501 N. York St., Second Ward, Houston, 77003

A reader shipped over these shots of the new Seafarers International Union Hall under construction at 501 N. York St., just south of the crossing of Buffalo Bayou (and of the name change to Hirsch Rd.). An entity called Seafarer’s Building Corporation bought the land from the Buffalo Bayou Partnership in March of last year; the bayou folks snagged it in 2001 from construction materials producer Lafarge, which acquired it as a General Portland cement facility in 1989. The property sits a block down N. York from bayou-side Tony Marron Park, itself immediately upstream of the Dan-Loc Group machining plant.

A close-up of the rendering posted at the job site at the corner with Freund St. shows an access ramp stretching along the N. York side of the property, as well as what appears to be a partially covered upstairs patio:

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Coming Together on N. York St.
01/17/14 5:15pm

Lubbock Grove Homes, St. Charles and Garrow Sts., Second Ward, Houston

Lubbock Grove Homes, St. Charles and Garrow Sts., Second Ward, Houston

Got big plans for Saturday night? These 6 Victorian-era Second Ward rowhouses will be parading down 8 blocks of Garrow St. past Settegast Park east of Downtown to new spots further east, in time to escape the construction of some impending townhomes on their longtime lots. The move was originally scheduled for early last week, but was postponed because of a damaged utility pole discovered along the route. (It was also kinda cold.)

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Fire Station Friends
09/05/13 12:00pm

As many as 8 new bike-sharing stations could open inside the Loop in the next 2 weeks. Will Rub, director of Houston B-Cycle, tells Swamplot that permits are in hand and the bikes forthcoming for these 5 stations: Spotts Park, at 401 S. Heights Blvd; the intersection of Taft and Fairview, at 2401 Taft St.; the Menil Collection, at 1529 W. Alabama St.; Leonel Castillo Community Center, which is undergoing a restoration at 2109 South St.; and the intersection of Milam and Webster, at 2215 Milam St.

And Rub adds that 3 other locations are just waiting for their permits: Stude Park, at 1031 Stude St., and 2 others east, for the first time, of the Southwest Fwy.: Settegast Park at Garrow and Palmer in the Second Ward, and Project Row Houses at Holman and Live Oak in the Third Ward. Rub expects those to be ready to roll September 19th or 20th.

Photo of station at Lamar and Milam: Reddit user txsupernova