10/24/14 3:00pm

NUHABITAT’S ASKING-PRICE HISTORIES ARE BACK IN ACTION NuHabitat Price Tracker Screen ShotHome listing sleuths who’d been relying on historical asking-price data from NuHabitat (when most other consumer-facing MLS sources keep that info hidden) will be relieved to hear that the feature has been restored. Company founder Jeff Burke tells Swamplot the disappearance of the data from NuHabitat’s Price Tracker, which users began noticing last week, was inadvertent; an update pushed out earlier today brings it back. For logged-in users (only), NuHabitat’s Price Tracker provides histories of sales prices as well as details of former asking prices for properties currently on the market, in most cases even if they’ve been yanked over to a new MLS number. (Click on the dollar-sign logo underneath a property listing to see it; the screenshot above shows data for this Cambridge Green property featured on Swamplot last week.) A better dashboard for tagging and setting up alerts on multiple properties should be available to consumer users within a week or so, says Burke, following improvements in the “swipeability” of property images on mobile devices, which went live last month. [NuHabitat; previously on Swamplot]

10/17/14 11:15am

Tinder Guys Posing with Art, Houston

Why are so many of the men featured in the Tinder Guys Posing with Art Tumblr posing with art that’s in Houston? Maybe it’s because the website’s creator and curator, Sally Glass, is based here. Scroll through the entries Glass has been posting since April and you’ll not only find available men on Tinder who’ve staked out positions in and around some of the city’s more prominent sculptures and paintings, you’ll also find a handy guide to the works they favor:


Local Screenshots
02/25/14 4:00pm

Screenshot of EPA Map of Houston Showing Relative Cancer Risk from Air Toxics

How do you feel about Houston’s airborne cancer hotspots? That’s easy! Just pick up a copy of the latest issue of Cite magazine and run your fingers over the top of it: Cite 93‘s front cover has been embossed with a map diagramming the area’s cancer risk. The places where airborne toxins mapped by the EPA are most prevalent are in the pits.

The mapped information here isn’t exactly fresh — it’s from the 2005 National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment, and the data only account for airborne known-cancer-causing toxins that are tracked by the EPA. Though it’s posted online, the map version isn’t exactly easy to find. But bravely thumbing his nose at Houston’s proud and longstanding tradition of hush-hushing location-based cancer hazards, Cite editor Raj Mankad gives Swamplot readers the secret recipe for finding the browsable map:


Air Toxics, Online
10/24/13 3:15pm

CALCULATING THE GREEN FOR THIS WEEKEND’S FREE TREE GIVEAWAY Hmmmm . . . what’ll it be for your yard? Live Oak, Bald Cypress, Burr Oak, Cedar Elm, Chinkapin Oak, Drummond’s Maple, Loblolly Pine, Mexican White Oak, Nuttall Oak, Overcup Oak, Pecan, Shumard Oak or Water Oak? Come to the remote Rodeo Houston parking lot at 2030 Reed Rd. with your electric bill in hand this Saturday, October 26, between 8:30 and 3:30 and you’ll have your pick — of whatever’s left. Trees for Houston, CenterPoint Energy, and the Arbor Day Foundation will be giving away a total of 2,500 specimens in 5-gallon containers this weekend (a couple thou are still unclaimed). You can reserve yours online. A handy satellite-photo-equipped web app is meant to help you decide where to plant your tree and which species to plant; it estimates annual energy-cost savings for each type of tree, depending on where you place it on your property. [Arbor Day Foundation]

09/24/13 12:05pm

Now have at it: SmartGeometrics has made available for free on a website launched yesterday the data from 3D scans of the allegedly leaky, 87,500-sq.-ft. 1927 underground water reservoir near Sabine St. along Buffalo Bayou. Though the Buffalo Bayou Partnership would like to do something cool with the “accidental cathedral,” as Houston Chronicle columnist and cistern sympathizer Lisa Gray has called it, there’s no more funding available. Thus, the partnership is hoping some smart cookie who knows her way around AutoCAD (and programs like it) will use this free data to come up with an idea that woos someone or something else — like, say, Bud Light — to pay to make it happen.

Image: Buffalo Bayou Park

07/31/13 12:00pm

HINES DEVELOPS WEBSITE TO EXPLAIN 17-STORY SAN FELIPE DEVELOPMENT Much of the information you might want about that shiny office building Hines says it plans to start building this year on San Felipe has been organized — by Hines, of course — on a new website. Like the recently launched ‘Stop San Felipe Skyscraper’ site supported on the ground by that neighborhood campaign of knee-high yard signs, the Hines site presents its side of things in a handy Q-and-A format:Are there other tall buildings in the area? Yes. . . . Will the building reduce the privacy of nearby properties? No. . . . Does Hines care about the potential impact on the neighborhood? Absolutely.” [2229 San Felipe; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: Hines

06/28/13 12:30pm

AN ONLINE HOW-TO GUIDE FOR HOUSTON’S WOULD-BE PRESERVATIONISTS The Planning and Development Department has just launched a website that helps navigate the finicky process of historic preservation. It’s still under construction, of course, but the website works like a manual, explaining, among other things, how to plan a project and obtain those all-important Certificates of Appropriateness. If you’re not into the nuts and bolts of preservation, the website includes a map of the city’s 17 historic districts — including Glenbrook Valley, where this mod at 7919 Glenview was recently restored. Each district is given a little narrative treatment, with drawings of architectural styles and descriptions of pertinent building features included. And if you have no idea what a modillion or a soffit is, there’s even a glossary. [City of Houston Historic Preservation Manual; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Benjamin Hill Photography

03/06/13 11:30am

Each of these purple specks — or black holes, depending on your perspective — represents a demolition permit issued by the city in 2012. The planning and development department has posted this and a few other maps online with an overview of demographic data.

After the jump, you can see in more detail the demos inside the Loop from 2012 and 2011, juxtaposed with other maps showing the permits for single- and multi-family construction. You know. For balance:


01/29/13 12:00pm

IF YOU TYPED ‘POTHOLE,’ PLEASE TYPE ‘YES’ A spurting water main? One of your neighbor’s free-range hens clucking the ever-loving night away? There’s an app for that: today, the city is launching a 311 app that will help smartphone-equipped Houstonians report and track complaints:‘Say you see a pothole on your street. Before you even leave for work you can walk over, launch the app and type in ‘pothole,’ [city spokesperson Chris Newport] said. ‘You have the option of taking a picture, punching in the address and answering two other questions before you hit send.'” [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Chelsea Gomez (Oakes)

01/18/13 12:00pm

DOWNTOWN WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHOP DOWNTOWN Around the same time that Macy’s announced it was closing its store at 1110 Main St., Mayor Parker announced that she’d organized a task force to figure out how to plug up the gaps in Downtown retail; accordingly, the Downtown Management District’s recruiting whichever Houstonians it can to respond to a 20-question shopping survey. It’ll be up through January 31. [Downtown Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Flickr user cjt3

09/20/12 9:59am

Note: Story updated below.

Yesterday, Apple released a new version of its operating system for late-model iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches, just 2 days in advance of the scheduled appearance of the company’s new flagship, the iPhone 5. A Swamplot reader who took the plunge immediately and upgraded his iPad to iOS6 has been enjoying tours of Houston within the included brand-new built-in Maps application, which in the updated operating system is built by Apple instead of Google. “Notice anything odd about these maps?” the reader asks.

Just a few things so far, the reader answers for us. F’rinstance, a mysterious “City Tubercular Hospital” appears to have alighted on the vacant block west of Dunlavy off Allen Parkway where a portion of the Allen House Apartments used to stand. A large chunk of the Regent Square mixed-use development has been planned for that location since 2008.


07/11/12 3:40pm

FILLING COMMERCIAL SPACE BY THE SQUARE FOOT A new website launched by a Houston startup aims to simplify the complicated process of leasing and setting up shop in a new office, warehouse, restaurant, or retail space. Kicked off this month with about 1,500 Houston property listings from about a dozen local and national brokers, The Square Foot is targeted at small and medium businesses that have never leased commercial property before. After steering customers to properties that match their criteria, the site intends to smooth out the process of finding helping tenants find furniture, IT services, movers, and related services as well. Co-founder Justin Lee tells Swamplot the site is focusing on Houston for now, but hopes to expand coverage to Texas’s other major cities by the end of the year.

06/22/12 12:10pm

A JUST-OPENED SOURCE FOR HOUSTON BUILDING DATA A 3-month-old website that aims to collect and broadcast detailed information about existing buildings — including photos, square footage counts, ownership and management contacts, projects and renovations, and LEED certification levels — opened its catalog of Austin, Dallas, and Houston commercial and mixed-use structures this week. HonestBuildings.com claims to have detailed online profiles already available on a total of 95,000 buildings in those 3 Texas cities, and on a total of 475,000 nationwide. Many of the Houston listings contain only cursory info so far, but the company is hoping local building managers will provide details to fill out the extensive list of data categories. The New York and Seattle-based startup appears to focus on issues of energy efficiency, allowing companies that provide related services to showcase and target their work — and users to compare building data.

02/14/12 11:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE DATA VISUALIZATION “I think this tool is wonderful for home buyers, now they can actually do research that us agents do. However there are still some very important reports available only to agent. What my clients see so useful is a map/grid type of report. I can take a certain section of a neighborhood and include criteria like … sqft 2000-2500, bedrooms 3-4, counter = granite, built between 2000-2005, one story homes only, lot size 5000-7000, located on a cul de sac, and the house faces WEST…. Realtors have AMAZING TOOLS AVAILABLE TO THEM.. the only problem is some realtors DO NOT know how to use them. Hence our slogan is “Leave Realty to The Pros” …hahahahhaha… Well hope this info helps, if you have any questions please let me know.. IM HERE TO HELP.” [texasrealtypros.com, commenting on New Real Estate Listings Website Reveals Hidden Price Histories]