01/18/18 11:30am

AMAZON WILL NOT BE DELIVERING HQ2 TO HOUSTON Despite campaigns that included coordinated office light displays and banner flybys over the company’s current headquarters in Seattle, none of the Houston proposals to house Amazon’s new campus made it past the first round. The company announced this morning that 17 U.S. cities plus northern Virginia, Toronto, and Montgomery County, Maryland would be finalists for the new HQ2. Among those that did make the cut: Dallas and Austin. [USA Today; map; previously on Swamplot] Photo of former KBR Building 3: Swamplot inbox

01/17/18 5:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: STILL STRANDED “My first thought is that raising a home might protect the physical property, but it doesn’t remove it from the path of floodwaters. A flooding event could still strand a family, potentially putting them in a life-threatening situation from which others would have to rescue them. Tax roll aside, is this the right thing to do?” [Nice Neighbor, commenting on Comment of the Day: Why It Pays To Raise Those Flooded Meyerland Homes] Photo: Christine Gerbode

01/16/18 3:45pm

THE TIPLINE IS STANDING BY Makeup boutique opening up in a former paint store? To cover this city well, Swamplot needs your tips. So if you spot something interesting going on in your neighborhood, let us know! Taken some nice pics from around town? Send them to our Flickr group. If you’ve uploaded a video to YouTube you think we might be interested in, send us a link. While you’re at it, be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and sign up to be on Swamplot’s email list.

01/16/18 10:45am

GENERATION PARK’S HIGHLY TARGETED MARKETING Here’s the banner that aerial advertisers towed across the skies in the airspace above Amazon’s Seattle offices last Friday. McCord Development enlisted the (off camera) airplane to help tout its 4,000-acre Generation Park complex as a good spot for the online giant to build its new HQ2 office. [KOMO; Generation Park’s pitch; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Lindsay Cohen

01/12/18 3:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHY IT PAYS TO RAISE THOSE FLOODED MEYERLAND HOMES “Also, let’s remember that flood insurance pays out $250k for structure and $100k for contents max (and these Meyerland homes are pricey, so maxing out the payment is possible). So, paying $350k to raise a house to avoid a future claim is — long-term — a better use of money. Yes, the amount itself is a shock out of context. Yes, it borders on ridiculous that this is related to the 2015 flood. Yes, the tax base would benefit more from paying to knock down the house and build new million dollar homes, but this is a better solution than buying the properties and removing them from the tax base.” [travelguy, commenting on What Houston Will Spend To Raise a Few Floody Houses in Meyerland] Photo of 5150 Braesheather Dr., to be elevated: HAR

01/11/18 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: THERE’S STILL A MISSING LINK IN THE BAYOU BIKE CONNECTOR “It’s not complete if you are trying to take the MKT Trail from the Heights into downtown and beyond while staying off streets. The Bayou Greenways interactive map still shows a dotted line for the missing connection between the MKT Trail and the stretch of the trail at Stude Park. When completed, that tiny section will make a big difference.” [Gretchen Lindquist, commenting on Houston’s Bayou Biking Connector Is Now Complete] Image: Bayou Greenways 2020

01/11/18 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: DIDN’T MEAN TO STOP AT PJ’S SPORTS BAR THAT NIGHT “Love the ‘he forgot his bumper’ story, but it’s not true. I was driving my S4 eastbound on W. Gray, and the Ford apparently ran the stop sign at Stanford northbound and knocked me across the road and into PJ’s. My car was smashed on both ends and definitely could not be driven. Maybe the cops towed it promptly — I was busy bleeding on the lawn and talking to witnesses as I waited on an ambulance. Two nights in the hospital, but I’ll be fine.” [Stefan, commenting on The New Audi-Sized Hole Drilled into PJ’s Sports Bar on W. Gray Last Night] Photo: Swamplot inbox

01/11/18 3:30pm

LOCAL VICTIMS OF THE NATIONWIDE SAM’S CLUB CLOSINGS: SOUTH LOOP, ELDRIDGE PKWY., NEW CANEY The Sam’s Club that serves as the terminus of Metro’s red line closed abruptly today along with one other Houston store in the shopping center on Westheimer at Eldridge Pkwy., and one in New Caney. The South Loop store occupies a 14-acre parcel of land west of the AutoNation car dealership and north of the Fanin South Metro stop. Opened last year, the New Caney store was the newest of the 3 to close. The shut downs come as part of 63 nationwide that parent company Walmart announced today. 11 stores are still open across the Houston area. [KHOU] Photo: Jason Miles

01/11/18 1:00pm

WHAT HOUSTON WILL SPEND TO RAISE A FEW FLOODY HOUSES IN MEYERLAND Houston City Council approved construction yesterday to raise 5 Meyerland houses — a subset of the 42 Houston homes FEMA paid the city $14.8 million to elevate back in 2015. One of those 42 houses has already been jacked up and 8 more are currently within the levitation process, according to the Chronicle’s Rebecca Elliott and John D. Harden. The costs to raise the 5 homes now slated for elevation 12 ft. above flood level — which include a few extra thousand dollars to put residents up in temporary lodging — range from $218,700 to $416,000 per property. In total, the bill comes to $1.6 million. Harris County appraises the total value of properties themselves from $125,906 to $507,152, with the value of improvements within that ranging from $34,700 to $201,200. One of the houses — 5150 Braesheather Dr. — shown above as it appeared before Harvey, is currently listed for sale. [Houston Chronicle; more info (items 24–28)Photo of 5150 Braesheather Dr.: HAR  

01/10/18 1:15pm

A TWIST IN THE MYSTERY OF WHO OWNS THOSE HEIGHTS HOLDOUT HOUSE BONES Maybe you were expecting DNA testing to identify those human remainsfound inside the wall of a Heights bungalow on Allston St.  — as those of Mary Cerruti, the missing 61-year-old woman who refused to let Trammell Crow annex her home as part of the Alexan Heights apartment complex the developer built on the block. After sending one of the recovered teeth to the University of North Texas last year to compare it to DNA samples from 3 of Cerruti’s relatives, the results are in — and there’s no exact match, reports Emily Foxhall. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences is still working to see if there’s any connection between Cerruti and skeleton left behind at 610 Allston, but according to a spokesperson, further study will take “a lengthy period of time.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: HAR

01/04/18 1:15pm

THE PROPOSED NEW RULES FOR ROOMING HOUSES A new PowerPoint presentation put together by the city’s Administrative and Regulatory Affairs department details the requirements that the city is proposing putting in place for rooming houses — places where 3 or more unrelated people live together. Among the standards that could be laid down for the unregulated buildings: requiring them to apply for annual permits, instituting building code inspections, and mandating the facilities have framed beds, posted and practiced fire evacuation plans, accessible fire extinguishers, working smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and first aid supplies. Mayor Turner announced last May that he was planning on stepping up regulations for the shared homes after a fire at one such facility on Griggs Rd. just east of OST killed 2 boarders in March. The city is presenting the proposed changes at a meeting in the Near Northside next Wednesday. New regulations for houses serving elderly, disabled, and formerly-incarcerated people are also up for consideration. [Administrative and Regulatory Affairs] Photo of rooming house at 4411 New Orleans St.: Roominghouses.net

12/29/17 1:00pm

2017, CHECKING OUT What a swampy lot of a year this has been for Houston, eh? Swamplot is taking off early today just to help get the thing over with. Here’s to a better 2018 for all of us, whatever your elevation or watershed. Check back with us on Tuesday, for more tales of what’s notable around town. Photo of Buffalo Bayou Park on a wintry day not too long ago: Marc Longoria, via the Swamplot Flickr pool