COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT ELSE LEFT MIDTOWN WHEN RICHMOND AVE MET WHEELER ST.
“In addition to the Delman Theater, an adjacent retailer named the Delman Juvenile Shop was also destroyed. The popular 1950s children’s clothing store featured a behemoth machine, the “Shoe-Fitting Fluoroscope,” that zapped the kids’ feet with unshielded x-rays, ostensibly to make sure the new shoes were a correct fit. In reality, it was used as a babysitter while Mom shopped. I couldn’t wait to grow tall enough to actually peer down the metal tube to view my wiggling skeletal toe bones.” [Patsy Schillaci, commenting on Comment of the Day: The Delman Theater Lives On, on Google Maps] Photo of Delman Theater and adjacent retail: Predator [license]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE MONTROSE DUAL DEALERSHIP WELCOME THAT WASN’T
“Too bad . . . I had imagined an identical building being constructed, and as bookends would have made a fantastic ‘gateway‘ into the Montrose/Museum area.” [city cynic, commenting on Stahlman Lumber Up for Sale by Landowner That Didn’t Replace It with a Car Dealership] Photo of Audi Central Houston: Audi Central Houston
ARE THE NEW FITZGERALD’S OWNERS PLANNING TO BRING DOWN THE HOUSE?
“They came and tested for asbestos,” Fitzgerald’s longtime owner Sara Fitzgerald tells the Chronicle’s Marcy de Luna, “so I think they’re looking to tear it down. It was their original intention to build a high-rise there.” Fitzgerald sold Fitzgerald’s along with 3 home lots behind it on E. 6½ St. in July to the same Chicago-based company, Easy Park, that’s been planning that automated parking garage a few blocks west down White Oak Dr. in place of the existing, analog garage next to Tacos A Go Go (which it also owns, along with some other retail nearby). She’s now renting the building at 2706 White Oak from her new landlord and running the 41-year-old business remotely from Seguin, Texas, outside San Antonio, de Luna reports. Following a spree of farewell shows scheduled throughout the month, the club will close with a New Year’s Eve party featuring ’70s and ’80s cover band SKYROCKET! [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Caramels D.
THE MARQUIS II IS GETTING ITS SECOND ENCORE
Well, that was fast. After shutting down on Sunday without any timeline for a return, the Marquis II reopened at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, according to a note posted on Facbeook by longtime bar employee Al Jara. According to the Chronicle’s Marcy de Luna, Jara is now the owner of the place, having purchased it from his boss during the 2-day timeout. The last time a Marquis employee pulled a stunt like this, it was a pair of devoted cocktail waitresses who bought the place after the owner, their boss at the time, died in the late ’60s. (Adding “II” to the name was their idea.) In this case the former owner is still alive, just sick of dealing with the sustained construction activity outside the bar on Bissonnet St., which Jara says has cost the business $1.2 to $1.5 million since it began in 2014. “They’ve broken up our parking lot and we are not getting business because people can’t access us,” he tells de Luna. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Marquis II
NOW EVERY KATY BUC-EE’S BATHROOM STALL WILL HAVE A LIGHT ON IT TELLING YOU WHERE TO GO
Tooshlights is the brand name of the latest amenity that the Guiness-World-Record-winning Buc-ee’s off the Katy Fwy. wants to add to its 40 bathroom stalls, reports Dan Solomon over at Texas Monthly. It’s a spin on the technology you’ve probably seen on twinkling in certain parking garages: individual LEDs that light up red when a spot is occupied and green when it’s vacant. Along with Buc-ee’s’s Temple location, the Katy store will be the first of the chains 34 branches to roll it out. [Texas Monthly; previously on Swamplot] Photo of restroom at Buc-ee’s #40, 27700 Katy Fwy., Katy, Texas: Jennifer N.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT’S ON THE RISE AT ALLEN PKWY. AND GILLETTE?
“And as of yesterday, a wood frame has gone up. It definitely does not look like the lower floors of the 11-story-ish building shown in the upper right of the rendering.” [Chris C., commenting onA First Concrete Step Toward Building That Mixed-Use Complex at Allen Pkwy. and Gillette St.] Photo of new concrete pad on Gillette St. south of Allen Pkwy.: Swamplox inbox
FIRST PHILIPPINE BAPTIST CHURCH’S NEW NEIGHBOR: SPIKE SPORT VOLLEYBALL CLUB
Site work is about to begin on a volleyball gym off the Fort Bend Pkwy. that’ll fill in the gap between First Philippine Baptist Church (shown above) and the Missouri City drainage ditch officially known as VIII-BI. The planned 8-court gym is the latest from Spike Club, which previously held court in a complex next to the post office on S. Gessner north of W. Bellfort. Since moving out of there earlier this year, its players and staff have taken temporary refuge in the Westbury Christian School’s athletic complex over on Fondren Rd. They plan to arrive in the Missouri City location sometime next spring. Photo: Southern Baptist Convention
WHAT’S NEXT FOR BRIAR HOLLOW ONCE THE TREE TOPS APARTMENTS GET STUMPED?
Neighbors have begun whispering of a 10-story apartment building from The Finger Companies that could go in place of the abandoned Tree Tops at Post Oak complex at 4510 Briar Hollow Pl. It’s not out of the question: An entity linked to Finger bought the 2.3-acre property in July and has since submitted plans to the city to reshape it. Nobody’s lived in the 2 existing 3-story buildings since last August, at which time the water level topped out at about the ceiling of the ground-floor units according to an observer nearby. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox
CHARLES BARKLEY’S OLD HOUSE IS ABOUT TO HIT THE MARKET
Two years after finishing his career with the Rockets in 2000, the power-forward-turned-broadcaster sold his Sugar Land house at 66 Harbor View Dr. to the current homeowners, who — according to a preview put out by ResideTX Properties — are about to put it back on the market. It sits at the back of a cul-de-sac in the Pointe Royale subdivision east of where New Territory Blvd. crosses the Grand Pkwy. Inside, 3,956 sq.-ft. houses 4 beds and 3.5 baths. [ResideTX] Photo of 66 Harbor View Dr.: ResideTX
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ONCOMING TEXAS BULLET TRAIN MODEL NOW KILLING TIME IN JAPAN AHEAD OF ITS STATESIDE DEBUT
The general manager of Central Japan Railway Company, the Japanese firm designing the would-be Houston-Dallas bullet train, tells WFAA’s Jason Whitely it’ll be a spin-off of the company’s recently-revealed N700S model, 2 prototypes of which appear above. That new design — test runs of which began in July — is a half-size version of the N700 stock the company currently operates along Japanese rail lines: 8 cars instead of 16. They’re planned to start
hurdling hurtling down the country’s Shinkansen rail network at 177 miles-per-hour in 2020, by which time Texas Central — our state’s own high-speed rail hopeful — expects to have broken ground already on its 240-mile right-of-way. It says its version of the trains — to be named the N700I (“I” for “international”) will start off running at 186 miles-per-hour but could later accelerate up to 205, “subject to regulatory approval and market demands.” [WFAA; previously on Swamplot] Photo of 2 N700S Shinkansen prototype trains: Texas Central
ARMY CORPS’ FIRST PUBLIC IKE DIKE DISCUSSION IS TOMORROW
Tomorrow, the Army Corps will hold a public meeting in Port Lavaca about the Ike Dike it proposed last month. The meeting — the first of 6 planned between now and April — will give the agency an in-person opportunity to defend the modeling system underlying its $30 billion recommendations, which took some heat earlier this month from Rice U. scientists who claimed it didn’t take into account all those 100-year events that keep happening every few years. Since then, the Corps has told the Chronicle’s Nick Powell that isn’t true, adding that numerous key tweaks have brought the system up to date from FEMA’s earlier model, used in flood insurance mapping projects. The public comment period for the proposal remains open until mid-January. [Houston Chronicle ($); previously on Swamplot]
A TIME TO GIVE THANKS
Swamplot is taking a holiday hiatus starting right now. We wish you the best in your own Thanksgiving endeavors and hope you’ll rejoin us on Monday when we come back refreshed and ready to recap any newsworthy dealings that may have transpired over the long weekend. Photo of H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade: Houston First
ESCAPE ROOM CHAIN NOW GETTING SETTLED IN MID MAIN LOFTS
The latest tenant cropping up in the Mid Main Lofts’ Main-St. side: Project Panic, a 3,395-sq.-ft. escape room venue. Judging from the size and layout of the chain’s other Houston location at Fry Rd. and Park Row Dr. — home of zombie-apocalypse-, ski-resort-, abandoned-school-, and hospital-themed challenges — the new spot will probably house multiple rooms. It’s going in between Kura Revolving Sushi Bar’s corner restaurant off Holman St. and the recently-opened URBN Dental office a few doors south of it. [Previously on Swamplot] Map of Mid Main Lofts’ ground floor: LoopNet