10/24/17 4:00pm

The lights have been changed again in the vacant office building at the center of Midway’s newly renamed East River site on Buffalo Bayou in the Fifth Ward. The 12-story former Building 3 on the KBR campus the development firm bought last year has progressed from referencing Amazon minus a couple of vowels to spelling out our city’s well-accomplished hometown baseball team minus its initial A. The view above was captured by a Swamplot reader from Clinton Dr. last night

The AMZN lettering lives on, though, at the end of a promo video Midway produced to rep Houston — and its mostly vacant 150-acre former industrial site:


’Stros in Lights
10/09/17 4:30pm

Here’s the backside of the 12-story former KBR office building that Midway has for the last week lit up with a new message in hopes of signaling to Amazon and avian passers-by that it buys into the concept underlying many of Jeff Bezos’s business decisions. Also: That the surrounding 150-acre property on the north side of Buffalo Bayou east of Downtown Houston that the company has renamed East River would make a fine second headquarters campus for the online and offline retailer. Day 1 is the name assigned successively to 3 different Amazon buildings in Seattle, the latest a new 37-story downtown tower that itself features a lit-up sign on its lower floors that reads HELLO WORLD. Day 1 is also a common catchphrase in the company, a reminder to itself, among other things, to focus on outcomes rather than process and to make decisions quickly, even if you have less information available than you’d like.

Day 1 for this Houston sign was October 2nd. As a reader reported last week, since then the vacant building has been sporting the company’s NASDAQ ticker symbol on the opposite side to match:


Day 1 on Clinton Dr.
10/06/17 1:00pm

The tallest of the 5 vacant structures remaining in the 136-acre former KBR campus fronting Buffalo Bayou east of Downtown that new owner Midway has dubbed East River has been sporting a new night-time look as of this week. The lights in the photo above, taken last night by a reader, spell out the NASDAQ ticker symbol of Amazon — which has announced a nationwide search for a second headquarters campus.

Previously, the lights in the 12-story office building at 4100 Clinton Dr. in the Fifth Ward had been tuned to HTX:


Hey Lookie Here!
10/06/17 10:15am

THE PIERCE ELEVATED’S GREAT UNCROSSING What’s going to replace the giant crosses on the east and west sides of the St. Joseph Professional Building towering over the Pierce Elevated once its new owner takes them down and redoes the exterior? “I want something that’s going to be iconic to Houston,Boxer Property CEO Andrew Segal tells Katherine Feser. The company has commissioned artists to develop ideas for the 18-story building’s new cross-free exterior look, Segal says: “It may be something that changes at night. It could involve a projector.” Also in the plans for the 135,586-sq.-ft. building at 2000 Crawford St., which dates from 1965: new shared lounges, workspaces, and conference facilities, changes to its ground-floor retail spaces, and a new name TBD. The steel crosses were added to the building in 2009. [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Russell Hancock, via Swamplot Flickr pool

12/20/16 10:45am

Montrose Management District marker, W. Dallas at Montrose

Montrose Management District marker, W. Dallas at MontroseThe Montrose Management District reports that the first of its shiny new neighborhood marker signs went up over the weekend at Montrose Blvd. and Dallas St., despite the recent movement in the ongoing lawsuit between the organization and the group of property owners petitioning to dissolve it. The case, which was filed in 2012, is still open, though the judge recently filed a handful of findings and judgment documents stating that not all of the signatures that went into forming the district were valid, and that the agency must pay back the $6.5 million it’s collected since then. The district has said it has no plans to do that any time soon, and intends to keep on keepin’ on until any appeals wrap up, which could be years from now.

The signage is part of the sundry prettification projects the district has planned for the neighborhood, which include redoing the colored lighting on the bridges over US 59 — thanks to a funding assist from the city, TxDOT, and the Houston Galveston Area Council:


Sightings on W. Dallas
03/18/16 1:45pm

Garden Oaks Deed Restrictions Signs, Garden Oaks, Houston, 77018

What’s the story behind the tiny question marks that recently appeared at the end of the low-dangling “DEED RESTRICTIONS ENFORCED” signs on at least a couple Garden Oaks welcome-to-the-neighborhood markers? More than just your usual neighborhood grumbling and graffiti-ing, it appears.


Punctuation Add-Ons
12/08/14 12:00pm

Sign on Huffmeister Rd. South of Fleur de Lis Blvd., Cypress, Houston

Signs at 1102 Shepherd Dr. at Center St., Washington Corridor, Houston“I found him!” declares reader Kristen W. The portrait she happened upon, captioned “Jesus, I trust in you” over draped ankles, had originally been noted by Swamplot readers 4 years ago in ready position adjacent to a redevelopment site on Shepherd Dr. at Center St., just north of Washington Ave. (See smaller photo above right; similar sightings were also reported at the time in Lindale Park and on Westpark between Fondren and Gessner.) Later, the icon’s purported property-restoring powers were noted in its nomination for the Washington Ave Award in that year’s Swampies.

Kristen W. reports the latest visitation: “He’s just hanging out on the east side of Huffmeister Rd. south of Fleur de Lis Blvd. among the cattle and horses. . . . I was making the long trek up north for a job interview [Friday] morning and had to turn around to snap a few photos because I couldn’t believe it.


A Sign
04/21/14 11:00am

IT’S HIGH SIGN SEASON IN HOUSTON Appliances Wall Mural, HoustonSpring has sprung, notes local film curator Peter Lucas. And that means a fresh crop of hand-painted signs has already sprouted: “Each spring — that all-too-brief time when the sun starts to shine in a few bright spurts but hasn’t yet begun to make being outdoors nearly unbearable and opening our eyes wide nearly impossible — this town begins to reveal an exhibition rivaling those in any of our art galleries and museums. Colors pop against each other. Structures pierce the blue sky. Degraded materials reveal complex textures. Drop-shadows create depth interplay with architectural flourishes and telephone lines. Emerging amidst these illuminated color fields and intersecting shadows are countless hand-painted signs. All around us, unique paintings of tires, kitchen appliances, people, foods, animals, and collages of typography show themselves and remind us that this is quite literally an art town.” [Glasstire] Photo: Peter Lucas

04/05/12 11:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: TO KILL A GIANT COCKROACH “It’s not really dead. While we’re asleep it will emerge from the scrap heap and continue to wander under the cover of night. Somewhere a husband will find it and attempt another violent execution, only to have the wife frantically call him home when it crawls back out the next day.” [mek ju, commenting on Giant Neon Cockroach That Haunted Southwest Freeway, Eradicated at Last]

04/05/12 3:20pm

GIANT NEON COCKROACH THAT HAUNTED SOUTHWEST FREEWAY, ERADICATED AT LAST Bubba, the cockroach enshrined in an enormous neon sign for Holder’s Pest Control, which stood guard for years along Westpark next to the Southwest Freeway, will not return to the Houston skyline, the company reports. The 8-ft.-by-16-ft. sign was taken down in 2004, after Holder’s relocated. But after almost 8 years of residence in a company warehouse, the sign was “cut up and hauled off for recycling” earlier this year, reports Travis Alford. That menacing, old-fashioned cockroach is no longer a part of the brand identity of the company now known as Holder’s Pest Solutions, and it won’t be coming back. Holder’s just-unveiled new logo instead features a gentle curve at its top that references instead a much more modern feature of Houston: the Astrodome. [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Holder’s Pest Control

09/29/11 8:56am

In time for campaign season, Mayor Parker announced yesterday that the city would begin cracking down on bandit signs placed on public property by fining violators under an existing city ordinance that — as far as she knows — has never been enforced. Political candidates will be given 24 hours’ notice for each violation before being charged $200 a pop, she said. Collected funds will be used to defray the cost of removing the signs — which reached $450,000 in 2009.


07/11/11 10:55am

A reader sends in photos of several signs posted near the corner of Spring and Goliad streets, in the shadow of the 45 overpasses not too far north of Downtown. And there they are, like halved pears, stripped skinless, golden in heavy syrup. Our tipster wants to know who the artist is. (And really, don’t you?) Also, if this qualifies as . . . graffoetry? Grafauxetry?

More First Ward sign findings below:


06/15/11 4:26pm

It’s just about summertime, and all you fans of fresh West University produce know what that means: Yes, it’s well past time to set up those security cameras to monitor your vulnerable front-yard fruits. “The camera and fruit-thief deterrent signs have returned,” notes the reader who sent in these photos of this ripe “either peach or nectarine” tree on Tangley, west of Buffalo Speedway. But the security effort actually appears to be a bit more subdued than last year. The bilingual warning signage featured on the tree and a few of its neighbors last season has been replaced with a smaller and simpler handwritten “Camera” warning.

Swamplot’s West U fruit scout says there’s another sign on the other side of the tree “that says something like ‘Don’t even think about it.’” No photo of that? Explains the source: “I was in a hurry and, of course, wanting to stay out of the camera’s wily view.”

Photos: Swamplot inbox

06/06/11 10:18pm

Ever wonder what’s behind all the political endorsements made by so many vacant lots in Houston? Why is it that the weedy site shown above at the corner of Heights Blvd. and Center St., near the future West End Walmart, for example, appears to be supporting Jenifer Rene Pool in her bid for an at-large city council seat? Among the empty lots of Washington Ave, there seems to be a lot of support for another candidate for the same position, Eric Dick. What’s up with that? Political consultant Greg Wythe, who’s long studied the demographics and political opinions of Harris County’s human population, has begun a new website devoted to exploring the campaign preferences of Houston’s vacant properties — as expressed by the various signs and banners they’re regularly festooned with.