Houston Parking Lot of the Year: The Official 2010 Ballot

The third category in the 2010 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate now has its official slate of candidates! What motor-friendly expanse of this fine city should be named Parking Lot of the Year?

As the nominees are announced, voting can begin. Cast your vote by entering a comment below, by sending Swamplot an email, by Tweeting your choice, or by posting your vote on the wall of Swamplot’s Facebook page. Or by doing all 4! More details about voting rules for this year’s awards are available here.

The nominees for Parking Lot of the Year are . . .


1. Rooftop lot, 2528 Amherst St., Rice Village. “It’s across from La Madeleine. Your car won’t float down Kirby when it floods, there is usually a partially consumed can of beer if you’re thirsty, and, if you need to urinate, you couldn’t ask for better company.

2. City of Houston parking lot under the Southwest Fwy., bounded by San Jacinto, Wheeler, and Caroline, Museum District. “This lot is conveniently located for citizens and citizens-to-be visiting the nearby Mexican Consulate. Nothing better crowns the experience of waiting in line for 3 hours — only to find out your document has the wrong stamp — than parking your priciest possession between two sleeping bums, barely 10 feet underneath 8 lanes of steadily-humming traffic held up by 30-year-old concrete pillars. The city maintains individual coin-fed meters and lighting that would make the Addams family jealous.”

3. Single-sex Catholic high school parking garages, Memorial and Magnolia Grove. “This year 2 new examples of the genre along different segments of Memorial Dr. should help garner votes from both genders: the Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart 3 Series Stacker completed over the summer [pictured above and left] and the St. Thomas High School Tower of F-150 Horsepower now under construction.”

4. Mekong Shopping Center rooftop parking lot, 2808 Milam, Midtown. “During the day, even the police park crazy. At night, the roof transforms into a cultural playground for Khon’s Bar: concerts, theater, film . . .”

5. Parking Lot for Blue Fish House, Yelapa Playa Mexicana, Hobbit Cafe, and Mugsy’s, 2241 Richmond, Montrose. “Compared to the perfectly lined Truman Show-esque parking lots of the strip-center world, this awkward, irregular, serpentine, patchwork quilt of a parking lot is such a refreshing challenge.

“An homage to our rustic, pioneer days when earlier Americans braved hardship in Calistoga Conestoga wagons crossing the great frontier. Not knowing if you would be able to endure the crossing to the other side was frightening and somehow filled with optimism for a new, better life. This parking lot is a reminder of how far we’ve come as a country and yet a prime example of how far we still have left to go. Hark! I see the purple mountains’ majesty, and a shattered U-joint.

“Every time I eat at one of those restaurants, I worry about losing a portion of my vehicle.

6. Future Parking Lot for the Montrose H-E-B, former site of Wilshire Village Apartments, 1701 West Alabama, Lancaster Place, Montrose. “Sure, it’s not even there yet, but this has got to qualify as one of the most studied, most intensely negotiated parking lots in the city.”

7. Interstate 45. “Any questions?”

8. Central Market parking lot, 3815 Westheimer, Highland Village. “When I go there with my girlfriend on the weekend, we just park in the back of the lot and walk to the front door. When the weather is nice, and they are cooking outside, and they have a band playing, it’s a nice little walk. I think the people that complain about the lot being full are those that circle for 10 minutes trying to save themselves from 2 minutes of walking.”

9. Freeform lot on former AstroWorld site, 9001 Kirby. “Where others dreamed of giant office parks, wiggly eco-urban mixed-use megastructures, or a strip-mall heaven, entrepreneur Kent Maree had a singular vision for the former site of AstroWorld, across the 610 pedestrian bridge from Reliant Stadium: a scruffy but scrappy parking lot. And unlike all those other fancy-pants dreamers, Maree has been able to bring his vision to life, leasing land from the 104-acre property’s secretive new out-of-town owner and selling spacious, tailgate-friendly spaces to Texans fans on game days at $20 a pop. The Texans’ new policy restricting fans without a ticket or special pass from tailgating on the Reliant Park grounds hasn’t hurt Maree’s business, either.”

10. Sonoma Memorial Parking Lot, 2400 Bolsover St., Rice Village. “Who says Randall Davis and Lamesa Corp.’s plans for Sonoma were a total flop? Neighbors and shoppers pissed off that the developers chose to take over a city street and tear down a block and a half’s worth of retail buildings along either side of it before discovering they couldn’t get financing to build the giant condos-and-shops development can now be charmed by this lovely consolation prize: an orderly city-operated surface parking lot on a portion of the desolate site.”

So . . . what’ll it be? Which one of these nominees earns your vote for Parking Lot of the Year?

Photos: Aaron Carpenter (Amherst, San Jacinto, Mekong, Central Market, AstroWorld, Sonoma), Duchesne Academy (garage), Swamplot inbox (2241 Richmond), Tim Duke (I-45). Plan: McDugald Steele

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