Introducing the Third Swamplot Awards Category: The ‘Where Are They Now?’ Award

This next category for the 2016 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate is a brand new one. Yesterday we opened up nominations the first 2: Favorite Houston Design Cliché and Best Demolition. Here’s number three: the “Where Are They Now?” Award.

This category is meant to honor transformations. Places with a truly Houston-ish story to tell — whether that story’s a comeback, a midlife crisis, or a fall from grace — are all around us. Maybe there’s a particularly award-worthy contrast between your nominee’s humble or high-falutin’ origins and whatever it became down the line, after the crowds faded away (. . . or the oil market crashed, or the surrounding neighborhood went full Tuscan). Which places have fallen on hard times — or made the best of them? What spots around town are employed now in a way their creators (or previous owners) might never have expected? 

To launch your nominees on their way toward the official ballot, submit your suggestion — along with a clever explanation for why it’s a good fit — in the comments section below. You can also email your nominations to us — just make sure, either way, to do so no later than midnight this Wednesday, December 7. More guidance can be found here.

The 2016 Swampies

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  • The Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern fits this bill. After passing ninety years almost entirely unseen, and after decades of disuse, the cistern has become one of the more interesting publicly accessible spaces in the city.

  • Michael Pollack. Every native Houstonian who’s a Gen Xer mis-spent their youth watching him pitch the glamorous apartment lifestyle at the Colonial House in between episodes of Batman and the Brady Bunch on Channel 39. For your newbies, here’s a link: Swamplot last featured him in 2007, isn’t nearly a decade long enough to go take another look?

  • Voting up the Cisterns. It was so weird and random that they started doing tours

  • Nominating a place: N. Shepherd between I-10 and 610. Everyone knew that the tote the note lots would eventually move out as commercial property taxes shot up with gentrification. But most everyone thought that it would just be a transformation from auto lot to strip malls with the usual collection of nail salon, vaping lounge, cell phone store, mattress store and Quiznos (or is it Jimmy John’s now?). While a few developers obliged, most went in a very different direction. So, by this time next year, N. Shep will have a Burger Joint, Snooze, Wooster’s Annex/Heights Bier Garten, Indian restaurant and a new and thoroughly ugly two story HEB. All that in addition to sushi, two pizza places, a pair of high end restaurants, and the best donuts and ice cream ever (at least according to my kids).

    As for a person: Tilman Fertitta. Two years ago, he went on CNBC and declared the impending real estate apocalypse. A year later he broke ground on a huge development on 610 in the Galleria. CNBC was so impressed by his complete swing and a miss at predicting the real estate market that they gave him his own reality show.

  • Old School: And now Tillman is out hiring football coaches. Very versatile guy.

  • Quanell X, Wayne Dolcefino, and Art Howe. Just wondering for myself, not necessarily nominating.

  • Barbara Jordan Post Office. Hell of a transformation.

  • I want to know what happened to Prince Burger or 59 Diner!