04/26/17 5:15pm

Construction at N. Shepherd at I-10, Cottage Grove, Houston, 77007

For now, this is the new order of things on the block between Shepherd and Durham drives along the northern I-10 feeder road. The former Fresh Car Wash, whose owners appear to be the ones behind that combo car wash and hookah bar at the corner of Dallas and Taft now going by the same name, was knocked down some time after it showed up on the demo roster last month (paired with the nextdoor branch of Big 10 Tires). In their places will go what could well be the third Inner Loop incursion of Raising Cane’s, which has now staked out more than 20 spots around Houston for its steadily creeping chicken fingers.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Nesting on I-10
04/26/17 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW HOUSTON GOT ITS SPRAWL, AND OTHER TALES OF PSEUDOZONING Illustration of Oversized Parking Lot“Blame our city’s efforts at ‘planning’ in lieu of zoning. In the early 70’s, due to insufficient wastewater infrastructure, the city enacted a ban on apartment buildings of more than 4 units inside the Loop (driving much of apartment development to Uptown and Meyerland) and enforced a 5000-sq.-ft. minimum lot size. This gave rise to the Montrose 4-plex (of which there are still some examples remaining), but put a cap on residential density inside the loop. Then in the 1980’s, we got 25-ft building setbacks, followed by mandatory minimum parking requirements. This added a cap on commercial density to go with the cap on residential density. The rest is history: for the next couple of decades, the car became the focal point of the built environment, and we became the low-density city we are today. With repeal of some of the more retrograde density caps we’re starting to get some residential density, but setbacks and parking minimums are still getting in the way of the necessary commercial density needed for real walkability.” [Angostura, commenting on Comment of the Day: No, Sprawl’s Not Just a Number After AllIllustration: Lulu

04/26/17 2:45pm

Help WantedAre Houston’s peculiarities something you’re passionate about? Do you enjoy delving into this city’s neighborhoods, architecture, and strip-mall secrets? Would you like an editorial position that puts you in prime position to sift through, explore, and explain the latest happenings in the local real estate landscape? Would you enjoy interacting with a dedicated and highly engaged fan base of tipsters, readers, and commenters — as well as other site contributors?

Good news for you, then: Swamplot is looking for an editor!

This is the perfect gig for someone who can research, report, and write quickly and well; who’s attentive to detail, careful with facts, and has a good sense of humor; who can work independently but also bring out the best from collaborators in a small editorial team; and who can produce accurate and entertaining posts at a steady clip. We’re seeking someone who understands this site and how it works (or can come up to speed on that quickly) — but who also has the vision, ideas, and energy necessary to help Swamplot evolve into something better.

This is a full-time position; salary will be commensurate with experience. (If you are a real estate professional, though, this is not the job for you.)

Here’s how to apply:

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A Job Posting
04/26/17 2:00pm

Krispy Kreme shell, 4601 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena, TX 77504

Krispy Kreme shell, 4601 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena, TX 77504The pointy partially built retail shell spotted last August— empty, glassless, and seemingly left to fallow in the field at 4061 Spencer Hwy. — has since been covered over with the usual Krispy Kreme trappings, Lauren Meyers notes. Construction accessories were still parked on-site as recently as last week, and the grass growing freely beyond the Comerica Bank hedge was fully scraped away some time early this spring, presumably as part of the parking lot growth process. The site has yet to be added back to the company’s list of planned grand openings, however. And that other partially-baked location, just inside the South Loop west of Main St., was still wrapped in little more than its summer Tyvek as of Easter.

Photos: Lauren Meyers

Spencer Hwy. Dressup
04/26/17 1:00pm

UBER CLAIMS IT’LL BE TESTING A FLYING TAXI NETWORK IN TEXAS BY 2020 Meanwhile, in Dallas: Uber announced yesterday that the company plans to have a set of flying taxis called the Uber Elevate Network in testing stages in both the DFW area and Dubai in about 3 years. If everything goes as planned, the network would deploy VTOLs (that’s vertical take-off and landing vehicles, which mix elements of a small helicopter and a plane) that run entirely on electricity. Uber’s set to work with Dallas-based Hillwood Properties to develop landing sites equipped with recharging stations — though the technology for VTOLs themselves still has to be developed, too. [Texas Tribune; more herepreviously on Swamplot]

04/26/17 12:00pm

Preservation Houston 2017 Good Brick Tour Homes

Preservation Houston is sponsoring Swamplot today — to let you know about its annual Good Brick Tour, which takes place this weekend. Thanks for the support!

On the 2017 Good Brick Tour, you’ll get an inside look at award-winning historic homes and buildings. Preservation Houston welcomes visitors with guided tours of 5 privately owned historic properties from noon to 5 pm on both Saturday, April 29, and Sunday, April 30.

Locations on this year’s tour are:

  • The Dentler Building, 1809 Summer St., High First Ward Historic District: Visionary owners transformed a derelict apartment building (1923) into a modern family home.
  • 2219 Kane St., Old Sixth Ward Historic District: Innovative design elements give new life and new uses to a traditional Victorian house (c. 1905).
  • Isabella Court, 1005 Isabella Ave. at Main St., Midtown: one of the few survivors (1929) of Main St.’s 1920s Mediterranean era. Three apartments and the semi-tropical courtyard will be open for the tour.
  • Fire Station No. 2, 317 Sampson St., East End: An early 20th century fire station (1910) has been adapted as a contemporary home with its historic character intact.
  • 309 Sampson St., East End: A classic Victorian home (c. 1895) was rescued and revived with its historic ornamentation preserved inside and out.

The Good Brick Awards are Preservation Houston’s program for recognizing excellence in historic preservation. All the properties on this tour are Good Brick Award winners.

Your last chance to buy tickets online at the special advance rate of $25 per person is midnight on Thursday, April 27. (After that time, tickets will be available for $30 per person at any tour location during the weekend.) Tickets are valid both days of the tour and provide 1 admission to each location.

Swamplot’s Sponsor of the Day program is a great way to get the word out about important local events and opportunities. Find out more about it here

Sponsor of the Day
04/26/17 11:00am

Rendering of DC Partners Allen Pkwy. Mixed Use Site, Allen Pkwy. at Gillette St., Fourth Ward, Houston, 77019

Rendering of Tianqing Group/DC Partners Allen Pwky. Mixed Use Site, Allen Pkwy. at Gillette St., Fourth Ward, Houston, 77019

New renderings of the hotel-office-condo-retail hodgepodge in the works on the northern segment of the former city park and waste incinerator site at Allen Pkwy. and Gillette St.  were released into the digital wild by DC Partners this week. The buildings appear smoother and sleeker overall than some of the possible early depictions turned up last August (like the Downtown-facing view shown second above for comparison), though some elements of the cluster also appear a bit shorter and stouter. The main tower along Allen Pkwy. has been given a twist in the middle, with a floorcount appearing to number somewhere in the 40-plus range; the lowrise retail complex next door is shown with a bridge over the parkway leading directly into Buffalo Bayou Park.

Perennial rendering sleuth Urbannizer also dug up a different view of the new scene over on HAIF, showing how the whole bundle would fit in amid the Federal Reserve complex, the park, and the section of Fourth Ward surrounding what’s left of the Freedman’s Town Historical District:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Like a Bridge Over Allen Pkwy.
04/26/17 8:30am

uh-downtown-bike-path-extension

Photo of UH-Downtown hike & bike path extension: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
04/25/17 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHERE THAT DAYS INN TOWER FALLS ON THE HOUSTON ABANDONED HOTEL SPECTRUM Former Holiday Inn, Days Inn, and Heaven on Earth Plaza Hotel, 801 St. Joseph Pkwy. at Travis St., Downtown Houston“As much as I would prefer to see a building like this having some kind of economic use or value in its function, as long as it is not inviting of crime or danger, I don’t have issue with a building just sitting there — that is the owner’s prerogative. (Remember the Sheraton-Lincoln hotel? It sat vacant for years, graffiti-less and fully windowed; no one would have given it a second thought driving by.) In the past few months, the graffiti has exploded, and more and more windows are being broken out. I don’t know what happens when you smash a window 300 feet in the air, but I’m pretty sure those pieces come raining down near and around the building and onto the street. The owners need to do their part to keep the building secured to prevent the criminal activity, and prosecute the trespassers and vandals. Otherwise they are no better than the owners of the Southwest Inn.” [tmr, commenting on Downtown’s Preeminent Dilapidated Hotel Tower Now Outfitted To Greet I-45ers with New Nametags, Fewer Window Panes] Photo: Bob Russell

04/25/17 3:15pm

Water Main Strike during Demolition of Town & Country, 10565 Katy Fwy., CityCentre, Houston

Following that recent gentle but firm excavator tipover of the last bits of the Town & Country III mod office midrise near CityCentre, demo work on the broader office complex has moved underground — apparently far enough underground to puncture a water main, a camera wielder on the scene speculates this afternoon. As of 2pm, word from the reader was that water was still flowing, “and has made a nice-sized pool,” filling up the footprint of a mid-demo former underground parking garage structure (and providing lakeside views to parts of Trammell Crow’s CityCentre branch of its Alexan apartment chain.)

fuller sequence of garage take-apart and fill-up over the last few days is laid out below, starting with a rainy Tax Day shot facing the Alexan and the I-10-Beltway-8 tangle:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Lakes of I-10
04/25/17 12:45pm

COULD HARRIS COUNTY SAVE UP SOME FLOODWATER FOR WHEN IT’S REALLY NEEDED? Flooding along S. Braeswood Dr., Meyerland, Houston, 77096Finding a way to stockpile floodwater during years of plenty, commissioner Jack Cagle tells Mihir Zaveri this week, might not only help to make more water available for use during Houston’s drought years. It might also be a way to check the Houston region’s tendency for subsidence (that slow, permanent sinking that can happen when groundwater is pulled out of Houston’s soft clay layers too quickly). Or maybe, Zaveri adds, it could be used to help keep seawater from being sucked into aquifers as fresh water gets sucked out the other side — as long as doing so didn’t accidentally contaminate those same aquifers with junk from the surface. Who knows? Nobody, yet — but the county commissioners have given the $160,000 okay to a study team to shed light on whether it would be possible, feasible, or advisible for Harris County to pump floodwater underground for storage during major storms. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Meyerland flooding on Tax Day 2016: Tamara Fish

04/25/17 12:00pm

Preservation Houston 2017 Good Brick Tour Homes

Our sponsor again today: Preservation Houston, letting you know about its annual Good Brick Tour, which takes place this weekend. Thanks for supporting Swamplot!

On the 2017 Good Brick Tour, you’ll get an inside look at award-winning historic homes and buildings. Preservation Houston welcomes visitors with guided tours of 5 privately owned historic properties from noon to 5 pm on both Saturday, April 29, and Sunday, April 30.

Locations on this year’s tour are:

  • The Dentler Building, 1809 Summer St., High First Ward Historic District: Visionary owners transformed a derelict apartment building (1923) into a modern family home.
  • 2219 Kane St., Old Sixth Ward Historic District: Innovative design elements give new life and new uses to a traditional Victorian house (c. 1905).
  • Isabella Court, 1005 Isabella Ave. at Main St., Midtown: one of the few survivors (1929) of Main St.’s 1920s Mediterranean era. Three apartments and the semi-tropical courtyard will be open for the tour.
  • Fire Station No. 2, 317 Sampson St., East End: An early 20th century fire station (1910) has been adapted as a contemporary home with its historic character intact.
  • 309 Sampson St., East End: A classic Victorian home (c. 1895) was rescued and revived with its historic ornamentation preserved inside and out.

The Good Brick Awards are Preservation Houston’s program for recognizing excellence in historic preservation. All the properties on this tour are Good Brick Award winners.

Your last chance to buy tickets online at the special advance rate of $25 per person is midnight on Thursday, April 27. (After that time, tickets will be available for $30 per person at any tour location during the weekend.) Tickets are valid both days of the tour and provide 1 admission to each location.

How about after you buy tix for the tour, you come back to Swamplot and sign up your business to be a Sponsor of the Day? Click here to learn more about the program.

 

 

Sponsor of the Day