08/19/16 4:15pm

Raising Cane's, 1902 Westheimer Rd., Vermont Commons,  Houston, TX 77098

Catty-corner to the middle school both formerly and henceforth to be known as Lanier, another spat of place-name confusion is brewing: A reader notes that the Raising Cane’s (whose Vermont Commons branch sits on the corner of Hazard St. and Westheimer Rd. on the lot previously vacated by Martha Turner Properties) has been pledging its affections to Midtown. But is the message one of tribute or defection? “Do they think they’re in Midtown?” wonders the tipster. “Is there something else I’m not getting?”

Photo of Raising Cane’s at 1902 Westheimer Rd.: Swamplot inbox

Midtown Creep
08/19/16 2:45pm

WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL READY FOR FULL OPENING, NOISE CITATION HEARING Rendering of White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N. Main, Houston, 77009This week marks the official opening of White Oak Music Hall’s 2 indoor stages, writes Erin Mulvaney. Construction on the permanent concert spaces has wrapped next to the temporary-but-indefinitely-employed outdoor stage where the venue has been holding concerts since April. Per Jennifer Ostlind of the Houston Planning Department, all required parking for the venue is in place, though Mulvaney notes that “the temporary stage, which the partners plan to use in perpetuity for roughly 30 shows a year, did not require a permit or parking to accommodate the crowds.” Mulvaney also writes that the developers are getting ready for a September hearing on the noise ordinance citation the venue received in May; a study by hired sound scrutinizers on the night of the citation reportedly shows that sound at the venue didn’t pass 75 decibels. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Rendering of White Oak Music Hall complex: Shau

08/19/16 1:15pm

LyondellBasell flare plume on August 18, 12000 Lawndale St., Pasadena, Houston, 77017

Yesterday’s entry in Houston’s recurring game of what’s-that-mysterious-black-cloud was brought to you by LyondellBasell’s Pasadena refinery at 12000 Lawndale St. (the same one that caught fire back in early April). The shot above was taken from an overpass near the junction of Loop 610 with Hwy. 225, though for parts of the afternoon the trail was visible from at least 7 miles away at the Hilton Americas building downtown. A LyondellBasell spokesperson tells Swamplot that flaring was triggered just before noon after a Calpine facility sending steam to the refinery lost power, reportedly due to a lightning strike. The company sent a message to the East Harris County Manufacturer’s Association’s emergency response info hotline stating that observers “may notice a bright orange flame, black smoke or a rumbling noise,” but that it was no big deal, and no one in nextdoor Manchester or Deer Park needed to do anything like leave or tape their windows shut this time.

Photo: Michael Muguerza via t.e.j.a.s.

Pasadena Smoke Signals
08/19/16 12:00pm

3711 San Felipe St., Unit 5I, Inwood Manor, Houston

3711 San Felipe St., Unit 5I, Inwood Manor, Houston

Our sponsor today is Unit 5I in Inwood Manor, at 3711 San Felipe St. Swamplot appreciates the support!

Inwood Manor has been a landmark on San Felipe since 1964, when the building was constructed for the then-president of BYU, Ernest Wilkinson. Following the design of its architects, midcentury modernists Neuhaus & Taylor, Inwood Manor wears its structural frame on the outside: Cast-in-place concrete arches rise up 16 floors along the façade, cantilevering dramatic 12-ft.-square balconies at the corners.

One of those balconies sits just outside the living room and bedroom of this fifth-floor unit. Views to the north point over the tree-lined landscape of River Oaks. To the right (pictured at top) is a view of Downtown, which lies to the east. This 1-bedroom unit was extensively renovated in 2014, giving it raised ceilings, motorized window shades, a new audio-video system, a workstation with a built-in desk and storage, and task- and art-specific lighting. Also: Caesarstone quartz countertops and stainless-steel appliances.

The unit comes with an assigned parking space and a separate storage space. A swimming pool and an exercise room are also on the property, along with a formal garden in back. Inwood Manor also maintains 3 guest apartments, according to the seller.

Whether you’re thinking about living here or just interested in seeing a redone unit in a classic Neuhaus & Taylor building, you’ll want to take a look at the property website for more photos and info. Also: A floor plan of Unit 5I is available here.

Highlight your finest offerings on Swamplot. It’s easy to become a Sponsor of the Day!


Sponsor of the Day
08/19/16 11:30am

4411 Dallas St., Eastwood, Houston, 77023

Now on the market for $2.5 million: the triangular Telephone Rd. block bounded by Dallas and Eastwood streets, complete with the still-well-labeled former complex of the storied Church of the Redeemer. The church’s congregation moved out of the literally crumbling structures in 2011 after receiving some $5-to-7-million estimates on bringing them up to minimum habitability standards. The property was later bought by Dominion Church International, which wrangled a new certificate of occupancy for the site in early 2014.

The current listing shows that the crown of T-mobile relay equipment atop the church’s bell tower appears to still be in place — county records show a rooftop lease agreement for the building was renewed for another 50 years in mid-2014:


Salvation or Salvage?
08/19/16 8:30am


Photo: elnina via Swamplot Flickr Pool

08/18/16 3:15pm

DIVINING HERMANN PARK’S FUTURE TRANSIT NEEDS New Hermann Park TrainAnother 20-year master plan for Hermann Park is currently in the works as the last one gets wrapped up, writes Molly Glenzter this morning. Per designer Chris Matthews, who’s working on the project as part of landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the planning isn’t all “fun things like choosing what tree to plant:” unlike the 1995 master plan redo, the design team this time includes a “consultant for all things mobile, which in the old days used to mean cars. Now it means cars, bikes, transit and pedestrians — how to balance all that stuff.” Matthews notes that the planning is further complicated by the need to predict what mass transit will look like 2 decades from now; Hermann Park Conservancy president Doreen Stoller adds that “with Houston getting ever more dense, each square inch of park space is becoming more precious and will need to be put to its highest and best use.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Hermann Park kiddie train: Lou Minatti

08/18/16 1:00pm

Find Your Watershed map, 2016

This month the Galveston Bay Foundation and Houston Advanced Research Center released their second annual report card on the health of Galveston Bay, boiling down a wide range of measurements into a series of letter grades. The report card, which looks at the bay itself along with the bayous that drain into it, aims to be easy to understand for folks with or without scientific training. Each of the 6 main categories of grade — including subjects like wildlife population trends, pollution sources, and human health hazards — is broken down with explanations of what specific measurements that rating is based on (and more details in the full report, for those who want them).

The agencies have also put together a Find Your Watershed tool, which lets you check in on how your own part of town is affecting the bay’s GPA. (That’s Buffalo Bayou watershed’s report shown above; the bayou did exceptionally well in dissolved oxygen and nitrogen content this term, but failed wetlands.) You can look up any address and see how the surrounding runoff area measures up in some of the report’s subject categories. (Note that the search tool’s map doesn’t use the same color-by-grade scheme that the rest of the report employs — you’ll have to click on each watershed to see the actual marks).

So how did the bay do this year?


Galveston Bay Schooling
08/18/16 12:00pm

3302 Audley St., Audley Place, Upper Kirby, Houston

3302 Audley St., Audley Place, Upper Kirby, Houston

Today’s sponsor is the townhome at 3302 Audley St. Unit 110. Thanks for supporting Swamplot!

Tucked deep into the neighborhood bounded by West Alabama, Buffalo Speedway, Kirby Dr. and Richmond Ave., this 2-bedroom, 2-1/2-bath home is close to much of what Upper Kirby has to offer. Greenway Plaza is a short walk away; the new complex going in around a revamped Levy Park is a 10-minute stroll in the opposite direction. On Saturday mornings if you’re living here you’ll want to step out to enjoy the Eastside Farmers Marketjust down the street.

Audley Place is a small, gated community. The main living space (pictured at top) is on the second floor, and features a Bose surround-sound system and custom shades in the living-dining space and a kitchen with stainless-steel appliances and quartz countertops. Both bedrooms — each with its own bath — are on the third floor.

This home just appeared on the market this week. If you’d like to see a bit more of it, do check out the property website. It’s listed for sale by New Leaf Real Estate, which offers unique savings programs for both sellers and buyers.

Got the right home in the right place — but still looking for the right buyer? Get the right person’s attention by becoming a Swamplot Sponsor of the Day.


Sponsor of the Day
08/18/16 10:30am

Kay's Lounge, 2324 Bissonnet St., Rice Village, Houston, 77005

The city’s permitting records show that the land beneath soon-to-close Kay’s Lounge (and that recently freed-up cute lot next door) have been sliced into a total of 6 new pieces (not counting the shared driveway running down the middle). The application for the property line redraw, noted by a reader, was submitted last October and approved a few weeks later. The same records say the 2-turned-6 lots at 2332 and 2324 Bissonnet St. are intended for single family residences; the properties were bought last May by an entity connected to Frasier Homes. Kay’s last night in action will be Saturday the 3rd, providing final visitors with a Labor Day recovery buffer. 

Photo: Thomas C.

Last Calls on Bissonnet
08/18/16 8:30am


Photo of construction work between W. Dallas St. and Allen Pkwy.: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool