11/29/16 11:00am

San Jacinto River at I-10 Crossing, Channelview, TX 77530

Weather permitting, an area along the edge of the San Jacinto Waste Pits Superfund site under the I-10 East bridge should be getting around 800 cubic feet of new rocks piled onto it this week and next, according to this month’s EPA update on the project. The agency asked International Paper and McGinnis (which might be on the hook financially for much of the final cleanup) to cover up some recently-discovered areas of the nearby riverbed that were scoured as deep as 8 feet in some places by this spring‘s torrential flooding; the tarp-with-rocks-on-it armored cap itself doesn’t appear to have been damaged, but the EPA says the extra rocks will help ensure its continued protectiveness.


Armor Under I-10
11/29/16 9:15am

Welcome to the 2016 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate, where you get to choose the nominees! Here’s how the system works:

Nominations are opened in each award category as that category is announced. You can enter your nomination for a category as a comment to the post announcing that award category. Or you can submit a nomination in a private email to the Swamplot tip line (be sure to put the name of the category in the subject line).

Nominations for each category will be accepted for one week after the category opens. After that week, the best-presented choices will be opened for voting.

Here’s a list of all the award-category announcements that have been made so far; new ones will show up there as they’re announced this week.

You may submit as many nominations as you like in each category. But your choices will have a better chance of making it to the official ballot if you use the opportunity to make your point in a clever and convincing way. When the actual awards open for voting, each selected nomination will be introduced with some edited bastardization of the arguments readers made in the nomination. So be eloquent and persuasive! If you can send your own photos in support of your nomination, that will help a lot — and help you make your case to voters. Send images to the Swamplot tip line too (but be sure to identify them, and indicate what they’re for).

Comments to nomination posts will be counted as nominations only — not as votes in the final tabulation. Nominations may be seconded, expanded, or improved, and even simple “me too” comments might help an entry find a place on the actual ballot, but they won’t be counted as votes for the winner. The actual voting begins in the second week — stay tuned for more details!

The 2016 Swampies
11/29/16 8:30am


Photo of the George R. Brown Convention Center: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

11/28/16 4:15pm

Beaver's, 6025 Westheimer Rd., Houston, 77057

Beaver's, 6025 Westheimer Rd., Houston, 77057

The faux lighthouse atop Christie’s got some company this week — namely, the giant fake beaver now heralding the arrival of the second Beaver’s location, in the first and last Houston outpost of southern cheesesteak fusion shop Texadelphia. After a few years of looking around for potential second spot spots, the selection of 6025 Westheimer Rd. was announced early this year; the new trio of Beaver’s head chefs told Eric Sandler just this month that they’re planning to put of more seafood on the menu, while upping the chainlet’s barbecue game.

The beaver itself got craned into place on top of a steel frame last Tuesday, with the faux-rock ledge applied afterward (the shot above is from work spotted on Saturday). The chefs told Sandler that the plan is to open as soon as permitting and training wrap up in the next few weeks, and a Now Hiring banner was still on display over weekend:


Beaver’s in Briargrove
11/28/16 1:45pm

Did you miss Swamplot’s year-end awards program? Well, it’s back! The 2016 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate — aka the Swampies — start right now.

For those of you tuning in for the first time, the Swampies honor the designs, developments, neighborhoods, peculiarities, and personalities that make Houston so… Houston-y. But they’ll need your help to do it.

Starting tomorrow, we’ll be introducing this year’s 8 official categories one at a time. For each, we’ll need you to nominate 2016’s most ballot-worthy candidates, which you’ll be able to do in 2 different ways: by leaving a comment on the post announcing each category, or by emailing us (just be sure to put the name of the category in the subject line). We want to hear what you think deserves recognition this year — and why. The better you can explain why, the better the chance your nominees will show up next week on the official ballots.

As always, Houston is your city — and the Swampies are your awards. You make the nominations, you stuff the ballot box with your votes. We hope you’ll join in the fun!

The 2016 Swampies
11/28/16 1:00pm

8102 Colgate St., Glenbrook Valley, Houston

8102 Colgate St., Glenbrook Valley, Houston

Today’s Swamplot sponsor: The 1959 vintage home at 8102 Colgate St. in Glenbrook Valley. Thank you for sponsoring this site!

If you’ve been waiting for just the right Glenbrook Valley Mod to make its presence known, you’ll want to take a good look at the 3-bedroom, 2-and-a-half-bath home at 8102 Colgate, which just went up for sale over the weekend. It sits on a 13,573-sq.-ft. lot on the corner of Colgate and Lakewind St., tucked deep into the neighborhood south of Sims Bayou. Glenbrook Valley, in case you didn’t know, is Houston’s only historic district prized for its Midcentury Modern homes.

A double entry door flanked under an overhang by cross-ribbed glass panels at the center of the front facade of this home leads to a terrazzo-tile entry hall. And your first view inside is unexpected (well, it would have been if we didn’t spill the beans here): A central atrium court, seen through 3 floor-to-ceiling windows. (It’s the outdoor space shown in the photo at top.)

Many rooms in the house provide views into the atrium space — including the vaulted, 28-foot-long den (pictured above), which has an office alcove off it. The attached 2-car garage has storage rooms and additional workshop space. There’s also carport, with room for 2 more cars.

You can get a pretty good sense of the home’s layout if you study the photos on the property website. Or arrange for a tour! The home is offered for sale by Robert Searcy of Robert Searcy Properties.

Got a snazzy listing that deserves to be featured as a Sponsor of the Day? Let us know about it.

Sponsor of the Day
11/28/16 12:15pm

The Garage Car Detail & Hookah Lounge, 1818 W. Dallas St., Fourth Ward, Houston, 77019

The latest new identity for the 1930s-ish auto service station across W. Dallas St. from the Gregory Lincoln Education Center: The Garage Car Detail & Hookah Lounge. The property at W. Dallas and Taft St., which was occupied by dry cleaning chain Pilgrim Cleaner’s prior to the turn of the decade, has hosted a succession of car cleaning services since then, including the latest group to set up in the space. The property sold last summer to an entity called Rockfort Builders, and is now offering on-site hookah for waiting customers in the artistically tire-spangled alleyway shown above.

Here’s a look inside at the hookah collection and some other car-parts-turned-decor:


Where There’s Smoke on Dallas St.
11/28/16 10:45am

Jeff Reichman's Map of 2016 BARC service calls

Where do Houston’s furrier residents tend to congregate? Jeff Reichman’s latest city data tinkering provides some clues — the clickable heatmap above highlights the areas where the city’s BARC program got the most calls this year for services like stray pickups and code enforcements related to domestic animals. BARC is currently in the middle of a 3-month push for a 90-percent no-kill rate of its collected and surrendered menagerie, after a successful 1-month push for that rate last November; the average euthanization rate for the program reportedly flipped from about 80 percent euthanized to about 80 percent released alive between 2005 and 2015.


Hot Dog Neighborhoods
11/28/16 8:30am


Photo of NRG Park: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

11/23/16 9:30am

Astros Deer

The giant bows are sprouting from the Highland Village rooftops; the decorated fiberglass deer are in position on a smattering of Rice Village street corners; the Christmas music has already been floating through the still-in-the-70’s evening air from tinny speakers across the city this last week — but there’s still one more fall break left, before we break into the major winter holidays. Swamplot’s got some tasks to tackle and some thanks to give, so we’ll be off through the end of the week. Here’s wishing you and yours a lovely few days, hopefully together — we’ll see you back Monday morning, ready for that home stretch toward the end of the year.

Photo of seasonal deer statue in Rice Village: Swamplot inbox 

Happy Thanksgiving
11/23/16 8:30am


Photo: Ruben S. via Swamplot Flickr Pool