04/25/16 8:30am


Photo: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

04/22/16 4:45pm

Aldi Grocery Store at 6751 Bissonnet St., Robindell, 77074

New parking lot has been spread out around the under-construction Aldi grocery store in Robindell, as seen in this fresh dispatch from behind the Baskin Robbins on the corner of Bissonnet and Beechnut streets. The Germany-rooted grocery store, which is replacing the 1956 strip of shops previously arrayed from 6711 to 6755 Bissonnet St., has settled on 6751 for its new street number, according to county records. Signage is now up on the newly constructed structure itself, though the old marquee along Beechnut St. (far right) still lists the full roster of the departed.

Photo: Angela Spieldenner

Firming Up in Robindell
04/22/16 3:30pm

A water-watching reader sends some south-facing photos from yesterday evening (right) and last October, comparing views over the fenceline of the 400-ft.-wide diversion channel at the northern edge of the Addicks reservoir. The channel picks up most of the flow from Langham and Horsepen creeks where they join up as they flow south into Addicks. The 400-ft.-wide floodway was dug in the 1980s; the flow usually lurks down in the narrow channel seen in the shot on the left.

The scene above is less than a mile east of Bear Creek Village, where water is now moseying into neighborhoods from the western edge of the reservoir (and washing some wildife and livestock around). The Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing water from both Addicks and Barker dams to minimize the pooling (and relieve stress on the dam structures themselves) — but those releases have to be done slowly enough to avoid causing additional flooding downstream along Buffalo Bayou. Meanwhile, water is still flowing into the reservoirs from western watersheds; the measured levels behind the 2 dams topped all previous water level records and normally allowed pooling limits in the reservoir by Tuesday, and has been rising since. Here’s a shot of water gushing out through some of the gates of the Barker dam this afternoon:


Drinking It In, Spitting It Out
04/22/16 12:00pm

Chapman & Kirby Gastrolounge Under Construction, 2118 Lamar St., East Downtown, Houston

Chapman & Kirby Gastrolounge Under Construction, 2118 Lamar St., East Downtown, Houston

Today on Swamplot our Sponsor of the Day is crowdfunding site NextSeed. Thanks for the continued support!

Construction on Chapman & Kirby (a premium gastrolounge launching at 2118 Lamar St. in East Downtown) is underway — as part of the new East Village development lining St. Emmanuel St. between Lamar and Polk. The building will have a rooftop deck installed; the original roof is being completely removed. The second photo above shows some of the downtown skyline view that will be available from the top.

The Chapman & Kirby team raised more than $440K from local residents who invested on NextSeed. In addition to earning interest on their investments, members will also be receiving VIP perks for being among the first involved in the development. Mazen Baltagi, one of the principals of Chapman & Kirby (as well as the owner of multiple Christian’s Tailgate and Saint Dane’s locations), says the group wanted to “get the community involved from the ground up.” The goal was to allow local investors the opportunity to grow with the business and share a vested interest in its success.

The investment opportunities listed on NextSeed are available to all Texas residents. But don’t worry if you missed out on this particular investment: You can sign up on NextSeed to be ready for what’s coming next. 

Disclaimer: NextSeed does not provide any investment advice or recommendation, and does not provide any legal or tax advice with respect to any securities. Any offers and sales of securities appearing on NextSeed are limited to persons that are Texas residents.

Got something going up Swamplot readers should know about? Feature it as a Sponsor of the Day!

Sponsor of the Day
04/22/16 11:00am

900 Commerce St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

A charrette will be held at 9AM tomorrow for anyone interested in entering the design competition for the American Institute of Architects’s new Houston chapter headquarters, to be located at 900 Commerce St. across from Spaghetti Warehouse.  After being outbid on the blue mod Christian Science church on Main St. back in January, AIA and Architecture Center Houston are instead purchasing around 8,000 sq. ft. of space in the 1906 B.A. Reisner building, adjacent to the storied Bayou Lofts occupying much of the block. Part 1 of the competition will solicit ideas only for the 5,400-sq.-ft. storefront, 2,200-sq.-ft. boiler room, and some connections between the spaces; teams making it to round 2 will win a bit of cash and be asked to create detailed designs for the storefront and the building’s facade.

The view of the Reisner building above was snapped from Commerce looking south; below is a black-and-white shot of the building from further east across Travis, taken back in the days of its early-1900s employment by Southern Rice Products Company:


Rice Roaster Reimagining
04/22/16 8:30am


Photo of Midtown: Jackson Myers via Swamplot Flickr Pool

04/21/16 4:45pm

Potential Flood Map, Bear Creek, Houston, 77084

The Army Corps of Engineers will begin releasing water from the Addicks and Barker dams later this evening; nonetheless, water levels in the reservoirs are still expected to rise high enough to cause street flooding in the Bear Creek subdivision north of Clay Rd. The Corps also notes that nearby residential areas should anticipate that wildlife inhabiting approximately 26,000 acres of forested land in the 2 reservoirs may flee the rising water and enter nearby neighborhoods. That wildlife may include the feral pigs previously targeted by Harris County Precinct 3’s trapping-and-foodbanking program; sightings of animals such as deer, coyotes, and bobcats have also been reported in the reservoirs.

Harris County Flood Control District has published a list of streets that could be impassible for days or weeks due to flooding, as well as a few maps (one of which is shown above). Here’s the other map below, highlighting in pink the streets south of Addicks Satsuma Rd. and Langham Creek expected to get water when the level in Addicks reaches 103 feet:


Creeping Into the Neighborhood
04/21/16 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHO FOOTS THE BILL FOR HOUSTON FLOODS Flooding Coastal Homes“Since much of the development inside the Loop is done over existing impermeable surfaces, it would seem to me that the majority of the additional demand on our bayous is coming from the large greenfield production builders further upstream. My intuition is that the amount of building going on out there most likely dwarfs what’s occurring inside the Loop (can anyone find numbers on this?). And what’s really fueling all that development is the billions of federal, state, and local tax dollars going [toward] expanding and enlarging highway construction all over the place. By reducing the time/cost of commute, they serve as enormous incentives enabling building and selling more cheap houses further away from the employment centers closer to the city. In a nutshell, that is the sprawl Houston is famous for and I think the main source of our flooding woes. There’s no easy answer since we all want cheaper houses — but someone pays for that, somewhere.” [Build Up, commenting on Why Houston Keeps Flooding; Meet Photo Blog Purple Time Space SwampIllustration: Lulu

04/21/16 12:45pm

Re:Vive redevelopment at 34th and Ella, Oak Forest, Houston, 77018

1727 W 34th St, GO/OF, Houston, 77018ReVive’s plans to redo the shopping strips at the southwest corner of 34th St. and Ella Blvd. in Oak Forest look like they may keep a few existing businesses in the center, though some shuffling about may be involved. The rendering up top comes from the redeveloper’s leasing flier for the corner, which shows a makeover of several existing buildings along with plans for a few new pad sites. The flier depicts Surfhouse surf and skate shop (currently in a building next door slated for demo) snuggled into the spot recently evacuated by T-Shirt Works. The door next to that is marked with the logo for Pop & Pan (the eventual new name of Houston Panini & Provisions, pictured above in its current location facing 34th).

The siteplan included with the renderings clarifies some of the changes that might be carried out — the 2 existing buildings that form the L-shaped center rendered above are seen below on the left:


Garden Oaks/Oak Forest
04/21/16 10:30am


Replacement work on the Yale St. bridge over White Oak Bayou now won’t start until the 25th, according to an update from TxDOT. The original planned construction start drifted past in the middle of Monday’s deluge; no changes have been mentioned yet for expected 2018 reopening date.

Meanwhile, TxDOT’s Yoakum office says it’s keeping an eye on US 59 in Wharton County to the southwest of town, though that highway is not closed at the moment according to the agency’s interactive mapping system (pictured above). The map shows areas of road closures, flooding, and construction, with written descriptions for each site clarifying which lanes are affected, by what, and how badly. Zooming in further gives a clearer picture of the extent of some of the closures — below is a view of west Houston, showing the stretch of Hwy. 6 near the Addicks reservoir that could be closed for the next 4 to 6 weeks: 


What’s Under Water
04/21/16 8:30am


Photo of Main Street: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool