Rice Hotel Makeover Plans; Bravo Ranch Supermercado Encore; The Biggest Mural in Houston

southwest freeway

Photo of the Southwest Freeway: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


16 Comment

  • Why remove the gargoyles?
    I used to work very near the old Franklin Bank and one of the first things Olajuwon did (after he bought the building) was to remove all the icons around the very top of the building. When some in our building questioned the reason, we were told that Islam does not tolerate that type of decorations.

  • “The building also includes … “resort-style” restrooms, which means stall partitions go all the way to the floor, offering more privacy. That perk costs about $1 million for the building’s 100 restrooms.”

    So an extra 14 inches of stall partition costs $10,000 per crapper? Apparently they are made from rare Brazilian hardwood, inlaid with ground unicorn horn.

  • Yeah I hope the HOA opts out. Oak Forest doesn’t need to add sidewalks. That’s just ridiculous.

  • @Angostura – they must have the same accountant used by the Astrodome and Metro.

  • Karma:
    For clarification and correction, if you read the article on the old Rice Hotel lofts, the removal of the gargoyles refers to the ones inside the building, next to each unit’s door entry.

    Also, the old bank building you mention was originally the Houston National Bank, at 202 Main.

  • Restroom items are expensive. The DoD pays $640 for a toilet seat, though it’s version is weaponized.

  • @Tawnnya
    Oak Forest HOA thought bubble:
    Sidewalks encourage walking……
    Walking is generally done more by the poor, homeless and minorities……
    Therefore, sidewalks encourage more poor, homeless and minorities!
    Oak forest is nice and so there cannot be any poor, homeless and minorities……
    Oak Forrest must not build sidewalks!

  • @DNAguy : Don’t be stupid. My thought process is simply 1 – I grew up there and it was just FINE without them to walk and bike around. Show some responsibility and pay attention when you are on the street and no one will be hurt. 2 – Since it will be done piecemeal as properties are reno’d it will be a strip of sidewalk here and there running into grass, which will look hideous. 3 – That actually reduces the amount of driveway people have to park on (because you can’t block sidewalks!) so people will end up parking on the street more, which is what creates a dangerous situation. 4 – To put them through will be a ton of plant and tree removal since most homeowners have landscaed their yards without leaving a big blank strip where these would go. Not to mention I’m pretty sure some homes’ water meters will need to be moved.

  • @jacobg,

    Yeah, I read the article and it didn’t say why they are going to remove the gargoyles. So, you see, I asked ‘why’.
    And, I was banking at Franklin Bank back in the 70s when it went under so yes, I know where it is and what it was. And I remember when Olajuwon bought the building, do you?

  • Tawnya:

    It is my understanding that each property owner will have the option of locating the sidewalk within the designated acceptable “zone”, meaning there is no assurance that the various strips will align, even when the whole block has “sidewalks”. Just another example of mindless bureaucracy at work.

  • @Karma, not only do I remember but I personally worked with Olajuwon’s people to store the large round items from near below the roofline of the Houston National Bank. On the interior of the Houston National Bank, we covered many of the carved relief animals on the columns and within the ceiling of the lobby. Images of animals were considered inappropriate.

  • @Al – Even more of a reason for the OFHA to vote to opt out. (And my family will be there, doing that representing their homes) That wouldn’t do anything for the neighborhood’s asthetic appeal at all! I think the existing sidewalks down the main drags (e.g. Ella, Oak Forest, 43rd) are just fine for those wanting to walk to the park, shops, school, etc. There’s no reason to put some wacky looking, chopped up hodge podge mess on each and every residential street.

  • Can any of the really old timer Houstonians comment on why virtually no neighborhoods north of Buffalo Bayou included sidewalks, but almost all neighborhoods south of Buffalo Bayou have them.
    Those with sidewalks: Montrose, West Alabama Place, Afton Oaks, Hyde Park, Cherryhurst, Southampton, West U, Meyerland, Braeswood, Willow Bend, etc.
    Those without: Cottage Grove, the West End, Rice Military, Houston Heights, Shady Acres, Garden Oaks, Oak Forest, Acres Homes, Aldine, North Forest, etc.
    Exceptions being Woodland Heights and Norhill.
    On the surface, it looks like original income levels, but if someone has a different idea, please comment.

  • ShadyHeightster:
    The “very near north side”, where residents were recently asked to vote on minimum lot size had or still has sidewalks. We lived on Keene St. which is one of the boundary lines on that “yellow flyer” and I walked to Robert E. Lee Elementary on South St, at Quitman. There were sidewalks all the way. I haven’t been back to the neighborhood in many years but I can’t imagine that the sidewalks have been removed.

  • RE: FreePressHouston article asking whether METRO’s bus system redesign will solve Houston’s traffic problems

    No. Improving the efficacy of existing transportation assets will not make the traffic go away. Installing light rail or subways or commuter rail won’t make traffic go away. Just as with a freeway expansion, any improvement in traffic congestion will be backfilled within a few years by economic growth and induced demand. This is how big cities work. This is part of what living in a big city means. And that’s also why, beyond a certain population threshold, most big cities begin to grow more slowly.

    The only thing that will cure Houston’s traffic problems are: 1) sweeping technological improvements, such as taxi companies that can lever large capital outlays to deploy driverless cars that respond to ridesharing apps; or 2) a catastrophic economic decline.

  • Shady Heightster: Maybe the timing of the main development of neighborhoods have something to do with whether sidewalks were included. Before the ascendancy of the automobile in the 50’s, it would make sense to have walkable neighborhoods. Houston had a street car system which could get people downtown. Some of it may have to do with income levels–I’m thinking of Shady Acres where you can still occasionally see an original home tucked among the townhomes because most of them were small and pretty modest.