10/13/17 3:30pm

WHAT MAKES WEST HOUSTON THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE OF REAL ESTATE DISCLOSURE None of the more than half a dozen residents interviewed by The Texas Tribune and ProPublica after the floods said they knew they were living inside Addicks or Barker — many of their neighborhoods are several miles away from the dams. Several local officials — including Houston’s ‘flood czar’ and a neighboring county executive — said they had no idea the neighborhoods had been built inside the flood pools. Several real estate agents said they didn’t realize they were selling homes inside the pools.” This from the latest exposé on how 14,000 homes came to be located in designed-to-flood areas inside the Addicks and Barker reservoirs. First, the good news: Of those 14,000 homes, only 5,138 of them flooded this time! Among the many additional OMG-worthy revelations from this latest report from the crack Houston-flooding investigations team of Neena Satija, Kiah Collier, and Al Shaw: Of those homes built inside the reservoirs, at least 4,000 of them were built after Tropical Storm Allison hit in 2001. That’s interesting to note, considering that a Harris County Flood Control District report published in 2003 warned that as many as 2,000 acres of private land inside the reservoirs might easily have flooded in that storm if the rains had fallen in a slightly different location. Also included: this little glance at the area’s real-estate future: “One five-bedroom home in Lakes on Eldridge . . . was listed for $678,000 about two weeks before it flooded during Harvey. The seller’s agent, Moira Holden, tried to put a positive spin on things when she updated the online listing that decreased the asking price by $10,000. ‘Unfortunately this stunning home did flood and is being refurbished to the highest spec!’ it says. ‘Fabulous chance to choose your finishes!‘ When asked if she would disclose to potential buyers that the home was inside Addicks Reservoir, Holden didn’t have a clear answer. ‘I will obviously disclose whatever we are required to disclose,’ she said, pointing out that the home wasn’t in a floodplain. ‘I would hope that the buyer’s Realtor would do their due diligence on that.'” [Texas Tribune; previously on Swamplot] Photo of 13119 Shermons Pond, for sale in Lakes on Eldridge: HAR

09/14/17 11:00am

WEST HOUSTON CAN NOW FLUSH IN GOOD CONSCIENCE When last we (and the aircraft supplying aerial images to NOAA) left the West District wastewater treatment plant along Buffalo Bayou just outside Beltway 8 at the flooded southeast corner of Memorial Glen, it looked like this: shut down and surrounded by muddy floodwaters sorely in need of its services. That was September 3rd. As of this morning, the city’s Office of Emergency Management reports, both this plant and the one on Turkey Creek off Eldridge between Briar Forest Dr. and Memorial have been restored to full operation. This means persons in ZIP Codes 77024, 77041, 77043, 77055, 77077, 77079, 77080 and 77094 who had been following guidelines to limit their water use are once more free to shower, flush, brush, and otherwise send wastewater down their drains without special consideration of the consequences. [Alert Houston; previously on Swamplot] Aerial image of West District plant from September 3: NOAA  

08/30/17 10:30am

STUFF YOU PROBABLY SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE ADDICKS AND BARKER RESERVOIRS Lived in Houston for years but still coming up to speed on how the Addicks and Barker dams are supposed to work — just as the reservoirs reach to their highest-ever levels? This brief explainer from Kiah Collier and Neena Satija of The Texas Tribune Al Shaw and Lisa Song of ProPublica should overfill you with info: “As of now, the Army Corps says there’s enough excess water in the reservoirs that some of it will flow around (not overtop) these auxiliary spillways. . . . The Army Corps can’t say exactly what areas might experience additional flooding, but local officials listed 53 subdivisions in the Addicks watershed and 40 in the Barker watershed (shown in brown in the map above) at high risk of flooding. Jeremy Justice, a hydrologic analyst at the Harris County Flood Control District, said two subdivisions near the Addicks reservoir—Twin Lakes and Lakes On Eldridge—are particularly vulnerable to flooding from the Addicks spillway. Those homes ‘probably should never have been put there,‘ he said.” Thousands of homes around the reservoirs have now flooded — some because they’re close to rising bayous, and some because of bad neighborhood drainage, they write. “But many are flooding because they are in an area that the Army Corps actually considers to be inside the reservoirs. (See map.)” [Texas Tribune; ProPublica version with linkspreviously on Swamplot] Map: ProPublica

06/17/16 11:30am

Starbucks at 13339 West Road, Houston, TX 77041

Northwest Houston Starbucks, 2016A Stand-alone Starbucks is now open at West Rd. and N. Eldridge Pkwy. in the parking lot of the Raceway gas station on the southwest corner. The new building appears to be the first Starbucks to encroach into the area bounded by 290, Beltway 8, Hwy. 6, and I-10 — though it still skirts the perimeter of the area. (Roughly half of that region is occupied by the Addicks Reservoir). The coffee shop joins Hot Donuts in the salon-rich strip center across West Rd.; nearby probable non-competitors include the ITEX Piping International and Berlin Packaging facilities.

Images: Randolph Wile (photo), Starbucks (map of area locations)

Still Not Saturated
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:

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Drinking It In, Spitting It Out
09/23/14 11:45am

eT Craft Burgers & Beer, 19841 Northwest Fwy., Houston

eT Craft Burgers & Beer, 19841 Northwest Fwy., HoustonAlonti Catering has done so well with the build-your-own burger spot it’s been operating in the Downtown tunnels since 2010 that it’s taking the concept straight to a feeder-road strip center — a mere 21 miles away at the intersection of Hwy. 290 and ring road FM 1960. The new eT Craft Burgers & Beer taking the place of Kim Kim Vietnamese and Paragon Pools in the end slot at 19841 Northwest Fwy. is scheduled for an official opening this Thursday, and will feature interiors by Uchi designer Michael Hsu and the entrance to the nearby Starbucks drive-thru around back.

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FM 1960 and Underground
12/04/13 1:00pm

10260-rockcrest-01-2

It’s one and done for this wee 1-story, 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom home with 1-bay garage in the Westway Courtyard Homes development of Spring Branch. (This single-minded 1979-built home did opt for twice the driveway, however.) Still, it’s the smallest home among double-decker neighbors. Arizona-style landscaping also sets the extensively “renewed” address apart from others in the community of 329 efficiently proportioned homes located north of Clay Rd. near Gessner Rd. This pint-sized property appeared on the market in late November and has a $81,105 asking price.

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Single Stylin’
08/27/13 2:00pm

A REAL BIG DATA CENTER COMING TO NORTHWEST HOUSTON Real Estate Bisnow’s Catie Dixon reports that CyrusOne is going to add 2 more buildings early next year to its 45-acre data-dealing-with campus in Westbranch near the Beltway: “The new developments include a 600k SF data center with 100 megawatt capacity and a 200k SF Class-A office” designed by Kirksey and depicted in the rendering shown here. Apparently, adds Dixon, the new data center, which will support primarily the oil and gas industries, will be nothing to sneeze at: “[It] will be one of the largest in the country, and [CyrusOne CEO Kevin Timmons] says it should sate demand in Houston for years to come.” [Real Estate Bisnow] Rendering: Kirksey Architecture

03/25/13 3:09pm

A no-fuss shed dormer and its smaller companion perched on the back roof help make this updated home one of the largest on its block in Hilltop Acres. That’s the name given to a hill-free neighborhood west of the West Belt just south of  W. Little York; though the listing for the home names it Silver Meadows. Available since Friday, the home has an initial asking price of $119,900; its listing cites all sorts of updates, from paint and floors to kitchen fittings — and a little landscaping streetside. Perhaps of equal interest, however, are the not-updated features touted: EZ access to the tollway and an absence of deed restrictions.

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