04/07/16 12:45pm

Cullen's, 11500 Space Center Blvd, Houston, 77059

The couple behind Cullen’s Upscale American Grille and Whisk(e)y Bar announced yesterday that the Vegas-style restaurant near Ellington Field had shut down, following some hard reflection on the “brevity and uncertainty of life” after the unexpected death of GM Ryan Roberts last August. Sandra and Kevin Munz released a statement on the restaurant’s webpage indicating that the 37,000-sq.-ft. space would be converted into a healthcare facility, starting immediately; the couple says they plan to focus their attention on the business ventures which will “most dramatically enhance the quality of [their] lives,” and to spend more time with their kids.

The choose-your-own-china-pattern restaurant opened in 2008 as a green-certified, 700-seat anchor for Kevin Munz’s Clearpoint Crossing development, which includes retail strips next to residential complex just north on Space Center Blvd. south of Genoa Red Bluff Rd. Much of the rest of the retail center has already gotten on board with the medical theme: the development currently houses the UT Physicians Bayshore Family Practice facilities, Bailey Orthodontics, and Clearpoint Dentistry.

Photo of Cullen’s at 11500 Space Center Blvd.: Jason L. 

Changing Direction at Ellington
12/09/15 10:30am

Proposed Spaceport as of November 2015, Ellington Airport, Houston, 77059

Renderings presented for the first time at last month’s Spacecom convention show the latest round of updated designs for the first phase of the planned spaceport campus that will nestle between the existing Ellington Airport runways and Space Center Blvd. in Clear Lake. The images show a campus that is notably more conventional than what might have been suggested by the curvilinear designs released in 2013. The new plans most resemble a suburban office park version of Thomas Jefferson’s plan for the University of Virginia, complete with surface parking lots tucked behind 2-story buildings stepped back from a central roadway axis.


Ellington Swing
12/12/13 1:15pm

Nighttime View of Houston from International Space Station

Tweeting from low Earth orbit on board the International Space Station, NASA astronaut and Clear Lake City resident Rick Mastracchio sends out this spiderweb-like nighttime image he snapped of Houston. What’s that bright spot in the section in the lower right? “Think I left my lights on!” he writes.

Photo: Rick Mastracchio

Photographic Signs of Intelligent Nightlife
06/06/13 4:00pm

There’s a bit of a gold rush within this faux-from-the-get-go 1992 Georgian-style estate in the Clear Lake area’s Bay Oaks golf course community. Its fairway-and-lake locale lends the lot the appearance of even more extensive grounds. When the marble-floored home popped back up on the market a month ago, its new agency set an asking price of $1,545,000. That’s right about where it had landed midway through a previous listing’s slide from $1,799,000 (in May 2012) to $1,499,000 (in March 2013), when the polished up property took a bit of a breather.

05/03/11 4:15pm

Houston ranks 5th — below Long Island, Miami, Virginia Beach, New Orleans, and Tampa — in potential property damage from storm surges, according to an annual report from Corelogic. The company figures the resulting storm surge from a Category 5 Hurricane here would likely produce $20 billion in property loss — well behind Long Island’s $99 billion score. Can’t this city do a little better? We’ve got the high-hurricane-risk and low-lying-properties parts down cold. If we can just boost the property values a bit in those areas, we’ll be rolling with the high-stakes big boys next time.

The top at-risk area Zip Codes, according to the company’s report: 77573, 77554, 77059, 77571, 77062, 77566, 77586, 77539, 77546, and 77521. Locally, League City leads the way!

Image: Corelogic

05/04/10 1:34pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: CLEARING THE AIR AROUND CLEAR LAKE CITY “As a resident of the area, I’m very interested in your comment about ‘knowing what was going on around and within Clear Lake City before Exxon developed it as a community…’ Are you aware of anything specific that might raise concerns, or is this just a baseless consumer scare?” [C.T., commenting on Comment of the Day: Clear Lake City Cleans Up Nicely]

04/28/10 1:54pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: CLEAR LAKE CITY CLEANS UP NICELY “Is there a discount [for homes near chemical plants]? Hell yes! And it’s for lots of reasons: 1) real or perceived pollution, 2) real or perceived high crime, 3) low elevations, 4) higher property insurance rates, 5) fewer nearby white collar jobs, and 6) living there indicates to snobs that you’ve got a low social status. Most of the discount is unwarranted, but it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Look at Clear Lake City; parts of it are only about 1.5 miles from the nearest chemical plants. It was developed upon depleted oil fields and is adjacent to still-active fields. (It was developed by a subsidiary of Exxon!) It’s adjacent to an airport. It has a low elevation. But all that stuff is out of sight, out of mind, and so there’s no stigma.” [TheNiche, commenting on House Shopping in the Chemical Discount Zones: Finding Houston’s Less-Toxic Neighborhoods]

09/11/08 2:20pm

IKE TURNS HERE Apparently, some sort of storm is headed this way. If you live in the 77507, 77058, 77059, 77062, 77520, 77546, 77571, 77586, or 77598 zip codes, here’s a little advice: Surfing Swamplot for real-estate news is probably not the best use of your time right now. How about a little gettin’-out-of-town-ing instead? There’ll be plenty of time to gawk at photos of soggy homes right here — after we’ve been soaked and the power comes back on. On the other hand, all you shelter-in-place people: How’s the installation coming along on those foundation bolts and jacks? Got any tips for turning decorative shutters into something . . . useful? And who’s been buying up all the toilet paper? [Houston Chronicle]

08/18/08 1:26pm

Baling Hay at Bush Intercontinental Airport

The Houston Airport System has found its first customer for some of those bales of hay you’ve seen lining roads leading to IAH. The hay-harvesting project began as a pilot using contractors 2 years ago, but airport employees are now doing the work.

Of the 10,000 acres that comprise IAH, 250 acres are presently being used to harvest hay and 50 of the 2,500 acres at EFD are being used.

Right now most of the hay is a low grade Bermuda grass mainly used to feed livestock such as cattle. . . .

When the hay project is finally in full swing some 2,000 acres of land at IAH and EFD will be used to grow hay, providing a projected revenue source of roughly $4 million dollars a year. Cutting and baling at the airports this year will continue until the fall.

500 round bales at IAH and 400 square ones at Ellington Field are currently available.

Photo: Houston Airport System

03/18/08 12:35pm

Rendering of Cullen’s Upscale American Grille on Space Center Blvd., Houston

A restaurant scheduled to open today just beyond Beltway 8’s southeastern elbow is the first “Certified Green Restaurant” in Houston approved by the Green Restaurant Association. Cullen’s Upscale American Grille completed 17 of the GRA’s environmental guidelines.

The grille’s proprietor is first-time restaurant owner Kevin Munz, who previously built a chain of 13 Houston-area pawn shops. He sold the Mr. Money Pawn shops to Cash America International in 2006. Two years before that, he bought 92.8 acres of undeveloped land at the eastern edge of Ellington Field and began planning Clearpoint Crossing, a series of strips along the west side of newly extended Space Center Blvd., featuring retail/lease space, a professional-office park, and a multifamily residential project.

Cullen’s is intended to be Clearpoint Crossing’s main attraction: a 37,000-sq.-ft. Las Vegas-style eatery with seven private dining rooms — including one built of glass and suspended over the main dining area — a ballroom, space for outdoor dining, and seating for 700 diners. Customers will have their choice of china: Wedgwood, Versace, or “the Titanic.” Munz spoke to the Houston Chronicle‘s David Kaplan about his plans for Cullen’s last year:

“I’ve been all over the U.S. and looked at restaurants. It’s the best of a bunch of different concepts and putting them into one, Munz said. “It’s the same thing I did with pawnshops.”

Munz told the South Belt-Ellington Leader he hopes to attract customers driving from as far northeast as Baytown and as far south as Galveston to his green restaurant, saying he “wouldn’t have done this in town.”

Munz expects the Clearpoint Crossing’s land value to “go up the day I open the restaurant,” he told Kaplan. That would be today!

After the jump, a plan of the whole Clearpoint Crossing development. Plus, a few of the restaurant’s green features!


03/14/08 11:58pm

From the gratuitous celebrity references in the listings to the one-minute-before-the-hour open-house start times: Some agents know all the tricks! This weekend: four open houses in Pine Brook, tucked between Ellington Field and Armand Bayou.

3422 E. Pine Brook Way, Pine Brook, Clear Lake, Houston

Location: 3422 E. Pine Brook Way
Details: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths; 2,615 sq. ft.
Price: $335,000
The Scoop: “IF GEORGE CLOONEY LIVED IN PINE BROOK HE WOULD LIVE HERE” screams the listing for this 12-year-old brick home, which also includes six mentions of Tuscany or Italy. L-shaped pool with covered patio; open Kitchen. On the market since the end of February.
Open House: Sunday, 1:59-4 pm

The Clear Lake celebrity European home tour continues this way . . .