05/22/18 5:00pm

On Houston’s city planning agenda this week: a variance request from Caldwell Communities which seeks permission to forgo building a public north-south street through its planned Willowcreek Ranch neighborhood just north of the Grand Pkwy. in Tomball. Caldwell’s plans currently call for the neighborhood to include just one longitudinal road — a short, private street dubbed Three Bars Trl. It intersects Holderrieth Rd. — an existing public street — at the spot shown in more detail above, the boundary between what’s being developed now and a northern parcel set aside for future building. Because Holderrieth’s 2 nearest junctions with other public streets are currently about a mile-and-a-quarter apart from each other (more than double the city maximum), Caldwell — in building along the road — would be required to create one within its own property.

The reasoning it gives for why it shouldn’t have to: “A public street connection north from Holderrieth is infeasible due to the location of a tributary of Willow Creek,” the development’s namesake. The tributary includes a swath of 100-year-floodplain, shaded lighter blue in the map below:


Off the Grand Pkwy.
05/22/18 11:30am

Salem Lutheran Church has plans to expand its current religious and pre-K–8 school campus, which sits just over 2 miles west of Hwy. 249 in Tomball. The idea: to develop roughly 100 acres adjacent to its existing facilities, adding new school structures and landscaping behind the pond-front church building shown in the photo at top, taken from above Lutheran Church Rd. The parking lot pictured on the left would also be enlarged, and a new complex of athletic fields would abut it to the south.

The master plan also includes not only these additions, but also a 73-lot residential area to the far west:


Live, Learn, and Pray
02/27/15 2:45pm



Cattle grazing, dairy farming, and crops of hay and vegetables have been the order of business at this updated 1860s German farmhouse property, designated a “Century Ranch” by the Texas Dept. of Agriculture for its continuous operation by a single family. (Actual reported time of tenancy by the Hillegeist family: more than 130 years.) The Tomball homestead, outbuildings, and pastures occupy 133 acres west of SH 249 near the Oaks of Rosehill area off FM 2920 (which places it about 20 miles west of the new ExxonMobil campus, in case you’re calculating). The property has been on the market since June 2014, for $6.64 million.


Going Texan
10/12/12 1:56pm

SPROUTS FAR OUT The Sprouts Farmers Market grocery chain’s long-awaited Houston-area landing will begin with 3 outside the Beltway locations next year. Sprouts scout Ed Page of UCR MoodyRambin Page says leases have already been signed for a 25,300-sq.-ft. spot at the southwest corner of Cinco Ranch Blvd. and Peek Rd.; for a 29,000-sq.-ft. store at FM 529 and Hwy. 6 in the Copperfield Village Shopping Center; and for a 28,000-sq.-ft. location off the Tomball Pkwy. at Spring Cypress Rd. in the Spring Cypress Village shopping center. Page tells reporter Shaina Zucker leases are being negotiated for several other sites. The southwest organic-friendly chain swallowed up competitor Sunflower Farmers Markets earlier this year. [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Colorado store: Sprouts

07/27/10 11:42am

WHERE THE ROYCE LAND WENT The Bryan farm-lending coop that ended up with 618 acres near Tomball after the collapse of Royce Builders has finally sold the property — to the Caldwell Companies, a land development and investment firm. Royce had planned 1,261 home lots in Cypress Lake Crossing, which is northeast of the intersection of Telge Rd. and Boudreaux and only a couple miles north of the sprawling Cypress home of former Royce president John Speer. (Speer’s Royce-built compound off Telge Rd., pictured above, now serves as the home address of one of his new ventures, Vestalia Homes.) “Bill Heavin, a land broker at Grubb & Ellis Co., says Royce Homes had completed quite a bit of development work on the tract, such as soil and water testing and the establishment of Harris County Municipal Utility District #416. Royce Homes began seeking an investor or joint venture partner on the large tract in late 2006 or early 2007. . . . the asking price was $30,000 an acre, or $18.5 million.” [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot]

07/02/09 11:49pm

Now who won that box of Crave Cupcakes?

Someone who played this week’s Neighborhood Guessing Game — and made one of these guesses: The Woodlands (there were 5), Kingwood (also 5), Tanglewood (3), “somewhere along Buffalo Bayou” (3), Tomball (3), Champion Forest (2), Conroe (2), Magnolia (2), Cypress (2), near Kingwood Country Club (2), Spring, Sherwood Forest, Hunter’s Creek Village, “the area around Briar Forest and Gessner somewhere along Buffalo Bayou,” near Memorial and Voss, “the Wirt/Westview area,” “north of The Woodlands, maybe on the east side of I-45 near the Crighton Ridge neighborhood off Crighton Road, south of Conroe,” Bayou Woods, Memorial “just off one of those small streets east of Gessner,” “between Kirby where it veers east into Allen Parkway and Shepherd,” near the Raveneaux Country Club, near Lake Houston, near Briar Forest and the Beltway, “inside the Beltway along Memorial Dr. between Voss and Gessner,” Lakeside Forest, Ponderosa Forest, “somewhere off Cypress Creek,” Clear Lake, Brook Forest, Lakewood, Friendswood, Broad Oaks, Briar Manor, Crestwood, Glen Cove, “around a bayou,” “on Saddlebrook, right off Memorial east of Chimney Rock,” “Waller/Tomball somewhere nestled along Spring Creek,” “the Hudson area off Memorial,” Lake Livingston, Panorama Village, Hunterwood, Splendora, “in them thar hills to the north and west of Tomball proper,” “in the Hirsch-Little York-Homestead-Tidwell box near Tidwell Park,” Saddlewood, Sandalwood, “down Baytownish,” “in the back of The Woodlands,” Spring Branch, Hilshire Village, near Memorial and Piney Point, Rivercrest north of Briar Forest, Briargrove Park, near the Lakeside Country Club, off Briar Drive next to Tanglewood.

Whew! That’s a lot of househunting. This week’s winner is the mysterious IHeartSwampLot — for this entry:

This sucker is on a MONSTROUS lot with tons of pine trees. That could be just about anywhere in the northern fringes of the metro area. How we gonna narrow this down? Well, the furniture and kitchen just SCREAM 80s and the windows, they lead me to believe there’s quite a sight to behold out in the backyard, such as a lake but the trees are too close for that. Creek? Big hill? It also would appear that it is either a two story or the back of the house is raised. Maybe it is just a hill. Can’t be the Woodlands…the setting feels to secluded. Magnolia probably was still waaaaay too far out back in the 80s. Conroe area is kinda trashy, and this is a nice house. Could be non-lakefront property near Lake Conroe, but again, the seclusion would indicate otherwise. Tomball doesn’t seem right either, flat as a pancake out there. Time for the maps…where do we have hills and pine trees, and possibly a water feature on the fringes of 1980s Houston civlization? Kingwood comes to mind, but it isn’t terribly hilly. Further up the road we have Splendora but that seems kinda far out. Panning back to the west it would appear that there’s creeks in them thar hills to the north and west of Tomball proper.

Congratulations! A dozen cupcakes from Crave Cupcakes in Uptown Park will soon be on their way to you! (Thanks to Crave Cupcakes for sponsoring the prize this week.)

Also in the neighborhood: runners-up elnina, CK, and Jessica1. Great work!

A special commendation goes to Cynthia, who knew the home, wrote in with the listing, and then posted this deceptive guess:

Oh, I love it! It reminds me of my grandparents’ patio home built in the 80s out near Briar Forest and the Beltway…all that modernism mixed with wood and stone but more traditional, yet stylish, furniture.

BUT this is what they dreamed of owning. It’s definitely bigger than a townhome, with more greenery, and requires much more $$$.

I’m guessing my grandparents’ dream house is more inside the beltway along Memorial Dr between Voss and Gessner.

Did that knock you off track?

And where is this place?