- 220 Mulberry Ln. [HAR]
HOW BELLAIRE’S NEW H-E-B IS RISING ABOVE ITS OLD PARKING LOT H-E-B’s double-decker replacement in Bellaire is now hovering over the spot where its old store, neighboring strip, and adjacent parking lot once fronted Bissonnet and Cedar streets. The photo above — tweeted out by KHOU’s Bill Bishop views the elevated supermarket’s southwest corner from the intersection of 5th St. and Cedar, showing its second-story grocery level towering above a 3-acre, all-parking first floor. Not visible in the scene: the additional acre of parking that sits on the opposite side of upstairs deck, along Bissonnet in front of the store’s main entrance. Construction on the building is expected to wrap up later this year. In the meantime, the property’s owner Brixmore Holdings recently listed it for sale. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Bill Bishop
One hundred seventy 3-to-6-year-old students restarted their school year at the Post Oak School in Bellaire this week in one very large classroom: the school’s basketball gym. Harvey flooded the lower school campus at Bissonnet St. and Avenue B in Bellaire with 4 inches of water throughout its first floor late last month. The result: 15 classrooms and other learning spaces were temporarily closed as a result of water damage.
Five elementary-school classes were moved to Episcopal High School, which is next door to the 54-year-old Montessori school. But the Post Oak School’s 6 separate primary-level classes are staying on campus at 4600 Bissonnet — only relocated into its largest available unflooded space. Over 3 days prior to the reopening, Post Oak employees, parents, and volunteers from Austin Montessori School set up a giant six-pack of Montessori classrooms using whatever undamaged furniture and materials they could find. And — as the video above shows — they filmed it all.
More views of classes, now in session:
Bits and pieces of the electrical towers formerly stringing CenterPoint’s transmission lines between 59 and Westpark Dr. were spotted laying around just west of West Loop 610 this weekend, though the feet of at least one of the structures wereÂ still standing at the ready. The old towers appear to have been fully relieved of their duties at this point, 3 months or so afterÂ the taller, sleeker towers started going skyward. Here’s one of the last full-length portraitsÂ featuring bothÂ kinds ofÂ towers, taken in the final days before the changeoverÂ began in earnest:
The viewÂ this week aroundÂ Westpark Dr. at the West Loop includes both the old lattice towers currently holding CenterPoint’s electrical transmission linesÂ and the taller, skinnier single pole models that will be taking over the gig. AÂ reader captured some side-by-side portraits of the old towers and their replacements,Â which CenterPoint is deploying toÂ raiseÂ the linesÂ out of the way of TxDOT’s proposed future editsÂ to the 610-59 interchangeÂ tangle.Â The cherry picker aboveÂ is shownÂ tethered to one of the new towersÂ in the easement just west of 610; the top shot shows a poleÂ up on the east side of the freeway between the Loop Central office midrises and theÂ Danny Jackson Family Bark ParkÂ (which closed down last summerÂ soÂ CenterPoint could work on the land the county hadÂ been using as the park’sÂ parking lot).
Here’s a ground-levelÂ shot at theÂ base of an old-and-new tower pair just outside the dog park, with someÂ Houston Garden CenterÂ inventory in the background for scale:
The density of fast-food chicken optionsÂ at S. Rice Ave. just south of 59 is increasing precipitously, a couple of readers note. The most recent addition: theÂ newly-constructed Chik-Fil-A at 5325 S. Rice Ave. (visible above on the right, just south of Pollo Loco and across the street from Raising Cane’s).Â The Chik-Fil-A is not yet officially open for fowl distribution (though it does appear to be giving away prizes on Facebook. The Pollo Loco and Chik-Fil-A represent the fulfillment of the Wal-Mart Supercenter version of the Shoppes at Uptown Crossing site plan, passed around back in 2014;Â the Marriott Town & Place shown on that plan has since come to be as well:
The little and not-so-little red dots on the map above show off sites on the EPA’s list of plants and refineries required to have a Risk Management Plan due to their potential for accidental hazardous chemical releases — with the larger dots showing the places that have already had an accident (or, in some cases, as many as 43). Clicking each dot will tell you what the facility’s name is, as well as how much toxic or flammable material it stores on site (to the nearest thousand pounds or so).
The Union of Concerned Scientists and t.e.j.a.s. put together the interactive map as part of a report released late last week, which compares the EPA’s data on air quality and cancer rates in a few neighborhoods on the west side of town (specifically in Bellaire and in the West Oaks and Eldridge area, just inside Hwy.6 near the Barker reservoir) with the same data in a couple of east side spots (Galena Park and Manchester).
HITTING THE BRAKES ON THE BELLAIRE HIGH SCHOOL CHEVRON CAMPUS SWAP TALK Prior to this afternoon’s closed HISD executives meeting, trustee Mike Lunceford told Charlotte Aguilar thatÂ he’ll no longer be supporting that plan to turn the former Chevron campus at 4800 Fournace Pl. into a new campus for Bellaire High School, citing the potential price and a lack of support from the HISD board for the plan. Bellaire got money to replaceÂ the 1955 schoolÂ at its existing locationÂ alongÂ S. Rice Ave. during the 2012 bond election; Aguilar writes that the redo “has lagged behind schedule and increased in cost because of the complexities of dealing with Bellaireâ€™s tight zoning regulations, and the question of what to do with the schoolâ€™s 3,500-plus students during construction.” [InstantNewsBellaire; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Bellaire High School atÂ 5100 Maple St.: Houston ISD
HISD TOSSING AROUND A BELLAIRE HS REBUILD ON THE CHEVRON CAMPUS UP THE STREET On Monday some HISD folksÂ pitched the idea of buying Chevron’s soon-to-be-empty land on Fournace PlaceÂ to aÂ committee overseeing the lately-stagnant push to rebuild Bellaire High School, Charlotte Aguilar reportsÂ this week. The 28-acre tract, which goes on sale on Saturday, is about 2 miles northÂ of the school’s existingÂ 17-acre campus and also frontsÂ S. Rice Ave.Â HISD trustee Mike Lunceford tells Aguilar that Bellaire, “while one of the largest high schools in HISD,Â is on the smallest property.â€Â Principal Michael McDonough emailed stakeholders to say that if HISD decides to back the plan and is able to buy the land,Â fundingÂ would probably be put to a bond election; meanwhile, the existing school would still need some work while aÂ new one was built.Â The Chevron landÂ currentlyÂ has aÂ 10-story officeÂ midrise on it; the shot above looks out the window of that building toward theÂ West Loop and theÂ freeway-side Shell station next door (alsoÂ up for sale). [Instant News Bellaire; previously on Swamplot] Photo fromÂ 4800 Fournace Pl.: Alvin A.