About SwamplotSwamplot covers real estate, home design and renovation, architecture, and the landscape of Houston, Texas. Swamplot did not flood during Allison — or Ike! Honest!
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A reader sends this stitched-together panorama of the Heights bike trail spanning White Oak Bayou and wonders what’s going on with all the denuding: “This is kitty corner from where the proposed Emes Place condos will go. Mother nature swamped their work in the bayou with the recent rains. They appear to be taking revenge by bulldozing the nearby clump of forest. This is a larger piece of bird/homeless person sanctuary than the tract Emes Place is to be on, so I wonder what the story is. Harris County Flood Control comes by the site all the time, but I can’t find any mention of it on their website, or anywhere.”
Photo: Swamplot inbox
Pelicans are symbols of self-sacrifice, said to pierce their own breast with their own beak to feed their young their blood. But the birds also have real big gullets — fitting, then, as the name of this 4,000-sq.-ft. restaurant under construction at 7819 Broadway in Galveston.
But the restaurant is just one part of the Pelican Rest Marina project developed by Harry Schulz. Across Offatts Bayou from Moody Gardens, the marina’s already operating as a fuel dock and weigh station. And construction is expected to begin soon on seaside condos:
Spooked former residents looking for some sort of larger, more mystical explanation for the disastrous end of the Park Memorial Condos at 5292 Memorial Dr. now have confirmation of a first-class backstory to hang their storytelling hats on. A little late for Halloween, a medical examiner has determined that the human remains discovered this summer during the condos’ demolition — and the preparation of the site for its replacement, the Park Memorial Apartments — belong to bodies interred at a cemetery that once graced the site. That would be the Crooms Cemetery, Preservation Houston’s David Bush tells teevee reporter Deborah Wrigley. The African-American burial ground was named after Felix Crooms (who scored nearby Crooms St. as well), was in operation from approximately 1917 to 1937, and also served as the final resting place for members of St. Luke’s Missionary Baptist Church.
The Canadian developers behind an on-again-off-again 84-unit condo project planned for a 1.4-acre wooded property at the end of E. 5th St. adjacent to the Heights hike-and-bike trail have withdrawn their variance request to build a private street for a new Emes Place subdivision. But neighborhood opponents of the project, called Viewpoint at the Heights, may like Group LSR’s newest plans less than the ones they had been fighting against. The Planning Department’s Suzy Hartgrove tells the Leader’s Charlotte Aguilar that the developers of the Serento and Piedmont at River Oaks now plan to construct a public street over a bridge and build their own cul de sac. The latest plans make no mention of the size of condo the company is proposing. And if the new design meets city standards, the city’s planning commission wouldn’t have an opportunity to require any site changes on the project when it comes up for approval this Thursday.
Photos: Swamplot inbox (site and trail); Charlotte Aguilar/The Leader (variance sign)
A ground-floor restaurant spot in the almost-complete 6-story brick condo building at 1111 Studewood St. will be taken by the third location of the Union Kitchen, the Leader‘s Charlotte Aguilar reports. A sign in a window facing north onto E. 11th 1/2 St. indicates a TABC application for that space is currently under review. A broker from Personette Properties says a model unit for one of the building’s 20 residences should be ready for visits by December 1st — and move-ins by the first of the year. 1111 Studewood Place is also working to sign up a fitness facility and a medical office for the building’s office space, the broker says. The building has its own garage; all the condo units are on the top 3 floors.
Photos: Candace Garcia
Here’s the kind of campaign true fans of demolition can get behind: That’s Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker in the driver’s seat, about to trash a balcony at the Winfield I Condominiums at 10110 Forum West Dr., near the intersection of the Southwest Fwy. and Beltway 8. In taking the ceremonial first whack at a derelict complex, the city’s honorary demolisher-in-chief is campaigning in favor of a city bond issue on the November ballot that would generate $15 million to remove “blighted properties” like the Winfield. Though Proposition E is listed as a measure for housing bonds, the mayor’s office notes, the funds would “all go toward demolishing dangerous and abandoned buildings to make way for future affordable housing.”
Photo: Jessica Michan
If it’s, say, 1980, and you’re trying to get rid of a dead body, burying it at the foundation level of a brand-new condo complex going up over the reported site of an ancient cemetery might sound like a perfect after-offing disposal plan. But in Houston, you never know what’s going to get dug up next. HPD detective Carlos Cardenas tells Chronicle reporter Mike Glenn he doesn’t think the partial skeleton unearthed by construction workers yesterday on the site of the recently demolished Park Memorial Condominiums at 5292 Memorial Dr. (pictured above in a late stage of assisted decomposition) belongs to the native American graveyard reported to have existed there previously.
Forensic testing should give a clearer answer, but the circumstances of the body’s burial appear to tell a story on their own: The human remains were discovered along Chandler St. near Arnold, at the far northeastern corner of the complex, wedged between a retaining wall and a concrete slab that workers were taking out. The body was likely concealed there when the Park Memorial Condos were built, police detectives tell Glenn.
Plans for the 5- and 6-story complex Wallace Garcia Wilson Architects has designed for the new owners of Park Memorial at 5292 Memorial Dr. show that the former grounds of the park-like 108-unit Rice Military condo complex (pictured in better days above) will soon be home to 372 new apartment units. The new project by JLB Partners, currently out to bid, will fit buildings surrounding 2 courtyards, a narrow 7-level garage, and a detention pond onto the 4.85-acre site at the corner of Memorial Dr. and Detering. That’s the plan at the top. And below are a couple of elevations, in different scales, of the west and east sides:
“There are at least 3-4 dozers making fast work of the demo” of the abandoned Park Memorial Condos on Memorial Dr. at Detering, reports Swamplot reader and real-estate agent David Hille, who lives nearby and snapped these photos of the onsite action this morning. The sale of the festering, overgrown property — which required the willing or resigned participation of 108 locked-out condo owners — was completed last month, and demo permits for 4 of the structures were granted yesterday.
After more than 3 years of negotiations and court battles, the fenced-off 4.85-acre property covered with overgrown and vandalized buildings once known as the Park Memorial condos has at last been sold. Owners of the 108 properties at 5292 Memorial Dr. who were able to hold onto their units after the city declared them unsafe and barred anyone from living there in 2008 (or who snatched them up for low, low prices later) should be receiving their checks soon. The buyer is JLB Properties from Dallas, developers of the Ava apartments on Highmeadow near Hillcroft. The company is reportedly planning a new apartment complex on the Park Memorial site, which sits north of Buffalo Bayou at the corner of Memorial Dr. and Detering.
Some burger stand, street signs, a car wash, bungalows: So many little Heights-y things muck up the foreground in development blog Going Up! City’s construction pix of the 6-story concrete-and-brick condo building going up just north of the restaurant-heavy corner of 11th St. and Studewood. 1111 Studewood Place, which at last report included 9,000 sq. ft. of retail space on its ground floor, has a website up which for now carefully avoids use of the word “condo.”
Where’s Randall Davis gonna find buyers for the glitzy condos in this new 24-story Uptown highrise he’s planning — you know, the kinds of carefree, fun-loving sophisticates who’d regularly leave all the lights on in their bedrooms at night just to make sure the whole building glows like this? In other countries, probably. But they’ll be moving to Houston soon!