12/27/13 12:45pm

Repairs on Metro Southeast Line at McKinney, Houston

Why were crews yanking out and replacing a brand-new 240-ft.-long stretch of rail and concrete on the not-even-opened-yet Southeast Line at McKinney St. (above), next to the Columbia Tap trail in East Downtown, earlier this month? Because back on May 30th, a 7.2kV CenterPoint Energy electrical line fell onto the tracks and their overhead line three-quarters of a mile to the south, at Scott St. and Coyle St.

Zzzzzzap!

In addition to the McKinney St. burnout, 20-ft. sections of rail and track slab got zapped near crossings at Nagle St. and Elgin. At the incident site, 80 ft. of concrete and anti-vibration insulation had to be scrapped and replaced.

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Hot Rails
10/28/13 12:30pm

Dallas developer Mill Creek Residential has “called off” plans to build a 5-story apartment block across Dowling St. from Dynamo Stadium in East Downtown. Set just south of the soon-to-open light rail stop at Texas Ave. and Dowling, the 315-unit complex was to have been called EaDo Station. The company recently announced a slightly smaller development near the Med Center: 265 apartments at 1755 Wyndale St. near Holcombe and South Braeswood.

Renderings of EaDo Station: Mill Creek Residential

10/21/13 3:25pm

And 4 more blocks to go: Site work began last week here in East Downtown to chunk up the pavement into such tidy piles and clear the way for that 5-block pedestrian path known as the EaDo Promenade. These photos show what the very north end of the path, at McKinney and Bastrop St. a block south of BBVA Compass Stadium, looks like, as of yesterday:

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10/21/13 10:10am

Here are some pics of the rail-ridin’ townhouses Urban Living is developing in East Downtown. These gated 2-story, 2- and 3-bedroom homes crowd in on the lot bound by Lamar, Roberts, and the Southeast Line, which curves away here from the Columbia Tap bike trail and veers toward Scott St.

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10/15/13 12:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BURSTING YOUR HOUSING BUBBLE BUBBLE “Your fears of a bubble being caused in this manner are unfounded. The sales of older homes (by Houston standards at least — still less than 10 years) have shot up in just the last 9 months. Sure, we always need to guard against bubbles, but I don’t think an EaDo-specific bubble is occurring, and certainly not because there aren’t existing single-family homes. Teardowns of existing, livable (leaving out the shotgun shacks) single-family homes have started (here, for instance). In the place of the teardowns are multiple townhomes. There are some examples of irrational exuberance on the part of the developers, like the $500,000 asking price for the townhomes bounded by Nagle/Capitol/Delano/Rusk, but the recent high appreciation occurring is not out of line and has only been occurring for a few years, whereas places like the Heights and Rice Military have seen prices increases for many years, all without any neighborhood-specific bubble. Midtown, too, has avoided a bubble-then-crash and they have an even smaller stock of single-family homes yards than EaDo.” [eiioi, commenting on Comment of the Day: East Downtown, Brought to You by Montrose] Illustration: Lulu

10/14/13 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: EAST DOWNTOWN, BROUGHT TO YOU BY MONTROSE “I totally agree with what’s going on in EADO. Face it. It’s way too close to everywhere people want to be not to turn around. And I don’t see any bubble bursting as it’s not inflated at all. Things are still super cheap. Our strategy for EADO, 3rd ward, and med center area can be summarized in 3 words: “BUY BUY BUY” (and sell in Montrose, at stupid high prices, to get the cash to do so).” [Cody, commenting on Townhouses Going Up in East Downtown] Illustration: Lulu

10/11/13 11:00am

Here’s more development in East Downtown: These townhouses are under construction on the corner of Live Oak and Lamar, just 2 blocks from the Columbia Tap bike trail that leads to BBVA Compass Stadium. Eventually, according to a site plan on the InTown Homes website, 22 of these 3- and 4-bedroom townhouses will stand on the block bound by Lamar, Live Oak, St. Charles, and McKinney. They’re starting at $364,900.

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10/10/13 11:45am

Here are some drawings of an apartment building that appears to be aimed for an empty lot in East Downtown. As drawn, the concept shows the 216-unit EaDo Place standing on the block bound by Bell, Clay, Chartres, and St. Emanuel — that’s right beside the former Meridian Club, where the food trucks idle and generators hum at the Houston Food Park. And it’s just 2 blocks from Bastrop St., where that pedestrian promenade leading to BBVA Compass Stadium is to be put into place. If built, the apartments would stand at 2616 Clay, just on the other side of the Southwest Fwy. from the George R. Brown Convention Center, and would top off some ground-floor retail, with a 30,938-sq.-ft. grocery store facing Bell and St. Emanuel.

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10/08/13 10:15am

Here are the renderings of the apartments that Mill Creek wants to build right across the street from the gameday roar and glare and incessant rhythmic drumming that goes on at BBVA Compass Stadium. Dubbed EaDo Station, the 5-story, 315-unit complex will sit at the corner of Dowling and Texas. Mill Creek tells the Houston Chronicle that the goal is to have these apartments ready to go to coincide with the running of the light rail, still under construction itself, next August.

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10/07/13 10:00am

Construction should begin by the end of October to transform a chopped-up industrial street in East Downtown into something like the pedestrian promenade rendered here. Anton Sinkewich, the director of the East Downtown Management District, explains that 5 blocks of Bastrop St., between Bell and McKinney, running near the Houston Food Truck Park and leading toward BBVA Compass Stadium on Walker, will be regraded. A pedestrian-only crushed granite path will be installed and dozens of trees planted. This first part of the project is modest, says Sinkewich, though there are plans in place to include more amenities if and when the ’hood continues to grow.

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10/04/13 12:45pm

That huge empty husk of a building at the corner of Leeland and Delano will be renovated into offices for ChaiOne, which designs and develops mobile apps. According to a press release, ChaiOne has bought the presently windowless, 25,245-sq.-ft., 3-story building that, in 1938, served as the first U.S. headquarters of Schlumberger. ChaiOne CEO Gaurav Khandelwal is also one of the owners of the nearby coworking incubator Start. This rendering of the building shows the possibility of ground-floor retail opening up in this mostly residential and industrial part of the East End, with a coffee shop appearing to face Delano St.

Rendering: ChaiOne

09/18/13 11:05am

All day Friday these 3 parking spots in Market Square in front of Frank’s — and where Hines wants to build that 33-story residential tower — will be unavailable. Why? Well, Gensler and the Houston chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (including firms Asakura RobinsonSWA Group, M2L, and Elizabeth Austin Landscapes) are gonna be using ’em to set up a parkette for National Park(ing) Day.

Just as the similarly hopeful Better Block project attempts to reproduce pedestrian-friendly street life for a few hours in a controlled environment, these wee pop-up parks work like dioramas of urban leisure: A rep tells Swamplot that a shade structure, trees, shrubs, and board games (checkers and Jenga, yo!) will be rolled in and set up here at 417 Travis from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for anyone who wants to park it and stay awhile.

Additionally, a group of architecture students from Texas Tech are trying to stimulate the same simulation at the corner of Leeland and St. Emanuel in East Downtown, near the food trucks at the Houston Food Park.

Photo: Barbara Novoa