10/12/17 3:00pm

HOUSING AUTHORITY: OUR FLOODED CLAYTON HOMES DEVELOPMENT WAS GOING TO BE DEMOLISHED ANYWAY A new statement from the Houston Housing Authority provides a little more background on its decision to demolish 112 of the 296 units at the authority’s Clayton Homes low-income housing neighborhood just east of Hwy 59 at the northern tip of EaDo. The homes were deemed “uninhabitable” after flooding from Hurricane Harvey triggered mold and other health concerns: “HHA decided demolition was the best course of action for the damaged units since the entire property is located on land acquired by eminent domain and will face eventual demolition for TxDOT’s I-45 freeway extension. When the remainder of Clayton units are demolished in a few years, the remaining residents will either be relocated to another public housing unit or receive HCVs.” Housing Choice (formerly Section 8) Vouchers — along with moving assistance and payments — are also being provided to residents of 82 out of the 100 units at another Housing Authority development, Forest Green Townhomes at 8945 Forest Hollow St. in northeast Houston, which the authority today announced had also been rendered unlivable by the storm. [Houston Housing Authority; previously on Swamplot] Photo of pre-Harvey Forest Green Townhomes: Forest Green

10/05/17 3:00pm

HOUSING AUTHORITY READY TO DEMOLISH MORE THAN A THIRD OF CLAYTON HOMES AFTER HARVEY FLOODING 112 of the 296 apartments at Clayton Homes have been deemed “uninhabitable” by its owner, the Houston Housing Authority, which is now seeking to demolish them. The affordable-housing complex tucked between Hwy. 59 and Buffalo Bayou north of Runnels St. in the northwest corner of the East End was flooded after Hurricane Harvey; subsequent investigations conducted by local researchers led by the New York Times and by the authority found numerous health and safety problems in the residences, including festering mold and high levels of E. coli. Submitting a demolition request for those units allowed the authority to receive and distribute “tenant protection vouchers” that will allow their residents to relocate to any voucher-accepting unit in the city, a spokesperson for the agency says: “Since Hurricane Harvey caused extensive damage to many of HHA’s public housing properties, housing options within HHA’s public housing program are now exhausted, which is why residents are receiving vouchers.” The agency says it is also helping Clayton Homes residents not eligible for the vouchers as well to find new homes — with relocation assistance services and one-time payments — and that it is refunding rents collected for periods when homes in the complex were uninhabitable. Photo: Apartments.com

09/26/17 3:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT’S FLOWING TOWARD HOUSTON’S EAST END “The entire East End except for a handful of homes near the bayou in Idylwood drains well and doesn’t flood. Allison, Ike, Harvey . . . nada. The steady drip drip of people moving over here might become a real flood now though.” [Dana-X, commenting on High and Dry in EaDo; Theatrical Shelter at the GRB; Elevated Before Harvey, Just in Time]

08/09/17 1:00pm

The new bar planned for the 20,878-sq.-ft. warehouse at 3229 Navigation Blvd. in Houston’s East End that earlier this decade was home to Fred’s Trailer Truck Supply will be called Straylight Run and serve — according to its promoters — as Houston’s first-ever “Virtual Reality Bar.” That’s the conclusion of some internet sleuthing by HAIF (and Swamplot) commenter CrockpotandGravel, who after seeing Swamplot’s report on the alcohol license procured for the spot at the corner of Navigation and Engelke tracked down the establishment’s website, a (possibly spurned) logo proposal, and Instagram feed.

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Straylight Run on Navigation
08/08/17 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: NAVIGATION BLVD.’S FOOD- AND DRINK-FILLED FUTURE “Navigation seems to be becoming the East End’s version of the Washington chug-and-chow strip. Good spot for that as it’s close to the bayou and the hike and bike scene being developed and has lots of old industrial on some minor bluffs waiting to become something different.” [Dana-X, commenting on The Warehouse Bar Coming Up Just Past the Curve in Navigation] Illustration: Lulu

07/26/17 2:30pm

The HAR listing for the home at 5116 Avenue H in the Second Ward, for sale for $99,990, identified the property’s subdivision as MEX Y CAN. Which seemed notable enough in the rapidly changing neighborhood for the curious name to appear as discussion fodder yesterday on Reddit. The subdivision name is accurate, appearing on county tax records: The property’s developer was required to give a name to the subdivision when the single 5,000-sq.-ft. lot on which it stood (at the time part of a subdivision named Engel) was divided into thirds last year, in order to allow him to sell off individually the 3 existing homes on the property. “Actually no one had any comments [on the name] at the time of replatting,” the developer notes.

MEX Y CAN, the name he assigned to the subdivision, “is for the name Mexican and (Y in Spanish) Canadian,” he explains to Swamplot. “The love of my life is Mexican and I am Canadian. . . . There is no other meaning or significance behind it.” The motivation for choosing this particular name? “Having myself, the love of my life, and our desire to be memorialized in the area for eternity like our love.”

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Subdivided
07/05/17 3:45pm

The Greater East End Management District is taking its latest graffiti-blasting weapon to the streets. In the video demo above, workers from the GEEMD’s graffiti abatement team are shown taking out the tagging on the limestone front of the Longhorn Building at 3176 Navigation Blvd. last month. The new equipment is a mobile blaster from Houston’s own Dustless Blasting, which uses a high-pressure stream of recycled glass and water to remove paint and other finishes.

The system is used primarily for refinishing cars and boats, but it appears to work rather quickly on graffiti too: Back in March, the manufacturer showed off this promotional vid for its own attack on another east-side site: the former Waddell Housefurnishing Company buildings on Sampson St. between Rusk and McKinney on the eastern border of East Downtown, slated to become the Sampson Lofts:

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Dustless Blasting
02/22/17 5:30pm

BRAD MOORE AND FRIENDS SNATCH EMPTY BODY OF INVASION ICE HOUSE Invasion Ice House, 823 Dumble St., Eastwood, Houston, 77023 Formerly apostrophe-averse Grand Prize co-owner Brad Moore and his business partners have a new bar now up and running in the work-out-the-kinks, wait-for-the-liquor-license phase. The business, operating under the syllable-rich name Lil’ Danny Speedo’s Go Fly a Kite Lounge, has taken over the space in the 1950s building at 823 Dumble St. (shown here as seen early last year in its then-new alien mural skin). Danny Speedo’s is the latest link in a long chain of bars on the property — most recently including Invasion Ice House, which the Ramos family opened last spring before shutting it down at the end of October. Phaedra Cook reports that Lil’ Danny Speedos is limiting the alcohol menu to beer, wine, and frozen shandies until the liquor permit comes through. [Houston Foodfinder; previously on Swamplot] Photo of former Invasion Ice House at 823 Dumble St.: Swamplot inbox

09/27/16 5:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: ANY NEW NAMING EPISODES WELCOME AMID THE ENDLESS EAST HOUSTON RERUNS Houston Neighborhoods on TV“The news calls everything between Downtown and Baytown ‘East Houston’ — so when West U is called ‘Southwest Houston’ for one day, I get a pettiness-fueled satisfaction out of it.” [tempeh, commenting on West U Shelter-In-Place Order Just Lifted Following This Morning’s ‘Southwest Houston’ ShootingIllustration: Lulu

04/20/16 3:45pm

Sims Metal Management Proler Southwest Scrap Recycling Facility, 90 Hirsch Rd, Galena Park, Houston, 77052

Bryan Parras snagged some after-shots of Buffalo Bayou’s up-and-down number near Tony Marron Park just east of Hirsch Rd. this week, as the rain let up on Monday afternoon and again yesterday morning. Across the channel on the north bank is the Sims Metal Management’s Proler Southwest recycling facility, whose scrap piles shown above were still soaking their toes beneath the freshly-elevated water line at the time of the Monday photos.

Below is a view of both the park’s trails and the Sims facility, looking east from the Hirsch bridge across the bayou’s confluence with somewhat-redecorated Japhet Creek from the north:

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Piled High in Fifth Ward
01/05/16 3:15pm

VILLA ARCOS TACOS’ PERSONALITY SPLIT Villa Arcos Tacos, 3900 Navigation Blvd., East End, Houston, 77003A Sunday post to the Facebook page of Villa Arcos Tacos announced that the East End taco joint would be moving, changing its name, and offering barbecue alongside its familiar Tex-Mex specialties. An emphatic press release issued this morning, however, asserts that “None of these claims are true. In fact, they are completely false.” Villa Arcos operator Dena Gutierres (sister of recently deceased former owner Yolanda Black Navarro) told CultureMap’s Eric Sandler that she had been planning to end her 5-year lease on the space at 3900 Navigation Blvd. long before her sister’s November passing, in light of some $250,000 of modifications needed to comply with City inspectors’ requests. But Black Navarro’s son Christian insists that the restaurant will remain at 3900 Navigation Blvd., where it has operated for the past 38 years, and that he and City inspectors are “working together to determine what corrections are required”. Gutierres plans to open Texas Tacos and Barbecue at 1000 Telephone Rd. in the current home of Oak Leaf Smokehouse after her lease ends on January 31st. [CultureMap] Photo of Villa Arcos Tacos at 3900 Navigation Blvd.: Jamanta F. via Yelp  

01/04/16 10:15am

Glenbrook Golf Course, 8205 N Bayou Dr., Meadowbrook, Houston, 77017

As the clock ticked over into 2016, Houston Botanic Garden and the Houston Golf Association each had something else to celebrate: both groups met end-of-year 5-million-dollar fundraising goals required by agreements with the City to carry forward their respective plans for 2 east Houston golf courses. The golfers raised enough money to move forward with preservation and renovation of Gus Wortham Golf Course, at 7000 Capitol street (south of the Houston Ship Channel Turning Basin, where Wayside meets Polk). Houston Botanic Garden had initially pushed to add some color to the oldest greens in Texas and redevelop the Brays-Bayou-side space as a public garden.

That garden is now planned instead for above-pictured Glenbrook Golf Course, a semi-maintained set of greens-turned-greenspace along Sims Bayou north of 45 from Hobby Airport (just outside the southeast corner of the Loop).

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Teeing Off in East Houston
06/15/15 3:00pm

TrueGrid Parking Lot, Ninfa's on Navigation, 2704 Navigation Blvd., East End, Houston

For the second time in 6 months, the original Ninfa’s at 2704 Navigation has a brand new parking lot surface. The owners hope this one will last a whole lot longer than the sog-prone crushed-limestone install that crews replaced prematurely last week (see photo above). “There were potholes everywhere,” declares a press release put out by the manufacturer of its replacement. Here’s a pic of how it looked before (found-in-place jalapeño included for scale and local flavor):

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Replacing a Swamp Lot
06/04/15 5:00pm

Leaking Pipe Under Gulf Fwy. at Brays Bayou, Sylvan Dell, East End, Houston

There’s a busted pipe hanging under the Gulf Fwy. overpass as it crosses Brays Bayou, just east of Telephone Rd. and south of Idylwood in the East End. The pics shown here were taken late yesterday afternoon, though some sort of liquid had been seen dripping from the break at various points over the weekend.

Grassy remnants of last week’s high water on Brays Bayou can still be seen hanging from various points along the pipe’s length:

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Leftovers
05/06/15 2:45pm

3125 Navigation Blvd., East End, Houston

The colorful team behind the beer-and-hot-dog hangout Moon Tower Inn has plans to open a much larger and meatier restaurant a couple blocks northeast of its spot on Canal St. in the East End. A new “Proper Texas BBQ and Watering Hole” will go into a warehouse-turned-auto-repair-shop at 3125 Navigation Blvd., a few blocks down the street from Ninfa’s and El Tiempo, sometime in 2016, according to a post on the Moon Tower Inn’s Facebook page. Its name: B.R. Young’s Lost Indian.

Here’s a view of it:

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B.R. Young’s Lost Indian