07/14/14 2:00pm

Harrisburg Crossing, 4300-4500 Harrisburg Blvd. at Lockwood, East End, Houston

Former Historic Houston Salvage Warehouse, 4300 Harrisburg Blvd., East End, HoustonUpdate, 3:30 pm: A spokesperson for H-E-B informs Swamplot that the company has no plans for a Joe V’s Smart Shop in this area. Separately, a rep from Lovett Commercial indicates that the plans and declaration posted on its website that a Joe V’s Smart Shop is coming to the center are “outdated,” and that no grocery store is currently planned for that site. We’ve updated the story below accordingly.

This row of metal warehouse buildings at 4300 Harrisburg Blvd. was used for a time recently as a temporary home for the Historic Houston salvage warehouse and more recently as a spraypaint-covered tribute to the deceased graffiti artist known as Nekst (see video below) — will be torn down to make way for a new grocery store from H-E-B, according to site plans posted online by the property’s developer. The 5.34-acre site, which stretches between Oakhurst St. and Eastwood St., sits just east of the Maximus Coffee plant east of Downtown, and just north of Eastwood. This should be the first new grocery store built on a light rail line, but it won’t be a conventional H-E-B. Instead, the plans show it’ll be a Joe V’s Smart Shop, the Texas grocery chain’s low-cost, low-selection, high-volume, low-touch warehouse-style market.

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No Ice
05/08/14 1:15pm

Simms Woods Homesites, 5401 Lawndale St., Simms Woods, Houston

Simms Woods Homesites, 5401 Lawndale St., Simms Woods, HoustonDevelopers are planning to put in a 173-home subdivision on the 11.93-acre former site of the All Woods Schroeder (and later, Woodlands Mill Work) warehouse adjacent to the HB&T rail line near the intersection of Jefferson and Hackney in the Simms Woods subdivision, west of Idylwood. The official address of the not-just-yet-subdivided property is 5401 Lawndale St., but only a small leg of the land fronts Lawndale — between Telephone Rd. and Wayside Dr., across from the KIPP Explore Academy. Demolition permits for portions of the former warehouse buildings were approved back in 2011 and 2013, but a reader reports that the last structure was cleared just recently (see photos).

On May 15th, the city’s planning commission is set to consider the layout for the new subdivision, which includes 11 new streets, 173 new homesites, and 25 “reserves” — to be used for guest parking and bits of open space. Here’s the proposed layout:

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Clearing Simms Woods
04/02/14 4:45pm

Vacant Lot at 3510 Sherman St. at York St., East End, Houston

Spotted on a reader’s drive to Champ Burger: the newly vacant almost-an-acre lot at the corner of York and Sherman streets east of East Downtown, where the New Era Nursing and Rehab facility at 3510 Sherman St. was recently demolished. An entity controlled by Lovett Homes developer Frank Liu purchased the property last October.

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Lovett Gotta
04/01/14 12:30pm

Public Forum on Gus Wortham Golf Course, E.B. Cape Center, 4501 Leeland St., Houston

A reader sends in a report from the “spirited debate” at Monday night’s public forum at the E.B. Cape Center on Leeland St., covering proposed plans to convert the Gus Wortham Golf Course at Wayside Dr. and Lawndale St. in Houston’s East End, just north of Idylwood, into a new botanical garden: “Councilman Robert Gallegos, Mayor Parker, and many other politicians were there, as well as a standing room only crowd of those for the botanical garden (wielding the provided flowers), and for saving the golf course (fanning themselves with provided Gus Wortham fans). The crowd was encouraged to be quiet to keep things running smoothly, but this didn’t always happen, as many folks were pretty passionate about their opinions. Those wanting to save the golf course had at least double the presence of the garden folks, and were admittedly louder as things went on.”

Our correspondent, who claims to support renovating the existing golf course and putting a botanical garden elsewhere, notes that an earlier proposal in which the 150-acre site just west of Brays Bayou would have been shared by a 9-hole golf course and a new garden in the northern half has been scrapped. Houston Botanic Garden president Jeff Ross showed the latest “rough draft” of the proposed garden plan. Here’s a screen-shot photo:

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Tee’d Off
02/10/14 10:15am

Homes Moved to Lubbock Grove, Near Sampson and Preston Streets, East End, Houston

Two of the 6 wood-framed Victorian refugees renewable-energy exec Michael Skelly and his wife Anne Whitlock had moved last month to lots adjacent to the red-brick former fire house at 319 Sampson St. they’re renovating as their home are still not spoken for, according to Lisa Gray’s account: “One of the houses will become Whitlock and Skelly’s guest house. They’ve been trying to entice friends to buy and rehab the others, to join what Anne calls ‘our crazy adventure.’ Generally, the couple’s friends aren’t interested in moving themselves — though some like the idea for one of their kids, or as an investment in an area sure to gentrify. Real-estate broker Tom Bacon, a friend of Skelly’s, referred his son Drew, a 25-year-old artist who recently moved back from Brooklyn. In the little house across from the firehouse, he’ll be only a short walk from his studio on Preston. So far, Whitlock and Skelly have enticed one friend from their own generation: Diana Espitía, who serves on the Houston Parks Board with Michael. Espitía, who now lives in Southgate, plans to connect two of the houses, forming a home large enough for her, her teenage daughter, her brother and her parents, who are in their 60s. Her parents, says Espitía, love the new neighborhood; it reminds them of their old home in Bogotá.

Photo: Janusz Design

Any More Takers?
01/17/14 5:15pm

Lubbock Grove Homes, St. Charles and Garrow Sts., Second Ward, Houston

Lubbock Grove Homes, St. Charles and Garrow Sts., Second Ward, Houston

Got big plans for Saturday night? These 6 Victorian-era Second Ward rowhouses will be parading down 8 blocks of Garrow St. past Settegast Park east of Downtown to new spots further east, in time to escape the construction of some impending townhomes on their longtime lots. The move was originally scheduled for early last week, but was postponed because of a damaged utility pole discovered along the route. (It was also kinda cold.)

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Fire Station Friends
12/20/13 5:30pm

100 Hutcheson St., East End, Houston

Having successfully reached its scaled-back crowdfundraising goals with a $10,000 Indiegogo run back in September, the team behind the Houston Makerspace says it has secured a lease for 21,000 sq. ft. in this warehouse building at 100 Hutcheson St., 4 blocks north of the coming rail line on Harrisburg. Inside, eventually, will be shops for jewelry fabrication, screen printing, rapid prototyping (with a laser cutter and 3D printers), carpentry, metalwork, and sewing and textile work, and plain ol’ work work. There are also plans to put in a commercial kitchen and classrooms, install 3,000 sq. ft. of climate-controlled office, studio, and lounge space. Outside, they hope to set up a garden.

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Shop Talk
12/16/13 2:15pm

New Garden Beds, Lantrip Elementary School, 100 Telephone Rd., Eastwood, Houston

Parents and students connected to Eastwood’s Lantrip Elementary School are showing off a new mulch-covered running track, separate wheelchair-ready path, and set of 12 raised garden beds on a decomposed-granite pad built this fall by volunteers from materials purchased with a $20,000 grant the school won in July. The garden-bed installation, pictured above in front of an older campus greenhouse, will also serve as an outdoor classroom for the school at the northern reaches of Telephone Rd. Also newly installed: a set of 20 new fruit trees with irrigation equipment sent by the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, in addition to the earlier grant from Keep America Beautiful and the Lowe’s Foundation.

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An East End Greenbelt
11/01/13 12:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: SPLENDORS OF THE EAST “. . . So much of our City and our history lies EAST of downtown but all too often, white people (largely) ignore that entire side of town. I’d argue that the ship channel and the refineries that line it are the backbone of the City. That U of H and TSU shouldn’t be ignored. That there’s hidden treasure to be found in the 3rd and 5th Wards. That Riverside Terrace is amazing. That Hobby Airport is way better than IAH unless you are flying overseas on a carrier not named United. That Clear Lake-NASA-Kemah are better than Greater Katy. That the San Jacinto Monument matters. That unless you’ve visited the original Ninfa’s, eaten at Kanomwan, chugged beer at Moon Tower Inn, or stood in line for fried chicken at 3 a.m. at Frenchy’s, then you need to get out of the City Centre bubble. Oh, and the soul of the ‘old’ Montrose and Heights can be found East of US 59.” [doofus, commenting on Comment of the Day: Downtown Is on the Edge] Illustration: Lulu

10/22/13 3:45pm

So the city has agreed to hand over maintenance of all the new bayou trails ’n’ stuff to the Houston Parks Board — it was the one condition that the Kinder Foundation stipulated before it would agree to donate $50 million to the Bayou Greenways project. That donation became a done deal earlier today. This dough, says the Parks Board, is going to allow construction to begin before the end of 2014 on as many as 14 new sections of trail — including even more work along Brays Bayou in Mason Park in the East End, shown in this rendering from SWA Group.

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10/17/13 10:05am

That no-tracks land along Harrisburg Blvd. between 66th and Cowling on the East End Line is supposed to look something like the underpass that these new renderings depict. Right now, though, Harrisburg isn’t passing under anything — but lying in wait instead between the nearly completed eastern and western sections of the line that stop here dead in their tracks. Though Mayor Parker announced more than 2 years ago that the East End Line would get $20.6 million in diverted funds to build the Hughes Underpass below the Union Pacific East Belt freight rail line, construction hasn’t started. Why? Well, it appears that Metro hasn’t selected a company yet.

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10/14/13 11:00am

We hardly knew ye: The Sonic Drive-In at 7001 Harrisburg and 70th has quietly closed and covered its windows with solemn gray-painted plywood. The place had been situated among other chains and franchises and bus terminals near the recently installed big yellow bumper at the end of the forthcoming East End Line, catty-corner from the Magnolia Transit Center and a few blocks north of the Gus Wortham Golf Course (and perhaps the potential future Botanic Garden).

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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

09/30/13 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT’S IN YOUR AIR “There are three big air quality concerns for Houstonians: toxics, smog and particulates. Living in the East End puts you on the front line for toxic emissions. Toxics tend to be heavier than air and do not travel very far from where they are released. Milby Park had almost off the chart levels of Butadiene 1,3 back in mid 2000 due to problems at the Texas Petrochem plant next door. That problem was fixed and levels have come way down. But, if there is a release or a leak that is sending off toxics, the East End gets the best whiff. On days where there is little wind, the East End is also the spot most likely to get smog (NOx+SOx+sun=ozone). If there is good circulation in the atmosphere, Pearland to Sugar Land can see pretty bad smog, especially with the old coal plant in Sugar Land. But so can everywhere from Memorial Park up to the Woodlands. Houston’s smog has improved dramatically thanks to some good work by regulators and industry in identifying and going after the highly reactive stuff that really drives ozone production. But Houston is still in the top ten nationally when it comes to ozone. . . . Particulates are not as big a concern in Houston as we do not have much steel or other industries that are heavy on particulates, but we are still just over the new Federal standard of 12 parts per somethingerother. The particulates on the East End are generally higher than in other parts of town due to all the industry in the area. The air quality on the east side is definitely worse than on the west side. But ozone (smog) can visit just about anyone in the Houston area.” [Old School, commenting on Comment of the Day: The Limits of Eastward Development] Illustration: Lulu