03/09/17 3:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: RENOVATABILITY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER 2 Memorial Point Ln., Piney Point, TX 77024“When we were home shopping in the Memorial Villages area, we considered several homes that were marketed as ‘Lot Value Only/No Showings of the House’. What I discovered was: 1) A buyer is a buyer. Any professional listing agent who is doing right by his client will be happy to show a home’s interior to a qualified buyer. (If he/she wants to renovate the house, that’s his/her business). 2) What is considered ‘lot value’ in Memorial Villages can be quite livable, even moderately luxurious, by ‘normal’ standards, including mine.” [Grant, commenting on Piney Point Home Listing Photo of the Day: Let It Slide] Photo of 2 Memorial Point Ln.: HAR

02/10/17 2:45pm

Former City of Houston Code Enforcement Building, 3300 Main St., Midtown, Houston, 77002

Those Swamplot commenters who’ve been taking particular and unabashed pleasure in the long, slow demise of the former city code enforcement office at 3300 Main St. may also enjoy the shot above of the flooded pit spotted recently where the Mod office building once stood. Reader Diaspora (who sent in the photo late last week) suggests the site as potential competition for the folks behind the Houston Needs a Swimming Hole campaign, which Kickstartered a feasibility study a few years ago (and also passed around an illustration of an optimistically blue-watered bayouside beachfront, shown below):

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Lakes of Main St.
02/08/17 5:00pm

3003 Dover St., Berry Court, Houston, 770173003 Dover St., Berry Court, Houston, 77017

Technically, that’s just $499,423, cash sale, only — but you get the idea. The former Monta Beach Boy Scout Lodge at 3003 Dover St. was build in 1937 and converted into a 2-bedroom house in the early 1950s. The 1,400-sq.-ft. home sits a few blocks from the east-facing armpit of I-45 South and the 610 Loop, on a 21,600-sq.-ft. property backed up against a drainage channel leading to Sims Bayou. The home was featured by the Chronicle in 2007, after the current owner (turned current listing agent) redid the wiring and chinking between logs; that article is now featured prominently in the listing, too, with a few other write-ups:

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Pining Near Sims Bayou
02/08/17 11:00am

HOW MANY DOWNTOWNS DOES HOUSTON HAVE? Williams Tower, 2800 Post Oak Blvd., Galleria Area, Houston, 77056The list of Houston neighborhoods with potential to be mistaken for Downtown by outsiders, Blake Mathews of KHOU writes this week, is long, and includes at least “Uptown (Galleria), the Texas Medical Center, Greenspoint, Greenway Plaza, The Woodlands and perhaps even Westchase.” So what makes a Downtown? Mathews runs through some factors for consideration, ranging from the city’s population density center (which falls somewhere west of Downtown) to total office space (Uptown has less than downtown Houston, but more than downtown Denver) to building height (with a specific shoutout to the Williams Tower, pictured here.) [KHOU] Photo of Williams Tower: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

02/07/17 2:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOUSTON NEEDS A NEW T-SHIRT problem-t-shirt“. . . LA and New York marketers just don’t know enough about Houston or don’t bother to learn more. They just hear ‘Houston’ and queue up the rocket launch. This might have been magnified by the rumor that PR firms in Houston were overlooked to market the Super Bowl. But maybe now that the elites have seen Houston thanks to the Super Bowl that will change. It is like when you tell your great-aunt you like Lord of the Rings when you are 12 and so she buys you LOTR T-Shirts for the next 20 years.” [rex, commenting on Taking on the ‘Houston, We Have a Problem’ Problem]

02/01/17 1:45pm

STEERING CLEAR OF THE SUPER BOWL CROWDS, WHETHER THEY SHOW UP OR NOT convention-center-super-bowlSteve Jansen of the Houston Press runs through some numbers this week for the impending Super Bowl LI — many of which depend on the wide range of visitor estimates put forth by booster groups and analysts. The Super Bowl Host Committee claimed to expect over a million visitors back in 2014 (though that number appears to include local folks stopping by all of the week’s lead-up events); more recently, a consulting firm hired by the committee offered an estimate of 138,000 non-local visitors. Jansen writes that “there will certainly be fewer football fans in town since the Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys aren’t playing in the grand finale. But it doesn’t matter a heck of a lot, because the phenomenon of ‘the Super Bowl is awful, I’m getting the hell out of here’ — called the crowding-out effect in economic parlance — is going to happen no matter what . . .” [Houston Press; previously on Swamplot] Photo of George R. Brown Convention Center remodeling and Super Bowl signage: Jesus Jimenez via Swamplot Flickr Pool

01/20/17 12:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW 2-SYLLABLE NEIGHBORHOOD NICKNAMES ARE BORN October 2016 look around Discovery Green and George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas,  Downtown, Houston, 77010“I’m with WR: who are these supposed ‘Houston residents’ who call it ADLA? I’ll bet those ‘residents’ are people who got here 6 months ago (and/or are the writer and his buddy). As far as the headline question: I think it may be too early for us to claim ‘World’s Best Super Bowl Host City‘ — or as a Houston resident, I call it WBSBHC, which rolls off the tongue.” [Wolf Brand Chili, commenting on Houston Rents Slide; Post-Flood Calls for Action] Photo of redone George R. Brown Convention Center on Avenida de las Americas: Bob Russell

01/17/17 10:45am

Hamburger Mary's Houston ad

The latest ad for the in-the-works Houston franchise of restaurant and periodic drag venue Hamburger Mary’s includes a collection of cartoonified downtown landmarks (among them Pennzoil Place and Bank of America Center), with an Astrodome tacked onto one side of the abbreviated skyline for good measure. As to where exactly the restaurant and bar is settling in — what with the old Mary’s spot already taken, and all — permits have been issued for the Converse St. end of the strip center at 2409 Grant St., a block east of Montrose Blvd. That’s where not-safe-for-work clothing and accessories shop Hollywood Super Center previously operated, before moving next door into the former Hollywood Investments & Realty space):
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Marys of Avondale
11/03/16 10:00am

Ivy Lofts renderings with new EDI design

The new, new design views of the Ivy Lofts highrise have been trickling out this week, and the glossy view above is fresh out into the digital ether as of late last night. The project’s marketing folks are prepping for a Saturday afternoon sales relaunch party at the converted grocery warehouse on the site (bounded by Nagle, Leeland, Live Oak, and the would-be path of Pease St., just north of the Texas Art Asylum and 59).

The tiny-condos highrise developers swapped architects a few months ago, midway through a redesign intended to turn the place into a double-lobbied condo-hotel mashup; the latest design, from EDI Architecture, is back to no hotel component and is down to just 1 main tower, with a 5-story parking garage filling in the extra space on top of a layer of ground floor storefronts. As for the building’s tiniest units, the 360-ish-sq.-ft. Tokyo, they’ve put on a little floorspace (and now measure in closer to 400 sq. ft.).

Here’s a closer view of some of those 14,228-sq.-ft. of retail space, from the corner of Live Oak and Leeland:

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EaDo Pre-Do Redo
09/29/16 4:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE ONGOING REWRITE OF HOUSTON’S EAST SIDE STORY Former KBR Campus, 4100 Clinton Dr., Fifth Ward, HoustonEast River? Ugh, another name copied from New York City. We’ve got the East Village being developed (or is it ‘east village’, in all lowercase?), we’ve got Downtown, Midtown, and Uptown (none of which make any directional sense like they do in N.Y.C.), and now we have this. Is the area around it going to start to be called the Upper East Side?” [GL, commenting on Midway’s Latest Plans for the KBR Site; Big Turnout for the Public Housing Vouchers Waiting List; previously on Swamplot] Photo of former KBR site at 4100 Clinton Dr.: LoopNet

08/03/16 12:00pm

5623 Willow Walk Ln, Champion Forest, Houston, 77069

5623 Willow Walk Ln., Huntwick Forest, Houston

5623 Willow Walk Ln., Huntwick Forest, HoustonHas it really been a whole year since the famed house at 5623 Willow Walk Ln. in Huntwick Forest — touted by its sales agent, Paul Gomberg, as “the Filthiest House in Houston”first appeared on the market? No, but the Chronicle‘s Darla Guillen has provided a “one year later” update on the storied property a full 4 months early. And really, with some of the newest pungent and juicy details she reports, why wait?

Gomberg first put the property on the market last December, detailing the home’s assembled collections of condiments, garbage, and animal deposits. “The foul stench of animals & their waste products permeates,” the listing summary noted, and at least one photo description included the always-colorful descriptor “feces galore.” In early January, Swamplot featured one of the tamer images from that listing as its Home Listing Photo of the Day. Later that week, Gomberg came out with this video tour of the property:

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The Smell Remains
02/16/16 1:15pm

Leather-clad real estate agent Paul Gomberg, perhaps best known for the sales video of that Champion Forest house filled with excrement that made the rounds back in early January, is now starring in a less nose-threatening video tour — this one of a squeaky-clean 2011 mansion on Lake Conroe. The punchline this time: a suit-and-tie-clad 11-year-old that Gomberg chaperons around the property, who ultimately leaves the contract-ready agent hanging on the steps of the house pending parental permission to close the deal.

The house at 12386 Tramonto Dr., which first went on the market in October of 2014 for $1.6 million, was dropped to just below $1.5 million on Tax Day in 2015, two weeks before an early May relisting. The asking price dropped again last July to the current $1.35 million.

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Lake Conroe Listing Antics
01/07/16 10:30am

What better character to hawk a house slathered in animal dung than a leather-jacketed agent from Rockstar Real Estate Group? Rhinestone-loving Paul Gomberg, who operates under the umbrella of Keller Williams Conroe/Lake Conroe, posted a video tour yesterday of a house featured on Swamplot on Monday (which, as commenters noted, included captions such as “Feces galore!”).

Gomberg seems eager to share his delight for the house at 5623 Willow Walk Ln., calling it “one of the best listings he’s had in the last 2 weeks” (even while warning his cameraman to hold his nose against what his HAR listing calls the “foul stench” permeating the interior). Gomberg posted the tour to YouTube last night — despite the fact that the property appears to have been under contract since December 20, after only 1 day on the market.

The house, currently listed at $125,000, originally sold for $280,000 in 2012, when it looked like this:

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Video Shitshow
03/04/09 11:49am

FORGET IT, JAKE. IT’S ASIATOWN The Chronicle quietly debuts that new, more inclusive name for the pan-Asian strip along Bellaire Blvd. between 59 and Highway 6 formerly known as Chinatown: Asiatown. A recent email describing marauding, gun-toting, and noodle-slurping gangs in the area is wrong: “Janet Chiu, manager of Tan Tan, one of the purportedly robbed restaurants, said the tales caused business to drop by 20 percent. ‘It’s more Dead Town than Asiatown,’ she complained, voicing a strident denial that her cafe had been robbed.” [Houston Chronicle]

04/15/08 1:09pm

Lantern Village, 5815 Gulfton, HoustonDavid Kaplan of the Chronicle catches up with Houston-apartment legend Michael Pollack and fills in a few details of the Colonial House story:

According to media reports then, Pollack lived in a super-size Colonial House apartment called “the Dream Suite,” which had a colored water fountain inside and a king-size water bed.

The Dream Suite was real, but Pollack says he never lived there. His home was the Four Leaf Towers and later the Houstonian, he said.

His glamorous stud image was just an act, he maintains, designed to rent apartments.

“I was promoting day and night,” Pollack said. “To me, it was a job.” . . .

According to Houston City magazine, he’d show up at nightclubs in a chauffeured custom Cadillac limousine with a moon roof. He traveled with an entourage, including bodyguards in satin jackets adorned with Pollack’s silhouette.

There are more memorable Pollack TV spots to be dug up:

One commercial featured Pollack in a safari outfit and a tiger. He had a fear of cats, even little cats, and being next to the full-grown beast was terrifying, he recalled.

In 1986, Pollack left Houston because, he said, the local economy and apartment market looked increasingly grim.

Colonial House was foreclosed on in 1988. It was acquired by DRG Funding Corp., the lender that financed the complex’s redevelopment. Pollack moved back to California, working there a few years before settling in Mesa[, Arizona].

In Houston, the Colonial House era is no more. A year after the foreclosure, the mammoth complex changed its name to Lantern Village.

After the jump: Laundry tips from a longtime resident of today’s Lantern Village!

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