11/18/16 4:15pm

Air New Zealand Houston Piece

The glossed-up scene above, which shows a pushing-its-limits White Oak Bayou flirting with the lower edge of the Height Hike and Bike Trail bridge, made an appearance in this month’s edition of Kia Ora, Air New Zealand’s in-flight magazine. A sky-high peruser on Reddit noticed the article, which is currently employing the flood photo to promote Houston and several other Texas cities as tourist destinations. The original source looks to be a Getty Images contributor who captioned the shot (along with another expansively aquatic view from 2015) as stock images of Downtown Houston in the rain. For comparison with the normal scenic view of Downtown’s northernmost freeway tangle, below is a recent shot of that trail construction near the Leonel Castillo Community Center, which caught the same angle and foliage (minus the high water, but plus some heavy equipment):

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Water Under the Bridge
11/08/16 1:30pm

Hardy Yards, Near Northside, Houston, 77026

Not many signs of the buildings yet — but Chris Andrews notes the new benches, sidewalks, and railyard-themed signage recently installed in the formerly-a-railyard Hardy Yards site, along some initial roadways laid out for that planned mixed-use redevelopment complex. The signage above, complete with what appear to be segments of decorative rail track, is at the corner of now-extended Chapman and Leona streets.  Here’s a look at a new industrial-chic bike rack installed nearby, with a bonus glimpse of a few of the warehouses along parallel-ish Burnett St. visible to the north:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Tracking Near Northside
10/28/16 10:15am

WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL TRUCE: REBUILD TEMPORARY STAGE TEMPORARILY, GO PERMANENT IN FEBRUARY Rendering of White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N. Main, Houston, 77009The city and the developers of White Oak Music Hall have hammered out an agreement over the outdoor stage situation, reports Erin Mulvaney: the temporary stage can come back up for the shows that have already been booked, and stay up through February. Then the freshly-permitted permanent stage will start going up — and a bunch of other conditions will have to be met, as detailed in a letter from the city to W2 partner Will Garwood on Wednesday. On the list: the construction of “38 bathrooms and 9 lavatories” (also permanent), and the use of a sound monitor at all outdoor events, which (other than next Wednesday’s planned outdoor Pet Shop Boys concert) will have to be on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Rendering of original outdoor stage plans: White Oak Music Hall

10/27/16 11:00am

210 Glen Park St., Near Northside, Houston, 77009

A few twists and turns up Little White Oak Bayou from N. Main St. and the White Oak Music Hall complex, work is underway on a bayou-side brewery on another piece of land owned by W2 development (and going by the name Black Page Brewing Co.) The city issued a few more permits for the brewpub this week (fast on the heels of the permit issued Tuesday for the music venue’s permanent outdoor stage — a few days after construction allegedly got rolling, though not quite in time for tonight’s planned outdoor The Head and The Heart concert). Owner Anthony Heins tells Swamplot the pub is just leasing the land from W2, which country records show bought the property in April of last year. And builder KUEHN Inc. has been snapping photos of progress at the former warehouse, which sits near the stretch of waterway where an area resident took those videos of chainsaw aftermath back in May; that area is down beyond the orange fencing below on the left:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Near Northside Neighbors
10/21/16 1:30pm

Trail construction along White Oak Bayou near Leonel Castillo Community Center, 2101 South St, Near Northside, Houston, 77009

A reader caught some shots last week of the current trailblazing going on between the Leonel Castillo Community Center and the White Oak Bayou greenway trail in Near Northside. The new connector should hit the path roughly between the south end of the building and the nearby Thomas Street Health Center HIV-slash-AIDS service building, just north of where the Heights hike-and-bike trail crosses over the bayou and under the Hogan St. bridge to merge with the White Oak trail on the way into Downtown:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Closing Distance to Downtown
10/20/16 9:45am

CITY RED TAGS WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL FOR ILLEGAL OUTDOOR STAGE CONSTRUCTION Rendering of White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N. Main, Houston, 77009A city inspector issued a red tag to White Oak Music Hall on Tuesday to stop what appears to have been unpermitted construction work on a permanent outdoor stage, Zach Despart reports this morning. The venue’s permit for the long-term temporary stage it had been using for outdoor shows expired on October 5th, a few weeks after mayor Turner publicly nixed the organizers’ just-take-it-down-real-quick renewal plans; this week a real estate agent who lives in the area handed out photos to city council ostensibly showing that crews were already at work to put up a new structure, despite the plans for the stage still not having passed the city’s permitting review process. Despart also notes that a show previously billed on the outdoor stage for this Saturday is now marked on its ticket purchase page as planned for one of the venue’s indoor performance spaces. [Houston Press; previously on Swamplot] Original renderings of White Oak Music Hall with planned outdoor stage:  Schaum /Shieh

09/09/16 11:15am

Hardy Yards sign, Burnett at Main St., Near Northside, Houston, 77026

Hardy Yards sign, Burnett at Main St., Near Northside, Houston, 77026The letters strung out under the Red Line overpass at Burnett St. and N. Main to label the area as Hardy Yards are now back in place once again, Chris Andrews notes. After a few ups and downs earlier this year the letters were removed altogether for a bit; they’re now back in place, standing on what appear to be some slightly buffed-up legs. The ones shown above are on the north side of Burnett; here’s the southern companion piece, with the stairs leading to the Burnett Transit Center visible on the left:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Knocked Down, But Up Again
09/07/16 1:30pm

CITY NIXES WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL’S DEJA-VU STAGE PERMIT PLAN White Oak Music Hall April Construction and Temporary Stage Setup, 2915 N. Main St., Northside, Houston, 77009The city isn’t planning to renew a permit for White Oak Music Hall’s temporary-but-kinda-not-temporary outdoor stage once it expires next month, Erin Mulvaney reports this week. Tickets have already been sold for concerts scheduled later in October and November, but the public works department now says that the temporary stage’s operating permit will expire on October 5th when the structure has been up for 180 days — and no, says Mayor Turner, the venue can’t just take the stage down and put it back up again to get a new one, as the developers told Mulvaney they were planning to do. Mulvaney writes that the White Oak folks applied for permits for a planned permanent outdoor stage several times in the winter and spring, but took a break from resubmitting after the plans failed code review a few times; another set of application materials was submitted last Wednesday. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of White Oak Music Hall’s temporary stage during setup in April: Swamplot inbox

08/19/16 2:45pm

WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL READY FOR FULL OPENING, NOISE CITATION HEARING Rendering of White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N. Main, Houston, 77009This week marks the official opening of White Oak Music Hall’s 2 indoor stages, writes Erin Mulvaney. Construction on the permanent concert spaces has wrapped next to the temporary-but-indefinitely-employed outdoor stage where the venue has been holding concerts since April. Per Jennifer Ostlind of the Houston Planning Department, all required parking for the venue is in place, though Mulvaney notes that “the temporary stage, which the partners plan to use in perpetuity for roughly 30 shows a year, did not require a permit or parking to accommodate the crowds.” Mulvaney also writes that the developers are getting ready for a September hearing on the noise ordinance citation the venue received in May; a study by hired sound scrutinizers on the night of the citation reportedly shows that sound at the venue didn’t pass 75 decibels. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Rendering of White Oak Music Hall complex: Shau

07/25/16 4:00pm

1901 N. Main St., Near Northside, Houston, 77009

Chris Andrews has caught a few snapshots of what appears to be a soil sampling crew at work at 1901 N. Main St., formerly the site of Uncle Johnny’s Good Cars. Most of the 37,679-sq.-ft. property, occupying the block on the east side of N. Main between Hogan and Gargan streets (including the 1950s auto shop and the next door 1930s Beer’s Building), was transferred to a legal entity called Cerveza Four in May of 2015. Shortly thereafter, Keller Williams Realty posted the cheerily-soundtracked video listing below showing the ins and outs of the property, nestled between the Casa De Amigos city health clinic to the south and the former home of Alamo Thrifty Bail Bonds (now bike shop HAM Cycles 2) across Gargan:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Movement on N. Main
05/24/16 4:15pm

UH Downtown STEM Building Purchase

Outlined in red is the next addition to University of Houston Downtown’s campus, per last Thursday’s meeting by the UH system’s board of regents. The image above comes from a marketing flier included in the board’s agenda notes (as presented by board member and real estate reality TV star Tilman Fertitta). The 17-acre parcel on the north side of I-10 runs along the Daly St. student parking lot by the Burnett Transit Center light-rail station, and includes several areas west of N. Main St. already in use by UHD as faculty and student parking.

The land, bounded on the southwest by White Oak Bayou,  will likely house a new science and engineering building — though it may have to cozy up with some additions to the downtown freeway system still in the planning phase. UHD VP David Bradley tells Nancy Sarnoff that the parts of the tract that may end up inside the expanded right-of-way will hang around as green space until TxDOT’s map lines are firmed up.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Rail Yard Revival
05/11/16 5:15pm



Glen Park resident and
periodic White Oak Music Hall critic Beth Lousteau sends along this Tuesday retelling of a Mother’s Day encounter with a work crew apparently having a go at some vegetation along Little White Oak Bayou near 210 Glen Park St. The property, including the warehouse across an unpaved road, was bought last spring by White Oak W2 Investments, an entity controlled by the White Oak Music Hall developers. Lousteau says that workers on the site told her they’d been tasked with clearing a nicer view to the water, but that the boundary between the purchased property and the county-owned floodway land wasn’t marked.

Here’s a brief glimpse of the scene reportedly taken that Sunday, when Lousteau encountered the work crew mid-whir:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Glen Park
05/09/16 12:30pm

RAVEN TOWER’S TOWER TEMPORARILY CLOSED, BUT THE SHOWS WILL GO ON Raven Tower Bar, 301 North St., Northside, Houston, 77009The blue bar-on-a-stick at the northwest corner of the White Oak Music Hall complex temporarily shut down last week so W2 Development Partners can add more railings and make the space more physically accessible. The elevated 1970s former bachelor pad reopened as a bar and rooftop patio in January, 3 months before the first show on the semi-temporary main stage next door; a set of concrete stairs wrap around the elevator shaft leading up to the main space.  The non-tower sections of the Raven Tower venue, including the downstairs bar and the outdoor patio and performance space, are scheduled to stay open and host concerts as planned. Across the parking lot, White Oak Music Hall has another lawn concert scheduled for tomorrow night. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Raven Tower: Swamplot inbox

04/25/16 12:30pm

Fulton at Cavalcade streets, Northside, Houston ,77009

Stare directly into the snapshot above from the corner of Fulton and Cavalcade streets, which now bears a sun-saluting mural echoing a loteria card. The painting is part of the mini mural series that began appearing on utility boxes across the southwest side of town last summer, at which time only 31 of the boxes were slated for colorful fates. The current count is closer to 60 murals (per the photo-laden interactive map available here); additional artists were recruited last fall.

While the majority of the completed projects are still concentrated between 59 and 288 inside Beltway 8, more than a dozen are now scattered north and east throughout the rest of the Inner Loop — with a few further north around Greenspoint, 1 beyond the Beltway to the west in Westchase, and another as far southwest as Missouri City. Here’s another recent addition to the collection in Aldine, next to the Shipley’s Donuts at the southwest corner of Airline and W. Dyna drives:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Blazing in Near Northside
04/13/16 3:00pm

THE SHAKEUP AROUND WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL’S OUTDOOR STAGE Rendering of White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N. Main, Houston, 77009The permanent outdoor concert stage suggested by renderings of N. Main St.’s newest music venue, Erin Mulvaney writes this week, wasn’t included in the building permits approved for the venue; for now, it appears that the blue-roofed temporary stage used for the music hall’s first concert this past weekend will be covering the outdoor gig indefinitely. Meanwhile, Houston police documented at least 17 noise complaint calls from the immediate area on Saturday night, and 1 during the leadup week; multiple residents near the spot tell Mulvaney that their homes were vibrating to the music of French electronica group M83. Area resident Kerry Whitehead remarks to Swamplot on her observations from her home nearby: “I recently read a quote in a 1983 Texas Monthly article about our stretch of Main Street . . .  seeing I-45 in proximity to Hollywood Cemetery (an ‘old, lush place’ then, as it is now), the author remarked that he imagined ‘the bones of the nineteenth-century dead rattling in resonance with the vibrations from the freeway.’ Well, if those bones resting in peace hadn’t been rattled yet, they were rattled on Saturday night — as was I.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Rendering of White Oak Music Hall complex: White Oak Music Hall