- 5619 Simsdale St. [HAR]
Like the looks of the conceptual drawing above, showing one of the possible ways to dress up HBDi’s Palm Center on Griggs Rd.? Or think you’ve got a better idea, and the real estate connections to pull it off? Adolfo Pesquera notes a current call for proposals from developers interested in redoing the site — you’ve got until early October to submit your own plan.
The changes wouldn’t happen all at once: HBDi’s documents show that it hopes to split up the work into a few different phases, dependent on how the economy looks. The first order of business would be to pretty up the old buildings on the site; the next phase would include adding a plaza and some office space, followed by the addition of whatever mix of office, retail, residential, and medical space is eventually selected. Though most of the images included with the proposal guidelines are speculative, HBDi’s conceptual drawings do show some of the more concrete plans for the site, which is the last stop on Metro’s Purple Line:
The Houston and Southeast Texas chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association will be moving its headquarters from Holcombe Blvd. to Southeast Houston. Gensler redrew the former Plus4 Credit Union on the Loop feeder near Long and Griggs to do away with the 6-teller drive-thru and include instead a garden, cafe, office space, and entrance pavilion on the 2.2-acre property. The 2-story, 16,078-sq.-ft. bank building dates to 1979. Construction is scheduled to begin this Wednesday.
HISD has now contracted with an industrial hygienist to evaluate the drainage systems, mechanical rooms, and plumbing and electrical systems at Barnett Stadium in an attempt to determine what might have caused 22 band or dance-team members from Stephen F. Austin High School to become mysteriously ill during a football game there Friday night. Several students displayed what appeared to be symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Epidemiologists have been interviewing students and school officials “to get information on the whereabouts of the band members within the stadium and collect other health related-factors that could have played a role in the event,” the school district announced. The HISD Athletics Department is expected to announce tomorrow morning whether 2 UIL playoff games scheduled for this week at the 6800 Fairway Dr. location will be moved to a different field.
Photo: Paragon Sports
APARTMENT INSPECTION REPORT How’s that new apartment-inspection program going? The city has given the new owner of the Garden Oaks Place Apartments across Griggs Rd. from the Palm Center until the middle of this month to make required repairs, after an inspection in August found broken railings, rusted-out columns, exposed wiring, and a host of other problems with the complex. But reporter Ted Oberg says at their current pace it’ll take inspectors 14 years to get to everyone. “According to the law, city crews are supposed to inspect every apartment complex in the city. So far, they’ve visited 217 — less than one a day.” [abc13; previously on Swamplot]
92 EMINENT DOMAIN CASES ON 3 LINES: METRO’S LIGHT RAIL LAND ACQUISITION SCORECARD Nick Boulos’s former Shell station on the corner of MLK and Old Spanish Trail “is among 133 pieces of property [Metro] has acquired along the Southeast Corridor, including 27 in which Metro invoked eminent domain. Of those, 21 (including Boulos’) were settled by negotiation. Another 7 remain to be mediated or possibly settled in court. In the East End, METRO has obtained 135 parcels, filed 47 eminent domain cases, and settled 33 by negotiation, leaving 14 for mediation or the courtroom. On the Northside, METRO has acquired 113 total pieces of property, filed 18 eminent domain cases, and settled 16 by negotiation, leaving 2 for mediation or the courtroom.” [Fox 26] Rendering of Southeast Line on MLK between Griggs Rd. and OST: Metro
Private security guards were stationed outside the premises of the St. Agnes Missionary Baptist Church south of the Loop yesterday, and an attorney for the bank that owns the property confirms to Fox 26 reporter Isiah Carey that the church has closed. The guards were originally under orders from Herring Bank not to allow anyone to enter or remove any furniture or equipment from the church building off Scott St. near Sims Bayou. However, bank attorney Dwight Jefferson told Carey late last night that
church workers have been given approval by the bank to remove certain personal items and belongings from the building. Just to make sure that’s all they take security guards outside the building are also video taping all activities.
What’s all the fuss?
The brand new YMCA planned for the corner of Griggs Rd. and Martin Luther King Blvd. will be the first ever named after a professional sports team: The Houston Texans. Construction is expected to begin later this year. The new Third Ward facility is meant to be a permanent replacement for the old South Central YMCA between UH and TSU at 3531 Wheeler, which was abandoned for temporary digs in a storefront on Scott St. several years ago.
At a press conference yesterday, officials from the YMCA and the Texans described the new complex as just part of a larger partnership between the two organizations.
Hey, isn’t Palm Center the planned location for the start of the Southeast Metrorail line? So the Y will mark the beginning of athletic training for a lot of kids . . . plus the start of train riding for a larger group. Cute.
After the jump: A tiny picture of the new facility, plus . . . that light rail map!
Houston’s lone professional tourists, John Nova Lomax and David Beebe, stop off at the Brady’s Island in the Ship Channel midway into their latest day-long stroll . . . through this city’s southeastern stretches:
The air is foul here, and the eastern view is little more than a forest of tall crackers and satanic fume-belching smokestacks, sending clouds of roasted-cabbage-smelling incense skyward to Mammon, all bisected by the amazingly tall East Loop Ship Channel Bridge, its pillars standing in the toxic bilge where Brays Bayou dumps its effluent into the great pot of greenish-brown petro-gumbo.
While Brady’s Landing today seems to survive as a function room – a sort of Rainbow Lodge for the Ship Channel, with manicured grounds that reminded Beebe of Astroworld — decades ago, people came here to eat and to take in the view. This was progress to them, this horrifically awesome vista showed how we beat the Nazis and Japanese and how we were gonna stave off them godless Commies. As for me, it made me think of Beebe’s maxim: “Chicken and gasoline don’t mix.”
More from the duo’s march through “Deep Harrisburg”: Flag-waving Gulf Freeway auto dealerships, an early-morning ice house near the Almeda Mall, a razorwire-fenced artist compound in Garden Villas, Harold Farb’s last stand, colorful Broadway muffler joints, the hidden gardens of Thai Xuan, and — yes, gas-station chicken.
“There is nothing else like the Southeast side,” Lomax adds in a comment:
I see it as the true heart of Houston. Without the port and the refineries we are nothing. The prosperous West Side could be Anywhere, USA, but the Southeast Side could only be here.
Photo of El Torito Lounge on Harrisburg: John Nova Lomax and David Beebe