TEMPORARY, HUGE, AND LAST MINUTE: THE CLUB NOMADIC STORY The team behind Club Nomadic, the 3-story, 64,000-sq.-ft. comes-with-the-Super Bowl traveling behemoth of a temporary nightclub that was open for 3 nights only at 2121 Edwards St. earlier this year, starts planning for its next incarnation “roughly a year” in advance, lead designer Joanna-Maria Helinurm says. Materials travel to the site on 36 trucks, and the building typically takes 60 days to erect. But last-minute jockeying with city permitting officials, in Helinurm’s telling, appears to be standard practice: “All this goes on up until the very last day before the opening until the occupancy permits are granted,” she tells Cynthia Dehlavi. “In Houston, we ended up renting almost two city blocks to be able to control the flow and traffic around the event. Temporary Place of Assembly certificates are a critical component, but we often have to apply for additional special permits, for example like electric-powered signs and the use of pyrotechnics inside the building.” On Super Bowl weekend this year, Club Nomadic got its final okays from Houston officials just 6 hours before doors opened for performances by Sam Hunt and TheÂ Chainsmokers on Super Bowl weekend. [OffCite; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Michael Garfield
COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOUSTON’S CRUMBLING SUPER BOWL SOUVENIRS “. . . I think pretty much everyone has long forgotten that we had a Super Bowl here. That memory is tossed out like an empty bag of chips. $347 million was allegedly pumped into our economy, and all I got was some quick fills of some potholes.” [Super Bowl Memories, commenting onÂ Super Bowl LIâ€™s Economic Impact in Houston; Expanding Metroâ€™s Reach; previously on Swamplot] Photo of George R. Brown Convention Center beforeÂ Super Bowl LI:Â Jesus Jimenez via Swamplot Flickr Pool
The more-or-less repeating window patterns on the backs of the Buffalo Manor townhomes are currently on display as digging continuesÂ at 9339 Buffalo Spwdy. this week. That’s where Dallas-based developer Tradition Senior LivingÂ is setting upÂ a 316-unit facility (about a quarter mile from the other senior living facility planned in the area, though this one doesn’t seem to have gotten a sharp-toothed cartoon avatar). All that dirt, once scooped, appears to be slated for a U-shaped mound on the segment of the irregularly-shaped property that reaches toward Main St.,Â if this diagramÂ of the site spotted by a readerÂ is stillÂ up to date:
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Playing in the Dirt in Westridge
“I canâ€™t explain how a Chiliâ€™s got on the list, but that Chiliâ€™s must have been pretty lit,” writes engineer andÂ bar aficionado Ian Wells.Â Wells just wrapped up his latest data-crunchingÂ escapade: a diveÂ into how much extraÂ alcohol sales revenueÂ wasÂ actually pulled in by Super Bowl LIÂ (as well asÂ whereÂ that boost was distributed and who bagged most of the excess). The map above gives an idea of how theÂ $8.9 million in extra alcohol sales (plus or minus a couple million) were spread out around town during February; Wells notes thatÂ probablyÂ only 5%Â of establishmentsÂ saw more than a $25,000 boost above what they would have made in a normal February, though there’s lot of uncertainty in modeling any given bar’s expected “normal” revenue.
So who gotÂ the biggest percentage sales bumps?Â Here’s the rundown through the top 10, and some highlights fromÂ the top 100, plus more on where all those numbers come from:
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Crunching the Numbers
TAKING ON THE ‘HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM’ PROBLEM What canÂ a little minor public shamingÂ do in the face of a groundswell of clichÃ©d space-themed Houston referencesÂ from reporters and observersÂ around the worldÂ (and the occasional newscaster from within)? Just in time to chronicle and reflect a seeming barrage ofÂ “Gee, no one’s ever repeatedÂ this before” references to Houston — as it emerged inÂ the national spotlight in advance of yesterday’s Super Bowl — aÂ Twitter account going by the handle Ugh Houston, createdÂ last month, set aboutÂ to highlight, ridicule, and otherwiseÂ express disappointment towardÂ any and all variations on the theme of Â “Houston, we have a problem.”Â (The betting circuits even had 5-to-2 odds on whether the tagline, anÂ alteration of the original quotation popularized by the 1995 movie about the Apollo 13 mission,Â would make an appearance in the Super Bowl broadcast,
though ultimately, it appears, it didn’t. and it did.) Other phrases targeted by the account include references to landing eagles and launching anything without an actual rocket engine. Here’s the big question, then, waged in harrumph-y asides, worldwide: Should or shouldn’t Houston embrace its popular association withÂ extreme difficulty?Â Image: Ugh Houston Twitter account
CLUB NOMADIC SHOWS OFF LATEST TRENDS IN JUST-IN-TIME NIGHTCLUB DELIVERY Temporary 3-story nightclub and performance venue Club Nomadic has received its final checks and OKs from the city for tonight’s 9pm opening — with just overÂ 6 hours to spare,Â if the time a city repÂ gave toÂ St. John Barnard-Smith and Mike MorrisÂ is correct. Both Club Nomadic’s owner and folks at the city permitting office sayÂ it’s totally normal for aÂ temporary event structure like this one to cut the permitting processÂ close;Â the temporary nature of the project also means on-site parkingÂ is not required for the 9,000-or-so visitors expected, and organizers are stressing thatÂ tow trucks will be on the prowl. The ClubÂ is currently selling parking passes forÂ the 1600 Smith St. garage, with plans to shuttle guestsÂ between the garage and theÂ club site at 2121 Edwards St.; other enterprising Houstonians appear to be getting in on the action as well. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of 2121 Edwards St.: Club Nomadic
HOUSTON PARKS BOARD RELEASES FLOCK OF BAYOU GREENWAY SIGHTSEEING SUGGESTIONS Not to be left out of the Super Bowl LI frenzy, the Houston Parks Board has been publishing weekly additions to what’s nowÂ a list of 51 “super” Bayou Greenways-accessible attractions — ranging in scope and scale from Buffalo Bayou Park to the Orange Show to a pair of nesting eagles somebody spotted near Greens Bayou. The list is broken upÂ by watershed, with each bayou getting a separate mapÂ of sitesÂ along its existing or planned bike trails (though tour by kayak is also recommended in some places). Other entries on the list include the Watonga Blvd.Â bridge bat colony (on White Oak Bayou, south of Pinemont Dr., shown here), Parkwood Park in Riverside Terrance (off Brays Bayou and these days billed as BeyoncÃ©’s childhood park), David Adickes’ Mount Rush Hour statue grouping in American Statesman ParkÂ (fringing the Downtown confluence tangle of I-10, I-45, and White Oak and Buffalo bayous), and NRG stadium itself, with a nod to the nearby Astrodome. [Houston Parks Board; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Watonga Blvd. bats: Houston Parks Board
The newly LED-equipped crossings over US-59 between Shepherd Dr. and Midtown should be getting officially flipped on around 8 pm tomorrow, after a few weeks of on-and-off testing. The 2 Gandys ofÂ GandyÂ² Lighting Design tell Swamplot that the lights will likely run from sunset to sunrise; the tentative plan in the leadup to the Super BowlÂ is for the bridges toÂ show offÂ the competitors’ team colors.Â The Patriots’ red-white-and-blue are demoed above,Â but here are some shots of what else the newÂ fixtures can do, now that all the tuning up is largely finished:
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Getting Turned On
STEERING CLEAR OF THE SUPER BOWL CROWDS, WHETHER THEY SHOW UP OR NOT Steve Jansen of the Houston PressÂ runsÂ through someÂ numbersÂ this week for the impending Super Bowl LI —Â many of which depend on the wide range ofÂ visitor estimatesÂ put forth by boosterÂ groups and analysts. The Super Bowl Host Committee claimed to expect over a million visitorsÂ back in 2014Â (though thatÂ number appears to includeÂ local folks stopping by all of the week’s lead-up events); more recently, a consulting firm hired by the committeeÂ offered an estimate ofÂ 138,000 non-local visitors. Jansen writesÂ that “there will certainly be fewer football fans in town since the Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys arenâ€™t playing in the grand finale. But it doesnâ€™t matter a heck of a lot, because the phenomenon of ‘the Super Bowl is awful, Iâ€™m getting the hell out of here’ â€” called the crowding-out effect in economic parlance â€” is going to happen no matter what . . .” [Houston Press; previously on Swamplot] Photo of George R. Brown Convention Center remodelingÂ and Super Bowl signage: Jesus Jimenez via Swamplot Flickr Pool
On the growing list of things getting dressedÂ upÂ for the Super Bowl: this Red Line light-rail train, caught above at the corner of Main and Franklin streets this afternoon wearing aÂ shinyÂ new red-and-stadium-colored suit.Â Buildings around the Discovery Green and George R. Brown Convention CenterÂ complex have also been getting advertising wraps draped in placeÂ in the past week or 2, as have a few other buildings around town (including the BBVA CompassÂ building near the Galleria). Across the intersection, a reader also notedÂ the installation of new security cameras at the Islamic Da’wah Center, founded after former Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon boughtÂ the 1928Â former Houston NationalÂ Bank building in 1994:
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Judge Emmett’s office passes along the rendering above today, showing plans for the Astrodome’s Super Bowl vestment — namely,Â a new swathÂ of blue-green lighting around the stadium’s exterior wall.Â That proposed projected light show on the roof got shot down in the fall, along with the possibility of holding any eventsÂ in the building; Brent SchrotenboerÂ of USAtoday notes the Dome currently holds the distinction ofÂ “biggest and most famous storage facility in Texas,” however, and as such will be carrying out its related stuff-holding duties for a variety of Super Bowl lead-up events.Â
Rendering of Astrodome Super Bowl lighting: Super Bowl Host Committee
COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW 2-SYLLABLE NEIGHBORHOOD NICKNAMES ARE BORN “Iâ€™m with WR: who are these supposed ‘Houston residents’ who call it ADLA? Iâ€™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 ‘Worldâ€™s Best Super Bowl Host City‘ — or as a Houston resident, I call it WBSBHC, which rolls off the tongue.” [Wolf Brand Chili,Â commenting onÂ Houston Rents Slide; Post-Flood Calls for Action] Photo of redone George R. Brown Convention Center on Avenida de las Americas: Bob Russell
The long-empty land at 9330 Main St. (shown here from its Buffalo Spdwy. side) appears to be picking up a part-time job before moving on toward senior-housing-dom. A reader snapped these shots of the property’s new parking and shuttle signage, including the security camera warnings tacked to the fence. The land is right across Main St. from NRG Park, where the actual football bit of the upcoming week of Super Bowl hubbub is scheduled to go on. The sale of the land to Dallas-based Traditions Senior Living went through at the end of August.
Meanwhile, the gas station recently planted across Buffalo Spdwy. at the Durhill St. 1st Stop Food Mart appears to have sprouted, and a Valero-colored canopyÂ is now blooming over the corner:
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1st Stops near Westridge
This week’s SpaceCom expo at the prettied-up George R. Brown Convention CenterÂ included a preview of some more down-to-earth plans for the immediate neighborhoodÂ — including the NASA-themedÂ drop tower Mars mission rideÂ to be installedÂ for Super Bowl visitors at Discovery Green across the street. The ride, called Future Flight, will includeÂ virtual reality goggles; the rest of the setup will includeÂ a chance to try out the goggles for people whoÂ like virtual realityÂ but don’t want to take the plunge, as well as some exhibits ofÂ next-genÂ space hardware Â and some kid-geared activities.
The ride’ll beÂ free — if you can get a spot. Chris Baldwin points out that about a million people are expected to show up at the pre-Super Bowl festival planned for the week before the game, but timeslots on the ride will be limited to a few thousand per day between January 28 and February 5 (and the details on how to get a spotÂ aren’t out yet).
The burnt-orange scaffolding of the drop tower roughly matches the color scheme for the latest long-haul rocket setupÂ NASA is working on:
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Free Free Falling Downtown
COMMENT OF THE DAY: SUPER BOWL HOSTING JUST KICKS OFF THE LONG GAME “Conventions. That is the (hoped for, at least) lasting effect of a Super Bowl. People who organize and bring these events to a city donâ€™t care about the game, they donâ€™t care about the players, the fans, any of that. They care about the large corporations that will attend the Super Bowl, for whatever reasons. . . . Just look at all the flurry of activity in Houston leading up to [it]:Â it hasnâ€™t been on updating the areas around the stadium, it has barely been on updating the stadium.Â (They put in new wifi and updated some seats?) Where millions (and not even hundreds of millions) have been spent on the stadium, billions have been spent updating the convention area.Â A new facade on the convention center, a new world class hotel, dozens of restaurants in the convention district — this was done in a huge push to show that Houston is capable of hosting any event.” [toasty, commenting onÂ Rebranding the Greenspoint District; Texasâ€™s $25M Super Bowl Assist] Photo of updated George R. Brown Convention Center: Bob Russell