05/09/14 10:00am

Site of Future HCC College of Health Sciences’ Medical Science & Technology Early College Charter High School, Hwy. 288 and North MacGregor Way, Third Ward, Houston

A reader reports seeing some activity on the long-vacant 9.177-acre melting-erlenmeyer-flask-shaped parcel of land at the northeast corner of Hwy. 288 and North MacGregor Way: no construction equipment yet, but crews were picking up trash and cutting grass. The Houston Community College system bought the property last November with plans to build a new medical-focused charter high school on the property.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

288 and North MacGregor
12/02/13 1:00pm

Cleveland Turner in Front of His Home at 2305 Francis St., Third Ward, Houston

Cleveland Turner, a Third Ward resident whose passion for art and junk flowed out of his home, onto his front yard, past the sidewalk, and into a few museum exhibitions, passed away Sunday after a bout with stomach cancer, at the age of 70-something. Known as The Flower Man, Turner’s effusive and eclectic stylings landed him appearances in the CAMH and on TV shows “Roadside America” and “American Dreamers.” A bicycle-riding yard-art pioneer for more than 3 decades, Turner regularly festooned the fronts, sides, backs, and interiors of his own home in the neighborhood — most recently at 2305 Francis St. (above)

Photo: Ed Schipul [license]

10/22/13 10:10am

MAYOR PARKER ENCOURAGES NEIGHBORHOOD GROUPS INTO LAWN MOWING BUSINESS It’s worked for parents — why not the city? A new program will pay civic groups and nonprofit organizations $75 a pop to keep up overgrown lots abandoned by property owners in their neighborhoods. Mayor Parker announced the so-called Mow-Down Initiative yesterday in the Third Ward. How’s it gonna work? First, the city will come in with tractors and run over the big stuff, and then residents will take over, KUHF reports: “[Mayor Parker] says 100 lots around Houston will be included in the program to start, and she expects the city will save thousands of dollars in maintenance costs by engaging civic groups instead of hiring contractors.” Another nonprofit, Keep Houston Beautiful, says it will provide lawnmowers, trimmers, and other equipment for the work, free of charge. [KUHF] Photo of lot in East End: Allyn West

10/14/13 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: EAST DOWNTOWN, BROUGHT TO YOU BY MONTROSE “I totally agree with what’s going on in EADO. Face it. It’s way too close to everywhere people want to be not to turn around. And I don’t see any bubble bursting as it’s not inflated at all. Things are still super cheap. Our strategy for EADO, 3rd ward, and med center area can be summarized in 3 words: “BUY BUY BUY” (and sell in Montrose, at stupid high prices, to get the cash to do so).” [Cody, commenting on Townhouses Going Up in East Downtown] Illustration: Lulu

10/04/13 11:10am

It’s been 20 years since artist Rick Lowe and friends bought up that row of shotgun shacks on the 2500 block of Holman St. and transformed them — and much of the neighboring Third Ward blocks — into a lively community of art installations and performances, duplexes for low- to moderate-income residents, and architectural experimentation. The latest round of installations kicks off this Saturday.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

09/25/13 3:20pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT’S THE SCOOP ON EASTWOOD? “I’m new to the site and researching Eastwood. Considering buying a lot or tear down and building. Currently own/live in a wonderful townhouse in Montrose, but have a growing family and we’re outgrowing a townhouse and can’t afford to buy what we need in Montrose. So, we’re looking in Eastwood, Third Ward, and other close-in neighborhoods that are more affordable. Anyone have suggestions on the ‘best’ residential streets/blocks in Eastwood? We’ve driven around a lot but I haven’t committed the streets to memory — there are a few with a median that are gorgeous and walkable with a stroller. Any info will help! Oh, and what about Idylwood as a place to live with a young family?” [Htown Convert, commenting on A Bayou-View Property Rises in Idylwood] Illustration: Lulu

09/24/13 1:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WITH OR WITHOUT LIGHT RAIL “I would dispute that the light rail has had any substantive quantitative impact on Houston’s development patterns, except to shuffle around the placement of some developments within a distance of several blocks. (That is to say, for instance, that downtown was destined to pick up a few big highrises over the last decade, but perhaps they were closer to Main rather than Allen Center.) A lot of people forget that the re-gentrification of the Heights took place over a span of decades — without light rail. The gentrification of 3rd Ward, the East End, and the Near Northside has been ongoing for a shorter period of time, and these neighborhoods simply aren’t as well-located as Rice Military — which also transformed without light rail. I would suggest that these neighborhoods are all destined for gentrification, that it will happen slowly because we’re talking about a huge geographic area — and that it would’ve happened with or without light rail, just as with other neighborhoods. I might be swayed if it were the case that some meaningful number of people move to Houston because it has light rail, but aside from some extremely narrow subset of people, that strikes me as bullshit. It’s not an effective economic development tool, and certainly not without zoning (which I also oppose).” [TheNiche, commenting on A First Look at the Strip Center-and-Apartments Combo That Could Go Up Between UH and TSU] Illustration: Lulu

09/23/13 11:05am

Here’s a plan that looks to plug in to Metro’s still-under-construction Southeast Line and redo about 8 blocks along Scott St. in the Third Ward between UH and TSU. Though the plan, drawn up by LAI Design Group and dubbed “University Place Redevelopment,” is provisional, it appears to have in mind something like what the rendering above shows: A reshaped streetscape on Scott St. that would combine apartments, restaurants, shops, offices, and community buildings.

The first phase appears to call for a strip center facing Scott between Holman and Reeves, with 289 1- and 2-bedroom apartments and a parking garage in the rear:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

09/17/13 10:00am

Frequent flipper and Swamplot commenter Cody Lutsch of Fat Property is upgrading this apartment complex in the Third Ward. A listing for the remaining 2-bedroom units on HAR describes some of the improvements: “central air, new paint, ceilling fans [sic], windows, blinds, refinished hardwood floors, etc.” Apparently, Lutsch has also found a buyer for the property, who will be closing on the 3-building complex at 3008 Truxillo, just south of Alabama, in October. The photo above shows the northwest face of the complex — right across the street from the Truxillo Washateria — as seen from Ennis St.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

09/05/13 12:00pm

As many as 8 new bike-sharing stations could open inside the Loop in the next 2 weeks. Will Rub, director of Houston B-Cycle, tells Swamplot that permits are in hand and the bikes forthcoming for these 5 stations: Spotts Park, at 401 S. Heights Blvd; the intersection of Taft and Fairview, at 2401 Taft St.; the Menil Collection, at 1529 W. Alabama St.; Leonel Castillo Community Center, which is undergoing a restoration at 2109 South St.; and the intersection of Milam and Webster, at 2215 Milam St.

And Rub adds that 3 other locations are just waiting for their permits: Stude Park, at 1031 Stude St., and 2 others east, for the first time, of the Southwest Fwy.: Settegast Park at Garrow and Palmer in the Second Ward, and Project Row Houses at Holman and Live Oak in the Third Ward. Rub expects those to be ready to roll September 19th or 20th.

Photo of station at Lamar and Milam: Reddit user txsupernova

08/29/13 3:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: IN THE THIRD WARD ART ZONE “I live in Riverside/Third Ward. I’m a painter. My upstairs neighbor is a painter and kind of a well-known musician in Houston. A block away lives another musician that was often played on KTRU. A block from me in the opposite direction there is a house where my friend and some other female artists live. On Oakdale there’s the house-turned-artspace Alabama Song that frequently has shows and lectures. Most of us lived in Montrose and other areas before and moved here because it’s less expensive and the spaces are larger. My studio now is pretty awesome. Many of our friends are looking into the area as well for similar reasons, as well as Eastwood.” [is, commenting on Comment of the Day: Getting Ahead of the Game in the Third Ward] Illustration: Lulu

08/28/13 12:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: GETTING AHEAD OF THE GAME IN THE THIRD WARD “The developers are usually the 3rd or 4th step in gentrification. My understanding is that it goes like this: First are usually the lower income artistic types who give the area a ‘vibe.’ Then come slightly higher income artistic types who find fixer-uppers and start increasing property values. Then come the affluent who scrape the lots to build their own houses. Finally, the developers come in to build on any remaining semi-large contiguous lots. I don’t spend much time in this part of town, but I’m not aware of much of steps 1 or 2 happening there yet (but am open to being corrected). This feels more like developers trying to sell the area as being gentrified, make a quick profit (nothing wrong with that), and then leave the purchasers stuck with condos that will be underwater for the next 10 to 15 years. So if it is gentrification, I would call it ‘Astroturf Gentrification’ — from a distance, it might look like the real, but up close, its really pretty fake and inferior to the real thing.” [Walt, commenting on New Townhomes for a New(ish) Blodgett St. in the Third Ward] Illustration: Lulu

08/27/13 11:00am

This pack of Larry S. Davis-designed townhouses, clad in metal and stucco, is under construction in the Third Ward just a few blocks from TSU. A site plan shows 24 of ’em spanning Wentworth and Blodgett — the sidewalks along which are being repaired and gussied up to include new landscaping, granite benches, decorative pylons, and purty brick inlays. Floor plans show that the 2-bedroom, 2-bath townies range in size from 1,470 sq. ft. to 1,956 sq. ft.; some include a study. All but 3 appear to have been already sold. Those remaining start at $269,900.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

07/11/13 12:15pm

A pair of Houston artists have really spruced up what’s left of the interior of this former beauty parlor on Dowling St. in the Third Ward. Funded in part by the Houston Arts Alliance, reports Glasstire, Robert Hodge and Phillip Pyle II bought secondhand furniture, wallpaper, knick-knacks, framed photographs of JFK, MLK, Jr., and JC (Jesus Christ, that is) and a rug for this crumbling shell of a building at Dowling and Stuart near the Project Row Houses, turning it into an temporary installation they’re calling “Beauty Box.”

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY