08/16/17 5:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BIG SIGNS FOR BIG TEXAS CORNERS “I wish they’d rethink the billboard laws in Texas. Allow more and bigger billboards. The billboards could be taxed, and the money earmarked to our State Parks — they desperately need it. Scenic routes could be designated in certain places, and billboards banned there. This would turn the buildings at the intersections of freeways into major advertising opportunities. It wouldn’t matter if the buildings lose money, the giant billboards on the roofs would make whatever profit the owners need. Or they might wind up demolishing the buildings to put billboards up in their place.” [ZAW, commenting on Comment of the Day: The Black Holes Where Freeways Intersect] Illustration: Lulu

08/15/17 2:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE BLACK HOLES WHERE FREEWAYS INTERSECT “Freeway interchange corners like this one seem to be tricky places for anything to last a long time. The long flyover ramps create this weird phenomenon where you have to exit a couple miles back and ride the feeder to that spot. Yet those same ramps make the property very prominently visible to tens of thousands of people each day who pass by overhead in their car. For whatever reason, the properties seem to cycle in and out of use and disuse. The changeover is probably exacerbated by construction freeway construction, widening, and ramp rebuilds.” [Superdave, commenting on The End of the Greenspoint Mall Is Upon Us] Illustration: Lulu

08/15/17 1:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: FROM THE SOIL OF A DEAD MALL, LET A BUNCH OF APARTMENT TOWERS BLOOM “Malls that are about to die need to utilize their best asset and that is having large AC filled connector hallways that can hold pretty much any small business such as coffee shops/barber shops/pet supplies/retail obviously. Using the large department store areas like Macy’s/Sears/Dillards/Palais Royal, investors could make 6-8 story apartment/condo towers. Plenty of parking lot space around in case the apartment towers needs to be built wider than what the old department stores have to offer in space. The location at I-45 & North Beltway is great and parking lots will have exits to both feeders. Residents would be able to enjoy not just living in a nice condo lifestyle but also have AC filled hallways with all kinds of small businesses, I could see baby boomers loving this since many of them are early morning mall walkers anyway. It would be a long process, especially getting 4 different towers completed; but since they are all at different corners of the mall, residents will not have the construction headaches that you might assume would come along with it. I think its a better idea than just tearing old malls down.” [mas, commenting on The End of the Greenspoint Mall Is Upon Us] Photo of Greenspoint Mall: Colliers International

08/14/17 1:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE SECRET LONELINESS OF THE ‘CHEF’S KITCHEN’ “It seems like the standard marketing protocol in homes like this is to always refer to the kitchen as a ‘cook’s kitchen’ or ‘chef’s kitchen.’ Maybe I’m just being pedantic, but a home cook/chef really doesn’t need all of the bells and whistles (48-in. gas range with double ovens, huge built-in fridge, pot filler, 2 dishwashers, prep sink, wine fridge, etc.) to produce a great end result for (presumably) just their own family. It’s almost like saying, ‘If you don’t have a kitchen like this, you must not be a very serious cook!’ I know it’s just salesmanship, but rubs me the wrong way nonetheless. That, and I think deep down inside that there might be a little bit of an inverse relationship between the price tag of the kitchen and the amount of cooking that actually gets done in them. It’s kind of like calling a four-car garage a ‘mechanic’s dream’ even though it’s really most likely that it’s going to be holding a couple decades’ worth of crap that no one wants to get rid of. Maybe a car or two.” [Balthazar, commenting on Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: Eat in Kitchen] Illustration: Lulu

08/11/17 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: PARKING REQUIREMENTS FOR SELF-PARKING CARS “I think the live load requirements for a parking structure are actually a little higher than a residential building, but the bigger misconception is that shared autonomous cars don’t need to park. The fleet of autonomous cars will have to be sized to meet peak demand, which happens for a few hours in the morning and a few in the afternoon. Outside of those hours, a large proportion of the fleet will need to be stored somewhere. Overnight, that somewhere can be a non-central location, since presumably many people will still live in suburbs. But during the day, surplus vehicles will be most efficiently stored somewhere close to where their passengers will be in the afternoon. The real advantage is that the car storage won’t have to be so closely tied to the destination, so a parking structure every few blocks should be adequate, rather than each building needing its own dedicated (usually surface) parking. It’s more likely that this garage will stay a garage, but nearby surface lots can be developed into actual buildings.” [Angostura, commenting on How To Design a Parking Garage That Won’t Become Useless Once Cars Get Restless] Illustration: Lulu

08/10/17 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE HYDE PARK SALES AND CLEARANCE RUSH “My family moved out of Hyde Park four years ago, and it’s incredible how much the neighborhood has changed in that time. Yes, I know change is inevitable and can be for the better, but this neighborhood has changed at a breakneck pace. I’m pretty sure at least half of the houses/buildings along Commonwealth and Waugh have been torn down since we left (admittedly some of them really needed to go, given the terrible shape they were in). I guess this will be added to the heap.” [Courtney, commenting on Corazon Now Being Removed from Its Big Red Dot Spot at Waugh and Fairview] Photo of Corazon, 2813 Waugh Dr.: Margo

08/09/17 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: MONTROSE HASN’T EVEN HIT PUBERTY YET “I regularly walk around in Montrose. I’ve also been to many urban neighborhoods in the northeast which are as close to 100% gentrified as you can get. I’m talking Greenwich Village in NYC, Beacon Hill in Boston, Georgetown in DC. Montrose is not anywhere close to that level of gentrification. It won’t even be there in 20 years. Right now, you can still walk around Montrose and see loads of old 60s and 70s garden complexes with $700 a month apartments. There are plenty of trashy convenience stores, rundown strip malls, and vacant lots. And yes, there are still plenty of young artists and musicians who live in the area and hang out in areas like the Menil plying their craft. Any neighborhood where a lot on a major commercial street can sit vacant for over a year is not that gentrified yet. Okay, so yes. Montrose is obviously gentrifying. It’s different from how it was 20, 30, 40 years ago. That’s part of city life–places change, some people move out, other people move in. And eventually, maybe in a few decades, if Houston doesn’t get destroyed in a hurricane or become the next Detroit due to economic collapse, Montrose probably will become the kind of bland-ish upper crust West U-ish neighborhood people act like it already is. But here’s the reality: It’s not there yet, and it won’t be for quite awhile.” [Christian, commenting on Comment of the Day Runner-Up: The Creative Destruction of Montrose] Illustration: Lulu

08/08/17 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: NAVIGATION BLVD.’S FOOD- AND DRINK-FILLED FUTURE “Navigation seems to be becoming the East End’s version of the Washington chug-and-chow strip. Good spot for that as it’s close to the bayou and the hike and bike scene being developed and has lots of old industrial on some minor bluffs waiting to become something different.” [Dana-X, commenting on The Warehouse Bar Coming Up Just Past the Curve in Navigation] Illustration: Lulu

08/08/17 3:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: THE CREATIVE DESTRUCTION OF MONTROSE “No one likes it when a fun edgy neighborhood like Montrose gentrifies. Seeing original funky local haunts replaced by chains and high end destinations is like losing an old friend. But this process of gentrification is actually good in the long run because each generation gets a new chance at building a home for the local counterculture. Without that cycle of displacement and rebirth, the counterculture becomes entrenched and turns into an establishment culture within the counterculture. Rising rents in Montrose pushed out lots of artists. But it also created demand for studio space that gave birth to the 1st Ward arts district and great new developments like the Silos. And the same dynamic is playing out for bars and clubs popping up all over the east side. The counterculture lives on and thrives when each generation has a chance to find their own voice by converting a forgotten part of the city into the next counterculture hub. In the end, the kids are alright. They just need a push out into the wilderness every few decades to keep things fresh.” [Old School, commenting on The Death, Life, and Continuing Obituary of Montrose, Still Texas’s ‘Coolest Neighborhood‘] Illustration: Lulu

08/08/17 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY SECOND RUNNER-UP: HOUSTON’S BIG BOUNDARY ADVANTAGE “. . . One of the reasons that Houston manages to buck trends affecting other central cities is that Houston is orders of magnitude larger than many central cities. Within its incorporated city limits, Houston could contain all of Manhattan, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, Boston, and then have room enough left over for Santa Barbara. That means that Houston contains its first-ring suburbs, most of its second-ring, and even some some third-ring; and then it also does this funky “limited-purpose annexation” scheme in the northwest suburbs and has a special non-annexation deal with The Woodlands to keep those areas as an unincorporated buffer zone from which they are still somewhat able to tap commercial property tax revenues from those areas. And as demographic pressures push and pull people across different regions, Houston has to adapt to all of those trends simultaneously, but it also has a diversified-enough tax base to be able to do so — you know, presuming that its elected officials never do anything especially stupid like capping revenues and also underfunding pensions for decades.” [TheNiche, commenting on North Houston Amazon Fulfillment Center Opens; Qui Now Taking Reservations; Ending the ‘Dry Heights’] Illustration: Lulu

08/04/17 2:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT’S IN STORE FOR HOUSTON’S REMAINING MANSARDS “These clusters of mansard-roofed ’70s apartments and townhouses dot the mid loop area and will be getting dozed by the dozens during these decades for those wanting large wads of land.” [Dana-X, commenting on The Ripple Creek Townhomes Are Now Being Ripped to Shreds] Photo of Ripple Creek Townhomes at 1015 S. Ripple Creek Dr.: Swamplot inbox

08/03/17 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PUBLIC ART AND LANDSCAPE DECORATION “It is poorly written, but I think I get the point of the Glasstire post. Public art should really be art that is given its own space and not be little more than an attempt to pretty up the existing urban landscape. When you have artists putting decorations on electric boxes, bridges, or other things that are normally not even noticed as part of our urban landscape, you diminish the art and the artist into a municipal decorating service. Public art should be set aside from the urban landscape instead of being relegated to dressing it up. I generally agree. I do like the paintings on the electric boxes, but these kind of projects seem to be a way of paying lip service to public art.” [Old School, commenting on Tip-Off for Apartments by the Toyota Center; Details of the Coming Canino Farmer’s Market Redo] Photo of mini mural by Anat Ronen at Airline Dr. and Hardwicke: UP Art Studio

08/03/17 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: HOUSTON WOULD HAVE NO PART OF THE CONFEDERACY “Where, exactly, is the intersection of Sam Houston and ‘confederate history’? March 16, 1861 — Sam Houston refuses to take the oath of the confederacy: ‘Fellow citizens, in the name of your rights and liberties, which I believe have been trampled upon, I refuse to take this oath. In the name of the nationality of Texas, which has been betrayed by the Convention, I refuse to take this oath. In the name of the Constitution of Texas, I refuse to take this oath. In the name of my own conscience and manhood, which this Convention would degrade by dragging me before it, to pander to the malice of my enemies . . . I refuse to take this oath.’” [Diaspora, commenting on Best Buy’s Houston Warehouse Hunt; Sunrun Comes To Town; Is That Your Mermaid House Floating in the Gulf?] Photo of Sam Houston statue at Hermann Park: elnina, via Swamplot Flickr pool

08/01/17 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: MIGHT UPSET HOUSTON’S DELICATE WATERWAY ECOSYSTEM “. . . I suppose all those cars need to come out of the bayou, but I fear that will really mess up the fishing.” [Txcon, commenting on Comment of the Day: Aside from These 2 Issues, Fishing in Brays Bayou Is Enormously Appealing]    

07/31/17 2:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: ASIDE FROM THESE 2 ISSUES, FISHING IN BRAYS BAYOU IS ENORMOUSLY APPEALING “The problem: I don’t think I would trust any of those fish to eat. Sure, you can catch and release, but I also don’t see the appeal of standing on the banks of a concrete ditch.” [Heightsresident, commenting on A Fishing Guide to Concrete-Lined Brays Bayou] Photo: Payton Moore