06/27/17 1:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHY IS HOUSTON STILL STUCK ON STUCCO? “Stucco seems to have more long term durability and maintenance problems than just about anything else, yet it seems to be the exterior of choice in nearly all high-end construction. Why?” [Skeptic, commenting on If You Like the Idea of Living Upstairs from Kay’s Lounge, Here’s the Next Best Thing] Illustration: Lulu

06/23/17 2:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WAIT, THERE’S AN OPEN SEARS IN MIDTOWN? “No joke, I’ve lived here for 4 years now – always in Midtown – and I had no earthly idea that the Sears at Richmond and Main was actually an open and operating retail location until I read the comments on this post. It looks abandoned from the street! Mind blown.” [RS, commenting on Southeast and Southwest Houston Sears Stores Going South] Photo of Sears at 4201 Main St: Fox E.

06/22/17 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: MISPLACING THE AUDUBON PLACES “TIL that Audubon Place (the street in 77006) is not in Audubon Place (the subdivision in 77027). The whole time I was scouring the neighborhoods in and around Westmoreland for a house, I thought the adjoining neighborhood was called Audubon Place. My bad; it’s Montrose. The original. I was misled by the green historical sign at the W. Alabama end of the block.” [GoogleMaster, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: Inglourious Buildings] Photo of 804 Harold St.: Audubon Place Association

06/22/17 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: WATCH FOR TOMORROW’S FLOODING TODAY! Homeowners in the area would be wise to keep a keen eye as to the elevation of the current Fiesta property, document with photos and watch as the builders elevate the ground of the property two or more feet above existing grade. This elevation of property will push water off the commercial property and onto lower lying homeowners and existing small businesses. I attended a talk this week with a flooding expert from Texas A and M who pinpointed development as the primary driving cause of Houston’s flooding. This was a highly intelligent and well regarded college professor and researcher. He says he gets phone calls from first time flood victims and always asks if anything was recently built in the area. Often they will say that a Wal-Mart or something similar was built immediately before their flooding problem started. This is real, everyone. Document your lawsuit evidence today.” [Tired of flooding, commenting on H-E-B To Scoot Groundbreaking Back to End of Summer Break, Scoot Building Up Toward N. Shepherd] Illustration: Lulu

06/16/17 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: STILL MISSING THE GOOD OL’ DAYS “I was born in ’91, so I never got to experience the little mom and pop stores (hardware store or otherwise). I wish I could have seen what it was like back then. :(” [WebsterResident, commenting on Amazon Will Swallow Whole Foods Whole] Photo of Martini Hardware, 7145 Lawndale St.: Andrea Rodriguez

06/15/17 1:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THERE’S MORE MONEY IN HISTORY “First of all, this really doesn’t make much difference, as the original art moderne lines of this center were destroyed several years ago with the addition of gun turrets on the corners of the buildings. What I do find interesting is that Weingarten talks about the alterations as being financially responsible decisions to their shareholders. Yet this is the 3rd oldest intact shopping center in the US, and the only two that predate it, AFAIK, are Highland Park Village in Dallas and Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. Both of those have owners that have restored them to essentially their original designs and have enjoyed much increased property values. In the case of Highland Park Village, Henry S Miller (a Dallas developer) bought HP Village in the later ’70’s as it was very run down and dumpy, and had the foresight to restore its original Spanish Colonial design and garner a better tenant mix. Though his company no longer owns it, HP Village commands far higher square foot rents than River Oaks Shopping Center. All this is to say that if Weingarten had invested money in restoring their property 10-15 years ago, they probably would have a more valuable asset today.” [ShadyHeightster, commenting on The Other River Oaks Shopping Center Knockdown Hearing Scheduled for This Week] Rendering of proposed alterations to River Oaks Shopping Center, 1997 West Gray St.: Aria Group Architects for Weingarten Realty Investors

06/08/17 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHEN SCHOOLS GET IN THE WAY “I’m sick and tired of people always complaining about how such and such crime happened close to a school. Schools are peppered throughout the city, so pretty much anywhere is ‘near a school.’ Find me a school-free area where I can do my shootings.” [criminal guy, commenting on The Great Coltivare Kumquat Tree Heist] Illustration: Lulu

06/07/17 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW THE DECLINING MARKET FOR ANTIQUES IS FUELING THE SELF-STORAGE BOOM “My mom has an amazing collection of stuff like this. I think about it all the time. . . . worried what I’m going to to with my great great grandfather’s table, and my great grandmother’s silver. I don’t have the room for it at this point in my life . . . but I don’t want to give it away. I almost feel like I need to get a storage unit for it.” [Chef DB, commenting on The Underappreciated Riches of Houston’s Antique Set]

06/06/17 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHEN THEY RAISED GREAT GRANNY’S “This house has some wonderful history. It was originally a one story that was raised up by cranes and the ground level story was built underneath. During WW One, they would roll up the rugs and host dances for the soldiers. It was the home of my great grandparents who lived there with their children when they moved from PA. My two spinster Great Aunts lived there all their lives. It broke the hearts of the family when it had to be sold but no one had the means to buy and restore it. I wanted to share for those of you that had posted the kind comments.” [Renee Lauckner, commenting on Corner Lot Hidden Away for Decades Beneath 1904 Heights House Could Join the Commercial Crowd] Photo: Swamplot inbox

06/05/17 2:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: AFFORDABLE HOMES NEED SMALLER LOTS “Large houses are not the cause of being priced out of the Heights, they’re the effect. With land values approaching $75/sf at the peak of the market, that’s almost half-a-million dollars for a full-sized lot. If you put a 2000-sq.-ft. house on that lot (at $150/sf construction cost), you’re looking at $800k. Or $400/sf. There’s a very thin market for that size house at that price point. There are tons of more affordable options in or near the Heights, but they aren’t going to come with 6000 sq. ft. of dirt. The secret to providing more affordable housing is to just build more housing. In the Heights, that’s generally come in the form of replacing one bungalow with two modest two-story houses. In Shady Acres, it’s usually replacing TWO bungalows with SIX townhouses. There are literally hundreds of reasonable-sized houses (2000-2500 s.f.) that have been created this way in the Free Heights over the last decade. Without them, a lot MORE people would have been priced out of the neighborhood.” [Angostura, commenting on Comment of the Day: Aren’t these the Heights Design Guidelines We’ve Been Asking For?] Illustration: Lulu

06/02/17 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: AREN’T THESE THE HEIGHTS DESIGN GUIDELINES WE’VE BEEN ASKING FOR? “Here we go again with the sky-is-falling BS on the historic ordinance. For years, the builders have whined about how they needed a design guide for the Heights. HAHC takes 2 years to collect input from the HDs [historic districts] on design guidelines. There were many meetings, direct mailings, surveys and even direct invitations from Steph McDougal to have one-on-one meetings with stakeholders to discuss the design guidelines. The response HAHC got from the HDs was that we are sick and tired of builders trying to fill every lot with gratuitous square footage. Additions are fine, but building a 3300-sq.-ft. house behind a bungalow is atrocious. And stop with the BS about families. Families do not need giant houses. They need affordable houses. Every time I talk with a family about moving to the Heights they always say that they have been priced out because everything is so huge and expensive.” [Old School, commenting on June Is Your Last Chance To Make Noise In Person About the New Heights Historic District Design Guidelines] Photo of 519 Heights Blvd.: HAR

05/31/17 3:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE NEXT ASTRODOME ELECTION IS ALREADY SCHEDULED, ANYWAY “Great to see that a bill specifically tailored to torpedo the Astrodome has been shot down. The state politicians should not meddle in local county affairs. Did anyone ever ask Houston and Harris County voters to spend millions upon millions to host another Super Bowl? Or to upgrade Reliant Stadium to please McNair? If the county’s financing plan is legitimate (no bonds issued, and a referendum not required), let them continue. Harris county voters have already spoken by voting Emmett and others in. They’ll have their chance to vote them out if needed. The revitalized Dome could be something special — why waste a unique structure and a Houston landmark?” [Blake, commenting on The Bill To Force an Astrodome Garage-ification Election Is Dead, Again, For NowIllustration: Lulu

05/30/17 3:45pm

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 on Super Bowl LI’s Economic Impact in Houston; Expanding Metro’s Reach; previously on Swamplot] Photo of George R. Brown Convention Center before Super Bowl LI: Jesus Jimenez via Swamplot Flickr Pool

05/26/17 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: DESTROY MY SEMI TRAILER ON N. MAIN ST. ONCE, SHAME ON ME “I’d bet that the signage, 12′-9″, is probably literally correct, in that the distance from the road deck to the bottom of the bridge measures 12′-9″. However, that doesn’t mean that a truck that’s 12′-8″ high can pass through. More to the point: that doesn’t mean a truck that’s 12′-8″ high can exit the other end. Problem is that since there’s an up-slope on the exit of the underpass, the longer the truck, the higher the effective height as it climbs up the slope. [And] with respect to the alternate route, the northbound signage is terrible. It seems to indicate that the driver should turn left into a chain link fence. Where they actually should go looks like its one-way the other way. If this happens once, I understand blaming the driver. If it happens frequently, it’s probably the result of poor design and poor signage.” [Angostura, commenting on Latest Semi To Get Stuck in that N. Main Tunnel by Hardy Yards Gets Top Shredded Off, Too] Photo: TransitCtrActivity

05/25/17 5:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW LONG UNTIL HOUSTON’S FLOODWATERS WASH AWAY THE OIL MONEY? “But hey, why bother [with impermeable ground cover]? I’m sure this city will continue to grow and prosper and the taxes will still come pouring in, years after it exacerbates its reputation as a flooded-out mess far behind the tipping point. It will make our elected leaders look so smart when the pension system fails anyway because energy companies choose to move to Austin, OKC, DFW and Denver, because they can’t in good conscience relocate people to the flooded mess of our city. Oh wait — you say energy companies would never leave Houston? Remember, the oil companies fled New York decades ago. Recently BP has moved its onshore group to Denver. Exxon is gone to the Woodlands (and lets not pretend that didn’t have anything to do with escaping the hot mess of city hall mismanagement.)” [Tired of flooding, commenting on Where 2 New Buildings and 542 New Surface Parking Spots Could Fit North of Washington Ave.Illustration: Lulu