06/07/17 4:30pm

PEARLAND, CITY OF 3 WALMARTS Ahead of this weekend’s local runoff election, the Christian Science Monitor delves into the rapid growth and demographic shifts in the “dumbbell-shaped suburb” of Pearland — and how a few candidates for municipal office are approaching it: “Its diversification is largely a result of [Houston’s] inexorable sprawl . . . where residents keep moving farther out in search of lower-density living.” Pearland now ranks as the nation’s eighth-fastest-growing city, but Houston’s only second-most-diverse suburb, where, writes Simon Montlake, as many as 75 languages are spoken in local schools, but residents refer to the eastern-most Walmart in town as the “white Wal-mart” — “because of who shops there – and who doesn’t.” At a forum held in the Bella Vita Club at the center of the age-restricted Bellavita at Green Tee community off Scarsdale Blvd. just east of the Golfcrest Country Club, a middle-aged woman wants to know how candidates plan to draw together what she sees as the “two cities” of Pearland. “Pearland is solidly middle-class,” Montlake notes. “A starter house costs $140,000, and median household income is $97,000, much higher than in Houston. But newcomers rushing to downtown jobs barely brush shoulders with the mostly white retirees who tee off on the golf course weekday mornings or the older families that work and play near home.” [Christian Science Monitor] Photo of Bella Vita Club: 55places.com  

04/14/17 2:15pm

FM 518 at Leisure Ln., Friendswood, TX, 77581

“I don’t think Friendswood needs to become East Pearland,” Eddie Carpenter told the Friendswood city council last week during a public comment session — responding to another speaker’s references to the chain-rich bustle of FM 518 and Pearland Pkwy. as an example of what Friendswood is lacking. What sparked the pair of assertions? A push to rezone the above corner lot at FM 518 and Leisure Ln., currently up for a potential switch from office use to commercial — with word being that Chik-Fil-A and Panera Breads are both interested in setting up shop on the corner. The space is just over a quarter mile down the road from Friendswood’s own relatively restaurant-franchise-dense hub on E. Parkwood Dr., near the town’s H-E-B. The lot in question has been cleared since the listing shot above was snapped, in conjunction with various acts of dirt-pushing.

Image of lot at FM 518 and Leisure Ln.: LoopNet

Lot To Think About
01/30/17 1:45pm

Map of TCEQ Shadow Creek Ranch study area

The city of Pearland’s Odor Task Force is hosting a meeting on February 8th to give some updates on the saga of the Shadow Creek Ranch stench, the Chronicle‘s Margaret Kadifa reports. The map above shows industrial sites noted by the TCEQ in the vicinity of the master-planned community during the environmental agency’s long-running search for the source of the odor. Early last summer the come-and-go smell was finally officially linked to emissions from the slowly rising Blue Ridge Landfill, which sits across FM 521 from the subdivision, just outside the Pearland border in Fresno, TX. The agency says that 81 investigations had been launched in response to more than 1,900 complaints from the neighborhood, as of January 1st; TCEQ started sending enforcement letters to the landfill in October, and a class action lawsuit on behalf of area residents was filed in November.

Map of industrial sites and air sampling locations around Shadow Creek Ranch: TCEQ

Blue Ridge Mountains
06/30/16 1:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: FIBERGLASS PEAR TRAIL JUST FOLLOWING IN PEARLAND’S HISTORIC FRUIT FAKEOUT FOOTSTEPS Pearland Commute“The only relationship that pears have to Pearland is that the early developers were trying to entice people to move to the area by claiming that there were pear orchards. (But there is a Figland St. in Pearland.)” [marmer, commenting on Re-Pearing the Pearland BrandIllustration: Lulu

06/28/16 3:30pm

RE-PEARING THE PEARLAND BRAND Shadow Creek Ranch Nature Trail, Pearland, TX 77584The Pearland Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is now selling sponsorships for the 4-ft.-tall decorated fiberglass pears it plans to place around the city to generate enthusiasm from tourists and boost the organization’s branding efforts. Executive director Kim Sinistore tells Amy Bishop that the group “would like to bring pears back to Pearland in the landscaping.” The Pearland city government’s account of the area’s history, however, largely glosses over the importance of pears, instead playing up the historic importance of figs to the region (particularly after the settlement’s  near-destruction by the 1900 Galveston hurricane, and second near-destruction by the storm of 1915). A donation of $4000 gets your name and logo onto a plaque by the themed pear of your choice (on a first-come-first-serve basis), along with other perks; sponsors can also go in on a pear with a friend and split the price. [Houston Public Media, City of Pearland] Photo of Shadow Creek Ranch Nature Trail, one of 5 planned pear deployment zones: City of Pearland

05/04/16 10:30am

Plan for Ivy District, Pearland, TX, 77583

Ralph Bivins tells Swamplot that lots of dirt is being shoved around on the foreclosed former site of the WaterLights District project, west of 288 and just south of the Beltway where all those heads of former heads of state used to hang out. Pearland’s Ivy District is now being planted on the site instead: plans for the $300-million development include a multifamily complex, condos, a senior living community, townhomes, office buildings, and room for retail.

Part of the project’s funding will come from the EB-5 visa program, which allows wealthy foreigners and their immediate families to immigrate to the US in exchange for a necessary investment expected to create at least 10 jobs. Sueba USA and Beijing-owned American Modern Green are developing the site; American Modern’s parent company Modern Land of China has worked on projects in China (including Steve Holl’s twisty Linked Hybrid in Beijing) and Vancouver, but the Ivy District is its first US venture.

American Modern Green bought the land straddling the Harris-Brazoria county line back in late 2012 following the 2010 foreclosure. Here’s the breakdown of what will go where, per the current plans on the Ivy District’s website:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Planting in Pearland
03/23/16 1:45pm

Shadow Creek Ranch aerial photo, Pearland, TX, 77584

What could be causing the mysterious unpleasant odor Pearland residents have been reporting through TCEQ complaint channels since August of last year — primarily from the Shadow Creek Ranch subdivision (shown above) between 288 and FM 521 south of Clear Creek? TCEQ’s Andrew Keese spoke with the Houston Chronicle recently about the 26 previous and ongoing investigations, which are triggered whenever a finger is pointed at a new possible emitter of the smell. So far, Keese says, no odors have been officially detected that qualify as a ‘nuisance condition’, but he encourages residents to use the TCEQ’s odor log form to help the search effort by describing “the precise character of the odor, [relevant] weather conditions, and times” when the smell is noted.

Before you ask, yes: TCEQ knows about the 60-ft tall mounds of garbage right across FM 521 from the subdivision, at Republic Waste Service’s Blue Ridge Landfill (visible in the bottom left corner of the above photo as a pinkish blob).  Pearland residents previously sought to keep the landfill from more than doubling in acreage and nearly tripling in height (and blocking the operation of several Doppler Radar stations in the process). The landfill (which started accepting garbage several years before Shadow Creek Ranch’s developers broke ground nearby) will eventually get to pile as high as the 170 ft. allowed by its expanded TCEQ permit — but per a 2009 settlement agreement with the city of Pearland it will have to wait until 2021 before rising to only 130 ft., and wait another 8 years after that to reach for its full vertical potential.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Sniffing Out the Culprits in Pearland
02/17/16 10:45am

2354 County Rd. 59 , Manvel, TX 77578

If you missed out last time around, the 2-story, ambiguous-dozens-bedroom building at 2354 County Rd. 59 is back on the market as of this weekend after spending the winter in hibernation under contract. The property, tucked just 1 mile west of 288 at the edge of Pearland, made the rounds late last April for its current asking price of $3.5 million before an October relisting and a quick switchover to the “sale pending” category.

The newest listing calls the house 46-bedroom, but also holds the buyer responsible for counting. Mona Miller of RE/MAX told the Chronicle back in May that the structure has “probably more like 70″ bedrooms — because interior construction is incomplete, it’s hard to tell. The unfinished structure started going up in the early 2000’s, possibly intended for use as a medical rehab institution by its doctor owner, who instead built a slightly-smaller similarly-styled facility on the lot next door in 2003 (on the right, in the aerial photo below)
CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Make It Your Own
11/24/14 3:46pm

killens-burgers-loopnet

Exxon marks the spot for Ronnie Killen’s latest foray into the Pearland meat market: A burger joint, going in a derelict Exxon station at the corner of S. Main St. and Broadway St. and sharing a busy intersection with Whataburger and folksy Pearland institution the Busy Bee Cafe.

Killen had teased readers of his social media sites earlier this month with snapshots of the gas station, but on Friday, he at last confirmed it as the future home of Killen’s Burger on the Killen’s Barbecue Facebook page:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

11/10/14 5:15pm

5103-colonial-gray-04

5103-colonial-gray-01

How’d all this open land find itself around this deep-on-the-lot bungalow-like listing? This 2008 property is far from the higher density cottage communities in Houston Heights and its hinterlands. Rather, it’s in Pearland’s Colonial Estates, a neighborhood located west of Cabot Cove Lake and south of Magnolia St. The big-roofed home and just-plain-big garage (above) share an acre and a half fronting a straight-shot country road. Views from the front porch go deep, wide, and high (top). The recent listing asks $348,000.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Watching From Afar
08/26/14 5:15pm

2924-green-tee-02

2924-green-tee-01

Even before hitting the courtyard pool, an Asian-inspired home in Pearland’s Green Tee Terrace golf community takes a dip with its pagoda-style roof — and hand-dipped gold leaf panels on the living room ceiling (top). Could the distinctive 1982 property be too distinctive for the area? In a series of successive listings, its price has kept dropping. Last week, the stately home popped back up on the market again, this time seeking $699,000. In its initial listing back in 2011, the asking price started at $1.2 million and was whittled back to $895,000 over a 2-year period. A 6-month interim listing in September 2013 found no takers at $800,000 or at the $750,000 reduction in December. Back in 2005, it sold at $614,000, down from a 1999 sale for $649,000.

Attention to detail is one of the property’s hallmarks; so are shoji screens in many of the rooms . . .

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Serving Tee