02/16/18 12:15pm

THE WOODLANDS AT SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST THIS YEAR: ONE DAY ONLY The Woodlands is doubling the spending but seventhing the duration for its upcoming tour stop at Austin’s South by Southwest, reports the Chronicle’s John S. Marshall. “The Woodlands on the Road” will take place in the afternoon on March 15 and feature “live music, food & refreshments, yard games, art demonstrations,” plus a chance to win prizes including a trip to The Woodlands at an “expanded booth with a prime location” in Brush Square, a downtown park. The township announced earlier this week that 4 local sponsor organizations had stepped up to match the $35,000 the township had already budgeted for its sophomore showing on the seventh day of the festival. Last year, The Woodlands’ debut inside the Austin Convention Center also had an outdoorsy bent: the 2-man booth featured a pair of bicycles hooked up to teevees that screened a simulated ride along the town’s bike paths as guests pedaled. [Houston Chronicle; event listing] Photo of Brush Square during 2008 South by Southwest: George Kelly [license]

01/18/18 11:30am

AMAZON WILL NOT BE DELIVERING HQ2 TO HOUSTON Despite campaigns that included coordinated office light displays and banner flybys over the company’s current headquarters in Seattle, none of the Houston proposals to house Amazon’s new campus made it past the first round. The company announced this morning that 17 U.S. cities plus northern Virginia, Toronto, and Montgomery County, Maryland would be finalists for the new HQ2. Among those that did make the cut: Dallas and Austin. [USA Today; map; previously on Swamplot] Photo of former KBR Building 3: Swamplot inbox

01/16/18 10:45am

GENERATION PARK’S HIGHLY TARGETED MARKETING Here’s the banner that aerial advertisers towed across the skies in the airspace above Amazon’s Seattle offices last Friday. McCord Development enlisted the (off camera) airplane to help tout its 4,000-acre Generation Park complex as a good spot for the online giant to build its new HQ2 office. [KOMO; Generation Park’s pitch; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Lindsay Cohen

12/07/17 2:00pm

Quick, name your Top 10 quintessential images of Houston. The Water Wall, maybe? Buffalo Bayou Park looking toward downtown? And how about one of those aerial views of flooded neighborhoods? But what about a view more likely to spur real estate sales, like the double rows of coastal live oaks lining North and South boulevards in Broadacres?

A new set of signs erected this week in the boulevards’ iconic esplanades have something to say about that often seen scene: “WELCOME TO BROADACRES,” they read, “NO PHOTO SHOOTS.” The signs go on to describe other local menaces such as unleashed dogs and their residue, and note that the esplanades as well as the park on the east side of Parkway Dr. are privately owned.

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Brides Be Gone
11/20/17 3:16pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: SELLING THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW “Fabulous lot adorned with critters of all varieties, this property now features wild herrings, cranes, frogs, alligators and migrating herds of antelope during the rainy season. The home was originally built as an ark on pristine gathering grounds for pairs of animals to accumulate during the final days of destruction per sellers disclosure. Tall mature trees on property present amazing opportunity to cultivate your very own white dove habitat for olive branch collection.” [Toby, commenting on Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: Outdoor Dining Area] Illustration: Lulu

11/17/17 2:00pm

MOSAIC SOUTH TOWER ONLY NOW GOING BY HANOVER HERMANN PARK The 29-story, 394-unit glass apartment building at 5927 Almeda Rd. known as the Mosaic South Tower, and before that the Montage, and before that the south tower of the Mosaic, shall henceforth (or until it sells again, probably) be known as the Hanover Hermann Park. (It’s pictured at right in the above photo.) Last week PGIM, the real estate division of Prudential Financial, bought the building, which fronts Hermann Park and backs up to 288 — along with the retail portion of the building’s gone-condo identical twin immediately to the north, still known not-at-all-confusingly as the Mosaic on Hermann Park. The seller was Winthrop Realty Liquidating Trust, which (in case it’s not obvious from that company’s name) is in the process of selling off every property it owns. In case the name change wouldn’t be enough of a clue, a note sent last week to residents by the seller indicates that the building will now be managed by the Hanover Company. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: elnina, via Swamplot Flickr pool

10/31/17 3:45pm

What’s clearly frightening about the home for sale at 806 Oxford St. in the Heights: Its listing photos, posted last week, capture the property in full Halloween dress-up mode. At front, rows of draped ghouls festoon the double-porch streetfront façade of the 3-year-old mansionette (above).

And the freak show continues inside the house, as costumed mannequins have been artfully arranged in holiday set pieces. Here, a bloody zombie sits at the head of the dining-room table, while a creepy butler stands by, ready to serve:

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Trick or Treat?
10/26/17 5:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: IN ‘HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM,’ HOUSTON HAD THE SOLUTION “Oy. If you put a bit of thought into the phrase you might remember that it was a clarion call for help in which “Houston” solved the problem and was held the hero. Hackneyed yes. Annoying no. Try living in Cleveland, Ohio where ‘the mistake by the lake’ gets repeatedly uttered.” [Diaspora, commenting on Exploring the Size and Scope of Houston’s ‘Houston, We Have a Problem’ ProblemPhoto of device installed in-flight on Apollo 13 using duct tape, maps, and other materials on hand: NASA

10/26/17 11:30am

EXPLORING THE SIZE AND SCOPE OF HOUSTON’S ‘HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM’ PROBLEM How many more times will this city have to experience major flooding events before Houston can evoke an alternate image powerful enough to supplant the catch-phrase with which annoying outsiders regularly refer to it? The “Houston, we have a problem” line popularized by the movie Apollo 13, write the WSJ’s Miguel Bustillo and Erin Ailworth, is “annoying to many Houstonians, and others, who consider it the laziest of clichés.Houston, we have a problem’ resurfaced with regularity when the Astros nearly squandered the ALCS series against the Yankees last week before pulling it out in the decisive Game 7. Should a problem arise in the World Series between the Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston knows it will be subjected to ‘Houston, we have a problem,’ again and again.” The writers briefly profile Snapstream’s Ugh Houston Twitter account — which devotes itself to surfacing hackneyed media mentions of the city — before conducting some research and analysis of their own: “A LexisNexis search shows that ‘Houston, we have a problem’ has shown up in more than 12,000 news articles and broadcasts since 1982, and on at least 10 occasions in this newspaper. Part of the reason it is so overused, Houstonians suspect, is that it is one of the few things most Americans can readily recall about the nation’s fourth-largest city, which is home to 2.3 million.” [Wall Street Journal; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Jennifer Alderman

10/24/17 4:00pm

The lights have been changed again in the vacant office building at the center of Midway’s newly renamed East River site on Buffalo Bayou in the Fifth Ward. The 12-story former Building 3 on the KBR campus the development firm bought last year has progressed from referencing Amazon minus a couple of vowels to spelling out our city’s well-accomplished hometown baseball team minus its initial A. The view above was captured by a Swamplot reader from Clinton Dr. last night

The AMZN lettering lives on, though, at the end of a promo video Midway produced to rep Houston — and its mostly vacant 150-acre former industrial site:

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’Stros in Lights
10/23/17 12:30pm

That’s not a retention pond pictured near the center of these aerial shots highlighting the vacant lot at 12906 Memorial Dr. — or at least that wasn’t its original main purpose: It’s the Sam Houston Tollway, shown filled almost to the brim after Hurricane Harvey flooding. “Lot has been cleared and is ready for construction,” declares the listing description for the featured 11,760-sq.-ft. vacant property, one house away from the corner of Memorial and Beltway 8. It’s now marked down to $505,000.

The only photos of the lot included in the listing are drone views that include the adjacent Memorial Dr. underpass, shown in its full-of-water configuration:

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Where the Water Goes
10/16/17 2:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: A SIMPLE QUESTION ABOUT BUYING A HOME IN HOUSTON “I’m in the market for a new place. Where can I find if the house was flooded or is otherwise in a compromised zone? It appears in Harris County such information wasn’t recorded or readily available. Thanks.” [Sparta, commenting on What Makes West Houston the Bermuda Triangle of Real Estate Disclosure] Illustration: Lulu