03/07/17 11:00am

Tree drama at Allen's Landing, Downtown, Houston, 77002Tree drama at Allen's Landing, Downtown, Houston, 77002

The ongoing saga of the Allen’s Landing trees coming down recently in bits and pieces — apparently the handiwork of an elusive Buffalo Bayou beaver or 2 — has come to a likely end with the non-rodent-assisted removal of the final stumps, Swamplot’s semi-regular Franklin St. correspondent and wildlife tipster notes. But life around the White Oak-Buffalo confluence goes on! Spring is here, which means the ducks have been out and about, while the cranes are busy pulling fledgling parking garage superstructures up into the air:

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Didn’t Leave It To Beavers
02/15/17 1:30pm

Planned Spring Pines Shopping Center, Spring Cypress Rd. at Holzwarth Rd., Spring, TX 77388

Planned Spring Pines Shopping Center, Spring Cypress Rd. at Holzwarth Rd., Spring, TX 77388

The tree evictions appear to have begun on the 14 acres of wooded land near the intersection of Holzworth and Spring Cypress roads marked for that Kroger Marketplace announced last year. A reader snapped some shots of spread gravel and a log stackup on the site (a piece of the larger 50-acre tract outlined in red in Read King’s leasing flier, as shown here). Preliminary plans for the broader Spring Pines Shopping Center include a slew of new retail spots near the Kroger; leasing plans for the soon-to-be-former forest note that the Kroger is almost directly across Spring Cypress from the area’s H-E-B, itself right across FM 2920 from the Aldi grocery store that moved into the area a few years ago:

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Groundwork in Spring
02/14/17 5:30pm

Beaver traces by Buffalo Bayou, Allen's Landing, Houston, 77002

More splinters and shredded bark are the latest clues turned up by Allen’s Landing beaver scrutinizer Christine Wilson. The most recent denudation (shown above) occurred off the park’s walking trail, not far from the aftermath of the last rodent-related incident Wilson documented, just east of the Travis and Milam street bridges over Buffalo Bayou. Another shot from over the weekend provides a wider view of the increasingly sparsely-forested bank:
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Mammals of Allen’s Landing
01/27/17 5:30pm

Dillon Kyle Architecture office, 1500 W. Alabama St., Menil, Houston, 77006

Dillon Kyle Architects’s new dramatically cantilevered headquarters at 1500 West Alabama at the corner with Mulberry St. is now largely enveloped by the leafy wooden screens mentioned in the firm’s announcement of the building early last year. The company moved into the space in December, around the time work crews wrapped up most of the cherry-picker-assisted installation of the paneling (shown below):

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Both Made of Trees
09/19/16 2:00pm

YALE ST.’S MIDDLE-AGED TREES JUST GOT MORE EXPENSIVE TO CHOP DOWN Yale St. Green Corridor, Houston Heights, 77008Now that the petitioning and voting on the matter has wrapped up, The Houston Heights Association and Trees for Houston had a party this weekend to celebrate Yale St.’s designation as the city’s first official green corridor (between 6th and 19th streets. Organizers gave out baby trees as party favors, Nancy Sarnoff reports, noting that the existing treescape is largely the product of area folks planting seedlings “on both sides of the four-lane road in 1986. Volunteers kept them watered and fought city efforts to expand the roadway, which would have eliminated many of the trees.” Houston’s general colorless tree laws give the city jurisdiction over cutting down certain trees more than 20 inches wide; the green corridor label, defined in 1991 but never actually used before now, trims that protection threshold down to just 15 inches wide along the 1.6-mile stretch of Yale. Other than the reduced belt-size standards, the same rules apply for getting approval to cut down a protected tree anyway — whether by planting  new trees, going after tree preservation credits, or making some pay-by-the-inch contributions (as adjusted for inflation) into the parks and rec department’s tree fund. [Houston Chronicle; city tree ordinances] Photo of Yale St. trees: City of Houston

08/17/16 10:45am

Heights Mercantile treesHeights Mercantile treesThe shot above, facing south along the eastern edge of the 7th-St.-straddling site of the Heights Mercantile development, shows a few of the new meant-to-catch-eyes green sashes now adorning a series of trees along the Heights Blvd. sidewalk. But just what kind of message are those low-slung stripes sending to workers at the site, a reader wonders? Does green mean made the cut, or cut ’em down?

Renderings of plans for the project include a double-wide strip of trees framing a walking path parallel to 7th St. (labeled an outdoor art gallery), with additional greenery arranged in front of the Heights Blvd. bungalows being recruited into the retail center:

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Marked at 7th St.
08/15/16 1:00pm

2044 E. T.C. Jester Blvd, Shady Acres, Houston, 77008

Shots from a reader show the recent tree installations outside of the future home of King’s Bierhaus (no relation to recently-departed Hans’), now setting up in the retail strip east of Ella Blvd. along one of the curvy segments of E. T.C. Jester and White Oak Bayou. The restaurant, second of its name after still-operational King’s Biergarten in Pearland, plans to open later this year — here’s a shiny rendering of what the biergarten might look like in full bloom:

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Beer Gardening
06/28/16 5:15pm

Trees cut at 8430 Stella Link Rd., Braeswood Place, Houston, 77025

Trees cut at 8430 Stella Link Rd., Braeswood Place, Houston, 77025In other de-tree-ment news along Brays Bayou, a reader further upstream sends some photos of recently cross-hatched stumps now dotting the Valero-inhabited corner of Stella Link Rd. and N. Braeswood Dr. The top shot looks east past the gas station and the Church’s Chicken roosting within; the second shot looks south down Stella Link Rd. toward the former Pilgrim dry cleaners, which these days accepts clothing only as donations to the Shriners Hospital. A neighbor on NextDoor says that the 5 trees (mostly of just-over-15-inch diameter) appear to have been trimmed all the way down to the toes in mid June; at least 4 separate 311 complaints have been made on the matter since then.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Green Gone
06/28/16 4:30pm

Marquis Lofts at Hermann Park, 1 Hermann Park Ct., TMC, Houston, 77021

Marquis Lofts at Hermann Park, 1 Hermann Park Ct., TMC, Houston, 77021The commute northward along Almeda Rd. from the corner with Hermann Park Ct. is much less shady of late, reports a reader in the area who snapped these photos last week. The tipster says that some 15 trees have been cut up and shuffled around by the Marquis Lofts (the ones at the edge of the Med Center, not the ones that once hosted a James Harden rooftop photo shoot). Most of the trees appear to have been directly alongside the road, though a few of the felled were reportedly rooted on the other side of the sidewalk. (That’s the formerly bankrupt and bank-rupturing Mosaic condo highrise in the distance, north across MacGregor and Brays Bayou in the shot above.)

Below is a graphic closeup of some of the arboreal aftermath (a warning here to those uncomfortable with the sight of sap and shredded cellulose):

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Stumped on Almeda
04/11/16 1:00pm

Stump in front of Au Petit Paris, 2048 Colquitt St,, Dearborn Place, Houston, 77098

The last fading rays of setting sun cast a dusty glow over the oak stump in front of 2048 Colquitt St. just east of Shepherd Dr., captured by a reader over the weekend. An employee of Au Petit Paris tells the photographer that the restaurant isn’t behind the removal of the tree, which shaded the French bistro’s front patio; the arboreal departure occurred during the still-ongoing move-in of 2 townhomes across the street at 2051 and 2053 Colquitt (the latter of which is visible above on the left, behind construction fencing). Construction on those structures started last summer after building permits were issued to 2201 Custom Homes in June.

Here’s a close-up of the stump, accompanied by a sprinkling of springtime sprouts:

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Bidding Adieu in Dearborn Place
03/14/16 11:30am

Tree Removal by Apartments at 1850 Colquitt St., Montlew Place, Houston, 77098

A post-departure portrait of greenery along the Hazard St. side of the apartments at 1850 Colquitt St. comes with questions from a reader: what’s planned for the 16-unit complex across from the directionally-rebranded Takara-So complex? The shot above shows the leftover bits of 3 trees cut down at the site at the end of February; the 1948 complex changed hands most recently late last fall. Earlier last year, the building was a good deal greener all around — here’s a shot from its listing days from the corner of Colquitt and Hazard, showing the complex covered in ivy:

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Stumped on Hazard
03/09/16 10:00am

Pecan tree remnants, 509 Louisiana St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Pecan Tree formerly at 509 Louisiana St., Downtown, Houston, 77002The majority of the pecan tree formerly growing at the northeast corner of 509 Louisiana St. has, as of yesterday afternoon, migrated to the far southeast corner of the adjacent lot at 517 Louisiana. A reader sends this snapshot peeking in on the scene from the lowercase alley behind the Lancaster Hotel (visible on the far left) toward the capitalized Alley Theatre in front (visible at the top of the shot, behind the small flock of green recycling bins). The reader disavows any claim to professional tree expertise, but notes that “the rotting story may have some validity.” (It remains to be seen whether the misty figure of Chief Bowl will follow the logs, or remain rooted to their former home.)

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Piecing Out Downtown
03/08/16 10:00am

TREE PROFESSIONALS: PECAN AT 509 LOUISIANA ST. WOULD HAVE JUST DIED ANYWAY Pecan Tree formerly at 509 Louisiana St., Downtown, Houston, 77002The pecan tree formerly behind the former Longhorn Cafe on Louisiana St. is down at last, following the 100-plus-year-old buildings at 509 and 517 Louisiana into that Great Big Preservation District in the Sky. Nancy Sarnoff of the Houston Chronicle reports that 2 arborists were called in to examine the tree, and pronounced it dead-or-close-enough: Lauren Lusk Willis, a member of the family that owns the next-door Lancaster Hotel, told the Chronicle that a lightning strike had damaged the tree, and that its core was rotting. Willis said that the pecan “would not likely have survived the leveling of the lot for any construction,” and that “ultimately, it wouldn’t have survived regardless.” The tree, haunted by a both-Sam-and-city-of Houston ghost story, was long visible only to those who entered 509 Louisiana’s hidden courtyard, until the pecan’s 2001 outing by the demo of the Rice Rittenhouse parking garage; it went back into hiding by the end of 2003 with the help of 33-story Calpine Center. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of the pecan tree, following demolition of 509 Louisiana St.: KineticD

02/25/16 3:00pm

Demolition of Solvay America Building, 3333 Richmond, Greenway Plaza, Houston, 77098

A rainbow sheen hangs at the foot of the Solvay America building as it crumbles back into the 3333 Richmond Ave dust from whence it came. A reader sends the above shot of the newly-stripped structure getting the ol’ hose-and-wrecking-ball treatment just before high noon today. The 1992 office building had its demo permit issued in late December; the building’s garage got one yesterday, just in time to join in on the fun.

The soon-to-be-formerly 8-story building is backed up against the 18-story office tower at 3737 Buffalo Spdwy. which wrapped up construction in November. Solvay has already shifted its offices over into the upper stories of the new tower, making way for construction of that 20-story hotel-slash-apartment highrise that was planned for the demolished building’s spot.

Meanwhile, the grove of oak trees northwest of the new construction seem to have weathered the construction as intended, and now stars prominently in PM Realty Group’s leasing brochure: 

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Breaking News
01/13/16 10:00am

Renderings of Houston Botanic Garden at Glenbrook Park Golf Course, Glenbrook Park, Houston, 77017

Now available: Dutch landscaping and design firm West 8’s master plan for the Houston Botanic Garden, complete with preliminary renderings of the future-former Glenbrook Park Golf Course (south of Park Place Blvd between I-45 and Galveston Rd.). The drawings include details of the so-called Botanical Mile walk-and-drive-way (shown above posing in Downward Dog over Sims Bayou): an arboreal bridge along the single-file parade of exotic trees is intended by the designers to serve as a new symbol for the city of Houston, better known currently for its general aversion to being outdoors.

According to the master plan document, the Botanical Mile will stretch along the western side of the garden and serve as the main entrance: visitors will enter the park from Park Place Blvd. and drive the length of the property to the parking lots, in the process crossing onto and back off of the large island created by a meandering limb of Sims Bayou:

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Rooting Over Glenbrook Valley