03/18/15 11:45am

5606 Chaucer Dr., Rice Village, Houston

5606 Chaucer Dr., Rice Village, HoustonIs it Rice’s manifest destiny to extend its land holdings all the way from the Texas Medical Center to West U? The university already owns a bit of frontage on Kirby Dr., on West U’s eastern border, between University Dr. and Amherst St., but the holdings between that far outpost of the Village Arcade and the main campus are a little spotty. Two recent purchases — and accompanying demolitions — appear poised to make the swath more continuous, however.

This week occasioned the demolition of the house at 5606 Chaucer Dr., 2 blocks west of Rice Stadium, directly over the back fence from Little Woodrow’s on Morningside Dr. The home appeared in this morning’s demo report — along with a neighbor at 5608 Chaucer St. (at center left and left in the top photo). County tax records show that an entity connected to Rice purchased both houses late last year. (The second house is listed as 5612 Chaucer St. on the tax rolls).


Tales of Chaucer
03/16/15 5:00pm



When architect Tom Wilson designed a contemporary residence for himself in West U back in 1977, he divvied the lot down the length, giving home and extensive poolscape each narrow side-by-side footprints. Twenty years later, the current owners took over, paying $535K for the privilege. Last week, the property popped up on the market with a $1.45 million price tag. Architectural guides peg the design as “a low-key medium tech house” engineered with steel and panels of metal and wood. The “front” door is on the side; it lies inside the porch and privacy screen (above) facing the street, which is located south of University Blvd. and west of Buffalo Speedway.


Skinny But Loaded
02/09/15 2:45pm



Which sections of this bi-level West University house were part of the 1938 original? Don’t count on the listing aerial map’s (incorrectly placed) marker to find it; the property sits one lot south of University Blvd. on a street east of Buffalo Speedway. The $1.578 million listing from mid-January features an actual occupied basement, though it isn’t pictured.

Tweaks and conversions over time appear to have shifted around room assignments. The dining room (top), for example . . .


All About the Basement
02/03/15 12:00pm

West U Court Townhomes, Law  and Weslayan Streets, West University Place Texas

West U Court Townhomes, Law  and Weslayan Streets, West University Place Texas

Here’s a shadow sighting sure to knock the winter doldrums out of any emerging groundhog: Signs are up at the West U Court townhomes marketed by Urban Living at the corner of Weslayan and Law streets, dangling hefty Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, and Best Buy gift cards — among other prizes — free, with your casual purchase of townhome. “It appears from the flier and the website that only one of the units has sold so far; they start at $699,900,” notes the reader who sent in these pics of the festooned not-sold-yet properties. . . . It looks like Urban Living is offering the same incentives on all of their properties.”

Photos: Swamplot inbox

12/15/14 12:15pm



Over in West University, one of the updated brick bungalows in the Rice Court neighborhood makes a few good points — in its windows, archways, and a section of living room ceiling vaulted into the sharply pitched roofline. The 2008-renovated 1934 property has been on the market since an August listing aimed at $799K; it dropped its price a month ago to $765K. Two-and-a-bit years ago, the current owner picked it up for $551K.  CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

10/20/14 5:00pm



It’s not the largest of the townhomes lining West University’s Northern border, but it might be the tallest — and it’s certainly the whitest. The stucco contemporary’s listing at $485K mid-month points out the home was built in 1983, not the 1973 found on HCAD. A 3-story design amid 2-story neighbors, the front loader comes with a crow’s nest view north and west that takes in Greenway Plaza. H-E-B’s Buffalo Market is across and down the street.


Decked Out
04/01/14 3:30pm




Rather than choose between more yard and more house, a 1991 custom home in West University appears to have simply put everything but the front lawn under roof, including a free-range atrium vignette in the living room (top) and a garden patio (above middle). The home was relisted by the same agent last Friday and has an asking price of $1.249 million. The previous listing, at the end of February, lasted a month and was aiming for $1.399 million.


The Grated Indoors
02/11/14 2:00pm

Poor Farm Ditch Restrictor, Holcombe Blvd. at Edloe St., West University, Texas

Poor Farm Ditch Restrictor, Holcombe Blvd. at Edloe St., West University, Texas. . . Well, at least as long as Brays Bayou is able to handle whatever rains come. Late last month, an excavator (pictured above) yanked out the last piece of a 3-year-old 6-ft.-by-6-ft. concrete panel used as a “restrictor” and meant to make sure rainwater that fell in West U stayed in West U for a good long time. The restrictor (shown in place blocking the right side of the drainage channel pictured at left) had been put in place by the Harris County Flood Control District after West U, working with the city of Southside Place and Metro, completed $8 million worth of drainage improvements in 2010 on the colorfully named Poor Farm Ditch, which drains along the east side of Edloe St. through much of West University and further south to Brays Bayou. Those improvements had been meant to solve West U’s frequent flooding problems. But without some place for the water to go, that solution for West U might have caused flooding elsewhere downstream. So the district placed the restrictor on Poor Farm Ditch on the south side of the Edloe St. bridge across Holcombe St. — until the city could somehow come up with 13.5 acre-ft. of flood detention to hold the runoff.

With flood improvements completed but the restrictor still causing water to back up on Poor Farm Ditch, West U flooded again in January 2012 after a hard rain.


The Rich Floodwaters of Poor Farm Ditch
01/02/14 11:30am

West University RecyclExpress Recycling Center, 5004 Dincans St., West University, Texas

West University RecyclExpress Recycling Center, 5004 Dincans St., West University, TexasNote: Story updated below.

Yes, we have another Inner Loop recycling center closing to mark for the new year. Swamplot reader Jon Morris caught these shots of the final evening of bottle-clinking at the West University RecyclExpress at 5004 Dincans St., behind Goode Company Seafood, last night. You’ve got only a few minutes left to get rid of those New Year’s shindig empties — the center closes forever at noon today. “Scene was calm but with steady traffic when I was there,” reports Morris. “All the bins were overflowing though.”


Inner Loop Recycling Apocalypse ’14
12/30/13 11:00am

DON’T WORRY, YOUR LISTING IS STILL SAFE Houston Association of Realtors SuperCenter, 3693 Southwest Fwy., HoustonPolice arrested 4 individuals on the scene early this morning after a break-in at the Houston Association of Realtors “SuperCenter” at 3693 Southwest Fwy., west of Edloe. The suspects were not believed to have made off with anything, but are being investigated for possible involvement in another organizational crime: The Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Building across 59 and Buffalo Speedway at 3110 Southwest Fwy. was also broken into overnight. [KHOU] Photo: Andrew Horansky

11/21/13 10:30am

5010 Dincans St., West University, Houston

Sign, 5010 Dincans St., West University, HoustonA city permit was approved last week to convert a portion of the building that once housed the A&M Pet Clinic at 5010 Dincans St. into a wine bar. The 2-story building is across the street from the new apartment block Hanover is completing between Bissonnet and North Blvd. just west of Kirby Dr. The Swamplot reader who visited the closing-after-New-Year’s West U recycling center just to the north of the property finds the posted TABC notice, which identifies the applicant as Catering Plus. Ray Memari, co-owner of the Antica Osteria Italian Restaurant on Bissonnet just west of Greenbriar, purchased the building last year.


Bottle District?