10/25/16 10:00am

ADORABLE VENOMOUS CATERPILLARS BACK ON THE CRAWL FROM SEABROOK TO WEST U Asp warning sign at Weir Park, 3012 Nottingham St, West University Place, TX 77005‘Tis the season for stinging asps, notes Kaitlin McCulley while recounting a Seabrook resident’s recent encounter with one of the critters (also known as the puss caterpillar or, on occasion, the “toxic toupee”). The woolly caterpillars, whose delicate venomous spines are known to cause reactions in children such as 5-hour screaming fits and to necessitate the occasional emergency room visit in adults, are up in numbers for the fall as per usual, though their population and season varies from year to year depending on weather and food conditions. Over in West University, a sign currently hanging on the gate of Weir Park notes that the city’s parks folks will be putting out diatomaceous earth to kill the asps they’d spotted; the caterpillars have also been sighted (or felt) lately near the Harbach-Ripley Neighborhood Center in Golfcrest and in Lost Creek Park in Sugar Land. [ABC13] Photo of puss caterpillar warning sign in Weir Park, 3012 Nottingham St.: Swamplot inbox

09/26/16 11:00am

WEST U SHELTER-IN-PLACE ORDER JUST LIFTED FOLLOWING THIS MORNING’S ‘SOUTHWEST HOUSTON’ SHOOTING Weslayan Plaza, Weslayan at Bissonnet St., Montclair, Houston, 77005The city has just cancelled stay-put orders for the folks in a zone straddling the borders of West University and the Montclair and College Court Place neighborhoods, as the crime scene investigation of this morning’s rush-hour shooting spree at the Weslayan Plaza strip center wraps up. The shelter-in-place request was active while the bomb squad was checking out the now-deceased suspect’s Porsche near his residence in The Oaks condominiums at Weslayan and Law St. Folks ranging from KPRC to the FBI reported the shooting as taking place in “Southwest Houston”; the shopping center is technically in the southwest quadrant of the city, though a good deal closer to Downtown than the area that usually gets that descriptor. [Houston OEM, KHOU; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Weslayan Plaza: Regency Centers

08/10/16 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE SECRET INGREDIENTS IN ANY GOOD BEDROOM COMMUNITY RECIPE Illustration of Soggy Burger“The idea that The Woodlands is a mecca because of some secret sauce is absurd. Places like that can only exist in the vicinity of a larger city. The Woodlands has maintained itself as a high-end housing community, which is of course an achievement that took careful planning, but it’s entirely unsustainable without nearby cities to absorb the lower service economy sector/poorer individuals that any city needs and will have regardless. A similar point can be made about West U, which recently made some list about wealthy cities.” [MrEction, commenting on Avoiding the Lonely Drive to Work; Houston Olympics Speculation] Illustration: Lulu

04/28/16 10:15am

3606 Bissonnet St., Greenway/Upper Kirby, Houston, 77005

Construction fencing is already up around the Cleburne Cafeteria, which burned down for the second time at 3606 Bissonnet St. earlier this week. The 75-year-old cafeteria business was bought by Nick and Pat Mickelis in 1952 at its original location on Cleburne and Fannin streets (which was recently occupied by DiverseWorks for a brief pre-MATCH stint, and currently houses the Zoya Tommy art gallery). The cafeteria moved to the Bissonnet spot in 1969; shortly after Nick Mickelis’s death in 1989, the building burned down for the first time.

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Restaurant Re-Reconstruction
02/18/16 10:00am

Mattress Stores in Strip Center at Kirby Dr. and Wroxton St., West University, TX 77005

Semi-boutique mattress chain Urban Mattress has jumped into the cluster of mattress retail options at the edge of West University, setting up shop between Einstein Bros. Bagels and Verizon Wireless just south of the sleepy corner of Kirby Dr. and Bissonnet St. Since 2008, the Boulder-grown franchise chain has opened 6 stores in Colorado, 3 in Austin, and a few others in cities including Berkeley, Albuquerque, Dallas, and San Antonio. The company purports to send 2% of its sales price to local charities of the franchise owner’s choice, and offers mattresses (both regular and organic) ranging from about $300 to $30,000.

The new store sits right across Wroxton St. from a few of its all-caps competitors: mattress and ergonomic furniture store Relax the Back is buffered from a Mattress Firm by narrow custom shoe store Foot Solutions:

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Bouncing into the Market
04/27/15 12:00pm

Former Cabo Grill, 5172 Buffalo Speedway, West University, Texas

The letters are down at the Cabo Grill in the West U Shopping Center (the one with the Kroger and all the oaks) on Buffalo Speedway between Westpark and Bissonnet. This Cabo Grill — not to be confused with the also shuttered Cabo Mix-Mex Grill known best for its former location at the corner of Travis and Prairie Downtown (now home to El Big Bad) — was formerly named Fish City Grill. A reader tells Swamplot that a sign posted on the front door of the shopping center slot at 5172 Buffalo Speedway says that the locks have been changed as a result of a payment failure. The place appears vacant.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Fish City to Cabo to Empty
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).

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

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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.

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

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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 . . .

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All About the Basement