10/19/18 3:45pm

The map above shows the land (in red) that Rice is confirmed to have grabbed around the Midtown Sears (orange) it bought out last October, including 2 new parcels (green) it snatched up through holding companies within the last few months. In an email sent out to university staff on Monday, Rice U. President David Leebron said the school “will ultimately redevelop approximately 14 acres of Rice-owned property,” near the Sears building into what it’s calling the Midtown Innovation District. So what are the latest spots it’s gotten its hands on? The first, catty-corner to the Sears building itself at the corner of Wheeler and San Jacinto, is Jack in the Box‘s nearly half-acre lot; Rice bought it in August.

More recently, the school pushed east by picking up 4201 Caroline St., the brick office building shown below that occupies a quarter-acre directly next to Fiesta:

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Sears and Friends
10/19/18 12:30pm

MONDAY’S TRUMP-CRUZ RALLY UPGRADING FROM HOUSTON RODEO TO B-BALL VENUE Citing “huge and unprecedented” audience registration numbers, the president’s campaign announced that his Monday rally to drum up support for Ted Cruz will no longer be held at NRG Arena (capacity: 8,000), but instead at the Toyota Center (capacity: 18,043). Trump said in August he planned to pick “the biggest stadium in Texas we can find” for the festivities, at which Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will also appear. But his schedulers seem strangely to have ruled out the state’s fifth biggest one, NRG Stadium (seats 71,500), which — as Houstonia’s Morgan Kinney noted — sits right across the parking lot from the Arena and remains unbooked on Monday. [Politico] Photo of the Toyota Center: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

10/19/18 10:00am

“Houston must have looked huge to Lyndon Johnson as he drove toward it across the flat Gulf plains in his battered little car,” writes Robert Caro in his biography of the former president. Johnson’s destination: Sam Houston High School (shown at top), which opened in 1921 in place of the even-older Central High School on the block bounded by Austin, Rusk, Caroline, and Capitol — the same spot where the new Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts is now “90 percent complete,according to Paper City’s Annie Gallay.

Hired to teach public speaking and coach the debate team, Johnson — writes Caro — promised his new principle he’d win the state championship. He didn’t, coming in second at the tournament in Austin. Still, Johnson had succeeded in making a name for himself among staff — who gave him a $100 raise and a contract for the next school year — and among the school’s 1,800 students — who jockeyed for enrollment in “Mr. Johnson’s speech class” during the following school year. By the end of LBJ’s first full year at Sam Houston, reports Caro, enrollment had increased from 60 to 110 new students.

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Sam Houston High to HSPVA
10/19/18 8:30am

Photo of the 59 bridge: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
10/18/18 3:15pm

STATE OF QATAR CHIPS IN $2.5M FOR RIVERSIDE GENERAL HOSPITAL REDO Standing alongside ambassador Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani yesterday in the archway of the hospital’s 92-year-old nurses’ quarters, Ed Emmett thanked Qatar for its donation to help get the hospital back open. It’s the first allocation the country has made from the $30M Qatar Harvey Fund it created last September. (Its diplomatic rival the United Arab Emerites volunteered $10M the same day, according to Al Jazeera) What is it that the money will actually pay for at the Third Ward property the county bought earlier this year? TBD, Emmett tells News 88.7’s Davis Land, although he notes that the county does plan “to have Riverside provide primary and mental health care as part of the Harris Health System,” the network of publicly-owned county hospitals that provide care to under- and uninsured patients. [Houston Public Media] Photo: Ed Emmett

10/18/18 2:15pm

WRITE HEADLINES FOR SWAMPLOT! Swamplot’s longtime Headlines writer is moving on to body-copy opportunities elsewhere. So we’re on the hunt for a new freelancer to put together our regular morning roundups of Houston real-estate-related headlines. We’re looking for someone who can quickly comb through local coverage from a wide variety of sources, identify notable details, and reframe the gist of each link to meet Swamplot’s editorial standards and the demands of our discerning readers — then assemble it all into a neat package by early each weekday morning. This is an ideal gig for a smart and dependable writer who’s familiar with the lay of the land here and who’s looking for a little productive structure to kick off each day. You’ll need to be comfortable working independently, but also be available for collaboration with a small editorial team. (Please note: If you’re in the real estate biz, this would not be a good role for you.) To apply, just send us an email with “Headlines writer” in the subject line. Introduce yourself in a single paragraph and add another paragraph explaining why you’re interested in this work. Attach a resume and relevant writing samples if you’ve got them on hand (but they aren’t required). If we’re interested in what we see, we’ll follow up quickly.

10/18/18 12:00pm

Preservation Houston’s annual Good Brick Tour is less than 2 weeks away. And it’s Swamplot’s Sponsor of the Day today. Thanks for supporting this site!

The large Craftsman-style home shown above has been a Montrose landmark since 1921, when local builder Ewart Lightfoot created a family home with many unique features — including a massive fireplace made of stones collected from the Houston Ship Channel and colorfully decorated ceiling beams. The property has never left the Lightfoot family; the house, its furnishings, and its fixtures have been painstakingly restored. (The distinctive pink on the exterior is the home’s original color.)

This home, at 3702 Audubon Pl., along with 4 other award-winning historic homes and buildings dating from 1892 to 1949, will be welcoming visitors in the 2018 edition of the Good Brick Tour. Guided tours to all the properties will take place from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 27, and Sunday, October 28.

Purchase advance tickets for the 2018 Good Brick Tour online for $25 per person through Thursday, October 25. After that, prices will go up: Tickets will be available for $30 per person at any tour location during the weekend. Tickets are valid both days of the tour and provide 1 admission to each location on the tour.

Preservation Houston has recognized all the properties on this tour with Good Brick Awards for excellence in historic preservation. The other locations on this year’s tour are:

  • Heights Textile Mill, 611 W. 22nd St., Houston Heights: This sprawling 1894 factory has been redeveloped; it now provides unique commercial space, studios, and offices.
  • 67 Tiel Way, River Oaks: This expansive 1949 home is one of the last two surviving MacKie & Kamrath midcentury designs on this curving street along Buffalo Bayou.
  • 2119 Lubbock St., Old Sixth Ward: This classic Victorian home built in 1892 by an immigrant German carpenter was rescued from collapse by a caring new owner.
  • 924 Louise St., Sunset Heights: This comfortable 1921 bungalow, renovated for a new owner, retains the charm of its Craftsman style design.

Show off what’s unique about Houston to Swamplot’s engaged audience. Become a Sponsor of the Day.

Sponsor of the Day
10/18/18 8:30am

Photo of home in Riverside Terrace: Bill Barfield via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
10/17/18 4:00pm

The 2 new buildings that the River Oaks Baptist School plans to start constructing side by side next month don’t have much in common with each other besides their location. The brick one — shown left to right at the video’s 9-second mark — mimics the look of the existing campus structures north of Westheimer and west of Willowick, one of which it abuts. Dubbed the school’s “Leadership Center,” it’s planned to house administrative staff along with some other adults. The taller, southern building on the other hand takes things in an entirely new direction with its multi-level, saw-tooth-edged terraces. Each one of its 4 floors will belong to a specific grade: fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth. Right now, they all share space  with pre-K through fourth grade students in the existing campus north.

By adding on 160,000-sq.-ft., ROBS will more or less double its existing footprint — reports the HBJ‘s Fauzeya Rahman — and push out to front Westheimer directly (where a new “guard entrance” will go), displacing the former Walgreens building that sits behind Pinkberry and Zoë’s Kitchen’s shared restaurant structure in the process. It’ll also make room for the school to start adding “10 students per grade level,” to what’s now an 853-kid count, Rahman writes, over an unspecified period of time. Follow along to the spot about 35 seconds in, when the camera glides into the first floor of the modern building offering a view of where its youngest tenants will congregate.

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Virtual Video Tour
10/17/18 1:30pm

ON THE PEARLAND ARBY’S MENU THIS WEEKEND: DUCK SANDWICH SPECIAL Saturday is Duck Sandwich debut day at the Pearland Arby’s on Shadow Creek Pkwy., one of just 16 locations across the U.S. chosen for the promo — a chain spokeswoman tells Nations Restaurant News reporter Bret Thorn — because of their proximity to “waterfowl migration flyways,” areas where duck-hunting is a popular pastime. “Based on past experience from similar Arby’s LTOs [Limited Time Offerings],” like the venison sandwich special of 2016 and elk offering the following year, Thorn expects supplies to sell out in “less than a day.” After arriving in-store from global, Indiana-headquartered duck supplier Maple Leaf Farms, the breasts will be seared and cooked in sous-vide (sealed in pouches and placed in hot water) before landing on a bun along with “fried onions and smoked cherry sauce.” [Nation’s Restaurant News; list of participating Arby’s] Video: Arby’s