12/15/17 5:00pm

AN UPDATE ON THE LEAKY OIL WELL IN MISSOURI CITY All liquids that spewed from the oil well on McHard Rd. just west of the Fort Bend Tollway after its blow-out accident last Wednesday have been removed from the ground surrounding the facility, the Missouri City Office of Emergency Management now reports. But that’s just the wet stuff. Workers from Haz Mat Special Services have so far dug up 1,200 of an expected 5,200–7,200 yards of possibly contaminated dirt from the immediate vicinity, to be replaced with soil from somewhere else. What else can they do? “Crews have also sprayed the area to reduce the odor. Air monitoring is still on going. Crews are also trying to prep the area for the predicted rain fall the region may receive.” [Missouri City Emergency Preparedness; previously on SwamplotPhoto: Fort Bend County OEM

12/15/17 4:00pm

Keeping with its tradition of opening restaurants in clusters, Goode Co. Kitchen and Cantina will open Monday just west of an existing Goode Co. Barbeque. Just Clifford Rd. and 3 structures — a 3-story office, Saltgrass Steak House, and Carter’s Country gun store — separate the new Goode Co. location from the existing one at 8911 Katy Fwy. The new restaurant will open in the former Mason Jar Restaurant & Cafe pictured above at 9005 Katy Fwy., a 6,500-sq.-ft. building that’s been closed since the lease ran out last year.

Goode Co. opened its first Kitchen and Cantina restaurant 3 months ago in the same building as an existing Goode Co. Barbeque in Shenandoah. In Upper Kirby, the 40-year-old chain’s original barbecue spot sits within 2 blocks of 3 other Goode Co. restaurants.

The 9005 Katy Fwy. restaurant will be the brand’s 9th store total.

Photos: Barry B. (Mason Jar), Goode Co. (Kitchen and Cantina)

Kitchen and Cantina
12/15/17 11:30am

A flyer put out by Braun Enterprises indicates that the Harp Irish Pub’s spot at 1625 Richmond Ave is available for lease. A partnership controlled by Braun bought the decked-out bar along with its 3 eastern neighbors (at that time Orange Bar, Maria Selma Mexican Restaurant, and Lucky Burger) in 2011. Since then, Lucky Burger was replaced by Oui Banh Mi on the corner of Richmond and Mandel St., Orange Bar ceded its space to Revelry on Richmond, and Maria Selma reopened — then closed — as Texas Shrimp Shack.

Texas Shrimp Shack’s vacant lot at 1617 Richmond, right next to the Harp, is also up for lease.

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Castle Court
12/14/17 4:30pm

KHOU is showing a rendering of the new Downtown satellite studio it plans to open in a storefront space that’s part of Avenida Houston, the collection of restaurants and entertainment venues Houston First has been corralling into the George R. Brown convention center’s expanded frontage along Avenida de Las Americas. The 780-sq.-ft. studio will be KHOU’s first venture out into the city since its mid-Harvey retreat to UH. It’s expected to open next March at 1001 Avenida de Las Americas and will be used for portions of the station’s programming.

The rendering shows tables and chairs placed in a cordoned-off area outside the studio’s storefront. According to the organization’s press release, the teevee station’s new pied-à-terre “will have the flexibility to open on to the plaza, enabling reporters to directly engage with the public.

Image: Houston First

Downtown News Desk
12/14/17 2:30pm

THE WOODLANDS BEATS HOUSTON TO ITS DOCKLESS BIKESHARING FUTURE While Houston’s city council debates proposed new regulations that might allow as many as 6 competing companies to let loose as many as 3,500 new leave-’em-anywhere shared bicycles each across the city over the course of a year, The Woodlands has decided to go ahead with its own smaller kiosk-free program — with a single vendor. Mobike, a 2-year-old Chinese company now ranked as the largest bike-sharing organization in the world, will begin unleashing 50 to 100 bicycles, mostly intended to be used around The Woodlands Town Center. The company has operated in Washington DC since September. The Woodlands Township entered into the agreement with Mobike after a pilot program approved in October with Houston docked-bike vendor B-Cycle stalled. [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Mobike

12/14/17 12:45pm

The former packaging warehouse at 7800 Washington — on its way to being reworked so that offices, furniture showrooms, and a restaurant can move into it, likely next year — already has a new tenant in place: The Study, a pop-up gallery and shop selling prints, greeting cards, and design-y gifts. Los Angeles-based artist Jacqueline Levine runs the store, which opened late last month in the southeast corner of the 66,000-sq.-ft. building.

Levine’s father, Larry Levine, is hoping a restaurant will take over the space once more of the building is ready for tenants. He’s the president of Levcor, the development firm that bought the building last year. The Study will be open through January, although it’ll take some holiday time off beginning on December 24.

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The Study
12/13/17 4:45pm

PETER H. BROWN, 1936–2017 Peter Brown, who passed away yesterday, wore many hats — he was an urban planner, architect, neighborhood activist, city council member, and occasional rapper — as well several distinctive long scarves. Amidst other civic legacies, he leaves behind a substantial back catalog of YouTube videos — in which an unseen cameraperson chronicles Brown’s peripatetic musings on various aspects of Houston’s occasionally urban landscape. As “Pedestrian Pete” on both a Facebook page and YouTube channel of the same name, Brown explored “the good, the bad, and the ugly pedestrian conditions of Houston”: He scoured neighborhoods in search of traversable sidewalks, railed against car-centric attributes of the Heights Walmart, and strolled along Lower Westheimer in conversation with Annise Parker, who had defeated him in his 2009 run for mayor. Brown was 81. [Houston Chronicle; previously on SwamplotVideo: Pedestrian Pete

12/13/17 10:45am

CITY: WE OWN THE BROADACRES ESPLANADES; HOA PREZ: NEIGHBORHOOD TRUST OWNS THE GRASS The Houston Public Works department confirms in a press release that the esplanades and streets on North, South, and West boulevards in Broadacres are in the public right-of-way. But lookie here what Diane Cowen at the Chronicle reports: “Cece Fowler, president of the Broadacres HOA, said that it’s been determined that while the city owns the streets on North, South and West boulevards as well as the brick sidewalks that run down the middle of the esplanades, the Broadacres Trust owns the grass.” Also, according to Cowen, the park along Parkway Dr. is owned by the trust. The HOA placed NO PHOTO SHOOTS signs along the esplanades and in the park last Thursday, but removed some of them over the weekend. The rest were taken down on Monday, ahead of the city’s statement that “The public ROW is available for anyone in the community to use for legal activities, including personal photography. Signs and blocking the public ROW are not allowed without specific permission from the City of Houston.” The signs — 13 total according to Cowen — cost the HOA $1,300. [Houston Chronicle; previously on SwamplotPhoto: Swamplot inbox

12/12/17 3:30pm

Study the photo at top carefully and you’ll see 2 eye-catching features that were installed in November: the gaping, cycloptic sculpture at the entrance to the parking lot outside 7800 Washington, as well as new lettering spelling out THE STUDY on the warehouse’s awning. Developer Levcor bought the 66,000-sq.-ft. brick building — at that time home to Brian Thomas Display & Packaging — last year and filed construction permits in September to begin renovating it into a space for offices, furniture showrooms, and a restaurant.

Before and after views show how the building’s front side on Washington, just northwest of the Katy Fwy., will be transformed:

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Cottage Grove
12/12/17 11:45am

BROADACRES HOA TAKES DOWN ITS ESPLANADE NO-PHOTOSHOOT SIGNS The Broadacres Homeowners Association has removed all signs posted on the esplanades along North, South, and West boulevards welcoming visitors and telling them photoshoots are prohibited. As to whether the esplanades are public or private property — that’s still up in the air: “The homeowners association said the property was deeded to the group in the 1920s, and is looking for the documentation to enforce its ban.” The HOA initially placed the 11 signs on the esplanades last Thursday. [abc13; Previously on SwamplotPhoto: Swamplot inbox

12/11/17 1:30pm

WHO OWNS THE ESPLANADES ON NORTH AND SOUTH BOULEVARDS? The president of the Broadacres Homeowners Association, Cece Fowler, tells the Houston Chronicle’s Diane Cowen last weekend that the neighborhood’s esplanades, as well as the park along Parkway Dr., are owned by the HOA. However, Cowen says that according to the City of Houston, the esplanades are part of the city’s Adopt-An-Esplanade program, making them public right-of-way. The dispute continues: “Fowler said that she and her board are conducting a title search to prove their ownership. She said the neighborhood has maintained and financed the esplanades and green space from the beginning.” That maintenance took a new turn last Thursday when 11 signs prohibiting photoshoots were erected on the esplanades. According to Fowler, the gatherings had become more than a nuisance: “up to 40 to 50” were occurring per week beneath the canopies of oaks that line the boulevards between Mandel St. and Parkway Dr. The 26 homeowners that make up the community discussed mitigation strategies like putting in speed bumps, adding a gate to the neighborhood, or hiring full-time security personnel before settling on the signs as a more cordial means of discouraging shutter-happy visitors. Now that they’re up, residents hope they’ll keep out flashbulbs as well as the props that sometimes come with them: “Fowler said some have brought in sofas and bookcases and one group drove a Jeep onto the esplanade, damaging the grass, brick sidewalk and sprinkler system. They throw confetti onto the ground and release Mylar balloons into the trees. And all bring photography equipment and crews that hang around for hours.”  [Houston Chronicle; previously on SwamplotPhoto: Swamplot inbox