05/21/18 4:30pm

Remember that North Canal that showed up in Plan Downtown’s maps and drawing last year and included a island in Buffalo Bayou? Well, TxDOT’s latest schematics for its planned I-45 reroute include a bypass and island as well — but in an entirely different location. The highway agency’s map above — with west facing up — indicates a new waterway draining into Buffalo Bayou right underneath the section of I-45 it plans to build in place of a portion of the Houston Housing Authority’s Clayton Homes neighborhood. How the canal gets there is obscured, but a straight course northwest appears to shoot the gap between 2 planned detention ponds and cross under the existing section of 59 (shaded gray), before linking up with the bayou again east of Elysian St. Marooned on TxDOT’s version of the make-believe, bayou-banked island the canal would create: a few of the houses in Clayton Homes.

As TxDOT’s caption makes clear, it’d be up to someone else to actually build the waterway. Doing so wouldn’t preclude the previously proposed North Canal from being dug further upstream. Plan Downtown’s less technical map at top shows that waterway beginning at White Oak Bayou and emptying into a bend of Buffalo Bayou just west of Elysian. In doing so, its course creates an exclusive new landmass home to the Harris County jail.

Road map: TxDOT. Downtown map: Plan Downtown

Offshored
05/21/18 1:00pm

The owners of the hamburger, Mexican food, barbecue, and fish restaurant on the northwest corner of Taft and Peden — dubbed “Greased Lightening Pit Stop” by the sign hanging on it for over a decade — have listed it for sale at $750,000. Also included in the offer: the storefront adjacent to it and a run-down bungalow diagonally behind the restaurant.

The bungalow sits on a separate, 5,000-sq.-ft. lot beyond the fence shown below:

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Taft and Peden
05/21/18 11:15am

If you look carefully at the photo above, you’ll see books are still on the shelf at 4103 Falkirk Ln., shown in the middle of its demolition last week. Work left an open-air reference section fronting the street from the fifth-of-an-acre parcel 2 blocks north of N. Braeswood. $500,000 is the asking price for the property, which hit the market last December. Since then, its across-the-street neighbor was also torn down, leaving a vacancy of the same size at 4102. Both houses went up in the early ’50s.

Photo of demolition: Swamplox inbox

Public Library
05/18/18 4:30pm

WHAT LANDLORDS HAVE OUSTED THE MOST TENANTS AFTER HARVEY, AND OTHER POST-DILUVIAN EVICTION FACTS Since Harvey, the odds of tenants beating their eviction lawsuits have doubled. But their chances are still pretty slim: landlords win 94% of the time (down 3.73% since August), notes Houston data analyst Jeff Reichman. His recent report on citywide eviction trends after the storm features a ranking of which landlords have kicked out the most tenants. (Although that accounting also includes owners of storage rental facilities.) Also in the report: a map (a preview of which is included above) showing post-storm eviction density by address, an analysis of the time it takes for evictions to get through Houston’s court system (an average of 20 days), and the months during which the most evictions have historically occurred (January, with subsequent high volume between June and August). [January Advisors] Map of evictions after Harvey: January Advisors

05/18/18 4:00pm

A pair of new renderings shows off the 2 food options planned for Levy Park — now in its second year of operation since the overhaul that reshaped and then reopened it last February. The kiosk depicted above — dubbed Love Shack — gets its name from chef Tim Love. (A previously-announced moniker, Love Bird, appears to have been scrapped.)

Love is also the operator behind the larger restaurant dubbed Woodshed Smokehouse that’s shown with a tall glass-walled dining room in the rendering at top. Below, a map of the park shows a spot labeled “Future Restaurant” in its bottom right corner:

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Preparing to Sprout
05/18/18 12:15pm

BUC-EE’S VS. CHOKE CANYON: BATTLE OF THE ROADSIDE MASCOTS The jury trial began yesterday in a federal lawsuit Buc-ee’s filed 3 years ago against Choke Canyon, a rival, San Antonio rest-stop chain with a cartoon alligator mascot Buc-ee’s claims is too similar to its own trademark grinning beaver. Buc-ee’s’s lawyer Tracy Richardson (who’s also on the legal team for the chain’s other ongoing infringement suit against Nebraska-based Bucky’s), reports the Chronicle’s Gabrielle Banks, kicked things off with a digital slideshow that chronicled the evolution of Choke Canyon’s gator species over time: “‘They put a human hat on the alligator,’ he said, ‘they opened his mouth. Then they made him stand, which — I’ve never seen an alligator stand.'” Couple that with the animals’ big eyes, red tongue, yellow background, and associated aquatic environs — said Richardson — and the likeness is confusing. (“You’re driving down the road at 80 miles per hour and you see a sign,” he said. “Did you really see what the logo was?”) Also at issue: Choke Canyon’s use of Buc-ee’s-like design elements in its stores, including a vaguely Alamo-like parapet front, stone siding, khaki-colored paint, and oversized bathrooms. (“We have large, clean bathrooms,” said Choke Canyon’s lawyer. “The last time I looked that’s not illegal.”) The jurors will be asked to decide “whether Choke Canyon set out to or actually did confuse customers with the overlap.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Logos: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

05/18/18 10:00am

All car-related signage has come down from the Heights building North Loop Auto Supply once occupied 9 blocks south of the North Loop on the northeast corner of Harvard and E. 20th. In its place, a banner for new restaurant Neo Baguette now hangs over the building’s 20th-St. doorway. An entity connected to developer Steve Radom bought the 2,331-sq.-ft. freestanding structure late last year and set about reworking it into something more suitable for a restaurant tenant to occupy.

Included in that effort: gardening work to add the tufty beds of flora that now front 20th St., the removal of the front gates and awning from the storefront entrance, the addition of new windows, and the erection of the 4 steel columns now attached to the building’s face. A parking lot to the east separates it from its next-door neighbor, Revive Salon and Spa.

Photo: Ken Barnes (Neo Baguette); LoopNet (auto parts)

Sandwich Signage
05/17/18 2:30pm

The Tree Tops at Post Oak apartment complex on Briar Hollow Pl. has been abandoned since August, “with many windows and doors open as well as no maintenance to the yards,” writes a reader. Also noted: survey markers, like the one stuck between the fence and the curb in the photo included. First floor units at the complex sit below street level, and had water “up to the ceilings,” during Harvey.

From the corner of Briar Hollow and Post Oak Park Dr., you can see wooden scaffolding fronting the lower-level units, behind the fence — and the overgrowth — that separates them from the street:

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Out of Order
05/17/18 11:45am

Title Boxing Club is the latest tenant on its way to the block-long former Midtowne Spa at 3100 Fannin St. Braun bought the building the same year the bathhouse shuttered in 2016, set up a 4,664-sq.-ft. office on the second floor, and began ushering other tenants into the building. Two months ago, Verizon opened at the south end of the structure, on the corner of Elgin and Fannin. In between it and the national boxing chain’s new location, a Bishops hair salon is planned.

The bathhouse — pictured above from the north before its recent whitewashing treatment — had been in the building since at least the ’80s. Other locations still operate under the same brand in Denver and Los Angeles.

Its first floor included this swimming pool and hot tub setup:

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No Longer Midtowne Spa
05/16/18 4:00pm

Paperwork filed recently with the city’s Historical Commission reveals the extent of flood damage at the 1960 Frame-Harper house on Westminster Dr. and what Stern & Bucek has planned for the home’s second redo in 11 years. The Houston architecture firm’s first renovation of Harwood Taylor’s original design smoothed out the rough edges of its previous additions and restored its ’50s swagger. Floodwaters from Harvey filled the home’s Buffalo Bayou–facing living room, pictured above after the 2007 redo, to nearly half its height.

This interior view shows how the structure chaperones you down towards the living room and the bayou:

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Wash and Wear
05/16/18 10:45am

Multiple angles on the fully built, but not-yet-open Heights Mexican restaurant building dubbed Calle Onze show how it’s shaped up on the corner of Allston and 11th St. long home to Jozzie’s Mobile Home Park. In its new format, the 13,200-sq.-ft property relegates parking to the lot on the right in the side view above from Allston. A patio, complete with fake grass, wraps the building to front 11th St (pictured at top), where it butts up against the western boundary of Eight Row Flint‘s corner spot off Yale.

The mobile home park, home to about 9 trailers in its final days, cleared out of the lot in March of last year:

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By Eight Row Flint