07/13/18 2:00pm

See that faint watermark in the aerial photo taken from up on the balcony? That’s the lap pool at the Parkside at Memorial Apartments just south of Memorial Dr., buried under more water than it’s designed to hold after the release of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs last August. Throughout the first floor of the surrounding buildings, the tide peaked at over 5-and-a-half ft. Workers spent the last 9 months helping the 4-year-old complex make a comeback; its leasing center officially reopened late last month — and on-site amenities now look less divey and more like the refurbished lap pool shown in the photo at top.

Other aquatic areas that took on more than they could handle include the complex’s other pool:

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The Deep End
03/28/18 12:00pm

OXY IN TALKS TO BUY CONOCOPHILLIPS’ CAMPUS Occidental Petroleum has its eyes on the 62-acre campus on N. Dairy Ashford off I-10 that ConocoPhillips has been planning to vacate since last year. In an email to Oxy employees, CEO Vicki Hollub said the company had found “a unique opportunity to acquire an office campus with the space and amenities to create a more modern work environment.” Oxy arrived in Greenway Plaza a few years after ConocoPhillips set up shop in its then-newly-built Dairy Ashford complex during the early 80s. Renovations made over the Conoco campus — pictured above — in 2008, but last year, the oil giant announced it’d be taking off for the 22-story Energy Center 4 building it had leased on the other side of I-10. The highrise neighbors the 2-stories-shorter Energy Center 3 tower, where employees of Conoco’s Lower 48 business unit are already stationed. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of ConocoPhillips headquarters, 600 N. Dairy Ashford Rd.: W.S. Bellows Construction  

10/23/17 4:00pm

A reader shows us a few through-the-fence glimpses of the massive demolition project that now appears to be taking place on the Shell Oil Company’s Woodcreek campus, just south of the Addicks Dam: 7 connected triangular 5-story office buildings and a separate cafeteria structure on the west side of the campus at 200 N. Dairy Ashford are all on the crushing block, according to a demo permit filed a couple of weeks after Harvey hit.

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Energy Corridor Clearance
10/19/17 3:30pm

Venturing into the upper reaches of the now officially empty Barker Reservoir near Addicks Clodine Rd. and south of the Audi West Houston dealership on I-10, reader Kyle Steck finds a mostly dry landscape. (The pictured lakes in the images are features shown in maps of the area.)

“In a few weeks it will turn from brown dead apocalypse to green wonderland,” he predicts.

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After the Watering
09/28/17 1:15pm

MAIN OFFICE TOWER AT BP ENERGY CORRIDOR CAMPUS WILL REMAIN EMPTY FOR MONTHS Major flooding after Hurricane Harvey knocked BP’s Westlake Campus out of commission for 3 weeks. Employees began moving back to their workspaces just south of I-10 between Eldridge and Hwy. 6 over the last few days, reports Collin Eaton — but only about a third of them: “BP executives still don’t know the full extent of the damage to its Westlake One tower, and they’re not sure exactly when it will reopen — although they expect that early next year. Floodwaters had risen to the top of the turnstiles in the lobby of the office building, filling the basement and bringing down the electrical systems. Contract workers piled thousands of sandbags around the building so they could start pumping out the rushing water.” [Houston Chronicle ($)] Photo of Westlake One, 501 Westlake Park Blvd.: Glassdoor

12/14/16 12:45pm

BP MOVING ONSHORE HQ OUT OF HOUSTON, WAY FURTHER ONSHORE Helios Plaza, Energy Corridor, Houston, 77079BP announced today that it plans to move the main office for its onshore oil and gas branch to Denver at the start of 2018, starting with about 200 employees (compared to about 450 currently in the Houston office). The company announced late this summer that it was pulling its employees out of the WestLake 4 tower (about 7 years before that lease would’ve been up); that news was followed up a few days later with an announcement that BP would also sell off its LEED-platinum Helios Plaza building (pictured above), which it built in 2010 as a trading office. The plan at the time was to lease back space in Helios from the new owner; the rest of the company’s Energy Corridor employees will stay in the WestLake 1 office tower, which BP also owns. [BP Media Affairs via Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Helios Plaza at 201 Helios Way: BP

08/02/16 3:45pm

Westlake Four, 200 Westlake Park Blvd., HoustonPlease don’t turn around and stare, but suddenly another entire office tower in the Energy Corridor has become available for lease — all 20 floors of it. Any takers?

So far, only one of the 2 extremely available towers appears to qualify as a genuine see-through building — that would be the 22-story completed-but-never-occupied Energy Center Four, at N. Eldridge Pkwy. and I-10, which back in June ConocoPhillips announced it was giving up on moving into but hoped some other company (or 32) would sublease from them. And now from Nancy Sarnoff comes the other dropping shoe: energy company BP, announcing that by early next year it plans to vacate Four Westlake Park, aka WestLake Four, a little more than a mile west along the freeway feeder road, at 200 Westlake Park Blvd. BP has 7 years to go on its lease for that 22-year-old property from New York-based Falcon Real Estate Investment Management.

Photo of Westlake Park Four: Steven Baker

Getting Lonely on the Katy Fwy.
06/14/16 4:45pm

400 W. Sam Houston Pkwy., Westchase, Houston, 77042

The 24.5-acre plot along the W. Sam Houston Pwky. formerly snagged by Schlumberger’s Cameron International looks to be back on the market, a reader notes. Dow Chemical’s quadruple-decade-plus facility got cleared off the land at the end of 2009 following the purchase of the property by an entity connected to Apache Corporation; the spot was sold to Cameron in 2013, when rumor had it that the company would build a skyscraper’s worth of office space on the site. The property was listed afresh by Newmark Grubb Knight Frank around the end of April.

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Energy Corridor Fadeout
07/09/15 2:15pm

Fire at Courtyard By Marriott Hotel, 18010 Park Row Dr., Ten Oaks, Park Row, Energy Corridor, Houston

12 hours after the Courtyard by Marriott under construction at the corner of Park Row and Barker Cypress burst into flames, fire crews are still dumping water on the building, a reader reports. Here’s a post-conflagration view of the soaking going on at Texas Western Hospitality’s hotel project. The 135-room, 4-story hotel on a 5.2-acre site at 18010 Park Row Dr., next door to the West Campus of Texas Children’s Hospital, had been scheduled to open in October. No injuries have been reported.

Photo: Brian Walz

Courtyard by Marriott
07/08/15 4:45pm

Construction Trailer for Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, 1111 N. Dairy Ashford St., Memorial, Houston

From the street, a Swamplot reader notes, the roll-on vehicle pictured here looks just like your typical construction trailer. But come around the side you can see the banner pinned to it, announcing a new Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers. The latest link in the growing fast-food chain is about to arrive on the former site of the Lucky Village Chinese Buffet that was torn down at 1111 N. Dairy Ashford last year. The new Freddy’s between St. Mary’s Ln. and Barryknoll will join a parade of beef purveyors (Sam’s Burgers, Lynn’s Steakhouse, Hebert’s Specialty Meats) and fast-food joints (Jack-in-the-Box, Sonic, and the Raising Cane’s right next door) lining the west side of Dairy Ashford, roughly opposite Spring Branch ISD’s AstroTurf-lined Darrell Tully Stadium.

Photo: Brian Walz

Steakburgers
04/24/15 12:00pm

Little White Church on Barker Clodine Rd. Being Moved to Iglesia Sobre La Roca, 433 S. Barker Cypress Rd., Katy, Texas

The white woodframe church that until recently stood with a collection of small buildings including the Barker General Store on the main, retracted campus of the Marks LH7 Ranch at 1010 Barker Clodine Rd. has been spotted nearby, fleeing encroaching apartment development along the far east end of Kingsland Blvd. at the northwest corner of George Bush Park. The church hasn’t traveled far: It’s arrived on the grounds of the neighboring Iglesia Sobre La Roca, aka Church on the Rock, at 433 S. Barker Cypress Rd. in Katy — just a quarter-mile to the north.

Here’s a photo of the church building as it was picked up from its previous home at 1010 Barker Clodine Rd., beyond the street-facing plaque that explains the remains of Houston’s last ranch:

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Last Roundup at Houston’s Last Ranch
03/27/15 1:00pm

13501 Katy Fwy., Energy Corridor, Houston

Here are pics of some of the clearing work PM Realty Group has been orchestrating along the south side of I-10 between Eldridge and Hwy. 6. The company bought the headquarters of the ExxonMobil Chemical Company at 13501 Katy Fwy. in late 2013, and announced plans for a mixed-use development including office towers, apartments, a hotel, a fitness center, restaurants, and convenience retail” on the 35-acre site. ExxonMobil was scheduled to exit the building (pictured below) this year:

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Scrubbing ExxonChemical
03/04/15 11:45am

Cornelius Nursery, 1200 N. Dairy Ashford Rd., Energy Corridor, Houston

Remember the Cornelius Nursery at 1200 N. Dairy Ashford Rd. just south of I-10, which closed down at the beginning of the year? (The photos here show the establishment, which sat at the corner of St. Mary’s Ln., just before its final uprooting.) The 3-acre property, it turns out, had been bought by an entity set up by Trammell Crow Residential in early December. A new complex called the Alexan Ashford Apartments is slated for the site. At least that’s the plan.

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Ashes to Ashford
02/20/15 1:30pm

The Heights at Park Row Apartments, Central Park, Energy Corridor, Houston

And now, a new 5-story apartment complex that’s outstanding in its field. Which is directly across I-10 from BP headquarters, and just south of the Addicks Reservoir. The reader who sent in this photo (showing the building at 13710 Park Row Dr. right in the center of the image) dubs it “Houston’s loneliest apartment complex.” But not for long — right?

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Where the Action Is