03/19/08 2:33pm

Name the District Contest Graphic, East Downtown District

The East Downtown Management District has hired a Houston design firm to come up with a new name for the triangular area between I-45, Highway 59, and the railroad tracks that separate it from the Greater East End to the east. Apparently, “East Downtown” isn’t good enough. So the design firm, Good Project, has set up a contest. You get to name it!

The winning name will be chosen by the district’s board of directors and announced in a press release on the Name the District website sometime after the competition closes on May 15th. The district board expects the winning entry to become the official name of the district and be used on signage throughout the neighborhood.

Good Project was involved in naming both Sonoma and the Highland Tower, but this is the company’s first stab at naming an entire neighborhood.

So what do you get if you win the contest? Glory? Yes. Fame? No. A representative of Good Project tells Swamplot that there are no plans to give credit to any person who submits a winning entry:

. . . we are already getting multiples of many of the same names and if consensus ends up being the voice that names the neighborhood then it would be impossible to call out just one individual. Most people are content with being included in the process, this is an opportunity that is rarely afforded to the citizens of any city.

That’s right! Naming is a job usually reserved for specialists.

So how can you help? If you’ve got a great name for the East Downtown district, send an email with your suggestion to entry@namethedistrict.com. If you’ve got a great name but want some recognition for your efforts, add a comment below this message on Swamplot after you send your email to the contest — so everyone can see what name you suggested and when.

If your entry is chosen by the District Formerly Known as East Downtown and we’ve got evidence in our comments that you posted it below before anyone else, we’ll make sure you receive credit on Swamplot for your contribution!

03/13/08 10:23am

View from Main St. of New Houstonian Hotel and Condominiums, Texas Medical Center, Houston

From fuzzy video stills to washed-out photocopies: In the agenda handout for today’s Planning Commission hearing are hazy images that provide even more details about the new 40-story hotel and condo tower Medistar wants to build on Main St. in the Medical Center, at the eastern boundary of Southgate.

The drawing labels identify the hotel as the Houstonian Texas Medical Center, or Houstonian TMC for short. The architect is the Hill Glazier Studio of HKS, out of California. And a section drawing gives an actual height for the tower.

After the jump: It’s very tall!


02/29/08 3:30pm

Screen Capture of Planning Commission Discussion of New Medistar 40-Story Condo and Hotel Tower at Dryden and Main St., near Southgate, Texas Medical Center, Houston

Thanks to some intrepid reporting lazy online-video scanning over here at Swamplot, we now have more information about Medistar’s 40-story hotel and condominium tower planned for the corner of Dryden and Main St. in the Medical Center.

Yesterday, the Planning Commission voted to defer any consideration of Medistar’s request for a lot-line variance along Main St. But the president of the Southgate Civic Club voiced his objections to the variance — and other aspects of the project — anyway.

After the jump, more stills from the civic-club president’s presentation to the Planning Commission, plus a few bits of armchair analysis from our crack crew of expert TV watchers.


04/12/07 9:13am

Woodwind Lakes Website Logo

Here’s another Texas tale about discovering oil on your property—only not the way you’ve probably dreamed about. Don’t we all live on top of former oil fields around here? Many of us do, but in Woodwind Lakes, a relatively recent development inside the Beltway and north of 290, some residents are living on the more toxic and unremediated spoils of a former gas processing plant. Houston Press writer Todd Spivak unearths the gooey details:

The Brookses . . . hired Klein, a licensed geologist, to take more soil and groundwater samples from their backyard. The results were chilling.

Klein found elevated levels of benzene, ethylbenzene, styrene and acetone. Total petroleum hydrocarbons were detected as high as 23,000 milligrams per kilogram — more than twice the level deemed safe by state regulators.

Worst of all: A layer of hot, oily sludge was discovered just one to four feet below the surface. Touching the sod or breathing the air likely exposed them to dangerous contamination, Klein says.

There’s real drama here, but we’re only scratching the surface: What about the strange rashes on pets, the angst over diminishing property values, the vicious feuds among neighbors? It all highlights how easy it can be to put up fancy Houston homes just about anywhere. So many tiny scandals wrapped up in this spicy story: