01/12/18 3:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHY IT PAYS TO RAISE THOSE FLOODED MEYERLAND HOMES “Also, let’s remember that flood insurance pays out $250k for structure and $100k for contents max (and these Meyerland homes are pricey, so maxing out the payment is possible). So, paying $350k to raise a house to avoid a future claim is — long-term — a better use of money. Yes, the amount itself is a shock out of context. Yes, it borders on ridiculous that this is related to the 2015 flood. Yes, the tax base would benefit more from paying to knock down the house and build new million dollar homes, but this is a better solution than buying the properties and removing them from the tax base.” [travelguy, commenting on What Houston Will Spend To Raise a Few Floody Houses in Meyerland] Photo of 5150 Braesheather Dr., to be elevated: HAR

01/11/18 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: THERE’S STILL A MISSING LINK IN THE BAYOU BIKE CONNECTOR “It’s not complete if you are trying to take the MKT Trail from the Heights into downtown and beyond while staying off streets. The Bayou Greenways interactive map still shows a dotted line for the missing connection between the MKT Trail and the stretch of the trail at Stude Park. When completed, that tiny section will make a big difference.” [Gretchen Lindquist, commenting on Houston’s Bayou Biking Connector Is Now Complete] Image: Bayou Greenways 2020

01/11/18 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: DIDN’T MEAN TO STOP AT PJ’S SPORTS BAR THAT NIGHT “Love the ‘he forgot his bumper’ story, but it’s not true. I was driving my S4 eastbound on W. Gray, and the Ford apparently ran the stop sign at Stanford northbound and knocked me across the road and into PJ’s. My car was smashed on both ends and definitely could not be driven. Maybe the cops towed it promptly — I was busy bleeding on the lawn and talking to witnesses as I waited on an ambulance. Two nights in the hospital, but I’ll be fine.” [Stefan, commenting on The New Audi-Sized Hole Drilled into PJ’s Sports Bar on W. Gray Last Night] Photo: Swamplot inbox

01/11/18 3:30pm

LOCAL VICTIMS OF THE NATIONWIDE SAM’S CLUB CLOSINGS: SOUTH LOOP, ELDRIDGE PKWY., NEW CANEY The Sam’s Club that serves as the terminus of Metro’s red line closed abruptly today along with one other Houston store in the shopping center on Westheimer at Eldridge Pkwy., and one in New Caney. The South Loop store occupies a 14-acre parcel of land west of the AutoNation car dealership and north of the Fanin South Metro stop. Opened last year, the New Caney store was the newest of the 3 to close. The shut downs come as part of 63 nationwide that parent company Walmart announced today. 11 stores are still open across the Houston area. [KHOU] Photo: Jason Miles

01/11/18 1:00pm

WHAT HOUSTON WILL SPEND TO RAISE A FEW FLOODY HOUSES IN MEYERLAND Houston City Council approved construction yesterday to raise 5 Meyerland houses — a subset of the 42 Houston homes FEMA paid the city $14.8 million to elevate back in 2015. One of those 42 houses has already been jacked up and 8 more are currently within the levitation process, according to the Chronicle’s Rebecca Elliott and John D. Harden. The costs to raise the 5 homes now slated for elevation 12 ft. above flood level — which include a few extra thousand dollars to put residents up in temporary lodging — range from $218,700 to $416,000 per property. In total, the bill comes to $1.6 million. Harris County appraises the total value of properties themselves from $125,906 to $507,152, with the value of improvements within that ranging from $34,700 to $201,200. One of the houses — 5150 Braesheather Dr. — shown above as it appeared before Harvey, is currently listed for sale. [Houston Chronicle; more info (items 24–28)Photo of 5150 Braesheather Dr.: HAR  

01/10/18 2:45pm

THE TIPLINE IS STANDING BY Drive-thru bail bonds agency opening up next to the Harris County Courthouse? To cover this city well, Swamplot needs your tips. So if you spot something interesting going on in your neighborhood, let us know! Taken some nice pics from around town? Send them to our Flickr group. If you’ve uploaded a video to YouTube you think we might be interested in, send us a link. While you’re at it, be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and sign up to be on Swamplot’s email list.

01/10/18 1:15pm

A TWIST IN THE MYSTERY OF WHO OWNS THOSE HEIGHTS HOLDOUT HOUSE BONES Maybe you were expecting DNA testing to identify those human remainsfound inside the wall of a Heights bungalow on Allston St.  — as those of Mary Cerruti, the missing 61-year-old woman who refused to let Trammell Crow annex her home as part of the Alexan Heights apartment complex the developer built on the block. After sending one of the recovered teeth to the University of North Texas last year to compare it to DNA samples from 3 of Cerruti’s relatives, the results are in — and there’s no exact match, reports Emily Foxhall. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences is still working to see if there’s any connection between Cerruti and skeleton left behind at 610 Allston, but according to a spokesperson, further study will take “a lengthy period of time.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: HAR

01/04/18 1:15pm

THE PROPOSED NEW RULES FOR ROOMING HOUSES A new PowerPoint presentation put together by the city’s Administrative and Regulatory Affairs department details the requirements that the city is proposing putting in place for rooming houses — places where 3 or more unrelated people live together. Among the standards that could be laid down for the unregulated buildings: requiring them to apply for annual permits, instituting building code inspections, and mandating the facilities have framed beds, posted and practiced fire evacuation plans, accessible fire extinguishers, working smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and first aid supplies. Mayor Turner announced last May that he was planning on stepping up regulations for the shared homes after a fire at one such facility on Griggs Rd. just east of OST killed 2 boarders in March. The city is presenting the proposed changes at a meeting in the Near Northside next Wednesday. New regulations for houses serving elderly, disabled, and formerly-incarcerated people are also up for consideration. [Administrative and Regulatory Affairs] Photo of rooming house at 4411 New Orleans St.: Roominghouses.net

12/29/17 1:00pm

2017, CHECKING OUT What a swampy lot of a year this has been for Houston, eh? Swamplot is taking off early today just to help get the thing over with. Here’s to a better 2018 for all of us, whatever your elevation or watershed. Check back with us on Tuesday, for more tales of what’s notable around town. Photo of Buffalo Bayou Park on a wintry day not too long ago: Marc Longoria, via the Swamplot Flickr pool

12/28/17 2:00pm

THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN–THEMED BREWERY COMING TO GARDEN OAKS’ BEER ROW Construction began earlier this month, reports Jen Para, on a 1,600-sq.-ft. brewhouse for Walking Stick Brewing Co. in Garden Oaks. Also on tap for the 16,948-sq.-ft. site at 957 Wakefield Dr., pictured above from the back, which faces Judiway: a 3,600-sq.-ft. bar and patio featuring the brewery’s 7 beers, each of which is named after a peak in the Rocky Mountains. Walking Stick will sit directly across the street from the volleyball courts at Wakefield Crowbar and its neighboring Great Heights Brewing Co. microbrewery. Petrol Station is at the end of the block, at Golf Dr. [Houston Business Journal] Photo: Walking Stick Brewery

12/27/17 4:30pm

THE WINKLER DR. WAREHOUSE NOW STUFFED WITH STUFFED ANIMALS Five estates’ worth of formerly wild game, as well as some other frontier-themed trinkets, are now sitting in the TexMAX Auctions warehouse at 9367 Winkler Dr., 3 miles northeast of Hobby Airport, ahead of an auction taking place there on January 20. Craig Hlavaty reports that in addition to the brown bear, black bear, and grizzly bear full body mounts, the 700-animal herd includes: “tigers, jaguars, and a few pygmy hippo mounts from animals that died of natural causes on a wildlife estate. Some of the mounts date back to the early ’80s, according to [John Brommel, the organizer of the auction].” There are also: “Six sets of ivory tusks which were acquired before Jan. 18, 1990, making them legal to buy and sell.” [Houston Chronicle; auction sitePhoto: Taxidermy King Auctions

12/26/17 12:30pm

A FLOOD OF CHRISTMAS DINERS AT VIETOPIA An impromptu performance surrounding a centerpiece aquarium greeted Christmas dinner diners at Vietopia yesterday. Loud screams accompanied the appearance of twin streams springing from a leak in the glass on the dining side of freestanding structure at the Vietnamese restaurant in the Plaza in the Park (better known as the Kroger shopping center just south of the Southwest Fwy. on Buffalo Spdwy.) As a steady fountain of fishwater aimed itself at a nearby table or 2, the restaurant’s staff sprung into action: Large plastic garbage cans were deployed quickly to catch the water, and waiters used nets to collect the fish and transport them to new homes. [Wendy G Young Lightwalker, via abc13] Video: Wendy G Young LightWalker

12/22/17 2:30pm

LIT FOR CHRISTMAS Our warmest and brightest holiday greetings to you — for Christmas and for any other important seasonal remembrances you celebrate. Swamplot is checking out early today, full of good cheer. And we’ll be taking a break from publishing for the long weekend, but our extensive archives of Houston real estate lore will of course will be available to resolve (or reignite) any heated disputes that might arise at family gatherings. Do please check back in with us again on Tuesday for the latest in late-2017 coverage of Houston’s vast built environs. Photo of O’Quinn Medical Towers: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool