We are now ready to announce the official nominees for the 4th category in this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. This year, what was the Houston area’s Most Notable Recycling Effort?
Let your votes in this category be heard — yes, all 4 of them! You’re allowed to vote once in a comment at the bottom of this post, once in an email to our super-top-secret email address, once through Twitter, and once on the wall of Swamplot’s Facebook fan page. (You can read more about our crazy voting rules here.) If you want to swing the voting toward your favorite candidate, go ahead: Start an email or social-networking campaign. The polls for this and all categories in the 2011 Swampies will close at 5 pm on Tuesday, December 27th.
The official nominees for 2011 Most Notable Recycling Effort are . . .
1. Houston Permitting Center, 1002 Washington Ave, Downtown. “Studio RED’s rehab of an 86-year-old former rice warehouse gave the city a chance to try out many of the strategies and materials touted by its own Green Building Resource Center. Mini recycling projects are sprinkled throughout: A former freight elevator shaft reused as a stairwell; a nearby freeway overpass commandeered for shaded parking; a green roof watered by AC condensate. There’s Hurricane Ike-tossed wood on the elevator floor, and art installations on every level. Oh, and you can get building permits there, too.”
2. El Real Tex-Mex Cafe, 1201 Westheimer, Montrose. “Kept and restored not only the building and facade of the former Tower Theatre (much improved from the building’s previous video-store makeover) but also worked the theme of the old movie theater into the restaurant. Plus, the owners reused chairs and other items from the El Real’s godfather down the street, Felix Mexican Restaurant. Nice to see a neighborhood building recycled and repurposed.“
3. Arts Complex in Former JCPenney, West Oaks Mall, Westheimer Rd. at Hwy. 6, Alief. “If it takes off, L.A. artist Sharsten Plenge’s plan to transform a long-vacant mall department store into a multi-use arts complex could help pull Houston’s arts scene into the western suburbs. Even if it doesn’t, it’ll still be fun to see what a few courageous artists or arts groups cook up for the massive, eerie, and mostly windowless space.”
4. Julia Ideson Library, 500 McKinney St., Downtown. “The just-completed $32 million redo gives the city back its grand original 1926 central library, rescuing it from a 35-year stint as the Metropolitan Research Center. The city’s archives are now stored in a new wing; the building’s main reading room, children’s room, murals, and almost all of the original furniture are back and good as new.“
5. Friends of Houston Public Library, 6510 W. Little York Rd., East Little York (warehouse). “The city’s best-kept recycling secret accepts more than 150,000 donated and discarded books from library and personal collections each year. Volunteers sort or skim through them all, then sell high-dollar volumes online. Those proceeds, along with the receipts from 2 annual bargain book sales at the George R. Brown, raise as much as $80,000 a year for the library system. Books left over from the sales that aren’t donated to schools and shelters are recycled: 10,000 lbs. of books every 2-to-3 weeks!”
6. Punks who steal copper wiring from under trailer homes and off the sides of businesses, various locations around town. “Also, pilferers of brass water supply and sprinkler valves. The entrepreneurial spirit this country was founded upon! And living proof that recycling can happen organically.“
7. City of Houston ReUse Warehouse, 9003 N. Main St., Independence Heights. “Drop off used building materials (doors, lumber, tile, windows, fencing, etc.); the city makes them available for free to nonprofit organizations. We got paint, wallpaper, picket fencing, and garden stakes for our staging of Oklahoma! — and dropped off tile and landscape timbers left over from a recent project. Warehouse personnel couldn’t be nicer. It’s a great way to keep a lot of stuff out of landfills.“
8. CompuCycle, 7700 Kempwood Dr., Kempwood Industrial Park. “Refurbishes and resells — or demanufactures and recycles — almost any electronic device you wouldn’t know what to do with otherwise. And your computers and phones won’t end up in overseas landfills, because all the downstream recycling centers it sends parts to are audited. It’s now an official City of Houston recycling location too. The city’s most successful and effective actual green business.“
9. Sundance Cinemas, 510 Texas Ave., Bayou Place, Downtown. “What a transformation: The former Angelika Film Center has been recycled as . . . a movie theater! But this time there’s a more Sundance-y feel, with lots of reclaimed wood inside, and you can have a meal or cocktail in your reserved seats. Only time will tell how many — and what sorts of — people will be repelled by the ~$13+ ticket prices. But the parking is still free!“
So . . . which recycling effort wins it? Vote away!
- How To Vote in the 2011 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate [Swamplot]
- Swamplot Awards Ballots 2011 [Swamplot]
Photos: Candace Garcia (Houston Permitting Center, Ideson Library, ReUse Warehouse, Sundance Cinemas), Flickr user jnavarro822 (El Real), Sharsten Plenge, Pacific Capital Retail Partners (JCPenney), Friends of Houston Public Library, Loyd Overcash/Montgomery County Police Reporter (Copper at Glenloch Country Club), CompuCycle