09/06/18 2:30pm

A sign spotted up on the chain’s East End location (pictured at top) by a thrifty Redditor informs customers that the last 2 Sand Dollar stores will be closing at the end of this month, bringing an end to the retailer’s 37-year run. Both the 7018 Harrisburg Blvd. and 1903 Yale St. stores are now in clearance mode: All purchases over $20 (before tax) are half-off.

Down in Pasadena, the 2535 Spencer Hwy. store has already been emptied:

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Everything Must Go
07/12/18 10:00am

One keenly observant HAIFer who’s been watching for signs of change at 5521 Navigation Blvd. has now pieced together what’s happening there: it’s planned to house a new beer venue dubbed Symbolic Brewing. Renovations haven’t begun yet on the empty brick warehouse — shown see-through from its east side in the photo above — but according to a recent Facebook post from the business, brewers are now in talks with contractors about what to do with the place.

The building sits on narrow, just-under-an-acre plot that fronts Navigation — as shown in the photo at top — and backs up to a rail line running along the southern oxbow in Buffalo Bayou dubbed Turkey Bend. Roughly five times its size is the Farmer Brothers coffee plant across the street, where production emits strong notes of java.

Photos: Swamplox inbox

East End Uppers and Downers
07/10/18 3:30pm

Surf’s up at El Segundo Swim Club, the Second Ward swimming pool bar that’s now soaking up the sun on the formerly vacant lot at 5180 Avenue L, north of Navigation Blvd. The watering hole has been inviting swimmers in to take a dip over the past few days through a series of ticketed preview events that are planned to continue through this weekend.

Shade comes courtesy of the bright orange umbrellas now surrounding the pool deck — in place of the folded-up, gray ones shown above during the site’s transition phase back in February. A few modified shipping containers give visitors room to get out of the sun, too — except for the one on the left in the photo at top; it houses the bar.

The 15,000-sq.-ft. lot didn’t have much flora before the redo, but that’s changed thanks to these transplants:

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Wet Bar
06/15/18 1:00pm

The middle structure in the row of 3 warehouses on McFarland St. just north of Navigation is seeing some new action since former NASA flight controller Caroline Kostak turned it into RePurpose Depot, a material reuse retail space selling cheap lumber, siding, flooring, fixtures, and other supplies and furnishings. Before opening the retail operation last December, she’d worked on salvaging materials from soon-to-be demolished houses. The space at 305 McFarland now draws its inventory from those kinds of deconstruction missions as well as donations.

That makes it a hub for homeowners looking for building supplies after Harvey, along with thrifters seeking more ornamental, DIY-ish trinkets. A grand opening is planned for next Saturday, June 23.

Photos: Swamplox inbox

Off Navigation
03/08/18 4:00pm

Aerosol artist Enrique Figueroa Jr. — also known as Gonzo247 — is about 3 months into his work on a new version of the Rebirth of Our Nationality mural that once faced Canal St. between Norwood and Linwood streets in the East End. Leo Tanguma’s original 1973 work faded over time and was whitewashed last summer. He’s now providing Figueroa with some remote assistance on the redo.

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A Fresh Coat
02/12/18 4:30pm

Coming soon to the long-vacant lot next to the Cemex cement plant on Navigation east of Lockwood: El Segundo Swim Club, a swimming pool bar shown still under construction but already watered in the photos above. Work on the 1,350-sq.-ft. pool and its surroundings began last July, 2 months after an entity connected to developer Matthew Healey bought the property on the corner of Avenue L and N. Edgewood St. The photos above look over the barbed wire up on the corner of Avenue L to show the 15,000-sq.-ft. yard planted with umbrellas, chairs, a hammock, and a converted shipping container.

A view from N. Edgewood St. shows the freight container fronting the pool:

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Adult Swim
11/21/17 3:30pm

Leo Tanguma‘s 240-ft.-long, 70-character 1973 mural slowly peeling from the southern facade of the former Continental Can Company warehouse in the East End (pictured above in 2013) was whitewashed over the summer. Mario Enrique Figueroa Jr. — better known to Houstonians as Gonzo247 — is now hard at work on the Chicano-art landmark’s replacement: creating with a small crew a mural of the same name, size, location, characters, and intention. These recent photos show the progress so far:

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Gonzo, Not Forgotten
09/26/17 3:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT’S FLOWING TOWARD HOUSTON’S EAST END “The entire East End except for a handful of homes near the bayou in Idylwood drains well and doesn’t flood. Allison, Ike, Harvey . . . nada. The steady drip drip of people moving over here might become a real flood now though.” [Dana-X, commenting on High and Dry in EaDo; Theatrical Shelter at the GRB; Elevated Before Harvey, Just in Time]

07/28/17 12:30pm

BUFFALO BAYOU PARTNERSHIP NOW LOOKING EAST OF DOWNTOWN, MAKING PLANS The landscape architecture firm that rejiggered the grounds of the Menil Collection and has put forward a new plan for Hermann Park will now be turning its attention to Buffalo Bayou east of Downtown, where the waterway widens ahead of the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates will lead an effort to create a new master plan for the bayou’s “East Sector” — the section between Hwy. 59 and the Turning Basin — the Buffalo Bayou Partnership announced yesterday. Also on the team of consultants the nonprofit waterway overseers has selected to create the plan: the firm formerly known as Morris Architects, which a few months ago switched its name to that of its parent company, Huitt-Zollars. The partnership says it wants a plan that reflects the cultural and industrial background of the area, that will help connect surrounding neighborhoods to the bayou, and that creates green spaces that can help revitalize that part of Houston. [Buffalo Bayou Partnership] Photo: Buffalo Bayou Partnership

07/26/17 2:30pm

The HAR listing for the home at 5116 Avenue H in the Second Ward, for sale for $99,990, identified the property’s subdivision as MEX Y CAN. Which seemed notable enough in the rapidly changing neighborhood for the curious name to appear as discussion fodder yesterday on Reddit. The subdivision name is accurate, appearing on county tax records: The property’s developer was required to give a name to the subdivision when the single 5,000-sq.-ft. lot on which it stood (at the time part of a subdivision named Engel) was divided into thirds last year, in order to allow him to sell off individually the 3 existing homes on the property. “Actually no one had any comments [on the name] at the time of replatting,” the developer notes.

MEX Y CAN, the name he assigned to the subdivision, “is for the name Mexican and (Y in Spanish) Canadian,” he explains to Swamplot. “The love of my life is Mexican and I am Canadian. . . . There is no other meaning or significance behind it.” The motivation for choosing this particular name? “Having myself, the love of my life, and our desire to be memorialized in the area for eternity like our love.”

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Subdivided
01/19/17 1:00pm

WHERE YESTERDAY’S SEWAGE OVERFLOWS FLOWED 69th St. Wastewater Treatment Plant, Magnolia Park, Houston, 77011Yesterday’s floodwater caused diluted sewage releases from the 69th St. Wastewater Treatment Plant, located near the crossing of 69th St. over Buffalo Bayou (just upstream from the new Buffalo Bend Nature Park and the Port of Houston Turning Basin). Houston Public Media notes the city’s rundown on where and how much: “The estimated volume of released wastewater as of 6 p.m. Wednesday was approximately 500,000 gallons at Halls Bayou at US 59 at Parker Rd.; approximately 160,000 gallons at White Oak Bayou Near Interstate 45 N. at Wrightwood St.; and approximately 500,000 gallons at Buffalo Bayou near the University of Houston Downtown, officials said.” The city also says anybody using their own private water wells in those areas should get them checked out (and boil water in the meanwhile). The 69th St. plant is the city’s largest wastewater facility, as well as a production site of Hou-Actinite fertilizer. [Houston Public Media; previously on SwamplotPhoto of 69th St. Wastewater Treatment Plant: Webber

01/04/16 10:15am

Glenbrook Golf Course, 8205 N Bayou Dr., Meadowbrook, Houston, 77017

As the clock ticked over into 2016, Houston Botanic Garden and the Houston Golf Association each had something else to celebrate: both groups met end-of-year 5-million-dollar fundraising goals required by agreements with the City to carry forward their respective plans for 2 east Houston golf courses. The golfers raised enough money to move forward with preservation and renovation of Gus Wortham Golf Course, at 7000 Capitol street (south of the Houston Ship Channel Turning Basin, where Wayside meets Polk). Houston Botanic Garden had initially pushed to add some color to the oldest greens in Texas and redevelop the Brays-Bayou-side space as a public garden.

That garden is now planned instead for above-pictured Glenbrook Golf Course, a semi-maintained set of greens-turned-greenspace along Sims Bayou north of 45 from Hobby Airport (just outside the southeast corner of the Loop).

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Teeing Off in East Houston
10/30/14 1:15pm

Finca Tres Robles Farm, 257 N. Greenwood St., East End, Houston

Two brothers who have opened a new agricultural venture in Houston’s East End are billing it as Houston’s “first private farm inside the 610 Loop.” Amid the gritty industrial wilds of N. Greenwood St. between Navigation and Canal — just a few blocks south of Buffalo Bayou’s Turkey Bend —Finca Tres Robles (spelled out and illustrated helpfully in the photo above) now sprouts on land owned by Electro-Coatings, a plating company. Other less bucolic neighbors, such as Baker Oil Tools and the US Zinc Houston Dust Plant, lurk nearby.

Until its 1996 purchase by Electro-Coatings (along with a warehouse owned by Sara Lee), the 1.2-acre plot now occupied by the farm served as a TxDOT service site. It lay vacant for the last 18 years. Beginning 6 or 7 months ago, the new proprietors jackhammered away the vestigial asphalt; they’ve since composted the lot and commenced agricultural operations.

Here’s the plan:

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Finca Tres Robles