COMMENT OF THE DAY: A BIG BLOW TO BAYOU BIKING “. . . Have been riding Ant Hills since 1994. People who do not frequent this stretch of bayou may not know its beauty or usefulness but will be an irreplaceable loss of being able to enjoy the outdoors in Houston if allowed to go forward.” [Turning_Basin, commenting on New Overflow Pools Coming To Clear Out Trees, Anthills from the South Side of Buffalo Bayou] Photo of Terry Hershey Park: Save Buffalo Bayou
Time’s almost up for a whole mess of trees lining the south side of Buffalo Bayou between Eldridge Pkwy. and Dairy Ashford (pictured at top), where the Harris County Flood Control District plans to construct the first 3 of a series of overflow basins. Removal of vegetation across the bayou from Nottingham Forest’s southern border is scheduled to begin within a few weeks; construction company Lecon has the $1.8 million contract to build the “linear stormwater detention compartments,” which are meant to accommodate a temporary visit of up to 90 acre-ft. of bayou water during a flood.
The trees and basins will be carved out of Terry Hershey Park. The district notes that some trees and vegetation may be preserved — forming a buffer “where possible” between the basins and private property to the south. Large sections of the popular Anthills Mountain Bike Trail, which the district notes “were built on publicly-owned land without written permission and without compensation to the public” will be cleared, though a portion that sits between the 2 westernmost basins will remain.
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DAIRY ASHFORD H-E-B GETTING AXED NEXT MONTH
H-E-B store number 471 in the Memorial Dr. strip at Dairy Ashford will close to the public next month, Nancy Sarnoff reports, but it’ll remain filled with food items. The company plans to turn it into a warehouse for its home delivery and curbside pickup services. The mini-store has been understocked relative to other H-E-Bs — and no matter how you slice up its 28,000 sq.-ft., “There just isn’t enough space to fit everything that you would be looking for,” company prez Scott McClelland said on Facebook yesterday. Its nearest regular-sized backup H-E-B: the standalone one nearly triple its size on Westheimer and S. Kirkwood, just under 3 miles away. [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Weingarten Realty
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
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
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
That’s not a retention pond pictured near the center of these aerial shots highlighting the vacant lot at 12906 Memorial Dr. — or at least that wasn’t its original main purpose: It’s the Sam Houston Tollway, shown filled almost to the brim after Hurricane Harvey flooding. “Lot has been cleared and is ready for construction,” declares the listing description for the featured 11,760-sq.-ft. vacant property, one house away from the corner of Memorial and Beltway 8. It’s now marked down to $505,000.
The only photos of the lot included in the listing are drone views that include the adjacent Memorial Dr. underpass, shown in its full-of-water configuration:
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Where the Water Goes
A sandwich update is in progress along Dairy Ashford directly opposite Fern Dr., across the street from Stratford High School and the Spring Branch ISD athletics complex. The Subway sandwich shop sandwiched between the shuttered locations of a printing company and a small used-car dealership has now been torn down after a brief Harvey reprieve. A reader sends in the above series of photos panning the combined and now-cleared 1.1-acre site at 851 Dairy Ashford, where a new 4,640–sq.-ft. Panera Bread building is scheduled to rise.
Photos: Swamplot inbox
Up from Subway
Here’s a commandeerable after-and-before flooding shot, taken from a drone hovering 300 ft. above Hwy. 6 just north of the Barker Reservoir spillway. Move the slider at the bottom of the image to toggle slowly between the 2 views, taken Thursday, August 24th (on the right, not long before the arrival of Hurricane Harvey) and Tuesday, August 29th (on the left, after stormwater filled the reservoir and the flooded the area). You can also rotate and zoom the image with your pointing device or finger.
In the initial view, the camera is facing straight down Addicks-Howell Rd.; the wider Hwy. 6 appears to veer off to the left. Addicks-Howell marks the entrance to Fleetwood, the adjacent neighborhood. Rotate the view 180 degrees to see the spillway.
Houston visualization firm Reality Imaging & Mapping Technologies took the panoramic images and stitched them together to create the immersive and zoomable view, which can also be experienced as a VR image. Click here to view the image in its own browser window.
Image: Reality Imaging & Mapping Technologies
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
HOW TO NEGOTIATE THE MANY COMPLICATED EMOTIONS INVOLVED IN LISTING YOUR NOTTINGHAM FOREST HOME From the new listing for 302 Hickory Post Ln., posted yesterday: “Build your dream home here! This is a remodel or a tear down! Your choice. The Lot is amazing and is nestled at the end of the culdesac and backs up to the bayou. This was the only time the home ever flooded! Serious buyers only! Please don’t waste our time with low ball offers!” [HAR; previously on Swamplot]