10/26/11 2:58pm

FEEDER FARMERS MARKET Houston’s first freeway-side farmers market debuts this Friday at 3 pm in the parking lot of the HCC Southwest College’s West Loop campus. Appropriately enough, the market’s organizers at Urban Harvest are telling visitors this new market at 5601 West Loop Fwy. South “will have more of a ‘street food’ component with more food trucks” as well as locally prepared foods. The HCC campus was created out of what was originally a store for Incredible Universe, Tandy Corp.’s short-lived mid-nineties venture into big-box electronics retailing. Also beginning soon: another Urban Harvest farmers market on Thursdays, in Sugar Land Town Square. [Fort Bend Sun] Photo: WhisperToMe

08/02/11 4:47pm

A reader sends us this latest photo (at bottom, with close-up) of the ongoing smashing and crushing action at the former home of Astrodome builder H.A. Lott on Sugar Creek Blvd. in Sugar Land. The low-slung, Frank Lloyd Wright-ish house designed for Lott in 1975 by Houston architect Karl Kamrath was put on the market last year after a renovation.

Photos: HAR (before), Swamplot inbox (after)

07/27/11 4:26pm

Courtesy of a Swamplot reader who spied the wreckage, we now have photo confirmation that the recently renovated former home of Astrodome builder H.A. Lott, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright devotee Karl Kamrath in 1975, is currently being smashed to pieces. That’s the steel frame of the north end of the house being mangled above. And we have a video, too! Not of the demolition — but of the sleek-looking home itself last year, when it was on the market for just over a million bucks. Treacly but ultimately ineffective soundtrack included:


07/25/11 1:07pm

Yes, it looks like demo equipment has already arrived in the driveway of the MacKie and Kamrath house in Sugar Creek featured a little less than a year ago on Swamplot. The home was originally built in 1975 for Astrodome builder H.A. Lott, in the Houston architects’ famed signature Frank-Lloyd-Wright-without-the-cape style. The photo above was sent in by a reader, who passes on a rumor from neighbors — that the 4,426-sq.-ft. home’s new owners plan on tearing down the structure and putting up a 2-story something in its place. After an extensive renovation, the the 4-bedroom on a 36,041-sq.-ft. waterfront lot was listed for north of $1 million last August. It sold in April for around $800K. A few pics of what now appears to be headed for the landfill:


07/14/11 11:08am

A MICROSOFT STORE FOR SUGAR LAND? Chron tech guy Dwight Silverman zooms in on Microsoft COO Kevin Turner’s map showing the 75 new retail stores the software company plans to open in the next 2 to 3 years. And yes, that sure looks like a tiny Windows flag flying somewhere Sugar Land-ish. (The flag over the red dot indicates the store Microsoft opened last month in the Galleria, the company’s first Texas location.) A Microsoft spokesperson hedges on the map, saying it’s only “representative of the types” of locations that might be considered. But Silverman doesn’t buy it: “Given that Turner offered a very specific number in his speech, and the locations on the map seem to be specific as well, I suspect this is more than just a case of the ‘mights.'” [TechBlog; previously on Swamplot] Image: Microsoft

02/24/11 4:24pm

The next landing site for Chindian food in Sugar Land? A 4,000-sq.-ft. space wedged between Busybody Home Fitness and the Stomping Grounds kiddie playland, in the First Colony Commons shopping center at 59 and Williams Trace, just a few doors down from the Home Depot. The new Hakka Chinese joint there should have its soft opening around the end of next week — presuming all goes well with the inspections scheduled for Monday. A grand opening is scheduled for the middle of March. “In India, Hakka cuisine is like Tex-Mex in Texas — kind of. It’s a very popular cuisine,” Irfan Motiwala tells Swamplot. But it’ll be all new for Sugar Land. Fortunately, Motiwala explains, the Hakka people are used to adjusting flavors to meet local tastes. That’s how the whole Chindian food thing came about, after all: in the 1950s, once large numbers of the already nomadic people fleeing Mao’s revolution settled in India, they started incorporating local spices like coriander and tandoori masala into their cooking, giving it a little more zing. Motiwala’s wife, Hsiaolin, and her brother-in-law, Gary Yan, both of whom will be running things in the kitchen, expect a little bit of the same process to take place at the 15425 Southwest Freeway location of Aling’s Hakka Chinese Cuisine. “If I find the people of Sugar Land eat more spicy than normal, i will adjust it,” Yan says.


08/13/10 12:47pm

This low-slung sorta Usonian-style home mounted between the Sugar Creek and Riverbend country clubs in Sugar Land was built in 1975 by and for Houston builder H.A. Lott, known for his work constructing the Astrodome, among many other local buildings. The home was designed by local Frank Lloyd Wright devotee Karl Kamrath of MacKie and Kamrath Architects. After a few recent updates of the granite countertop, mosaic tile, and vessel-sink variety, it went on the market last month — for $1,080,000.


07/30/10 9:55am

FIRST COLONY MALL’S USED-CAR-DEALER VALET Your keys, please? A local used-car dealership is the new sponsor of the “free” valet parking service at First Colony Mall in Sugar Land. Independent used-car giant Texas Direct Auto, which has its roots in eBay (and still sells most of its cars online), now has its blue and white umbrellas parked in front of the Cheesecake Factory and on the mall’s interior street near Kona Grill, with valets ready to take your car. The company’s main dealership is just 5 miles north of the mall, on the 59 feeder road. And yes, the company does take trade-ins. [Ultimate Fort Bend]

06/02/10 1:07pm

Just another one of those Sugar Land loft-plan Ranch renovations with some of the usual crazy ceiling action. This one’s right on Oyster Creek, with a dock in back:

Granite tile floors? Check. Floating island kitchen? Check. Valance-mounted bouquets? Check:


12/07/09 9:05am

A quick roundup:

  • Closing in January: NASA hangout the Outpost Tavern, an army barracks building turned spacesuit-and-bikini-festooned party site, down NASA Rd. 1 from the Johnson Space Center at 18113 Kings Lynn St. Memorialized in the appropriately named Clint Eastwood “one last time for the has-been astronauts” flick Space Cowboys, the bar and burger joint had to be partially rebuilt in early 2005 after a short in a neon sign caused a small fire. Second-generation owner Stephanie Foster reports the property has been sold to new owners who “plan to build something new on the site, perhaps a service station or shopping center.” Fans of the Outpost Tavern’s many good ol’ days will drown their sorrows on-site in a 3-day-long goodbye-party bash, January 8-10.
  • Closed, Just a Month After Opening: The new 7,000-sq.-ft. prototype Bailey Banks & Biddle store in CityCentre. The new owners of the former Zales mall mainstay declared bankruptcy in August, but went ahead with the store’s planned move from its old location across the street at Town & Country Village anyway. Other local Triple Bs didn’t get the grand-opening treatment before going dark: “The Galleria and Willowbrook Mall locations are in liquidation, while The Woodlands Mall store and the new CityCentre location are expected to go dark on Dec. 24 following liquidation sales, according to store employees.”
  • Open Only for One Last Big Sale: Brian Stringer Antiques, strung along West Alabama just east of Shepherd in a few separate buildings for the last 40 or so years. Stringer and his wife will retire to their turreted 14th century chateau — a former fortified hospital built by monks for victims of a mysterious skin disease — in the French countryside between Bordeaux and Gers. But lucky us, they’ll stick around Houston long enough to sell the majority of their stock of European antiques, reproductions, and fabrics at 40 percent off, Joni Webb reports: “The French house is so charming – you really feel like you’re in the South of France, except for Houston’s traffic out the front window!” When you’re done shopping there, Webb commands:

    be sure to also stop in at Ginger Barber’s Sitting Room which is next door. Further up the street is Tara Shaw and Heather Bowen Antiques. Continue up W. Alabama to Antiques and Interiors on Dunlavy, Boxwood and The Country Gentleman, then hit up Foxglove and Alcon Lighting.

    If you haven’t passed out from exhaustion yet, turn around and head back to Brian Stringer’s and go the other way on W. Alabama. Stop at Jane Moore’s, then at Ferndale, go to Brown, Bill Gardner, Made in France, and Objects Lost and Found. Back on W. Alabama, continue on to Thompson and Hansen, The Gray Door, Chateau Domingue, Indulge on Saint Street, and 2620 on Joanel.

More openings and closings:


07/10/09 11:11am

APARTMENT INSPECTIONS IN SUGAR LAND Sugar Land requires single-family rental units to be inspected each year. And the city council has just voted to require the same for multifamily apartments: “The multifamily ordinance must be approved on second reading at a future meeting to become law. If approved, the measure will require apartment owners to pay an annual fee of $8 per rental unit. Sugar Land Community and Environmental Director Mike Goodrum told City Council members on Tuesday that the fee would equate to an annual cost of about $2,000 to $2,400 for the typical apartment complex in the city. Most of those complexes, he said, are owned by Gables Residential of Atlanta, Ga., which was consulted during creation of the new proposed policy. . . . Since apartment complexes typically have somewhat rapid tenant turnover, city inspectors would annually inspect those units that are vacant on the day the inspector schedules a visit, Goodrum indicated.” [Fort Bend Now]

06/02/09 3:49pm

One highlight of the decorating sampler provided by the listing for 403 Lombardy Dr.: the Monkey Bed.

What’s more to see in this fine home for sale in Venetian Estates?

There’s the multicolor cloud motif gracing the Media Room:


12/18/08 11:57pm

Great game this week!

Here’s where you thought this home was: 4 of you guessed Memorial, 2 the Memorial Villages, and 2 Crestwood; Hunter Creek Village and Hedwig Village each got a vote. There were 2 guesses of Sugar Land, 2 of Sugar Creek, and 1 of Sweetwater. There were 2 votes each for FM 1960 and Champion Forest, plus single guesses of Huntwick and Olde Oaks. Plus: The Woodlands, Kingwood, Pasadena, Clear Lake, River Oaks, Tanglewood, Twin Lakes/North Eldridge, Bellaire (or was that Bel Air?), and League City.

The winner was writergeek, who guessed around, but ended up getting it — all the way down to the golf course:

For some reason the entry screams Sugar Land to me – either Sugar Creek (near the country club) or Sweetwater… The dated decor screams of the flight to the suburbs in the 80s and it looks like they went bust shortly after since the house hasn’t been touched since. Perhaps someone who was in a S&L scandal?

An honorable mention goes to movocelot, who was first to detect the home’s actual age:

Expansive rooms, painted brick, ceiling beamlets, applied molding on cabinets say early to mid 70’s to me.

Congratulations! Here’s what you’ve won: