09/14/18 5:15pm

Both Red- and Purple-Line connections to Hobby Airport made METRO’s latest shortlist of proposed projects around town. They’re indicated above by the blue segment which runs east from the Red Line’s current terminus at Fannin South and past a proposed spur that’d reach up to the Purple Line’s last stop at Palm Center Transit Center. Together with all the proposed bus route upgrades colored orange, they’d cost the agency about $3 billion to build.

That price tag is on the high end of what METRO expects to have in its budget for projects over the next 2 decades: somewhere between $1 billion and $2.8 billion, according to the Chronicle‘s Dug Begley. Planning for the worst case, the agency also released a plan B — which eschews all airport rail connections in the name of frugality:


Transit Wishlist
01/30/17 11:30am

Glenbrook Valley neighborhood signage, Glenbrook Valley, Houston, 77061

Glenbrook Valley neighborhood signage ca. 1956, Glenbrook Valley, Houston, 77061The retro Glenbrook Valley neighborhood entry sign above is now standing on Broadway St. north of the intersection with Santa Elena St., Robert Searcy notes. The neighborhood civic club’s new Mod marker echoes one that stood in the area shortly after the subdivision’s early 1950s founding (shown here in a black and white excerpt from a brochure for the 1956 Parade of Homes tour) and replaces the much more rectilinear sign long planted in about the same spot. The new sign’s cursive also mimics the throwback style of the script on the nearby Glenbrook Valley Apartments on Bellfort St.:


Pregaming on Broadway St.
06/23/16 11:30am

Hobby Livable Centers May Meeting Presentation Slide

The Gulfgate-Mall-seeded TIRZ that absorbed many of the commercial corridors around Hobby Airport back in 2014 has been weighing plans for redeveloping the acquired zone, working with the Houston-Galveston Area Council through the organization’s agreeably-named Livable Centers program. A few public workshops were held last month; a reader tells Swamplot that the management district’s consultants have also been interviewing area real estate folks as they come up with ideas for new developments to suggest. The next workshop is planned for the evening of Wednesday, July 13th; the district is pushing an online survey in the meanwhile.

Presentation slides from the most recent workshop included the map below of sidewalks in the area being studied (roughly bounded by I-45, Almeda Genoa Rd., Mykawa Rd., and Dixie Dr., as shown above) — roads marked in green have new sidewalks, yellow lines highlight sidewalks rated by the district as good, red shows sidewalks rated as poor, and brown shows roads with sidewalks rated as missing:


Making a Scene
12/22/15 3:45pm

Hobby Airport New Parking Garage, 7800 Airport Blvd, Houston, TX 77061

Direct flights to Cuba from the US are back on the table (probably, eventually) per last week’s agreement between Havana and the State Department — and whenever that happens, Southwest Airlines is looking to get in on the action from its newly-minted international concourse at Hobby Airport. The concourse has been launching passengers to Central America and the Caribbean since its mid-October opening, which marked the airport’s return to the international game for the first time since IAH opened in 1969.

Other major additions to Hobby include a 3,000-spot parking garage (shown above) still partially under construction on one of the former EcoPark lots, just west of the original garage (now labeled the Red Garage). The new structure (known as the Blue Garage) is rising in phases: Phase I opened just in time for Thanksgiving, and the rest of the structure should be ready to receive rather less anxious travelers some time next year. The pedestrian bridge shown in the photo above connects Level 3 of the new garage to the newly-expanded Terminal area:


Park and Fly
06/12/13 2:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE TRAIN WILL GET YOU TO THE AIRPORTS — SOMEDAY “Rail to Hobby and IAH is still in the long term plan, though, given the uncertainties of funding, there’s no way anyone can give a date. Hobby is likely first in line, since it’s closer and there’s a lot more population nearby that would also benefit from the connection. And the first step is there — get on Harrisburg at the end of the east end line and just stay on the same lane and you’ll end up at the Hobby Airport parking garage.” [Christof Spieler, commenting on What Southwest Wants To Make Hobby Airport Look Like]

06/11/13 11:20am

Some $156 million is being spent by Southwest Airlines to do up the previously domesticated Hobby Airport into this shapely international hub. In February, city council approved a kind of build-to-suit agreement that would allow Southwest to add 5 gates to its terminal on the west side of the airport for international flights — Mayor Parker said at the time that she was even considering adding that adjective to ol’ Hobby’s name — as well as introduce a customs inspection hub, redo the roadways to and from, and add a 2,500-space parking garage.


02/14/13 2:00pm

Yesterday, city council approved an agreement that will allow Southwest Airlines to go ahead with plans to expand Hobby Airport for international flights. The short-pants airline will foot the $150 million bill to add up to 280,000 sq. ft. to the terminal, including a new concourse and ticket counter, six security lanes, five gates, and a customs inspection hub. The plan, pictured above, also includes restructured roadways and a new parking garage with 2,500 spaces, mutating one of the wings of an airport designed as though it might be itself ready for takeoff:


08/08/11 4:49pm

HERE COME THE PORK CHOPPERS After 4 hours of classroom training near Hobby Airport in “the first Professional Helicopter Hog Hunting Safety Course in the nation that is specific to hunters who would be hiring a helicopter service to hunt feral hogs,” reporter Sonia Smith goes out on her first aerial wild hog shoot, AR-15 in hand — near Knox City, with the same helicopter pilot who took Ted Nugent on a 30-plus pig run back in March. A new law effective September 1 allows sport hunters to rent helicopter gunner seats for hog or coyote kills, but the rush has already begun. Cedar Ridge Aviation’s Dustin Johnson tells her he’s scheduled 30 flights so far, “including one for a group of ATF agents from New York.” [Texas Monthly; course info; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Cedar Ridge Aviation

07/01/11 11:54am

The long-rumored fifth Hong Kong Market will soon take over this former flea-market building (on the right in the photo) just southwest of the intersection of Airport Blvd. and the Gulf Freeway, a reader reports. Work is already going on inside the building, which was originally a Sam’s Club. The 2 pagoda-themed strip buildings flanking the building’s parking lot that were put up a few years ago are still mostly empty — only a pho restaurant and a nail salon have moved in. The Pulgita con Aire, aka the National Marketplace flea market, now has its own building with an attached parking garage directly south of its former home (barely visible in the background between the 2 buildings), along Mosley Rd. at 9820 Gulf Fwy. D. Back in February, the owners of the Hong Kong Market agreed to pay $1.8 million in back wages and a $200,000 fine for underpaying the Houston grocery chain’s workers and misleading investigators about its labor practices.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

05/26/09 10:33am

Was that Dept. of Homeland Security airport restroom surveillance camera we posted about last week for real?

SnapStream CEO Rakesh Agrawal, you’ll remember, snapped the now-famous urinal photo shown above. The text on the official-looking DHS sticker read:

Automatic infrared flush sensors also provide video monitoring for security purposes

Agrawal has now posted an update on his blog:

First of all, the photograph was NOT photoshop’ed. It went straight from my iPhone to Natuba (what I use to post photographs to twitter) with no editing in between. If anyone is at Hobby Airport and wants to see this thing, it was in the men’s restroom near gate 51 last week Wednesday.

More importantly, though, what’s the story here? Is DHS actually monitoring airport restrooms using cameras installed at the urinal? I exchanged emails with Marlene McClinton at the Houston Airport System (as a side note, HAS uses SnapStream to monitor mentions of themselves on TV) over the weekend and she wrote:


05/21/09 1:05pm

Note: Story updated below.

Smile! Urine candid camera!

Acute airport-urinal observer and SnapStream CEO Rakesh Agrawal catches this unlikely warning posted in a men’s restroom at the newish Southwest Airlines terminal at Hobby. The text below the Dept. of Homeland Security logo at the top of the urinal reads:

Automatic infrared flush sensors also provide video monitoring for security purposes.

Hey, you’ll probably want to make sure you . . . uh, “look your best” before you step away then, no? Reports  the high-tech exec:


03/20/08 4:42pm

Sign at Broadway Square Apartments, north of Hobby Airport, for Harold Farb Apartment Homes

The last of the Harold Farb apartment complexes has been sold. Cypress Real Estate Advisors, an Austin firm, bought the Nob Hill Apartments on North Braeswood and the West Point Apartments on Woodway last December. And Post Investment Group, an LLC out of LA with some NYC backing, just closed on Farb’s Broadway Square Apartments just north of Hobby Airport.

David Beebe, who’s just posted his own account of the southeast-side walking tour he took with John Lomax last month, has a few comments about his stroll along Broadway:

The [trees] throughout this neighborhood are mature and beautiful. They are, for the most part, oaks. This is a big difference between the Harold Farb pioneered Hobby Airport area and the Frank Sharp designed Sharpstown. If [Sharp] had been as pro-active about tree planting his nighborhood would look more like this. The architecture and age is about the same.

. . . and on the Broadway Square Apartments, which Farb built in 1975:

His apartments here on Broadway are still the best looking of the entire area’s- French Victorian style, but without falling off shutters and with better built and ornate wrought iron railings and kempt landscaping.

There’s been no announcement about it, but the iconic signs along Broadway showing a silhouetted Farb wielding what appears to be a roll of blueprints are likely to be replaced. Globe St.‘s Amy Wolff Sorter reports that Post Investments is planning a $2.5-million renovation:

Work will begin in two months on the 182-building complex and take 1.5 years to complete, according to Jack R. Ehrman, Post’s acquisitions director. The lion’s share of the tab will be used to replace 90% of the roofs.

Photo of sign at Broadway Square Apartments: David Beebe