08/16/11 8:29am

AND THE WINNER OF THE LOCAL WATER-USE RESTRICTIONS DERBY IS . . . League City, with these dry, dry, Stage 5 drought prohibitions: No washing your car; no refilling your pool; no spraying water for dust control; restaurants can’t bring diners water unless they ask for it; and no running those sprinklers or garden hose, day or night. Also in the no-watering-your-lawn-no-matter-what-day-it-is zone: Galveston [KHOU 11 News; restrictions]

08/10/11 11:33am

RIG VOTE IN LEAGUE CITY League City’s city council voted last night to double the minimum distance oil and gas rigs must keep back from most buildings, including homes. The new requirement is 600 ft., though some residents of the Magnolia Creek subdivision — right next door to one of 2 proposed new drilling sites in the city — had hoped to get a 1000-ft. buffer approved. [abc13; more info; previously on Swamplot] Photo: abc13

05/09/11 2:33pm

GULF FREEWAY OUTLET MALL SITE: UP FOR GRABS? A possible complication in those plans to put a new 95-store outlet mall between the Big League Dreams sports complex and the Bay Colony shopping center west of the Gulf Freeway in League City: The Galveston County Daily News‘s Laura Elder reports that the 35 acres of land Tanger Factory Outlet Centers was hoping to purchase out of bankruptcy for $8.7 million will be going up for auction instead in just 10 days. A bankruptcy court ordered the sale last week. Tanger announced the project in January, just days after the Simon Property Group announced its plans to build another outlet center, the 100-store Galveston Premium Outlets, just 4 miles to the south, in Texas City. [Laura Elder’s Buzz Blog; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: Tanger Outlets

05/03/11 4:15pm

Houston ranks 5th — below Long Island, Miami, Virginia Beach, New Orleans, and Tampa — in potential property damage from storm surges, according to an annual report from Corelogic. The company figures the resulting storm surge from a Category 5 Hurricane here would likely produce $20 billion in property loss — well behind Long Island’s $99 billion score. Can’t this city do a little better? We’ve got the high-hurricane-risk and low-lying-properties parts down cold. If we can just boost the property values a bit in those areas, we’ll be rolling with the high-stakes big boys next time.

The top at-risk area Zip Codes, according to the company’s report: 77573, 77554, 77059, 77571, 77062, 77566, 77586, 77539, 77546, and 77521. Locally, League City leads the way!

Image: Corelogic

01/18/11 2:37pm

Just days after Simon Property Group announced it would build a new 100-store Galveston Premium Outlets shopping center in Texas City, Tanger Factory Outlet Centers is ready to talk about the outlet mall it’s been planning for a 35-acre site just 4 miles to the north, in League City. Tanger’s 300,743-sq.-ft. mall, which the company says is in the “predevelopment phase,” would sit just north of the Bay Colony shopping center and just south of the Big League Dreams sports complex. And like the Simon Mall, it’ll be right near a Walmart too — the Supercenter across I-45 at FM 646.

If both malls sign up enough tenants to get built along the I-45 feeder road, it’ll help adjust the impression that huge swathes of undeveloped land remain between Houston and Galveston — at least for drivers headed south. The Chronicle‘s Purva Patel also reports on a third new mall being discussed for the area — from Taubman, but that company hasn’t announced its plans.

Rendering: Tanger Outlets

10/12/10 12:04pm

Residents of the Magnolia Creek subdivision in League City are protesting plans by developer Lynn Watkins to drill for oil and natural gas on a 3-acre site next to a daycare center near the corner of League City Parkway and Bay Area Blvd. To gain the drilling permits, Watkins would need to rezone the land to light industrial. Abc13’s Kevin Quinn reports:

Those who purchased homes say they were told the land is zoned as commercial. They expected a strip mall of some sort to be built here — not a drilling rig that stands 131 feet tall. Dozens of homeowners have signed a petition asking the city not to grant the special use permit the developer seeks. . . .

[Watkins] insists there would be minimal impact to the surrounding neighborhood and schools.

Additional traffic, he insists, would be less than that coming and going from a home being built in the neighborhood. He says also of the 400,000 operational wells across the state, there have been only 900 blowouts in the past 30 years. Those, he says, resulted in 131 injuries and nine deaths.

“In that same period, there’s been 90,000 traffic deaths on Texas highways in that same period,” Watkins said.


09/21/10 2:11pm

On hand for the weekend’s grand opening celebration of the Arms Room firearms store’s move into the former Circuit City off the northbound I-45 feeder south of FM 646 in League City: a fire spinner and juggler, a clown handing out balloon animals, a booth from ESPN 97.5 FM, a barbecue stand, a cake decorated with toy pistols, “a few blonde, tattooed girls handing out free Arms Room merchandise,” . . . and Houston Press reporter Craig Hlavaty. He notes the store’s owners originally had wanted to move into a former Academy sporting goods store down I-45, but didn’t get a great welcome there:

“The lease holders didn’t want any guns being shot in their strip center, so we walked away from them,” says [Kathleen] James. The only thing holding that line of stores intact now is a Chinese buffet and a Subway sandwich shop.

Sucks for them. The 20,000-sq.-ft. former big-box electronics store at the Jameses ended up buying at 3270 Gulf Fwy. South allowed them to include a 15-lane indoor gun range (kinda like a bowling alley, “but you don’t have to change your shoes,” quips general manager Travis James), along with a gun shop, a section devoted to antique firearms, and room for an on-site gunsmith.


06/04/10 10:50am

BEER CHALLENGER WILL LAUNCH FROM STEALTH LOCATION The launch crew reports it has been “keeping things quiet” while building a brew house and obtaining licenses: “Construction is under way on the Galactic Coast Brewing Co.’s brewery, which will be located in Galveston County where League City and Dickinson meet, just outside the city limits. John Ennis, Galactic Coast spokesman, says that location was chosen because it will allow the brewery to get Phase I of its plans up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible. The location was chosen for its proximity to top attractions such as NASA and the Clear Lake-Kemah waterfront. ‘This is going to be a true beer odyssey and there is a reason we chose to launch our brewery just down the street from the home of U.S. manned space flight,’ he says.” [Houston Business Journal]

04/29/10 12:02pm

Just how tough and efficient is the security at the Signature Point Apartments off Marina Bay Dr. in League City? Last week a visitor that showed up in front of the leasing office was detained for several hours by authorities and then put to death. The visitor had been found earlier in the month in a complex parking lot fronting a canal connected to Clear Lake.

That time, game wardens trapped and released the 7-foot-long alligator into the canal it had crawled from. But they began to suspect apartment residents were feeding the animal, and tried a different strategy on the next encounter:

[Apartment manager Susan] Cogbill said game wardens took the animal to a secluded area of the complex and shot it. Tanuz declined to comment how the animal was killed.

Game wardens did not move the alligator or release it into the water behind Signature Point because it was too comfortable around humans, [Galveston County game warden supervisor Capt. Edward] Tanuz said. Bayous across Galveston County are natural habitats for alligators, but they typically avoid humans, Tanuz said.

What a waste, huh? Oh, no:


02/18/10 8:50am

SHOOTING IN CIRCUIT CITY This summer gun store the Arms Room will be moving into the former Circuit City store it just bought, off the northbound I-45 feeder just south of FM 646 in League City. The store specializes in military collectibles, concealed handguns, and tactical weapons. At 20,000 square feet, the new store will sell firearms and have a 15-lane indoor shooting range rated for rifles and pistols. Sounds a little like a bowling alley. ‘It is very similar,’ said general manager Travis James. ‘You’re in a lane for an hour and you shoot to your heart’s content. You just dont have to change your shoes.’” [Prime Property]

11/16/09 11:52pm

Some very smart and interesting guesses in this week’s Neighborhood Guessing Game!

Here’s where you thought this home might be: “Off of Highway 249, Jones Rd. and Louetta,” West University, Katy, Lakeside Estates, “around the Augusta/Bering area” (2 guesses), Riverside Terrace (also 2), “that strip between Almeda and 288,” Lakeside Place, “Barker’s Landing, between Memorial and I-10, behind the BP compound,” Gaywood, Braeswood Place, Ayrshire, Braes Heights, Braes Oaks, Braes Manor, Braes Terrace, Emerald Forest, Southern Oaks, the Rossmoyne Addition (near Bonnie Brae and Graustark), Wilchester, Clute, Meyerland, Memorial, FM 1960, along Yorktown and Sage in the Galleria, “just south of Memorial City Mall, maybe on Gessner,” Westhaven Estates, “one of the Fleetwood neighborhoods near Memorial and Highway 6), Montrose, “within a mile or 2 of Memorial and 610,” Sugar Land (2), Richmond, Sugar Creek, Quail Valley, “along Cypresswood and Louetta,” the Energy Corridor, Prestonwood Forest, “East of Eden,” The Woodlands (3), Dickinson, along Dickinson Bayou, Champions, Champion Forest, “that River Oaks Lite neighborhood between Shepherd and Kirby, north of Westheimer,” Pecan Grove, Tanglewood, Vatican City (2), Bellaire, the Museum District, Willow Meadows, Linkwood, “the ‘Ashford’ subdivisions along Briarforest west of Kirkwood,” “the older subdivisions in Pearland and Friendswood along Clear Creek,” Bay Oaks in Clear Lake, Idylwood, Briargrove Park, Spring Valley, Northfield in Fondren Southwest, Lazybrook, Timbergrove Manor, “the Shepherd Forest/Brookhollow area,” Inwood Forest (2), Bayou Bend, “the Woodstone/Woodlake Forest/Hudson Oaks area,” Tealwood, “I-10, just before the Beltway, north side of the highway,” Kingwood, River Oaks, “on Breakwood by 610 South,” Townhouse Manor, and “one of the more upscale subdivisions in outer Mongolia.”

Matt Mystery wins this one with his close-enough, uh . . . 19th guess:

The paneling is the main clue but the ceiling height is what is so mysterious – not just a high ceiling. Not a two story ceiling. It’s a one and one-half story ceiling. Wherever it is, I suspect it is a custom home. Some built custom homes in “tract” subdivisions which is what I’m wondering about – some other possibilities could be Bellaire, the Museum District, Willow Meadows, Linkwood, the “Ashford” subdivisions along Briarforest west of Kirkwood, the older subdivisions in Pearland and Friendswood along Clear Creek, Bay Oaks in Clear Lake. So many possibilities.

Yes, but this is where it is:


04/13/09 4:00pm

Some residents of 9-year-old Victory Lakes have been demonstrating against a La Quinta Inn proposed for the commercial strip that separates the recent master-planned community from the Gulf Freeway in League City, reports Rhiannon Meyers in the Galveston County Daily News:

[Developer Roy] Mease turned what was supposed to be an upscale suburb and high-end offices into a hub for big box retailers, fast food restaurants and hotels, Victory Lakes residents claimed.

“I’m opposed to these hotels,” resident John Calebrese said. “It’s just another step in the wrong direction of the promises made to the original homeowners of Victory Lakes … (The subdivision) is nothing like what was promised.”

But Mease said the subdivision, with its 14 big box retailers, brings in an “ungodly amount” of sales tax revenue for League City. There is no reason to oppose a hotel plotted for land far away from any Victory Lakes homes, he said.

A Hampton Inn and Candlewood Suites are already under construction. What’s wrong with La Quinta?


04/09/09 1:40pm

Just how did a group of Israeli investors get stuck with 114 condo units in this quaint converted apartment complex in League City? And why are they now suing the project’s developer and property manager?

The Galveston County Daily News‘s Laura Elder explains:

The investors never intended to live in the units but instead were seeking to generate income by renting them to others, according to the lawsuit. Through agreements, the units owned by the investors were put in a rental pool managed by the defendants, according to the lawsuit.

But while Westcorp Management Group, of which Roni Amid is vice chairman, had been collecting rent from tenants, it failed to pay proceeds to the mortgage company or the investors for some units, according to the lawsuit.

Without rental income, some of the investors are unable to pay their mortgages, leading lenders to begin foreclosure proceedings on at least 30 units in the complex, said Danny Sheena, a Houston attorney representing investors.

The suit also claims the defendants used the investors’ units at the Fairways at South Shore as collateral for a $23 million loan from Deutsche Bank obtained behind their backs last August. Which means, the suit claims, the investors can’t sell their units.

And that Israeli connection? Looks like it’s all in the family: