09/18/17 3:00pm

The District at Washington Apartments at the corner of T.C. Jester and Schuler in Cottage Grove now feature apron-like attachments of plastic sheeting meant to provide cover to select masonry-stucco intersections on the façade. The reader who sent the photos to Swamplot says the tarps have been up for a few weeks now, and that repair work appears to be underway:


Flashing News
04/22/15 2:00pm

WHEN SYSTEMS BREAK DOWN East Downtown, HoustonA reader writes: “The non-profit I work for is currently looking for a new office. We found a great location in East Downtown, near the new rail line, recently renovated, and a great price. It is essentially our dream office. During the lease negotiations the realtor said that after 90 days into the 3 year lease, if any plumbing, electrical, or HVAC issues arise, we would be responsible for paying it. Including any replacement and labor. When countered with a ‘no,’ the realtor stated that this was a normal practice in Houston and ‘good luck trying to find a place that will let you get away with that.’ Being new to this process, we are curious if this is true. The current office we are in does not require that and I personally have not heard of it other places.” Photo: Russell Hancock

02/06/14 12:30pm

Repair Work on East End and Southeast Rail Line on Capitol St. Near LaBranch, Downtown Houston

As noted in this morning’s Headlines post, yesterday Metro toted around some trains for “clearance testing” on the eastern stretches of the East End and Southeast rail lines scheduled to open later this year, in advance of electricity being brought down the lines. But downtown, repair continues on a 200-ft. stretch of track shared by the 2 lines on Capitol St. between LaBranch and Crawford — where the rails “probably shifted during concrete placement” and therefore didn’t set properly, a spokesperson for the transit agency tells Swamplot. The concrete has been torn up so the stretch can be rebuilt, level. The rework is being paid for at no cost to Metro by the contractor, Houston Rapid Transit, and will not cause any delay in opening the lines, the spokesperson says.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Get This Straight
12/27/13 12:45pm

Repairs on Metro Southeast Line at McKinney, Houston

Why were crews yanking out and replacing a brand-new 240-ft.-long stretch of rail and concrete on the not-even-opened-yet Southeast Line at McKinney St. (above), next to the Columbia Tap trail in East Downtown, earlier this month? Because back on May 30th, a 7.2kV CenterPoint Energy electrical line fell onto the tracks and their overhead line three-quarters of a mile to the south, at Scott St. and Coyle St.


In addition to the McKinney St. burnout, 20-ft. sections of rail and track slab got zapped near crossings at Nagle St. and Elgin. At the incident site, 80 ft. of concrete and anti-vibration insulation had to be scrapped and replaced.


Hot Rails
04/02/13 1:00pm

WHY THE CAPITOL AT ST. GERMAIN MIGHT BE CLOSED A LITTLE LONGER THAN IT SAYS Culturemap’s Whitney Radley reports that a rep from the jazzy Main St. spot says it had to close temporarily because of water damage to the kitchen, but the Houston Press’s Katharine Shilcutt claims she has reason to believe otherwise, since the bar and restaurant — paying, she reports, “a monthly rent close to $17,000” — seems to have sprung another kind of leak: “When a restaurant is faltering and owes its landlord rent, one of two things usually happens: 1) The restaurant closes shop and washes its hands of the entire affair, leaving behind everything from kitchen equipment to barstools, which then become property of the landlord or 2) the restaurant wants to close but also needs to recoup some of its losses and stalls by telling the landlord that it’s ‘renovating’ for a few days. Those days are spent clearing the place out and selling everything that’s not nailed down.” And what makes Shilcutt so sure? “I spotted some activity going on outside . . . that suggested furniture was being moved out of the space.” And: “Calls to the restaurant weren’t returned, and on my last attempt, the phone line seemed to have been disconnected.” Update, 1:47 p.m.: Shilcutt reports that the Capitol at St. Germain has told her it’s not closing and does plan to reopen once the water damage — which, says the bar’s rep, knocked out the phone lines — is repaired. [Culturemap; Eating Our Words; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Cvent

05/16/12 10:41am

Sure, it’s a temporary fix, but it does make those shot-out glass panels on the brand-new Apple Store in Houston’s Highland Village Shopping Center look all clean and sleek again — if not a little gun-shy. The shattered panel above the Westheimer Rd. entrance has been smoothed over with a covering of adhesive black film. For symmetry’s sake, the film has been applied to the adjacent panel as well, to frame out a new large Apple logo decal in the center. The new decal stands in for the now obscured glowing Apple logo fixture that hangs in the same location just behind the window:


03/16/12 12:24pm

Repair work on the exterior of the 2125 Yale apartments in the Heights, built 4 years ago on the site of Kaplan’s Ben Hur, has been taking place all week. Gone already: the aluminum panels on the building’s northwest corner, facing 22nd St. But: Couldn’t find any explanation of what’s going on in the complex’s newsletter for residents, a neighbor reports.


04/10/08 10:51am

Courtyard Apartments, 950 Villa de Matel, Houston

Chronicle reporter Matt Stiles has found two more properties owned by State Rep. Hubert Vo: The Northpoint Apartments, at 74 Lyerly St., just north of the Northpoint Mall; and the Capewood Apartments, at 4335 Aldine Mail Rd., outside city limits.

And, uh, they’re not in great shape:

Tomasa Compean, 58, has lived for 18 years in her one-bedroom unit, where she pays $450 a month and has never received new carpet or paint. White powder bug poison outlines her baseboards, and a leaky faucet has left a large patch of rust and mildew in her tub, which apartment officials have covered only with paint.

“There are a lot of defects in the apartment,” said Compean, speaking in Spanish. She also complained about a lack of security at the complex. “The worst things are the roaches and mice. That’s just too much.”

Carmen Aguilar, whose two-bedroom apartment faces a dusty courtyard next to a swimming pool filled with opaque green water, pointed to a buckled wall and a large, moldy hole above her bathtub.

The Chronicle also found other potential violations at the complex, including an entry gate bent to a 45-degree angle, discarded furniture, masonry damage and busted breezeway lights. Workers could be seen Wednesday making some repairs, a day after the Chronicle asked the city about the property. . . .

Among other potential city violations at three complexes were overflowing Dumpsters, damaged parking lots and an algae-filled swimming pool — all conditions that could prompt criminal fines.

Vo, who has owned the properties for years, took blame for the problems Wednesday, saying he had not done enough to ensure the complexes were maintained. He said he would improve the conditions, pledging personal inspections of individual units, cooperation with city officials and outreach to residents to encourage them to report concerns.

One thing that will help: Vo is apparently a quick study with repair estimates. A year ago, Houston Press reporter Ruth Samuelson spoke to him at Thai Xuan Village near Glenwood Valley, just north of Hobby Airport, after it was threatened with demolition. Mayor White had asked Vo to serve as a liaison between residents of the complex and the mayor’s office:

. . . Vo thinks the community can’t tackle this project; it’s far too big. Vo, who owns several apartment complexes, says he walked the perimeter of Thai Xuan Village when he was there mid-March.

“I believe the structure could be okay, maybe some railings need to be fixed,” he says. “But the face-lift of the property needs to be done.” After a quick examination, he said the project would cost well over $100,000.