12/15/09 11:31am

Nominations closed for 2 more award categories early this morning: Best Teardown of the Year and the “Only in Houston” award. We’ll announce the official nominees and open the voting for both today. Voting began late yesterday for Favorite Houston Design Cliche and Best Vacancy.

We’ve also posted the official voting rules. Please note that campaigning for your favorite award candidates — by sending out emails to friends, Twittering, or posting about the contest in forums, other blogs, or on Facebook, for example — is highly encouraged. Start a groundswell for your choices!

And there’s something new this year: If you follow the rules, there’s a way to vote for your nominees twice! We’ll post more about that later today.

There’s still just a bit more time for you to submit your nominations for the 5 remaining categories. The deadline for submissions for the Most Underappreciated Neighborhood and Most Overappreciated Neighborhood awards is early tomorrow morning. Got any last minute suggestions — or improvements to the nominations that have already been submitted?

12/14/09 11:51pm

Our second category in the 2009 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate has its official slate of candidates!

As the nominees are announced, voting can begin. You can cast your vote by entering a comment below or by sending Swamplot a private message indicating your preferences. This year you can also cast an extra vote from your Twitter account. More details about voting rules for the awards are available here.

The nominees for Best Vacancy are . . .


12/14/09 10:45pm

Here they are! The official nominees for the very first category of the second annual Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate: Favorite Houston Design Cliché. Thanks to all of our readers who submitted suggestions!

You can cast your vote for this award category simply by adding a comment to this post indicating your choice. Or you can send a secret ballot to the official judges by email. And yes, this year you can even sneak in a second vote by voting from Twitter. Just be sure you’re following our official voting guidelines.

And the nominees are . . .


12/14/09 9:56am

Nominations are now closed for the first 2 of the 9 categories in this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. We’ll be announcing the official nominees and opening the voting for these categories — Favorite Houston Design Cliché and Best Vacancy — later today.

This means there are now less than 24 hours left to make your nominations for the next 2 categories. We have some great nominations for the first of them, Best Teardown of the Year, but it’s clear that the second category — the “Only in Houston” Award — needs some attention. What potential award winners are missing?

Nominations will close as the sun rises tomorrow. Help save these 2 award categories with your smart nominations!

12/11/09 4:41pm

Voting begins next week for this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. Some terrific nominations have already come in for many categories, but we still need your help to make sure that all the candidates are the right ones, and that each is presented in the best possible light.

So if you see something missing from any award category, please add your nomination now! Or if you think you can improve on any of the explanations submitted with a nomination you like, feel free to write in with your own better presentation. Got photos of any of the nominees? Please send them!

Early Monday morning, nominations will close for the first two award categories: Favorite Houston Design Cliché and Best Vacancy. Then we’ll announce the official slate of nominees for those awards and open them for voting. We’ll close nominations and open the voting for the next two categories on Tuesday. There’ll be two more each on Wednesday and Thursday, and the final one on Friday.

There’s still plenty of time to contribute. Add your nominations to the comments section below the post that announces each category. Or send them to us in an email. Who are the contenders in Houston real estate this year? What deserves recognition?

12/11/09 10:50am

We’ve announced 8 categories so far in the 2009 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate: Grocery Store of the Year, Neighborhood of the Year, Most Overappreciated Neighborhood, Most Underappreciated Neighborhood, The “Only in Houston” Award, Best Teardown of the Year, Best Vacancy, and Favorite Houston Design Cliché. What’s left to cover?

We’re down to the last category — which may be the hardest one to fill. What was the Greatest Moment in Houston Real Estate of 2009? This year we had no newly shuttered stadiums, no hurricanes blowing through, no expensive new parks opening Downtown.

And yet Swamplot is dedicated to covering great moments in Houston real estate. That’s why we’re here. Did we miss a few this year? Browse through the site if it’ll help you to draw up a list of contenders; or raid your own memory banks. Then tell us what moment deserves this recognition.

A great moment is lost if there’s no one there to chronicle it or cherish it. Which is why we need your help. Add your comments or send us an email describing the moments you’d like to nominate.

12/10/09 2:57pm

This is it: The next-to-last category in this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. So far, we’ve opened nominations for Neighborhood of the Year, Most Overappreciated Neighborhood, Most Underappreciated Neighborhood, The “Only in Houston” Award, Best Teardown of the Year, Best Vacancy, and Favorite Houston Design Cliché.

What is it with Houstonians and their grocery stores? We dunno, but how about we bring it all to the fore in the battle for the award in our 8th category: Grocery Store of the Year. Which of the greater Houston area’s many fine coupon-accepting, candy-and-gum-displaying, veggie-bagging establishments deserves this title — and why? (Yes, the award is meant for an individual store, not a company.)

If you’re new to the Swampies, be sure to read the official nominating rules. We need your smart, succinct nominations! Add them in a comment below or send them to us in a private email. If you’ve got photos to contribute, send them too. Let the grocery wars begin! Or . . . continue!

12/10/09 10:19am

We’re on the home stretch! Yesterday we opened two more categories for nominations in this, our second-annual Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. Here’s the list of categories introduced so far: Most Overappreciated Neighborhood, Most Underappreciated Neighborhood, The “Only in Houston” Award, Best Teardown of the Year, Best Vacancy, and Favorite Houston Design Cliché. To make these awards as smart and razzle-dazzly as they can be, we need you to add your suggestions!

And now our next category: Neighborhood of the Year. What qualifications does a neighborhood need to meet in order to be declared Houston Neighborhood of the Year? You tell us — as you make your nomination! Of course, a neighborhood might be considered for Swamplot’s Neighborhood of the Year award for vastly different reasons than another one might be considered for an award of the same name from, say, the GHBA.

Please note that entrants in this category — as well as all the others — need not be located strictly inside Houston’s municipal boundaries. As longtime Swamplot readers will note, we try to track the idea of Houston as it regularly travels outside the city limits. Who’da thunk it, but last year’s “Only in Houston” award, for example, went to a rollercoaster-and-residence combo in Kemah.

Add your nominations in the comments below, or send us an email. If you need more guidance, consult the official rules. Who are the contenders?

12/09/09 3:37pm

It’s neighborhood day here at Swampies Nominations Central! This morning we introduced the 5th category in the second annual Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. Here’s the complete list of our categories so far: Most Underappreciated Neighborhood, The “Only in Houston” Award, Best Teardown of the Year, Best Vacancy, and Favorite Houston Design Cliché.

Now it’s time to gather your nominations for category number 6: Most Overappreciated Neighborhood. If recognition breeds attraction, which breeds appreciation, and which in turn often breeds a different kind of appreciation, what changes will a neighborhood go through during the process? In which neighborhood are property owners are most likely to be shocked by reappraisals? Which area best fits the Most Overappreciated label?

Refer to the official nominating rules here if you need them. But we need your smartly worded suggestions for this category! Add them below — or email them to us privately.

12/09/09 11:34am

Yesterday we announced a couple more categories in this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. That means 4 categories are now open for your nominations: The “Only in Houston” Award, Best Teardown of the Year, Best Vacancy, and Favorite Houston Design Cliché. We need your suggestions for all of them!

Now we have our next category: the Most Underappreciated Neighborhood. We Houstonians show our appreciation for different neighborhoods in various ways. And when the timing and the market are right, neighborhoods often respond in kind — with some appreciation of their own. Sadly, many fine parts of this city simply miss out on one type of appreciation, the other, or both — when clearly they deserve some. Here’s our chance to recognize and cheer on these underperformers! Which neighborhood in this town is most suited to the Most Underappreciated title — and why?

This is a brand-new award category for the Swampies, and we’ll need your smart nominations to make it work. Tell us which neighborhood should receive this singular honor — in a comment below or in a private message. Consult the official nominating rules if you like. What’s your choice?

12/08/09 3:47pm

So far, we’ve begun accepting nominations for 3 categories in the Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate: Favorite Houston Design Cliché, Best Vacancy, and Best Teardown. Up next: a very special prize that celebrates the unique character of our very special city — it’s called the “Only in Houston” Award.

You may have noticed a few differences between Houston and many other places — especially when it comes to this city’s real estate landscape. This award is meant to celebrate an event, circumstance, development, or phenomenon of the past year that could only have manifested itself hereabouts. Or somewhere around hereabouts. Or maybe, okay, it happened somewhere else too, but it really seems like a Houston thing, anyway.

As usual, your spin can make the difference between a possibly dull and obvious entry and a compelling choice for the award. So think hard, reframe the ordinary to make it seem extraordinary (and consult the nominating guidelines if you need to). Then submit your nominations!

12/08/09 9:19am

Yesterday we introduced the first 2 nominating categories in the Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. Nominations will remain open until the crack of dawn next Monday for both awards: Favorite Houston Design Cliché and Best Vacancy.

Today, there are 2 more award categories to introduce. And the first is one you’ve been waiting for: Best Teardown of 2009. What property would you nominate for this singular honor — and why?

Sure, teardowns are raw, physical acts, but there are emotional, historical, cultural, artistic, literary, sonic, and ecological aspects to consider too. Add your thoughtful and well-argued nominations for this coveted award to the comments section below — or send them in a private message to Swamplot HQ. If you’d like a more complete description of the nominating process, see these instructions.

It’s time to knock out the nominations for this category. Give us what you’ve got!

12/07/09 8:00pm

Earlier today, we introduced the first category in the Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate, celebrating the year’s best and most. And now nominations are open in a second category: Best Vacancy.

Mind the gaps! For Houston, 2009 was a year full of them. New empty lots took up residence where older buildings and newer but suddenly unfunded dreams once resided. Gaping holes in balance sheets swallowed up banks, homebuilders, and development schemes, leaving new but incomplete neighborhoods, vacated and foreclosed homes, unsold condos. So many holes, big and small! Which Houston vacancy of the last year most deserves recognition — and why?

You can help your nominee win this award by introducing your choice well. If you’d like to make a nomination, we suggest reading the brief instructions summarized here. The comments (and the Swamplot tip line) are now open for your nominations in this category.

12/07/09 10:40am

It’s time to begin the nominating process for the second annual Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. The awards cover the best and most of Houston Real Estate over the past calendar year. To make these awards the best they can be, we need your input!

Our first category this year: Favorite Houston Design Cliché. Last year’s winner, you’ll recall, was “Tuscanization,” with home turrets coming in a close — and only partially redundant — second place. What Houston building, shopping center, streetscape, home, interior, neighborhood, or yard cliché deserves recognition this year? Your suggestions may be inspired from stories on Swamplot or from your own keen eye.

Nominations for this category are now open! Enter your nomination in a comment to this post only or — more privately — to the Swamplot tip line, with the subject line “Nomination: Favorite Houston Design Cliche.” Nominations will be accepted for one full week, after which the best-presented choices will be opened for voting.

You may submit as many nominations as you like in this category, but your choices will have a better chance of succeeding if you use your nomination to make your point in a clever and convincing way. When the actual awards are open for voting next week, each selected nomination will be introduced with some edited bastardization of the arguments readers made in the nomination — so be eloquent and persuasive! Submitting photos in support of your nomination is encouraged — illustrations will likely help make your case to voters. Send them to the Swamplot tip line; be sure to identify them and indicate what they’re for.

Comments to this post will be counted as nominations only. Nominations may be seconded, expanded, or improved. Even simple “me too” posts will help an entry find a place on the actual ballot, but they won’t be counted as votes for the winner. The actual voting in this category will begin next week. Stay tuned!

12/04/09 8:06pm

2009 may not have featured the outsize and grandiose visions, the stormy weather, or the hairpin turns of fortune that made the previous year so notable for Houston. But there’s still plenty to celebrate. For our second year, Swamplot will be calling out the best, most, and much too much of the local real estate world. And it all begins next week!

Starting on Monday, Swamplot will announce the categories for the second annual Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate, rewarding the neighborhoods, developments, designs, personalities, and dreams that have helped make Houston real estate so entertaining.

We’ll announce the award categories one at a time. But we need your help to come up with the right slate of nominees for each. You be the judge: What was notable in 2009? What caught your eye and wouldn’t let go? What valiant efforts are deserving of recognition?

There will be a few minor changes to the voting rules this year. But all nominations and votes for these awards will come from Swamplot readers. We hope you’ll participate and join in the fun!