04/24/18 2:15pm

After hauling all 6 of their endangered Victorian cottages 8 blocks and arranging them neatly off Sampson St. 4 years ago, Michael Skelly and Anne Whitlock are now ready to part with the 2 pictured at top. $700,000 is the asking price for both structures — which occupy a single 5,000-sq.-ft. lot at 3408 Garrow St. They’ve been on the market for a week.

Since relocating them, Skelly and Whitlock have also redone the interiors of the 2 cottages:

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Firehouse Backyard
04/04/18 4:00pm

Exterior renovations are nearly complete on the 39,213-sq.-ft. building Houston’s First Baptist Church took over from a local branch of the Communication Workers of America on the corner of Jefferson and Chenevert last year. The new location is number 4 for the church — existing worship centers include the flagship spot on the Katy Fwy. just outside 610, as well as other sites in Cypress and Missouri City.

Crews began whitewashing the brick walls adjacent to the curved entrance drive along the building in January:

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Downtown Christening
03/22/18 3:00pm

Houston City Council voted unanimously yesterday to purchase 2 vacant parcels of land — just under 8 acres total — off Reed Rd. in Sunnyside for a new community service center and health clinic, as well as an adjacent park. Unlike the more remote site the officials first proposed for the new service center — on city property next to a former landfill that’s still home below ground to 3.5 million tires — the Reed Rd. location has never been developed, is just down the street from the existing center at 9314 Cullen Blvd. (pictured at top), and is now privately-owned.

A garbage incinerator once located on the 299.5-acre landfill on Bellfort St. just east of 288 closed in 1974 after a report from the Environmental Protection Agency said it was letting off deadly levels of lead into the air. The city commissioned new soil tests last year and argued that the brownfield — shown above — was safe. But the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says it’s still contaminated with metals, pesticides, solvents, and potentially toxic volatile organic compounds.

Here’s what the furnace — dubbed the Holmes Road Incinerator — looked like around the time the city shut it down:

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Holmes Road Incinerator
02/05/18 4:30pm

TABC signage tacked to the 2-story office structure at 1803 Pease St. notes that AZ Furniture is applying for permission to serve beverages into the late hours on site. Could it be that a boozy cabinetry boutique is in the works, or a couch showroom that fronts a speakeasy? No, according to building permits filed to convert the 5,952-sq.-ft. building into a bar. The name listed on those permits is more suited for a venue located 3 blocks southeast of the Toyota Center — it’s Slam Dunk Bar & Grill.

Renovations began on the building last year. The photo below views it from its adjacent parking lot on the corner of Pease and Chenevert:

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The Hard Court
11/27/17 3:15pm

Yo dawg, they heard you like dog parks. So they put a dog park in EaDo and called it . . . EaDog Park.

The fenced-off big-dog, little-dog assemblage is on the Bastrop St. right-of-way at 2216 Polk St., between Hutchins and Emancipation Ave.; the official opening is this evening.

Photo: EaDo Houston

Ruff Neighborhood
11/07/17 4:00pm

Interior demo work is mostly complete on a 75-year-old single-story brick warehouse lining Walker St. in East Downtown, ahead of its opening next spring as what its promoters are calling Houston’s premier soccer bar and restaurant. What might confer premier status on this venue, called Pitch 25  — beyond its location across the street from BBVA Compass Stadium? Perhaps the presence of an actual indoor soccer field inside, hosting league play.

Among the transformations planned for the 25,000-sq.-ft. structure in its coming rehab: knocking a large hole in the roof off the building’s Hutchins St.–facing west end — to let sunlight and rain into an outdoorish beer garden planned for the interior. Also, to provide sunlight for the interior trees:

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And a Hole in the Roof
10/12/17 3:00pm

HOUSING AUTHORITY: OUR FLOODED CLAYTON HOMES DEVELOPMENT WAS GOING TO BE DEMOLISHED ANYWAY A new statement from the Houston Housing Authority provides a little more background on its decision to demolish 112 of the 296 units at the authority’s Clayton Homes low-income housing neighborhood just east of Hwy 59 at the northern tip of EaDo. The homes were deemed “uninhabitable” after flooding from Hurricane Harvey triggered mold and other health concerns: “HHA decided demolition was the best course of action for the damaged units since the entire property is located on land acquired by eminent domain and will face eventual demolition for TxDOT’s I-45 freeway extension. When the remainder of Clayton units are demolished in a few years, the remaining residents will either be relocated to another public housing unit or receive HCVs.” Housing Choice (formerly Section 8) Vouchers — along with moving assistance and payments — are also being provided to residents of 82 out of the 100 units at another Housing Authority development, Forest Green Townhomes at 8945 Forest Hollow St. in northeast Houston, which the authority today announced had also been rendered unlivable by the storm. [Houston Housing Authority; previously on Swamplot] Photo of pre-Harvey Forest Green Townhomes: Forest Green

10/05/17 3:00pm

HOUSING AUTHORITY READY TO DEMOLISH MORE THAN A THIRD OF CLAYTON HOMES AFTER HARVEY FLOODING 112 of the 296 apartments at Clayton Homes have been deemed “uninhabitable” by its owner, the Houston Housing Authority, which is now seeking to demolish them. The affordable-housing complex tucked between Hwy. 59 and Buffalo Bayou north of Runnels St. in the northwest corner of the East End was flooded after Hurricane Harvey; subsequent investigations conducted by local researchers led by the New York Times and by the authority found numerous health and safety problems in the residences, including festering mold and high levels of E. coli. Submitting a demolition request for those units allowed the authority to receive and distribute “tenant protection vouchers” that will allow their residents to relocate to any voucher-accepting unit in the city, a spokesperson for the agency says: “Since Hurricane Harvey caused extensive damage to many of HHA’s public housing properties, housing options within HHA’s public housing program are now exhausted, which is why residents are receiving vouchers.” The agency says it is also helping Clayton Homes residents not eligible for the vouchers as well to find new homes — with relocation assistance services and one-time payments — and that it is refunding rents collected for periods when homes in the complex were uninhabitable. Photo: Apartments.com

09/26/17 3:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT’S FLOWING TOWARD HOUSTON’S EAST END “The entire East End except for a handful of homes near the bayou in Idylwood drains well and doesn’t flood. Allison, Ike, Harvey . . . nada. The steady drip drip of people moving over here might become a real flood now though.” [Dana-X, commenting on High and Dry in EaDo; Theatrical Shelter at the GRB; Elevated Before Harvey, Just in Time]

08/09/17 1:00pm

The new bar planned for the 20,878-sq.-ft. warehouse at 3229 Navigation Blvd. in Houston’s East End that earlier this decade was home to Fred’s Trailer Truck Supply will be called Straylight Run and serve — according to its promoters — as Houston’s first-ever “Virtual Reality Bar.” That’s the conclusion of some internet sleuthing by HAIF (and Swamplot) commenter CrockpotandGravel, who after seeing Swamplot’s report on the alcohol license procured for the spot at the corner of Navigation and Engelke tracked down the establishment’s website, a (possibly spurned) logo proposal, and Instagram feed.

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Straylight Run on Navigation
08/08/17 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: NAVIGATION BLVD.’S FOOD- AND DRINK-FILLED FUTURE “Navigation seems to be becoming the East End’s version of the Washington chug-and-chow strip. Good spot for that as it’s close to the bayou and the hike and bike scene being developed and has lots of old industrial on some minor bluffs waiting to become something different.” [Dana-X, commenting on The Warehouse Bar Coming Up Just Past the Curve in Navigation] Illustration: Lulu

08/08/17 11:00am

What’s happening at the corner of Navigation Blvd. and Engelke in the East End? A mix of alcohol and demolition: Mixed beverage, late-night, and beverage cartage permits were issued by the TABC last month to a yet-to-be-opened establishment named Straylight in the 20,878-sq.-ft. metal warehouse building with the brick front at 3229 Navigation Blvd. This spot is 4 blocks down the street from Ninfa’s, just past where Navigation starts to curve east toward Buffalo Bayou. Adjacent to that property, excavators are finishing up their work demolishing the former General Supply & Equipment Co. building at 3203 Engelke St.

The newly vacant lot now spreads just to the north of the building where Straylight is planned, as shown in these photos taken by Swamplot reader Johnny Mann Jr.:

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Straylight
07/28/17 12:30pm

BUFFALO BAYOU PARTNERSHIP NOW LOOKING EAST OF DOWNTOWN, MAKING PLANS The landscape architecture firm that rejiggered the grounds of the Menil Collection and has put forward a new plan for Hermann Park will now be turning its attention to Buffalo Bayou east of Downtown, where the waterway widens ahead of the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates will lead an effort to create a new master plan for the bayou’s “East Sector” — the section between Hwy. 59 and the Turning Basin — the Buffalo Bayou Partnership announced yesterday. Also on the team of consultants the nonprofit waterway overseers has selected to create the plan: the firm formerly known as Morris Architects, which a few months ago switched its name to that of its parent company, Huitt-Zollars. The partnership says it wants a plan that reflects the cultural and industrial background of the area, that will help connect surrounding neighborhoods to the bayou, and that creates green spaces that can help revitalize that part of Houston. [Buffalo Bayou Partnership] Photo: Buffalo Bayou Partnership

07/12/17 11:00am

WHAT COULD GO UNDER WHEN I-45 MOVES UNDERGROUND AND EAST OF DOWNTOWN Jeff Balke tallies some of the expected carnage just east of Downtown should TXDoT proceed with its planned rerouting of I-45 from the west side to the east side of Downtown, widening the path of that stretch of Hwy. 59 (aka I-69) to Saint Emanuel St. Among the establishments expecting to have to shut down or relocate as a result of the expansion: the Bayou City Barber Shop, Vietnamese restaurant Huynh, Ahh Coffee, Tout Suite, one building of the Ballpark Lofts, low-income housing development Clayton Homes, a couple of nonprofits, SEARCH Homeless Services’ new building, the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen — plus other assorted bars, barbecue joints, artist spaces, and office space. Among the questions Balke keeps hearing in reference to plans to put this portion of a new I-45-69 combo below grade, possibly (only if separate funding can be found) with a greenspace “cap” planted on top of it: “why [would] a freeway would be constructed lower than street level in a city that floods with seeming regularity, particularly when the highway in question is a hurricane evacuation route? TxDOT is quick to point out that we already have roadways below grade throughout the city that have not suffered major flooding problems since Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, which broke records and is widely considered a 500-year flood. Still, flooding is something the agency appears to have taken seriously. ‘No matter the situation, there’s a potential for flooding,‘ [TXDoT spokesperson] Perez explains, ‘but with anything below grade, additional pumps and detention ponds come into play.’ [Houston Press; previously on Swamplot] Rendering showing possible park behind GRB: HNTB and TxDOT

07/06/17 3:00pm

Actual neighborhood hardware store East End Hardware (see inset second photo) went belly-up only a few years after its 2012 opening at 3005 Leeland St. (at the corner of Ennis St. in East Downtown). Now opened in its place, as of the first of this month, is a replacement (pictured at top): East End Hardware.

Among the changes: a revamped exterior, with the name of the establishment now rendered in vintage Houston blue tile; a dog-friendly patio; and a new beverage menu that includes 20 beers on tap, mixed drinks, and “boozy” New Orleans-style sno-balls in flavors such as piña colada, tiger’s blood, and screwdriver. Also: food.

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EaDo Hard Drinks and Wares