The Clearings on Clinton

“They have been taking down buildings like crazy the past few weeks and we are wondering what is planned,” writes a reader from the lower Fifth Ward, who wants to know what’s going on along Clinton Dr. near Jensen. More’s been coming down, apparently, than just the former KBR warehouses. “This morning,” read a note sent to Swamplot yesterday, “there was a Sheriff substation across the street, this afternoon it is a pile of twisted metal.” The demo work on Clinton Dr. just east of Gregg St. continues: “I can hear the bulldozer over there piling up debris as I send this,” reads a note from this morning. And here’s a pic from today of what’s left of it:


Photos: Swamplot inbox

30 Comment

  • I guess if Nancy Sarnoff calls this area Eado, then it’s official.

  • I can make one guess on what is NOT going to built there: High end, multistory luxury apartments. Wait, this is EaDo, the nickname means it’s the newest hotbed of hipster living.

    (EaDo huh? Is someone trying to make a link between East Downtown and the former name for Tokyo?)

  • I live just north of the now gone sheriffs substation. A neighbor of mine, went a few weeks ago and asked a foreman with the demolition crew, why all of the sudden work on the old warehouses and buildings. According to the foreman, that nothing was actually planned for the sites, but that KBR had come to the conclusion that the properties were more valuable and more likely to be sold and developed if they did the demolition themselves. Has anyone else heard this, or can shed any more light on any plans in this area? Would love to see some decent retail move into the area. Afraid that it might be just a another average strip center.

  • Don’t even think that. The term ‘eado’ is offensive.

  • I just moved from that area out to Sugar Land – I would assume it will just be a big empty lot for the immediate future. That seems to be what has happened to all the other big industrial tear downs in that area. It just makes for false hope that some development will come. The only big development the entire 5 years I lived there was the Kennedy Place HUD housing. Had high hopes for the area when I first moved there and a nice commute to downtown for awhile, but I don’t see this area seeing much development, at least not soon.

  • Silly maybe. But why would “Eado” be offensive?

  • That looks like it could use some soil remediation. Brown zone??

  • For goodness sake, when are people going to stop referring to random areas within the East End, as EaDo! EaDo’s northern most tip is on Commerce. The KBR site is pretty far removed from EaDo’s borders! And realtors, please stop coming up with new names. I recently saw a listing near EaDo, with a location described as “SEDO” (Southeast Downtown). When will the madness stop!

  • Considering this property backs up to the bayou, you can expect some type of the development that pretends the bayou is not there.

    And that’s a dang shame.

  • I don’t know about that…this far downstream any flooding generally doesn’t top the high banks…which has always been the problem in downtown. Looks to me like this could be the (future) spot for “Houston’s Riverwalk”!

  • Much e-Ado About Nothing…
    Robert, I will guess that what the poster meant is: places acquire pet names through people’s foundness for them, not through Astroturf committees. But it IS a four-letter word.

  • In fact it is offensive to mimic fond attachment in order to get results; whether or not it provides a beachhead for other people’s attachment to this neighborhood, and whether or not the results are good for people, it’s bad to raise awareness in that way.

  • @13 Neil:

    Well said, thanks.

    And who is Nancy Whoever to determine if it’s “official”? Is she somebody “official”?


  • I know that this is random and all, but I wish that the Buffalo Bayou Partnership would focus more on this side of downtown, spending more money locking up sites for future development of parks…even if it means deferring the development of tiny slivers of land west of downtown.

    If it wants to lay claim to making Houston’s “Central Park” happen, the East End is the only place in town that that is achievable in a meaningful way.

  • I agree with TheNiche that the east side of the bayou has more potential as a mind-blowing multi-purpose destination for the entire city due to its width and wildness and the Buffalo Bayou Partnership definitely has their eyes of that available land..
    although those plans are from 7-8 yrs ago.

  • Why does Houston need to have a defined “central park”? We have an enormous, fantastic park in the middle of the city already (Memorial).

  • This “138-acre Clinton Drive campus is generally regarded as the largest redevelopment site in close proximity to the downtown area of any major U.S. city” and was featured in the Houston Business Journal back in 2010…

    This site has great potential!

  • I really cannot think of another city in the US that has as much potential as Houston. The only reason the Eastside hasn’t taken off is because there are still tons of great opportunities to develop/redevelop on the west side. From the 1st Ward to Shady Acres to the many pockets of old garden style apartment complexes from the 1970s to the long floundering Regent Square that was supposed to rise from the ashes of the Allen House apartments to the numerous surface lots in downtown ripe for a new highrise to the many blocks of midtown that will become more and more desireable with the new arts building and other development, Houston could look like as much of a completely different city in 20 years as it does compared to 20 years ago. While I would love to see the Eastside get a botanical garden and performance venue, these would all be “build it and they will come” projects. The scarce dollars are better spent on the west side of the bayou so they can “build it and they will stay”.

  • Can they spend a little chunk of that money ripping up the ugly concrete canal otherwise known as White Oak bayou. Why oh why does Buffalo get to stay in its natural state, but not White Oak???

  • According to, it was the concreting-in of White Oak Bayou that got folks upset enough to work to prevent the same from happening to Buffalo Bayou. In particular, Terry Hershey was instrumental in saving Buffalo Bayou from the same fate.

    It would be fantastic if there were a way to un-concrete some of the other bayous.

  • @ Old School: I’m of the opinion that the BBP should be extremely aggressive on land and easement acquisition. Large parcels, once subdivided (such as they are east of Lockwood), are IRREPLACABLE and make future redevelopment extremely difficlt if not impossible. A hundred years from now, it can be assured that the western section of Buffalo Bayou will be wonderful, probably redeveloped once or twice more following this proposed iteration. But if crappy townhomes overrun the bayou to the east, their blighted legacy will revert to a scar upon the city…perhaps for centuries(!) to come.

    @ mel: Buffalo Bayou most certainly is not in its natural state. Only the segment between Shepherd and Beltway 8 is even remotely “natural”.

  • Niche, you are either missing or ignoring my point. I am referring to grass and dirt versus concrete. Thanks for the helpful comment, as usual.

  • I don’t know what to tell you, mel, but to learn English and use it properly. Words have specific meanings without which, communication becomes inefficient. Its bad enough that the word “natural” has been corrupted to exclude humans and their habitat as a subset of nature without you going and assigning it a random and personalized aesthetic meaning.

    For you and I, mel, there’s probably no hope. We should probably relegate ourselves to grunts, gestures, and pictographs to communicate with one another. For everyone else…I’ll just type in English.

  • mel, ripping up the concrete would not return White oak Bayou to its natural state. Very little of what we call White Oak Bayou runs anywhere near the original course. When the bayou was straightened and channelized in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, it was moved to be convenient and relatively straight. Take a look at the historic maps on Google Earth to get an idea of how much it was changed.

  • Niche, don’t be obtuse. You were being contrarian (per usual) and are now deflecting. Grunt to yourself.

  • @24 Niche,

    I love reading your posts. They are normally flawless in sentence structure and grammar.

    I know that you know about prepositions and their objects.

  • Ross, my carefully crafted post seems to have disappeared. Anyway, I have seen the maps. I have seen the pictures. I have heard the stories from the old-timers. I know. I just want to rip up the concrete and have a green space like Buffalo Bayou. That’s it. I do not want to tear down people’s homes and rip up streets to return the now plugged springs and now non-existent little white oak stream/river whatever it was. It’s not that complicated. Just the concrete. That’s it.

  • @mel, that would be great, except, according to the HCFCD guy I talked to, without the concrete, the flow rates in the lower part of the bayou during a flood event would cause serious erosion issues, resulting in major damage to the bayous. When the bayou was straightened, it increased the flow rates tremendously, which was an unforeseen consequence.

  • Ross, that sucks. Then let’s do something more attractive, City of Houston. Seriously, the concrete is depressing.