10/19/17 12:00pm

Sponsoring Swamplot today: personal coach Cricket Buchler. Thanks for the support!

If you’re looking to make some changes in your life, or just searching for a creative spark for a jump-start, consider a 90-minute personal coaching session with coach Cricket Buchler. An experienced corporate trainer who has helped top executives, Hollywood celebrities, and employees in a range of industries address personal and professional development issues, Cricket also works one-on-one, guiding clients to explore and unlock possibilities and design plans to realize change, and coaching them through their journey toward an intentional life.

A coaching session can also be an inspiring gift for anyone who is looking to take the next step forward in life, work, or relationships, but feels a bit stuck as to what next steps might look like. You’ll find a sampling of testimonials from Cricket’s clients on her website, along with more information about coaching sessions.

Want to reach Swamplot’s large group of fans? Become a Swamplot Sponsor of the Day.

Sponsor of the Day
10/19/17 11:00am

Here are a few shots of 195 Yale St. just south of I-10 from yesterday afternoon, showing workers a few letters away from spelling out the long-delayed LA Fitness at the Yale Street Market shopping center. The sign, which faces the freeway, was completed by the end of the day:

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Fitn In
10/19/17 8:30am

Photo of construction in West University: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
10/18/17 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: A WATERSHED APPROACH TO PAYING FOR FLOOD CONTROL “. . . I think that if we are going to be realistic about the way that we finance flood control, that the core of such a plan needs to take a page from how flood insurance gets underwritten. Everybody pays a property tax to a watershed-specific flood control entity, but that tax is adjusted based on the elevation of their first-floor living area relative to the Base Flood Elevation. If you’re more than a few feet above it, your tax is very low. If you live more than a few feet below it . . . you’re probably going to pay so much in taxes that it’ll become immediately economic to raise your structure or demolish it. Right away, the inventory and value of property subject to flood risk is reduced; and what’s left that is tolerably at-risk pays for its own reduced need for risk mitigation. And . . . if we’re too gun shy to pull the trigger on a plan like this, which would totally wipe out a lot of people’s equity in vast swaths of real estate, okay well that’s where people not at very much risk should be expected to pay more taxes even without receiving very much in the way of benefits. Yeah, I’m basically proposing Obamacare for flood control in Houston, but only as a humane alternative which reveals a startling truth: that the big money for this sort of thing is unlikely to come from up on high, from the feds or the state government (and it shouldn’t IMO). Financing this stuff locally is going to hurt. One thing is very very clear: whatever kinds of administrative bodies are created or re-jiggered to deal with this issue have got to address legacy development first and foremost. We need a plan to cope with what is already on the ground. This is not something that we can just build ourselves out of, going forward, with stricter rules for new development, feel the catharsis, hold hands and sing Kumbaya, and call it a day.” [TheNiche, commenting on An 8th Wonder Distillery; New Bridges for Brays Bayou; How Apartment Buildings Get On Your Nerves]

10/18/17 3:30pm

ADDICKS AND BARKER RESERVOIRS ARE NOW COMPLETELY EMPTY AND READY FOR THE NEXT FLOOD All water stuck behind the Addicks and Barker dams has now been released, the Army Corps of Engineers announced late yesterday. That means that for the first time since Hurricane Harvey-triggered rains began filling the 24,520-acre reservoirs, they are now dry and available for use again as parkland. The last bits of water actually left the Addicks and Barker reservoirs last Thursday, October 12th, and Friday the 13th respectively; the announcement was delayed, a public-affairs officer tells reporter Amelia Brust, in order to “receive legal guidance.” The Corps, writes Brust, “is now a defendant in multiple lawsuits brought by surrounding property owners who say their homes and businesses were flooded as a result of the dams’ releases.” [Community Impact] Photo of American Shooting Centers and Millie Bush Dog Park off Westheimer Pkwy. in Barker Reservoir, flooded after Memorial Day, 2015: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [license]

10/18/17 1:00pm

A sandwich update is in progress along Dairy Ashford directly opposite Fern Dr., across the street from Stratford High School and the Spring Branch ISD athletics complex. The Subway sandwich shop sandwiched between the shuttered locations of a printing company and a small used-car dealership has now been torn down after a brief Harvey reprieve. A reader sends in the above series of photos panning the combined and now-cleared 1.1-acre site at 851 Dairy Ashford, where a new 4,640–sq.-ft. Panera Bread building is scheduled to rise.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Up from Subway
10/18/17 12:00pm

Our sponsor today on Swamplot is ASCOT — also known as the Alcohol Servers Counsel of Texas. Thanks for supporting us!

If you work in a restaurant, or in any kind of food-service or food-prep operation, you’re probably already familiar with state requirements for training in food-handling safety. And if you work in a bar or for an alcohol distributor, you probably already know why it’s so important that everyone who has anything to do with selling, dispensing, or delivering any kind of alcoholic beverage complete state-certified training in alcohol safety.

Since 1988, ASCOT has been licensed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to provide TABC-certified alcohol-server training programs. That makes ASCOT one of the oldest and most established food and beverage certification programs in the country — as well as Texas’s longest-running provider of training in this important field. And ASCOT has been a preferred source for training in food handling in Houston since 2004.

If you’re responsible for making sure new employees are trained promptly and well in these particular areas, you can be sure they’re getting the exact program they need — in the most helpful format possible — by sending them to ASCOT. ASCOT offers its training courses both in a classroom setting and online, in both English and Spanish.

Use the discount code ASCOT on the alcoholservers.com website and the online alcohol-server training course works out to just $9.89 per class. The food-handling class costs just $7.00 — no discount code is needed.

ASCOT’s server-training program is certified by the TABC, and its food-handler program is ANSI Accredited as meeting the ASTM E2659-09 standard. For more details, or to sign up, head over to the ASCOT website — alcoholservers.com — or call 713.922.1223.

Show your support for Swamplot. Become a Sponsor of the Day.

Sponsor of the Day
10/18/17 10:30am

HOW A CANADIAN PENSION FUND FOUND ITS WAY TO SWALLOWING A BUNCH OF HOUSTON OFFICE BUILDINGS Ralph Bivins explains how it came to pass that the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, with its now-completed purchase of REIT Parkway, became the owner of 8.7 million sq. ft. of office space in Houston, including Greenway Plaza, CityWest Place, San Felipe Plaza, the Phoenix Tower, and Post Oak Central: “At one time Cousins and Parkway were separate companies with sizable holdings in Houston. The Houston office market tanked when oil fell from a high of $107 a barrel in June 2014 to less than $30 a barrel in early 2016. Houston energy firms laid off thousands of employees and vacated huge chunks of office space. Publicly traded firms with significant portfolios of Houston office space were under pressure. Security analysts criticized them. So Cousins and Parkway merged, all of the Houston properties were stripped out and placed into a new company, Parkway Inc. Now, the oil markets have stabilized. Houston’s office market is still soft and vacancies are high, but it appears to be on the road to recovery.” [Realty News Report] Photo of Greenway Plaza: Brent Oldbury, via Swamplot Flickr pool  

10/18/17 8:30am

Photo: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
10/17/17 4:45pm

A couple of Houston architects have a proposal for the northern portion of the soon-to-be-shuttered Greenspoint Mall at the northeast intersection of Beltway 8 and I-45: Turning it into a driving range surrounded by 3 golf holes. Why such an abbreviated course? Well, there’s only so much land available. But Paul Kweton and Hidekazu Takahashi of Studio Paulbaut consider the paring down an attractive update to convention that could help to make the sport more accessible:

“It takes up to 5 hours to play a decent round of golf,” they write. Their Greenspoint green would offer a quicker golfing proposition: A round of golf in 60 minutes. 

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Greenspoint Greens
10/17/17 4:00pm

THE TIPLINE IS STANDING BY Seen something interesting around town? To cover this city properly, Swamplot needs your tips. So tell us what you’ve seen. Taken some notable pics? Send them to our Flickr group. If you’ve uploaded a video to YouTube you think we might be interested in, send us a link. While you’re at it, be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and sign up to be on Swamplot’s email list.