09/29/14 4:45pm

A LIFEBOAT FOR THE ROYALTON’S CORRODING CROWN? Top of Royalton at River Oaks Condominiums, 3333 Allen Pkwy., HoustonJudging from court filings, there appears to have been some sort of resolution to the lawsuit filed more than 2 years ago by the condominium association of the 253-unit Royalton at River Oaks highrise over the design of the steel grid at the top of the building at 3333 Allen Pkwy. The lawsuit claimed the structure was corroding and was designed in such away that made maintaining it or recoating it impossible — and sought damages from the building’s contractor, architect, and other parties. The condo association dropped its claims against many of those parties late last month. And a reader wonders if the attachment seen hanging below the structure in the recent photo at left, which “almost looks like a hot tub,” is part of some newly devised cleaning solution. [Prime Property] Photo: Swamplot inbox

09/29/14 4:15pm

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Over in the Brighton Place neighborhood in Spring Valley, a 1979 contemporary quietly observed its shift into middle age this year. The property has kept its bones but also updated some of the padding. It’s been listed since mid-September for $729,900.

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Wraparound Pool
09/29/14 3:15pm

A RANDALL DAVIS-FLAVORED HIGHRISE FOR THE EAST SIDE OF THE WEST LOOP Aerial View of Parcels at Former Westcreek Apartments, 2021 Westcreek Ln., HoustonThemed-residence developer Randall Davis is planning another Galleria-area condo project, and it looks like this one won’t have to share space with any fast-food drive-thrus — unless, of course, he wants it to. The HBJ‘s Paul Takahashi is reporting that Davis plans to construct an 85-to-100-unit highrise on a 1.8-acre site at 2021 Westcreek Ln., until recently occupied by a portion of the Westcreek Apartments. (It’s labeled Parcel D in the view at left.) Davis’s block is immediately north of the SkyHouse River Oaks, which is already under construction. It fronts San Felipe, across from Ashley Furniture, and its eastern flank abuts the Target parking lot. If Davis still wants some sort of fast-food spot to land next to his so-far-unnamed project, though, he could certainly make it happen: Takahashi reports he’ll be building on a little less than half of the site, and selling off 45,000 sq. ft. of it to developers. [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot] Image: CBRE

09/29/14 2:00pm

8402 Glenscott St., Meadowbrook Freeway, Houston

If you’re wondering why there are no photos of the foyer in this listing for the ranch home at 8402 Glenscott St. in the southeast Houston neighborhood of Meadowbrook Freeway, it’s likely out of respect. Because that’s the room where Sybil Berndt, the previous owner of this 3-bedroom, 2-bath home, fell, lay still face down on the floor for 3 days, passed away, and then slowly decomposed over the course of 3 months, all while her twin 48-year-old sons Edwin and Edward carried on with their lives, staying inside and watching TV and eating popcorn, potato chips, and candy.

There was a brief period after their mother fell, 2 days before her 89th birthday, when the twins considered getting her to a hospital, but they worried they might not be able to pay for her medical bills, according to investigators. Later, they worried how they might pay for her funeral. (It appears their mother had more than enough money to cover both.) Their mother, according to the twins’ account, never asked for help.

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Paint and Carpet Magic!
09/29/14 11:30am

Site of Hamilton Apartments, 1800 St. Joseph Pkwy. at Chenevert, Downtown Houston

With nary an announcement, preliminary sitework appears to have begun for the 148-unit Hamilton Apartments, on a 1.12-acre lot at the southeasternmost corner of downtown (actually, the southern corner if you don’t pretend, as most direction-givers do, that the downtown grid has no tilt to it). The block, hugged gently by a flying overpass at the intersection of I-45 and Hwy. 59, is surrounded by Hamilton, St. Joseph Pkwy., Pierce, and Chenevert streets.

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Overpass Pads
09/29/14 8:30am

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Photo of Deer Park Refinery: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
09/26/14 4:45pm

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Will a mod-minded buyer be willing to commute from Brookshire? What if it means calling this “ultra-swank one-owner mid-century rancho deluxe time capsule” — priced at $275,000 — home? Located up the road a spell from the Energy Corridor, the long-and-lean 1954 custom property comes with “Mad Men” finishes, vintage tiles in the bathrooms, and mod-era fixtures and hardware. Intrigued? Grab yourself a high ball, why don’t you, and take this tour . . .

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Country Chic
09/26/14 2:00pm

Los Robertos Taco Shop, 3200 S. Fry Rd., Katy, Texas

This fire-lane-accessible structure at 3200 S. Fry Rd., on the eastern edge of Cinco Ranch, will soon be the home of Los Robertos Taco Shop, a 3-location (soon to be 4-) chain expanding east from San Antonio. The taco outpost, which will stay open 24 hours, 7 days a week, will be taking over for the Chicken Express that closed at this spot earlier this year. Conveniently located immediately north of the Cinco Ranch Alzheimer’s Special Care Center, the drive-thru lies just one parking lot south of Westheimer Pkwy.

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Los Robertos Taco Shop
09/26/14 1:00pm

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Now flipping in Sherwood Oaks, a fully renovated ranchburger with rebooted pool serves up an open floor plan (above) with an outside of fresh greens. (The droopy tilted mailbox at curbside — shown in the older photo at right — has been replaced, too.) The overhauled property, located west of the Sam Houston Tollway and north of I-10, popped up on the market Wednesday as a relisting, asking $449,000. That’s the same price a previous listing by the same agent had reached by June; the property took a quick break and repositioned its pricepoint up from an initial $230,000 set in May, shortly after the current owner picked it up for $175K just a day after its listing at the end of April.

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Tap Into Taupe
09/26/14 12:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WE’RE NOWHERE NEAR PEAK MONTROSE Not at the Peak“I don’t think we’re anywhere close to the peak of property values in Montrose. You can still get an older 1,500 square foot townhome in the area for under $250,000. The average price for a bigger (~2,500sf) recent construction townhome is probably around $600,000. Those prices would be laughably low in comparable neighborhoods in most cities. Gentrification doesn’t really stop halfway like that barring a major economic downturn — once the ball starts rolling like this it just keeps going until the whole neighborhood is gleaming and wealthy. If you think Montrose has reached that point yet, you’re wrong. A fully gentrified urban neighborhood doesn’t have horrible apartment complexes like Takara So or vacant lots and skeazy strip centers on its main commercial street. Gentrification isn’t going to stop in Montrose until you can’t get a new townhome for less than a million or an apartment for less than $1,400.” [Christian, commenting on Gibbs Boats on West Gray and Montrose Is Selling Everything Now] Illustration: Lulu

09/26/14 11:00am

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: HOW TO POSITION YOUR INNER LOOP INVESTMENT BUSINESS FOR THE COMING DOWNTURN Bursting Bubble“Cody, yeah I agree with you. If this isn’t the top of a market cycle, it’s damn close. If you bought low, now is the time to sell high. And do it without regret because you’ll never go broke by profit-taking. But even more than your Montrose assets, sell the stuff that you’ve got that is further east. In a downturn, there will be a flight to asset quality both on the part of capital markets and tenants. Montrose values will go down, but Greater Third Ward be much more volatile. Use some of the proceeds to short high-yield bonds, use the remainder to reposition your outfit as an apartment management company. No matter how bad things get, there will always be a need for management companies, and this gives you a way to maintain the continuity of your career and to keep your ear to the ground. Then, in the worst of the down-cycle, while most everybody else is paralyzed and some are distressed sellers, you’ll have cash (hopefully a LOT of cash if that short position plays out for you the way I think that it might), a company, and a resume. And when my prediction pans out and you’re fantastically successful, don’t forget whose crystal ball made it possible. I might need a job by then.” [TheNiche, commenting on Gibbs Boats on West Gray and Montrose Is Selling Everything Now] Illustration: Lulu

09/26/14 10:00am

HOUSTON’S HOTEL BUILDING BOOM Proposed Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites, Crawford St. Between Capitol and Rusk, Downtown HoustonIf you’ve been adding up the new Embassy Suites planned for Hughes Landing in The Woodlands, the 14-story combo Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites now beginning construction on Crawford St. between Capitol and Rusk downtown (illustrated at right, directly behind the Marriott Marquis going up one block to the south), and other recent reports of new hotels coming to town, keep counting: Arch-Con’s Michael Vaughn tells Real Estate Bisnow’s Catie Dixon that 66 new hotels will be built in the greater Houston area over the next 2 years, and “that’s mostly just the major brands” that he knows about. [Houston Business Journal; Real Estate Bisnow] Photo: American Liberty Hospitality