The old Vargo’s Restaurant, a lakeside steak house and wedding venue nestled between Piney Point Village and the Westheimer strip for 47 years, was torn down in May of 2013. Its replacement at 2411 Fondren Rd., a 5-story apartment complex, keeps the name (minus the apostrophe) and the lake, and maybe a peacock or 2 by the pool for photo ops. After 17 months of construction, Vargos on the Lake is ready for a grand opening shindig next Thursday followed by open houses the next couple of days.
Here’s a site plan of the revamped grounds, showing how the 276-unit apartment building (of 1- and 2- bedroom units) and 13 townhomes (all 3-bedrooms) have been arrayed around the lake:
Are we once again entering the “mightaswell” stage in the Houston real estate lifecycle? You know — the season for architecture firms near and far who’ve given up most hope that that bold, sorta-hush-hush, but definitively conceived-in-boom design they’ve been slaving over for the last several months will ever actually get built to come to terms with the idea that putting the pretty renderings on display for fans to gawk over what might have been isn’t such a bad consolation prize?
If so, these drawings of a 33-story residential tower on San Felipe — just west of Voss Rd., commenters on the HAIF message board figure — appear to be right on queue. They now appear in some of the new marketing materials of Dallas architects Humphreys & Partners, with no mention of a client. But a few details do come with:
Built in 1977, a sprawling, stucco and partially stone-faced contemporary home in the Piney Point Village neighborhood called Windermere endured a big update in 2010 — as well as some sort of 1997 rebuild. Last week, the property’s re-listing flipped a couple of digits in its asking price: It’s now $1.56 million, down from the $1.65 million initial tag from a 2013 listing. (A later reduction had fallen as far as $1.595 million before timing out earlier this month.) Served by a circular driveway, the corner pocket lot on lasso-shaped Windermere Ln. backs up to the Fondren Rd. dogleg north of Westheimer.
There may not be a whole lot of wildlife ranging around the grounds surrounding this 1982 property in Piney Point Village. But check out the inside of the home:
Construction could start by the end of the month on this apartment building on the site of the demolished Vargo’s Restaurant in Piney Point. The rendering and plans for the complex, to be located at 2411 Fondren near Woodway, show no signs of the azaleas and starving peacocks that had been on the former fancy steakhouse’s land — nor its apostrophe: The complex, dubbed Vargos on the Lake, will have 276 1- and 2-bedroom apartments and 13 3-bedroom townhomes, explains a PR rep. Buying the 8.71-acre property out of bankruptcy, developer Sandy Aron appears to be going all out with the perks:
[Vargos] will offer active recreation via the Fit Flicks Theater; which will feature a projection wall and cardio equipment such as rowers, bikes, treadmills and Stairmaster. Fit Flicks Theater will screen movies on a daily basis.
Additional top-of-the-line amenities include two leash-free dog parks, resident clubhouse and demonstration kitchen, conference/private dining room, evening concierge, cold food delivery storage, kickboxing station, three outdoor kitchens, active pool with stainless steel tree sculpture and water feature, poolside event cabana, outdoor fire lounge, Zen pool, global gaming room, yoga studio and two massage rooms.
Rendering: Hunington Properties
Saluting cacti and other Western ware lead to a home off the range — but just a short cul-de-sac away from Memorial Dr., west of Voss Rd. And beyond the curbside get-up, it’s a puffed-up country cabin in Piney Point Village. Earlier this month, the dark-stained wooden-clad 1981 home in Ames Place debuted on the market with a $1.75 million asking price.
It’s a bit of a nature walk to this hidden-from-view home’s front entry. But then, isn’t that the point of living in a property arranged like a treehouse? The woodsy spread in Piney Point Village’s Shady Point neighborhood is a 1972 design by an early advocate of “energy aware” homes, Roger Rasbach. (He also designed this home in Bellaire.) It’s built on a gated cul-de-sac located near one of the designer’s other projects, Vargo’s Restaurant (soon to be replaced by apartments) on Fondren. Listed last week — on the same day demo work began on Vargo’s — the home has an asking price of $1,995,000. That includes several levels of outdoor decks and a nifty open-air workout space in a treehouse of its own (above).
If Beyoncé still wants this deeply discounted Piney Point Village mansion for her mother, she might have to bring back Sasha Fierce and grab a paddle: It’s going up on February 19 for auction. The 21,640-sq.-ft., 4-kitchen rental property near Briar Forest was listed as recently as January 3 at $5.9 million — and, says the website of California-based auction house Premier Estates, that’s just where bids will start.
MICHAEL JORDAN’S ALL-STAR BIRTHDAY BASH IN MANSION BEYONCé LIKES FOR HER MOM? Though rumors suggest that Beyoncé might soon snap it up for her mother, Tina, this steeply discounted Piney Point Village mansion near Buffalo Bayou has been the getaway destination for luxury-seeking out-of-towners like rapper Wiz Khalifa, reports CultureMap’s Shelby Hodge. According to its Vacation Rentals By Owner listing, the 21,640-sq.-ft. lodging goes for $25,000 a week from September to April — chump change for an NBA demigod like Michael Jordan, who, reports Hodge, might be renting the mansion to get his 50th birthday on while he’s in town during NBA All-Star Weekend in February. The VRBO listing doesn’t mention a security deposit; let’s hope Jordan hires someone to clean up before Beyoncé’s mom moves in. [Houston Chronicle; CultureMap; previously on Swamplot] Photos: HAR
How difficult will it be for developer Sandy Aron to fit the 6- or 7-story apartment complex he’s planning for the lakeside site of the shuttered Vargo’s Restaurant at 2401 Fondren into its peacock-filled Piney Point Village neighborhood? Last month the owner of Hunington Properties was forced to send plans for the complex back to the architects at the Steinberg Design Collaborative so that they could add an emergency vehicle lane inside the property — after residents of the 15-townhome community directly to the east voted to deny driveway access to the proposed development from Woodway. And last night other neighbors gathered in front of teevee cameras to voice general complaints about the plans for Vargo’s on the Lake, which according to abc13’s report has now been cut back to 288 units from 312. Deed restrictions established in the seventies will require the apartments to sit back 50 ft. from the lake on the property. Aron told the Houston Business Journal last month that he expected to close on the land — which he’s buying out of bankruptcy — in late August.
Photo of Vargo’s back yard: Rolando Silva