Down the street from Lamar High School, thewould-have-been-Little-Woodrow’s now going instead by Kirby Ice House (“A Neighborhood Pearl”) is setting up shop at 3333 Eastside St., between the parking lot used for the weekly Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market and the Bammel Park townhomes. A post to the establishment’s Facebook page earlier this week shows that the under-construction building has just finished turning an icy blue, and the accompanying caption says that work is moving into “the detail phase”.
The bar’s across-the-street neighbors include nonprofit women’s career services center Dress for Success and the main building of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston — both groups expressed concern about the bar’s location in 2014 after the president of the Bammel Park Homeowner’s Association sounded a neighborhood-wide email alarm. Dress for Success filed a protest of the ice house’s TABC license that July; the license was issued in December of that same year.
A rendering of the building’s exterior shows the ice house standing next to a townhouse-free field:
WATCHING WHERE YOU PARK IN RAINTREE PLACE A resident of Raintree Place received an email complaint from the community’s property owners association approximately 10 minutes after her parked car was spotted in her own driveway. Dianne Josephs, who rents her home, tells the Houston Press she had been loading up her vehicle with clothing and household goods to donate to wildfire victims. Regulations in the private gated neighborhood of 86 lots inside the Loop at 10 South Briar Hollow Ln. between San Felipe and Post Oak Blvd. prohibit residents from leaving cars anywhere other than in their garages or in a few designated visitor spaces. This isn’t Josephs’s first run-in with neighborhood authorities: “Josephs says her neighbor circles the complex several times a day to report open garages and cars parked in driveways. Once, she reported him for having his garage open, and she says he flipped her daughter off with both hands. ‘I wanna buy it [the house], but the people here are so mean!!’ squealed Josephs. ‘They yell at me and say, “You’re nothing but trouble.”…but I question authority. When I think it’s crazy, I question it.'” [Hair Balls] Photo: Raintree Place
A loyal Swamplot tipster alerts us to a copy of a letter that appeared on a neighborhood email list late last week. The letter is signed by Mark Thuesen, president of the condominium association at the 2520 Robinhood at Kirby condos. Loyal Swamplot readers, of course, will recognize that name — Thuesen is one of 3 condo residents named in a lawsuit by the owners of Hans’ Bier Haus, the little outdoorish bar that’s next door to the 16-story Rice Village residential tower. The lawsuit claims that Theusen and 2 others attacked patrons at the bar several times, throwing beer cans, bottles, and eggs at them from above, as well as spraying performing musicians with water.
Unsurprisingly, Thuesen does not specifically mention those allegations in his letter, which we presume is meant for fellow condo residents. But he is kind enough to include a copy of the temporary injunction handed down by Judge Patricia Hancock last week, which specifically prohibits Theusen [sic], 2 codefendants, and all residents of 2520 Robinhood from “throwing any sort of object whatsoever” or “intentionally running or pouring water or any other liquid upon” Hans’ Bier Haus.
Thuesen does, however, draw attention to the now-famous incident on December 13th of last year, in which Hans’ Bier Haus co-owner Bill Cave stormed into the condo lobby and dragged the concierge by his tie into an elevator — on a quest to turn off the water that was spraying onto bar patrons and musicians from a hose connected to the patio of an upper-story condo resident:
COMMENT OF THE DAY: ENDEAVOUR RESCUE PLAN “Original asking prices for the 80 unit tower ranged from $425k to $2.5 million. After all the hype about sales, it looks like the developer was only able to sell 36 units. Now Regions has unloaded 44 units for an average price of $216k plus back taxes and interest. OUCH! And what can we read between the lines of this comment? ‘The group also said it would pay normally budgeted homeowner assessments for 2010 for any condo owner current on their assessments for 2009.’ It sounds to me like MANY of the 36 original buyers are behind on their maintenance fees. Wonmore is trying to incentivize them [to] get current by offering to pay all their fees for 2010??? That sounds like an awfully big incentive? Are they trying to solve an awfully big problem? When condo associations go broke, look out below. . . .” [Bernard, commenting on Wonmore in Bankrupt Endeavour]
The charms of gated acreage near Lake Conroe: large, wooded lakefront homesites, plus only a 25 minute commute . . . to The Woodlands! Oh, and if we’re talking about 1400-acre Crown Oaks in Montgomery County, lots of lawsuits, too!
Last year, the Crown Oaks Property Owners Association, along with individual homeowners, sued Affiliated Crown Development LTD, citing poor structure of the two manmade lakes in the development, located outside Montgomery.
But so much has happened since then: After new board members decided the developer would finally work with them to solve the lakes’ problems, the property owners association dropped its suit this fall. But now two groups of 10 individual homeowners have hired separate legal teams to continue their lawsuit against the developer. And in turn, the developer is now suing the engineering and construction firms it hired to build the dams on both lakes.
But there’s even more lawsuit fun:
“The POA tried to get out of the suit as a plaintiff, so my group has also sued them,” [homeowner attorney Kevin] Forsberg said. “The individuals were not satisfied. … Even though the POA started working with the developer in the hopes that the lakes would be fixed, nothing has actually been done.”
What’s it like to build your home on a lake that doesn’t bother to show up? Thanks to the amazing power of the internets, you can experience all the highs and lows of manmade-lakefront real-estate investing yourself — from the comfort of your own computer! Watch videos and read details of the whole dam story . . . after the jump!
Just what is it about cheaply built condos in Houston that attracts so much, uh . . . “bank interest”? According to HCAD, of the fifteen condo units at 1342 Rutland in the Heights, only six have non-bank owners — and that includes the three owned by Freddie Mac, the “1342 Rutland Lofts Council,” and an investment group. Fortunately for buyers, the financial institutions appear to have no desire to hold onto the condos for corporate housing: eight of the units are on the market, and four more are due to be auctioned off at the huge REDC foreclosure extravaganza at the Reliant Center on November 17th.
(Special bonus for foreclosure bidders: the same auction features four units from Swamplot favorite Tremont Tower!)
Sure, there’s a downturn, and maybe a few problems with some nasty mortgages, but why do so many foreclosures concentrate on a few ugly buildings?
HAIF poster Kirzania provides a few clues:
from the inspector’s findings it would appear the second level of condos was added to the top of a pre-existing building. However, the first level was not reinforced for the second story. The walls were bowed on the first level and there were evident issues of structure problems. My understanding was there wasn’t a problem with the foundation itself, but the frame of the building.
The HOA itself sounded like it was barely staying afloat; the banks owe the HOA $$$$$ for past dues but these funds are being held up in bureaucratic nonsense. I would very much reconsider even stepping foot in this place.
Channel 26 news reporter Isiah Carey’s Insite blog features scans of a scalding memo distributed recently to residents of the Blue Creek Ranch subdivision, near Highway 249 and Beltway 8. The memo scolds four residents by name (and address) who “wish to make the neighborhood a ghetto” and urges residents to attend a Blue Creek Homeowners Association meeting at Doss Community Center last Wednesday night, with this gentle rejoinder:
IF YOU REMAIN SILENT AND DO NOT SHOW UP THEN YOUR HOME WILL BE WORTHLESS AND THE NEIGHBORHOOD WILL BE A GHETTO. [original emphasis]
Way to increase attendance at neighborhood meetings!
Among the attendees: reporter Vicente Arenas from Channel 11 News, who asked association president and memo author Tamika Harris exactly what she meant by the term “ghetto.” Maybe he hadn’t read the memo carefully enough:
The Ghetto Agenda:
Play loud music
Allow the kids to play in the street
Barbeque in the front
Let the gang roam the neighborhood
Use the garage and driveway as a place for family meals, hanging out, parties, and hair dressing
No deed restriction enforcement
Get rid of security
No consideration for the many cultures in this neighborhood
Allow trucks, trailers, and commercial vehicles in the neighborhood
Not concerned with the books being in proper order
Allow people not to pay their assessments
Use the Association as a social club
Increase annual assessments
The memo ends with what appears to be an invitation to some sort of real-estate duel:
. . . PUT UP or SHUT UP. If you lose, you move. The Board challenges these women to sign a legally binding contract where each side agrees to put their house up for sale and move if they lose at the Special Meeting. This Board is willing to put their money where their mouths are. Ellen, Lorraine, Patricia, and Wendy are you? We are waiting to hear from you to set a time to sign the contract.
No word if this strange challenge was accepted, but after an election, Harris did survive the meeting as board president.