COMMENT OF THE DAY: YOUR INNER LOOP NEIGHBORS “Who wants to buy a house in the innermost area of Houston when you never know what horrible thing is gonna sprout 25 stories in the sky butted up next to your charming house and garden you spent so much time on? Renting is the only quick easy escape. Of course then your landlord sells the vintage apt bldg, gives tenants notice and the new owners tear it down. I feel sorry for my old neighbors, they’re about to have a colossal monstrosity next to them, after they put up with the banging and the big trucks and the port-a-potty that sits in the yard for 6 months. [Bethsheba, commenting on The First Look at That 25-Story Residential Highrise Hines Might Build in the Museum District] Illustration: Lulu
A REPRIEVE FOR THE ALMOST AFTON OAKS APARTMENTS? Here’s more from the reader who a week ago predicted the demise of the recently sold “very well-made” 1955 apartment building at 4724 Oakshire Dr., shown here under the glimmering purview of the Williams Tower: “Well, now the latest rumor is that the new owners are not going to demo it (at least not right away) and tenants will have the option to do month-to-month renting with them (haven’t seen anything in writing yet, but the month-to-month thing doesn’t sound like they intend to keep the current complex in the long-term . . . .” Calls to the agent for more information haven’t been returned. [Swamplot inbox; previously on Swamplot] Photos: Gary Greene
WHY THE CAPITOL AT ST. GERMAIN MIGHT BE CLOSED A LITTLE LONGER THAN IT SAYS Culturemap’s Whitney Radley reports that a rep from the jazzy Main St. spot says it had to close temporarily because of water damage to the kitchen, but the Houston Press’s Katharine Shilcutt claims
she has reason to believe otherwise, since the bar and restaurant — paying, she reports, “a monthly rent close to $17,000” — seems to have sprung another kind of leak: “When a restaurant is faltering and owes its landlord rent, one of two things usually happens: 1) The restaurant closes shop and washes its hands of the entire affair, leaving behind everything from kitchen equipment to barstools, which then become property of the landlord or 2) the restaurant wants to close but also needs to recoup some of its losses and stalls by telling the landlord that it’s ‘renovating’ for a few days. Those days are spent clearing the place out and selling everything that’s not nailed down.” And what makes Shilcutt so sure? “I spotted some activity going on outside . . . that suggested furniture was being moved out of the space.” And: “Calls to the restaurant weren’t returned, and on my last attempt, the phone line seemed to have been disconnected.” Update, 1:47 p.m.: Shilcutt reports that the Capitol at St. Germain has told her it’s not closing and does plan to reopen once the water damage — which, says the bar’s rep, knocked out the phone lines — is repaired. [Culturemap; Eating Our Words; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Cvent
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
Back in 2010, Skanska said it was going to build and finance an office building in the Galleria all on its own. Swamplot showed you the first and second Kirksey-designed renderings. This one’s the third. And there’s another detail to add to the story: Skanska announced today that Datacert will be the first tenant. Though the planned 20-story, 300,000-sq.-ft. building at 3009 Post Oak is still under construction, Skanska says that Datacert should be able to move in on the 10th and 11th floors later this summer. Right now, the 15-year-old “enterprise legal management solutions” company is headquartered in a building a few doors down at 3040 Post Oak.
Rendering: Swamplot inbox
CLEAN YOUR OWN DAMN TOILET The rent ain’t so bad — just $350 a month for a 600-sq.-ft. single-bedroom house steps from Heights Blvd. and I-10. But you’ll be renting this place “as-is,” and these pics are here to help you figure out what that means. [HAR, via Swamplot inbox]
Communications director Vance Muse tells the River Oaks Examiner‘s Michael Reed that the foundation’s board won’t replace the bargain-rent Richmont Square Apartments in a way that’ll change the character of the Menil campus:
“It’s on our mind that we could, in a low-key Menil way, build a (residential) property along Richmond Avenue,” he said.
Apartments at Richmont Square range from $650 for one-bedroom, one-bath units of 575 square feet to $955 for two-bedroom, two-bath units of 1,064 square feet. Deposits are between $250 and $300.
Asked about the possibility of the Menil plan including dwellings that are priced similarly to what would be replaced, Muse said specifics have not been discussed yet.
“We’d like to keep it bohemian, if at all possible,” he said. “There has always been a commitment (by Menil) to offering a break.”
Photo of Richmont Square parking lot, 1400 Richmond Ave.: River Oaks Examiner
HOUSTON RENT DEALS A broker tells reporter Amy Wolff Sorter that no new multifamily apartments — beyond the 14,000 units currently “in the pipeline” — are likely to be built in the Houston area until 2012. MPF Research says the multifamily occupancy rate for this area is hanging at around 89.7 percent, not too far from where it was last year: “. . . rents continue to hold steady and concessions aren’t being jacked up in response, though they do exist. [MPF’s Greg] Willett points out that about 38% of the product on the market today has some sort of concession, with the typical giveaway hovering at a 9% discount, which translates to a little more than one month of free rent. Still, ‘that really hasn’t moved,’ Willett remarks. ‘We’ve been at that 9% figures for awhile.’ Both [Apartment Realty Advisors’ Matt] Rotan and [CB Richard Ellis’s Craig] LaFollette say that the infill locations are faring better than the outer submarkets, which are giving away up to two months free rent.” [Globe St.]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: KICKING BACK ON WASHINGTON AVE. “I live in the Core (since October 2008), and I’m certain that there are no plans to extend this complex across the street. The Core is a great place to live, but like every other large inner city complex, they’ve been slow to fill vacancies here. With that said, it would be foolish for them to even consider expanding. The last I heard, there were plans to put a small two story shopping strip there similar to the one on the other side of the Core. Still no solid plans though from anyone. By the way, if anyone wants to live here in the Core, put me as a reference and you and i both will get cash back.” [Hector Garcia, commenting on Washington Ave.: Extending The Core?]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: INNER LOOP RENTS, HARD AND HIGH “I have to disagree with rents being soft in the inner loop. I just relocated here in January and, unless things have changed, I found rents exceedingly high and availability low. Granted, I did not want a cookie cutter apartment, but I was blown away by the prices. I looked at the new Gables property on Kirby and they were $2,500 minimum a month for a two bedroom. The kicker was that they’d only accept a 18 month lease. I thought that was crazy. The Alexean on Westheimer was a little cheaper at $2,000 per month but it didn’t seem well built. I preferred condo’s or houses to apartment complexes and most of them were in the $2,000 plus range. Those under $2,000 that were nice rented almost immediately after coming on the market. I wound up in a two bedroom house in Montrose for $2,600 and everyone I talk to seems to think I got an ok deal. I have to concur that it seems more expensive to rent than buy. I certainly could have bought for less in this market but, being new to town, didn’t want to dive in to home ownership immediately. Anyone that says Houston is cheap hasn’t looked at inner loop real estate.” [Charlie, commenting on Where Rents Have Dropped]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE UPPER LIMITS OF INNER LOOP RENTS “The reason the inner loop is ‘soft’ is simple math. A tiny apartment is now something like $1,200 per month. Meanwhile, my mortgage on my inner-loop house is just over $1,300.” [me, commenting on Where Rents Have Dropped]
WHERE RENTS HAVE DROPPED The latest stats provided to 11 News by Houston-based Apartment Data Services show that at the newest complexes, rents for all size of apartments are now averaging $1,108. That’s 11 percent cheaper than last year. Rents are about the same for complexes built a decade ago, averaging $739 a month. And rents are actually up slightly at older complexes, where they’re averaging $570 a month. ‘I’d say the inner loop is probably the softest,’ said Bruce McClenny of Apartment Data Services. ‘They’re about 40 percent occupied,’ McClenny said of brand-new complexes that traditionally take a year or two to fill up. . . . We’re told rents are holding steady for many apartments in far west Houston, Katy, The Woodlands, Kingwood, and Sugar Land. Demand remains strong in those places. Why? The energy industry, for one. ‘The energy corridor’s taking off again in west Houston. There’s lot of growth, people relocating day in day out,’ according to Shannon Proteau, another agent with Find It Apartment Locators. But, in a twist, Proteau said it’s also because families forced out of homes by foreclosure are attracted by highly-rated suburban school districts.” [11 News]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: APARTMENT MESS SKEPTIC “. . . There should be grime around the light switch – there is not. There should be a big layer of filth on the blinds – there is not. The blind cord would be filthy – it is not. The walls are very very clean & white. They should be smudgy. In another set of these pictures, the kitchen cabinets are completely clean, no grime at the door knobs, no grime at the drawer pulls. Trust me – in this much filth, you would see that grime. ALSO – the big piles of cigarette butts were obviously dumped there. When you put out a cigarette, there is a smashing action. You don’t just throw a still burning cigarette on top of a giant pile of other cigarettes. MAYBE this person worked in a bar & collected a weeks worth of cigarettes & dumped them throughout the house……maybe….. But the whole thing looks staged to me – big time.” [KW, commenting on Inside the Messiest Apartment in Houston. Ever.]
Swamplot’s story last week on that extremely dirty apartment in North Houston left out a few photos the photographer originally posted in the Houston-Imports forum. Our photo editing choices were meant to highlight the more “artistic” qualities of the display. And really, how much filth do you need to see?
More than we showed, apparently. The story was one of the most popular ever posted on this site. Who are we to prevent smut-hungry readers from viewing the trash they so obviously want to see?
So here they are, fresh from the . . . uh, cutting-room floor: 11 more photos of the messiest apartment in Houston. Ever. We hope.
A word of warning to the easily nauseated: Yes, there are a few images of the bathroom. No, it is not pretty.
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Note: Updated below.
A tenant in a north Houston apartment complex has an overdue payment for more than a month. No one can get in touch with her. Eventually the bookkeeper goes inside to leave a note. And finds . . . this:
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