07/31/08 10:06am

INSPECTORS WILL VISIT MANY MORE MULTIFAMILY APARTMENT COMPLEXES Hundreds of multifamily apartments in Houston lack certificates of occupancy or compliance — documents which indicate the facility complies with the city’s basic building and safety standards.The city wants all properties to submit to an occupancy inspection and obtain a certificate, while also correcting any immediate structural, electrical or other problems inspectors identify. Those that do not respond to the city’s efforts to get a certificate or make repairs could face closure, [Mayor] White said.” [Houston Chronicle]

01/21/08 11:54am

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLnLsrK5Tjs 400 330]

The brave work of Southwest Houston and Houston Apartment Renaissance scholars has been rewarded — a second mid-1980s Colonial House TV commercial is now available on YouTube!

No it’s not quite as iconic and over-the-top as the one with the VCR in the pool, but look at that fabulous indoor-outdoor furniture! Almost a quarter century later, we know Michael Pollack is alive and well, but does anyone know where that living-room mandala and dining-room set ended up?

12/10/07 11:02am

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC5mvVXGGjc 400 330]

This charming period piece from the abortive early-’80s Southwest Houston apartment renaissance surfaced on YouTube late last month, to the great acclaim of chief Michael Pollack fan Lou Minatti, who has hosted an online shrine to the iconic and once high-profile Houston developer on his website for several years. Why was Pollack such a big deal?

What Gallery Furniture’s “We really will save you moneyyyyyyy!” was to the north side of town, the VCR in the Pool was to the southwest.

And really, who can forget the charms of Colonial House, at the corner of Chimney Rock and Gulfton? Writes Minatti:

Built in the late 1960s, Colonial House was in terrible shape.

Gangs and prostitutes had moved in, while basic amenities such as air conditioning had quit working. Pollack moved in and the gangs moved out. Pollack’s crew gutted and rebuilt each of the 1,800 units in just three months. But after all that hard work, Pollack had an even bigger task ahead: How was our suave, sophisticated hero going to fill those apartments? That’s where his infamous TV ads came in.

Here’s a question: Doesn’t the bench-pressing dude on the Nautilus about five seconds in look a bit . . . familiar?

After the jump: Pollack claims it was all an act! Plus, what he’s up to these days — with pix!


08/01/07 6:00pm

Elder Street Artist Lofts in the Former Old Jefferson Davis HospitalSome residents of the new Elder St. Artist Lofts (formerly the Old Jefferson Davis Hospital) in the First Ward are upset with the building’s management:

“To me it’s not an artist loft anymore,” says one resident who’s been there since the beginning. “We receive the newsletters from ArtSpace in Minneapolis and we see the artist live-work spaces that are opening up in Buffalo, New York and in San Francisco and other parts of the country, and they’re active and they’re artist-run and they’ve got the support of the city, they’ve got the support of the community and they’re vibrant. And we’re not on that level, and I don’t know if we ever will be.”

Current and former tenants gripe to the Houston Press that the resident managers play favorites and will only rent month-to-month, and that there aren’t enough artists in the building.

Photo of Elder St. Artists Lofts: Greater Houston Preservation Alliance