Chunk of Change Delays Deer Park Prairie Deadline

CHUNK OF CHANGE DELAYS DEER PARK PRAIRIE DEADLINE Apparently, the owner of that would-be-sold-and-developed 53-acre patch of prairie in Deer Park has been persuaded to give the Bayou Land Conservancy 3 more weeks to come up with the rest of the money to buy it. A $2 million donation from Terry Hershey helped the conservancy bring in $3.2 million in less than a week; still, $800,000 more is needed before Sept. 10, or the owner will sell to a homebuilder planning a subdivision. If it can close on the prairie, the conservancy says it “will place a conservation easement over the property to permanently protect the land — which would disallow the 250 houses currently planned for the acreage and any other future development.” [Bayou Land Conservancy; previously on Swamplot] Image: Bayou Park Conservancy

15 Comment

  • Am I the only person that wonders whether this was all just a PR stunt?

  • TheNiche, if it is PR stunt, then it’s a brilliant one… the seller and the developer will get to say that they gave environmentalists concessions and additional time, and since the raising of the money was doomed to fail anyway, it will also discredit that group and discourage others. Win, win.

  • An extra 3 weeks… Wonder how much the premium is to have the land conserved? The owner is probably making more money off the conservancy than from the developer.

  • @ commonsense…you say “and since the raising of the money was doomed to fail anyway”. They have raised $3.2 million in two weeks. How is it ‘doomed to fail”?

  • Is it me or is this a new trend? If you want to develop something despite opposition from neighbors, give those neighbors a chance to buy the property from you. If they raise the money and buy it, you can walk away with properly lined pockets. If they fail to raise the money – it’s on them; you’re the good guy who gave them a first crack at it. Either way, you can’t lose.
    From what I understand, the Houston Housing Authority is doing exactly the same thing with the Westbury Community Garden site.

  • DD, supposedly the seller is willing to accept an offer from the conservancy that is much lower than the developer’s offer.

  • @NewHeightsresident, I should have stated that the sale is doomed to fail, even if they raise the money, I think they’ll be some reasons that will pop up not to close with them but to close with the developer.

  • This is a bargaining ploy. The landowner is extending the deadline so the Conservancy can raise the $4MM, which allows him to raise the developers price. No way a non-profit wins a bidding war.

  • Everyone that thinks this is a ploy for a bidding war…Don’t you think the landowner just might have a conscience and actually wants it saved and might give up 200-400k to see that happen?

  • Newheightsresident – I certainly hope this is the case. I would love for the prairie to be preserved, and I think it’d be awesome if the owner felt the same way. At the same time, all land use is political. You can’t help but see the genius of this approach, from a political standpoint.

  • Has anybody on this forum ever heard of a real estate option contract? The Bayou Land Conservancy has been purchasing land for years. They know what they’re doing.

  • @ ZAW: Whatever the landowners’ game, it does not seem to have very much to do with urban planning in a traditional sense or with the surrounding neighborhoods. There is absolutely no analogy between the preservation of pristine natural habitat and whatever is happening at Westbury Gardens.

  • Niche – the analogy isn’t in the type of development, but in the tactic being used by the landowner. The Houston Housing Authority has offered to sell the the land to the Westbury Community Garden – if they can raise the money to buy it. If they can’t, well, we know the drill. It’s exactly the same tactic being used in Deer Park. The only difference is that the HHA won’t be giving any price breaks or advantages to the Community Garden – citing federal rules.

  • Please donate to save this important land @

  • Apparently the Deer Park Prairie has been successfully purchased by the Bayou Land Conservancy. Following commonsense’s logic (in the second comment), I hope this encourages many others to purchase properties for the purpose of preserving things worth preserving.