Comment of the Day: Grand Unified Wilshire Village Conspiracy Theory

COMMENT OF THE DAY: GRAND UNIFIED WILSHIRE VILLAGE CONSPIRACY THEORY An “anonymous news reporter/non-resident” explains all the wacky goings-on at Wilshire Village — complete with a detailed timeline. Here’s an excerpt, but if you love real-estate soap operas, settle in with a snack and read the whole finger-pointing thing: “. . . The original owner, Jay H. Cohen, inherited the apartments and property from his parents, who had the apartments built in 1940. In November 2005, Matthew Dilick partnered with Cohen under a partnership called Alabama & Dunlavy, Ltd., taking out a loan to pay for taxes. Through this partnership, Dilick was able to obtain general partnership status to make management decisions, and his widely published plan all along has been to demolish the buildings and sell the land. Before the apartments could be demolished, they would have to be vacated. But the original owner Jay H. Cohen maintained majority ownership and wished to keep the buildings standing. Toward that goal, Cohen obtained two repair permits in January and February 2009 and set electricians to consistently making electrical repairs over the course of the next couple of months. . . . Questions: If the buildings were demolished and new condos were built, would the City of Houston stand to profit by the increased value of the land and therefore increased taxes? Was the City of Houston working in coordination with Alabama & Dunlavy, Ltd to cause the buildings to be vacated? Why were Cohen’s repair efforts disregarded by Alabama & Dunlavy, Ltd. and the City of Houston? Has everything been legit? . . .” [dredger, commenting on Wilshire Village Is Ready for Its Closeup]

20 Comment

  • The scenario as described by the tenants themselves would seem to support the “conspiracy theory” and of course having the property condemned takes care of the problem of the partner who wants to renovate the complex rather than just tear it down and sell the land.

    All eyes turn to City Hall. As always.

  • Conspiracy? Bill White has said that he wants to be sure the high priced homes are not in the suburbs. There is nothing city government won’t do to turn the in-loop into Chez Swankiendaland. This is simply good business practices and only a socialist would condem that.

  • Here’s to socialism then. Bill White should go back to where he came from – he can swankiendaland” Dallas.

    And he should take the rest of City Hall with him.

  • if it’s true the city wanted the place re-developed to increade their tax collections, why did it take so long for them to get around to doing anything? that land has always been valuable and those places have been in terrible shape for (at least) the last 10 years…any city inspector could see obvious code & safety issues just by driving by. there’s a fire station just a block away, and the engines regularly go up dunlevy. no, i think it’s just that everything finally came together.

  • “no, i think it’s just that everything finally came together.”

    You may be right. But you know what’s wrong with believing that? It came together too quickly.

    Not to mention that one of the two partners was spending making repairs on the property. Now why would he do that if he was planning on tearing it down the following month?

  • It was a well-coordinated, brilliantly/ruthlessly executed plan.

    Notices from an unknown entity – Alabama and Dunlavy Ltd. – were sent to tenants advising them of lease termination. Meetings were called, and attended by tenants and City of Houston officials – who advised us to run for our lives and not to pay rent, we were going to be thrown out anyway.

    Meanwhile Cohen is making repairs furiously and telling us not to worry.

    Threats of huge fines by the city and that goon…uh..constables would toss out us and our belongings on March 28th very roughly rain or shine (the stick) were answered with an offer of moving expenses and $500 if all tenants signed a complete release of all liability to Matt Dilick (the carrot).

    The pressure was nonstop – everybody (including the old – 70s and 80s – the blind, the disabled, people with kids in school) was out by April 7.

    Well done, Matt!

    I’m sure your family is proud.

  • “if it’s true the city wanted the place re-developed to increase their tax collections, why did it take so long for them to get around to doing anything?”
    Good question. I forgot to mention that with regard to the loan Dilick took out to pay for taxes on the property four years ago, sources have reported that the bank set a deadline of early April 2009 for him to take steps toward paying back that loan. In demolishing the apartments and selling the land, Dilick would be able to pay back the loan and make a profit as well. On a related note, see the following article, which mentions Matthew Dilick, published in the Houston Business Journal in 2006
    As to the comment, “This is private property. The owner should be able to do with it as he sees fit,” the problem is that Jay Cohen, who inherited the property from his parents, still holds 80 percent ownership. Sadly, he was duped or forced by circumstance into signing over managing control to Dilick. Another part of Houston’s history about to be erased, and a big one at that.

  • Owning property does not mean you can do whatever you want. They would not be allowed to put in a rendering plant, a refinery, a liquor emporium (too close to a school) and I suspect a crematorium wouldn’t fly either. Unless they own the mineral rights, they cannot open a mine or drill for oil. All building are subject to many ever-changing building codes. They would have to honor setbacks, provide a certain number of parking spaces and all pollution must be withing legal limits, and that is just a sampling.

    The idea that ANYONE in America gets to build whatever they want is pure nonsense.

  • I still hope Lynn Edmundsen of Historic Houston can get ahold of some of the items in Wilshire Village. Disadvantage people are being displaced all over- see southwest quadrant of the Heights, Shady Acres. Unfortunate, and I don’t have any solution to where they can live reasonably, and reasonably close to town.

    RE the comment above, true, certain businesses would not fly in the face of regulations. However, I’d be happy to provided y’all with some addresses of truely ughly replacements.

    Remember Earth Day!

  • Also, this property spent many of its years cycling onto and off of the delinquent tax rolls. I am sure the city saw it as a nuisance.

  • Bill White is really from Dallas? Makes sense now… if so the carpetbagger does need to head back north.

  • Removal of some gutters by a crew with white vans was going on Sunday. They were tying one end of a small rope to the gutter, the other to the bumper of a van, and driving away to pull them off.

    Dilick’s (who lives in Friendswood, right?) apartment history includes Settlers Ranch and Bayou on the Bend – yawn. Alas. He’ll probably smash and sell.

  • ‘Bill White is from Dallas-carpetbagger?’

    Good God man/woman whatever–the Civil War ended 133+ years ago. One thing Dallas has that Houston WILL NEVER HAVE is a large amount of decent housing stock relatively free from encroachments of Jiffy Lubes, cantinas, mini warehouses and every other godawful strip mall vernacular known to man. We won’t even get into quality of building materials or better architecture or a development community that has at least been SOMEWHERE outside of Texas to see how it is done. Dallas is light years ahead of Houston in terms of mass transit, thoroughfare access, bicycle/jogging tails, walkable neighborhoods and historic preservation.
    Houston has more trees and a more vibrant Downtown-and more ethnic eateries. So if
    Bill White really is from Dallas–thank the Good Lord. Maybe something will rub off here.

  • “Bill White really is from Dallas–thank the Good Lord. Maybe something will rub off here.”

    Well apparently whatever you think needs to rub off on us didn’t really rub off on him.

  • Bill White is a capable administrator who from comparisons to his predecessor. Watch him up close and you will see his distain for City Council, since he cannot just order them around. But like most of the very wealthy, his concerns are for his peers. He has taken on air pollution because rich people breathe, too. More importantly the owners of chemical companies are anonymous sharholders. In contrast, he caters to real estate developers because they are his neighbors, hedge fund clients and political donors. BW is no ideologue, just a rich pragmatist.

  • add the word benefits to the first sentence above.

  • Good lord, folks — Mayor White is from San Antonio, not Dallas. Aim your vitriol at the home of the Alamo and puffy tacos.

  • If the City of Houston was not in cahoots with Dillick, why would Doug Anders, a COH rep, be telling residents not to pay rent and that their possessions could be thrown on the curb with 24 hours notice? I was there. He should not have a job.

  • Now Sul Ross, the low traffic dead end into the complex that is the subject of so much sudden TLC from the City is getting brand new street lights.

    Something is up.

  • I’m praying the TLC has something to do with preparing the side streets for extra traffic re-routing while they install the light rail along Richmond. But that would make sense, so probably not.