How To Fix Rice Village; Montrose Rollerblader Skates Off the National Stage

Boarded House in Fifth Ward, Houston

Photo of house in Fifth Ward: David Elizondo via Swamplot Flickr Pool


9 Comment

  • I haven’t watched AGT this year, but the rollerblader guy really made it that far? Not to be negative about a home town guy, but I figured it would be one of those ‘on there for laughs’ acts. He made it though multiple elimination rounds?
    Now I gotta torrent the season and check it out!

  • So, the people that live in the Glenshannon Townhomes — are they “tenants” or homeowners? If they’re owners, it sounds like they need to vote in a whole new HOA board membership if they can’t keep up with something as basic as water.

  • slugline: While it might be as simple as not paying a bill, I know from first had experience that the water company is the *WORST* of all utilities. So there might be SOMETHING else to the story. Centerpoing is close behind. Go figure that both of them are the only choice for their services so there is no reason to provide a good experience for customers.
    It’s ridiculous that the water company gets to operate in their “F you, it’s my way or the highway” fashion given their state sponsored monopoly position on the most important of services.
    Every time we buy a new commercial property, we dread dealing with the water company. It can takes months to get services turned on in your name. And often during that time, water will (can) be shut off. I’ve had water shut off at apartment buildings multiple times before I was able to get them to get water in my name (we’d call begging and screaming to allow us to pay the bill). And we’d start the process RIGHT after closing. 100’s of people out of water and nothing we can do about it.
    Worse, they’ll give you an outrageous deposit demand before they’ll allow you to transfer into your name or even pay usage. One property (not even that large) was over $20,000. You can yell and scream about how crazy the deposit is but guess what, it’s pay it, or they don’t transfer the account to you and they shut off water. I’ve told them, “why not just say the deposit is $50k? Or $100k?” They can set it as high as they want, nothing you can do about it.
    It’d disgusting how they’re allowed to operate like total gangsters.
    Oh, then centerpoint (please, allow me to rant. Thanks! :)… One day a large 18 wheeler turn on W. Main and pull the above street power cable right off our Montrose 4plexes. We called centerpoint to reconnect it. Even though the meters were all to code, and there was no damage, they were ‘grandfathered’ and not to NEW building code. As such, centerpoint wouldn’t plug the main power back into the building. So we had to get 8 separate permits (for a 4 unit building). I’m sure the city had something to do with making Centerpoint make us do that as they get $$$ in permit fees. It took us almost a MONTH to do all the work they wanted us to do before they’d turn the power back on. Meanwhile, here is a building with NO power. You can imagine how happy the tenants were. We brought in a few generators but that only partially helped.
    Oh, guess what we decided to do soon after? We sold them to a tacky townhome builder. 4x fourplexes that we took great pride in upgrading. Just couldn’t deal with all those types of issues so they’ll be blown up.
    (PS: I totally agree that if you don’t pay, they should cut off your water. My complaints have centered around how hard it is to transfer commercial service and the stupid high deposits they make you pay regardless of how many successful accounts you have with them — all being paid on autodraft)

  • Cody, maybe it time for a “Breakfast with Mayor”. Why don’t you demand a meeting with her, it might take a month or more, but I’d demand a meeting and then I’d regale her with your experiences as a real estate developer in the COH. Surely she has the time, she has squandered her enormous power and she will leave the city no better off then when she arrived. She’s presided over a city in the midst of an economic windfall and I can barely name anything she’s done of note. Even as a gay mayor she’s behind SA in implementing an anti gay discrimination ordinance. I thought Lee Brown was the biggest waste of oxygen we’ve ever had in the mayors chair, but I think she’s actually worse at least he knew to step out of the way. We allow our Mayor to have enormous power, it’s annoying as hell when they squander it. Bob Lanier and Bill White knew how to go govern, Annise is petty and has thrown her (ample) weight in every direction but the right one and I say this as a former supporter. I hope the next mayor is more in the Bill White mold; we shall see.

  • wow….rant..much… need your own blog for just for ranting…………..

  • Cody, I’ll back you up on the Centerpoint rant. They can be very bureaucratic and unbending for commercial properties.
    An example, much condensed—my company built a new building on our property with the intention of demo’ing the old one when complete. New building was completed, so the contractor called Centerpoint to have the meter connected. Person at Centrpoint said ” I see there is already service to that address, can we label the new building 4XX2-A Street ? My company: ” uh sure, that’s fine.” Centrpoint rep:” Thanks. Sir, your building permit only shows the address as 4XX2 Street. I’m, sorry, we can’t hook up power to 4XX2 A unless the building permit matches the address” Company: “But YOU changed the address!” Centerpoint rep: Sir, unless the permits match the address we have, we will not hook up your meter” Only solution was a visit to the city and waste of $$$ changing all the permits to show an “A” in the address. Took 2 weeks.

  • I absolutely hate to agree with Shannon but I echo his sentiments about Annise. Granted she did balance the budget in a very lean time but she is simply not a leader or “ceremonial” head of Houston type.

  • Cody, there is no water company, it’s the City of Houston that runs that utility. Are your properties all owned by one company, or do you set up an llc for each one? If you set up a new company, have you tried asking if there’s a way to do a guarantee based on the fact that all of your properties pay on time and are ultimately owned by one party?

  • Shannon: I live too close to the mayor to want to complain about all the stuff. And, to be honest, as much as I like to take the chance to rant about it when it comes up, Houston has been a great place for me to grow a business. Like everyone else, I think things could be better. But on the whole, I think we’re honestly blessed compaired to most other places.
    Chris: I do have my own blog to rant. I just don’t find it appropriate to link it as it would feel like I was advertising when I’m just trying to be a part of a conversation.
    Ross: All buildings are owned by the same LLC. I’ve made that very argument. We have 30 or so accounts, all on auto draft, all never late (since they’re auto drafted). Doesn’t matter. Last time it happened, we told the tenants to call the city to complain (that was a first). Then I got a call from someone at 311 asking me why we had no water and telling me we could get in trouble. After laughing, I said “please turn it on, I’ll have a check waiting for you”.
    Oh well, it’s all good…