The application for a parking variance submitted to the city by the owners of design store Kuhl-Linscomb last week is notable for the details it reveals about the company’s plans for a 17,489-sq.-ft. addition to the Googie-monument Penguin Arms Apartments (pictured at right) it bought in 2011. But it’s also an entertaining read for the stories Pam Kuhl-Linscomb and Dan Linscomb tell about their own retail venture, in making the case that their soon-to-be 7-building campus in Upper Kirby doesn’t need as much off-street parking as city ordinances otherwise require: “Kuhl-Linscomb sells expensive, high-end designer goods, furniture and kitchen systems in a 6 building campus near Kirby and West Alabama,” the application reads. And it goes on to explain why its parking situation is different from those of other design and home-goods stores:
“Kuhl-Linscomb is not typical because of the high prices and selection of items being sold. Most items are ‘modern’ rather than ‘traditional,’ which is preferred by the largest segment of the population. As a consequence, the total number of customers and staff in the stores at any one time is much lower than is found in stores with a broader appeal to the general public, even though the store regularly receives accolades in the national press and its unique nature is highlighted in visitor information guides to Houston. . . . Kuhl-Linscomb continues to expand product lines and inventory and the display space is now so crowded that it is difficult for customers to see the merchandise as well as they would like in the space available.”
Kuhl-Linscomb, which is located just east of the Kirby Whole Foods Market, received a parking variance for its campus 2 years ago; the new application is only for reduced parking on the Penguin Arms property at 2902 Revere St. that they’re hoping to integrate with the complex — though the number of off-street spaces on that lot would actually increase, from 5 to 10. The current application notes that when the city granted a variance for the campus in 2012, on-site parking “was rarely fully utilized,” and customers did not park in any of the off-site spaces the store leased. 15 additional spaces proposed in the store’s 2012 variance request, it says, are now under construction.
- Previously on Swamplot: Kuhl-Linscomb Planning Large Add-On to Penguin Arms Apartment Building for New ‘Googie’ Showcase Showroom; Kuhl-Linscomb Plans To Turn Googie Penguin Arms Apartments into Modern Home Goods Showroom
Photos: L. Green Studios (store at 2424 W. Alabama); HAR (Penguin Arms)