Kuhl-Linscomb: Our Crowded, Expensive Design Store Isn’t As Popular As Others, Because We Sell Modern

Kuhl-Linscomb, 2424 W. Alabama St., Upper Kirby, Houston

Penguin Arms Apartments, 2902 Revere St., Upper Kirby, Houston (4)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.

Photos: L. Green Studios (store at 2424 W. Alabama); HAR (Penguin Arms)

Reaching for Penguin Arms

14 Comment

  • Rolls-Royces and Bentleys need extra-large spaces, do they not? Perish forbid they get dinged by some jackass opening his door carelessly.

  • Gisgo, i think you missed the part about modern vs traditional items. The owners of RRs and Bentley’s are more likely to fall into the latter category.

  • That is probably right. Bars try to use this same logic, saying that their customers will walk (ha!) or ride their bikes (double ha!), so there is no need to provide any parking.

  • I almost bought this place years ago when it was for sale, but the rental income it brought (or could bring) didn’t justify the purchase price. Obviously looking back I should have bought it but it didn’t fit in my narrow metric at that time.

  • Oh, BS. Modern is by far the most preferred (on comparable levels with MCM) than traditional. Check Craigslist/estate sales/the curb for how much traditional antique furniture that people want to dump for next to nothing.
    That being said, they don’t need that much parking because I don’t see anyone shopping there (did they seriously pay to lease additional parking?). They’d probably make more money leasing out *their* parking spaces.

  • Did they hire Yogi Berra to come up with that argument?

    “Nobody shops here, it’s too crowded.”

  • I hope they get their variance. Screw mandatory parking minimums.

  • Too bad there is no conceivable mechanism by which we might discover the appropriate number of parking spaces for a given establishment/development.

  • To me the modern v. traditional doesn’t matter, or if it does, they are stupid and about to go out of business instead of expand. The distinction is the perceived quality vs quantity trade-off, and differences in margins per unit. This is not IKEA where everybody goes to get mass-market quality bookshelf cause they ran-out of space. The fact that Dolce & Gabbana store probably doesn’t need as many parking spots to succeed as an Old Navy, is along the same line of thinking.

  • In addition to the variance, the owner is asking everyone he knows to write to the city planners to tell them there’s more than enough parking. It seems like a long shot to me. I think they’re better off trying to strike a deal with Whole Foods or someone they can “share” parking with. A bar would be the perfect candidate, but I don’t think there are any close enough…

  • Extrapolating along the curve that runs from cheap crap lots of people want to expensive wonderment that only a few can afford, why don’t we just find one really, really rich person and sell the city to him? That seems like the logical conclusion of increasing the price of land and the goods and services sold on it. Houston would just need one parking space then. The rest could be trees!
    I’m imagining a very wealthy, very lonely Ewok.

  • Please, do NOT share parking with Whole Foods!

  • They have more than enough parking. It isn’t like Bed Bath and Beyond with gobs of shoppers. They can make their daily sales off 5 or 6 high dollar clients. Have you ever noticed how much parking small banks or drug store
    have? They will never fill all those spaces so it seems the COH, just encourages sprawl Parking regulations need too be re-evaluated on many of these uses.

  • Allow the variance. Better yet, dump the requirement. If a business doesn’t have enough parking, people won’t shop. Problem will solve itself.