- 6621 Limestone St. [HAR]
The city of Houston granted a demolition permit yesterday to a company called Magnolia Services, allowing it to demolish the Pleasures Men’s Club, aka Pleasures Cabaret, off Highway 290 at 34th St. As aficionados of Houston history (as well as lurkers on the website of the shuttered strip club) will no doubt recall, Pleasures was the latest incarnation of Gigi’s Cabaret, where in 1991 the former Vickie Lynn Hogan, fresh off stints working at Walmart and Red Lobster, gave a fateful lap dance to her future husband, octogenarian oil (and breast) man J. Howard Marshall II. The rest, as they say, is history. As was Marshall, only 14 months after the wedding.
Rehab complete, this cleaned-up 1975 Forest West home is back on the market, a full year after its last sales effort. Two weeks ago, the property re-listed with a new agency at $189,000. A previous listing would have sold for $109,500 in May 2011 but dropped the price to $95,000 before ending its summer run in August.
The Colonial-style entry, a nod to the nation’s Bicentennial run-up, maintains its broken-pediment tailoring. But renovations in the interim changed a bunch of other things: adding granite in the kitchen and bathrooms, swapping out tile and carpet throughout the home, removing wallpaper and painting over paneling, repainting inside and out, and replacing the hot water heater, kitchen cabinets, exterior French doors, and all the sinks, tubs, and toilets.
And, in lieu of furniture, adding a few discreetly placed potted plants for the photo shoot.
The grass is always greener when it’s part of an overhaul. A redo (above) of this 1968 home in Forest West (at right) lawned-up the yard, boosted the landscaping, and thinned out the tree limbs. Then, the makeover moved inside, adding fresh paint, a new HVAC system, carpet, and 2012-ier finishes in the kitchen and bathrooms. The home is just a couple lots away from the crosswalks of HISD’s Clifton Middle School and adjacent Forest West Park.
The revamped property was listed earlier this week at $159,900, but in February 2012 it changed hands for $85,000. That previous listing’s initial asking price was $139,900 — in September 2011. But it tumbled every few weeks thereafter: from $132,500 in early October to November’s double-dips of $124,900 and $114,900 to holiday pricing of $109,900 . . . and a new year-new price of $99,900.
What’s going on at the east side of the Northwest Mall parking lot? a reader wants to know. It sure looks all torn up over something or other. The parking surface outside Macy’s looks freshly cleared, though planting season is at least a few months away.
A decade-long scheme of systemic fraud by Houston-based Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp. cost taxpayers $834 million in insurance claims on defaulted loans and forced thousands of the company’s customers to lose their homes through mortgages that were “doomed to fail,” according to a lawsuit filed by a former branch manager of the company and which the U.S. government officially joined yesterday. Allied Home, which is based in offices at 6110 Pinemont Dr. (above) off the Northwest Fwy. not far from Houston’s new FBI HQ, claims to be the largest privately held mortgage company in the country (99 percent of the company is owned by founder Jim Hodge), with 200 branches, down from a high of 600. Separately, the company has now been suspended from issuing any FHA-backed loans or GNMA-backed mortgage securities.
This metal-sheathed warehouse at 2032 Karbach St. in the industrial area off Dacoma St. near Dyer Stadium used to be home to craft and imported beer distributor C.R. Goodman. Now a bunch of former Goodman employees have transformed it into the Karbach Brewing Company brewery — which held its inaugural tour over the weekend. Among the commitments of Karbach and its brewer, former Flying Dog CEO Eric Warner: Keeping their 5 craft brews in metal. Karbach beers are available only at area bars and restaurants so far (delivered in kegs by the company’s single delivery truck); starting in January 3 of them should be available for purchase in aluminum cans, too.
Today was opening day for the third-ever Joe V’s Smart Shop, H-E-B’s growing chain of low-cost supermarkets. How low-cost are we talking? Well, put it this way: Checkers at the store won’t even touch your money. That’s right: You’ll be sliding it into a Wincor Nixdorf iCash register yourself — it sucks up your bills and coins and spits back change. And for a good number of the groceries you buy, you’ll be unpacking the items yourself too, directly from the boxes they were shipped in — just like you would at a big-box warehouse store. In the 51,000-sq.-ft. space carved out of a former Kmart at 12009 Northwest Fwy., on the west side of Hwy. 290 at 43rd St., the boxes and pallets are the displays:
Whatever steak and ale was left in this building at 2425 Mangum Rd. has been taken off . . . very slowly. Only to be brought back in a new form: A reader who’s noted some heavy construction — including the covering-up of windows — at this former restaurant on the southwest side of 290 over the last month and a half says the new occupants appeared to have applied for a liquor license under the name “Mangum Steakhouse.” Actual name of the new joint: Sunset Strip, a “totally latex free” club where you’ll find “the hottest entertainers in H-Town” — once they’re hired, of course. Scheduled opening date: August 3rd. Any resemblance between Highway 290 and the actual Sunset Strip, of course, is courtesy of the ghost of Anna Nicole Smith, and the Pleasures she left behind on the other side of the freeway at 34th St.
Looking for a safe place to keep its voting machines after the previous storehouse on Canino Rd. was destroyed in a mysterious fire last year, county officials have at last found the perfect uh, match: a 1980-vintage tilt-wall car-storage facility owned by the estate of a billionaire plaintiff’s attorney who died in a car crash. No harm came to the $250 million worth of cars John M. O’Quinn kept in this warehouse at 11525 Todd Rd. after he was killed in an accident on Allen Parkway 2 years ago, but the building was available. One of 3 suites in the 123,930-sq.-ft. structure near the Hempstead Highway and 34th St. currently serves as the black-box home of the Houston Academy of Dramatic Arts. The county is paying O’Quinn’s estate $4.35 million for the facility, with some of that money coming from the fire-insurance claim. Also moving into the building, after a $2 million renovation: county tax assessor-collector Don Summers and his collection of old license plates and tax records.
Any truth to the rumor — a reader wants to know — that the former Kmart space near the Burlington Coat Factory in the shopping center on the west side of Hwy. 290 near 43rd St. is going to be a brand-new H-E-B Market? Some, it turns out. It’s going to be the third-ever Joe V’s Smart Shop, H-E-B’s Scott McClelland tells Swamplot. (The first Joe V’s — H-E-B’s new bigger-store-with-less-stuff-for-less-money grocery format — opened last year on Antoine near Veterans Memorial.) A fourth Joe V’s is slated for the northern reaches of Shepherd Dr. near I-45, at Victory Dr.
Photo: Swamplot inbox