04/30/10 12:11pm

17907 Elk Valley Circle, Ponderosa Trails, Houston

Missed out on putting in a bid on that pinkish coke palace up in Ponderosa Trails that went up for auction in March? Of course you did, because it didn’t sell. So now the 5-bedroom, 8,024-sq.-ft. mansion at 17907 Elk Valley Circle will be back on the virtual auction block again this May 18th to 20th— starting at the same $471,250 minimum bid.

Alas, the 2.54-acre property will be available “for inspection” just once, for a couple of hours on May 12th — by special appointment only. There’s a “Waiver, Release & Indemnity Agreement” you’ll have to sign to participate. And no, the former owner won’t be available to answer your questions about maintenance — Daron Odell Jones is still serving a 13-year prison sentence for cocaine possession with an intent to distribute.

According to law enforcement officials, Jones led a drug empire supplying the Mobile, Alabama, area and had ties to a violent Mexican drug cartel. (If he hadn’t cooperated with authorities, pled guilty, and forfeited this home, a small car collection, and some snazzy jewelry, he might have received a longer sentence and faced more serious charges.)

What distinguishes this druglord’s lair from all the lookalikes and wannabes builders have been putting up all over Houston?


04/21/10 2:45pm

A reader with a longstanding appreciation for the party house at the corner of Harold and Graustark in Montrose writes in to provide a little background on the property for Swamplot readers. After sitting on the market since at least last September — and working its way down $130K to an asking price of $514,900 — the mammoth early-eighties brick in-town home with 4 bedrooms, 4 full- and 3 half-baths, and 4 staircases is now nearing the end of an online foreclosure auction. Who will end up with this 9,111-sq.-ft. prize?

The house is large and an odd mixture of no expense spared features (marble floors throughout, wood floors cut on bias, acres of woodwork…) and typical early 80’s tract home construction techniques. Design features include the dance floor off the master bedroom (complete with freestanding bar and speakers in the wall!), brass banisters on the winding marble staircase, scads of quick exit staircases and mirrors on the ceiling of every shower.

Oooh! Can we see any of that in the pix?


03/18/10 9:58pm

Yeah, there are lots of very large homes in Houston that kinda look like some drug lord’s mansion. But how can you find one that’s truly authentic? Here’s one way: Look for a property that’s been put on the market by actual U.S. marshals!

Like this 5-bedroom, 4-bath pinkish-brownish stucco crib at 17907 Elk Valley Circle in Ponderosa Trails. It sits on a 2.54-acre lot on a quiet cul-de-sac just south of Cypress Creek near Kuykendahl, and comes complete with the requisite pool and patio, hot tub, double-height porte-cochere, and 4-car garage.

Sure, it sorta looks like it might be the home of a drug kingpin, but so do a lot of other big homes in town built since, say, 2000. What’s this one’s pedigree?


01/29/10 9:40am

The 3-story, 62,000-sq.-ft. office building across from the Galleria that was once the headquarters for the Stanford Financial Group will at last go up for sale. Accused Ponzi schemer Robert Allen Stanford, awaiting his trial in a Conroe jail cell, had opposed the sale of any real estate owned by the corporations he controlled until 2 weeks ago, but subsequently changed his mind. A court ruling last week makes it official.

The office building at 5050 Westheimer sits on 1.6 acres and includes a 285-space parking garage. Also to be sold by Dallas court-appointed receiver Ralph Janvey in “stalking horse auctions”: Stanford’s Sugar Land airplane hangar, as well as other properties in Michigan, Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

What about those condos in the Stanford Lofts Downtown?


09/25/09 11:38am

HOW ABOUT A LITTLE SOMETHING IN TUSCAN? If the $7.4 million price tag on his 12,734-sq.-ft. Friar Tuck French-chateau-that-is-actually-from-France turns out to be too much of a stretch, maybe you’ll be interested in the upcoming auction of real-estate developer Jerry J. Moore’s tchotchkes: “Many of Moore’s belongings were 19th century French, to go along with the French chateau-styled home that he owned on the eastern edge of Hunters Creek Village. Auction items include marble statues, bronze statues, a 19th century billiards table and a Steinway grand piano. ‘All of the furnishings are the best of the best,’ says Ray Simpson, owner of Simpson Galleries. ‘Everything he did was over the top.’” Moore died last year. [Houston Business Journal] Photo: Simpson Galleries

05/18/09 4:08pm

FORECLOSURE HOMEBUYING EXCITEMENT! The tally from all those rounds of speed-buying at the George R. Brown REDC foreclosure auction yesterday: 106 properties, totaling $7.7 million dollars — plus a few giddy new homeowners: “It happened so quickly that Shamika Hayes wasn’t quite sure how it happened. ‘I wasn’t paying attention and kept raising my hand,’ Hayes told us. But in an auction where houses were selling in 90 seconds or less, the family of four bought their very first home sight unseen. Understandably they were a little nervous about that last fact.” [abc13]

04/08/09 1:01pm

This 4,148-sq.-ft. 4-bedroom, 4-bath home on three-quarters of an acre in Piney Point Shadows is listed for sale on HAR at $1.1 million. But don’t waste your time making an offer for anything less: The sellers won’t take it.

At least not until after April 22nd. And even then, not unless the auction for the property the listing agent is holding on that date fizzles.


11/02/07 10:38am

1342 Rutland Lofts, Houston Heights

Just what is it about cheaply built condos in Houston that attracts so much, uh . . . “bank interest”? According to HCAD, of the fifteen condo units at 1342 Rutland in the Heights, only six have non-bank owners — and that includes the three owned by Freddie Mac, the “1342 Rutland Lofts Council,” and an investment group. Fortunately for buyers, the financial institutions appear to have no desire to hold onto the condos for corporate housing: eight of the units are on the market, and four more are due to be auctioned off at the huge REDC foreclosure extravaganza at the Reliant Center on November 17th.

(Special bonus for foreclosure bidders: the same auction features four units from Swamplot favorite Tremont Tower!)

Sure, there’s a downturn, and maybe a few problems with some nasty mortgages, but why do so many foreclosures concentrate on a few ugly buildings?

HAIF poster Kirzania provides a few clues:

from the inspector’s findings it would appear the second level of condos was added to the top of a pre-existing building. However, the first level was not reinforced for the second story. The walls were bowed on the first level and there were evident issues of structure problems. My understanding was there wasn’t a problem with the foundation itself, but the frame of the building.

The HOA itself sounded like it was barely staying afloat; the banks owe the HOA $$$$$ for past dues but these funds are being held up in bureaucratic nonsense. I would very much reconsider even stepping foot in this place.

Let the bidding begin!

10/10/07 11:14am

32124 Skyway, Waller

If you’re looking for something just a little sleeker than the typical country-home-with-hangar featured here earlier this week, you might want to try the house right next door: It’s newly remodeled, sportier, and there’s still plenty of room to park your airplane, just steps from the Living Room. Best of all, though, you can bid for it on Ebay.

A completely remodeled home and new airplane hanger located in the beautiful country side of Waller Texas, just 20 minutes from Houston. Located in the Sky Lakes Subdivision this gorgeous home and hanger that backs up to the taxiway and leads out to the long grass runway allowing you the access to fly your plane at a moments notice.

Great, but 20 minutes from Houston?? Oh, right—by air. The house has three bedrooms and two baths in an open plan: 2330 square feet of living space, plus a 2000-square-foot hangar.

Hurry! There’s only about a week left to place your bids. Or buy it now for $274,900. Our quick fly-by photo tour begins after the jump.