- 19 Windermere Ln. [HAR]
The old Vargo’s Restaurant, a lakeside steak house and wedding venue nestled between Piney Point Village and the Westheimer strip for 47 years, was torn down in May of 2013. Its replacement at 2411 Fondren Rd., a 5-story apartment complex, keeps the name (minus the apostrophe) and the lake, and maybe a peacock or 2 by the pool for photo ops. After 17 months of construction, Vargos on the Lake is ready for a grand opening shindig next Thursday followed by open houses the next couple of days.
Here’s a site plan of the revamped grounds, showing how the 276-unit apartment building (of 1- and 2- bedroom units) and 13 townhomes (all 3-bedrooms) have been arrayed around the lake:
There may not be a whole lot of wildlife ranging around the grounds surrounding this 1982 property in Piney Point Village. But check out the inside of the home:
Construction could start by the end of the month on this apartment building on the site of the demolished Vargo’s Restaurant in Piney Point. The rendering and plans for the complex, to be located at 2411 Fondren near Woodway, show no signs of the azaleas and starving peacocks that had been on the former fancy steakhouse’s land — nor its apostrophe: The complex, dubbed Vargos on the Lake, will have 276 1- and 2-bedroom apartments and 13 3-bedroom townhomes, explains a PR rep. Buying the 8.71-acre property out of bankruptcy, developer Sandy Aron appears to be going all out with the perks:
[Vargos] will offer active recreation via the Fit Flicks Theater; which will feature a projection wall and cardio equipment such as rowers, bikes, treadmills and Stairmaster. Fit Flicks Theater will screen movies on a daily basis.
Additional top-of-the-line amenities include two leash-free dog parks, resident clubhouse and demonstration kitchen, conference/private dining room, evening concierge, cold food delivery storage, kickboxing station, three outdoor kitchens, active pool with stainless steel tree sculpture and water feature, poolside event cabana, outdoor fire lounge, Zen pool, global gaming room, yoga studio and two massage rooms.
Rendering: Hunington Properties
Saluting cacti and other Western ware lead to a home off the range — but just a short cul-de-sac away from Memorial Dr., west of Voss Rd. And beyond the curbside get-up, it’s a puffed-up country cabin in Piney Point Village. Earlier this month, the dark-stained wooden-clad 1981 home in Ames Place debuted on the market with a $1.75 million asking price.
It’s a bit of a nature walk to this hidden-from-view home’s front entry. But then, isn’t that the point of living in a property arranged like a treehouse? The woodsy spread in Piney Point Village’s Shady Point neighborhood is a 1972 design by an early advocate of “energy aware” homes, Roger Rasbach. (He also designed this home in Bellaire.) It’s built on a gated cul-de-sac located near one of the designer’s other projects, Vargo’s Restaurant (soon to be replaced by apartments) on Fondren. Listed last week — on the same day demo work began on Vargo’s — the home has an asking price of $1,995,000. That includes several levels of outdoor decks and a nifty open-air workout space in a treehouse of its own (above).
If Beyoncé still wants this deeply discounted Piney Point Village mansion for her mother, she might have to bring back Sasha Fierce and grab a paddle: It’s going up on February 19 for auction. The 21,640-sq.-ft., 4-kitchen rental property near Briar Forest was listed as recently as January 3 at $5.9 million — and, says the website of California-based auction house Premier Estates, that’s just where bids will start.
How difficult will it be for developer Sandy Aron to fit the 6- or 7-story apartment complex he’s planning for the lakeside site of the shuttered Vargo’s Restaurant at 2401 Fondren into its peacock-filled Piney Point Village neighborhood? Last month the owner of Hunington Properties was forced to send plans for the complex back to the architects at the Steinberg Design Collaborative so that they could add an emergency vehicle lane inside the property — after residents of the 15-townhome community directly to the east voted to deny driveway access to the proposed development from Woodway. And last night other neighbors gathered in front of teevee cameras to voice general complaints about the plans for Vargo’s on the Lake, which according to abc13’s report has now been cut back to 288 units from 312. Deed restrictions established in the seventies will require the apartments to sit back 50 ft. from the lake on the property. Aron told the Houston Business Journal last month that he expected to close on the land — which he’s buying out of bankruptcy — in late August.
Photo of Vargo’s back yard: Rolando Silva
It’s not just the Hunington Properties sign posted in front of Vargo’s announcing a new mixed-use development on the 8.71-acre property, or the more plaintive and direct Land for Sale notice put up more recently. (Asking price: $9 million.) Now there’s another, more compelling harbinger of doom for the 47-year-old lakeside restaurant and event venue at Fondren and Woodway festooned with azaleas and peacocks: A trustee appointed to manage the restaurant’s bankruptcy (which was filed last October but converted to Chapter 7 last month) has ordered Vargo’s shut down for failure to pay rent.
LAWSUIT CLAIMS PINEY POINT VILLAGE IS USING HUNTERS CREEK VILLAGE AS DETENTION POND A waterflow restrictor the city of Piney Point Village secretly installed in a new stormwater system it shares with Hunters Creek Village is now the focus of 2 separate lawsuits. The latest, filed last week, includes claims that the bricked-up storm drain — narrowing a culvert under Hedwig Rd. connecting the 2 Memorial villages from 36 to about 8 inches — effectively turns Hunters Creek Village into a stormwater storage facility for its downstream neighbor. Piney Point Village officials claim the restrictor prevents Hunters Creek from draining more water from Kemwood Dr. through the new culvert than the 2 municipalities had originally agreed upon. Rainstorms on January 9th and 25th flooded Kemwood with 4 ft. of water, which backed up into residents’ yards. Hunters Creek’s second lawsuit calls the narrowing of the culvert “deliberate sabotage” put in place to force the city to sign off on a drainage study. [Memorial Examiner] Photo of Kemwood at Hedwig Rd.: Rusty Graham