The Confusing Continuing Story of the Gramercy Place Apartments

There sure have been some conflicting reports coming in lately about Gramercy Place. Since the old apartments on the 200 block of Portland St. behind the Museum Tower were sold last month to an LLC controlled by Hungry’s Cafe and Bistro owner Fred Sharifi, we first heard that they’d be torn down and replaced by 2 midrise residential towers. Around that same time, it seems, a real estate agent was sending a letter to Gramercy Place tenants claiming something similar and offering to help everyone find a new place to live.


That letter, though, was soon followed up with “an urgent message,” it reads, “to calm any panic I may have caused.” It goes on to backtrack and claim that the agent had never been in touch with Sharifi and didn’t know what was going to happen and was only trying to be helpful. (The agent refused to confirm the dates of these letters.)

On April 24, one of the tenants told Swamplot that Sharifi “seemed adamant” that nothing would happen to the apartments anytime soon. This was reiterated by Sharifi himself, whose property manager wrote in an email that the one-time Preservation Houston Good Brick Award recipient had no plans “at [that] time” to develop the properties, and that even if he had, it’d be townhomes, not midrises.

How quickly things change: This week, another resident says that Sharifi has since stated that the 238/240 Portland St. building will be torn down this September, and that townhomes will replace it. Attempts to contact Sharifi haven’t been returned. We’ll update with details as we have them.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

9 Comment

  • Even if he doesn’t tear them down right away, they’re on life support. I’d respect this guy more if he’d be honest from the start instead of these pathetic attempts to save face and have it both ways, a preservationist and a venture capitalist. He’s fooling no one, we all know which one he is, get real.

  • Why can’t these folks just be honest from the get go? Lies just make them look like crooks.

  • When I posted #2, at 8:30, there were no comments showing on this thread.

    Apparently both our posts were held in queue until being released by the moderator.

  • How do you know that Sharifi is the one that is lying? All that I can see that is concrete is an overzealous Realt-whore and some unverifiable and anonymous hearsay.

  • I’m inclined to believe the owner on this one. Who knows better what Sharifi plans to do with the property, than Sharifian himself? It’s not just that he said there were no immediate plans to develop the property – how many times have we heard that one – it’s the good brick award and the quip about townhomes that does it – for me at least.
    The real story here is the level of mistrust that exists between the public and the building community (developers but also architects, engineers, and contractors). It’s a nationwide phenomenon that’s especially strong here in Houston. There’s a common misconception that our lack of zoning leaves us more vulnerable. We’ve suffered a lot of bad development since the 1960s. It has made us paranoid. And with affordable garden apartments Inside the Loop falling one-by-one to luxury mid rises, it’s understandable that people in complexes like the Gramercy Place Apartments would be especially paranoid.

  • Whatever the case may be, its crazy how people do not understand the position of the property owners. Investors change their minds and have very right to do so. If no one is breaking the law who cares if the owner says he wants to keep it one day, tear it down the next, vacate everyone out the next day, and then lease it all back out again! Being the principal and an owner/investor in the real estate business is a very stressful position to be in and its always so easy for everyone on the outside to point fingers and make comments! In this scenario Sharifi and the word CROOK come into the same sentence. Even as a remote reference to his character, why the hell is he a CROOK? Because he placed millions of dollars down and bought the site in an honest transaction!!!!??????

  • Well spoken adk.

  • They always tell the tenants no changes are planned, they want to get those rents up until they’re ready to tear it down.

  • One of these units was up for rent last week for $895 or so. I wasn’t fast enough to grab it, but they’re still standing and still lovely. In need of some TLC which I doubt they will get, as there is a “COMING SOON” sign out in front of one of them and some $899,900 townhouses being built across the street. The boulevard combined with the dead-end is aggravating.