The End of the Montrose Management District; Kau Ba Saigon Kitchen To Takeover Former Bacchus Space on Dunlavy

Photo of Eleanor Tinsley Park: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool


26 Comment

  • mmd finally did something right

  • It’s a sad day in the Montrose with the exception of the shortsighted commercial property owners. Don’t they realize that both the Upper Kirby District and the Galleria didn’t redevelop itself overnight? What they fail to realize is that the area NEEDS a neighborhood organization pushing the city and state to help improve itself, otherwise it will remain the trashy backwater that it has been for decades …. overrun with the homeless, streets that have more patches and potholes than smooth pavement, trash and graffiti everywhere, drugs and alcohol galore. Viva La ‘hood …. your reputation is saved

  • @WR: Montrose might need a neighborhood organization, but that doesn’t mean it needs the management district it has had. The MMD wasn’t fixing the potholes or housing the homeless. They were installing signs.
    And the things that made Montrose a “trashy backwater” in your view are what make it attractive to others. Upper Kirby and the Galleria are easy to find if that’s where you want to go. There ought to be places that aren’t like them for the rest of us.


    WR: When 80% of people vote to get rid of you (75% is required, which is insane in itself giving you just need 25 signatures to start), and people work to actually get those 80% to sign a petition, and you just blow it off, then you fight a 6 year long lawsuit against the people you’re supposed to represent, using their own money to pay your legal fees no less, then something is wrong.
    If the MMD was providing value for the $ it sucked out, there wouldn’t have been as much push back.

  • @WR

    Your statement reeks of someone who is affiliated with MMD.

  • @Memebag … While I won’t defend the Montrose District board, I understand their priorities. One first has to define the district boundaries hence the signage. It couldn’t take on street reconstruction by itself as the tax base was too low to allow it to do so. They were able to spend money on several street median beautification projects, and , like Upper Kirby and the Galleria, could work with the CoH’s panning department for reconstruction AND file for federal and state government grants …. who will do that now? You? Ha …. that’s a laugh. Perhaps you do liked and missed the stink and seediness of old Montrose and rather live in the past, but that hardly will improve the sales or property values within the district. The better course of action was to remove the board members and replace them with ones more aligned to the districts wants/needs

  • Those signs are sinfully ugly. They need to come down. The are so out of place and hideous it boggles my mind anyone thought they were a good idea.

  • @WR: For someone who won’t defend the MMD, you sure sound like you’re defending the MMD.
    I don’t care if property values in Montrose go up or down. Lots of people want to live there, so I assume they will continue to increase. I don’t see anything the MMD did that made more people want to live there. They spent 43% of the $11.5 million on administrative fees, legal fees and business development. That looks like a shakedown of the local businesses from out here.

  • If Memebag’s cite is true that the MMD spent 43% of revenue on “administrative expense, legal fees, and business development”, then the entity would need to be gone just for that wasteful ratio. Though, I’m sure their legal fee spending line went up due to the SIX years of fighting their customers. Now that is just sheer chutzpah to thwart the will of the people.
    Personally, any non-profit should have less than 10% spent on administrative junk. Aiming for 5% is great – as a point of reference, the Houston Food Bank does its excellent job for about 5% spent on administrative cost.
    The MMD staff should be eating PB&J sandwiches at their offices rather than the foie gras and lobster. (pure speculation by me) While I don’t live or work in the MMD’s domain, I’m happy to see them finally fold.

  • The signs were also really confusing when the Montrose MD sign would appear in the museum district and right near Upper Kirby signs. I often drive from Westside to the museum district taking Montrose. The signs would get really confusing. It just seemed like a power grab. Museum District is not part of Montrose. The Upper Kirby phone booths next to the MMD signs looked disjointed. These guys were clearly just trying to expand their little government entity and make money. Good riddance!

    MMD is like “I’m melting! I’m melting!” as Dorothy stands over with a bucket of water and flying monkeys look on.

  • Just what are the confines of the “Museum District”? As far as I can tell, it there are none.

  • Management of neighborhood districts should be contracted out to big tech companies like Google or to one of the big advisory/services consulting firms. Now that would be an amazing future.

  • museum district -> southern boundary hermann park, northern boundary 59, eastern boundary 288, western boundary montrose st.. Actually one of the easier areas to define geographically.

  • @Commenter 8: Good question. There seems to be separate but not distinct definitions of the term
    When the term “Museum District” first cropped up in circa 1990 a map was published showing the area included. The lines included part (but not all) of the Westmoreland District. I remember this distinctly because I lived there at the time. As to why Marshall St. (but not Emerson) was included perplexed me.
    The Houston Museum District website ( doesn’t specify a neighborhood as such; it’s an affiliation of museums in close proximity to one another.
    Near as I can figure, one is a cultural entity, and the other a real estate designation.
    I welcome corrections and clarifications.

  • I can sympathize with WR’s point, because the city moves at a glacial pace for improving neighborhoods and it seems to take forever to get anything done. I’ve often thought “why can’t the neighborhood just get together and take care of this nonsense ourselves?”
    The sidewalks in Montrose are a disaster, and the streets are no better. There are countless things which could be done to improve the neighborhood. Widen sidewalks, and replace broken or missing sections. Plant more street trees. Install more lighting. Fix potholes. Bury unsightly utilities. But I don’t think I’ve seen a single story about MMD doing any of that. To my knowledge, all they did was install signs that nobody asked for and rainbow lights over the freeway which don’t benefit the people actually living in the neighborhood.
    MMD collected millions of dollars. That should pay to, for example, completely replace the sidewalks on dozens of blocks throughout the neighborhood which need help (at approximately $10/sf) . Show me one block they fixed. Just one. Then maybe I’ll consider arguing for them.

  • @turning_basin You made a stab at it, but you are so wrong. Your definition leaves out several museums that they themselves say are in the Museum District (the Menil, Buffalo Soldiers, Diverse Works, Houston Center for Photography, Moody Center for the Arts, Rothko Chapel) and even the Museum District office itself. Got news for you,, there are no boundaries, it is just an general area of town.

  • ummm…. nothing that defines the premise of “museum district” implies every museum is contained within (You forgot the maritime museum over off Holcombe as well) . Even your insinuation that there are no boundaries but its an area is illogical. Like you said “you got it so wrong”. The colloquialism “the museum district” implies boundaries and the ones I presented are in keeping with the perception and as I said its one of the easier areas to define because of hard geographic boundaries (59/288/montrose/herman park), unlike say where midtown begins and ends, the same for the true boundaries of “montrose”, or the elusive Tampico Heights. The area in and around the museum there used to be known as the “the Binz” and before 288 ran through many parts were contiguous with now east of 288 neighborhoods. The northern section would have been contiguous with “the south end”. Can we call all of Houston the museum district since there are museums in other parts of town? Please.

  • I think WR and Christian have it right in arguing in favor of what management district’s could do without supporting the decisions of this particular management district. In my ideal world, a new better-run MMD would be created.

    And I’ve always liked the 59 bridge lights.

    Also, I think Turning_Basin and Commenter7 have it wrong in separating Montrose from the Museum District. Without getting into Commenter’s conspiracy theories, you’d have to exclude the entire Menil campus from the Museum District for their comments to be accurate. Fact is, Montrose and the Museum District are both a little fuzzy and they overlap.

  • @HReader, Oh it’s a conspiracy theory that they enriched themselves on the backs of the taxpayers? Except that’s exactly what happened. $25,000 a month to Hawes Hill Calderon to “manage” this. What exactly were they managing besides large flows of cash into their bank account? If I have the precise number wrong, sorry, but they clearly had a sweet contract. All the sources say they spent like four million dollars on admin costs out of 11 million taxed. Everybody made a lot of money.

    You may call it a conspiracy but similar bilking is happening all over town with many of the same players! Hawes Hill Calderone has their fingers in much of the cash flow in the special districts and tirzes.

  • No, Commenter7, my mention of a conspiracy theory refers to your notion that the signs represented some form of “power grab” against the Museum District.

  • Ive been down the road of getting sidewalks and it is a disaster. Underground lines, ROWs, and business property lines cause massive havoc that you dont see in master planned communities or an easement like buffalo bayou. Organizing 100s of entities to get a project going it a very tough task. East End Management DIstrict did a great job of this. Maybe there is something they could have learned from their success.

  • My only question would be why in the world would anyone want to model themselves after Upper Kirby or Galleria? Is generic and boring an actual thing?

  • @HoustonReader, I never implied there was a conspiracy against the museum district, just that it looked weird to see the Montrose signs in the museum district and Upper Kirby in some cases competing with the signage / phone booths. The MMD district wanted as big a tax base as possible and it resulted in some odd visuals.

  • @Commenter7 …. Where are MMD signs in the Upper Kirby District? You are again in error as they don’t go beyond the MMD boundaries (look it up), and besides, if they were don’t you think the Upper Kirby District would object? Think instead of using your hatred.

  • @WR I have seen the upper kirby phone booth across the street from one of the MMD signs. It looked really tacky. Also was tacky seeing them by the museum district sign. I don’t hate the MMD but have no issue making plain observations about it. Its clear you are butthurt that your piggy bank got taken away.

  • Wish we had had the quality management that neighborhoods like Heights and Eastside has! Those neighborhoods kept and expanded their individuality and warmth while becoming better places to live and powerfully strong commercially too. VISION and MISSION plus true intent to construct win win solutions–and no corruption/ cronyism either. I personally thought the Hanover Tower should have been made to be PART of neighborhood with restaurants and store fronts ground level –but Hanover hired a lobbyist and MMD folded to anything but $$$. What is vision for our neighborhood? And yes the business owners did have a legit beef though that does NOT mean that management districts are bad per se. By the way it was heard by a Dem Judge — rule of law ‘trumping’ the Repub business peoples expectations! ;) —
    Hope we can see rule of law apply to mr. Trump.