Tremont Tower: How Bad Could It Be, Really?

Tremont Tower, Montrose, Houston

We get mail . . . from a reader who’s considering renting one of the many available condos in Montrose’s famed Tremont Tower:

I am moving to Houston in June and when I was looking around for housing I found an ad for a rental at Tremont Towers. I went to look at the place and liked it but something seemed odd to me. If this place is as nice as it looks, it is in Montrose (apparently a desirable area to live) why is is so silent and why does one man own at least 5 separate units and even more odd, why are they so cheap when last year they were valued at >300K (odd even in this real estate market). So, I plugged them into Google and started following a trail. I read about Jordan Fogle and Heather Mickelson.

I talked to my possible future landlord and he told me a story that Jordan Fogle confused the builder of Tremont with the ones who built her home. In addition he offered a story that the Heather Mickelson had purchased the property and then not long after moving in decided to move out with her boyfriend. Since they would not purchase the property back from her she sabotaged the apartment by opening her windows through all weather which then lead to some horrible development of mold.

My issue is that since the coverage in 2005-2006 I haven’t been able to find much information and I cannot verify either side of this tale. I was wondering if any readers had passed on more information about the Towers or if anything had been done in this building that had nearly 100% foreclosure. I am concerned because I would prefer to avoid paying nearly a thousand a month just so I can get sick and not be able to work.

A little more below, plus: your chance to help!


I just want to make sure that I am not walking into the wrong situation. I forgot to mention that he said the place was built by Turner Construction which is supposedly world renowned and recognized for excellent building. But everything else online links Tremont with Juliet homes and etc.

What do you say, readers? Any words of wisdom for a Houston newcomer?

Photo of Tremont Tower: HAR

36 Comment

  • I certainly wouldn’t take the chance. You know what they say…where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I probably put an inordinate amount of trust in the Houston Press and their journalists, but I’d be far more willing to trust them than a “future landlord” who’s going to blow smoke up your ass because he wants your rent money.

    I mean, think about it. Which one of those two parties is less likely to have your best interests at heart? And if you don’t want to think about it that way, then just remember that if it looks like a future bad decision and quacks like a future bad decision, then it’s probably a future bad decision.

    Don’t do it; there are far better places to live in Houston.

  • Do a search under the forums section at Tons of information. You be the judge.

  • There’s not much risk in renting. Go for it. Just make sure you have the option to cancel the lease and move out at any time with 30 days notice. DO NOT commit to a year or more. Given the history of the building, the landlord should be happy to accomodate this request. If the building is what he says it is, he’ll get his money. Make him back up his words with a contract that makes sense for BOTH parties. If he won’t give you an out, go ahead and assume he’s blowing smoke up your ass.

  • Four years ago, I bought what I thought was the home of my dreams at Tremont Tower. Within six months of living there, I got sick: fatigue, naseau, bloody noses, to name a few. My doctor recommend I move out. None of the windows at Tremont open up for fresh air. The developer, Tremont Homes and marketing company Juliet Homes (now bankrupt), refused to make necessary repairs. I moved out to regain my health, not because I wanted to lose my dream of home ownership. Since, I declared bankruptcy, and have watched my unit foreclose four times over four years. What I purchased for $229,000 went to auction for $49,000. Who has done any repairs over the past four years since I moved out? If your landlord is spending so much time trying to discredit my story, rather than show you proof of repairs or quality construction, one can only assume the building still is defective. You get what you pay for and if you do decide to move in to save a buck, all I can say is, I told you so.

    Above is an article from the Houston Chronicle on some Tremont Homes/Stature Construction fiscos.
    If you would like to visualize their quality construction for yourself ride by Hyde Park Cresent off Waugh Dr. My house # 34 has just been completely redone: walls torn out on all three floors, sub flooring, stucco removal on two sides of the house, and of course the roof work and new carpet.They were painting the outside yesterday. Next door look at the entire back off of #33 you can see the scaffolding covering all three floors. You can go into the gate and look at the backs of these two and judge for yourself. #30, #35 #36 and several others have already completed the correct reconstruction of their homes. Do do not believe me or the mounds of tremont spins go see for yourself. Or you can go to public records at the court house and see Statue Vs Astec roofers..where they sued their own roofers and of course lost.

    If you google my name you can read my sworn testimoney to congress on the defects to our home and our subdivison and see pictures of Tremont/Statue’s pattern of behavior. Also you can read my appearance before the city council describing their shadow companies mentioned in the Better Business Bureau article and Mother Jones Magazine. One might also note in the Mother Jones article the tremont lawyer who has a problem with the truth as proven by the reporter.

  • You were wise to do research before signing a lease. Don’t ignore the outstanding available information about these properties.

    Unfortunately in TX and across the nation substandard construction is rampant and there are few remedies in any state for the unfortunate homeowner who has been HADD. The homeowners in Houston who were able to get their story out to warn others should be congratulated. Often it is impossible to learn the truth about new and existing homes for sale as so much is hidden in secret arbitration agreements and out of court settlements. The homebuilding industry and their political action committees have been able to get legislation passed to protect themselves from their victims. Money talks in state capitals and Washington, DC. So much for government OF the PEOPLE, BY the PEOPLE, and FOR the PEOPLE.

    Jordan and Heather are telling the truth and have the documentation to prove it. Don’t ignore what they are saying, and when looking for another rental pray that there is adequate information available for you to make a wise decision. I would not sign a years lease anywhere today without an opt out clause. If the owner won’t do that RUN!

  • I’ve seen enough proof of serious problems in new construction to feel that most internet complaints like this are true. No happy homeowner would get online and bash their builder, their house. They don’t destroy what’s left of their property value for any other reason than severe problems. When people buy a house they often do not realize that building codes and laws are not widely enforced. Once you close, there is very little legal recourse. If the homeowner isn’t shackled by an arbitration clause that takes away their legal rights, then they usually find it’s just too expensive to sue or lawyers aren’t interested in cases that aren’t worth enough to the law firm. Sadly, some people do sell these houses without a word of complaint, and without disclosures. Their problems become someone else’s. Until a person has a big consumer problem they often don’t know just how much of an uphill battle it is. Thank God some at least warn others and do not just let their nightmare be for nothing.

  • Heather and Fogal have been through a lot. Protect yourself and do not listen to empty promises from ones who will benefit from taking your money. Unfortunately we did not research our builder when we bought our home. You can read about our horror stories at Please make an educated decision and be aware that sometimes it ends up costing you more just trying to save a buck. Take it from those who speak from experience.

  • Hi,
    I bought my unit at Treemont Towers in February and I have had no problems. I love it and it is very comfortable. Whatever the issues were years ago must have been resolved. Occupancy is picking up. The initial prices were inflated but I was able to buy mine at a very reasonable price. My unit was in almost new condition with granite counter tops and very well constructed. My a/c costs have been surprisingly low(less than 80. a month @ over 1200 sq feet) and many many windows.I personally feel it is the greatest “bang for the buck” in the Montrose area. I would highly recommend it.

  • Just see for yourself about the history of problems at Tremont tower and now add morgage fraud to the list.

    Mortgage fraud scheme lands 6 in jail –

    I wonder if Miachael Edwards feels the same since this made the news.

  • id be interested to know who your landlord is and his contact information. im investigating several other fraud schemes surrounding this building.

  • i am also discussing renting out a unit at the treemont location. i just recently came across them and a good friend of mine called me today and told me to google them. since then, i’ve come across some pretty interesting information. i found their information on i would imagine har wouldn’t post properties for lease if they were in question? but then again i could be wrong. the unit was really nice and the price is good. although, i wish i knew whether mold remains a problem. hmmm….

  • Dear Emily,

    Welcome to Houston!

  • Michael Edwards,

    Who did you use to finance your condo?

    I know that there have been serious problems, but many units have been sold this year, and I’m willing to take a risk.

    I cannot find a lender who will finance Tremont Tower because of the past fraud issues.

    Your help is appreciated.

    A name/company name and website would work.



  • Adam says:
    I know that there have been serious problems, but many units have been sold this year, and I’m willing to take a risk.
    Wow, you aren’t kidding, there have been 47 sales at 3311 Yupon in the past two years, most of those in 2008. Plug in the address on HAR.
    How much of a risk are you willing to take? Take a look at the sales history for unit 514:
    $525,000 – 600,000 05/10/2007
    $90,000 – 120,000 05/16/2008
    That’s a 77-85% haircut right there! Ouch!
    It would really suck to be the person who paid $800K-1M in April of 2007, and watch all of the units around you sell for 1/10 of that price 18 months later.
    These things are selling for less than $100/sqft, most of them. Of course, they’re probably all foreclosure sales. I seem to recall a Chron listing of foreclosures by ZIP code, and this building was one of the highest, and the Remington/Renaissance/whatever it’s called at 2111 Welch was another.
    There’s even one sale in the $50-60K range. How fun!

  • I can not believe I still get phone calls and emails about buying and leasing Tremont Tower and Hyde Park. There is enough information out on the web to raise enough red flags to start a fire. Yet EVEN when mortgage companies refuse to lend money …People still are trying to find away to buy defective, substandard property. If they want it that badly I hope they find some lender dumb enough… to lend money on…. probably the most foreclosed on properties in Houston? There are three in foreclosure right now at the tower and two I believe at Hyde Park. Does anyone go to realty trac? Do these people not read or do they just not comprehend? We have try so hard to keep others from being hurt, but it is as if they are some sadomasochist out there that just can not help themselves.
    We have written repeadly… if the mortgage fraud, just in Houston, Texas was exposed… it would make Enron look like a parking ticket….
    We were surpose to be in the appeals court next month, after they have held us hostage for over a year and Monday they canceled with no explaination or hint of when we will be back on the docket.
    We got into this night mare in 2002 and will die before we get out. Is that really what people want? If so, please, you be us… we will be you and about to make the decision that has reaked such unhappiness in so many hundreds of lives. We wish we could go back, roll back the clock and have all the money they cheated and stole from us.
    We also would like to have the last five years of our lives back.
    I do not mean to be rude but what does it take? I do not understand?
    Jordan Fogal

  • Adam,
    I cannot find a lender who will finance Tremont Tower because of the past fraud issues.
    That right there ought to make you run screaming away from the place. HUGE RED FLAG. Please do yourself a favor and do your homework.
    The best thing for Tremont Tower would be a wrecking ball. Or a hurricane or an earthquake.

  • When I purchased at Tremont, Lehman Brothers financed the sale…and look at the mess they’re in. Michael – You praise the many windows at Tremont, but are you aware none of them open up?

  • GoogleMaster says:

    “Wow, you aren’t kidding, there have been 47 sales at 3311 Yupon in the past two years, most of those in 2008. Plug in the address on HAR.
    How much of a risk are you willing to take? Take a look at the sales history for unit 514:
    $525,000 – 600,000 05/10/2007
    $90,000 – 120,000 05/16/2008
    That’s a 77-85% haircut right there! Ouch!”

    It would have been ridiculous to think those condos were worth $330+.

    But have you seen what you get for $90,000 in the city. Some other piece of crap foreclosure.

    Some others I looked at were in 50+ year old complexes that needed severe updating, and were around 600ft^2… for $90,000.

    At this price, it’s worth a chance… If I was the only one looking to buy here, I would understand, but many people are moving in.

    While the prices would not increase until the foreclosures move out, that is becoming a likely possibility.

    And, what’s with the issue that the windows don’t open? If the building has air cirulation problems, I understand, but that has nothing to do with fixed windows. Many office buildings, homes, etc. use fixed pane windows.

  • many people are moving in
    I beg to differ. I think many people are purchasing, but I doubt that many are moving in. If you drive by the place in the evening, perhaps only five condos show any signs of life at all. I drive that stretch of Westheimer quite frequently, at times ranging from 7pm to 2am and everywhere in between, and for all I can tell, it might as well be a hollow shell of empty staged condos. Only a handful of them have any furniture, plants, bicycles, or other common objects on their balconies. Only a handful of them ever have any lights on.
    I bet most of the recent purchases are out-of-town “investors” still trying to flip and make money.
    Please visit the sources that Jordan has provided, or google tremont+tower+lemon. These places are probably in WORSE condition than the 50yo complexes you’ve compared them to.

  • i think once the mort fraud/and bad rep have passed us in a couple of years, i think this place will be a great place. time has shown that the”hype” around the shoddy building was just that, hype. sure there were problems, but not like it was made out to be.

    for those who want to compare building materials and labor skills to homes built 50 years ago, you need to go shop the market. the prices those things command along with the cost of the land, make it cost prohibitive to build anything that someone can afford. why do you think there are so many people that make money “reclaiming” material from old homes?

  • I was curious, so I visited HCAD and did a little research. Then I broke them down by where the owner’s address is. Finally, I grouped by owner name to see how many multi-unit owners there are.
    Of the 76 units:
    Owner’s addressNumberPercentage
    3311 Yupon 29 38.2%
    77006/019/098 7 9.2%
    other Houston 24 31.6%
    other TX 6 7.9%
    other US 10 13.2%

    (Apologies for crappy table format.)
    Robert D. Boutell must be some kind of sucker. He and his Westor Enterprises LLC own 11 of these worthless things.
    In total, 36 of the units are owned by a person or entity that owns more than one of them. That number includes one owner of six units whose address is listed as 3311 Yupon #whatever.

  • Tremont Tower had turn around, most of the Foreclosures are sold. And they new HOA are strong.

  • Condo King-

    That is good to hear. What is the occupancy rate now?

  • That is good to hear. What is the occupancy rate now?

    I could be tacky and ask what the mortality rate is now. Oh, I guess I just did.

    Did anyone actually remediate the building? I lived in an apartment or condo or house with a history of mold. Never again. I wouldn’t care if someone gave it to me for free.

  • Let me try again…

    “I lived in an apartment with mold. Never again. Not an apartment, condo, or house with a history of mold.”

  • The Building is managed by Genesis Management Company, they a have full time manager Shirely on the site during the normal business hours.

    I don’t have the owner occupancy rate, but is over 50%.

  • If you are willing to ‘take a risk’ and buy something if you can find a lender who will finance this project, then be prepared to be stuck there in the event you need to move or want to sell. New lending rules for condos – compliments of Fannie and Freddie – require 3 hurdles that must be met before they will approve a loan. If you say you aren’t going through Fannie, you still have this problem. The banks bundle and sell their loans to Fannie and so, the banks, too will not finance these project. I’m not a realtor but a person who just sold a condo… 1. No one owner/entity can own more than 10% of the HoA. 2. The HoA cannot have more than 15% of the owners delinquent on association fees. 3. There’s a owner-to-tenant ratio that must exist. Can’t remember the percent, but you might want to look it up. So, just because you may qualify and willing to take a risk, you also could be stuck in the event it turns out that all isn’t quite what it seems and you want to sell. You’ll have to 1. find a willing buyer with this bad history on this place, 2. hope the buyer can cross the hurdles on the lender side, 3. hope the HoA is in good standing – you never know how many people might be willing to let their dues slide, and 4. my experience with tenants and enforcing HoA rules is difficult. Tenant can be obnoxious in a place that you partially own. Just warning you. Good luck!

  • Despite all the negative comments posted in regards to the Tremont Tower, the building is currently almost 100% occupied. Many of the units have been occupied continuosly for the last 3 years. There have been no – repeat no – cases of occupants becoming ill from mold. Following Hurricane Ike all units in the building were inspected for damage. Not one unit was found to have any mold. The building survived better than many similar mid-rises with only minor water damage in about 6 units.

  • Why does the 100% occupancy continue to live in the dark at Tremont Towers? I was by there last night and only about 6 lights were on, and there are 76 units. These tenants must take the bus judging from the parking deck…. Didn’t it have a 97+% foreclosure rate? Were there not 49 units leaking and over 200,000 dollars worth of damage even as it was opening?
    I feel sorry for all who live there. And I do not blame them for wanting to put out positive information on their investment. An investment that in essence has been stolen from them…. didn’t they call it the ghost town towers on TV a couple of months back?
    This was one of the fiascos brought to you by: Thomas Thidbodeau, Jorge Casimiro and Armad Al Banna, just like the substandard construction and builder defects they dumped on innocent people on:
    Clay street, Knox street, the entire subdivision of Hyde Park and numerous others.
    These incompetents were fired building the police station at Bunkerhill. They do not pay their bills or the judgements against them. It is public record at the court house. You can also see how many times these crooks have been sued for cutting corners, shadow companies, incompetence, and fraud.
    Tremont Tower as well as many of the other poorly constructed defective projects,that they are responsible for, should have been declared a disaster and condemned. Consumers should have had their hard earned, honest money returned. For more, and pictures go to and read my testimony to the congressional committee in Washington, DC. Their names are now forever in the congressional records.
    They were referred to by People Magazine, the Better Business Bureau and Mother Jones Magazine as “contractors from hell”. There are so many of us who feel the same way…. go to the court house and see for yourself.

  • I have scoured the web looking for information on Tremont Towers. I have found a lot of bad press, but the one thing I’ve noticed is that all the bad press seems to be coming from the same source. Numerous websites read almost exactly the same. Including many forum threads (which have several posts by the same person with unverifiable quotes, whether true or not we can’t really know, from other people) and a blog or two. They have the same story posted.

    Now, I don’t mean to reduce the importance of the claims against anyone, but at the same time, just because someone is screaming really loud doesn’t mean they are more correct.

    I do understand the foreclosure rating was extremely high, but I believe it has turned around. I also know that the “owner occupancy” rating is around 30% now, while many of the other units are being rented out. I recently looked at two that are both being rented out.

    Granted the towers were probably pretty bad from 2006-2009, but the whole nation was in a pretty bad housing crisis and still is. Buying a house during that period or right before that period was unfortunate timing for homeowners as their property values dropped and they owed more on their mortgage than their home was worth, and sometimes shit happens.

    I also looked up the ratings at the BBB of Tremont Homes, Juliet Homes, and Stature Construction (None of them are BBB accredited. A business has to seek BBB accreditation and is under no obligation to do so.) and they all have A’s, so maybe they’ve made some progress

  • I wanted to get this in ’08, didn’t because of all the talk of mold.

    I guess the question is, after 3 years, why had nothing been done to either:
    1) fix the problem, or
    2) close the building down due to health reason.

    So i figured, people are still living there, lets buy it, cause the price is still low. I’ll buy it to live in it for a few months and check it out, and then rent it out if I can personally claim no impact on health.

    As a good business strategy, I decided to get financing for this place.

    Keep in mind, I have tier 1 level credit and don’t need financing to buy this. I decided to use financing just to hedge my losses, in case I do get health issues.

    After 2 weeks, without selecting any location, I am approved at a great interest for 1.2 mil. I have the documents showing approval. Once I decided to submit an offer for a listing at Tremont, my financing company said that they will not do this place, unless i either put 50% down or do a secured CD loan. They also said that they would not insure it. This is a AA+ rated company. They financed a flooded property for me in Louisiana, yet they didn’t want to finance this fully, nor insure it!

    They know I can buy this on my AMEX, yet they were still hesitant.

    I don’t really know the issues with this location, but I know that finance companies, insurance companies, and the like follow a complex matrix which weighs risks and liabilities. The finance/insurance companies hesitation means, WALK AWAY. As simple as that.

    Your choice. You can also buy a $12,000 Breitling replica on Craigslist for $200. Or a really good fake for $1500. Regardless of whether its a good deal or not, whether it looks modern or not, its a fake.

  • I just googled Treemont Tower because I’m looking for a condo in the Montrose area. Then I find out about their problems.

    Does anyone know any good condos in Montrose? How are Park IV condos?

  • I live a few blocks away from Tremont Towers and was interested in renting there because of how little traffic there is for the area. There is almost never anyone there. After reading this stuff online, I now see why. I’m posting this on 5-15-2013 and I drive by there day and night nearly every day since I live a few blocks away and it is STILL very empty there – even on weekends. *I hope this helps for those looking there :-)

  • Another 2013 update:

    Units are selling. Owners and investors are buying. One bedroom units that sold for $90k a few years ago are now selling for $135k.

    These same units are now renting for $1,300 or more per month. Maintenance fees for 1-bedroom, 856 SF units are about $350, which seems reasonable to me.

    The owner occupancy rate is around 40%.

    A quick look at HCAD shows only two units that are owned by lenders.

    A friend of mine rented there for a year and enjoyed his stay.

    I can’t dispute that the building had construction defects. Nor can I dispute that the building had mold, which can certainly make life miserable for those who are sensitive to it.

    I can however, point out that water leaks can be repaired. Buildings can be properly repaired. Mold can be killed with bleach. New mold problems will not occur without fresh water.

    I don’t know what they’ve done to the building. I don’t know what they’ve spent. The speculators who picked up the pieces from the mortgage fraud fiasco, however, appear to have made profitable investments.

  • @Bernard: Are you from out of town? In Houston, “fresh water” is literally in the air. You don’t need a leak to grow mold in the walls. If it is growing inside the walls, you cannot see it. You would have no idea it was there unless you cut the wall open.

    Unless they completely gutted the building and replaced the vapor barrier and all the inner walls, there is still mold in Tremont Tower.