Wilshire Village Apartments: Okay To Stay?

Michael Reed from the River Oaks Examiner documents a rumor floating around the Wilshire Village Apartments on W. Alabama at Dunlavy — that former-and-maybe-still-current owner Jay Cohen has been telling tenants they don’t need to leave after all:

Monday afternoon, there was confusion about the order to vacate on the part of another tenant, who would only talk to the Examiner if he were not identified.

The tenant said he and another resident had been told by Cohen shortly after the notices were issued that they did not have to move.

He added he was under the impression Cohen still had the controlling interest in the property.

Cohen could not be located for comment.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, the property’s owner is Alabama & Dunlavy, a limited partnership. The general partner — or manager — is listed as General Commerce Equities II. Limited partners are not a matter of public record.

Photo of Wilshire Village Apartments: Katharine Shilcutt Gleave

23 Comment

  • And the saga continues…..

  • Matthew G. Dilick (11144 FUQUA ST STE 200
    HOUSTON, TX 77089-2544) is the registered agent for Alabama & Dunlavy Ltd. Where is he? And how does Cohen still fit in?

  • Good grief. If this ends up being Dilick vs Cohen, those tenants may stay in their decrepit unimproved apartments for the rest of their lives.

  • Wait – maybe this is him (care of fundrace):

    An earlier entry lists him as the Director of Real Estate at Landry’s Seafood Restaurant

  • I have a viable connect-the-dots, if anyone is interested. Wilshire Village sits at the corner of W Alabama and Dunlavy, two secondary surface roads, across from the superblock defined by those and the primary roads Richmond and Montrose. The Menil owns almost all of the property along the superblock’s interior of tertiary roads. The land east of Montrose here is pricey. In other words, this is about as good a student village as St. Thomas could ever beg or borrow. As such, it has a “highest and best use” value much more appreciable in magnitude (and thus in price) than to a developer who is not stuck in one spot – so that yes, although developers will be attracted to the upside of razing and redeveloping such a large cheap property in a marketable and relatively hard-to-enter submarket, UST will be even more particularly motivated to do what it takes to close the deal.

    Now, I trust the people who say that the rehab $$ cost-benefit don’t make sense for any landlord. This is where it gets interesting. Since UST can’t use them right away or very soon in any case, it can sell leaseholds. My idea is this: any of us could come and pay the college five hundred a month, or whatever, for any of the many non-revenue-producing units there now. At that price, many nice folks would be attracted to the following deal: you fix it up to desirable standards on your dime and keep it there, and then you get to stay at the initial monthly lease price for however long you choose to stay; when you move out, be it four years from now or forty (or I guess there could be a fixed ten year limit, but that would feel very different and incongruous and dour), the college gets very habitable and personable housing for faculty or students or resident artists, whichever it needs.

  • These apartments are trash.

  • Nice concept Neil,

    My Alma Mater of Louisiana Tech did a similar concept to some older dorms that actually were older than these apartment.

    In one building, the dorm rooms became artist’s studios. They are first offered to students then to the public. The rented them out and made more than enough to keep operating the building.

    Another building was turned into offices and apartment for faculty who travel to teach. Several faculty members live 70-100 miles from the university. They lived in the apartment during the week and live at their home on the weekends.

  • some of those people have lived there for more than 30 years. and they’re not getting a clear answer from either mr. cohen or the ‘mystery owner’ of what, if anything, they need to do. my take was mr. cohen’s family paid off about 1.5 million in taxes to save the place from county auction back around 2005. so if that’s the case, i can imagine that they indeed are the real ‘owners’ of wilshire village, not mr. cohen.

  • UST has several bungalows in the area (or is it the Menil) that they rent to artists and writers. Neil, you may be onto something!

  • Well, one of the de Menils said the would-be slogan of the Menil Collection, “Art must be a community effort.” It is the Menil that has the bungalows, but I think that they have their hands full for the time being. As completely as it would suit *me* for them to do their upcoming major gallery expansion piecemeal throughout the buildings of a generous courtyard apartment complex, I suspect they would be prouder to make other kinds of statements instead.

    Anyhow, thanks, EMME, kevin… (one of my buddies had similar initials and that’s the name that they trigger). I imagine that this has been off of UST’s radar screen because of the unfeasibility of spending so much to make them all habitable after draining so much to get them in the first place. But because we’re talking about arrangements when they wouldn’t have to spend any further at all to repair them, I think it should return to the radar screen. I’m sure it isn’t often that the blips align like this for a potential landlord, and not often that one can plan to buy but have others rehab it (although between you and me I’m more enthused about the ways of life that can be possible for a couple of hundred Houstonians and any who comes into contact… to be a tenant in a city is usually to be deprived of any real citizenship in building onto this part of your life. It’s our privilege, studying Texas, to watch for ways it doesn’t have to be).

  • The Windsor Village Apts. are SLUMS. Tear these butt ugly buildings DOWN. They’re an eyesore. NOT worth saving. But please save the TREES.

  • Tim, tell us how you really feel?

  • Well, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow – maybe Tim is trying to impress Joe….

  • Maybe Tim is Joe is Matt!

  • Hey Tim & Joe, ever wonder why “This Old House” never had a show about a house in Houston, Texas? because Houstonians like you two are straining to grab those sledgehammers the second you see some bricks that need some mortar, or a roof that needs new shingles, or some soffit boards that need replacement, or some peeling paint on window casements.

    And that very attitude of “let’s trash it” instead of “let’s fix it” is exactly why Houston wastes more energy and non-renewable resources and intellectual capital than anywhere else in the world.

    I don’t know if you heard about this, but the party’s over. Unless you’re jonesing for some sort of Mad Max future, we got to get our priorities straight now.

    What could possibly be a better example for Greening Houston, than this patch of greenness right in the middle of town with solidly built buildings that need repair and weatherization? Why is it in Space City, the only endeavor that Houstonians think is impossible for even rocket scientists to figure out, is how to renovate and restore a beautiful old building? Everyone else in the world can manage it.

  • Years ago — maybe 10 — I know that St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and School, which is just a half block down Alabama, had their eyes on this property. They wanted to expand the school campus, which right now is in several of the homes surrounding the church. The value of the land has probably escalated out of their price range. While I would like to see the apartments stay and be renovated, a school on the property would have been nice.

  • Hell, “Space City” couldn’t even manage to hang onto any decent examples of Googie architecture, and debate is still on as to whether the Astrodome is worth saving – the ASTRODOME, without which much of the world might not even have known the city was on a map!! If it weren’t for hurricanes, everything might as well have been constructed out of giant Tinker Toys and plexi or oversized cubicle walls; screw any pretense of caring about historic integrity.

  • Would someone who has found the records at HCAD or elsewhere please tell me exactly what terms you used for the search? I have not had any luck pulling up anything…Thanks


    Might want to take some blankets over there – looks like a lot of elderly people will be sleeping under bridges pretty soon! Does this mean the Houston Housing Authority will now get involved??

  • I guess the Houston Housing Authority already is in involved if the fire marshalls are condemning it and ousting the residents.

  • The notices from the fire marshall are actually Fire Hazard warning stickers not condemned notices. Yes, they are very different according to the Fire Marshall. The condeming of the property will take a little more time but I am sure the plan is in motion. According to the fire marshall when he was at the property on thursday we will still have till the end of the month to get out. After that it’s going to get messy for the people who decide to stay. I move out on the 27th so I’m going to miss all the real fun.

  • Good luck in your new home Dawn. I hope you were able to find a good place to live.