Wilshire Village Update: “A Nice Mess”

What’s really going on at Wilshire Village? Are tenants of the aging garden apartments at the corner of W. Alabama and Dunlavy actually being evicted?

Houston City Council Member Sue Lovell — and separately, at least one attorney — has reportedly told tenants of the complex that the eviction letter they received is not legally binding, since it was not signed by all owners of the property. Here’s the original report Swamplot received about the eviction notices last week:

We received information from two tenants at the site. Each received letters and/or cards from Alabama & Dunlavy, Ltd., 11144 Fuqua St., Suite 200, Houston, TX 77089 . The letters told them to vacate by the end of the month and that the electricty will be shut off on that date. The cards were signed by Matthew Dillick [sic], and the letters were cc’d to Mr. Jay Cohen, Mr. Clifton Hebert, and Mr. Howard Hebert (we don’t know who the Heberts are).

Matthew Dillick [sic] has had some interest in the property for several years. We had always been led to believe that Mr. Cohen continued to own the majority of the property, but when the tenant talked to Doug Anders in the Public Works Department, he implied that perhaps Mr. Cohen no longer maintained the majority interest in the property and that the majority has made other plans for the site.

So . . . who owns Wilshire Village?


According to a current tenant, Jay Cohen is still representing himself as the owner of the 8-acre property. (Swamplot referred to Cohen as the “previous owner” in its earlier report.) Cohen reportedly told the tenant that Dilick, the president of developer Commerce Equities, cannot have the utilities shut off at the end of the month without going through him. Says another tenant:

[Dilick] is the one who sent the letter to us. Of course, he just signed it but did not put his name anywhere on it. As far as I know Cohen is the majority owner and all the utilities and such are in his name.

HCAD lists Alabama & Dunlavy Ltd. — which shares Commerce Equities’ Fuqua address — as the property’s owner, but who controls that entity is unclear. Alabama & Dunlavy Ltd. took over the property in 2006, HCAD records show. Less than 4 years earlier, Cohen had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to shield Wilshire Village (along with 30 other properties he owned at the time) from foreclosure.

Says the second tenant: “It’s a nice mess over here.”

Meanwhile, Houston Press reporter Craig Malisow highlights another tenant’s confusion, while showcasing his apartment in a blog post and slideshow for Hair Balls:

[Scott] Baker’s sad to be leaving the place – but he’s worried more for his elderly neighbors. He’s not even totally sure what to make of the vague “advance notice of lease termination” the few tenants received January 30. It’s signed by an unidentified “owner’s representative” for Alabama&Dunlavy Ltd. It’s not written on letterhead; there’s no phone number or e-mail address.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

40 Comment

  • This gets more interesting.

  • Alabama & Dunlavy, Ltd.
    11144 FUQUA ST STE 200
    Houston, TX 77089

    Registered Agent, Matthew G Dilick
    Same Address

    Data from State Comptroller’s site. I’m not willing to spend the bucks the Secretary of State wants for additional information.

    Alabama & Dunlavy got the deed from Flat Stone II, which has the same address and, surprise, the same registered agent. That transfer occurred in 2006. Flat Stone got the deed from Jay Cohen in 2002. Jay Cohen got the deed from Wilshire Village Corp in 1987. Registered agent for Wilshire Village Corp was one J Howard Cohen, and the company was registered in 1939.

    Thank you as well to the Harris County Clerk’s website database search.

  • Is there a sympathetic judge that could impose an injunction to prevent utilities being turned off for the residents until the situation is resolved?

  • Scott,

    Your few words explain everything that is currently wrong in our legal system.

    Since when do feelings and emotion become the cornerstone of the legal system?

    Whatever happened to impartiality?

    Anyway, I just had to say that because too many people think this abhorrent way.

    Yes, it sucks these people will lose their apartments. The reality is that it is not THEIR apartments. They lease this space. They have a contract for the space that has rules regarding this situation. Older apartments go through this all across the city. Because they were built in the 70s or 80s versus the 40s makes it ok? When the line begin on when a building is historical? Can someone point to some good rules of thumb on this?

    This isn’t in anyway similar to say the Park Memorial condo fiasco. Those people actually owned their units.

  • Over at the Chron, Nancy Sarnoff reported that KB Home is planning a development of small 2 bedroom homes, less than 900sf to tap into a new market for single and childless people. That’s actually the size of the Wilshire Village apartments. The KB homes would start at $64K and with 3.5% down would have a monthly mortgage and taxes of less than $600 a month.


  • kjb434, if you can’t tell shit from shinola, then I can’t help you. The Miami Beach hotels were in much worse shape and lots of people wanted them torn down to make way for mega hotels. But they were saved and renovated and made profitable again. The same could be done with Wilshire Village.

    These apartments were designed by a multiple award winning architect, whose projects included Miller Outdoor Theater and Allen Parkway Village. It’s been on Art Deco Historic Preservation lists for decades now.

    I’ve seen the huge apartment warrens and condo towers erected recently in Houston, they’re just warehouses for people compared to this development, which would be lovely again, and profitable again if renovated.

  • The difference is the Miami Beach had the demand and land prices to make the renovations cost worth it in the end.

    I would argue that this corner lot is not Miami Beach. It would likely be a lot cheaper to tear this whole place down and build a replica than to renovate.

    Does anybody know if this place has asbestos? If so, has it been sealed or removed?

    In the end, why aren’t there groups trying to save this place the right way? Purchase and save it! It’s how most renovations happen. Also, city forced saving of the building would cause it to sit there and get worse.

    I’m sure in this economy, the current owner “evil developer” would sell this place. Anybody REALLY interested in renovation or saving want to buy?

  • I’ve bought my Powerball tickets.

    Don’t laugh – the Tee Pee Motel in Wharton was saved courtesy of a Texas Lottery jackpot.

  • KJB –

    Geez, you go off on a diatribe about the mess our legal system is in and a rant about how historical preservation people should suck it up and buy every piece of historical property themselves from this

    “Is there a sympathetic judge that could impose an injunction to prevent utilities being turned off for the residents until the situation is resolved?”?!?

    Did you even read the above post? Looks like there is some concern from City Council, attorneys, and an owner that the eviction order is not valid. Don’t you think that situation needs to be resolved before people are kicked out of their homes?

    Tell you what. I will buy the apartment complex. Tell me, who owns it? Whats the price on it?

  • Aside from the dubious morality of tossing a bunch of old folks on the street with minimal notice (whether it is legal or not), I have to agree with Scott that the notion of developing a new project (or projects) here instead of restoring Wilshire Village is just a waste–and frankly, a sign of a lack of imagination and class. Yeah Wilshire Village looks like crap now, but creative restoration could make these apartments very cool, unique, desirable spots. Scott speaks of the famous Miami deco hotels. My own humbler experience was from living in Western Massachusetts for a few years.

    Towns in Western Mass all have old obsolete red-brick mills and factories. Some are over a hundred years old, built over creeks that were used to power them in pre-electricity days. But many of them were built in the early part of this century, and are thus not particularly historic (in Massachusetts terms). These factories have almost universally outlived their original purpose. Now they could have been torn down and replaced, but instead, developers repurposed them–they are offices, high-tech firms, retail stores and restaurants, and residential spaces. (The enormous museum complex MassMOCA in North Adams is an especially ambitious repurposing of old mill buildings.) Developers in Western Mass actively seek these buildings out because people love them! They are considered cool places to live and work. When I heard that the old Stanley Tools factory building in Easthampton was being redeveloped, I put a deposit down for a loft there–as did many other people. It was completely sold out 6 months before the lofts were built! Now trust me when I say the guys who did this redevelopment were in it for the money–it wasn’t goody two-shoes historical preservationism.

    I wish developers in Houston would try this a little more, especially on architecturally interesting properties like Wilshire Village. I understand that Houston isn’t Massachusetts, but I honestly think redeveloping Wilshire Village would, like redevoloping the Stanley Tools factory, be a commercially viable thing to do–with the side benefit of preserving an interesting bit of Houston’s past.
    (Sorry to go on so long about this…)

  • I am a former tenant of Wilshire Village and keep in contact with some tenants still there. As far as they know, Jay Cohen is the owner and their rent checks have always been made out to Wilshire Village. They believe this is a scam by the person who sent the letter to try to get everyone to move so there would be no income there. There has been an increase in vandalism at the complex, which some feel is suspect. Many of the tenants are in their 70’s and above and don’t know where they will be able t find cheap rent in Houston. For all the residents in houses close to the complex, it seems you will finally get your wish to have the complex torn down. Hope your happy.

  • Correction: The mills were built in the early part of the LAST century… I keep forgetting we are in the 21st century now.

  • nate,

    Did you check out Ross’s post?

    Unless he, the state of Texas, and Harris County are completely lying, the ownership issue seems to be easily answered.

    The political answer by the city council member seems par for the course for an elected official.

    Oya Yansa,

    If they are making out their checks to Willshire Village, it doesn’t mean Mr Cohen is still the owner. I’ve lived in complexes that changed owner several times, but the check always was written for the same entity.

  • Well, teachers are getting busted for having their deceased father’s medications in their deceased father’s car while they are borrowing their deceased father’s car with no knowledge of the drugs being in the car because of the rigid rule. What our legal system is lacking is good judgment and the willingness to use it. Laws without humanity? China, East Germany, etc.

    We are a community. Sometimes, as a community we are going to step up and say, please save this building. And sometimes someone is going to be able to do that, but if we never ask, insist or demand, it all goes!

  • I’m sure this complex has asbestos! lead too! a feast of materials.

    I cringed when I read in the Hair Balls link that the copper gutters were, as yet, “unstolen.” DOH did you HAVE to write that and give some thief the IDEA?!

  • Article from 2005 on the potential redevelopment http://houston.indymedia.org/news/2005/11/45589_comment.php#46311

    A quick Google of Matthew Dilick shows he used to be the Real Estate Director for Landry’s, before leaving to head Commerce Equities, the company that built the new Bayou on the Bend apartments on Memorial Drive.

  • In the 1970’s, the apartments in what was then called Sin Alley were pretty rapidly deteriorating. A group called Creative Restoration came along and completely redid them and today the area is called Mid Lane. Their renovations were the talk of the town and quickly they became the hip place to live for many decades. It would have been easier to tear down and build some new ugly something, but alas someone with vision stepped up.

  • http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6256806.html

    The chronicle has an article about the top ten endangered historical buildings today. Wilshire Village is listed as well as the Alamo School which is in my neck of the woods.

  • Interesting architecture? Maybe…that’s arguable. Highest and best use? Not a chance. It was only a matter of time before these apartments were bought and redeveloped. That’s the way urban development works. If you want to save it, buy it yourself. It is absurd to think you should be able to “take” something from an owner just because you like it.

  • “From LandMan:
    If you want to save it, buy it yourself. It is absurd to think you should be able to “take” something from an owner just because you like it.”

    I’m not sure who this is addressed to, but I for one never suggested anything be taken from the owner. I just suggested that he show a little more compassion for his elderly tenants than giving them one month to move out, and suggested that he show some creativity and not do the usual “scrape the interesting old building and slap-up the 3-story stucco townhomes” sort of development. Just suggestions, worth precisely what you paid for them. No “taking” here.

  • I don’t think the issue here is whether people should be able to take others’ property simply because they like it. That really is absurd.

    To my mind, the questions here are whether tenants are wrongfully being threatened with eviction and how Houston is learning to deal with smart growth. (And no, “smart growth” doesn’t mean “growth I like” — it means what is best in a particular urban context in terms of traffic, neighborhood impact, respecting the look and feel of an area, etc.)

    The stock response to people interested in preservation seems to be, “If you like such-and-such a place so much, either buy it or shut up.” That’s also absurd. There really are ways to promote new development that takes into account historic architecture and the surrounding neighborhood — we don’t get a lot of it around here, but it can happen.

  • The problem with compassion is that there isn’t a defined limit.

    That’s why renters enter contracts. Contracts provide for situations like these.

    Yes, it is unfortunate they’ll have to move, but there isn’t a way around that unless someone does purchase the complex and renovates it making it possible for current residents to stay.

    With all the previous examples given of projects that utilized old buildings and renovated them for modern use, why isn’t there a campaign of the “compassion” sort to find a developer that will buy this place and save it? I mean, ranting on this site may provide some of you with comfort, but it achieves absolutely nothing.

    Hoping for a change is just the ability to do nothing. Action is what gets things done. And not government action, but individual getting together in a group can do a lot of action. So how about it: If this place is so precious and needs to be saved, start a campaign to save it by searching out potential developers that will preserve it.

  • “Highest and best use” has come to mean the most you can get for your money and the most you can make without taking into account as Jim said, “what is best in a particular urban context in terms of traffic, neighborhood impact, respecting the look and feel of an area, etc.” To me that is highest and best use.

  • “respecting the look and feel of an area”

    How do you fairly achieve this? In every city where historic preservation reigns king, there is a board that takes all your property rights away and tells you how to redevelop your property. It’s one thing if the crazy rules are in place and knowingly purchase the land and building, but anything put on the current owner would be after the fact.

    Maybe the same baseless arguments like the Stop Ashby group could be used, but their arguments only work when they made the Mayor realized how much they contributed and how much they can help his Senatorial bid. GOT MONEY?

  • In every city where historic preservation reigns king, there is a board that takes all your property rights away and tells you how to redevelop your property. It’s one thing if the crazy rules are in place and knowingly purchase the land and building, but anything put on the current owner would be after the fact.

    I’m not 100 percent sure about this, but I would be surprised if there were many cases in which property owners in a historic district were forced to do anything. It usually starts with the property owners banding together and applying for such protections — that’s what happened in the Old Sixth Ward here.

    So, the next comment: If people care so much about their neighborhoods, why don’t they get together and demand protection? They try, but it’s not easy. Just ask folks in the Heights.

  • Jim,

    I have friends that purchased homes in the Uptown and Algiers area of New Orleans. Also had a friend who purchased a home in Natchitoches, La which also has an extremely powerful historic commission.

    These commissions are not neighborhood requested or created. They were formed nearly 100-years ago by the cities themselves and a few activist. Everyone else in the community is along for the ride.

    Just try to even repaint your house in the historic areas of the two cities I mentioned (with the same paint color for that matter) without letting the commission know about it. You’ll be slapped with so many fines and paperwork and if you don’t comply it’ll be court action (and you won’t win).

    The historic preservation laws in these two cities has served as the basis for many other cities in the US. Natchitoches holds the title for oldest city in that state and New Orleans has its rules for obvious reasons.

    Natchitoches board is so powerful it forced the state transportation department to spend $10million extra (total doubled the original cost) to replace a bridge crossing the bayou in downtown. The state was already restoring the bridge to its historic status while upgrading, but that wasn’t enough.

    To me, Houston has a better historic preservation setup. Districts such as the Westmoreland District was neighborhood created as you proposed and not an overreaching government board is involved. It’s a good thing it’s not easy. If the majority of the community wants it, they can have it. The Heights and Westmoreland had the support.

    One can watch episodes of “This Old House” on PBS just see the loops that people go through in Massachusetts. Check out Santa Fe, NM too.

  • When restrictions are set in place at the beginning of development, they are neighbor created. Anyone who buys property thereafter is aware of the restrictions and accepts them, or they wouldn’t buy there. I live in Sunset Heights and we have no protections. Even the lot size protection is not guaranteed as evidenced by the long and painful battle last Spring. Yes, we prevailed, but had we not been willing to rally, would we have?

  • EMME,

    Good to hear your neighborhood achieved this.

    Another neighborhood called Clark Pines (14th St west of Durham) worked hard to put deed restrictions in place and succeeded almost 2 years ago. A couple of the neighbors spent a lot of free time educating their other neighbors about deed restriction and left copies of the proposed restrictions. After a couple of months, they had their 70% property owner signatures.

    The plus side of this is also that the many of the neighbors got to know each other better after the work to unify under deed restrictions.

    Maybe someone else would know this, but can historic provisions be placed into deed restrictions? EMME, did Sunset Heights have this?

  • “With all the previous examples given of projects that utilized old buildings and renovated them for modern use, why isn’t there a campaign of the “compassion” sort to find a developer that will buy this place and save it? I mean, ranting on this site may provide some of you with comfort, but it achieves absolutely nothing.”

    I can’t answer for anyone else, but I’ve crunched numbers in anticipation of putting forth the idea to some preservation-minded clients (I work for a very high-dollar insurance broker).

    Pretending every unit is inhabitable, even leasing out every unit at an increased rent of $400 a month only nets $691K a year (numbers rounded for expediency). Taxes last year were $254K. Let’s place bare bones insurance at $15K a year and maintenance for each unit at $100 a month. Profit is approximately $249K. However, that’s a perfect scenario, which doesn’t exist here. Unless it becomes a non-profit investment, it would have to evolve with updated units going for market value. I’m afraid Wilshire Village’s days as a refuge for those who can’t afford much more are coming to an end.

    Am I saying “don’t try to save it”? Hell no! What have I done? Well, as far as the residents, I sent an e-mail to Houston Housing Authority and will follow up with a phone call in a couple of days to see if a representative could possibly go there to assist the elderly and lower income folk who can’t hop in the car and drive over to Fountain View to fill out an application for housing. Since the property wasn’t condemned by the city, they won’t send anyone over there to assist.

    Given the traffic problems and current economy, can a high-rise be financed? That will be interesting. Many of the top dollar and luxury condos/apartments have been pied-a-terre dwellings for out of town or international businessmen and/or their local mistresses. Considering the dump the global economy has taken lately, I can personally attest to many such aeries going on the market in Houston. Will tearing down Wilshire Village to build yet another residential high-rise be a good investment, especially with so many other projects already built and homes/townhouses going for a song? Can the developer weather the market for the approximately three-five years it is being estimated will take for the economy to recover or will this property go the route of Sonoma and Turnberry Tower? We’ll see.

    Now, were I King of the Forest, I would:

    Move all current tenants into the best one or two buildings.

    Let them know changes were coming, advise what the new rent would most likely be, and give them 90 days to find something else.

    Begin restoration on the other buildings, one at a time.

    Shamelessly take advantage of every historical preservation publicity opportunity/tax break/fund raiser that came down the pipes.

    Yes, it’s an ancient apartment complex. Yes, it’s only from the 40’s. It’s an excellent example of what we Houstonians have to look to preserving as an example of our history. Sure, we used to have older places that were much more glamorous like the Metropolitan & Majestic theaters and an endless list of other private and commercial structures, but some bunch of dingleberries TORE THEM DOWN!!!!!

    Powerball drawings comin’ up, folks!

  • kjb434: In every city where historic preservation reigns king, there is a board that takes all your property rights away and tells you how to redevelop your property….

    That simply isn’t true. Granted a powerful board can take away some rights to your property. Just as having NO rules can lead to you losing certain use of your property too when someone builds a 4-story McMansion 6-inches from your windows. Got Sunshine?

    kjb434: Just try to even repaint your house in the historic areas of the two cities I mentioned (with the same paint color for that matter) without letting the commission know about it….

    That is simply an absurd exaggeration. I’m a native! If you knew anything about Natchitoches, you’d know that the historic board influeces only certain, well delineated, parts of that city. You’d also know that tourism due to the historic character is the lifeblood of that city. How many visitors would come to Natchitoches if there were strip malls on Front street, and townhomes crammed in replacing the B&Bs? In other words, looked like Houston. Ever wonder why Houston has such a hard time attracting conventions and tourism?

    It’s really simple. If you don’t want to deal with hassles of a historic preservation board… don’t buy a historic structure! Simple. You can damn sure buy non-historic property in Natchitoches and never dealing with any “draconian” historic boards.

  • DMc,

    And if you don’t like a “McMansion” being built right next to you, go a neighborhood that doesn’t allow this sort of development.

    It’s that simple.

    It’s obvious my example of Natchitoches and New Orleans is for the structures within the historic districts. And it is absurd, but it’s true.

    In the end, this neighborhood this apartment complex is in doesn’t care much for it or hasn’t been alerted to the situation. If the surrounding neighborhood wanted to protect it through historic preservation or some sort of targeted deed restriction, they should get moving on it. I’m sure the posters on this blog in such passionate support to save this complex will start notifying neighbors around the complex of the situation so they they can get support to save it.

    I’m not against historic preservation or historic districts. I may have my issues with them, but I’m not against them.

    Also, I completely understand Natchitoches and New Orleans use of the the historic preservation for tourism reason. I have lots of friends in both cities and understand the charm of historic districts.

  • The only good thing about the tanking economy is that more people may have to consider rehabbing old buildings over tearing down and rebuilding or at least put it off.

  • kjb,

    I don’t think you can get deed restrictions for an entire neighborhood anymore. You have to go block by block to get minimum lot size and/or setback restrictions. It is a lot of work and you do get to know your neighbors and no, I have not done it myself. I got real lucky in that four houses all in a row each sold to rehabbers. Had they all gone on the market at the same time, I would be living next to townhouses. One would sell, and the next one went on the market, all the way down to the corner. PHEW! Dodged a bullet there. Next time I may not be so lucky.

  • Hellsing–that’s the kind of creative thinking I was talking about. I know there are people in Houston real estate who could do this–unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the current owner of Wilshire Village is one of them.

  • kjb434: And if you don’t like a “McMansion” being built right next to you, go a neighborhood that doesn’t allow this sort of development.

    Lack of zoning ITL is one of main reasons I rent here. Here’s what I don’t get. No one likes someone else defining how they can use their own property. That is what zoning and historic boards do. But it’s the same problem without them. If I like gardening for example. Then someone builds McMansions on 3-sides of my back yard blocking the sun. The use of my property has been diminished. Philosophically, its the exact same result — someone else defining what can be done with my property.

    kjb434: It’s obvious my example of Natchitoches and New Orleans is for the structures within the historic districts. And it is absurd, but it’s true.

    No, you picked extreme examples to try prove your point. At least, that’s the way it came across. Very few (any?) historic boards and preservationists have the teeth that the boards in Natchitoches or New Orleans have. No one has ever proposed that type of regulation in Houston. No one on this thread has.

    Preservation efforts do not have to be as extreme as the examples you chosen to have a large effect on the character of a neighborhood. Houston is an absurd example of zero regulation. Both extremes have inheirant problems. Why must Houston be such an extreme?

    One could argue that there’s nothing left to preserve! Because of that, Houstonian preservationists tend to grasp at some pretty marginal buildings. If these apartments were in NOLA, they wouldn’t be considered significant. There are so many better examples ‘historic’ structures remaining. But in Houston, it’s all we’ve got!

  • If these apartments were in New Orleans, they would have been government housing and not support to save it for historic purposes would have existing.

    Also to your point of no zoning in Houston, there are many places in the Houston region (some close in and some farther away) that have zoning. The close in example is of West University. Of course that hasn’t stopped flood of McMansions and some can argue it caused them to get build.

    And as for regulation, we have lots of them. Some may say too many. Without zoning, our planning commission and city ordinances have to get pretty detailed. Some urbanist complains they are too detail and heave because it makes it a little harder for urban development to happen. Work on this front is on going to change this, but for now variances are used and work well.

    Our set up in Houston actually give neighborhoods more power to control what’s in their boundaries. That’s why it works so well. On top of that, the shear size in land area of the city limits alone make zoning very difficult to write. They would actually have to carve to city in to sections and have zoning rules for each one. Of course there would be arguments at the boundaries.

    Our system also (despite the howls of some) actually makes corruption less likely. There isn’t a board to pay off to get what you want. The Planning Commission is a varied group that has to excuse themselves if they have a business or personal relationship to any developer that comes through the commission. Zoning boards often are wine and dined by developers and they don’t have to excuse themselves when voting on projects occur.

    Zoning would have probably let the Ashby Highrise get built. Zoning wouldn’t have changed the landscape of Houston and most certainly added to sprawl since low density inner neighborhoods would have fought any changes in density when the zoning board votes to change it.

    In the end, it very common misconception that in Houston developers run wild and there is little regulation. That is simply not true. Our regulations are less cumbersome, but they are still heavy and have killed many projects across the city.

  • kjb, you do make some valid points, but I think the idea of “the government is going to come in and take all your property rights away” is greatly exaggerated. I may be wrong; I’ve never lived in a protected district in NOLA or Natchitoches, so I’ll leave comment on that to people who have.

    In my opinion — and it’s just that — the setup we have in Houston leans too far the other way. As has been pointed out, neighborhoods have say over what happens in their boundaries. True theoretically, but there are cases where people in the neighborhood have ended up having very little (or no) control. In Westmoreland, yes, there are active civic and historical associations, but they were powerless a couple of years ago when one of the residents tore down an original house to expand his lawn. As far as the Heights, where there’s still no protection: I wouldn’t presume to say that the overwhelming feeling in the neighborhood is pro-preservation, but I do know that people working to have a city historic district declared have had a heck of a time fighting developers who want to tear the old Heights down and replace it with cookie-cutter “Victorians.”

    As far as the virtue of the Planning Commission, I’m not sure that holds water. It is a good idea in theory, but Commission members are just as tied to developers as City Council is — that’s just the way of the world in Houston, and probably always will be.

    Anyway, without rambling on, I think this kind of discussion — whether it ends up having any effect on Wilshire Village or not — is the kind of thing we should be having all over the city. Houston is just starting to come to grips with quality of life on a large scale, I think, and the decisions made now will have a huge effect on the city’s future.

  • “They paved Paradise to put up a parking lot”

  • 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.

  • Hellsing and RWB are making practical sense. Even if the place is renovated, (which it could be for less than demolishing and building a new complex), RENTAL PRICES COULD NOT BE WHAT THEY WERE. I’m all for preservation, but unless the elderly folks on fixed income are going to procure additional and recurring government supplements, they won’t get a revitalized place for $300/month. Best scenario, it is preserved and completely renovated to
    (1) Preserve the original design
    (2) Remove harmful materials (e.g. asbestos)
    (3) Make the property profitable

    I can guarantee that short of some exceptional philanthropy…renovated or replaced, the rent is going to be alot higher.