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 Cohen no longer maintained the majority interest in the property and that the majority has made other plans for the site.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.
- 1701 W Alabama St. [HCAD]
- Apartment owner files as foreclosure looms [Houston Business Journal]
- Wilshire Village Apartments: Actual Tenants Actually Being Evicted [Swamplot]
- A Peek Inside That Decrepit, But Potentially Charming, Montrose Apartment Complex [Hair Balls]
- A Rare Look Inside That West Alabama Apartment Complex [Houston Press]
Photo: Swamplot inbox