07/09/15 12:30pm

Tesla North Houston, DCT Airtex Business Center, 14820 North Fwy., Houston

Zzzzzzapp!! Workers are finishing up construction inside the Houston area’s second Tesla store for its grand opening on Saturday and Sunday. It’s in the DCT Airtex Business Center, a new tilt-up building on the east side of I-45 between Beltway 8 and FM 1960. Like the Galleria storefront that’s been open for a few years now, the showroom is a company store, not a dealership: You’ll be able to order a Model S or Model X online, then take delivery at the company’s maintenance facility in Westchase (and take care of the paperwork at the courthouse yourself to get the title and plates). But of course you won’t be able to buy a Tesla on the premises because Texas laws require cars to be sold through a dealership, and Tesla won’t sell them that way.

Unlike the Galleria store, free juice for Tesla owners is available in the drive-up spaces out front:

Tesla North Houston, DCT Airtex Business Center, 14820 North Fwy., Houston

The building at 14820 North Fwy. is just south of E. Airtex Dr. If you don’t like what you see, the Tom Peacock Nissan and Cadillac dealerships, Corvette World, and Lone Star RV are perched on the same feeder road, and the DeMontrond complex of Kia, Buick, Volkswagen, and RV outlets and a Lamborghini dealership are just across the highway to the south.

Photos: Matt Musick

Plugging In
04/30/10 12:11pm

17907 Elk Valley Circle, Ponderosa Trails, Houston

Missed out on putting in a bid on that pinkish coke palace up in Ponderosa Trails that went up for auction in March? Of course you did, because it didn’t sell. So now the 5-bedroom, 8,024-sq.-ft. mansion at 17907 Elk Valley Circle will be back on the virtual auction block again this May 18th to 20th— starting at the same $471,250 minimum bid.

Alas, the 2.54-acre property will be available “for inspection” just once, for a couple of hours on May 12th — by special appointment only. There’s a “Waiver, Release & Indemnity Agreement” you’ll have to sign to participate. And no, the former owner won’t be available to answer your questions about maintenance — Daron Odell Jones is still serving a 13-year prison sentence for cocaine possession with an intent to distribute.

According to law enforcement officials, Jones led a drug empire supplying the Mobile, Alabama, area and had ties to a violent Mexican drug cartel. (If he hadn’t cooperated with authorities, pled guilty, and forfeited this home, a small car collection, and some snazzy jewelry, he might have received a longer sentence and faced more serious charges.)

What distinguishes this druglord’s lair from all the lookalikes and wannabes builders have been putting up all over Houston?


03/18/10 11:44pm

So who gets a pair of tickets to the Rice Design Alliance’s annual home tour this weekend? Why, the winner of this week’s Neighborhood Guessing Game, of course! And that would be the player our judges deemed “close enough” for the win: Congratulations, JKL! You’re going to . . . Southgate!

A very close second place goes to Brian, and an honorable mention to movocelot, who just ended up on the wrong side of I-45.

How far off were you?


03/18/10 9:58pm

Yeah, there are lots of very large homes in Houston that kinda look like some drug lord’s mansion. But how can you find one that’s truly authentic? Here’s one way: Look for a property that’s been put on the market by actual U.S. marshals!

Like this 5-bedroom, 4-bath pinkish-brownish stucco crib at 17907 Elk Valley Circle in Ponderosa Trails. It sits on a 2.54-acre lot on a quiet cul-de-sac just south of Cypress Creek near Kuykendahl, and comes complete with the requisite pool and patio, hot tub, double-height porte-cochere, and 4-car garage.

Sure, it sorta looks like it might be the home of a drug kingpin, but so do a lot of other big homes in town built since, say, 2000. What’s this one’s pedigree?


03/27/08 11:51pm

1902 Wagon Gap Trail, Ponderosa Forest, Houston

Git yer fresh, hot foreclosure listings right here! Hey, not all of them are newish red-brick homes in the low hundreds outside Beltway 8!

This house at 1902 Wagon Gap Trail, for example . . . isn’t brick! It’s in Ponderosa Forest, just north of FM1960, which means it’s super-convenient to . . . FM1960! And it just popped up on the market, listed for $129,000! Not bad for a 1970s 4-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath, 3,119-sq.-ft. two-story with diagonal wood siding.

After the jump, a few furtive interior shots of this foreclosed-upon bargain, plus a special something in back!


10/02/07 10:30am

The Retreat at Cypress Station

When it was shopped around to investors last year, there weren’t too many offers for the Retreat at Cypress Station, a 296-unit apartment complex on an 18-acre site north of FM1960 near I-45. How come?

Hendricks & Partners’ principal Jim A. Hearn says the two-year-old asset at 18200 Westfield Place Dr., assessed at $22.7 million by Harris County, was on the market with another brokerage firm about one year ago, but was pulled due to lack of buyer interest. “By luck, this property was in lease-up during Hurricanes Rita and Katrina and the owners took on a significant number of corporate leases,” Hearn explains. As the corporate leases ran out, he says vacancies went up. “Some of the buyers were spooked,” he says.

What would happen when all those Katrina-era leases expired? Boo!

Apparently, some residents were spooked as well—by local crime. Back in January, an anonymous resident posted this gem about the complex to the Apartment Ratings website:

The shooting that occured on Wednesday was due to a damn drug deal.. If I understand correctly, the resident will NO longer be living here… BE SMART, take your damn valuables out of your vehicle and keep an eye out for your neighbors… This is a very good property for the area, yes you pay for it… It is worth it…

Well, now only 20 percent of the apartments are vacant. And the complex has just been bought by a fund managed by Boston’s TA Realty Advisors—even before Allied Realty Services, the company that built it, was able to put it back on the market.