04/01/14 12:30pm

Public Forum on Gus Wortham Golf Course, E.B. Cape Center, 4501 Leeland St., Houston

A reader sends in a report from the “spirited debate” at Monday night’s public forum at the E.B. Cape Center on Leeland St., covering proposed plans to convert the Gus Wortham Golf Course at Wayside Dr. and Lawndale St. in Houston’s East End, just north of Idylwood, into a new botanical garden: “Councilman Robert Gallegos, Mayor Parker, and many other politicians were there, as well as a standing room only crowd of those for the botanical garden (wielding the provided flowers), and for saving the golf course (fanning themselves with provided Gus Wortham fans). The crowd was encouraged to be quiet to keep things running smoothly, but this didn’t always happen, as many folks were pretty passionate about their opinions. Those wanting to save the golf course had at least double the presence of the garden folks, and were admittedly louder as things went on.”

Our correspondent, who claims to support renovating the existing golf course and putting a botanical garden elsewhere, notes that an earlier proposal in which the 150-acre site just west of Brays Bayou would have been shared by a 9-hole golf course and a new garden in the northern half has been scrapped. Houston Botanic Garden president Jeff Ross showed the latest “rough draft” of the proposed garden plan. Here’s a screen-shot photo:


Tee’d Off
09/25/13 4:35pm

Board members of Houston Botanic Garden, a nonprofit formed in 2002 that’s been looking to bring a big-time garden to the city ever since, have had their eyes on several properties, including the KBR site in the Fifth Ward. But it’s the 150 acres home to the 18-hole Gus Wortham Golf Course — the oldest in Texas — that they are after now. The course, which includes a driving range, is owned by the city, and Jeff Ross, president of the garden club, explains that the organization hopes to ink a “long-term lease” that would allow it to “repurpose the property,” much like the 55-acre VanDusen Botanical Garden had done with the old Shaughnessy Golf Club in Vancouver. Ross explains that this repurposing could mean reserving as many as 65 acres for a 9-hole course — which could be built from scratch or involve a kind of rejiggering of the existing holes — and setting up the gardens on the remaining 85-90 relatively hilly acres that roll here toward Brays Bayou.


11/30/12 10:57am

Those of you waiting with bated breath for the renovation, redevelopment, or removal of the 1950s-era office building at 3400 Montrose Blvd. (across Hawthorne St. from the Montrose Kroger): keep on bating. The company that bought the vacant 10-story building last September has told its 500 Israeli investors that its operations in Israel and Houston are both “in dire financial straits,” according to a report in Israeli newspaper Haaretz.


06/25/12 1:23pm

EAST END ALCOHOL REPORT A reader from the Country Club Place-Idylwood area checks in with rumors, some news, and questions: “A neighbor who does not do computers had a co-worker tell him that there is to be a ‘Latino topless bar’ open soon near Idylwood. For the life of me, I cannot see where he’s talking about. Of course, the definition of ‘near Idylwood’ is the variable. How can I find out where it will be and if this is true? Are alcohol permits available online? The old Helena Motel property on Wayside at 45 is being developed slowly and right now, a Chick fil A is being built next to the relatively new Taco Cabana. I can’t really see an adult entertainment place going in near that location although that block with the corner is prime for a strip shopping center. Demolition of the old Oshman’s property for Walmart is progressing quickly. Last I heard there was still some question as to whether or not this Walmart would sell beer & wine. The back side of the property is too close to the AAMA School on Maxwell. I imagine a lot of people will be unhappy if they can’t do one stop shopping there. Can you offer some suggestions as to where to begin my sleuthing on the topless bar?” [Swamplot inbox]

04/03/08 8:10pm

Courtyard Apartments, 950 Villa de Matel, Houston

A resident of nearby Simms Woods sends us photos of an apartment complex off Wayside Dr. that’s received a number of citations recently . . . but not the good kind:

The citations to the Courtyard Apartments on Villa de Matel allege eight structural and electrical problems, including rotting wood, missing balcony railings, loose boards and broken windows, city officials said. . . .

Tenant Victoria Vargas said that when she moved in a year ago, the management refused to replace the tattered mini-blinds, outdated appliances and worn carpet.

Now, she said in Spanish, she also must contend with leaky ceilings, rats and high energy bills for her $400-a-month unit.

State Rep. Hubert Vo has owned the 241-unit complex at 950 Villa de Matel through a company called Newlink Investment since July of 2002, according to HCAD records.

The mess — and the neglect apparently visited on his tenants, who are clearly not in his district — doesn’t look healthy for Mr. Vo, a Democrat who’s running for re-election this year. But maybe someone can help him out!

A commenter on the Chronicle‘s Houston Politics blog passes on a report that Vo bought the Courtyard Apartments for $2.8 million, and notes that they are now available for sale . . . for just $20,332 a unit! That’s only $4.9 million for 7.6 acres of juicy East End Inner Loop property! From the listing brochure:

This property affords a buyer good upside potential thru a moderate/heavy rehab. This community is constructed in a classic garden style design and was built in 1972.

After the jump: more pix of this prime real estate, just steps away from the Gus Wortham Golf Course and ripe for that moderate/heavy rehab! Plus: more Vo East End apartment holdings!