02/17/17 12:30pm

INWOOD FOREST GOLF COURSE NEXT IN LINE FOR STORMWATER DETENTION BASIN TREATMENT One of the next spots up for retrofitting as a series of flood detention ponds: the rest of the Inwood Forest Golf Course, which the city bought in 2011 after that lawsuit over whether it could be developed as anything else. The Chronicle’s Mike Morris reports that a set of 10 new ponds were approved by city council on Wednesday for the former fairways, which sprawl on either side of Antoine Rd. between Victory Dr. and W. Gulf Bank Rd. interspersed with bits of residential neighborhood. (A pair of basins was previously dug out on the site; the new project could increase the course’s water feature storage volume from 56 to more than 1000 acre-feet, potentially.) The former clubhouse for the course, at 7603 Antoine Dr., has also found new employment as the White Oak Conference Center, and currently houses some operations of the Near Northwest Management District. Inwood Forest isn’t the first golf course in Houston being put to new flood-conscious uses — across town, an ongoing project in Clear Lake has been converting the former Clear Lake City Golf Course into a series of detention basins and park spaces going by the name Exploration Green. It potentially isn’t the last, either — the Sims-Bayou-side Glenbrook Park Golf Course may eventually be converted into the Houston Botanic Garden, the Seussical early renderings of which include large sections designed to flood.  [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of former Inwood Forest Golf Course green near White Oak Conference Center: White Oak Conference Center

04/19/16 11:00am

A scattering of drones took to the air across Houston yesterday as the rain slowed to do some sight-seeing around the brand new 9-county disaster zone declared by governor Abbott in the afternoon. Filling up during floods is standard operating procedure for Buffalo Bayou Park, as demonstrated prior to the park’s first planned official opening last spring. That’s not part of the sanctioned protocol for all of Houston’s bayou corridors, but it’s hard to argue about it in the moment —above is the overhead view of Brays Bayou venturing out into broader Meyerland.

More footage comes from northwest Houston, circling around White Oak Bayou at N. Houston Rosslyn Rd. in Inwood Forest —  west and downstream of some the areas that got the most rainfall:


Drones Around Town
04/13/15 4:15pm



One of the Inwood Forest properties near the neighborhood’s former golf course and clubhouse seems to have split personality. A stately late seventies contemporary — tiers of windows in a variety of sizes and groupings finish out an assortment of  bump-outs (and bump-ups) — opts for some How the West Was Fun flourishes inside (top). The property, located on Antoine Dr. north of W. Little York, faces a side street but takes its address from the thoroughfare. In its relisting over the weekend, the 1979 custom home’s asking price is set at $214K. A previous listing by the same agent had sought $242K in June 2014, with a reduction to $222K in August.


Western Whims
07/26/13 12:15pm

An intrepid Redditor recently explored the vacant Oakbrook Apartments and snuck away with these photos. The 222-unit complex, currently for sale, sits on 7.3 acres at 5353 De Soto St., east of Antoine and north of W. Tidwell, right up against White Oak Bayou. Writes the creative trespasser: “The majority of [the apartments] are unsecured at this point. There really didn’t seem to be much of anything left in any of the apartments, and I went in a lot of them. Most of the drywall is crumbling and you can smell the mildew from 20 yards away. Wiring and other appliances have been torn out in most of them.”


02/07/11 11:28pm

Today, two and a half years after city officials shut down the Gables of Inwood apartments and ordered all its tenants to move out, demolition crews began tearing down the squatter-friendly 163-unit, 10-building, 4 1/2-acre Inwood Forest complex — a process expected to take 6 weeks. City officials say they hope to recoup the $400,000 cost of the demo from the owner, Collins Ofoegbu of El Sobrante, California. But that may not be so easy. As of August 2009, Ofoegbu ranked as Houston’s top scofflaw, having racked up more than 700 building-code violations for issues with the property at 5600 Holly View Dr. His attorney told the Chronicle at the time that the warrants couldn’t be resolved until Ofoegbu settled a dispute with his insurance company, which he said had refused to pay for damages resulting from a fire at the complex.

Photo: 39 Online

09/17/10 11:46am

Mayor Parker, after a stint behind the controls of JTB Services’ excavator at yesterday’s demolition of the Candlelight Trails condominium complex north of Tidwell:

My most fun day yet as Mayor. Make all the jokes you want. I operated a giant backhoe as we demolished an abandoned property off Antoine!


09/16/10 11:09am

CANDLELIGHT TRAILS IS GOING DOWN The demolition of the 11-acre Candlelight Trails empty-condos-and-crime site could begin as early as today. Officials at city hall tell 11 News reporter Sherry Williams that a judge approved the demolition of the abandoned complex — in the 5500 and 5600 blocks of DeSoto, off Antoine north of Tidwell — this morning: “The city recently sued about 150 of the condo owners to get them to sign off on the demolition. Some of those lawsuits added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties. . . . ‘As long as they agree to sign over their title to the city, then we’re not going after them for money,’ said Houston City Councilwoman Jolanda Jones. ‘It’s really sad that they bought into a place where the people who ran it absconded with their money, but I’m thankful that we are not further, I don’t know, kicking them while they’re down.’Update: The demolition is now scheduled to begin at 1:30 pm, according to the Near Northwest Management District. [KHOU; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Matt Stiles

05/10/10 10:53am

STUCK IN THOSE NEIGHBORHOOD SAND TRAPS The Ohio investor who bought up 3 Houston community golf courses over the last decade, then sold the one in Quail Valley to Missouri City a couple of years ago, is running into a few obstacles in his attempts to sell the other 2 to developers: “The latest roadblock came with a jury verdict late last year that would prohibit the use of the land that once served as the Inwood Forest Country Club for any purpose other than a golf course. . . . The Harris County jury found that the Inwood Forest golf property contained an ‘implied reciprocal negative easement,’ [Inwood Forest homeowners association member Julie] Grothues said. In plain English, that means that an owner of the course is bound to keep it as a course even though the original deed has no such restrictive covenant. The lawyer for the homeowners association argued that the course was an essential component of the neighborhood, and that allowing it to be cut up for development would irrevocably change the character of the community and the value of the homes.” Is Mark Voltmann’s game going any better at the shuttered Clear Lake Golf Club? “The deed for the Clear Lake property contains a restriction preventing owners from using it for anything but a golf course or recreational facility until 2021. Voltmann has filed suit to try to bust the deed restrictions. In theory, success could translate into a big payday, as a portion of the property has good commercial potential. But the Inwood verdict is looming. If it stands up, homeowners could use the same argument to stymie him again.” [Houston Chronicle; listing]

06/15/09 7:51am

REGISTERED AGENTS FOR CONDOS A bill recently passed by the Texas Legislature — inspired by problems encountered in contacting the 150 separate owners of Candlelight Trails in northwest Houston — would make it a whole lot easier for the city to demolish decrepit condo complexes. “The bill by Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, applies only to Houston. It requires every condo development to maintain a registered agent to accept service of legal papers; if any development fails to do so, the Texas secretary of state automatically becomes the agent. The law will take effect Sept. 1 if Gov. Rick Perry signs it or allows it to become law without his signature. Perry will review the measure carefully before deciding, spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said. Current law requires each owner to be served either in person or through a legal notice in a newspaper. Defendants served through publication have two years to file a motion for a new trial. ‘It is extremely time-consuming, expensive and allows the substandard and often dangerous conditions to continue while the city struggles to obtain personal service on each owner,’ Ann Travis, Mayor Bill White’s governmental affairs director, said in a background document explaining the bill.” [Houston Chronicle]

05/05/09 3:22pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: CANDLELIGHT TRAILS, DIMMED “My family lived there for 17 years (1985-2001) and we watched this place transform from a luxury conodo complex into a complete waste. We frequently revisitied the complex on several occaisions and it stayed just about the same from the late 1980s until now. The danger of living there really showed its true colors when we went onto the abandoned property last January and discovered a murder scene in our old condo. For many reasons I want this place torn down, but for the most reasons, I don’t want this place down mainly because that used to be my home and where I grew up and seeing it go into the ground might be too much of a sight to bear on my part. Despite this, I rest easily knowing that the complex will never be torn down because it was one of those ‘take action for a day and feel good about it but forget about it the next day’ types of situations so there is no doubt in my mind that the buildings will remain standing as long as I live.” [John, commenting on Lights Out for Candlelight Trails?]

10/15/08 4:36pm

Candlelight Trails Condominiums, 5500 DeSoto St., Inwood Forest, Houston

City building officials closed down the Candlelight Trails condo complex in northwest Houston 14 months ago, citing substandard living conditions. But neighbors have still been complaining about squatters and crime. Now the Chronicle‘s Matt Stiles reports that city attorneys have filed a lawsuit asking a judge to allow them to demolish it:

the complex technically is a condominium property, so the city has to sue 150 owners to get authority to tear the property down. The City Council is set to vote this week to hire a law firm for those cases.

Candlelight Trails sits on 11 acres in the 5500 and 5600 blocks of DeSoto, off Antoine north of Tidwell.

Photo of Candlelight Trails: Matt Stiles

08/12/08 10:05am

CANDLEWOOD GLEN: RENO OR DEMO? Near Northwest residents ask City Council for help with the squalid Candlewood Glen and Candlelight Trails complexes. “A sign posted at the entrance to the complex would suggest there were plans to reopen the buildings under a new name. They would be called Palm Terrace, and phase one was scheduled for construction during the summer of 2008. But it’s now August, and there is no sign of construction.” [11 News, previously in Swamplot]

06/02/08 10:40am

Open House at Candlewood Glen Apartments, Houston

Chronicle reporter Matt Stiles continues his tour of substandard Houston apartments, stopping this week for a visit at the 172-unit Candlewood Glen Apartments, near the 5400 block of DeSoto:

Now, only about 12 units remain legally occupied, and the management office is shuttered. Rotting trash sits in piles. Copper pipes and air conditioners’ coils have been ripped on a mass scale from burglarized units. The swimming pool is filled with water the color of crude oil.

“It’s just a horrible place,” said Roy Millmore, executive director of the Near Northwest Management District, an organization that focuses on reducing crime in the area.

The poor conditions inside the complex have persisted for months, in part because many of the property’s 43 fourplexes are owned by out-of-state investors, rather than a single owner. That makes applying pressure to improve conditions more complicated for city inspectors.

Still, code inspectors had not visited the property in a decade until the Houston Chronicle documented its conditions. City officials say they had not received complaints from people living there and that they are trying to enforce codes more aggressively than in years past.

After the jump: Stiles’s Candlewood Glen Apartments photo tour. Plus: Available now!