02/04/13 1:30pm

If Beyoncé still wants this deeply discounted Piney Point Village mansion for her mother, she might have to bring back Sasha Fierce and grab a paddle: It’s going up on February 19 for auction. The 21,640-sq.-ft., 4-kitchen rental property near Briar Forest was listed as recently as January 3 at $5.9 million — and, says the website of California-based auction house Premier Estates, that’s just where bids will start.


08/07/12 11:58am

How difficult will it be for developer Sandy Aron to fit the 6- or 7-story apartment complex he’s planning for the lakeside site of the shuttered Vargo’s Restaurant at 2401 Fondren into its peacock-filled Piney Point Village neighborhood? Last month the owner of Hunington Properties was forced to send plans for the complex back to the architects at the Steinberg Design Collaborative so that they could add an emergency vehicle lane inside the property — after residents of the 15-townhome community directly to the east voted to deny driveway access to the proposed development from Woodway. And last night other neighbors gathered in front of teevee cameras to voice general complaints about the plans for Vargo’s on the Lake, which according to abc13’s report has now been cut back to 288 units from 312. Deed restrictions established in the seventies will require the apartments to sit back 50 ft. from the lake on the property. Aron told the Houston Business Journal last month that he expected to close on the land — which he’s buying out of bankruptcy — in late August.

Photo of Vargo’s back yard: Rolando Silva

05/10/12 4:43pm

It’s not just the Hunington Properties sign posted in front of Vargo’s announcing a new mixed-use development on the 8.71-acre property, or the more plaintive and direct Land for Sale notice put up more recently. (Asking price: $9 million.) Now there’s another, more compelling harbinger of doom for the 47-year-old lakeside restaurant and event venue at Fondren and Woodway festooned with azaleas and peacocks: A trustee appointed to manage the restaurant’s bankruptcy (which was filed last October but converted to Chapter 7 last month) has ordered Vargo’s shut down for failure to pay rent.


03/13/12 1:18pm

LAWSUIT CLAIMS PINEY POINT VILLAGE IS USING HUNTERS CREEK VILLAGE AS DETENTION POND A waterflow restrictor the city of Piney Point Village secretly installed in a new stormwater system it shares with Hunters Creek Village is now the focus of 2 separate lawsuits. The latest, filed last week, includes claims that the bricked-up storm drain — narrowing a culvert under Hedwig Rd. connecting the 2 Memorial villages from 36 to about 8 inches — effectively turns Hunters Creek Village into a stormwater storage facility for its downstream neighbor. Piney Point Village officials claim the restrictor prevents Hunters Creek from draining more water from Kemwood Dr. through the new culvert than the 2 municipalities had originally agreed upon. Rainstorms on January 9th and 25th flooded Kemwood with 4 ft. of water, which backed up into residents’ yards. Hunters Creek’s second lawsuit calls the narrowing of the culvert “deliberate sabotage” put in place to force the city to sign off on a drainage study. [Memorial Examiner] Photo of Kemwood at Hedwig Rd.: Rusty Graham

03/25/11 4:27pm

The reader who sent in these photos of what appears to him to be the impending demolition of the house at 252 Piney Point Rd. tells Swamplot he can’t tell from the markings which trees are scheduled to come down with it — the ones with the red ribbons or the ones with the green: “There are too many to count and are almost all over 50′ tall.” The 5,022-sq.-ft. house on the almost-an-acre lot dates from 1955. The new owner bought the property last December for north of $1 million, but less than the $1,240,000 asking price. The listing included several photos of the “park like setting” just a couple of blocks north of Memorial Dr. but none of the home.


04/16/10 4:24pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW MUCH TO TURN IT TUSCAN? “It’s not even $8 million! Merely $7,999,000! I’d love to buy this place but I’m afraid I’d end up baroque.” [wilf, commenting on Deep Discount Madness Returns to Piney Point Village: Megamansion Now 60 Percent Off!]

04/16/10 10:14am

A reader notes that the little Piney Point Village add-on project that TV executive Douglas R. Johnson and his then-wife Melanie bought in 1996 as a 6,000-sq.-ft. starter home is back on the market with a new agent, a new set of photos, and a new price that’s 60 percent lower than the original. But is that an air of desperation wafting up from the listing?


C’mon everybody, that’s more than 23,000 sq. ft. now for only . . . $8 million! What will you do with all the money you save?!!

How about hiring the domestic staff that’s gonna be hard at work dusting and polishing this:


03/10/10 11:43am

Did that more-than-half-off sale on the Piney Point Village bayou-front estate of Doug and Melanie Johnson work any magic? The cozy 8-bedroom, 10 full- and 3 half-bath playhouse recently disappeared from the MLS, but a Swamplot reader suspects something’s up:

I don’t think it sold because I watch it and I never saw it go into sale pending. I think they gave up trying to sell.

The 21,640-sq.-ft. home at 11682 Arrowwood Circle debuted on the market as a $19 million divorce listing back in 2007. According to a Chronicle blog post last year written by Shelby Hodge, that price was set by now-bankrupt broadcast executive Doug Johnson (his company, Johnson Broadcasting, is the “debtor in possession” of local TV station KNWS). After a couple of uneventful years at the top of the listings, the home’s price was eventually cut to $9.5 million — and the commission doubled to 12 percent — after Melanie wrested the right to control the sale herself.

What does it matter that it’s out of the listings? Really, don’t you think a quirky little property like this would do better in a . . . uh, private offering?


09/03/09 2:36pm

More than 6 reductions over the last 2 years mean you can now snap up this 20,000-plus-sq.-ft. Piney Point megamansion for less than half its original $19.9 million asking price. The spread belongs to Douglas R. Johnson and his wife Melanie, who divorced a year and a half ago, reports the Chronicle‘s Shelby Hodge:

The house began as a 6,000 square-foot teepee sitting in the middle of a lush wooded acre on Arrowwood. We are told that the couple pumped $16 million worth of expansion and improvements into the place. Eight bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, three half-baths and a paneled wine room and bar dating from the 1920s are part of the package. And did we mention the vast third-floor entertainment area that features a lavish theater center, game room and bar?

According to the divorce decree, Melanie and the boys get to live in the house until it sells. The judge gave Doug the right to control that sale. He priced the property at $19 million — unheard of in the Memorial/Piney Point neighborhoods. There was little interest. Melanie went back to court recently and secured rights to control the sale herself. And how things have changed.

According to MLS records, the home went on the market in April of 2007. Its most recent price cut — just a few days ago — was a mere $3.4 million.

Until his Johnson Broadcasting Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last October, Johnson was listed as the sole owner of KNWS, local TV’s Channel 51. Johnson also filed for personal bankruptcy, but reportedly told the Chronicle at the time that it all had to do with the divorce.

How’s this home doing in the ratings? Well, the listing puts it at about 26,214 sq. ft., but the appraisal district only counts 21,240. But even that lower figure is enough to get the home onto Wikipedia’s list of the largest single family residences in the United States.

The home’s price may be down, but the commission is now up to 12 percent. And the photos sure make it look like the volume is still turned way up:


01/15/09 3:41pm

The new 3-level youth building on the growing campus of Chapelwood United Methodist Church on Greenbay St. in Piney Point Village is now open:

Tour members, most who were seeing the new construction for the first time, were visibly taken aback when entering the ground-level youth activity center Sunday, where they were greeted by loud music and kids enjoying the actiivites.

Complete with 13 video gaming stations, air hockey, foosball, ping pong and pool tables, a snack bar, tables and seating for hanging out, a small stage with a huge video screen for games, group study rooms, free wi-fi, and more.

Youth ministry offices are off to the side of the game room.

Drawing of Chapelwood United Methodist Church master plan and photo: Merriman Holt Architects

09/11/08 9:36pm

Neighborhood Guessing Game 24: Bathroom

Yeah, we know what’s been on your mind this afternoon and evening: Just where is that house from this week’s Neighborhood Guessing Game?

You guessed: Friendswood, Meyerland, and Old Braeswood. We had 2 for Tealwood, 2 votes for Memorial close to Voss, 2 for the Memorial Villages closer to Beltway 8 than Voss, 2 for River Oaks, 2 for Hunter’s Creek Village, and 3 for Tanglewood. Also: Gessner and Memorial, south of Memorial between Beltway 8 and Kirkwood, Bunker Hill, close-in Memorial, the Westcott area between Memorial and Washington, Memorial between Chimney Rock and Blalock, one of the Memorial Villages, Piney Point Village, and Indian Creek.

That’s a lot of Memorial! Thank you, Jeff, for simply framing the question:

This HAS to be Memorial Villages. But which one?

The win goes to K, who knows her Villages . . . and maybe a little somethin’ about Houston in the seventies:

Definitely Memorial Villages. You can tell by the heavily wooded lot and the size of the home for the year it was built (1970s). This was someone’s swank, possibly key-party-ish pad back in the booming 70s when all the richies were building their huge new homes in the Villages. I say Piney Point. It’s too modern for Bunker Hill, and has too many trees for Hilshire Village or Spring Valley, but this looks exactly like something you’d run across in Piney Point.

Three more of you who got the geography right — but missed the neighborhood name — get honorable mentions: sarahc, tcpIV, and Joni Webb.

Special honors go to David W, for leading off the guessing confidently in exactly the wrong direction:

Go 70’s – love all the angles. This house looks like it was expensively built but hasn’t been updated to much except maybe the glass block in the master bath – vintage Sub-Zero, big rooms, and nice courtyard out back. Clearly mature vegetation outside – I’m thinking Friendswood.

Yes, David W knew this house — and wrote to us about it. Did he throw you off?

After the jump: the big reveal!


03/21/08 9:11am

Landscape Plan, San Felipe Condominiums Towers, Houston

This landscape plan from the Boymelgreen website is our first glimpse of the two condo towers the company is planning for 5.5 acres on the southwest corner of the intersection of San Felipe and a short segment of Woodway — just west of Voss, on the Right Bank of Buffalo Bayou. And this morning the Houston Business Journal has more to report:

New York City-based Boymelgreen Developers is developing the project for landowner Azorim, a publicly traded company in Israel of which Boymelgreen owns 64 percent. . . . The unnamed project will consist of two buildings with 28 residential floors each and an 18,000-square-foot fitness center and spa. The project will have a total of 237 condos starting at $1 million each. Units will be an average size of 2,500 square feet.

The architect is Ziegler Cooper. Boymelgreen’s website refers to the project as the San Felipe Condominiums. (And it reports a building that’s 14 condos smaller.)

Jennifer Dawson’s report in the HBJ says that sales won’t start until the fall, after a sales center — which will later “be converted into a spa, restaurant or office building” — is built on the site of the former Dolce & Freddo next door.

Below the fold: That 1960s office-and-shopping center on the site won’t go quietly!


03/20/08 9:32am

230 Blalock Rd., Piney Point Village, Houston

We have a winner! The house at 230 Blalock, which the City of Piney Point Village bought last year — with the intention of using as its first-ever inside-city-limits city hall — has at last been sold . . . at a $60,000 loss, excluding commissions. The buyer, according to the Memorial Examiner, is U.K. resident Edward L. Solari.

The home had been on the market since last summer, when city council gave into pressure from Piney Point residents opposed to housing their city hall in a $1.53 million party pad . . . in a residential neighborhood.

After the jump, one last longing look inside the City Hall That Might Have Been!