01/15/15 5:15pm




Spiffed up more than considerably since its purchase for $93K in September 2014, a double-decker Simms Woods spread maxes out the midcenturyisms. Do the updates — to just about every surface and system — merit the $450K asking price in its listing over the weekend? The 1955 property, in a neighborhood west of Idylwood, is one lot off the intersection of Jefferson and Hackney streets. That puts it catty-corner to the site of a planned 173-home subdivision on a cleared, former 11.93-acre warehouse property adjacent to the HB&T rail line.


Short Ribs
05/08/14 1:15pm

Simms Woods Homesites, 5401 Lawndale St., Simms Woods, Houston

Simms Woods Homesites, 5401 Lawndale St., Simms Woods, HoustonDevelopers are planning to put in a 173-home subdivision on the 11.93-acre former site of the All Woods Schroeder (and later, Woodlands Mill Work) warehouse adjacent to the HB&T rail line near the intersection of Jefferson and Hackney in the Simms Woods subdivision, west of Idylwood. The official address of the not-just-yet-subdivided property is 5401 Lawndale St., but only a small leg of the land fronts Lawndale — between Telephone Rd. and Wayside Dr., across from the KIPP Explore Academy. Demolition permits for portions of the former warehouse buildings were approved back in 2011 and 2013, but a reader reports that the last structure was cleared just recently (see photos).

On May 15th, the city’s planning commission is set to consider the layout for the new subdivision, which includes 11 new streets, 173 new homesites, and 25 “reserves” — to be used for guest parking and bits of open space. Here’s the proposed layout:


Clearing Simms Woods
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.


07/16/10 3:12pm

Here’s another “Century Built” hollow-concrete-tile home designed by Allen R. Williams Jr. This 1954 model is at 6328 Brookside Dr. in Simms Woods. Interior designer and recently minted architect Ben Koush plucked it from obscurity and gussied it up for himself a few years back. It isn’t for sale, but it is available to compare with the unrenovated one that is, across Lawndale in Idylwood. Koush’s home has now been added to the roster for Houston Mod’s Mod of the Month open house this weekend. Both homes will be open Saturday from 1 to 4.

A few views inside:


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!