01/08/14 5:15pm

Barbed Wire Fencing Surrounding Willow Waterhole Stormwater Detention Basin Prairie Conservation Area, Southwest Houston

Having succeeded in somewhat reducing the planned amount of tree carnage at the southern end of their neighborhood bounding a portion of the Willow Waterhole Stormwater Detention Basin, residents of Post Oak Manor now have another curious byproduct of those flood-reduction efforts to contend with. Contractors working on the Harris County Flood Control District project are now lining a section of the new detention basin with actual barbed-wire fencing. “This is public paid-for lands,” complains neighborhood resident Valerie Runge. “I can’t help but feel this is retaliation for the trouble we caused trying to keep a few of the trees.”


Cows, Too
11/06/13 10:00am

That vague line of pink barely visible low in the forested area just beyond the backyard of this house on Warm Springs Dr. in Post Oak Manor marks a few of the hundreds of trees the Harris County Flood Control District plans to knock down as part of a second phase of work on the easternmost portion of the Willow Waterhole Stormwater Detention Basin complex. Most of the trees slated for removal are in a 5-acre zone to the southeast of Post Oak Manor (outlined at the bottom right of the aerial map below), just north of South Main St. and directly to the southwest of Beren Academy. But the pink line is part of a separate 2-acre strip that’s slated for thinning just south of Post Oak Manor. And that’s got some residents there — and in adjacent ‘W’ neighborhoods Willowbend, Willow Meadows, Willowbrook, and Westbury — upset.


04/15/08 1:09pm

Lantern Village, 5815 Gulfton, HoustonDavid Kaplan of the Chronicle catches up with Houston-apartment legend Michael Pollack and fills in a few details of the Colonial House story:

According to media reports then, Pollack lived in a super-size Colonial House apartment called “the Dream Suite,” which had a colored water fountain inside and a king-size water bed.

The Dream Suite was real, but Pollack says he never lived there. His home was the Four Leaf Towers and later the Houstonian, he said.

His glamorous stud image was just an act, he maintains, designed to rent apartments.

“I was promoting day and night,” Pollack said. “To me, it was a job.” . . .

According to Houston City magazine, he’d show up at nightclubs in a chauffeured custom Cadillac limousine with a moon roof. He traveled with an entourage, including bodyguards in satin jackets adorned with Pollack’s silhouette.

There are more memorable Pollack TV spots to be dug up:

One commercial featured Pollack in a safari outfit and a tiger. He had a fear of cats, even little cats, and being next to the full-grown beast was terrifying, he recalled.

In 1986, Pollack left Houston because, he said, the local economy and apartment market looked increasingly grim.

Colonial House was foreclosed on in 1988. It was acquired by DRG Funding Corp., the lender that financed the complex’s redevelopment. Pollack moved back to California, working there a few years before settling in Mesa[, Arizona].

In Houston, the Colonial House era is no more. A year after the foreclosure, the mammoth complex changed its name to Lantern Village.

After the jump: Laundry tips from a longtime resident of today’s Lantern Village!


01/21/08 11:54am

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLnLsrK5Tjs 400 330]

The brave work of Southwest Houston and Houston Apartment Renaissance scholars has been rewarded — a second mid-1980s Colonial House TV commercial is now available on YouTube!

No it’s not quite as iconic and over-the-top as the one with the VCR in the pool, but look at that fabulous indoor-outdoor furniture! Almost a quarter century later, we know Michael Pollack is alive and well, but does anyone know where that living-room mandala and dining-room set ended up?

12/10/07 11:02am

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC5mvVXGGjc 400 330]

This charming period piece from the abortive early-’80s Southwest Houston apartment renaissance surfaced on YouTube late last month, to the great acclaim of chief Michael Pollack fan Lou Minatti, who has hosted an online shrine to the iconic and once high-profile Houston developer on his website for several years. Why was Pollack such a big deal?

What Gallery Furniture’s “We really will save you moneyyyyyyy!” was to the north side of town, the VCR in the Pool was to the southwest.

And really, who can forget the charms of Colonial House, at the corner of Chimney Rock and Gulfton? Writes Minatti:

Built in the late 1960s, Colonial House was in terrible shape.

Gangs and prostitutes had moved in, while basic amenities such as air conditioning had quit working. Pollack moved in and the gangs moved out. Pollack’s crew gutted and rebuilt each of the 1,800 units in just three months. But after all that hard work, Pollack had an even bigger task ahead: How was our suave, sophisticated hero going to fill those apartments? That’s where his infamous TV ads came in.

Here’s a question: Doesn’t the bench-pressing dude on the Nautilus about five seconds in look a bit . . . familiar?

After the jump: Pollack claims it was all an act! Plus, what he’s up to these days — with pix!