12/15/09 4:22pm

GALLERIA POCKET PARK FIGHT ENDS WITH TIRZ REACHING INTO POCKET Twin septuagenerian veterinarians Jock and James Collins, whose property on the corner of San Felipe and Post Oak Ln. adjacent to BLVD Place was taken by eminent domain 2 years ago, settled their dispute with the city this past August after receiving a $990,000 payment from the Uptown TIRZ, reports Mike Snyder: “The amount of the settlement is less than the $1.4 million Wulfe offered the brothers for the property in 2006, an offer they refused because they wanted a lump sum rather than payments over several years. However, it’s more than twice the $433,800 that the city asserted the land was worth in December 2006, the agreed-upon date for settlement discussions, [the Collins brothers’ attorney, J. Cary] Gray said. The brothers contended the land was worth $1,012,000, Gray said. The Collins brothers, along with leaders of some government watchdog groups, contended the park was a pretext for providing a landscaped entrance to [Ed] Wulfe’s [Blvd Place] development at public expense. Documents obtained by the Houston Chronicle last year showed that the condemnation helped Wulfe close a $12.5 million land deal for a planned residential tower within the development, although plans for that project have been delayed because of the recession. [Mayor] White repeatedly denied that political considerations were a factor. The need for land to widen San Felipe wasn’t disputed, and White said it was a better deal for taxpayers for the city to take the entire parcel.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot]

02/24/09 10:02am

In a letter demonstrating the virtues of direct and forthright language, HISD has notified the owners of 8 homes on Glenloch St. in Glenbrook Valley that the new Lewis Elementary School will eat up their property:

This letter is to inform you that growth in Houston has created a serious shortage of permanent space within the Houston Independent School District (“HISD”). In a response to this need for space necessary to provide the best education for our children in your area, HISD will be replacing the Lewis Elementary School facility and it will be necessary to expand the existing school site.

The Superintendent of Schools has recommended, and the HISD Board of Education has designated, a tract of land for this expansion. This tract includes property you may own (see attached map).


01/05/09 8:44am

POST OAK LANE PARK DOLLAR TIMELINE: ALL THE OFFERS AND COUNTERS Following up on the overview of the controversy he and Carolyn Feibel published last week, Bradley Olsen provides this updated summary of all the offers made for James and Jock Collins’s 7,230-sq.-ft. property at the the corner of San Felipe and Post Oak Ln., adjacent to Boulevard Place: “In April 2002, the Uptown Development Authority offers the Collins brothers $289,000 for their property to widen San Felipe and for other purposes (they bought it for $363,750 in 1982). They declined. In February 2004, Uptown offers the Collins brothers $398,035 for their property. They declined. Wulfe & Co. begins negotiations with the brothers to buy the property in 2004. In early 2006 (one side says March, the other says May), Wulfe and Co. offered the Collins brothers $1.985 million, which included a $1.46 million cash offer plus financing of $525,000 over five years. The brothers declined that offer, both sides confirm. The brothers counter-offer by asking for $1.7 million in cash, according to Cary Gray, their attorney. In June 2006, Wulfe and Co. responded with a $1.46 million cash offer, which they withdraw in July, according to both sides. In October 2006, the city notifies the Collins brothers of its intent to seize the land through eminent domain powers. Before filing its eminent domain lawsuit, the city gives the brothers a final offer in May 2007 of $433,800. They declined. In February 2008, a panel of special commissioners appointed in Harris County Civil Court voted to award the Collins brothers $723,000. They declined. The legal proceedings between the city and the brothers are still ongoing and are in the discovery phase.” [Houston Chronicle]

11/12/08 11:57am

Lakes of Avalon Village Subdivision, Spring, Texas

The attorney for Lakes of Avalon Village developer Robert A. Hudson is now saying that economic conditions make it “unlikely” that Lennar Homes and J. Patrick Homes will build on homesites in the path of a new proposed route for Segment F2 of the Grand Parkway in Spring.

But there’s no need to give up hope entirely: Lennar and J. Patrick apparently encountered few difficulties building and selling 60 homes sitting on the new highway’s earlier proposed route, in a different portion of the same subdivision. The developer’s stated reluctance to repeat the trick means the homebuilding market must be pretty tough now.

The new route would swing around the homes that have already been built and into not-yet-developed areas of Lakes of Avalon Village and neighboring Willow Trace.


08/20/08 11:22am

Lakes of Avalon Village Subdivision, Spring, Texas

Some brand-new houses sold by Lennar Homes will be very convenient to the new Grand Parkway!

Robert A. Hudson, a Spring developer who partnered with Lennar on the project, said builders knew the highway might come through the subdivision.

“We are not up there on a daily basis to make sure that the builders make it clear to everybody else,” he said.

Plans for the Grand Parkway have been on the books for 25 years, but only 28 of its proposed 185 miles have been built. Environmental and neighborhood groups have opposed the project.

It would include 11 segments traversing seven counties. The 12.1-mile Segment F2 would cut directly through the Lakes of Avalon Village, a subdivision with several hundred homes located on FM 2920 just west of Kuykendahl Road.

About 60 homes are in the right-of-way and would have to be demolished to make way for the parkway once construction began, [executive director of the Grand Parkway Association David] Gornet said.

Talk about offering transportation options! But it’s not just Lennar . . . J. Patrick Homes also is selling models in the Lakes of Avalon Village subdivision.

But hurry! The subdivision is in “close out”!

After the jump: pics of a Lennar Homes model for sale in this quaint little village in Spring!


06/25/08 2:00pm

MISSOURI CITY POISED TO TAKE OVER QUAIL VALLEY COUNTRY CLUB BY EMINENT DOMAIN City officials decided to try to purchase the property because of fears that the owners would shutter the club and redevelop the site. If the club were closed, city officials and many residents feared, property values in the city would plummet.” The city would run a golf club and park on the 390-acre lot. Price: $3.1 million. [Houston Chronicle]