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corner of Welch and Waugh


SoonerFanInHouston

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Now that all 3 eye sores at that intersection have been torn down, what is the plan? Has anyone heard any rumors? There is a nice chunk of land that if used correctly could be nice for the neighborhood.

Buildings removed:

Small vacant gas station on corner of Welch and Waugh NE side.

Old dry cleaners on corner of Welch and Waugh NW side.

Vacant house on Welch that burned twice - the second time to the ground. It was next to the old gas station but on Welch.

On the SE side of Welch and Waugh is the parking lot for Rudz which I have always wondered if the right buyer came along if they would give that up. But then where would people park?

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The old gas station just came down this week. Some of the remains have not been removed yet though as of last night.

I guess everyone has their own opinion, but to me it was an eye sore. It was covered in graffiti. There was always garbage and broken bottles all over in front from the homeless that hung around there. Most of the windows were broken out. The door kept getting broken open. Rumor was that there were crack heads living in there. Also, the rumor was that they were the ones that kept catching the vacant house next door on fire too. I am all for historic preservation and salvaging older buildings but there was not much that could be done with this tiny little building that was smaller then my closet. It was nice to see it go because it would have sat vacant for many years because I don't think other people could find use for it either.

You are probably right on the townhouses. It would be nice to have some nice retail though that would benefit the neighborhood and create something else to walk to.

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I used to live (several years ago) in the Perry townhomes just past this intersection.

Here's the scoop:

The Rudyards parking lot was actually two lots. It was originally an icehouse (torn down in the 90's I think). Leila Rodgers, the lady that owns Rudyards owned half, and she leased the other half of the property. In 2002 she bought the other half and now owns the whole parking lot, which I consider an eyesore.

One of the other townhome owners was an architect and drew up plans for her (for free) for a much more attractive parking lot design that preserved the same number of parking spaces yet included some space for trees. We (a group of neighbors who lived closed to Rudyards) were going to pay for all trees/landscaping if she paid for the concrete work. (For what it's worth, I planted the trees along the Waugh side of the parking lot.)

She told us she was really interested in doing something, but never did. Technically, the lot is in violation of city codes for the entrances (both position and width). It had been grandfathered in for the previous owner, but, when she bought it, the city ordered her to make improvements. But, she never did, and this is Houston. Irconically, at the time Leila was like the "Quality of Life" Chairman for the Hyde Park United neighborhood association. I suspect her interest in holding that position was more defensive than anything.

The gas station, formerly "Benny's Garage", went up for sealed bid auction about 3 years ago. There were 17 bids: 14 townhome builders, 2 retail, and the Rudyards lady again, who said she wanted to make it an "ice cream shop" but in reality just wanted more parking I think. I think the whole lot (including the house) went for $350k.

The winning bidder was an architect and his father/brother. They immediately put the property back on the market with a 150% mark-up, and it has sat like that for a long time. Two Nigerian she-males assumed squatting rights to the old blue house after Benny moved out.

Now, my old neighbors tell me that a mid-rise condo is going up on the site of the former gas station. Anything would be an improvement, I suppose, though I had hoped that some daytime-only business could take over the gas station, and use the Rudz parking lot during the day, but I guess it is gone now.

No idea about the NW corner of that intersection.

Rudyards can't sell the parking lot as it provides for the minimum parking space requirement for that business.

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Thanks for the info cwr... The Hyde Park civic association meeting is this Saturday at Just Lunch basically across the street from all of this. I will try to bring this situation up and reference the rudz parking lot and the history you mentioned here. I agree that parking lot is an eyesore. If those three corners were done right, even if one was still a parking lot, it could vastly improve the area.

The mid-rise condo you mentioned for the NE corner has been fought by the civic club all of 2006 and last I heard that developer has backed off. I will check on that this Sat too.

Thanks again for the info on the Rudz parking lot. If you have any more specific details or documentation like those architect plans, I would appreciate that too. Let me know and I will provide my personal email if you do.

I must mention, I am not for running off Rudz or the corner store. Both are great and are an asset to the community. They provide places that can be walked too also. I would not mind if both threw a new coat of paint on them, but as they are they have character too. I just hope the other 3 corners can be used in a good way as well.

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Thanks again for the info on the Rudz parking lot. If you have any more specific details or documentation like those architect plans, I would appreciate that too. Let me know and I will provide my personal email if you do.

I still have a PDF of the original site plan we did. I think it was later redone to include 31 parking spaces instead of the 29 on the drawing I have. I'll try to post a low res jpg here.

Send me your email (you can PM me), and I'll shoot it over to you along with some of the correspondence we had with the then president of Hyde Park United.

Good luck getting this parking lot fixed. We put a lot of effort into getting Leila to clean her place up, and in the end all she really did was smile f*** us. She complained endlessly about how broke she was etc etc but she sure packs 'em into Rudz every night.

rudzparkingpu9.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...
The following link is an update to this property. It will be addressed in a Hyde Park United Civic Association Meeting tonight, Oct 2nd.

http://www.hydeparkunited.org/newsletter/2006/oct2006.pdf

Cheers!

DIC

Awesome newsletter. A lot of Heights purists on the board get slammed for their actions trying to keep their neighboorhood from being rebuilt with new development. Childs play compared to the Hyde Park Association.

I used to live (several years ago) in the Perry townhomes just past this intersection.

Here's the scoop:

The Rudyards parking lot was actually two lots. It was originally an icehouse (torn down in the 90's I think). Leila Rodgers, the lady that owns Rudyards owned half, and she leased the other half of the property. In 2002 she bought the other half and now owns the whole parking lot, which I consider an eyesore.

Ahhh, the old Pic-n-Pac. Saw many a punk band there during a mis-spent youth.

Edited by HeightsGuy
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The following link is an update to this property. It will be addressed in a Hyde Park United Civic Association Meeting tonight, Oct 2nd.

http://www.hydeparkunited.org/newsletter/2006/oct2006.pdf

Cheers!

DIC

Holy cow! I would have loved to be at that Civic Association meeting. I'm guessing I would have had a hard time keeping a straight face while this developer was speaking.

<Rant on>

You know, down in Braeswood Heights, a developer is also suing the civic association (my guess is there's plenty of this, of course). Developer makes some similar noise about his property rights are being quashed. And, surprisingly, the city often goes along with this. I say, hogwash. What's really being quashed are people's contractual rights, and thus, their property rights too. The whole concept of deed restrictions was/is based on binding contracts between mutually agreeable parties -- i.e., everyone in the neighborhood. Any new buyer (e.g., a developer) is buying into that contractual arrangement. So, they can't whine about it being damaging to their property rights. Those that do, I think are basically just swine. They're from the same camp of folks that cut down old-growth trees in the middle of the night, even on city easements, 'cause they know full well they're breaking the law.

These developers are not pro-property rights.

OK, I'll stop ranting.

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  • 2 weeks later...
The whole concept of deed restrictions was/is based on binding contracts between mutually agreeable parties -- i.e., everyone in the neighborhood. Any new buyer (e.g., a developer) is buying into that contractual arrangement. So, they can't whine about it being damaging to their property rights.

I was at the meeting back in March 2006 when HPU neighbors first sat down with the Welch developer, David Karimi, to try to understand his issues. Karimi claimed that the property he bought couldn't be deed restricted because the seller told him it wasn't. We reminded Mr. Karimi that his title search should have revealed the deed restrictions on the property, but he claimed he paid cash for the property and had no title search. He clearly expected HPU to accommodate his plans and make up for his lack of due diligence. My thought was "caveat emptor, baby... buyer beware." The City has since ruled in favor of HPU and he still cannot subdivide the lot he bought or remove any of the mature trees.

Seven months later, Mr. Karimi is apparently unsatisfied with this outcome and has now launched an attempt to "bring about membership and voting rights changes" in our civic association. (He presumably has false hope that altering the association will remove or disarm the deed restrictions on the property he bought. He seems unaware that once created, the deed restrictions run with the land and can be enforced by any neighbor, with or without a civic association.) HPU's president, Kathy Schipper, graciously invited him to come address the full membership at our October meeting. Mr. Karimi explained to us that the civic association is unfair because while its decisions affect everyone in the neighborhood, only members are allowed to vote. His letter says:

"As you know through the instrument created by few, Hyde Park civic association has managed to stamp some residents as a 2nd class resident whom do not have a membership or voting right nor can they air their voice. Their rights have been taken overlooked. Every ones right have been taken away by mans of manipulating the by laws and there for creating a stone wall for the majority of residents in other to achieve their own objectives.[sic]

[snip]

The flowing changes are necessary in order to bring about an equitable result for all residents and property owners as a hole.[sic]

[snip]

3. A simple majority should mean a simple majority of all residents and property owners and not a simple minority who were allowed to be the members and given the rights to vote."

One member observed that Karimi's very invitation to speak was evidence that HPU is a democratic and inclusive organization. We tried to explain that a civic club is a voluntary organization and different from a home owners' association with mandatory dues and membership. One member asked whether it had occurred to Mr. Karimi to simply pay the dues -- just $24 annually -- and become a member. (It had not.) A different member asked Mr. Karimi why he thought even nonmembers should get to vote and whether he could point to any specific example of a functional organization that operates on that basis. Mr. Karimi asserted that everyone who owns property within HPU's boundaries should be entitled to vote, "just like in this country." As we all sat looking at him wondering, "huh?," we were rescued by one of our more articulate members who observed that he lives in this country, works here, owns property here, and pays taxes here, but by virtue of his citizenship in another country he is not entitled to vote, and the civic club is no different. Mr. Karimi however appeared not to understand the parallel. <sigh>

Afterwards, a more cynical member observed sotto voce that Karimi should just sell this property and go find a neighborhood where the neighbors aren't organized for action. HPU is one of the most active civic associations in Neartown, and our participating member base of ~15% of the residents in our 'hood is remarkably thorough representation as civic clubs go. The sad fact is that until we have real planning with effective incentives from the City, political effort by engaged neighbors is the primary tool to ensure redevelopment is compatible with growing neighborhoods.

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  • 1 year later...
or a nail salon, dry cleaners, cell phone place combo. I really hope not, though too!

:rolleyes:

Instead what we have now is a half completed block of townhouses mouldering away for who knows how long, until they are finally torn down. It reminds me of the townhouses that were built on Montrose at Bomar back in the 90s that sat half done and crumbling for what seemed like years.

I have to hand it to the Hyde Park Civic Club for the way they've been able to stop other incursions of townhomes into the neighborhood, although not always before demolition. If it weren't for their efforts several lots on my street would now be townhouses, i.e. big stucco garage apartments with fancy countertops.

But as a long time resident of Hyde Park who remembers the Pik-n-Pak well, I expect that the neighborhood is doomed, even if a few clusters of bungalows somehow survive. The city's long term plans for this neighborhood are for a much higher population density, and even though some amount of attention might be paid to "neighborhood protection" in the end Montrose is going to be completely redeveloped. Much of what brought me to this neighborhood is already long gone, having been driven out by the gentrification which is now in turn under seige by mass housing developers.

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Instead what we have now is a half completed block of townhouses mouldering away for who knows how long, until they are finally torn down. It reminds me of the townhouses that were built on Montrose at Bomar back in the 90s that sat half done and crumbling for what seemed like years.

I have to hand it to the Hyde Park Civic Club for the way they've been able to stop other incursions of townhomes into the neighborhood, although not always before demolition. If it weren't for their efforts several lots on my street would now be townhouses, i.e. big stucco garage apartments with fancy countertops.

But as a long time resident of Hyde Park who remembers the Pik-n-Pak well, I expect that the neighborhood is doomed, even if a few clusters of bungalows somehow survive. The city's long term plans for this neighborhood are for a much higher population density, and even though some amount of attention might be paid to "neighborhood protection" in the end Montrose is going to be completely redeveloped. Much of what brought me to this neighborhood is already long gone, having been driven out by the gentrification which is now in turn under seige by mass housing developers.

Excellent observations - and welcome to HAIF. :)

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Instead what we have now is a half completed block of townhouses mouldering away for who knows how long, until they are finally torn down. It reminds me of the townhouses that were built on Montrose at Bomar back in the 90s that sat half done and crumbling for what seemed like years.

I have to hand it to the Hyde Park Civic Club for the way they've been able to stop other incursions of townhomes into the neighborhood, although not always before demolition. If it weren't for their efforts several lots on my street would now be townhouses, i.e. big stucco garage apartments with fancy countertops.

But as a long time resident of Hyde Park who remembers the Pik-n-Pak well, I expect that the neighborhood is doomed, even if a few clusters of bungalows somehow survive. The city's long term plans for this neighborhood are for a much higher population density, and even though some amount of attention might be paid to "neighborhood protection" in the end Montrose is going to be completely redeveloped. Much of what brought me to this neighborhood is already long gone, having been driven out by the gentrification which is now in turn under seige by mass housing developers.

I lived on Peden and saw those Bomar townhomes sit there forever. If the people who bought them knew how long they sat there...

And FWIW, I was at Rudz on Tuesday for lunch and there were people in those townhomes on the NE corner putting in insulation. So they are doing something with it whether they are supposed to or not.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I was at Rudz on Tuesday for lunch and there were people in those townhomes on the NE corner putting in insulation. So they are doing something with it whether they are supposed to or not.

Yes, work is indeed proceeding, although slowly. I was sitting outside Rudz one recent afternoon when a guy in an enormous pickup zoomed up, parked, grabbed one of the flyers, and went running around jabbering at the workmen before zooming off again. I felt like I was witnessing the invisible hand at work!

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