February 06, 2009
Wilshire Village Apartments
Normally, another story about another old and rundown apartment complex in Houston being set for demolition isn't that noteworthy, at least for me, but this Swamplot post about the Wilshire Village Apartments struck a chord with me because I used to live practically next door to them. In the early 90s I lived in a duplex on Branard, just east of Woodhead, which cul-de-sacced into Wilshire Village. I once tried to cut through the complex as a shortcut to the Fiesta (then a Safeway or AppleTree, I forget which) and got accosted by an angry dude (I presume a resident) who yelled at me to get the hell out. Anyway, I have no idea why you'd want to demolish a complex that apparently still has paying residents in this economic climate, and I hate the idea of it being replaced by a highrise - that area had too much traffic 15-20 years ago - but that's how it goes around here. Hair Balls has more.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 06, 2009 to Elsewhere in Houston
It's a shame because not only are the apartments reflective of the Art Deco period but the property itself has all those wonderful trees!
It will be interesting to see how the city manages to issue a permit for this while still denying a permit for 1717 Bissonnet. Of course that may be awhile. The economy seems to have put a damper on development. Which makes you wonder why the owner of Wilshire Village would want to evict tenants who are paying rent and basically keeping the property up for him.
We really don't respect our history in this city. Even Kenny Rogers didn't make a dent when he tried to stop the demolition of Allen Parkway Village. Few knew he had grown up there.
I gave up on "historical preservation" when they tore down the Shamrock. Hilton wanted a tax write-off and the Texas Medical Center apparently wanted a parking lot.
One more thing I liked in Houston being torn down. I used to enjoy walking past them, and had always hoped they would be restored.
The rent being generated by Wilshire Village residents probably isn't enough to pay the handyman who occasionally boards up windows, much less the taxes. I suspect that the developer would rather go ahead and raze the place, the same way the 'developers' of the Sonoma complex in Rice Village turned a charming block of old commercial properties into a gaping piece of prairie and an eyesore.
Real estate developers in Houston aren't big on dealing with consequences....but why shold they be? There never ARE any!
I have lived at Wilshire Village for 25 years, and have watched it deteriorate from a faded relic to a derelict eyesore soon to be a pile of debris. I should be despondent to exchange my $290 a month two-bedroom for an apartment half the size and twice the price, but I can't stop smiling. I am remembering so many nights awakened by the train at 3:13 AM, then slowly lulled back to sleep with the sound of night hawks. How many nights is 25 years? 9,125.
I will miss looking forward to the days when the dirt mount craters of Trachymyrmex, the fungus ant, appear in the courtyard. Their days are numbered here, even if their sisters will persist along Buffalo Bayou. I won't be finding another specimen of Panchlora cubensis, the resplendant green cockroach that I have found among the leaf litter at the base of the old oaks, but I have seen some others at the Houston Arboretum. They are exotics here anyway, more properly found on Caribbean islands, but here accidentally shipped in with bananas and mangos. The crane flies are starting to appear this late February, but I will miss their full flowering as piles of their corpses collect in the corners of the porch or serve as food for the spiders. The lawn this year will still sport the jaunty purple propellers of Alophia drummondii later this spring, but by then I will have moved on.
Wilshire Village has watched over me as I transformed myself from Biologist to Artist, and I am grateful for this quiet setting in which to complete my pupation. Soon, though, I will fly away, and as I said, I can't stop smiling. If ever there was a time to move, it is now. It is Spring.