Perry Homes Says “Now or Never”: Selling the Titanic With an Iceberg Sticking Out of the Hull
Last week, the Houston Chronicle and Community Impact both ran stories about Perry Home’s potential sale of the Woodridge Village property. That property has been implicated in the flooding of Elm Grove twice last year. Sources who wish to remain anonymous have told me that Perry does NOT WANT to develop the property. They would prefer to sell it.
Those same sources also told me that Perry Homes started out asking for their purchase price of the land PLUS the money they spent partially developing it. However, as I reported last week, based on the newspaper articles, that appears to have changed at this point.
Full Text of Perry Homes’ Fact Sheet about Land Sale
Below is the full text of a “fact sheet” along with a link to the original PDF Perry Homes PR people allegedly sent out about the sale of their Woodridge Village Property in Montgomery County. I say allegedly because I have never known a public-relations person to put out information that is not on a letterhead and without contact information.
“FACT SHEET ON WOODRIDGE VILLAGE”
“For several months, we have been in discussions with Harris County to sell the +/- 268-acre Woodridge Village site in Montgomery County so that it can be used for regional detention. Our offer price is our original acquisition cost of $14,019,316.85. This sale would represent a loss of the development costs we have already spent, which are over $9 million to date. We would also be foregoing the future profits we would earn from building and selling homes.”
“The draft study performed by LJA Engineering advised this regional detention concept would remove more than 800 homes from the 500-year floodplain and provide additional flood mitigation for hundreds of other area homes. We are willing to absorb the losses referenced in the paragraph above because of the enormous benefit it will offer to downstream residents in Houston and Harris County.”
“If the property is not going to be used for regional detention, we plan to either develop it for Perry Homes or sell it. Work is ready to start on the remaining detention facilities. We have also listed it for sale to other developers at an initial asking price of $23 million, which will increase as additional funds are expended.”
“We first requested to meet with Harris County back in October 2019, and our first face to face meeting occurred on November 8th. At the request of Harris County officials, we even delayed the construction bid process so the commissioners could consider our proposal in executive session. After the executive session, we were informed that Harris County needed the City of Houston to partner with them to make the project occur. However, we have been informed the city is not looking to partner with the county on this project. In any event, we are concerned about delaying improvements any longer. If, by March 31st, we do not have reason to believe a definitive agreement for regional detention is likely, we will move forward with the remaining infrastructure and continue to entertain private market interest in the property.”
For a printable PDF of the fact sheet, click here.
Key Pieces of New News in Fact Sheet
In my opinion, there were four key pieces of new news in this when its was released.
- First, Perry Homes has dropped its asking price by no longer demanding to recoup its development costs.
- Second, Perry Homes’ supplier, LJA Engineering, has determined that turning the property into regional detention could mitigate flooding.
- Third, Perry Homes is already trying to sell the property on the open market.
- Fourth, Perry Homes has given Harris County a deadline to make a decision – March 31, 2020.
Reaction to the News
Dropping the asking price shows that Kathy Perry Britton has not become totally untethered from reality. However, it still seems high for someone trying to sell the Titanic with an iceberg sticking out of the side of it.
I wish LJA had told Perry Homes the property needed to become regional detention BEFORE Perry Homes bought the property. Duh!
Good luck, Kathy Perry Britton, with trying to sell this property on the open market. With oil prices below $30, the stock market gyrating wildly, 401K’s losing value, and businesses laying off employees, not many people will rush out to buy homes in the immediate future. Lest we forget, in 1985 when oil prices dropped to $35, housing values in Houston collapsed 50%.
Definition of Chutzpah: Perry Homes
Threatening the one potential buyer with a deadline shows, in my opinion, an incredible amount of chutzpah, as my Jewish friends say. Chutzpah (ho͝otspə) in the original Yiddish sense has a strongly negative connotation. It means “insolence,” “cheek,” “incredible gall” or “audacity.” However, since entering English, the word has taken on a broader, more positive meaning. Today, in the business world it usually means the amount of courage that a person has.
Leo Rosten in The Joys of Yiddish defines the term as “that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.”
For Perry Homes to put a deadline on this deal shows incredible chutzpah – especially when the world has become focused on the corona pandemic. It shows a similar and scary disconnectedness.
However, I must admit that everyone wants Perry Homes to do something with this property quickly. And it hardly seems fair to make them invest more money in it if Flood Control is going to buy it tomorrow.
An Offer to Perry Homes
So Kathy, I will make you a deal. I’ll buy Woodridge Village for a dollar. Then you can save face and say you dumped the property for 100 times what it was worth … before it flooded again in the spring rains. But the best part … you can take a $23 million tax deduction and make almost as much money as you would have if you had sold it in the first place. Boom! Done. You ditched that dog! You’re a hero again.
If they sell it to me, maybe I will get into the mud spa business.
Posted by Bob Rehak with Jeff Miller’s Titanic line
930 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 179 since Imelda
The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.