Tag Archive for: deadline

Deadlines Converging on Woodridge Deal; Option If Purchase Falls Through

Several deadlines are converging to force a decision on whether to purchase Woodridge Village from Perry Homes and turn it into a giant regional detention pond. Every day that passes makes that deal appear more remote for reasons I will discuss below. Luckily, Elm Grove residents have an option, which I will discuss at the end of this post. But first…

Deadline #1: Detention Ponds Nearing Completion

Contractors for Perry Homes have nearly finished all detention ponds on the site. Last week, they were cementing drainage pipes and pilot channels in place.

Looking north across the western boundary of Woodridge Village and the massive N2 detention pond on 7/12/2020. N2 has 57% of the detention capacity for the entire site.

Contractors also appeared to be building drainage swales designed to intercept runoff and channel it toward the detention ponds.

Drainage swales, looking east along northern boundary of Woodridge Village on 7/12/2020

These swales were Item #6 on J. Carey Gray’s 10/17/19 letter to the City of Houston Attorney, Ronald Lewis.

Gray is the lawyer for Figure Four Partners, Perry’s development subsidiary. In the letter, Gray promised the last item would be completed in 280 days. 280 days from the date of the letter (October 17th, 2019) is July 24 – this coming Friday.

Perry has said that it would not start building homes and roads until they finished work on detention ponds. With that work done, how much longer will they delay?

Deadline #2: 75 Days from County’s Redefining of Deal

Last week, Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin addressed the Kingwood Executive Group. He said that after the May 19th Commissioners Court meeting in which Commissioners redefined the terms of the purchase, Perry sent a letter saying “you have 75 days or we will sell the property.”

75 days from May 19th is August 2nd.

The City applied for a grant from the TWDB to help pay for its half of the purchase/construction costs. However, the TDWB doesn’t expect to finalize decisions on those until this winter.

Deadline #3: Upcoming Commissioners Court Meeting

The next Harris County Commissioners Court Meeting is July 28th. They don’t meet again until August 11. Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle is placing an item on the agenda for next Tuesday to discuss the status of the purchase.

Deadline #4: Perry Says It Has Offer Waiting in Wings

At the same meeting of Kingwood executives, Mr. Martin reported that Perry said it had an offer to buy the property. But he also questioned how firm the offer could be, given all the pending litigation.

Deadline #5: Peak of Storm Season Approaching

Nature always gets the last say. Nature could make everyone involved in this deal look bad if Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest flood again.

We’re now approaching the peak of hurricane season. Beginning in August, storms start to build rapidly. They peak on September 10. See below.

Number of Storms by Date for the last hundred years. Source: NOAA

We have two storms approaching now. One south of Louisiana. The other still in the mid-Atlantic.

Based on satellite and surface observations, a broad surface low pressure center has formed with the tropical wave moving into the central Gulf of Mexico. NHC has increased the chance of formation to 80% and advised that watches and/or warnings could be issued for portions of the TX and LA coast tonight or on Thursday.

Overall, says the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the organization of the system off the Texas coast is increasing and it is likely that a tropical depression or storm will form in the next day or two as the system moves generally toward the WNW around 10mph.

Jeff Lindner, Harris County meteorologist predicts it “could drop 1-3 inches with isolated totals of 4-6 inches. Heaviest rains may end up close to the coast, say south of a line from High Island to Wharton. There’s still much uncertainty, although visible images this morning show a better organized system in the Gulf.”

Latest satellite images show storm in Gulf building.
Gonzalo, the Atlantic storm now looks like it will track into the Caribbean by Sunday and turn into a hurricane.

The second storm intensified this morning and was given the name Gonzalo. According to Lindner, Gonzalo may weaken as it moves across the Caribbean Sea if it encounters wind shear. So forecasters have low confidence in intensity predictions. However, “small systems such as Gonzalo can have rapid fluctuations in intensity,” says Lindner. And most models agree on the path.”

Nature, as they say in poker, could soon call everyone’s hand.

Option if Deal Does Not Happen

The amount of detention that Perry has built is 40% short of Atlas 14 guidelines for this area. What happens if the Woodridge Village purchase falls through? Is it the end of Elm Grove? Not necessarily.

Residents have a fallback. Harris County Flood Control could widen and deepen Taylor Gully. Engineers have reportedly studied that option as part of the Kingwood Area Drainage Analysis, due out in September.

However, widening and deepening Taylor Gully could take some time. And there is intense competition for resources right now. That option could not be constructed in time to head off storms for this hurricane season. So keep your fingers crossed.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/22/2020

1058 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 307 since Imelda

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.

Woodridge Village after the May 7, 2019, flood

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.

Woodridge Village after May flood. Saving money on earth moving by letting nature do it for you.

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.

Perry Homes Fails to Meet Own First Deadline For Additional Woodridge Village Detention

At the Kingwood Town Hall meeting on October 17th, 2019, Mayor Sylvester Turner read a letter from lawyer J. Carey Gray who represents Perry Homes and its subsidiaries against hundreds of flooded Elm Grove homeowners. The letter laid out a timetable – extending more than 2 years into the future – for completion of the detention ponds on the troubled Woodridge Village subdivision. The first step: finish the S2 pond, which was already substantially complete. Perry Homes gave itself 30-45 days for that task. As nonsensical as that sounded on October 17, they managed to miss the deadline … by not showing up … until after the deadline. 

Deadline Expired Yesterday With No Improvements to Pond

Yesterday marked 45 days since Lawyer Gray delivered his letter to the Houston City Attorney. Since then crews have worked several days on adding a concrete lining to a small portion of Taylor Gully. They also replaced some eroded dirt along the northern edge of S2. Still incomplete, however are

  • Excavation of the remaining dirt
  • Grass to stabilize the soil on the banks
  • A perimeter road required by the Montgomery County Drainage Criteria Manual
  • Lining for a severely eroded spillway between Taylor Gully and S2
  • Drainage of the detention pond
  • Backslope interceptor swales

Photos Demonstrate Lack of Progress

Here’s how the pond looked in September, two days after Imelda.

Status of S2 Pond on September 21, 2019, two days after Imelda
Status of S2 Pond on November 4, 2019, two and a half weeks after J. Carey Gray’s letter to City Attorney.

Here’s what it looks like today, 46 days after J. Carey Gray’s letter to the City Attorney. They had made some progress on lining the Taylor Gully channel behind the pond. But as far as the pond itself went, there was a lone excavator moving dirt that had eroded into the pond back up on the banks. That’s because they failed to establish grass there.

One day after the deadline for completing the S2 detention pond, Perry Homes had a lone excavator pushing eroded dirt back up onto the banks. Photo taken 12/3/2019.
Photo taken 12/3/2019. Hardly a bustling construction site with contractors racing to meet deadlines.

Only 735 more days before all the detention ponds are complete … assuming they can meet any of their own deadlines.

Questions Raised by Lack of Performance

The failure to meet this first deadline raises questions:

  • Is Perry Homes sincere? Can they ever be trusted for anything ever again?
  • Has Perry Homes lost its ability to deliver? Is the company financially crippled beyond repair?
  • Did Sylvester Turner extract terms from Perry Homes designed to get him through the general election?
  • Or did Perry Homes play Sylvester Turner to torpedo his chances in a runoff election?
  • Did Kathy Perry Britton, CEO of Perry Homes, think no one would remember?
  • Is Perry Homes holding the threat of future flooding over Elm Grove residents to force a settlement of their lawsuits?

If it’s the latter and there’s another flood – with this record of foot dragging – they’ve nuked themselves. It’s a Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School case study that will go down in the Annals of Corporate Stupidity. 

What can explain this level of ineptitude?

This has to be a huge embarrassment for the City of Houston and Montgomery County. It’s also a PR debacle for Sylvester Turner … in the middle of a hotly contested runoff election. Turner can’t do anything about that now except to tell the City Attorney to sharpen his spurs.

But if I were MoCo, I would claim Perry Homes’ performance bond and finish the work myself. 

Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/3/2019

826 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 75 since Imelda

The thoughts expressed in this post represent my opinions on matters of public policy and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

Answer Day for High-Rise Developer

A reminder. Today, Romerica Investments, LLC. owes the Army Corps of Engineers answers to all of the questions, comments and concerns raised during the public comment period for its proposed high-rise development and marina resort.

More than 700 Protest Letters Filed

The Corps is ruling on a permit application for a 3.2 million square foot development near the floodway of the San Jacinto West Fork. The proposed development would surround the Barrington, and be adjacent to Kingwood Lakes, Trailwood, King’s Cove Deer Ridge Estates, Deer Ridge Park and River Grove Park.

According to the Corps, Kingwood residents raised a record number of concerns. More than 700 people and groups submitted letters of protest. Let’s look at just a few of the concerns; read some of the letters that include impacts on:

  • Water quality
  • Wetlands
  • Streams
  • Erosion
  • Flooding
  • Traffic congestion of local thoroughfares
  • River navigation/congestion
  • Air traffic interference
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Wildlife
  • Noise levels
  • School overcrowding
  • Neighborhood aesthetics
  • Conservation easements
  • Water supply
  • Subsidence
  • Safety
  • Surrounding communities

Additional Concerns

People and groups also raised concerns about:

And That Was Just for Starters

It will be interesting to see how Romerica responds to all these concerns. They can change their plans for the future. But they can’t change their past.

At a public meeting held AFTER the public comment period, Gabriel M. Haddad, co-owner, of a maze of related companies, partnerships, LLPs and LLCs in different countries and states, said it could take up to two years for the Corps to rule on his permit application.

The Corporate Maze Related to Romerica

I have a call in to the Corps to discuss next steps and how long they will take. Stay tuned.

Note: Ideas expressed in the post represent my opinions on matters of public interest. They are protected by the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/27/2019

606 Days since Hurricane Harvey