Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Notorious Harvey Road Apartments

From here, we see what was originally Tanglewood South.

I don't write about apartment complexes all that often, when I do it's usually as part of something more interesting, like Mansard House restaurant at Doux Chene Apartments. Later, during the period I ran The Houston Files, there were some quirky apartments I did cover but it's still a rarity.

Following the Harvey Road series (it's across from Fazoli's), I titled this the way I did because it's got some bad press in recent years (if we go by examples in Houston, dense, super-large apartment complexes are never a good idea) and it may not even be the Pearl Apartments in a few years from now. By the year 1984, three apartment complexes were operating along Harvey Road: Travis House (505 Hwy. 30), Tanglewood South Apartments (411 Highway 30), and Courtyard Apartments (600 University Oaks).

By 1998, Tanglewood South was now Kensington Place (401 Harvey Road, same block), with BCAD records indicate that the name had been in place since the early 1990s.

By 2002, the apartments were known as "University Place I & II", likely due to the common ownership around 2000.

Down the street, looking east. Note the Circle K in the distance.

Now, from what I could tell, as late as 2007, Courtyard Apartments (built in 1977, wasn't able to find when Tanglewood South was built) still operated independently, at least, as its own brand, with Campus View operating the rest (it had adopted the name by that time). In 2011, Vesper Campus View LLC, the holding company that owned the other two apartment complexes, bought Courtyard, and it was absorbed into Campus View.

In the last five years, the local media has shown a light on how bad Campus View really is, with hundreds of calls to the police every year, with drug issues, public drunkenness, fighting, shootings, domestic violence, along with multiple maintenance issues. At least under The Marc, the new name adopted in 2016, reviews have been horrible.

This picture illustrates all three complexes, notice the different building designs.

From reading, reviews under another name a few years later with new management, Pearl Apartments, have improved, at least in terms of better management and weeding out the worst residents. But these things can change on a dime (it doesn't help the last time I was in the area, the surrounding blocks were being swarmed with cops due to a shooting in the complex), and without living there it's difficult to judge.

Editor's Note: I wanted to mostly write about this for completionists' sake since it deals with the history of three different apartment complexes. In the next few posts, we'll talk about the restaurants along Harvey Road.