Residents, state legislators join to fight planned strip club in Third Ward

HOUSTON – All along the Old Spanish Trail corridor and throughout its surrounding neighborhoods, red and white signs in medians and in yards read “No Strip Club on OST.”

Signs of a growing community movement against a proposed strip club called Da Fox Trap.

The building that would house the club, in the 4100 block of Old Spanish Trail, sits just across the way from a newly developed 29-unit townhome community, The Ritz at Macgregor.

“This here used to be an old warehouse, we wanted to do revitalization in the community,” said builder and developer Lawrence Garvin.

Garvin is worried about what a strip club would do to the pricing and value of the homes he’s trying to sell.

“This type of entity in our community is not what we want,” he said.

Sisters Saria and Sonia Khan moved into the Ritz last March. They love the area but say they would have gone elsewhere if they’d know what was potentially moving in across the street.

“We just don’t feel comfortable that it’s within walking distance of our home,” Saria said.

“It’s just not compatible with where the community is moving towards,” Sonia said.

Garvin and the Khan sisters are among the more than 1,200 people who have signed a petition, which was started by State Rep. Shawn Thierry to stop the club.

“They are not welcome here. This is a real movement. We today have over 11 civic clubs that are on board to stop this,” Rep. Thierry said.

Thierry, along with Sen. Borris Miles, has taken the lead in organizing against the club.

It was Sen. Miles who first came across signs of activity at the building while driving along OST in March and pulled over to find out what was going on.

“They told me what they were going to do, I said that’s not going to be possible the community is not going to allow you to put that right smack dab in one of our main thoroughfares, it’s not going to happen,” Miles said.

Miles said he later found out the club would be operated by the same family that once owned Foxxy’s, a southwest Houston strip club that neighbors in Westbury successfully shut down after years of crime generated from the club.

“We can’t make sizeable investments to improve the neighborhood for the future of our kids and allow one bad entity to reverse our hard work,” Miles said.

According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Foxxy’s had a number of violations on file before its license expired in 2019, including issues with tax payments, prostitution and lewd acts.

“We do not want an increase in human trafficking which is a very real prospect if this club is allowed to open,” Thierry said.

But Hayro Rico, general manager for the Heshmati family, which will own and operate the club, told Channel 2 News they have changed their plans to have a strip club on the property, pivoting to a sports bar, in response to community outcry.

“An actual sports bar. No naked women. None of that side business. Straight legit sports bar,” Rico said.

Rico says they’ve already taken down a stage that was inside the building and that the club is being a good neighbor by cleaning up the property and adding lighting.

He said they shouldn’t be judged by the history of Foxxy’s.

“That’s dead and gone, this is a whole different business. We just want to operate and have a good business. Mr. Miles is welcome to come walk through, the community is welcome to come walk through, " Rico said.

Both Rep. Thierry and Sen. Miles said they were skeptical about the reported change and planned to continue their fight either way.

“They’re calling me saying they’d like to put a sports bar there well I know what kind of sports bar they’re planning and that’s not going to be appropriate either. This is something we’re not going to allow in our community as a strip club or a sports bar,” Miles said.