January 21, 2008
Who would build residences there?

So we went to Beavers Barbecue, the new Monica Pope place, the other night. As we drove down Sawyer towards Washington, I told Tiffany that the Mahatma Rice silos were going to close down, and that the owners were seeking to sell the property, quite possibly to residential developers. She then informed me that Johnny Franks Auto Parts on the other side of the street, whose owner was a college buddy of her uncle Al, sold his lot a few months ago, also to a residential developer. (Hey, Swamplot, did you know that?) And we both wondered: Why would anyone build residences there? Who would want to live there?

I mean, this little stretch of road has just about everything going against it from the perspective of being desireable for a residence that you could think of. Not one, but two active freight rail lines, which run at all hours with the horn blowing. Access via a surprisingly busy narrow street that serves as a cut-through to downtown for folks in the Heights. Oh, and the continued presence of other industrial/warehouse properties means that same street is also heavily used by 18-wheelers. It's ugly as sin, and will be that way till all the old properties have been razed and replaced. And other than being within walking distance of Beaver's and the new Chili's near the Target (assuming you'd be bold enough to walk anywhere - there is a sidewalk, but it's awfully narrow), there's just no amenities nearby. What, exactly, is the allure?

Well, it is close to downtown. And the land ought to be relatively cheap, though no one building condo/townhome developments like what is sure to arise there aims for the lower end of the market. And, and, and...beats the heck out of me. Seriously, I can't for the life of me see the attraction.

So help me out here. If you were in the market for a new condo/townhome near downtown, would you consider what's coming here? Leave a comment and tell me why if you do.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 21, 2008 to Elsewhere in Houston

Well, I bought a house in DC on the same block as a crack house, so maybe I'm the wrong one to ask... but it's near downtown, and will likely be cheaper than many other near downtown options, and if you are moving into a condo in a secure building, it won't be that scary. Midtown does well despite crappy amenities and being hostile to pedestrians (unless you like dodging cars on the mini-freeways running through it).

Posted by: John on January 22, 2008 4:35 PM

I live in First Ward in a remodeled house and the answer is cheap land, close to Downtown, and the entire neighborhood is being redeveloped so its a sales pitch for the developers to potential buyers. Finally, a Quiet Zone is forthcoming in First Ward courtesty of TXDOT so that will minimize the noise pollution from the trains.

Posted by: Shawn Grady on January 24, 2008 3:58 PM
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