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Idle Mcmansions


texasdago

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First, I'll state the obvious - I don't want to see McMansions in my neighborhood... ever. However, once they do get built, am I the only one who gets a certain amount of satisfaction from seeing them wallowing on the open market with no buyers as the price slowly drops drops drops?

Personally, I hope these builders lose their shirts.

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First, I'll state the obvious - I don't want to see McMansions in my neighborhood... ever. However, once they do get built, am I the only one who gets a certain amount of satisfaction from seeing them wallowing on the open market with no buyers as the price slowly drops drops drops?

Personally, I hope these builders lose their shirts.

Those ones in Memorial Bend are sitting forever. One million dollars to be on an 8,000 sf lot three doors down from the Toll Road feeder is a hard sell. It wasn't a bright move. There are too many really good older homes in the area, for around 800k, that sit on big interior lots to pull that off.

Edited by KatieDidIt
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Those ones in Memorial Bend/Plaza are sitting forever. One million dollars to be on an 8,000 sf lot three doors down from the Toll Road feeder is a hard sell. It wasn't a bright move. There are too many really good older homes in the area, for around 800k, that sit on big interior lots to pull that off.

My thoughts exactly. $1M is a lot to pay for being so close to the beltway on a tiny lot. There's Bunkerhill and Frostwood a mile away that are a better location and have bigger lots. I guess some people just have to have a new house and 5000sf though.

There is one house on Memorial just outside the beltway that is just awful. The whole neighborhood hates it.

Here's an aerial photo of it.

Ugly House

That's the intersection of Memorial and BW8 on the right of the picture.

This house took forever to build. It looks like the foundation settled while they were building it. From the front it looks like the right side has sunk a little. The door has somekind of godawful design in the glass that looks like an octopus or something, there are huge suvs and pickup trucks parked all around this place everytime I drive by. I thought it was going to be another stucco beige monstrosity but they left it grey. It looks unfinished. I haven't seen them all but this gets my vote for worst McMansion in Houston.

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My thoughts exactly. $1M is a lot to pay for being so close to the beltway on a tiny lot. There's Bunkerhill and Frostwood a mile away that are a better location and have bigger lots. I guess some people just have to have a new house and 5000sf though.

There is one house on Memorial just outside the beltway that is just awful. The whole neighborhood hates it.

Here's an aerial photo of it.

Ugly House

That's the intersection of Memorial and BW8 on the right of the picture.

This house took forever to build. It looks like the foundation settled while they were building it. From the front it looks like the right side has sunk a little. The door has somekind of godawful design in the glass that looks like an octopus or something, there are huge suvs and pickup trucks parked all around this place everytime I drive by. I thought it was going to be another stucco beige monstrosity but they left it grey. It looks unfinished. I haven't seen them all but this gets my vote for worst McMansion in Houston.

I drive by that house at least 4 times a day. How about the one right on the corner of the feeder they are building? I guess builders are banking on people having to have a new construction in THE zip code, despite the location over the LOT (with liveable old) in THE zip code with THE location.

Edited by KatieDidIt
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I'm none too happy about the situation in Memorial Bend. The big build at Traviata and the beltway feeder south is going to have a stint on the market and I know of at least 2 people that would have happily bought the mod they tore down there.

Now 2 streets away they are asking 1.4 million for one that is just starting laying foundation. I'm just shell shocked.

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I took my first driving tour in awhile over in Memorial Bend and was shocked at the new construction. It seemed to me to be very indifferent to the look of the original neighborhood, which I would say, out of all the 50s neighborhoods, is most important in Memorial Bend. I don't wish any ill will toward the developers, but hopefully if these houses don't sell easily they will think twice before they buy up and knock down the rest of the neighborhood.

I would/will be very distressed if/when this happens on my street.

I think this topic definitely has a place here in this forum. Pinpointing the areas most at risk and trying to do something about it is one of Houston Mod's top priorities.

But let's hypothesize that these homes weren't fixable and needed to be knocked down due to deferred maintenance. Why not build something new that works sympathetically with the existing neighborhood? Even if developers "have" to build two story houses, they can still educate themselves to the style of the neighborhoods they are building in and build somewhat accordingly. Then at least the new owners can say their house works within the neighborhood instead of being something completely out of character.

That is, unless their intention is complete destruction of the neighborhood...

Jason

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Even if developers "have" to build two story houses, they can still educate themselves to the style of the neighborhoods they are building in and build somewhat accordingly. Then at least the new owners can say their house works within the neighborhood instead of being something completely out of character.

Great thoughts!

I think the New Construction on your street is the antithesis of your theory.

flipper

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Builders are going to build what will sell. Building something MCM when the market demand calls for med/span inspired isn't a wise move for anyone in the construction business.

If the home owners were all that worried, they'd work to implement some deed restrictions that involve design review and standards. I know I am working on this for the Sharpstown area since the new construction around here are square brick boxes.

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We have historical districts here in Houston. Someone else probably remembers the rules to become one better than I do. Memorial Bend is a target for Houston Mod as a historic district, but it is a major undertaking. And by the time the district is old enough to be historic in Houston it is usually gone.

Is your district in Dallas mid-century housing?

Jason

I am not too sure how the process works, but could you set up a conservation district? I lived in an area in East Dallas that was set up as a conservation district. We could not even paint our front door without the approval of the board.
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We have historical districts here in Houston. Someone else probably remembers the rules to become one better than I do. Memorial Bend is a target for Houston Mod as a historic district, but it is a major undertaking. And by the time the district is old enough to be historic in Houston it is usually gone.

Is your district in Dallas mid-century housing?

Jason

No, it was more tudor, rustic, and spanish style homes.

http://www.hsmna.org

Memorial Bend is such a treasure. I just hate seeing these great homes being torn down and some faux villa erected.

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I hate to see the mod houses go too but I think people should have the right to build what they want. There will always be a few mod houses left there. Some of the ones in Memorial Bend are in such bad shape that they need to go. Those flat roofs can cause big problems.

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Builders are going to build what will sell. Building something MCM when the market demand calls for med/span inspired isn't a wise move for anyone in the construction business.

...and what sells appeals to the lowest common denominator, right? But how do they know whether a new modern house will sell or not? They get snatched up inside the loop and the people that look at Memorial Bend are the types who would buy a new MCM-type house.

The house that was torn down for an aberration of a McMansion (on the feeder for over $1M which is baffling to me) was this one:

http://memorialbendarchitecture.com/12903tra.htm

It was a variation of this house - http://memorialbendarchitecture.com/12902fig.htm

Across the street from the Traviata house is this gem - http://memorialbendarchitecture.com/12902tra.htm - which *GASP* is in great shape despite having a flat roof.

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Flat roofs can require work, however it is not a reason to tear down a house.

I agree, but a flat roof that hasn't been maintained and allowed to leak can be a reason to tear down a house.

I like these MCMs as much as anyone else here but I think that if you want to save them you should buy them and restore them yourself. You can criticize the McMansion builders all you want but legislating taste is a very difficult and dangerous thing to do.

Across the street from the Traviata house is this gem - http://memorialbendarchitecture.com/12902tra.htm - which *GASP* is in great shape despite having a flat roof.

I have a flat roof now, I will not have one again. I'm not saying they are all a disaster.

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...and what sells appeals to the lowest common denominator, right? But how do they know whether a new modern house will sell or not? They get snatched up inside the loop and the people that look at Memorial Bend are the types who would buy a new MCM-type house.

The house that was torn down for an aberration of a McMansion (on the feeder for over $1M which is baffling to me) was this one:

http://memorialbendarchitecture.com/12903tra.htm

It was a variation of this house - http://memorialbendarchitecture.com/12902fig.htm

Across the street from the Traviata house is this gem - http://memorialbendarchitecture.com/12902tra.htm - which *GASP* is in great shape despite having a flat roof.

I love those houses. I love MCM in general. All I am saying is that you cannot blame a business for doing what businesses do...make money. Their goal, when building a spec, is to appeal to the largest group of potential buyers. Not many people are going to want to spend a million plus on an old house only to have to sink another few hundred K in to fixing it up.

If I had the money, I'd either build a traditional tuscan or buy an old mod (like 309 Westminster).

Keep in mind, many of these McMansions are contract homes as well. The customer picked the lot and picked the design. They love it.

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Not many people are going to want to spend a million plus on an old house only to have to sink another few hundred K in to fixing it up.

You just described what 80% of what Memorial's residents do.

The issue here is that these are SPEC homes in a bad location, in an area/demographic/part of town where a location lot is everything. The house is secondary.

Edited by KatieDidIt
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Keep in mind, many of these McMansions are contract homes as well. The customer picked the lot and picked the design. They love it.

Exactly... these are spec homes. I can think of one house in the past 6 years - just one - that went up in the Bend as a home built by the owner of the previous house. All the rest are spec homes.

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On a positive note ...

What's interesting to me is that lately the COMMERCIAL architecture that's going up in Houston has taken a decidely Modern (Wrightian?) turn - lots of natural stone, faux-casement style window details, eavelines that accentuating flat roofs, etc. Even a Wendy's redo in my 'hood is going that route, go figure.

Hopefully this trend will infect the residential side and begin to displace the pretentious mostly McUgly-ass villas that a lot of folks seem to prefer right now.

But yes, to each his/her own.

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On a positive note ...

What's interesting to me is that lately the COMMERCIAL architecture that's going up in Houston has taken a decidely Modern (Wrightian?) turn - lots of natural stone, faux-casement style window details, eavelines that accentuating flat roofs, etc. Even a Wendy's redo in my 'hood is going that route, go figure.

Yes. I have noticed that too, with some happy surprise. There are some very organic-looking Wachovias and other credit-union buildings going up. I am getting a little tired of curved metal roofs with swoopy clerestories, though. There are a couple new commercial buildings in Pearland that I think are really cool. I'll try to grab pics in the next few days.

(This might actually deserve to be its own thread.)

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"There are some very organic-looking Wachovias and other credit-union buildings going up... a couple new commercial buildings in Pearland that I think are really cool. I'll try to grab pics in the next few days."

"(This might actually deserve to be its own thread.)"

Indeed it does. It would be nice to discuss architecture other than residential and the apparent shift toward modern lines with select new projects may indicate an encouraging trend -- I'm hopeful but my cynicism suggests otherwise as the bland, ersatz context commercial building forms that abound today will continue to be built at it too has become of "style" of sorts.

Nevertheless, I'd like to suggest a thread along the lines of "Commercial Modernism -- Past & Present" be ramped up.

Come to think of it, perhaps modern landscaping could also be addressed. Especially from the standpoint of local modern-inspired landscape architects/practitioners. Who are they? What works have they done?

Edited by domus48
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I'm not familiar with the house. Did the previous owners not put the house up for public sale?

flipper

Excuse the late reply.

No, the house never did reach market. The story is a bit complex but think estate arbitration.

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  • 2 weeks later...
The new constrution RIGHT ON THE CORNER of the Beltway and Memorial got listed on Har.com yesterday. It's in the 900's. The 900s to sit there!?!?!

They are out of their mind. The proximity of that lot to the street makes it worthless to me. Maybe there is someone out there sho will pay it though.

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"That house is in Memorial Plaza - it replaced the first house built in Memorial Plaza... "

I stand corrected, I thought the house in question was the behemoth located on the feeder south of Memorial -- the 900K price would seem more appropriate for that house than the one located on the very exposed corner of Memorial and the Sam Houston feeder.

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