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Heights Annex


PureAuteur

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What's going on in Heights Annex, that area from 12th to 18th west of Durham but east of Old Timbergrove? It is excellent real estate, but the patches of gorgeous new homes are still surrounded by blight. There is an abandoned shopping center, plenty of homes that need to torn down immediately, and trashy yards.

I was driving through Heights Annex today, and right at the Diane curve that used to be closed to traffic but is re-opened now, a couple of people who looked like they were on crack or something walked slowly right toward my car without moving out of the way so I could get through the narrow street. They literally walked right up to my car and didn't move out of the way. How long will these types of people be around since the area is obviously in transition?

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Careful not to detract from the topic of the post, which is Heights Annex, not drug dealers (that was just a side note that related to the area).

The two pedestrians, if they even deserve to be called that, may not have been dealers, but could have been scum residents in the area walking around and thinking about how they somehow no longer fit in with the new construction.

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I think the pedestrians you encountered were the exception rather than the rule.

Actually, Heights Annex goes from 13th to 16th from Lowell (now Shepherd) to the city limits at what is now Dian. This is according to a 1930 map.

Dan Rather was raised there on Prince between 14th and 15th. The last time I drove by his house, it was either fixed up or torn down. The fixed up house looked like his, but it was hard to tell from the improvements. The house to the north of that house had been razed. The empty lot is the first Heights Annex house I am aware of that is being replaced with a new structure. Maybe it is the start of a renovation of the neighborhood.

There are two sleeper areas I like there. One is 15th

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PureAuteur, this is the second time you have referred homes in Shady Acres and Heights Annex as blight. I would hardly call it that. No doubt it is an area in transition, but even at its worst Shady Acres wasn't the slums or murder alley. Unlike area such as the wards being redeveloped, Shady Acres dates to the 40's and 50's, and many of the homes are still owned by the first owners, most of which are people who don't have the money to keep their houses pretty and up-to-date.

I bought there a few years ago when people were just starting to get a whiff of the area's potential. I bought because the plats are huge when compared to most in the city. To me, it's a shame all the subdividing of lots going on, but I realize that's where the money is right now. I am hoping that more people like me enter the market who will restore the homes there. They may look like blight to you, but the homes are solidly built. My place looked like a dump as the previous owners literally didn't touch it for decades, but the only things I have had to do to it are cosmetic. The asbestos siding prevalant in the area has always been an amazing product, and with the exception of relacing rotting wood around windows and soffits, paint is all it takes to make these places shine.

I live, bike and drive the area constantly. The people you saw are most likely kids or workers walking home. Take a look at the crime stats for the area, there is very little crime.

Heights2Bastrop, speaking if 15th 1/2, have you noticed they bulldozed the large trailerpark? I think it's about 5 acres of land. Do you know who is going to develop it? (please don't say perry) You can see it here on google before the trailers were taken away:

Trailer Park on 15th 1/2, gone

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There seems to be a good deal of construction happening in Heights Annex. Below is just one of those developments. What makes this one special, however, is that this is the location of the house Dan Rather grew up in.

RathersGone.jpg

One of the workers at the site confirmed that as the location of the Rather house. He added that the house had been moved, but he did not know where.

HeightsGuy, it is hard to get a good sense of how large an area that trailer park took up, and just how much buildable area is there. This photo may give some idea, but then there is more area than what shows in the photo. Not only that, there is another large block of empty space just across the street from this lot.

OldTrailerPark.jpg

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Was the trailer park by Prince St also?

That is supposed to be a development by KHovanian.

KHovanian

Click on the location map to open a pdf fill.

The houses look a little ok. I don't much about them. I live close to the ones they are building in Cottage Grove.

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The trailer park in the photo above was on the west side of Beall at 15th. It is not actually in Heights Annex, but just west of it about a half mile.

The project on 13th and Prince used to be an iron works facility, but the eastern side of that area had been a trailer park.

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Midtown Coog:

I would hardly call Jersey Village heaven on earth. It has some nice houses, but the area is boring as can be. I like the older homes in Heights Annex. The blight I am referring to are the homes with faces that most homeowners would be ashamed of. Many of the homes are vacated and rotting. The abandoned retail space is also an eye sore.

It's all going to come around, obviously, I'm just being a bit impatient and too excited about new development. I still appreciate the old houses though.

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The retail space you mention on 14th and Prince is hardly abandoned, abandoned buildings have windows broken out and boarded up; abandoned buildings don't have "for lease" signs out front.

It was functioning just fine as a convenience til a couple of months ago. Obviously, the tenant couldn't keep up with the rent. The tagging you see on it only happened in the past few weeks. Whoever leases it out will no doubt clean up the grafitti.

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I see. So even the little retail strip centers have history behind them. I guess from living out along the Beltway 8 area so long, all that stuff seems the same to me. I have to adjust my thinking when I'm looking at one in the Heights.

I guess I assumed it had been abandoned for a long time. I make alot of assumptions. I am very intrigued by the potential of the Heights Annex area. I bet it can become as cool as Rice Military has become.

Why do people tag buildings and signs? What is the point, honestly? It isn't attractive or original. It's the same stuff all over the place. At least draw something cool looking.

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Well, one thing is for sure, you should root for the owner of the retail space and pray that he can fill it. The land values are skyrocketing in the area, but not enough yet for someone to pay the additional costs of developing that site due to the gas tank removal that would have to occur. If the owner can't lease the space, it will become the eyesore of the neighborhood.

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HeightsGuy, my uncle said today that he was trying to get a developer to come in and buy it. He said it's not working out so well at the moment. Do you know what the original owner wants to do? Does he have any plans to keep it? I see nothing wrong a nice neighorhood gas station.

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I have no idea what they plan to do, I just see the for lease sign. I am making the assumption that the tanks are bad based on the fact the last reincarnation of Snyderville grocery didn't even sell gas, and the pumps themselves are the old-style with spinning analog numbers. But, even if the tanks are sound, there is plenty of low hanging fruit in the immediate area for developers to snag before jumping into a site with old gas tanks. Even if there is no leakage, it still must cost 10's of thousands just to have a company dig them up and dispose of them.

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10s of thousands to dig up gas tanks?! How big are these things? I would think with the proper equipment, it should be a minor setback. I'd say within a week or less they could remove the tanks if they want to.

Or maybe! Wait until the Heights Annex becomes the new hottest locale in Houston, its name changes to The Houston Mid-Heights, and the existing shell can be transformed into a locally owned and architecturally fashionable gas station. It

will have a 1950s look mixed with a futuristic design.

If you want me to render a model, too bad, I have no idea how to do those things. B)

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Yep, 10's of thousands at least. You have to pull special permits and the people doing the work must be bonded (do you want some shmoo using a backhoe around gas vapors)? Also, these things are kinda big you know and are considered hazardous material, you can't just set them out at the curb for the garbage man to pick up. They have to be hauled off and disposed of properly. After or during the removal, you have to have tests done of the soil surrounding the tank to check for leaks. If you find a leak, that's where the big money comes into play like KJB said. Then your talking a full-blown environmental cleanup.

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Wether the tanks are good are bad it is expensive. The permit process as mentioned and TIME is a critical component. I have seen several gas stations back in my home town that have either been updated or were torn down and the land used as something else. The process takes well over a year.

The site could be cheap, but the other cost make it not a good buy. It'll probably be one the last places to see development unless it becomes part of a larger development.

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  • 6 months later...

Update - the tanks are coming out. Drove by this morning on the way to work and there is a digger on the property and two tanks are out of the ground waiting to be hauled off. I guess the prices have gone up enough to justify the costs. And by gone up I mean ridiculously so:

Right around the corner on Nashua between 14th and 15th on a subdivided lot:

$384,900

Around the other corner across from Park on Prince development on a subdivided lot:

$349,500

Down the street on 14th between Dian and Beall street on a subdivided lot:

$459,000

And finally on the corner of 14th and Beall, corner lot being sold as "land value" (ha!):

$295,000

That's just a sampling. Do an har search on 77008 with the subdivisions of either heights annex or clark pines and you will see the crazy prices. And it looks like they are selling, so who am I to judge.

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LMAO at $459K!

That's crack-tastic!

The price does seem paint-sniffish but the exterior and some of the interior look decent. The 384K one is butt-ugly, some kind of faux-craftsman, country style that just doesn't make it. At least the next one down is just pure 21st century.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 5 months later...

I wanted to bump this thread, because after driving around yesterday, it looks like Heights Annex is really blowing up. What was once a few new houses on the street is now entire streets lined with new houses. Some of the homes look like townhomes or apartments, but are actually single family units, just packed really tight together. There's one spot in particular, can't remember which street, but there are 6 units that share the same driveway. There is only room for your own car, and it would have to be parked in the garage, or else you'd be blocking your neighbors from their garages.

So the gas tanks have been removed. It was only a matter of time. Money talks, and it seems to be the only incentive for people these days to get anything done.

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Heights Guy, Tom Snyder also owned the business on Dian right where Wynnewood intersects. The property backed up to Prince and had corrugated tin fencing. Did that property sell? Is the main building on Dian still there?

I am coming to Houston this weekend for the first time in quite a while. Hopefully I

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  • 2 weeks later...

Did you take that drive around Heights2Bastrop? Anyway, Tom Snyder's property, is it one of these?:

13th st

Dian st

Also, just heard that 20 homes are going in at the end of 14 1/2 street that butts up against the baseball field. All will be in the half-million range, and it will be a gated community. Bulldozers are on the site pushing dirt around, I hope they don't make it 4 feet higher than the surrounding area like Park on Prince did.

Looks like all the builders that are being chased out of Heights proper are turning Heights Annex, the southern part of Shady Acres and Clark Pines into a future mini-West U.

Edited by HeightsGuy
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  • 2 weeks later...
Something else I noticed was that the map for Clark Pines shows the old 1905 W 14th property as being subdivided into three lots, so that indicates that the maps are fairly up-to-date. However, they do not show any subdividing of the property at the end of 14th 1/2.

I also noticed that the map with Heights Annex shown Dian still connecting to Wynnewood, but also extending to W 13th. Is that the case now?

Hi Heights2Bastrop:

I live in Clark Pines and no Dian does not go through to 13th. There is an utility easment at the end of Dian at Wynwood. The new Catera develpment abutts that corner on the SE.

1905 W. 14th has 3 houses currently being built there by Cooksey Custom Homes. The sign states that they start at $400K. The developer and builder had orignally planned to divide this lot into 4 20-foot lots with alley/common driveway access that was supposed to have been granted from the lot on Beall. Apparently the part of that property facing Beal that was sold to another builder had some problems allowing his driveway to be used as a driveway for 4 houses. This homeowner has not kept in contact with CPCA so we are not sure how this issue was eventually resolved. We may not be happy about all this density here but I feel we have to take some comfort in the fact that it's only 3 houses and not 4!

Directly across that street at 1904, Lindsey Custom Homes is also building 3 houses. These are supposed to retail around $450K. He also owns the property at 2001 W. 14th. Original plans called for that lot to be subdivided into 3 lots but because of the big old oak tree in the easement that property is now only two lots. These houses are supposed to be in the $500k+ range.

Northgate Custom Homes is developing the property at the end of W. 14 1/2 abutting the Timbergrove ballfields. Their plans call for 19 houses to be built in a gated development. This developer has been particulary irksome to us here in Clark Pines. They eventually agreed to meet with us only after numerous property owners sent them certified letters letting them know that water run-off from their propety would not be tolerated and legal action would be taken if water was not contained on their development. They are building in a floodplain so fill is not allowed. If they bring in sand they have truck out a load of dirt. We were happy to find out that they were aware of the "shaky" nature of the debris/fill on this property. Some of these houses will require 40-foot piers! This property has changed hands several times since Tropical Storm Allison.

At 1901 W. 14 1/2, next to the creek, Flatiron Development wants to build 4 houses with a common driveway. Their plans are causing some concerns about their driveway acces and the creek bank. The city engineer still has not approved their plans.

FYI, the creek known unofficially as Turkey Gully around these parts, but only having an offcial numerical designation is going to be named Night Heron Creek.

Hope this answers some of your questions.

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  • 2 years later...

Sorry to resurrect such an old thread, but...

I noticed that most of this area is in the 100 year Flood Plain; it extends from White Oak Bayou, almost all the way to Dian. How does it typically fare during heavy rains? It looks like most of the older homes are built pretty close to the ground, but the newer ones are built several feet off of the ground.

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Dan, that street has only flooded once, and that was from Allison. The floodwaters extended east of Turkey Gully for about 4 houses. Everything from there to White Oak was flooded.

As I said before in this thread, my house was at 1903, and the water came right up to floor level. I believe the water made it inside, but not really sure of that. But that should give you an idea of how high the water got. My guess is that had those new houses been there at the time, they would have been OK.

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  • 4 months later...

I'm about to move to Prince Street..I'm getting conflicting reports about who the cable/internet provider is? I see the posts about Comcast service in the Heights, but when I called Comcast, the lady said she didn't know if they provided service at my address and would have to send someone out? AT&T U-Verse said on their website that their service isn't available yet at my address. Is sattelite and DirectTV the only options? Seems odd that such an established neighborhood would have such limited options for cable and internet? I'm having trouble finding anything out- any help would be much appreciated! :rolleyes:

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Lora,

I live in the 1700 block of Beall St and while I have satellite, many of my neighbors have comcast. Comcast shouldn't be a problem, it's all aerial in our area so you could easily tell by looking at the poles, but I'm sure it's there. AT&T buried new fiber (U-Verse) back in October/November of 2008. I know this because fortunately this upgrade required moving their old box from my front yard, to across the street... thank goodness! I'm not sure if U-Verse is active yet, but the construction guy said it was all in, they just had to "throw the switch" when they were ready. That was back in November so it might be available now, guess it just depends on how much of the area is done? In the meantime you can still get DSL through ATT, that's what I do since it's so much cheaper than comcast.

Hope that helps.

Edited by Urbannomad
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Lora,

I live in the 1700 block of Beall St and while I have satellite, many of my neighbors have comcast. Comcast shouldn't be a problem, it's all aerial in our area so you could easily tell by looking at the poles, but I'm sure it's there. AT&T buried new fiber (U-Verse) back in October/November of 2008. I know this because fortunately this upgrade required moving their old box from my front yard, to across the street... thank goodness! I'm not sure if U-Verse is active yet, but the construction guy said it was all in, they just had to "throw the switch" when they were ready. That was back in November so it might be available now, guess it just depends on how much of the area is done? In the meantime you can still get DSL through ATT, that's what I do since it's so much cheaper than comcast.

Hope that helps.

actually, the fact that we are so "established" is part of the issue. Uverse takes some infrastructure work (buried new fiber like nomad mentioned and, i have been lead to understand, a couple other things depending) and an older neighborhood makes some of that work more difficult. all through this part of town it's available in pockets but not across the board. part of the issue is they determine where the work might be valued based on zip code. my zip, 77009, is 1/2 heights and 1/2 across main/45. so they do not yet see the value in adding it to this zip code. i guess my point is, you may or may not get access to it anytime soon.

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actually, the fact that we are so "established" is part of the issue. Uverse takes some infrastructure work (buried new fiber like nomad mentioned and, i have been lead to understand, a couple other things depending) and an older neighborhood makes some of that work more difficult. all through this part of town it's available in pockets but not across the board. part of the issue is they determine where the work might be valued based on zip code. my zip, 77009, is 1/2 heights and 1/2 across main/45. so they do not yet see the value in adding it to this zip code. i guess my point is, you may or may not get access to it anytime soon.

I live in 77009, east of 45 (Lindale Park). I've been checking the U-Verse website every so often to see if it was available in our area yet, with no luck. But yesterday we got a postcard in the mail offering U-Verse deals, and when I plugged in my address on the site, this time it indicated that we should be able to get it. YMMV.

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  • 6 years later...

Rehashing an extremely old thread.

 

The wife and I live downtown and really want to buy there, but the available condo stock has fallen off a cliff and we may have to move out.  We have been looking at a couple of homes in the Heights Annex (Dian and Prince streets).  I read the current Heights thread discussing schools, but does anybody else live in the area?  Previously lived there?  Any advice on whether this area appears to be in a bubble or whether this appears to be a solid investment.  We are first time home buyers so we are clueless as to what we are doing.

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I am in Shady Acres Annex.  This is group of houses built right after WWII on 15th, 15 1/2th, and 16th one block long from the Turkey Creek to Dian.  I bought in 2002 before most of the new construction started in the area.  It's been a good investment for me.  There is a newish home for sale on 15 1/2th right east of Dian and two homes on the corner of 16th and Prince.  I don't know going prices for the new stuff.  I wouldn't touch the Urban Living junk on Dian.

 

My former neighbors kids tested into Harvard elementary.  There is no way they were going to put them into Love on Shepherd.  That is where they were zoned to.

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Real estate has ups and downs like anything else, but the loop is more insulated from a severe bubble imho. Not that it can't take a very serious and long term downfall, but I don't think you will watch your investment crumble months after you buy, and over the long haul, I've always been a fan of real estate as an investment at large

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