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HeightsGuy

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What are your thoughts on Shady Acres and all the activity going on there. Is it me, or does it seem to actually be ramping up even more? Is there an end in sight, or do you think it will reach a critical mass and completly flip?

I have mixed feelings, I live in a restored home in the area and would like more of the same, but I am also not entirely opposed to all the new construction.

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  • 3 weeks later...

EXCLUSIVE REPORTS

From the October 22, 2004 print edition

The Heights and lows: Condos face neighborhood opposition

Jennifer Dawson

Houston Business Journal

A proposed condominium complex in The Heights has met with some opposition from area residents who are concerned about the development's impact on their neighborhood.

The developer, innerLoopCondos.com Inc., has plans to build a 70-unit midrise called ViewPoint in The Heights on a 1.5-acre tract near East 5th Street and Oxford. The wooded land is located along White Oak Bayou, just off Interstate 10 and Studemont. (See "Crop of midrise condos coming inside Loop," Aug. 27, 2004.)

InnerLoopCondos, which is the local marketing brand for Canada-based Group LSR, finalized its purchase of the property this week.

Also this week, a group of residents opposed to the project met to discuss their options, adopting the name "Heights Planning Coalition." The group has attracted more than 50 members.

Heights residents, innerLoopCondos executives, City Councilman Adrian Garcia and other city representatives met last week to discuss their differences, and have plans to meet again next week.

Taylor Moore, a coalition member who lives on 5th Street, says the group has concerns regarding safety, traffic, flooding, green space and appropriateness of the development. Moore says 5th Street cannot handle the proposed traffic because it has no curbs, gutter, drainage or sidewalks.

"We understand development. We want development," Moore says. "But we want quality development in an appropriate place."

Louis Conrad, vice president of innerLoopCondos, says 185 potential buyers have expressed an interest in ViewPoint.

"Since the condominium wave is kind of new to Houston, it is totally normal that we see a little more opposition than other cities that have had a lot of new condominium developments built in the last 10 years," Conrad says. "But this will change as people realize that condominium residences are a sound solution."

InnerLoopCondos has not yet decided how many units will be built because it is weighing the high demand from potential buyers and the wishes of residents for single-family homes that would be more in character with the neighborhood.

Ben Lemieux, president of innerLoopCondos, says the condos will have a Victorian architecture that will integrate well with the historic look in The Heights.

"One has to know that the Victorian era had some wonderful midrise buildings that were not single-family homes," Lemieux says. "We can blend and complement the neighborhood without being a single-family home development, which on this land makes no economic sense."

But Heights Planning Coalition members say more attention should be paid to residents' concerns than to developers' desires in these situations.

"They plan on making sure that this project is the best use of land," Moore says of the group's members. "They plan on going all the way. They say, 'Enough's enough.' "

Marvin Katz, chairman of the city's planning commission, says it is common for residents to be frustrated by the city's lack of zoning, which does little to limit high-density development.

"The reaction is usually quite hostile and quite vocal," says Katz, a partner in the law firm of Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw LLP. "And unfortunately, most of the time, there's nothing that can be done about it."

If a new project complies with the city's development ordinance and no variance is requested by the developer, the project must be approved by the commission, Katz says.

Group LSR faced similar opposition from residents near the Monaco, a proposed 31-story condominium tower in the Galleria area, but those concerns have been resolved and the project is moving forward.

jdawson@bizjournals.com • 713-960-5935

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  • 1 month later...

Nov. 24, 2004, 4:54AM

Neighbors fear toll road will be built in the Heights

Abandoned rail line could turn into widened part of U.S. 290

By TOM MANNING

Chronicle Correspondent

An abandoned railroad line that weaves its way through the Heights is becoming one of the most important properties in the area, thanks to a recent vote by the Harris County Commissioners Court.

On Aug. 24, Judge Robert Eckels and the four county commissioners voted unanimously to allow the Harris County Toll Road Authority to enter into negotiations with the Texas Department of Transportation to purchase 100 feet of right of way that once was home to the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad line.

For the toll road authority, the vote is an important step toward potentially easing traffic for drivers who commute to and from downtown Houston every day.

But Heights residents see it as something far more dangerous. They say it would cut a swath through the neighborhood and effectively send residents scurrying out of the area.

Patricia Friese, public information officer for the Harris County Toll Road Authority, said Heights residents are being premature in assuming the toll road is going to be built.

Heights residents also believe it is an example of the city of Houston and Harris County placing far more emphasis on the convenience of suburban commuters than the quality of life of people who choose to live in the heart of the city.

"We got this from a bunch of people all at the same time," said David Bush, director of programs and information for the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance, speaking of the notice of the Commissioners Court vote. "A number of people have begun to voice concern over it."

The reason for that concern, Bush said, is that the old MKT Railroad tracks cut right through the Heights. Residents who live close to the MKT line say that turning the track into a toll road would not disrupt the area, it would ruin it.

"The MKT Railroad snakes through the neighborhood," Bush said. "Outside the Loop, it runs along Hempstead Highway, and inside the Loop it runs by T.C. Jester north of I-10.

"It enters the Heights at West 7th and crosses Heights Boulevard, then jags southeast and crosses White Oak Drive, White Oak Boulevard and Studemont."

When the TxDOT pulled the rail tracks off the land in 1998, many residents expected the property would be converted into green space in the form of a hike and bike trail that would be part of a nationwide effort to turn abandoned train lines into community space using local and federal funds.

Project extension

But the toll road authority instead wants to use the abandoned trail as an extension of its Old Hempstead Managed Lanes Project, an effort to ease congestion along U.S. 290 by adding four lanes to the highway that could be used by high-occupancy vehicles as well as single-occupancy cars that wish to pay a toll.

The managed lanes along U.S. 290 were initially scheduled to end at the West Loop. But purchasing the MKT right of way would allow those lanes to be extended east to the University of Houston Downtown.

"When I built my house in 2000, I never expected it would be close to a toll road," said Mike Branda, who lives at the intersection of 7th Street and Courtland. "Obviously, I'm concerned. A lot of people would be personally impacted. At Heights and 7th there are homes. There's Donovan Park. There would be a lot of major disruption."

Friese said Heights residents may be overstating the impact the road would have in the Heights.

An existing right of way

"There's an existing right of way there, so they are not going to be tearing down houses," Friese said. "If this thing does go through, I think it would have minimal impact on the community."

Friese said the toll road authority went before the commissioners court to request that if the property is declared surplus by TxDOT

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I know the area you are talking about. There was a house on 14th that was listed as a lot value only property for $239,000 just sold, don't know what the final price was. I drive down the street every day to get to work, and it was on the market for only a month or two. That must make you want to cry, most of the old homes there are still on the tax rolls in the sub 100k's.

And, of course there is this listing:

Whooda Thunk, in Shady Acres?

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On the dead end part of 14th there were three lots bought by the same party and five houses are being built there. I lived at the second house from the bayou (next to the corrugated tin house), and we had the chance to buy the two houses next to us toward Beall.

Just another missed opportunity.

As to the house on 14th

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Oh, good to know, those two streets did seem to be a little tucked away compared to the rest of Shady Acres. I think the house is at the end of the street, I have never seen it up close so I don't know if it's mixed-use. I always feel like I'm imposing when driving down dead-end streets, so I usually don't stay to linger. Now this one you can't help but notice, it sticks out like a sore thumb when you drive down Beall and looks like something in Cinco Ranch, not the heights area:

Why?????

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I drove around the area after work yesterday. It looks like 14th butts up against a set of baseball fields that are on the other side on E TC Jester. I also never noticed the big/little Perry Homes community on the backside of 15th near TC Jester. I feel sorry for the homes right next to it on 15 1/2th. Since the area is very close to the bayou, Perry added about 4 feet of dirt to the property. The house right next to it looks like a little outhouse now, being a one story on the original elevation compared to the 3 story houses on top of 4 feet of dirt.

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  • 2 weeks later...

To the old vintage charmers,

I currently live in the suburbs, 1960/Jones Rd area. My wife and I are looking

at the Norhill Heights area as an alternative. Any pros/cons about this

area would be appreciated. It would be more convenient drive wise for both

of us.

Thanks.

Brian T.

ps. Does the Norhill Heights area flood???

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I was in Norhill during Allison and it didn't flood. Down right at White Oak there was some, but that is farther south of Norhill proper. The area is great. I believe Norhill is a registered historic district also. Since it is not as much of a sellers market, it is easier to strike a better deal now.

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  • 3 months later...

This weekend is the annual Heights Home and Garden Tour. If you are into architecture, then this should right up your alley. If you go, I would recommend you see all of the houses. Over the years, I have discovered that even the least interesting appearing houses are spectacular inside, or else they have a historic connection to the Heights or to Houston

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I ran across this map of various "neighborhoods" within the loop.  Being new to (what the map depicts as "Memorial"), I'm wondering if these are generally agreed upon boundaries.

And what's the story behind the name: "Rice Military" (not a Houston native, obviously)

Rice Military....somebody wanted it to sound snotty and fru fru along the lines of Rice U...Camp Logan was nearby so that's prolly where the Military came from.

For the most part, that map is correct as far as the general area goes....the only thing that is generally accepted is that nothing is generally accepted. :) The only area on the map where I've seen defined boundaries is Rice Military, but that was for the RMCC membership requirements...BFD.

If you want to see the real legal boundaries of 'hoods, then start looking at all the HCAD maps....but you'll drive yourself nuts 'cause their maps are divided into pretty small chunks.

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Where do the people in white (W of Heights and S of Med Ctr) live? Guess this real estate group didn't care to classify them!

For the record, I think those areas would be Timbergrove, and errr, Medical Center (why wouldn't it go all the way to 610/288?)

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Where do the people in white (W of Heights and S of Med Ctr) live?  Guess this real estate group didn't care to classify them!

For the record, I think those areas would be Timbergrove, and errr, Medical Center (why wouldn't it go all the way to 610/288?)

Yeah...Timbergrove, Holly Park and Lazybrook.

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I ran across this map of various "neighborhoods" within the loop.  Being new to (what the map depicts as "Memorial"), I'm wondering if these are generally agreed upon boundaries.

And what's the story behind the name: "Rice Military" (not a Houston native, obviously)

What I find sad is that map does not address neighborhoods to the East of Downtown and 288. Of course I do not know the context to which this map is generated.

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Maybe a large gay population?

Also, cottage grow is located by TC Jester and I-10. Before it became part of the city of Houston, it was its own village. Whats left of downtown Cottage Grove is just west of TC Jester on Larkin.

Also, I-10 cut right through the southern portion of the city. It used to go all the way to Washington.

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I ran across this map of various "neighborhoods" within the loop.  Being new to (what the map depicts as "Memorial"), I'm wondering if these are generally agreed upon boundaries.

No, that map sucks. It's even worse than that other one someone posted which said that Fairview and Stanford was at the "edge" of Montrose :P

I agree with jm1fd that the best way to find neighorhood boundaries is the HCAD maps.

That superneighborhood map seems to do a good job of grouping the neighborhoods, although there's not enough detail to show exactly the where boundaries are.

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according to that there are only 2,200 females living downtown, with 10,140 males. maybe i won't be moving downtown...

Naah -- it has to do with the fact that there are over 9,300 "institutionalized persons" (read: jailbirds) living downtown. Harris County Jail counts as a residence for these purposes... And there are more male cons than females.

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Guest danax
Naah -- it has to do with the fact that there are over 9,300 "institutionalized persons" (read: jailbirds) living downtown. Harris County Jail counts as a residence for these purposes... And there are more male cons than females.

So out of 12,300 living downtown, 9900 are in jail. That will skew all kinds of stats.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest danax

I work near I-10 and Shepherd and have noticed that the area has moved into a more advanced stage of the Houston version of the gentrification process; the old housing stock has been replaced by higher density housing, mostly townhomes, and now that that has been nearly completed, I see a lot of the original downscale commercial being replaced as well.

Also, I see that Cyclone Anaya's Restaurant is re-opening in a new location on Durham just south of I-10. Was the original restaurant any good and, who is/was Cyclone? It has a "new-look" design that I've seen around town, in fact a new building across the street has the same look. The whole area is getting a "turn of the 21st century" face to it.

I think this area is probably our most advanced example of a sequence of events thast occurs during the transformation/makeover of inner-loop neighborhoods. First residential, then commercial/retail. Just an observation and it will be interesting to see if other areas follow the same timeline.

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Living in the area off of TC Jester and just north of I-10 (before the bridge across the tracks), the area is on the move. I haven't see old dilapidated homes removed at a faster rate before. My property values are skyrocketing. Alread $15K in 6 months. I think it'll top out soon though, but it is a positive investment.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

Does anyone know where I can find a map to find out how the heights is layed out by neighborhoods. For example, I'm trying to see how close norhill, woodland heights, sawyer village, stude heights and ridgewood are to each other. Any info would help. Thanks!

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I found couple of maps, but none show the different sections on one map. Woodland Heights and Heights has two different websites. The Heights is the original subdivision and the Woodlands Heights subdivision came after to the east of the Heights.

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I love old maps, especially those of Texas and Houston. This is one of my favorite Internet sites! I can study maps for hours on end, so you can just imagine why I like this site so.

The subject has come up about the different wards of Houston. Click on

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