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Houston House At 1617 Fannin St.


WesternGulf

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I think the previous poster is referring to a different article than the Niche is referring to. There was an article in the Chronicle near the end of last year stating that the Houston House had been sold and would remain a rental building, but it would be remodeled with new windows, exterior paint, and upgraded common areas.

Update: the article is here: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/busine...ff/5270371.html

Oh, I was thinking of a GlobeSt.com article.

But the building has not been sold, is not (yet) under contract to sell, and the firm mentioned in that article is not going to buy it.

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Oh, I was thinking of a GlobeSt.com article.

But the building has not been sold, is not (yet) under contract to sell, and the firm mentioned in that article is not going to buy it.

Do you have any other info to share (or info that you cannot share)?

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  • 2 months later...

I just moved back to Houston after being away for nearly four years, and this website has been just about the most interesting thing I've seen in a long time . . .

I'm considering living in the Houston House Apartments, and I wanted to get a second opinion from Houston's most knowledgeable building forum. I really liked the apartment, but I'm concerned about the negative reviews on apartmentratings.com. Now, I know how things go on apartmentratings -- there are maybe 10% of properties that end up with a positive rating, so I'm well aware you have to take it all with a big grain of salt. However, the complaints seemed very reasonable, and fairly well thought-out . . . people complain about plumming issues, air conditioning not working (this concerns me a lot), shady tenants, and bug problems. I really wanted to live here, but I'm thinking maybe I should go in another direction. This would be a perfect fit for me, but I'm just very nervous about it -- like this could either be a big success, or an unmitigated disaster.

I've also considered buying something, but I'm just not comfortable doing that right now, until I'm a little better settled in Houston. Does anyone live at Houston House right now, or have any good feedback?

THANKS!!!

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I just moved back to Houston after being away for nearly four years, and this website has been just about the most interesting thing I've seen in a long time . . .

I'm considering living in the Houston House Apartments, and I wanted to get a second opinion from Houston's most knowledgeable building forum. I really liked the apartment, but I'm concerned about the negative reviews on apartmentratings.com. Now, I know how things go on apartmentratings -- there are maybe 10% of properties that end up with a positive rating, so I'm well aware you have to take it all with a big grain of salt. However, the complaints seemed very reasonable, and fairly well thought-out . . . people complain about plumming issues, air conditioning not working (this concerns me a lot), shady tenants, and bug problems. I really wanted to live here, but I'm thinking maybe I should go in another direction. This would be a perfect fit for me, but I'm just very nervous about it -- like this could either be a big success, or an unmitigated disaster.

I've also considered buying something, but I'm just not comfortable doing that right now, until I'm a little better settled in Houston. Does anyone live at Houston House right now, or have any good feedback?

THANKS!!!

If you haven't already, you should tour it. Be aware that the pool isn't heated anymore, that amenity areas are downright funky, that the fitness center basically does not have air conditioning. There aren't washer/dryer connections in units and the laundry room isn't a very pleasant place.

And a problem common among downtown buildings is that visitor parking is always inconvenient. If you have more cars than you have bedrooms, you may need to work out an arrangement for a parking space on one of the surface lots around the building.

The units are in desperate need of remodeling. For instance, kitchens are small enclosed rooms with doors rather than open to the living room. And ceiling heights are eight feet. There is about a quarter-inch gap under front doors to units, meaning that loud noises will transmit down the hallway. Sliding glass doors sometimes have problems and many patios seem to be sprouting some kind of exotic weed. I cannot confirm the problems with bugs. I didn't see any evidence of bugs.

My observations are that this is just a building that was put up in the 60's and that hasn't been renovated since the 80's. And that goes for inside and out. There's nothing inherently wrong with it or with living there, but you've just got to be sure that you're getting the bang for the buck that you want. And speaking of bucks, be sure to ask them about charges and fees that are not reflected in the quoted rent prices...just in case.

As for the tenants, there are a fair number of South Texas College of Law students. But they really run the gamut. There are a surprising number of elderly folks. Prices are sufficiently high these days that a ghetto element is sparse or nonexistent. And bums seem not to be a huge problem right there. If you're really concerned about safety, check the building's crime stats from HPD.

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I can't speak about the Houston House Apartments... but wanted to suggest that if you are apprehensive about them, why not look at Midtown? You would only be a couple blocks from the apartments, and will have the amenities of restaurants, banks, pharmacies, etc. within walking distance.

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I can't speak about the Houston House Apartments... but wanted to suggest that if you are apprehensive about them, why not look at Midtown? You would only be a couple blocks from the apartments, and will have the amenities of restaurants, banks, pharmacies, etc. within walking distance.

But there's not a chance in hell that he'd have the kinds of views that Houston House has. Or the proximity to Houston Pavilions, Discovery Green, or various hotels, the convention center, and stadia. Its a spectacular location, hands down, and at an achievable price. The only downside is that it is crappy inside. It is indeed crap-tacular.

Given the choice between Post Midtown and Houston House, I myself would probably go with Houston House. I'd be able to afford a larger space (or ask for them to remodel a unit and then just pay more), be way up in the sky, and be closer to places I'd actually want to be--as opposed to overpriced oversold restaurants in a faux-urban Disney-esque atmosphere.

But that's just me. And my tastes in housing are very much outside the mainstream.

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And a problem common among downtown buildings is that visitor parking is always inconvenient. If you have more cars than you have bedrooms, you may need to work out an arrangement for a parking space on one of the surface lots around the building.

The visitor parking situation around the Houston House is actually not bad relative to the rest of the downtown area. There is ample street parking in the immediate vicinity and there are several surface lots nearby that offer inexpensive parking.

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I moved out of the HH in March after living there 2 years. Like everybody else is saying, it is mainly problems you would expect from an old building. Water issues i.e. I about once a month there would be no water or 3 times my neighbors garbage disposal would empty into my bathroom sink. Yeah gross. The pool, weight room, and other public areas are old and out of date. You will never want to use them. Kitchen is VERY small and appliances are old.

It was like pulling teeth to get things fixed around there but it is a big building and so the crew is really pushed to meet everybody's needs.

Good things: Price, LOCATION, Wanda and Debbie who work there, mini-grocery store/grill on first floor. Parking for guest is not bad. Usually not hard to find a place. The balconies are big and great for entertaining. Amazing views. Never had a bug problem. Other residents are very friendly. A nice mix. Very old to very young, students to professionals.

Edited by jayshoota
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3 times my neighbors garbage disposal would empty into my bathroom

(Pardon my post, but I am a Germaphob)

What! That is disgusting and the fact that it happened three times? After the second time I would have demanded some sort of compensation, third time I would have broken my lease contract.

I don't even see how it is possible though, they shouldn't even be on the same line in a high-rise building.

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Just wanted to say "Thanks" to everyone for replying. I've decided I am going to go with Houston House -- I've been by twice with a leasing agent (Lacey), and then once by myself when I just hung out in the laundry room and talked to residents about how they liked it. Spoke with a resident on the 30th floor who showed me a few open apartments up there, and told me the good and the bad. I decided to go for it.

I'd considered midtown, but I couldn't find a place I liked as well. My budget is REALLY tight, and HH was a perfect fit, price-wise. Everything in midtown was either more expensive, or no better than HH. I've lived in bulidings much older than Houston House, and so the old building thing doesn't phase me too much -- I think at worst it'll be like the building I was at in Pittsburgh, and I enjoyed it there. I'll be sure to post again in this thread later on (after a few months) so that any other folks with my concerns could be updated.

Thanks again y'all!!

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There was a small tribute posted in a glass case in the lobby of the Plumber's Union Hall for several years in honor of the people who died during a tragic accident when this building (HH) was under construction. An outside personell lift failed and all aboard died, mostly plumbers. The building was painted black for several years. We used to say it was in memory of those that died but that was probably an urban legend.

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  • 1 year later...

I guess it would be good to include a link to the swamplot update a few months ago detailing the renovations...

http://swamplot.com/houston-house-ready-for-rehab-tenants-prepare-to-play-musical-apartments/2010-05-27/

Noticed today that a new crane was up at Houston House...are the exterior renovations beginning?

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Yes, renovations have been going on for a couple months already. The crane was there to put up 2 new ac chillers. The renovations started on the 30th floor and they are working their way down. Crews are also on the 8th and 9th floors, which house the gym, laundromat and basketball court. Debbie says they are going to fix the basketball court and turn it into a full court with two goals, and the workout area will be modeenized and have flat screen tvs. Also the huge apartment on 9 will be opened up and turned into a liesure area, wifi hotspot and bbq area. There are pics of the renderings in the lobby, i will post those later tonight.

Source: ive lived here for 6 years

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  • 2 weeks later...
The renovations to Houston House, designed by the Kirksey architecture firm, will modernize each of the 396 apartments, the resident-amenity floor, the lobby and building exterior. Some of the work has already started, including the ninth-floor amenity level, where a night club operated when the building opened.

A long wood-paneled bar is being removed, and the entire space is being gutted to make way for a new fitness center, media, conference and billiards rooms, as well as a business center.

The area around the outdoor swimming pool, also on the ninth level, is being improved with new planters, cabanas and outdoor seating. And an old basketball court that a downtown energy company once used as a training center is being restored and expanded to full size.

In the units, which average 650 square feet, carpet is being replaced with laminate floors and the kitchens are being opened up and upgraded with stainless appliances, stone countertops and new cabinets.

The tan concrete exterior will go back to its original darker hues. The mechanical systems are being upgraded, too.

[...]

Rents will increase to $1.90 per square foot plus utilities, from $1.45 per square foot today. The rents include utilities.

The work will be done in phases, but the entire project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2012.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7222709.html

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Well, I'll be. It is painted tan now. When they first painted over the black, it was gray. I'm not sure when they slapped the tan on there.

That's the way I remember it, too.

The black paint was already shabby when I moved to Houston (in '81), so I've never seen it at its best in that color. A fresh coat would certainly make a dramatic statement. I wonder what impact the heat-absorbing qualities of black paint would have on utility costs.

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  • 5 months later...

Drove by yesterday - looks like they're going to be done painting in the next week or two

I just moved back to Houston after being away for nearly four years, and this website has been just about the most interesting thing I've seen in a long time . . .

I'm considering living in the Houston House Apartments, and I wanted to get a second opinion from Houston's most knowledgeable building forum. I really liked the apartment, but I'm concerned about the negative reviews on apartmentratings.com. Now, I know how things go on apartmentratings -- there are maybe 10% of properties that end up with a positive rating, so I'm well aware you have to take it all with a big grain of salt. However, the complaints seemed very reasonable, and fairly well thought-out . . . people complain about plumming issues, air conditioning not working (this concerns me a lot), shady tenants, and bug problems. I really wanted to live here, but I'm thinking maybe I should go in another direction. This would be a perfect fit for me, but I'm just very nervous about it -- like this could either be a big success, or an unmitigated disaster.

I've also considered buying something, but I'm just not comfortable doing that right now, until I'm a little better settled in Houston. Does anyone live at Houston House right now, or have any good feedback?

THANKS!!!

post-4902-0-31036900-1301775841_thumb.jp

Edited by houstonartstudent
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  • 1 month later...

Hunter Green would be nice.

I disagree. That would be garish. Because you insist on provoking needless argument about which atypical color schemes are or are not ugly, and because that incites bad brand image, it is clear that we must agree to compromise on beige as the preferred color scheme. Are you happy now?

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Gee, I didn't know simply stating an opinion about the color of a building is provoking a needless argument. Perhaps you are reading too much into it? We're not going to agree to compromise on anything, because it isn't our building. You prefer what you prefer, I'll prefer what I prefer, and they'll paint the building whatever color they want.

I reserve the right to state in the future what I do and don't like about various buildings in a local architecture forum.

Edited by kylejack
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Does anybody else remember that it was originally black? What they are doing now is definitely better than that ugly beige. Of course, that's my own personal opinion - don't want to shake anybody up.

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Does anybody else remember that it was originally black? What they are doing now is definitely better than that ugly beige. Of course, that's my own personal opinion - don't want to shake anybody up.

haha i agree i think it looks much better

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  • The title was changed to Houston House At 1617 Fannin St.

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