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Third Ward and gentrification


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Guest danax
A very interesting and recent article. It's long, but its a good read.

http://governing.com/articles/3houston.htm

Thanks to kev33 for posting this article in the "Questions on the East End" thread. It seems worthy of spawning its own topic.

3rd Ward is clearly not a part of the Midtown TIRZ. Garnet Coleman is pulling a Robin Hood move by highjacking the TIRZ proceeds for his own admitted agenda in preserving his 3rd Ward power-base.

This could still work out for Midtown if the board of directors were to get highjacked by people who actually want to improve Midtown. Then the increased land values in 3rd Ward would prove to have been good investments.....for Midtown.

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This was taken from the last paragraph of the photo essay from the above link. Can anyone who is anti-gentrification argue this point with only facts?

If not, my belief all along that 3rd ward gentrification fears are all imaginary, will hold firm.

I'm not sure there are many anti-gentrification types on this forum. Rather, ther are many people who wish for gentrification to improve the neighborhood, rather than destroy it. There have been articles posted on other threads that have suggested that the remaining older or poor residents are not hurt by gentrification as much as feared. In fact, local property taxing entities all have senior citizen tax rates that drastically lower rates on the elderly. Adding the 10% maximum property tax increase, and the bite, while still painful to a fixed income couple, is manageable.

While the myth certainly sounded true, studies seem to show that the remaining residents enjoy the gentrification more than they are hurt by it.

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Wow, only my second post on this forum and it spawned its own thread! Anyway, so does the Third Ward not include the area we've referred to as "the East End"? Does Garnet Coleman's district include that (East End) area? Thanks.

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I'm not sure there are many anti-gentrification types on this forum. Rather, ther are many people who wish for gentrification to improve the neighborhood, rather than destroy it.

Agreed. I was arguing for historic preservation in the Heights with the idea that it could help neighborhood stability, maintain architectural quality, and increase property values. On the other hand, to "bank" land with the purpose of keeping a neighborhood cheap and full of rental properties strikes me as insane. The whole TIRZ concept is to provide an incentive for improved neighborhood value. This seems like TIRZ abuse to me.

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Guest danax
Wow, only my second post on this forum and it spawned its own thread! Anyway, so does the Third Ward not include the area we've referred to as "the East End"? Does Garnet Coleman's district include that (East End) area? Thanks.

By most definitions, the East End is east of 45, once you get past DT.

Here's a map of Coleman's district boundaries.

So his district includes Midtown and parts of the Near East End. I still don't see how he can get away with taking Midtown TIRZ money to buy land in 3rd Ward, outside of the TIRZ for his own social engineering vision.

Is there something here that I'm missing?

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Yikes. I understand his motives, but his methods are totally flawed. Nothing stabilizes a neighborhood like ownership, and he should be helping steer those residents towards that goal.

Perhaps, but if you allow people to own their own properties, they can also opt to sell them. I think that what he's more concerned about is keeping the neighborhood poor and black. He even owns a big apartment complex along Griggs Road that was recently built out of modular materials. Even though it is market-rate, the units are extremely cheap, both in terms of quality and price. If Perry Homes' motto is "building the slums of tomorrow, today", then this guy's motto must be "building the slums of today, yesterday".

There's a nearly-identical complex on OST, where the hardi-plank is rapidly growing mold on the second story.

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Guest danax
I think that what he's more concerned about is keeping the neighborhood poor and black. He even owns a big apartment complex along Griggs Road that was recently built out of modular materials. Even though it is market-rate, the units are extremely cheap, both in terms of quality and price. If Perry Homes' motto is "building the slums of tomorrow, today", then this guy's motto must be "building the slums to today, yesterday".

There's a nearly-identical complex on OST, where the hardi-plank is rapidly growing mold on the second story.

I'm sure you're talking about these same complexes. The one's by Gulfgate have about half of the siding falling off or in the process of being replaced. I hear they're factory built like manufactured homes (double-wides), which probably means foam board and eventual mold/rot in our climate.

I'm surprised Midtowners haven't ganged up on Coleman because of his TIRZ looting. If the shoe were on the other foot this would be national news.

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I'm sure you're talking about these same complexes. The one's by Gulfgate have about half of the siding falling off or in the process of being replaced. I hear they're factory built like manufactured homes (double-wides), which probably means foam board and eventual mold/rot in our climate.

I'm surprised Midtowners haven't ganged up on Coleman because of his TIRX looting. If the shoe were on the other foot this would be national news.

That's right. There are a few others around town built by the same folks.

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Guest danax
Meaning????

If 3rd Ward TIRZ proceeds were being siphoned off the buy land in Midtown because someone decided to buy land in Midtown to keep 3rd Ward people from buying it, the uproar would be large. Of course, that's not going to happen.

Midtownguy, are you living in Midtown and are you OK with what Coleman's doing?

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If 3rd Ward TIRZ proceeds were being siphoned off the buy land in Midtown because someone decided to buy land in Midtown to keep 3rd Ward people from buying it, the uproar would be large. Of course, that's not going to happen.

Midtownguy, are you living in Midtown and are you OK with what Coleman's doing?

Yep, I live in Midtown. Nope, I'm not OK, with what he's doing. In fact, I think that money could seriously be used to fix up some of the roads around here.

However, I do understand his motives for preserving the neighborhood of its historical and cultural signifigance. As I said before, Coleman should push homeownership instead of rental units. This entire area is ripe for mixed-income housing, and could foster the kind of neighborhood vibrancy that is often found in Montrose.

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Guest danax
Yep, I live in Midtown. Nope, I'm not OK, with what he's doing. In fact, I think that money could seriously be used to fix up some of the roads around here.

However, I do understand his motives for preserving the neighborhood of its historical and cultural signifigance. As I said before, Coleman should push homeownership instead of rental units. This entire area is ripe for mixed-income housing, and could foster the kind of neighborhood vibrancy that is often found in Montrose.

I agree with you. Trying to keep his own pond well stocked is human and forgiveable and no one wants to see the place obliterated culture-wise. The TIRZ deal is what amazes me, that he's able to get away with it, that is.

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I agree with you. Trying to keep his own pond well stocked is human and forgiveable and no one wants to see the place obliterated culture-wise. The TIRZ deal is what amazes me, that he's able to get away with it, that is.

Yeah, he's not the only one pushing hard to try and preserve 3rd Ward. There are a LOT of groups out there in some way building up 3rd Ward in the attempt to preserve its ethnic character. I don't much like that, personally. I prefer to think of the U.S. as more of a melting pot than a mosaic. Haven't we, as Houstonians, seen in the New Orleans folks the negative consequences of having such strong divides between socioeconomic communities?

But like you said, taking from Midtown to give (questionably) to 3rd Ward is outright theft.

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If the shoe were on the other foot this would be national news.

Quote from the article (emphisis added):

“You can tell a neighborhood’s turning,” he says with dismay, “when you see them out at night walking their dogs.”

Let in a few and next thing you know, they'll be bringing their friends over with them. Sure, I think they should be treated fairly, but do you want one living next door? Think what they'll do to property values. And do you want your sister to marry one?

Quote:“Low-density rental is the only way for it to be affordable,” Coleman argues. “You keep the character of the neighborhood while providing affordable housing.”

I share Mr. Coleman's concerns. As a 25 year resident of the Montrose area, I'm in danger of being priced out of my neighborhood. We've got our share of dog-walkers, too. Maybe we can strike a deal, where you 'bank' some of that money in my neighborhood. I think straight people should be treated fairly, but that doesn't mean I want to marry one.

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  • 1 year later...
I agree with you. Trying to keep his own pond well stocked is human and forgiveable and no one wants to see the place obliterated culture-wise. The TIRZ deal is what amazes me, that he's able to get away with it, that is.

A TIRZ is required to set-aside 10% of their "revenue" for low-income housing. It also allows for using those 10% funds in an adjacent area to the TIRZ as long as it is in the same county. So legally, the board is able to do what they are doing in third ward. Socially/economically I don't think their plan is going to work, since they cannot use race to determine who lives in their housing. There are probably more white and hispanic low income people who would be eligible than african-american. The Board really needs to work with the civic associations to make sure their plans are aligned with the community.

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A TIRZ is required to set-aside 10% of their "revenue" for low-income housing. It also allows for using those 10% funds in an adjacent area to the TIRZ as long as it is in the same county. So legally, the board is able to do what they are doing in third ward. Socially/economically I don't think their plan is going to work, since they cannot use race to determine who lives in their housing. There are probably more white and hispanic low income people who would be eligible than african-american. The Board really needs to work with the civic associations to make sure their plans are aligned with the community.

Yes, apparently it's all legal but it is clear that Coleman's focus is not on Midtown but to use the TIRZ as a means to fuel his personal vendetta against those who want to gentrify "his" neighborhood. Any idea if they're working on affordable housing in Midtown? And I wonder what percentage of their money they're using for the 3rd Ward land banking scheme......10, 50, 90? I also saw in the minutes of their Oct 2007 meeting discussion about an "affordable housing grant" for Row House CDC. I don't know the specifics but it appears that the TIRZ might be giving money to Row House CDC, which sounds like a good project but again, it appears to be more syphoning from Midtown to fight gentrification nearby.

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Yes, apparently it's all legal but it is clear that Coleman's focus is not on Midtown but to use the TIRZ as a means to fuel his personal vendetta against those who want to gentrify "his" neighborhood. Any idea if they're working on affordable housing in Midtown? And I wonder what percentage of their money they're using for the 3rd Ward land banking scheme......10, 50, 90? I also saw in the minutes of their Oct 2007 meeting discussion about an "affordable housing grant" for Row House CDC. I don't know the specifics but it appears that the TIRZ might be giving money to Row House CDC, which sounds like a good project but again, it appears to be more syphoning from Midtown to fight gentrification nearby.

The link is to their Agenda not the minutes. For the life of me, I have not been able to find where they post the minutes to the meetings. Does someone have to request the minutes via the Freedom of Information Act?

If the residents of the Mid-town TIRZ want their TIRZ money to fund low-income housing in mid-town then they better start talking to to the Board and the people who nominate the people to the Board becuase that is just not happpening today.

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OK, so can somebody tell me why Midtown would want the l-i housing in the TIRZ rather than elsewhere adjacent? I don't recall many places with ideas of their own future glory actually cultivating l-i housing as part of its growth plan.

As for homeownership for those who can't afford it, great idea. We could package those loans as structured investment vehicles ...

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sounds kind of discriminatory to keep the poor people out. well maybe not to the rich.

It is discriminatory. But I also think there are undertones of racial ressentiment in much if not all of the commentary against Coleman. I take raciism for granted in US urban development practices. As with the discussion of door policies at clubs, there are all sorts of ways of discriminating without running afoul of the law, and there are people who are willing to proclaim their intentions.

My question was simply if people are really saying that they want low income housing in Midtown or if they only wanted to rail against Coleman.

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My question was simply if people are really saying that they want low income housing in Midtown or if they only wanted to rail against Coleman.

I think the issue is coleman is using tirz funds to try and prevent development in the 3rd ward so he can maintain the status quo with 'his' people.

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It wouldn't in the least surprise me to learn that people in the Third Ward would rather have the area improve but remain their neighborhood. Some community roots go deep there, which they don't for the gentry. One imagines that if the work is done for "his" people it's work they want done, regardless of what the sages of HAIF think they should want. Such is American politics.

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One imagines that if the work is done for "his" people it's work they want done, regardless of what the sages of HAIF think they should want. Such is American politics.

LOL...he's just wants to buy parcels using TIRZ funds so that developers can't move in. 'his' people won't be helped at all. that is american politics.

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LOL...he's just wants to buy parcels using TIRZ funds so that developers can't move in. 'his' people won't be helped at all. that is american politics.

So, what is the power structure of the TIRZ? How will Coleman be able to take advantage of it? I do not know the specific laws or procedures, but maybe TheNiche can find a loophole or two.

Then what we can do is warn the members opposed to his interests and outline exactly how could take the loophole, so they could close the loophole.

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OK, so can somebody tell me why Midtown would want the l-i housing in the TIRZ rather than elsewhere adjacent? I don't recall many places with ideas of their own future glory actually cultivating l-i housing as part of its growth plan.

As for homeownership for those who can't afford it, great idea. We could package those loans as structured investment vehicles ...

Yes, it seems this society equates low income = thieves = black/hispanic etc. Do you really think that the low income people are going to stay locked-up in third ward when all the "rich" people live next door in mid-town? :lol: (Hmmm, through what neighborhoods will the University rail line run?)

If you do a search on HCAD using MIDTOWN REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY you will see they own a lot of third ward land. By buying land in this quantity the unintended consequences is that the land is going up in value and therefore taxes are going up. Third Ward developers are probably sending Coleman a big "thank you" since he is accelerating the gentrification process.

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  • 3 years later...

Can we bring this discussion back, it's been a couple of years. Where do we stand with this issue, do you guys still think Third Ward is going to hold out as much as they can? I'm a broker and do quite a bit of business in surrounding areas and i"m starting to venture into Third Ward. Still not sure how I feel about it, geographically it is a good location and I think it will see a lot of single family homes being renovated and maybe not quite so much large new development b/c it would be harder to obtain large parcels of land. Urban Lofts is doing a community off of Dowlington & Blodgett.

What's going on with Coleman, that article that was originally posted is no longer available, does anyone know where I can find it?

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