Jump to content

Proposed New Apartment Building Downtown


largeTEXAS

Recommended Posts

Hey guys, I was talking to a developer who wants to take a 8-10 storey existing building downtown and create apartments that are around 350 sf each. There would be lots of amenities on the ground floor. I know the size is small, but the rent would be cheap-ish, around $600- $700. It would allow for a whole new working class to live downtown. What are your thoughts? Would you live there?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems like this is the type of development you would do for people who stay alone. You cant raise a family comfortably in a 350 sf apartment. This 350 square feet apartments is great for some that lives downtown by there self. I think it is a great idea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it would be surprising if the developer could get the economics to work. I'm assuming that since high-end residential hasn't taken off downtown (eg Shamrock), instead of going for large units with high rents, he is going for very small units with low rents and hope for sufficient occupancy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am guessing that this would be a tax-credit building. The tiny quarters are known as SROs (single room occupancy) and typically house mostly younger people; students, ex-felons trying to reestablish themselves, and fixed income people, maybe a few Katrina victims living alone.

The reason I'm up on this is that there's a proposal to convert the crack-tastic HouTex Inn near me (Gulf Fwy near Broad) into such a place. I attended the presentation/sales pitch and it's not as vile as we we're first thinking. No children eliminates a lot of the potential for crime and noise. They supposedly have strict rules for the residents and all guests must sign in/sign out and they even are charged a fee if a guest stays overnight.

New Hope Housing is the organization that wants to convert the HouTex. They have an architect on staff and will try to do something semi-compelling with the property if possible and will be stripping it down to the studs. They are funded by the tax credits and also by charitable donations from various individuals and foundations. They have currently a place on Hamilton next to MMP, one on Canal St. (the lime green building) and one at 1414 Congress. The spokesman said that Mayor White has determined that there's a severe shortage of affordable housing and has got his henchmen looking for properties to convert into these type of places.

There's another one being proposed at the current Magnolia old folks home along the Gulf Fwy right next to Fingers. This one, however, is going to be for drug/alcohol rehabbers so those townhousers nearby need to pay attention.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is very interesting, and 10 stories is about as high as it could be feasible without the costs skyrocketing.

something along that rent rate would be needed for those that work downtown that don't have 70+k paying jobs.

But there's also a limit to how much you can make to be qualified to live there. Danax may remember was it 12k?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

now that we have quite a few other projects about to take off, I wonder if Houston will have a certain amount of rent control in the future?

If the city is doing it then most like not. unfortunately the city has always lost money because of inactivity on the part of their housing development program. Even this yr, they mentioned that some funds will be lost yet again. now if an independent group is in charge then it may have more of a chance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But there's also a limit to how much you can make to be qualified to live there. Danax may remember was it 12k?

No, actually it was more like $23K for one person. The $12K was when he mentioned what $10 hr. comes out to roughly.

Mayor White has a perplexing philosopy; very pro-development and anti-regulation in the Houstonian tradition, but at the same time is vigorously encouraging non-free market affordable housing developments, although the tax credits originate at the state level, which I suppose isn't that perplexing after all since it costs Houston nothing. Rent control in Houston would be shocking.

And, I think 250-400 sq ft for $365 mo is not that great of a deal, considering there are probably many inner-loop rentals in that range with more space, although clean and well maintained might be difficult to find at that price.

If these SROs prove to be financially and socially popular, the inner-loop will become even more of a single person's community over time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it would be an awesome idea. Especially since it seems the Pavilions is now actually happening, it would be great for students at UH-Downtown or those younger urban types who can't afford NYC prices but want that same atmosphere. I can see a student at UHD working, going to school, and then living in downtown, wow what a concept. It would be great if UHD did have some sort of housing in downtown even it was just a few buildings, does anyone know if that might ever happen?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it would be an awesome idea. Especially since it seems the Pavilions is now actually happening, it would be great for students at UH-Downtown or those younger urban types who can't afford NYC prices but want that same atmosphere. I can see a student at UHD working, going to school, and then living in downtown, wow what a concept. It would be great if UHD did have some sort of housing in downtown even it was just a few buildings, does anyone know if that might ever happen?

Without trying to sound communistic; I think it would be a great boon for the more promising college students that meet certain criteria to be able to live in a small apartment downtown if there isn't room in the dorms.

Of course, I think the standards for such a privilege should be quite high, but it would be ideal to a student who's taking a full course load and still be able to work at Frank's pizza or do some minor intern work downtown and not have to rely on a vehicle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Without trying to sound communistic; I think it would be a great boon for the more promising college students that meet certain criteria to be able to live in a small apartment downtown if there isn't room in the dorms.

I'be been hearing different people both inside and outside the UH-D family speak of them actually trying this out in the future, if they can work out the finances. A long rumored site was the parking garage/warehouse located west of the current UH-D facility on Franklin @ Fannin. I personally have doubts, however, given its location next to the county jail.

Edited by The Great Hizzy!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'be been hearing different people both inside and outside the UH-D family speak of them actually trying this out in the future, if they can work out the finances. A long rumored site was the parking garage/warehouse located west of the current UH-D facility on Franklin @ Fannin. I personally have doubts, however, given its location next to the county jail.

I just feel with the Pavilions and the Finger tower now starting construction it would seem a no brainer to try and bring in a younger population demographic. If I had a chance to live downtown as a student after these projects get finished, I would take it in a heart beat. That's why I think this apartment conversion would work. I just feel there's a big population in Houston of young artists types who would love to be able to live downtown but just can't afford the price of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can find place in downtown that rents for a little over $1 per sq. ft. right now. My friend has 600 - 700 sq. ft. efficiency and is paying a little over $700. I wouldn't pay more than $500 a month for that small place - this isn't NY.

I could see those prices if the demand is there...but we aren't there yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the idea and the attempt to bring affordable housing downtown. The only thing is, i think they need to do a little better than 350 sq ft. I stayed in a box-like apartment that was 400 sf and it felt like i could reach from one end of the apartment to the other with one arm!

I just don't see someone willing to pay that much right now for such small space with the way downtown currently is. We're going to have to see a Manhattan type development for that to be feasible. Basically, downtown will have to become a city in itself. It will have to have a movie theatre, excellent shopping, entertainment options.

That's the mistake downtown Houston has been making. It's starting to charge too much, too soon before it becomes a viable neighborhood

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You also have to think of alternative uses, though.

I'm sure it would also be rented by corporate for some of it's lower ranked out of town employees that stay for months at a time. I heard more than one complaint from a bean counter who was irritated because they had to bring in someone for training and couldn't find a hotel room at a lower end hotel and winds up putting them at the intercontinental.

Currently they're holed up in whatever hotel they can cram them in, mostly extended stays, Bradford suites and such. Having a room or two they can exclusively rent for years at a time would be useful for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It always makes me laugh when people say that downtown needs a movie theater. Then you remind them about the Angelica and most people think it is an artsy only theater like Greenway 3. But the Angelica is actually a full fledged normal theater that does show a couple of artsy movies, but mostly has you normal first run movies like a Cinemark. It is outstanding for those that do not know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You also have to think of alternative uses, though.

I'm sure it would also be rented by corporate for some of it's lower ranked out of town employees that stay for months at a time. I heard more than one complaint from a bean counter who was irritated because they had to bring in someone for training and couldn't find a hotel room at a lower end hotel and winds up putting them at the intercontinental.

Currently they're holed up in whatever hotel they can cram them in, mostly extended stays, Bradford suites and such. Having a room or two they can exclusively rent for years at a time would be useful for them.

I think you are spot on with this. You may also see some units rented by executives who live out in the suburbs and get jammed working really late a couple of nights a week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It always makes me laugh when people say that downtown needs a movie theater. Then you remind them about the Angelica and most people think it is an artsy only theater like Greenway 3. But the Angelica is actually a full fledged normal theater that does show a couple of artsy movies, but mostly has you normal first run movies like a Cinemark. It is outstanding for those that do not know.

I agree the Angelica is great, but it is in fact an almost exclusively art/foreign/indie theater. Of this week's top ten box office movies, the Angelica is currently playing one of them, and it's in Spanish (Pan's Labyrinth). A Cinemark it is not. With that said, I do not think a general interest movie theater would benefit downtown.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree the Angelica is great, but it is in fact an almost exclusively art/foreign/indie theater. Of this week's top ten box office movies, the Angelica is currently playing one of them, and it's in Spanish (Pan's Labyrinth). A Cinemark it is not. With that said, I do not think a general interest movie theater would benefit downtown.

whY not? It works for Ft. Worth and downtown Denver?

Edited by C2H
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you are spot on with this. You may also see some units rented by executives who live out in the suburbs and get jammed working really late a couple of nights a week.

exactly, plus there are people that fly into houston occasionally for whatever reason (in fact, I know a couple of dancers that stay and work for a few months and then take the rest of the year of in another part of the country.....for some reason, that just doesn't seem fair..but I digress), another thing I just thought about:

We may have more "residences" in downtown then we think. I know there are at least a couple of people that LIVE at the Four Seasons. It makes me wonder how many people "live" at the some of the major hotels?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you are spot on with this. You may also see some units rented by executives who live out in the suburbs and get jammed working really late a couple of nights a week.

This is already the case with many of the much more expensive loft units downtown. I strongly suspect that a signigicant portion of the residents in my loft building stay here part time at most. Honestly, I'm not sure how much demand you would see for 400sf units from this demographic. When one can buy a very nice 1000sf loft for $200k-$250, there is very little reason for the people you are describing to settle for 400sf.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is already the case with many of the much more expensive loft units downtown. I strongly suspect that a signigicant portion of the residents in my loft building stay here part time at most. Honestly, I'm not sure how much demand you would see for 400sf units from this demographic. When one can buy a very nice 1000sf loft for $200k-$250, there is very little reason for the people you are describing to settle for 400sf.

Because $200k on a 30-year fixed-rate loan at 6% interest yields payments of about $1,200 per month, on top of which condo fees, insurance, and taxes must be paid. For someone who is only in town part-time, a 400sf unit directly accessible by shuttle service from IAH that costs only $800 flat without any other obligations, hassles, or even a need for a car may just fit the bill.

Admittedly, though, it is a niche market. I'm not sure that a whole building full of these things would be justified, even with a small market for these units from the full-time residents. And parking would still be necessary and expensive relative to the cost of the actual living space, as City codes require one space per bedroom.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Won't the LRT extension go by the Edwards Cinema at Greenway Plaza?

Well, it was once a wish that The U Line would pass by Weslyan and Richmond but it seems there will be no U Line since Culberson is insistant on the most expensive route running behind the back yards of one the most influential neighborhoods and with the least ridership thus opting us out of any federal funds.

But that was Culberson's, Aftonag's and musicman's intent all along: insist on the impossible in order to deny us the funds to achieve the will of the people who voted FOR an LRT line from Wheeler to Hillcroft. Their choice to blindly vote-or not-without all the facts availible is just another indication of an increacingly lazy electorate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But that was Culberson's, Aftonag's and musicman's intent all along: insist on the impossible in order to deny us the funds to achieve the will of the people who voted FOR an LRT line from Wheeler to Hillcroft. Their choice to blindly vote-or not-without all the facts availible is just another indication of an increacingly lazy electorate.

Nice that you can read our minds Ms. Cleo. ;)

Edited by musicman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went to a meeting last night where someone from the city of houston housing dept spoken on yet another tax credit complex going up on Broadway. He made it sound as if the project is about to go before city council. The President of Glenbrook valley was there and was irritated that the surrounding neighborhoods were left in the dark. The city rep and the project developer kept repeating how the neighborhood will be revitalized! of course i asked how a neighborhood could be revitalized by one apartment complex where the residents will be low income?

This is just one of those programs that the mayor wants to force upon us with no citizen input!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe the Angelica does not have the top 10 newest releases, but they do have current releases and of the 9 movies showing this week only 2 are not shown at your Edwards/Cinemark type of theaters. The 2 are as you mentioned Pan's Lab and then Four Eyed Monsters. The ones that have shown or are showing at "regular" theaters all over town: Babel, Letters from Iwa Jima, Little Children, Miss Potter, Notes on Scandal, The Good German and Venus has in the past.

They have a mix of new and old and artsy and not. They seem to try to cater to everyone in my opinion. Personally my wife and I go on Saturday's to the cry baby matinnee. They set up a changing table in the front and have the volume a bit lower. People are encouraged to bring their baby's. It is very cool idea. And they always show current movies. We have seen the Last Kiss, the pursuit of Happines and several others I can't remember at the moment. It allows parents to see movies without disturbing non parents, but the irony is that it is always very quiet in there. Most of the baby's sleep.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems like this is the type of development you would do for people who stay alone. You cant raise a family comfortably in a 350 sf apartment. This 350 square feet apartments is great for some that lives downtown by there self. I think it is a great idea.

It would seem that downtown would be a natural for singles ... and singles don't typically require lots of space.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It would seem that downtown would be a natural for singles ... and singles don't typically require lots of space.

I totally agree, that's why I think this would be a good idea. I have single friends in NYC who have apartments similar to that size and they've made the space really nice despite it being so small. I really think there's a group of young singles in Houston who want that downtown NYC vibe but can't afford buying a loft in downtown.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I totally agree, that's why I think this would be a good idea. I have single friends in NYC who have apartments similar to that size and they've made the space really nice despite it being so small. I really think there's a group of young singles in Houston who want that downtown NYC vibe but can't afford buying a loft in downtown.

I once lived in a tiny studio apt about the size mentioned here in DT San Francisco. I was single and I quickly got used to the small space. I had several large plants that filled the air with oxygen. When I was moving, and moved the plants out days earlier, the air was noticably dead. Hard to acheive that effect in a large house. It was well designed with most interior windows facing inward into a (can't remember what they called it) sunlit open space, and the neighbors could speak to each other through the open windows (good and bad possiblities). It was great to walk and take BART or MUNI everywhere, you really got to know the nabe that way.

Anyway, it gave me some of my greatest memories, simple things, and cemented in me a love for the city environment.

The downside; this place did house oddball tenants; felons, psycho types. The guy below me qualified as semi-psycho. He would stomp around into the wee hours, ranting loudly to himself about how "they" (he would say, "you") had set him up, abused him...made it very hard to sleep. Then there were two guys living below me to the side who would fight a lot. Eventually my neighbor and I, one who lived catty-corner and was open-window close, were talking about how quiet those two had become.....turns out the bigger one murdered the smaller one....in the room......and he wasn't found for a week or so, and the other guy just skipped town. Stuff you just don't get in the burbs. :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I totally agree, that's why I think this would be a good idea. I have single friends in NYC who have apartments similar to that size and they've made the space really nice despite it being so small. I really think there's a group of young singles in Houston who want that downtown NYC vibe but can't afford buying a loft in downtown.

After thinking about this topic a bit more, it occured to me that we already have a successful downtown apartment building that offers what the original poster is describing. It's called the Houston House. I believe the vast majority of units in the Houston House are +-400sf and rents are around $800 a month. My impression is that it does fairly well in terms of occupancy despite its age.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
Any idea about (rental) price/sf? $1.60 or so?

And how many months of free rent for a 12-month lease?

O'Connor says $1.54 psf with one month free. Although with the myriad of different floorplans, I wouldn't put too much confidence in the rent/sf number(for instance, OA shows rent/sf on different floorplans ranging from $.93-1.77).

Edited by buildingunbuildingrebuilding
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...