Apartments Moving In on Freedman’s Town Rowhouse Lot

A pair of West Gray lots — nearly vacant save their seen-better-days Freedman’s Town rowhouses in the back — have been put on notice as the proposed site for Dolce Living: that’s 5 stories and 176,344 sq. ft. of 1- and 2-bedroom apartments, with some street-level retail to sweeten the deal.


A few blocks from the brand-new Carnegie Vanguard High School on Taft, these Fourth Ward lots are bound by Victor on the north, Gillette on the west, and Wilson on the east, with Bailey running between them. The view above faces Downtown from Gillette; the drawing below goes west to east:

Across West Gray to the south from the proposed 6,578 sq. ft of street-level retail (indicated in purple on the drawing above) are some of those Modern townhomes; across Wilson to the east from the “fitness center/lounge” (indicated in red) is the roadhouse Junction Bar & Grill.

That rectangle of white space in the corner of the drawing is where historic rowhouses sit facing Victor (shown in the photo below) that are in painfully obvious disrepair. Targeted for demolition as early as 2011, at least a few of the rowhouses appear as though they’re being readied for relocation, suggested by the steel support beams and trailer parked behind them.

The following two elevations show a planned skybridge above Bailey to span the two lots and link the buildings:

An application for a variance to reduce the lots’ building setback has been submitted to the city and will be heard by the planning commission on January 31.

Images: Swamplot inbox (renderings); Candace Garcia (rowhouse); Allyn West (photos of site)

33 Comment

  • Too bad they’re not blue. They look like Dr. Who’s Tardis. Could be Who-ville!

  • Ground floor retail? (thunk–sound of Old School’s head hitting the floor after fainting). Great news for W. Gray. This will blend nicely into the street level retail from the expansion of the Post Oak development. Hopefully, this will become standard operated procedure for new multi-family developments on the major thoroughfares inside the loop.

  • Man, I wish I owned a lot, I would love to take one of those shotguns off of someone’s hands.

  • Nice, hoping to see similar, but taller, projects built on the rail lines.

  • Carving up another piece of Freedmen’s town for some good old fashioned Midtown gentrification. Boring cookie cutter design.

  • Not bad considering it’s practically next door to government a subsidized housing project. I’ll take it. If I’m counting correctly, that’s 235 more households to add to the already burgeoning inner loop population. More people. More money. More action. People with money to spend WANT to live in central Houston. I saw we accommodate them.

  • I dont understand govt subsidized housing. To me, if you can’t afford to live somewhere, then move to where you can afford!!! This is what east texas is for isnt it??

  • Who’s the developer?

  • In absence of government-subsidized housing, squatters move in and slums crop up. This is the norm in South America, where I come from, and slums are just damned ugly and depressing to look at, there’s no way around it. I see housing projects as taxpayer-funded aesthetics, along with landscaping, graffiti removal, etc.

  • And I suppose those photo’d shotgun houses are not cookie cutter for their day? The Earth keeps turning and things change

  • Has anyone ever had two precisely, identical cookies?

  • Rodrigo, but for gov’t housing, that area would be so much nicer. look at the Washington Ave area. It was a total slum until 10 years ago, but the market was able to come in and buy the land for market value and revitalize it. with the 4th ward, the subsidized housing prevents the market from working efficiently. this is all the worse in this area, because the gov’t housing increases crime in the area, which further restricts the prospects for revitalization.

  • #12, the Washington corridor is a poor example for you to choose. Just drive down Koehler or Thompson St. anytime after dark and you will find numerous “street vendors” offering things for sale. But I guess you could consider them “entrepreneurs” or “small business owners” if that makes you happy.

  • Yeah, people should just move to a rural area where there are no jobs. They’d be much better off!

  • John (another one): => Those “poor” folks are living in the middle of Houston where there are plenty of jobs, but they are still poor. So, the jobs issue does not seem to make a difference. Thus, why not round them up and ship them to east Texas?

  • Other John – There are lots of jobs all over Harris and the surrounding counties.

    The fact of the matter is that the government could have provided FAR MORE services to the underprivledged had they sold Allen Parkway Village to the highest bidder instead of half bulldozed it and half redeveloped it with new suburban garden style apartments in an urban location (yet upgraded with Kohler fixtures and other amenities you don’t even find in 98% of market rate apartments).

    I’m not against the government providing help to those in need, I’d just like to see them make much much smarter decisions about how they spend our tax dollars doing it.

  • Washington Avenue was an industrial wasteland. The 4th Ward was a residential neighborhood. Additionally, the first public housing project in the 4th Ward was built by the Feds to house WHITE ONLY veterans. Sorry to inject some facts into what is becoming just another angry white man’s comments forum.

  • When I was poor I was smart enough not to live somewhere I couldn’t afford. I had to go to school and work hard to get a good job so I could live in Houston, have a decent standard of living and not have to live off of other people’s money. If I got poor again I’d just move back to East Texas.

  • Thanks for tracking down more details on that, Allyn. It’s good to see the elevations, so I know what I’ll be walking under in the future.

    Bernard: Practically, nothing. Both blocks north of there are Section 8 housing.

    htownproud: Public housing isn’t the problem here. Crime is relatively light, if you ignore the drug dealing on Gillette around the little park. Those dealers commute from Missouri City, according to the local cops. The folks in the public housing know that housing goes away if they get busted selling. The biggest problem we have is the neighbors trashing the place. It seems when you don’t pay for your housing, you have no respect for the neighborhood, and just throw trash everywhere.

  • doofus — you’re just wrong if you don’t think there was existing dirt poor housing stock off washington. is there still some of it left and the associated vagrants, sure. but the government isn’t planning on putting additional low income housing there (also, it has changed much faster than the 4th ward, which is more of a slow creep at the edges).

    btw — way to play race card for no apparent reason . . . .

  • doofus: Is it easy to find ways to bring race into a conversation that otherwise wasn’t about race? I’m seriously curious.

  • Old 4th ward is nothing but a story about racial discrimination; the fact that it took this long to be brought just shows the blatant ignorance of commentators here. Crack a book for once in your pointless lives.

  • Wow saying shack them all up to east tx how would u like it if they shack you where THEY beleive u belong! 4TH WARD IS BLACKS HISTORY AND ITS HALF WAY TAKING DONT COME BACK DOWN TOWN NOW TRYNA RUN US em off And For Ur info The most Drug Users are on Meth+Coke+heroin Most WHites use That when u go outside you see white people buying drugs! Then they head back to River Oaks or they condo lol! I see porches+Farrari+kinda expensive cars and WHite DRug users come to 4th ward to buy Here now take that back!

  • So dont go round talking like its all on us And for the projects being there its all about money! Some people do pay rent get educated about the needy you see wat happened during Katrina those rich blk and whites couldn’t swipe them debit cards EVEN they suffered youll never KNW wat God has in place for you. People always talking about the Ghettos and Shack houses just like they tryd to tell the indians how to live…mmmm sad when i go to montrose area you Have to worry about Sex Offenders bothering you and your kids 4real!

  • So just because its by your kind dont mean its SAFE! Lol like crime is only in the rural hoods+ Andrea Yates killed All her kids+ suburbs lil boy shoot his own dad killed + $uburbs teen kills his ex in katy woods+suburbs On the 60s Houston has a serial rapiest and killer going around wtf in the Heights! Ooh but the Ghetto is so BAd lol U ain safe no wher put it in Gods hands

    in my shoea in a sec- oneday ima give bak to my community like dewayne wade dis for hia crime+poot+

  • U can be in bad shoes anytime and those so called jobs over there are NOT for those people yeah Krogers and lubys most people work out far where they are excepted my mom worked 3 jobs we never WAnted for nothing so stop stereotyping. ONEDAY IMA GIVE BACK TO MY COMMUNITY LIKE DEWAYNE WADE DID ALSO TRAE THE TRUTH YEAH BET WE HAVE SOME D**K RYDERS THEN ….HAVE YA GOING FROM ” HES A THUG TO AW HES A SWEET HEART AWWW” GET OUTA DODGE SO FAKE LOL.COME BAK BUT MOST MY HOOD BAK BUILD SOMETHING TO HELP MY PEOPLE IN THE HOOD AND NEVER SELL OUT AND PEOPLE OF ALL COLORED WILL BE WELCOME THE DIFFERENCE IS ITS BLK OWNED IN THE MONOPOLY AND NEVA SELL OUT SIMPLY it will look nice and presntable like you see in the woodlands katy and kingwood if enough people will come together more especially blk communitys will have things and keep these Dirty Cops Away! No secret lol! The shot gun homes not good but it dont look right but i hope to get a fast food place instead of more APTS! Dont no body Eat thay half cooked unseasoned crap at them bars lol 4TH WARD WAS ALL READY TAKEN THATS ENOUGH WE CANT GO TO EUROPE AND CHANGE YALL WAY OF LIVING BLKS HAS ALREADY HAD THAT HAPPEN STOP STEALING BECAUSE WAT GOES AROUND COMES BAK! Its the point of talking about throwing who nothing to you because of how they live like they are animals! Nobody say noda about these rich white folk coming over here buying! Yall making the bill of sellers sell …So get gone hypocrites lol because wen crisis comd most yall run to the system that was created for Yall Untill others wantef to apply just like that lil White girl who won the lottery and still get warefare she got 2 KIDS NOT ALOT LET BE SOMEBODY FROM THE HOOD THE IRS WILL BE AT THE FRNT DOOR LOL.NO ITS NOT ABOUT RACE BUT ITS THE TRUTH IM PRETTY SURE YOULL FIND AN IMAGINABLE JUSTIFICATION FOR THAT B.S. LOL LOL PEOPLE READ UR BODY JUST LIKE POOR PEOPLE WHO

  • Like They made so much money off blks ( $lavery+selling them +free maids+free sex+ and taking plantations like that left alot of White Kids + grandkids+ great grand kids alot of left over Free money! Duh yall should have some stocks bonds and crap yo people built it off us! Yall wanna talk about work now hun but yall was getting the money while blks worked lol WHat goes around comes around! Got nerve to talk crap bout the less fortunate No i wont help a sorry @$$ but i will help the less fortunes like the lord say more rich are miserable then the poor these days Like said You owe to have some money because most of ya ancestor made it by using blks
    i knw ya people left ya with land and trust fundsto start a life on that they ain drop a sweat for lol lol.

  • Unlike others ancestry worked for it (mexicans asians it might be old but people who think and talk like that still exist like bak then all it is is a disguise now …BS Ain fool wangin me lol

  • Sorry for the fast spellings and words i typed it off my phone in 3 mins lol but i bet i still got my point across so nobody can sau thay dont understand wat o said my points across i bet lol

  • Okay someone enlighten me please. If this historically once thriving black community is now marginalized and undergoing gentrification, exactly WHO sold all of this property to allow gentrification? The blacks that wanted to move up right? Why must we blame whites for this? Isn’t this just a socio-economic movement not unlike many lower income neighborhoods? Those that make it leave for greener pastures and leave the lower end to fend for themselves. Isn’t that the way it always is?

  • @Jay: Do some research and in the process you will uncover the de facto implementation of 1929 City Planning Commission report. There you will find the answer to your gentrification question.

  • Is this development still happening?