Apartments Open Where Montrose Fiesta Closed; Texas Cafeteria Bows Out of N. Shepherd


Photo of the AstroWorld Bridge: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


26 Comment

  • Gee thanks for stating the obvious Parker. She has shown zero leadership or interest when it comes to Public Works. The roads in her District were crappy when she was on the Council years ago and little has changed .
    How about not funding festivals, parades and other “feel good” items for two years and dedicate that money to
    road reconstruction? She has been the worst at public relations in thoroughly explaining re-Build Houston and why we are in an “accrual” phase. Then she made a big deal in June/July out of giving each Councilperson $1,000,000 in discretionary funds ostensibly to fix potholes, light up parks, etc……but according to Ellen Cohen’s office (as of December 1), her administration has not given the Council offices the parameters on which they can spend it. Can she just resign already and go be the head of the Human Rights Commission or something? 17 years of her in government is enough!

  • Almeda Rd is not the 3rd Ward. As the article states, it is the Museum District. Not that we couldn’t use some gastropubs in the 3rd Ward…

  • I always find it funny that a grocery store is demolished to make way for an apartment complex. Meanwhile, across the street, an apartment complex is demolished to make way for a grocery store.

  • 24th St. just east of north shepard is staring to look wayyyyy different…hope my local Fiesta’s doesnt go the way of the former Montrose location.

  • @I Love Heights Walmart: Thanks for noting. We’ve updated it to Museum Park.

  • Technically though, Almeda Road is in the former 3rd Ward.

  • @I.P. Freely: Circle of life, man.

  • Good for the guy that paid his property tax in folded up $1’s. I can’t believe he was arrested. There is so much “civil disobedience” that people are not arrested for — and even congradulated for. Yet this guy takes a ‘stand’ against high property taxes — and actually PAYS them — and is still arrested?
    Our property tax bill was over $250,000. I’d have loved to pay that way.
    Oh, and renters — especially inner loop / Montrose renters: Do you know just how much of your rent goes to property tax? At one of our Montrose buildings, property tax = almost 3 MONTHS of our total collected rent. So if you’re paying $1,000/month in rent, $250/month goes towards paying property tax. If we look at the total NOI each month, property tax eats about 85% of it (different at each property obviously). Property tax increases are responsible for a huge % of the rental increases people complain about inside the loop. We made more money on our apts a few years ago when rents and taxes were lower.

  • Re Allen parkway. I hope there are plans for more pedestrian crossings over Allen parkway. Especially close to Dunlavy where the the boat launch complex is going. Too many people play frogger there and it will only get worse once all the park renovations are complete.

  • Despite my frequent travel to West Texas where I see tons of windmills, I am still shocked that 11% of the state’s power generation is now attributable to that source. That is certainly significant! I never would have thought this was possible 10 years ago, especially in an oil and gas state with a powerful coal lobby that obviously owns the governor.

    What a proud achievement for our state!

  • being that bars and shops routinely come and go, that Fiesta was always a sentimental focal point for the montrose I had moved into. couldn’t have picked a better symbol of the recent changes to the area myself than the Suzanne. For better or worse, well done Marv.

  • @ILHW…. uhhh my family has owed property one block from this location on Almeda (77004) for decades and that area has always been and still is considered “third ward” by locals regardless of what developers call it.

    I’m young, but I’ve been told in the old days the area was called the “Binz District” to keep it separate from the “Museum District” before the new development happened.

    My GM is 85 and has LOTS of stories about the area, very interesting…

  • Cody,
    Yep. I’m renting out a single townhouse in the loop and the annual property tax I pay = 3.12 months of rent.

  • Progg: A Montrose townhome I rent is even worse. Though I’m likely under renting it. I rent it for $2k/month, property tax is over $8k! So 4x+ rent.
    Yeah, renters pay property tax (and assessment tax, and management district tax, and special drainage tax). Remember that when you vote and think you’re sticking it to those evil rich landowners. The city says “Here landlord, here is your new tax bill” Landlords then say “Here renter, here is your notice of rent increase”. And since the taxes are a cost that’s across the board and effects all owners, the market all goes up in kind.

  • Re: Tax payer arrested. Well to his discredit it clearly states in the article that he was arrested for refusing to leave the tax office and resisting arrest, not for his origami laden payment of taxes. Not exactly ‘civil disobedience.’

  • if only 3 out of 12 months can cover all of your property taxes then you’re making good profit and building up a lot of equity with nothing to complain about. I’ve tried to compare overall taxation levels against other states, with tons of caveats of course, and Texans are still doing much better than most. not sure what basis could be used to define property taxes as being too high outside of return on investment within the state which would be near impossible to ever accurately peg and you can’t compare against commercial taxation levels.

  • Velvet Taco can be a new cultural hub for anis chivani until the plutocrats run him out of Washington Avenue

  • I’ve lived in 3rd Ward for almost 10 years and I’ve always considered 288 the western boundary. There’s a big difference in the character of the neighborhood when you cross that bridge on Elgin. Yeah, Almeda rd was originally 3rd Ward but most people wouldn’t call it that nowadays. Giant freeway corridors have a way of doing that.

  • @joel: I’m pretty sure that “sentimental focal point” Fiesta was a Safeway and a Weingarten’s not too long ago. Everything changes.

  • Athwart of life.

  • Many businesses on Almeda consider their neighborhood to be third ward. The Post office at the former Weingartens on Almeda is considered by many to be the Third Ward post office.

  • Cody: You know very well that the property tax you pay is not JUST City of Houston. Quit telling stories. If you are going to complain about property taxes, then complain to the appropriate school district, county, Port of Houston, City, Hospital District, and whoever else has taxing authority. Don’t simplify to get a point across. Sure taxes are high. So are sales taxes. At least you can cover your rental property by off-loading it to the renter, and probably a little bit to cover your own home.

  • Third ward was officially dissolved over 100 years ago. Why is it that people continue to use the name? Is it to simply identify a historical black part of Houston? Parts of it have been rebranded as Midtown, Binz, Museum District, Museum Park, Riverside Terrace, etc.

  • @ Cody: Its a little bit disingenuous to say that your rental rate hikes are the direct result of an increasing property tax bill. The tax rates haven’t changed much, its the valuations. Valuations on income-producing commercial property (incl. multifamily with 20+ units) reflect an increase in market demand as reflected by higher rent and lower vacancy. Your rent hikes are occurring because you are a profit-seeking price-taker and the market demand has indeed increased. If you could obtain a higher rent without eroding your tenant base then you would charge it. Conversely, if the market imploded then you would take tenants at a lower rent or even at a net loss so long as doing so served to minimize your financial losses.

    Moreover, on income-producing commercial properties, the appraisal district takes into account the effect of property tax expenses on your cash flow. This means that when they adjust your valuation or your tax rate upward that there is an offsetting effect on the value. And indeed, that’s how it is in the real world (pretty much), because you don’t buy a property without projecting your property tax expenses and factoring those costs against what you are willing to pay the seller.

    Your smaller multifamily properties are different because they’re getting valued on an adjusted cost basis, which really and truly is bullshit (and extremely unethical, IMO) because they are not calibrating their cost models to an adequate sample of sale comps from different land uses or submarkets. Nevertheless, the same principle applies that you as a landlord are charging rent according to what you can get as a price-taker and bidding on properties based on a pro forma that includes property taxes as an expense; if the taxes were lower then you’d pay more for the asset but rental market conditions would be what they are.

    Over a longer time horizon and given some more esoteric assumptions, its true that the geography of property tax rates can distort the willingness of the market to supply new housing and that this could trigger a vicious cycle scenario; however that doesn’t really seem to be a problem in Houston given current levels and geographic patterns of apartment construction.

  • Memebag, understandably things change, but it’s the culture of things that one places sentiment in. I’d imagine the transition from weingartens to safeway and finally fiesta was less drastic than that of fiesta to HEBs whole foods wannabe. their was an entire customer base at Fiesta that seems to have all but vanished from sight.

  • @joel: There was also a cultural change going from Weingarten’s to Fiesta. None of them were ever as fabulous as Disco Kroger.