C’mon Everybody, Haul on Over to the East End with Us

Homes Moved to Lubbock Grove, Near Sampson and Preston Streets, East End, Houston

Two of the 6 wood-framed Victorian refugees renewable-energy exec Michael Skelly and his wife Anne Whitlock had moved last month to lots adjacent to the red-brick former fire house at 319 Sampson St. they’re renovating as their home are still not spoken for, according to Lisa Gray’s account: “One of the houses will become Whitlock and Skelly’s guest house. They’ve been trying to entice friends to buy and rehab the others, to join what Anne calls ‘our crazy adventure.’ Generally, the couple’s friends aren’t interested in moving themselves — though some like the idea for one of their kids, or as an investment in an area sure to gentrify. Real-estate broker Tom Bacon, a friend of Skelly’s, referred his son Drew, a 25-year-old artist who recently moved back from Brooklyn. In the little house across from the firehouse, he’ll be only a short walk from his studio on Preston. So far, Whitlock and Skelly have enticed one friend from their own generation: Diana Espitía, who serves on the Houston Parks Board with Michael. Espitía, who now lives in Southgate, plans to connect two of the houses, forming a home large enough for her, her teenage daughter, her brother and her parents, who are in their 60s. Her parents, says Espitía, love the new neighborhood; it reminds them of their old home in Bogotá.

Photo: Janusz Design

Any More Takers?

16 Comment

  • It should be a great deal for Michael Skelly with his brick firehouse if OTHERS pay for restoration of the other houses. The firehouse would be the creme’ de la creme’ of the “historic district”, and without them it will just be another odd-ball restoration. That is …. IF he is successful in finding the less cognitive investors….

  • Do not mistake a one off Looney Tune project by an eccentirc wealthy guy to entertain and amuse his friends with crazy stories for some sort of real interest in these piles of splinters hauled off to garbage in the crack district.

  • Looks like a neat project that will help move along development around it. But the last line of the article above shows why the East End has a long, long way to go. I do not think that realtors will be quoting that line in the blurbs for town homes on har.com.

  • Old School..Bogota has become a very nice place to live, I’ve heard. But its reputation from 20-30 years ago remains. Compared to the rest of Houston, the East End is a relatively safe area, it just looks sketchy. Once gentrification is well established I’ll feel less safe because there will be more targets living over here.

  • I see no reason to insult people who are trying to make a difference. If you can’t help, just shut up and stand aside, nobody needs your negativity. I applaud this couple for showing true Houston spirit, it’s a can do town and this exemplifies it to perfection.

  • “I see no reason to insult people who are trying to make a difference. If you can’t help, just shut up and stand aside, nobody needs your negativity.” Well isn’t that just the pot calling the kettle black. You’re one of the most negative people on here, and you’re complaining that people are doing too much complaining. That’s rich.

  • a fool and his money are easily parted. it appears the fool’s friends have better sense.

  • Although Bogota has some very nice mansions worthy of River Oaks (I’ve been to Bogota last year), surely they are referring to the favelas full of red cinderblock and corrugated roof shanties where the above “homes” would fit right it.

  • Congratulations to Whitlock & Skelly for standing up and actually doing something. Criticizing and maligning these people does nothing to advance our city, at least they have the gumption to actually put their money where their mouth is and work for change. Hey @commonsense, for all of your narcissistic babbling, why don’t you actually get off your ass and so something meaningful.

  • And just a short walk from Voodoo Queen and the light rail station! The penus coladus is great if you havent had it yet!

  • @Higher Density, we have a very different opinion of what Doing Something Meaningful is. The above is a circus stunt, not doing something meaningful.
    Building new homes, developing land, increasing property values, providing hundreds of jobs for subcontractors and their families … now THAT is meaningful.

  • I have mixed feelings. I just moved from over there and i know the area. I’m glad someone is making use of the fire station building but the rest of the project confuses me. That part of Sampson, actually all of Sampson, is kind of ugly and very mixed-use. I don’t see rich people being happy there, and I don’t think the character of the neighborhood is going to change that much. If you go a couple of blocks from there in any direction the houses are nice and well maintained, but that’s not what the bigger streets in the neighborhood are like. There’s a factory just blocks away that makes a constant sound, plus many rail lines just to the north. There is no decent grocery store for miles. The light rail seems irrelevant to the kind of people Skelly is trying to recruit, and he’s moved what look like a bunch of servant quarters and no garages. If this was some kind of artist colony that was estabishing itself I’d get it, but it sounds like what he wants is an island of well-off people who will rehab some derelict structurs for him and add value to his own property.

  • Wrong. It’s meaningful. Very, meaningful, actually.

  • You can’t even be positive on a thread without someone insulting you, I mean WTF

  • It will be very interesting, and cheers for Michael Skelly and Ann Whitlock! Some of the homes in the Heritage Society and in the Sixth Ward were in as rough condition. I drove the area out of curiosity and can see the potential for development, though that nearly always has the downside of pricing out the current residents.

  • Great idea…great location…need more like this