Comment of the Day: An Atmosphere of Mistrust

COMMENT OF THE DAY: AN ATMOSPHERE OF MISTRUST “I’m inclined to believe the owner on this one. Who knows better what Sharifi plans to do with the property, than Sharifi himself? It’s not just that he said there were no immediate plans to develop the property – how many times have we heard that one — it’s the good brick award and the quip about townhomes that does it — for me at least. The real story here is the level of mistrust that exists between the public and the building community (developers but also architects, engineers, and contractors). It’s a nationwide phenomenon that’s especially strong here in Houston. There’s a common misconception that our lack of zoning leaves us more vulnerable. We’ve suffered a lot of bad development since the 1960s. It has made us paranoid. And with affordable garden apartments Inside the Loop falling one-by-one to luxury mid rises, it’s understandable that people in complexes like the Gramercy Place Apartments would be especially paranoid.” [ZAW, commenting on The Confusing Continuing Story of the Gramercy Place Apartments]

13 Comment

  • Reality is reality and part of the reality of the “Inner Loop” is that it is destined to become a desirable neighborhood which means it will become an expensive neighborhood to live in which means development of high-density housing at high prices even for rentals which may be the real reason why Buckhead decided to rent rather than sell units at 1717 Bissonnet. And that will not be the only highrise in the area. Those who believe it will be are fools. As are those who believe developers should adopt a more “altruistic” approach to residential neighborhoods. Why would they? Many of the people who made the fortunes that allow them to live in these neighborhods weren’t particularly “altruistic” themselves.

  • I like to call the paranoia the Perry Homes Syndrome

  • Matt: that’s the kind of attitude that fuels mistrust. You’re basically saying that single family neighborhoods Inside the Loop should not be preserved, because we need higher densities in these areas. In other words, if you own a house there, don’t get too attached, because you might be coerced into selling it to make way for a mid rise.
    If you want developers to run roughshod over neighborhoods in the name of density, that’s fine. But don’t get angry and start screaming about NIMBYs when people object.

  • alternatively, people that feel just a few midrises in their near-town neighborhood exhibits some kind of personal treason on their well-being, livelihood adn the sancitty of their ‘hood probably have no business livign in the center of a growing city. southampton resorting to outright paranoism and arbitrage against existing city laws over something as silly as one mid-rise did a tremendous disservice to your cause and continues on to this day.

    this is about existing neighborhoods going to battle to maintain their own well-being at the expense of others.

    you’re so blinded you can’t even see the generational imbalances you’re so intent on preserving as well.

    southampton is preserved and will not be going anywhere anytime soon, that doesn’t mean we have to resort to some Parisian museumification and take it out on those looking to move up and into the good parts of town. southampton can grow and be maintained just as Houston is all around it.

    these always end up being one-way conversations, both because of the neighborhoods that are unwilling to compromise as well as the developers. a lot of folks play an equal role in this so don’t talk as if NIMBY isn’t a dirty word for a reason.

  • as for what lays at the root of most of these southampton fortunes, aside from exorbitant health-care billing that is crippling this country for future generations, that’s a story i’d certainly like to read more on.

  • Gramercy Place Apartment residents need to get on the upward mobility bandwagon.

  • I’ll confess, I could have been clearer on this. The real issue isn’t density. I think everyone is fine with density, and if they’re not, then I agree they have no business living near the center of a big city.
    But density for density’s sake isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If all you do is pack as many people as you can into a single square mile, then the result isn’t very livable. Gulfton is Houston’s densest residentialneighborhood

  • Density: If all you do is cram as many people as you can into a single square mile, the result isn’t very pretty. Gulfton is actually Houston’s densest residential neighborhood, and nobody would argue that’s a great place to live. (Don’t get me started on the neglect of that neighborhood by the way.)
    Rather than density for density’s sake, the key should be to make our city more dense while also making it more livable. Hike and bike trails criss-crossing our city. Clean, efficient transit that goes where you need it to go. Plenty of parks. New residential High rises were they are appropriate. Mid rises to replace vacant or underutilized commercial properties. And yes, safe, stable (read: not threatened) single family neighborhoods.
    Houstonians aren’t stupid. It’s not about a bunch of spoiled richlings complaining about density. There are very real concerns.

  • Commenter #1—the reason the 1717 Bissonet is initially being developed as rentals has to do with financing. If Buckhead Partners wanted to sell these units as condos, they would be unable to get construction financing until a certain number, as determined by the lender, were pre-sold. This leads to larger carrying costs for the developer. When you put something up as rental, the lender can see a future income stream, and thus lend the money more quickly.
    As to the OP’s comment on mistrust of the development community, it would seem that most Texas developers never took that Business Ethics class offered as an elective on their way to a degree.

  • The fact is that the neighbors are not part of the transaction. The transaction happens between a developer who legally acquired land and new customers who will come from an outside area. Therefore developers do not have to and do not listen to them.

  • I agree with ShadyHeightster, it’s a shame most develpers actually don’t live in the neighborhood they’re affecting, maybe if they did they’d act differently. I mean if they lived right behind one of these towers they may have a different perspective. I grew up in Southhampton and I’m not thrilled they’re building this very average building, I care less about it’s height than it’s prefab cheap look. Southhampton deserved a Villa de Este or a Huntingdon not a this neo georgian mess. I think the opposition has handled this very poorly, they’ve come off as arrogant and from the start they should have realized this is HOUSTON, they were never going to win, instead the focus should have been on the aesthetics of the Ashby building, they should have forced the developer to build a building worthy of this great neighborhood, instead they’ve antagonized him beyond belief, too bad, we all have lost because of their miscalculation.

  • Hahahaha, ethics. Altruism! Oh, puh-leese…

    The problem with ethics is that you can use it to justify doing almost anything. So, ironically, when people invoke ethics in a conversation like this, its usually because they are themselves greedy bastards.

  • By all means Shannon, DO lecture about people coming off as arrogant.