Comment of the Day: Battle Hymn of the Inner Loop

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BATTLE HYMN OF THE INNER LOOP “Obsolete is obsolete. Out with the old. In with the new. That’s the Houston way. Forget living in the past. I want progress. I want Houston’s core to continue to grow and thrive. Bring in the bulldozers. What if West U was still filled with crappy little termite infested cracker boxes? Would Houston be a better place? I say No. Progress is good. Rich people want to live in big houses. If Houston refuses to accommodate them, the suburbs will gladly accept them. Let’s send the rich packing. Then we’ll let the high paying jobs and commercial development follow them outside the city limits. Houston will rot from the inside out.” [Bernard, commenting on Comment of the Day: How We’re Building the Heights]

34 Comment

  • Trashy rich want to live in big houses. Classy rich want to live in diverse, cultured neighborhoods.


    Yup, rich want to live in giant houses no matter the location. That is why only poor people live in New York City.

  • Are you saying West U is a diverse, cultured neighborhood? Or that West U is not classy?

  • OR some rich people want to live in big houses no matter the location and some want to live in more historic areas?

    People have their preferences, so let them be.

    Why do we have to throw the word trashy in there?

  • “Classy rich want to live in diverse, cultured neighborhoods.”

    Last time I checked, market forces are currently providing an incredible amount of diversity to Houston’s core. The primary goal of the preservation ordinance is to STOP diversity in its tracks and make sure all the new stuff is just like the old stuff.

  • When Bernard wants something, it’s the market. When someone else wants something, they’re evil anti-market control freaks. Got it!

    And certainly, if a few districts that amount to a tiny, tiny fraction of Houston’s housing stock are preserved, the city’s entire market will be destroyed, innovation will cease, and we will all be forced to live in moldering old shacks.

    Bernard, I christen thee Drama Mama of the Day.

  • The most expensive homes in Manhattan top $5000 per sq. ft., in Houston they top out around $300. It’s not about size, it’s about quality – of space, location, and lifestyle.

  • The OP has a point.

    Who wants to end up like Dallas?

  • Who wants to end up in Dallas anyway.. Haha..

  • Smash every bungalow in the Heights, Norhill and Woodland Heights and replace them with 4500 sq ft million dollar testaments to capitalism. Take down every oak tree on Woodland, Bayland and Highland to make room for the largest houses that the market forces dictate. Rip out the old store fronts on 19th and replace them with some stucco thing from the burbs with a Borders, Wing Stop and cell phone store. Take every inch of old industrial sites in the Heights and fill them with 24 story highrises and big box suburban retailers. Just recreate the Woodlands inside the loop (minus the woods) because no one wants to own historic houses and no one should be able to get in the way of capitalism to preserve what little character there is left in this plastic city of suburban sprawl.
    But be forewarned. Houston is not a self made or self sustaining City. We rely on the influx of people and business from other parts of the country. These people are not going to be too excited about temps in the 90s for four to five months out of the year. If we tear down every bit of history and identity in exchange for the newest and bigest thing, we run the risk of becoming a faceless city with no identity. Cities like Boston, NY, Chicago and San Francisco are incredibly expensive compared to Houston. Market forces would dictate that Houston should clean up when it comes to siting for corporate hqs and facilities. But we don’t. In fact companies prefer incredibly expensive east coast and west coast cities for a reason. People graduating from the top schools want to live in cities that are not just suburban sprawl with a few sky scrapers in the middle. If we cast away the few remaining historic homes in favor of an urban version of suburban sprawl, we will confirm our reputation as a hot, smoggy, ugly city that you would only live in if you had to.

  • Oh, I think we have a new nominee for Drama-Mama of the Day. Yale St, who apparently thinks that anyone who might want to build a larger home for themselves in the Heights must somehow be advocating the clear-cutting of the entire City, and that anyone who feels they need more than 1500sq.ft to live in is somehow a slave to consumerism.

    Something tells me a little moderation would help on both sides of this argument.

  • Let’s assume the day starts at 8 AM. Then the honor can be shared.

  • In fact – Bernard’s comment was yesterday! So no problem. The day is young! Let the games begin!

  • Oh, it might be fun to live in a 4000 sq. ft. house – live in the usable 1000 or so sq. ft. area; shut off the rest and only use it for Halloween parties. Scatter some Tarot cards around and seat a skeleton at a table; let the cobwebs gather over it during the year for atmosphere. Very Collinwoodish. Really, no insulting anyone who needs 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, but it seems to be increasingly beyond comprehension that someone might not want to heat, cool, clean and furnish unused space in a house. Though I guess I could have a bedroom for each dog….

  • It might also be worth pointing out that in terms of corporate hqs Houston IS cleaning up. As of 2009 Houston had more Fortune 500 company headquarters than any other city except New York, 4 times as many as Chicago and 5 times as many as SF. Boston didn’t make the list. So I guess they must be not finding it too hard to attract people to our “plastic city of suburban sprawl”

    New York NY 43
    Houston TX 27
    Dallas TX 14
    Atlanta GA 9
    Chicago IL 9
    Minneapolis MN 9
    San Francisco CA 7
    St. Louis MO 7
    Charlotte NC 6
    Los Angeles CA 6
    Philadelphia PA 6
    Pittsburgh PA 6

  • Hellsing, presumambly you mean the 1000sq.ft that you would find useable. An average family of 4 or 5 would find it difficult to live in 1000 sq.ft. Again, I would suggest there must be some middle ground between 1000sq.ft and 4000sq.ft.

  • Jimbo:

    For 2010, Houston lost three and is down to 24. This obviously is in connection with the demolition of the Ashland Tea House and the plans for the Yale St. Walmart. But seriously, we should have seen a big jump and not a drop. California and Texas have the same number of Fortune 500 HQs even though California is a basket case and Texas is so business friendly it would make Ayn Rand blush. Why hasn’t Houston cleaned up in the economic slump when there is a major motivation to cut overhead and head to cheaper digs? Simple. Companies do not have confidence that they can attract top talent to a city like Houston. Preserving historic neighborhoods isn’t the sole deciding factor, but it will be a factor if the developers are allowed to raze the city of all its historic homes and buildings. Face it, Houston can be a very faceless and ugly place. The Heights and other historic areas are the last vestiges of personality that this City has. Give that away, and don’t be surprised if the corp HQ number continues to drop.

  • As I said – “No insulting anyone who needs 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms”. I agree about the middle ground. With retirees living longer and more people choosing not to marry until later in life and have fewer children, if any, not everyone needs 3-story houses, but that’s all that any developers seem to want to build. Beside the living room, my cottage has 2 official bedrooms, a breakfast room/pantry, a computer room, a study and a laundry room with storage. My dogs love the large yard, as do I. I seriously doubt that I’m the only individual willing to pay the property taxes I cough up for my location, which is mostly for the land, but don’t need or want surplus rooms to take care of.

  • Dear Yale Street: YOU JUST GOT BURNED!!

    From Jimbo:
    It might also be worth pointing out that in terms of corporate hqs Houston IS cleaning up. As of 2009 Houston had more Fortune 500 company headquarters than any other city except New York, 4 times as many as Chicago and 5 times as many as SF. Boston didn’t make the list. So I guess they must be not finding it too hard to attract people to our “plastic city of suburban sprawl”

    New York NY 43
    Houston TX 27
    Dallas TX 14
    Atlanta GA 9
    Chicago IL 9
    Minneapolis MN 9
    San Francisco CA 7
    St. Louis MO 7
    Charlotte NC 6
    Los Angeles CA 6
    Philadelphia PA 6
    Pittsburgh PA 6

  • Yale St – I think you’re giving a bit too much credit to the tastes of “top talent” that Houston needs to be attracting. I have several coworkers who moved from Boston, the West Coast, etc and they were more than happy to come to Houston, cut their rent or mortgage payments in half, and bank the savings, with plenty left over for payments on the BMW that they could never hope to afford before.
    “The Heights and other historic areas are the last vestiges of personality that this City has.”

    Tell that to Memorial, Bellaire, and especially West U – three of the most desirable areas of Houston that are all but unrecognizable compared to what they looked like 30 years ago.

  • For 2010 California lost 41 to go from 98 to 57 whilst we lost 3. This certainly reinforces the poor state of the California economy but does little in terms of analyzing the number in Houston since California encompasses plenty of development happy cities of it’s own. Primarily of course trends like that are not following companies moving, they are follwoing the rise and fall of companies so they are maybe not as useful as we would like to think.

    @Hellsing, a computer room! You have a room for a computer! Fancy heating a lighting a space in your home that does nothing except house a computer. Perhaps it’s in what was once the kitchen :)

  • I imagine that a lot of people are like us: we lived in a 1500 sqft old bungalow in the Heights during our DINKhood, but cashed out and moved to the burbs once the children came. Now we have 3000+ sqft and 4 baths for our growing family and for visiting family. We have no extended family in Houston (this thread has already established the fact that no one is actually from Houston) so we have to house a lot of people throughout the year. The big house helps. We do miss Heights-style living, but function trumps form now, and the burbs aren’t that bad.

    Another thing: A lot of professionals that I work with have no intention of living in Houston long term. They are here for the cash and aren’t terribly concerned about building up the fabric of the inner loop. They may not particularly like living in suburban Houston, but its cheap and temporary.

  • No, Jimbo, it’s a small room off the breakfast room/pantry about 5′ X 8′ that used to be a porch before it was enclosed and it has a fascinating device on the desk called an electric lamp so the power isn’t on all the time. When it needs cooling, I turn on the window A/C. The kitchen is the room with the cooking and food storage devices. And I will say again that I’m not insulting anyone who wants more space. I can type the phrase slower if that would help.

  • CV, a lot of professionals I know, including myself, had no intention of staying in Houston long term but have subsequently ended up here far longer than we thought and liked it much more than we thought. Almost all of the boom areas created vast suburban tracts, this is not just a Houston thing. The Inland Empire stretching into the desert from LA for instance is a sea of faceless brown suburbs that make Houston’s suburbs look positively neighborly.

  • Sorry, was just trying to inject a little brevity, had no idea you would take it so seriously. My kitchen snark was just geared at the fact that you had missed that room in your initial list.

  • CV said it best. People come to Houston to work and make money. I was born here and I’ve lived here all of my life and I am here to tell you that Houston has lost any character it once had. The large majority of residents have no sense of the city’s history and they just don’t care. In fact, if you live in Katy and work in the Galleria there is a decent chance you’ve never been east of the West Loop. The reason we are finding it so difficult to have The Heights reflect the character of the city is because the city has no character to reflect.

  • Houston has lots of character. Just drive through town on 45. Lots of shady businesses and shady characters walking around. Sex shop lining the freeways. Lovely place – full of character. We should focus on being more like Dallas.

  • Those chasing “character” are most often are running away from something else.

  • And I know plenty of people who are here for med school who cannot wait to get the hell out of here and go to a state with no tort reform (virtual professional suicide) in order to get away from sprawl central. You all are talking about the fact that people come to Houston just to make money as though it is a good thing. It is not. People need to come here because our city is better than others. If we organize our land use for the benefit of a small number of developers who are hell bent on cramming as much sq ftage into every free parcel as they can, we will end up with a city that just gets uglier and more unliveable by the day. There is plenty of land ready for 4500 sq ft monsters inside the loop. There is no need to knock down all the historic buildings. The comparison of the Heights to other parts of town with cheap 1940-70s tract housing is pathetic.

  • Ah yes, because the big difference in tract housing is whether it was built pre or post WW2. Pre WW2 tract housing …. quality historic construction. Post WW2 tract housing … cheap tat. What a ludicrous generalization!

  • Yale St,

    I think coming to Houston to work and make money is a great thing – let’s face it, we don’t have mountains, the weather is horrible (except for when it’s not), and the beach is too far away to be much of a draw. No one is going to come to Houston because of the city’s natural beauty – they will come here because there is no better city in the US to pursue the American dream. What exactly is wrong with that? Last time I checked, most of us do have to make money to survive – there is no shame in having to earn a living. Houston fosters an entrepenurial spirit bar none. Personally, I think that is great. You can keep your East Coast, blue-blood cities and your reformed Southern Aristocracy – I’ll take good old fashioned, pull yourself up by the bootstraps raw capitalism any day.

    Y’all so down on Houston need to go back and re-read some of the quotes on There are thousands of reasons why people do love Houston – and not all of them have fallen under the bulldozer of Perry Homes.

  • Apparently, everyone on here deals with absolutes. Why can’t their be a balance between making money/free market with some sort of restraint/planning for the future?

    Honestly, is every one going to continue to want a 3,000 sq ft house for 3 ppl? What about the future? Seems America, and by default, Houston, has lost sight of the future.

  • Apologies, Jimbo – lost a beloved co-worker here. My wondering why the nicest people get cancer and the nasty ones live to torment others seemingly forever colored my entire day.

  • i’m calling bs on the med-school statement. the texas med center is the best in the country and people kill to practice here. im discounting all of your other arguments based purely on this hyperbole.

  • Regarding character: Keep Austin Weird, and Keep Houston Rich.

    Because as LT said, it pretty much is all we have going for us here.