Comment of the Day: Grading the Replacements

COMMENT OF THE DAY: GRADING THE REPLACEMENTS “I’d love to see any examples you can provide of [lovely architecture] being replaced by a poorly built McMansion. For every one you might find, I can show you a thousand where a tiny, usless, worn out, obsolete, shack was town down and replaced with one or more new, modern, luxurious, atractive homes. Are they all perfect? Certainly not. But I think the transformation that has occurred in the Inner Loop over the past 25 years is nothing short of amazing. I only hope [it] can continue for another 25 years. Better homes inside the Loop. Better apartments inside the Loop. More people inside the Loop. More money inside the Loop. More shopping inside the Loop. More restaurants inside the Loop. More jobs inside the Loop. More density. More energy. More everything.” [Bernard, commenting on Comment of the Day: What Happens To Those Small, Stylin’ Inner-Loop Homes?]

25 Comment

  • Your use of adjectives such as “lovely” “atractive” [sic] and “better” makes your argument too subjective to be debated.

  • Just so you know, “lovely architecture” was written by someone else. Sue me more one typo of “attractive”.

    I guess “better” could “possibly” be considered subjective to someone who is completely clueless about inner loop redevelopment. If this were my blog, I’d be happy to show you some before and after photos of inner loop tear downs and the new construction that replaced it. I guess everyone would be entitled to define “better” on their own, but I’m guessing that 99.99% of rational adults would agree with my definition of “better”. If you care to disagree, so be it.

  • The best adjective for all these “nouveau” architectural disasters is sterile. Be it Houston or Los Angeles or Manhattan, older is better. Older has character. Older has integrity. Older has a feeling of home.

    Many of the homes in Los Angeles that have kept their market value are the “mid- century” homes scattered about that have either been maintained or restored. Even some of the otherwise boring “ranch style” homes that either the builder or an owner added something here or there that makes the house different and interesting.

    Many of the homes in Los Angeles that have lost their market value are the new “Country French/Tuscany/Regency” homes that just simply lack the feel of an older home.

    They lack any real architectural interest simply because they all look the same. And that is true here as well.

    And they’re sterile. They all have the same treatments. Same granite/travertine. Same wood. Same this. Same that.

    But to each his own. It’s just sad to see the past discarded which it is. Even the shacks sometimes have potential other than merely being torn down and replaced. All it takes is a little imagination.

    That was what was so sad about Wilshire Village. It was different from other complexes. The architect dared to be a little different. Those odd windows in particular. Only someone with some imagination would have incorporated angular windows that jutted out from the room.

    But alas to some they were just a reminder of how old and dated Wilshire Village had become. To some who like boring and sterile..

  • I guess everyone would be entitled to define “better” on their own, but I’m guessing that 99.99% of rational adults would agree with my definition of “better”. If you care to disagree, so be it.

    Or 99% of pretentious adults who just want to feel pretentious by buying overpriced, boring, and yes, sterile homes that have no real reflection of intrinsic value other than the price tag.

  • The replacements: Perry/Tricon/whoever townhouses…. little boxes, made of ticky tacky, and they all look just the same.

  • more hotties inside the loop!?!?

  • i can think of tons of great restaurants and bars that have closed over the last few years and can only think of a handful of new businesses that are really worth mentioning.

    you should basically say it’s gotten better if your looking to spend more money because washington ave. and the montrose are about 10x less fun than they used to be.

  • “Improvment” is a matter of one’s values and in Texas, nothing suceeds like excess.
    Plan for in-loop: remove all trees, build lot line to lot line, add patina of sophistication (re: cheese closets, gift wrapping rooms) sell and run.
    Goal? Push all those troublesome low to middle income people out into the suburbs.

  • Plan for in-loop: remove all trees, build lot line to lot line, add patina of sophistication (re: cheese closets, gift wrapping rooms) sell and run.

    Hey, don’t knock the gift wrapping rooms. It’s one of the better features of Candy Spelling’s $150 million “cozy little cottage” in Holmby Hills. That and the entrance hall that could accomodate a 747. I don’t think she has a cheese closet. Maybe that’s why it’s not selling.

  • Wow! the Granolas are out in force. Fact of the matter is there are a lot of houses have asbestos shingles, subpar wiring, lead paint, windows that don’t open, and are fire traps that maybe shouldn’t be preserved. They have been used as crackhouse, prostitution dens and regular places for the better elements of society. The Heights was known as a ghetto area up until recently. I know many of the posters on this site are hell bent on everyone living in a 1200 square foot bungalow with no garage for their family of 5, but it’s not realistic. If I am going to invest upwards of half a mil on my home, I expect it to meet my needs (including location). There are differences in the generic boxes that are being built and true custom homes. It happens in town; it happens in the suburbs. It’s not being pretentious, uppity or elitist. It’s providing the best home possible for your family. Many of the same bungalows, ranches and other track houses that people are so hell bent on praising here were the homoginized, bland houses of the past (Sears houses for example-many of which are in the Heights). This is part of the reason that in Savannah the antebellum houses are not included in the historical district by the owners of the colonial homes.

    In Houstobn, these houses that are driving up property values and paying more in taxes, are the exact homes that will probably save smaller homes with infrastructure revenues such as flood control and increased police presence. Houston has and will always be a more organic place to live. Things change, restaurants come and go, hot spots change. Desirable neighborhoods will eb and flow in popularity. And when you think about it, if people have such a big problem with it, pool your money and buy the houses yourself. That is the only way the neighborhoods will stay homogenious. It is quite ridiculous and akin to segrgation of the 50’s, 60’s.

  • McKatz – “The Heights was known as a ghetto until recently” Wht do you mean by that? And when is recently?

    As to homogeneity – there is nothing more homogenous than a post-war subdivision, and bringing the suburban esthetic to the city is what many people are so unhappy about. Is a thriving urban environment really about two drugstores on every corner?

  • Many of the same bungalows, ranches and other track houses that people are so hell bent on praising here were the homoginized, bland houses of the past.

    But many people have bought them and redone them and are quite happy with them and ended up paying a lot less for the renovation, including making them energy-efficient, than they would have for what would have replaced them. Sorry but many people like the old windows and the old doors and the old flooring and the old cabinets and fixtures which are not bland at all in many cases and quite unique to many of the houses in the hands of someone with some imagination. As for the blandness of it all, go to Washington and see how bland you think all the row houses are that have been renovated instead of being torn down. If you want “chi-chi” and new and homogenous take it to the suburbs. Please. Every city has its challenges to restoration and preservation. In New Orleans, it’s termites. In Houston, it’s the “chi-chi” crowd that wants houses that scream they have money and nothing more. That and the greedy developers who know a sucker when they see one. And Houston has a lot of them. The patron saint of developers in Houston is PT Barnum.

  • Higher prices inside the loop……

  • From wikipedia: McMansion is a pejorative term used to describe a middle class house, particularly in the United States, that is rapidly constructed using modern labor-saving techniques in a manner reminiscent of food production at McDonald’s fast food restaurants.
    If some people have to google pejorative, I’ll understand. But you’re right Bernard, [it] WILL continue for the next 25 years – because most (granted, not all, but most) of those “new, modern, luxurious (barf), attractive (double barf)” structures, be they residential or commercial, will be “usless [sic], worn out, obsolete, shack[s]” ready for tear down by then. But the plebes want these monstrosities because its what they’ve been TOLD they want. It is sad, frustrating, obnoxious, pretentious, annoying, and nauseating. Sure, there are a lot of houses with “character” that have gone to seed and cannot be rehabbed. You know why? Because the families that could be living there keeping up the maintenance and keeping the structure and the neighborhood alive have become convinced that anything under 3,500 square feet of living space with a 3 car garage is evidence of abject poverty, nothing less than granite or travertine are sanitary, and its frankly embarrassing to leave any undeveloped land or trees on the lot, except for the sago palms and scrawny oaks strapped to the ground because they’re too feeble to stay upright on their own, of course. Sorry if I sound grumpy, I guess I haven’t had enough granola today.

  • Isn’t Bernard a realtor?

  • Hyperbole gets on my nerves.

    Would someone with more initiative than me please post 5 nice recent “teardowns” replaced w/McMansions/townhouses. How hard can that be?

    The payoff: Smoke-breathing Bernard has promised to then post a list (addresses please, Bernie) of FIVE THOUSAND “tiny””wornout” “shacks” that were replaced with “new, modern attractive” homes all (his contention) INSIDE THE LOOP. (BERNIE’S RATIO @ 1 to 1000, per his post).

    I don’t think he can do it.

  • lol I think he’s was a builder. Or maybe a developer.

  • The only way to provide the list is if someone had information on the existing house and then also knew that it had been torn down. The only instance I think of is if someone who sold their house drove by recently and was shocked to find it had been torn down. Then they would have evidence of the “before” condition and could also show the “after”. Maybe a realtor would have access to that type of information? Can they access expired MLS information?

  • Here is an example of how good design and imagination can turn a small space into a beautiful home.

    While this was a noted architects’ studio and then his home, any of the “shacks” as Bernard and others refer to them can be turned into an equally beautiful home.

    Of course if this home had been in Houston, a developer would have bought it and torn it down simply because the lot was large enough to build two or three or possibly four homes or townhomes.

  • I’m not sure it would be that hard to come up with 5,000 instances of small home teardown/lot-consuming new build. Just roll through Bellaire/Meyerland/Heights/Montrose/etc./etc. – they’re not hard to spot. Of course debate remains as to the condition and desirability of the previous house but in probably 90% of these instances smaller homes were replaced by larger homes, many of which conform to finness’ above-listed characteristics. That’s groan-worthy enough for me.

  • You shouldn’t be so emotionally attached to the past. Things went a way you wished it hadn’t… feeling sad or upset about it is pointless. There might be a point if your goal is to advocate that others change their minds about their real estate preferences, but if that’s the case you guys might want to use a few less put-downs.

  • At least the trend will be slowing down substantially. The disapperance of cheap credit to finance the bubble, the lower pay and all the bad mortgages that haven’t hit the wall yet will stop it and force reuse of the old as we enter the new normal.

  • Bernard is a blowhard. Or is that Blow Hard?

    And it is not redevelopment, it is gentrification.

  • “You shouldn’t be so emotionally attached to the past. ”

    It’s not about the past, it’s about the present: how we live right now and in the the future.

    If houses on my street started getting replaced with the typical modern house, my block of front porches green front lawns would be replaced with garage doors and driveways. That means less green space, and it also means neighbors interacting with one another far less. I don’t want to live like that – right now, in the 21st century. Which is one of the reasons I chose a spot where subdivisions prevent that.

    I don’t really care if someone builds a new house next door. I do care if suddenly there’s no open space, of if a towering McMansion suddenly blocks the sun from my property and eliminates my privacy because the residents are peering out at me from above.

    I do care what it looks like, because one of the things that accounts for the value of my home is what is around it – this is true everywhere. I’d be perfectly fine if say, a house burned down and someone built a more modern take on the bungalow. (There are some good examples of that in the Heights, in fact, and they add to the vitality of the neighborhod. Sadly, they are outnumbered by the crappy stuff.)

    I think you are completely missing the point of what people are talking about here.

  • “You shouldn’t be so emotionally attached to the past. ”
    It’s not just attachement to the past. Our forefathers were a lot smarter with their development. Take New Orleans for example. There were two parts of the city that did not flood in Katrina. The two oldest. Why throw away accumulated wisdom of good design for the sake of “new and improved”?