Comment of the Day: How Houston Tears Down and Sprawls

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW HOUSTON TEARS DOWN AND SPRAWLS “. . . In other (mostly northern) cities properties are continuously rehabilitated and repurposed. In Houston, properties are abandoned and demolished and the city sprawls out further from the center. I think that is a fundamental flaw in the mindset (and before anyone starts screaming — I know since I have remodeled properties considered tear downs in the Heights that have proven to be great investments). Granted, it takes guts and money and it may not be worth it to buy something like this, but there are other properties worth saving all over the Heights, Montrose, river oaks, and 6th ward. Every time I see an abandoned property in those neighborhoods it makes my head spin.” [Heights Mom, commenting on Snooping Around an Abandoned Apartment Complex in Inwood Forest] Illustration: Lulu

16 Comment

  • This just isn’t true. Properties are torn down and replaced all the time in Northern cities.

  • And there are plenty of abandoned neighborhoods/buildings in the North. Drive through Philadelphia sometime.

  • Although you CAN make money by renovating, you make a lot more money by demolishing and building new. If you’re running a business, the maximum return on investment is the primary point of any business. Any other considerations like NIMBY’s, preservationists, hipsters, etc. are inconsequential and are meant to be ignored.

  • Actually I take back everything I said earlier.
    I just read the comments of the abc13 story and now realize that this is part of the tyrannical and sinister UN Agenda 21 plot to take away our rights.
    If it hadn’t been for the litany of armed and angry constitutional scholars out there in Houston, I might have never been exposed to the truth.

  • Whoops wrong post.

  • I think the reasons there is so much demo and new building instead of rehabbing, is that we have no zoning, the buildings don’t share common walls, and gentrification. We have sprawl because the county is powerless to do anything about it, while the state encourages it by building more and more roads.
    Not to mention no one gives a damn about history in Texas outside of the Alamo.

  • German Village in Columbus, Ohio was a real slum until it started getting restored and now it’s an historic district, very profitable for the business and of course full of whatever they’re calling yuppies these days

  • Get real, there is no Northern City with the kind of disdain for older buildings as Houston–and the comparison to Philadelphia is just ridiculous, it’s so obtuse I won’t even bother with a response–I appreciate people like you who rehabilitate older properties, every little bit helps

  • Don’t joke about UN Agenda 21.

    Serious shit, right under your knows-it-all nose.

  • @commonsense; Sooo… according to your logic, Lincoln Park, Division Street, Brooklyn Heights, SoHo, Pike’s Place, Market Street, The Heights, King William District, Germantown, Height Ashbury, South Congress Street, East Austin, Arlington VA, East Berlin, Ebor City… yea NONE of these places are profitable as historical redevelopment prospects, why else would they be know as tourist destinations?

    Get real dude!

  • Lets please not forget that this comment of the day was posted regarding the abandonment of a run-down apartment complex in the 100-year floodplain near Tidwell & Antoine in the Inwood Forest submarket as a consequence of excessive debt leverage from prior to the financial crisis. …which is like, pretty much as completely explicable as abandoned buildings in Chicago’s south or west sids. What, you don’t believe me? There’s even a website that tracks Chicago’s abandonments. (

    Aside from being outright wrong, what is inexplicable is why HeightsMom switched over spontaneously to the Inner Loop West submarket. Perhaps the insulating effect of being a mom in the Heights has made her delirious. I cannot fathom why it should have become a comment of the day.

  • There’s not too much respect for older architecture in Houston. I own a three family near the Galleria. My building was designed by Neuhaus and Taylor and was featured in “Houston and the Mod House.” The developers are sniffing around trying to make deals for the whole street. I may reach a point of diminishing return soon and be forced to sell. One of the reasons is that the city keeps raising the property taxes so high in “hot” areas by comparing old buildings to the new ratables and raising the old assessments by thousands at a time. At some point you can’t afford to pay the bills with a density of three units on the property. A developer will come in, buy the whole cul de sac, and put up a tower so he can make a lot more money per sq. ft. from the land than we can. When you protest taxes, HCAD listens and lowers the amount a tiny amount. Thus, the little guy is eventually forced out.

  • @kineticdev, this is a Houston blog and my comment specifically applies to Houston real estate realities. As it stands, in Houston, it makes more financial sense to build new.

  • #13: That is interesting, thank you for sharing that. So Houston does have a Master Planner – the tax man, uncontested arbiter of the best use of a property simply by virtue of the taxes he levies. I wonder if there could ever be an urban analog to a conservation easement.

  • @commonsense, and maybe i’m joining this forum too late to know better, but you don’t make any sense.