Comment of the Day: The Townhome Effect

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE TOWNHOME EFFECT “A lot of people would think twice with the townhome next door, I know I did. Cherryhurst is a nice area but has evidently let whatever deed restrictions it had slide. This will hurt prices there in the long run as older homes are replaced with townhomes. Apart from the aesthetic, which is subjective, great neighborhoods aren’t build round townhomes. It probably already has hurt this seller.” [sidegate, commenting on Swamplot Price Adjuster: Your Cherryhurst Neighbors]

31 Comment

  • “great neighborhoods aren’t built around townhomes?”

    –someone should tell that to the Back Bay, Georgetown, Chelsea, Brooklyn Heights, Lincoln Park, Society Hill, Fort Greene, Park Slope, the South End, Beacon Hill, Upper East Side, the Mission, North Beach, Dupont Cirle… I could go on…

  • My thoughts extactly zakcq. Moving here from DC, I can assure the commenter that with time and increased density, townhomes will easily sell for $1 million plus… even burnt out crack-house shells in the case of DC.

  • Why is this nonsense the “comment of the day”? It is complete garbage; the same type of suburban “wisdom” that has kept Houston from having commuter rail (because no one will ride it), from building walkable neighborhoods (because no one will walk), and from enacting zoning or even planning (because Houston is great without it). I expect better of this blog.

  • Building townhouses next to old bungalows hurts the value of the house. I lived west of Cherryhurst during one of the first townhouse waves 15 years ago. I found my house surrounded by 3 story townhouses on either side of me, and one behind me built — all built as close to the property line as they could get. I was boxed in, forot what the sun looked like, what privacy was, and the house — a cool 1920 bungalow with “Alamo” parepets on it — was sold for tear down value. I was willing to give my new neighbors the benefit of the doubt, but I never saw them as they drove their cars into the garages at the front of the house and never seemed to appear out front.

    Are there plenty of great neighborhoods with townhomes? Yep. But look at the difference of the design of the ones in many of the places mentioned. Do they take up all of the curb parking with curb cuts and front garages? Are they older neighborhoods areas that are filled with mostly older townhomes or did they plop them in the middle of a bunch of 100 year old single family homes? These townhomes that we are talking about in Montrose pack 2-3 units on a lot, but of course they need a front side garage — so that means curb cuts and no street parking left. And those same garages become the primary ingress and egress to the house. No stoop, no porch, no interaction with the street. Do all townhomes suck? No. Does most of what is plopped down between 90 year bungalows in Montrose suck? Yes.

  • It is interesting to look at the design of many of the Montrose townhomes. Most integrate the front-facing garage, a distinctly suburban design feature. As Cap’n said, the use of this design feature discourages social interaction and street parking. In doing so, these buildings become more suburban than urban.

  • Garages rule. In Manhattan, garages are the single most valuable amenity you can have in a townhouse. Private parking will boost the value of a townhouse by 25% vs similar properties without a garage. That’s right: a $4,000,000 townhouse becomes a $5,000,000 townhouse just because it has an attached garage. In Houston our cups are so full we’ve taken to hating what others can only dream about… our own parking spaces.

    Good riddance to the Alamo house mentioned above. It was a decrepid, obsolete eyesore. I live in a townhouse right down the street from it. Sorry you never met or connected with any of your new neighbors. I moved into my home 5 years ago and have met and befriended many in the neighborhood.

    And by the way, those townhouses that you disliked so much actually boosted the value of your home significantly. All you can do it cry all the way to the bank? No wonder you didn’t make too many new friends.

    Out with old. In with the new. Gotta love Houston for keeping the government out of the mix for the most part and letting the market guide development. I read the demolition report daily. 99 times out of 100, the property being flattened is woefully obsolete and will certainly be replaced with something much nicer. I love being a witness to the thousands of tiny steps Houston makes toward and ever brighter future.

    Houston will continue to grow. New jobs will be created. New housholds will be formed. people have to live somewhere. In my opinion, the more of these new and propersous households that we can cram inside the Loop, the better.

  • I trust that Bernard will have the courage of his convictions and voluntarily put himself on an ice floe at the first wrinkle to make way for someone newer and more attractive. ;)

  • I’m always amazed at the mental midgets who are duped into buying a townhouse and then defend the action as if it is some act of economic prowess.

  • I live in a townhouse right down the street from it.

    Good reason not to move to Cherryhurst.

  • Thoughts:
    1) We want to live with our own kind.
    When I restore my 1890 or 1930 house, I want to be among neighbors who also value that aesthetic and commitment.
    2) If you build it, they will come.
    If I want to maximize my property’s value, regardless of emotional ties to the neighborhood, I should be able to erect something even if it is devoid of aesthetic fiber. Then folks, without emotional ties to a neighborhood, seeking a home in a nice place, buy it based upon price and location.
    3) Precedent set > Copies ensue.
    Buyers moving into Houston and Sellers seeking economical advantage are GIVENS as our city grows. Houston is a babe among cities. The harmonic solution is to disallow crazy, free-market license!!! We’re going to end up with zones anyway, so, Houston should ENACT zones, in the first place.
    Hi-rise, green, multi-family, single-family, historical, subsidized, agricultural, whatever. This is what allows all of us different people to feel we belong somewhere.

    [Paid for by the committee to elect me your Design Czar.]

  • From Bernard:
    Garages rule.

    I think we all know who this is… Touche, Larry, you almost got us all…

    P.S. The Alamo is terrible.

  • There’s a multi-layered kind of irony at play, here. We have suburbanites posing as urban hipsters yearning to preserve the characteristics that make their “urban” neighborhoods inherently suburban, simultaneously criticizing other suburbanites for being suburbanites, and also taking pride in their own dubious ‘urban’ status.
    Yes, yes, I know…the fact that you live in a 100-year-old house makes you special. :rolleyes: Get over yourself. A spade is a spade, and a suburb is a suburb. Cherryhurst was developed as a suburb; to try and maintain its stability is a very suburban mentality.
    If you desire land use restrictions to keep urban dynamism at bay, that’s all fine and well. Just don’t get pissed off if, when you succeed, I begin refering to your nabe as ‘Squaresville’ and to you as a square.

  • Niche we all know you’d replace a bungalow with a reinforced plastic cylinder if you could just to “express” yourself. I’ve said it befofre and I’ll say it again, thank God for deed restrictions, to temper the artistic tendencies of people like you. SDs that let them go deserve all that’s coming to them.

    John, no need to be jealous since you haven’t had a comment of the day.

    Good comments, Cap’n.

  • By the way I can’t wait for light rail and I cycle to work. Guess you’ll have to invent a new pigeonhole for me! ;-)

  • What’s in your collective (pun intended) souls that gives you all so much joy in controling other people’s lives?
    Ein Volk
    Ein Reich
    Ein Deed Restriction

  • You’re wrong, sidegate. I want my cylinder to be concrete (and 94 feet high), and it’s not to make a statement–it’s because it’d be cool to live in. I don’t give a crap what you think of it. Also, it’d be built in Magnolia Park, not in Cherryhurst. I may end up replacing a crappy little bungalow, not that you’d care given that locale.

  • TheNiche must have been a lighthouse keeper in a previous life! ;-)

  • All you people that think at grade rail is the answer to all things great and good kill me. Houston could have fantastic HOV transportation if Metreaux concentrated on utilizing hi-tech hybrid diesel-electric buses instead of way too expensive and dangerous at grade rail. With Houston’s spread out layout, light rail makes no sense, other than people that won’t use common sense insisting on adopting a restrictive, expensive rail system so that Houston can be then considered….”whirled class”.

  • Nope, I completely agree with you CK. Efficiency is way cooler than the light rail aesthetic.

  • Who are all you people who bike to work?

    I don’t know anyone except my mechanic and lawn crew that can come to work all sweaty and no one I know works in a place that has showers.

    Same reason I’m not going to stand at a bus stop in work attire when its 95 degrees and 90% humidity.

  • Who bikes to work? Montrose-area hipsters. No one can tell if they’ve showered anyway.


    (I keeed, I keeed)

  • Ditto Tangyjoe, I’ve always pondered the same question. I love the “thought” of jogging or biking to work. Think of the great shape you’d be in and all the money you’d save on transportation. But we are literally living on top of a swamp.

  • I’m a lawyer, and I biked to work fairly regularly from Oak Forest to Greenway before Old Man Ike destroyed the freight elevator in our building. As there are no suitable bike facilities at the office, I’m only comfortable bringing the steed up to the top floor where I can leave it in the office. We have a shower. I also have a gym around the corner where I can enjoy a shvitz after a brisk early morning ride.

    I will concede that court appearances are tough to pull off as a bicycle commuter.

    But the freight is back in business, and I’ll be as well come Friday.

  • I live in the Heights and would regularly bike to work (Houston Ave to Dallas was my preferred route) and shower at the downtown Y. So you could do that. oh wait….

  • I too live in the Heights, right off the new bike trail into downtown. I just can’t make the logistics work. I could shower at 24 hour fitness on my way in, but that would still require, at minimum, 3 outfits per day, 2 showers, and I would have to carry dress clothes in a backpack. (Not to mention the $50/month that Midtown 24hr Fitness charges.)

  • I work at a major oil company. A lot of my coworkers bike into work. Every major I know has a gym on premises. Very easy to shower and clean up. Plus, if you are actually in shape, Tangyjoe, you don’t get that funky riding a bike into work. This ain’t the Tour De France, son. And, the 6 months a year it is below 70 in the morning here is just sweet. Mow your own lawn every once in a while, so sweating wont be such a foreign concept…

  • Too great, Nate.
    (Gus, give that guy a Comment Du Jour for that one!)

  • I too live in the Heights, right off the new bike trail into downtown. I just can’t make the logistics work. I could shower at 24 hour fitness on my way in, but that would still require, at minimum, 3 outfits per day, 2 showers, and I would have to carry dress clothes in a backpack. (Not to mention the $50/month that Midtown 24hr Fitness charges.) It’s just not practical. I’ve always cut my own grass, I’m in shape, and I still sweat.

  • Nate:

    Sure, 6 months out of the year it is normally below 70 degrees in the morning.

    But it is still freaking hot every evening for 10 or so months out of the year.

  • Nate, I think you may be a lot funkier than you realize.

  • Yay! A deed restrictions = Nazism comment! We have reached complete idiocy and can all go home now.