Comment of the Day: What’s the Thought Process?

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT’S THE THOUGHT PROCESS? “. . . There is one other thing that troubles me that maybe some of the developers on this thread might clear up. How much does humanity and civic duty factor into these decisions? I could quickly assume that the dollar and cent logistics is enough for anything like this to get green-lit, but I would rest a little more easily knowing that someone along the line questioned the implications of suddenly forcing so many people to find new places to live. Especially considering that, for students like me and my room mate, springing this change so close to the beginning of the coming semester only makes finding a new place that much more impossible to find. It might sound petty, but I hope someone somewhere feels at least a little guilty for the amount of hardship that has been dumped onto my lap.” [thisboy, commenting on Report: Castle Court Midrise Planned for Andover Richmond Apartments Site]

23 Comment

  • Nope, empathy for your plight is not on the agenda. So sorry.

  • Change is always going to inconvenience somebody. A new technology might save lives but put people out of work. A more valuable use for a property might aid the economy of the city as a whole but make some people find a new place to live.

    But there’s not really a better way.

  • Like almost all other transactions of this nature, its just business. Civic duty and humanity really don’t configure into these decisions. If those things were revenue-generating factors, it might be different. But if everyone who wanted to tear down and rebuilt a piece of property had to worry about all the personal issues of the tenants, NOTHING would ever move forward. I’m sorry to sound hard and cold here, but that’s just how business rolls.

  • “How much does humanity and civic duty factor into these decisions? ” In a capitalist society, finding the highest and best use for a resource, in this case, land, is your civic duty.

  • Fair is fair. If you’ve run out your initial lease and you’re on month-to-month, you and the owner are in the same boat.

    For you know, he could give 35 days’ notice at the end of the summer, when school is starting and demand is high.

    But for all he knows, you could give 30 days’ notice at the end of January, when demand is low and that unit might lie fallow for months and months…

    I rent month-to-month, because I live in Pennsylvania and I hate living in Pennsylvania and I want the opportunity to pack up the Crown Vic at a moment’s notice and go screaming across the state line towards a sunnier locale with better fajitas. For this ability I pay a slightly higher monthly rate than had I renewed the lease – management hedging against a January departure. I also accept that I might get kicked out if the owner decides to convert the site into a waste transfer facility or whatever. My choice – I could’ve signed a lease. I didn’t. I accept the attendant risks.

  • Repost: A developer’s sense of humanity and civic duty is fulfilled by knowing that he created many construction jobs, provided a quality residence to fill a demand and revitalized an area.
    I feel for you because I know moving is a pain and can be expensive but you did sign a private contract allowing your landlord to cancel the lease on short notice.

  • I’ve tried to put together groups of people that want to save various properties, with investors that want to buy and rehab them. Success rate is zero(*). So while everyone has their own idea of what’s best, that rarely translates into action via personal investment. So when that doesn’t happen, that tells me the interest wasn’t *really* there.
    If 100 people want to save some old house from the wrecking ball, it’s not impossible for them to work together to get it. If people want to save an old apt building, then you have to look at what type of return they’d be willing to get on its purchase at the same price that someone might value the land for development.
    *Note that there was one exception. I had a private guy invest a nice chunk of money into our company to help speed up the turn around of a specific property. It allowed us to get it turned around in a few months vs. a year or so if we were to do it on our own as we had several projects going. He got a nice return the whole time and then paid off in full when we sold the property. win/win/win. So while there are a ton of people that COULD do something similar, it just doesn’t happen.
    tldr: civic duty is left up to individuals. If people don’t step up to make things happen, they won’t.

  • Oh, please. It’s not that hard to find somewhere to live. Housing is plentiful. Haven’t you checked the 3rd Ward yet? Plenty of landlords over there would love to have y’all as tenants, I’m sure. I’d bet that you could probably save some money on rent, too.

  • I hate to break it to you, but that’s life, kid. Get used to it. You signed a lease and the landlord will abide by the terms of the lease. That’s all you can reasonably expect in this world.

    I feel your pain though. I was a resident of the beautiful, park-like, oak filled community once known as Bissonnet Plaza Apartments. I lived on a section of Mercer Street between Westpark and Bissonnet that is now long gone.

    My lease was month-to-month, just like every lease in the complex had been for years. The handwriting was on the wall. One evening (1996?) a knock came on the door. Papers were delivered. 30-days to get out. Incentives for leaving earlier.

    Hundreds of residents were scrambling to find new digs. The only nice thing was that there was no need to clean, or even empty out, the apartment upon move out.

  • Seems that thisboy’s comment touches on a much larger issue than where this conversation is going – Cody is closer to the mark…

    It’s about the things other than $$$ that people value. It’s different for each person at each point in their life. I’m talking about things like aesthetic beauty, comfort, stability, the welfare of others, community, social responsibility, etc. Yes – even in real estate transactions – these things can be a deciding factor. I bought my decrepit old house in a “bad” neighborhood not fully knowing whether I will recoup my investment, or become the victim of a crime, or fail miserably in the ensuing renovations. But I decided that rescuing an old house presents a certain amount of charm, reward, pride, and civic virtue, all of which I highly value.

    However, everyone on here knows that most of the time, money trumps all other factors in these types of decisions.

  • For what it’s worth, I feel your pain. I lived at 1301 Richmond back when I was in architecture school, and I remember getting a knot in my stomach when a professor told me it was being looked at for redevelopment. (That was in 2000, so I guess it didn’t pan out then, but I digress.) My advice, and I didn’t heed it myself until 2006, is to give up renting and buy something. Of course it has become fashionable to dis home ownership, and a lot of people lost a lot of money in the housing bubble. But at least if you owned your home, the developers would have to go through you before they could bulldoze it, and build a house you can’t afford in its place.

  • I imagine thisboy didn’t have any humanity while he was leasing at below market rates and the landlord was having to kick in extra money to pay for the property. Money that didn’t fall from the sky and came at the expense of the landlord’s family. Did thisboy offer to help take care of the property or do any repairs? Likely not.

  • Geez guys I think he said it with some sincerity, but it seem to be somewhat just some fun banter.

    Lighten up…

  • As Bernard said, people can really get attached to a place/area. As a current resident here for about 3 years this place was really a diamond in the rough. They kept this place very well maintained, the landscaping was always nice, the large oak trees gave plenty of shade, it was safe, and it was cheap*. I certainly wish and hope for more humanity among developers but it’s just business. Big picture, Montrose is what is hot on these streets right now and money is being invested here. Hell, hopefully it will mean better infrastructure.

    *Looking at one bedrooms in Montrose after 3 years of $650-730 rent is really a kick to the nuts.

  • Wow, some of you people just don’t get it…

  • dom: I feel your pain. When talking to people looking for stuff in Montrose, this is what I hear:

    1) Nothing available

    2) Over priced for what you get

    3) By the time you try to take it, someone else already has
    4) What you do get will have bad electric, bad roof, bad pipes, sketchy tenants, etc.
    5) Was built in the 60’s most likely. Doesn’t have it’s cert of occupancy, no water pressure, low insulation, old windows, etc.
    Then I like to joke that this is what I hear from people trying to BUY apartments in Montrose.

    Point being, the challenges you face as a renter are the challenges you face as an investor. And the solutions are often the same: Network with owners, jump on something good if you see it, communicate with the property manager showing if you don’t like the place (this is big), look every day.
    Can I ask what you’re going to do? If you found something, mind sharing where/cost?

  • All the new development drives up the slumlord’s pricing. Because Joe Blow-Hard developer rents his spanking new one bedroom for $1200-$1700/mo, Mr. Slumlord down the block thinks he can jack his POS one bedroom 4-plex apartment to $800+/mo, even though its over 50 years old and lacks the most basic amenities(like insulation in the walls).

  • All the new development drives up the slumlord’s pricing. Because Joe Blow-Hard developer rents his spanking new one bedroom for $1200-$1700/mo, Mr. Slumlord down the block thinks he can jack his POS one bedroom 4-plex apartment to $800+/mo, even though its over 50 years old and lacks the most basic amenities(like insulation in the walls).

    And as long as the demand is there, mr. slumlord can get away with it. If demand sags and Mr. New development cuts his prices to fill out his apartments, Mr. Slumlord is in even worse shape because now people don’t have to choose between old and dingy and old and dingy, but between new and shiny and old an dingy. Uh oh for mr. slumlord.

    The invisible hand is gonna smack a &@#$%.

  • Exactly, LIT. And then the Montrose real estate mini-bubble cycle repeats itself.

  • I was pretty shocked to learn that the crappy Skylane apartments just north of White Oak Bayou rent for $695 a month. When my house was burglarized, their dumpster was the first one I checked for my missing belongings.
    Ultimately, Montrose will become too expensive for the tattooed & pierced non-conformers that made Montrose what it is today. It’s sad, but inevitable. One day there will be a new “Montrose,” but it will likely be somewhere much more affordable. My guess is Pearland or Lake Jackson.

  • Yeah, there is a lot of crap in Montrose and also a lot of new stuff going up…and with the new stuff going up, the prices are going up on everything, crappy or new….so whats that mean? It means that smart investors are buying today, because in a couple years you may be the one kicking your own butt for not doing it while interest rates are low, and prices are low, compared to what they will be in a few years…there is a major land grab inside the loop, in case you have not noticed it….its the place to live….great restaurants, bars, mass transit (all the bus routes pass through it), the Texas Medical Center, parks, close to Downtown, Theater district, and the list goes on…

  • Rental me this @20 is absolutely right.

    Sagemont is the new Montrose.

    You heard it here first.

  • I was also thinking about rental me this’ comment, and came back here. I can’t say the first thing about Sagemont, but I would look for a place that can’t get its act together, and Galveston would be the natural spot if it only weren’t the distance it is.