A Few Freedman’s Town Rowhouses To Be Relocated, Rehabbed

A City of Houston rep tells Swamplot that 3 of the 10 Freedman’s Town shotgun houses on Victor St. between Gillette and Bailey will be relocated in the Fourth Ward. (The photo shows a shingle-stripped one up on a trailer and ready to go.) A permit to demolish them was granted in 2011, but the city rep says that the owners have since agreed to donate some of the houses to the Fourth Ward Redevelopment Authority, which says it has plans to move them to a lot they own at 1414 Robin and rehab them into low-income housing. Swamplot reported this morning that the West Gray lot where the rowhouses are now located has been pegged for a 5-story mixed-use midrise called Dolce Living.

Photo: Chris C

11 Comment

  • that’s too bad for the neighborhood. these shanties should just be destroyed. why spend all this tax payer money to rehab god awful housing stock when im sure the new low income owners would rather just have a new house (as would all of the neighbors)? also, why does the redevelopment agency own lots in the area? what other lots do they own? this lot has been vacant for a long time–why weren’t they building on it sooner?

    furthermore, these houses depress value and development. IMO – the lots on west gray would have been developed sooner if not for these crack shacks being located there.

    oh well. i can’t say that im completely surprised by this backwards thinking coming from the City.

  • This is the sort of thing that low income housing money SHOULD be used for. Not only are they providing safe, accessible housing for the poor – they are helping to preserve historic buildings, and they are doing it in an area that needs reinvestment. It’s better than a ‘two-fer.’. It’s a ‘three-fer.’ And people can tell – note the lack of neighborhood opposition.
    Kudos to the Fourth Ward Redevelopment Authority! (And kudos to the City official who made it happen).

  • What tax money are you talking about, exactly or is this just another general anti-taxation rant not grounded in any sort of reality?

  • When they say “rehab them into low income housing” it usually means that they are using federal low-income housing tax credits to do it.

  • I would like a few of these historic houses to be moved to Sam Houston Park.

  • Doofus: The Redevelopment Authority administers one of the many TIRZ’s, which means they are funded in part by tax money allocated for “development” of neighborhoods.

    htownproud: I’d estimate about 75% of the housing bounded by Dallas, Gennesse, Gray, and Wilson are owned by one public agency or another. A bunch more of the run down shacks in the area, as well as the vacant lots, are owned by the old churches around there.

    I have to wonder how much of these old houses still really exist by the time they have to replace the bad bits. These things weren’t built to last. They were poor people house 100 years ago, too.

  • doofus — redevelopment agencies are funded through “tax increments” — i.e., the increase in property taxes fund the agency. according to the website, that is how the 4th Ward RDA is funded as well. In other words, the neighborhood folks that are trying to make the area nicer fund the agency (and their apparent desire to rehab shacks to give to low income housing) through their taxes. yeah, those taxes.

  • If htownproud is truly proud of Houston, they should be proud of her history as well not just her propensity to tear Dow for new development! Many of us prefer older housing for its charm and quality of construction….new is not always better!

  • I live in this area and I am glad that they have choosen to restore these houses. We can’t just demo the past to make way for the future. Freedman’s Town has lost alot of its history in the past few years and I’m glad they will be able to hang onto these type of structures. Don’t be ignorant about history and what it means to some people.

  • I have to wonder how much of these old houses still really exist by the time they have to replace the bad bits. These things weren’t built to last.

    And just like that, Theseus’ paradox makes it appearance on Swamplot in the context of historic Houston homes! I love it!

  • I like how the owners “agreed” to donate the three houses to the Fourth Ward Redevelopment Authority. The developers will save a few thousand not having to demolish a few dilapidated homes. And most likely, they’ll get a tax deducation.

    It’s nice to see a little history saved. But, how historical are these three shotgun houses from Freedman’s Town? Three more houses for public housing is insignificant. Open up as a museum or place in a park. Save history and display it.