Half Off New Construction: Where?

A reader writes in wanting to know where all the half-built houses are. Sure, High Street came to a halt after producing a naked frame, but what neighborhoods in the greater Houston area feature finer examples of similarly dramatic frozen-in-time residential work that a real-estate gawker could appreciate? Abandoned slabs, lonely stick frames, flapping Tyvek that sort of thing?

23 Comment

  • The reality is that in Houston you won’t see many like this.

    Houston manage to have a housing market that kept inventories low.

    It doesn’t mean we don’t have empties houses. Far from it. There are plenty of neighborhoods that have foreclosed or even some abandon homes.

  • This property in River Oaks (NE corner of Maconda and Westheimer) may not be exactly what you had in mind, but I’ve noticed that it seems to have been under construction for a long, long time. Every time I drive by I wonder what the story is. Here is a link: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=timmons+and+westheimer,+houston+tx&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=40.545434,93.164063&ie=UTF8&ll=29.741506,-95.436682&spn=0.00272,0.005686&t=h&z=18&iwloc=addr&layer=c&cbll=29.741611,-95.436808&panoid=Mf6p_-BnntWIlJXAod-2tQ&cbp=12,356.62757075612535,,0,-17.5

  • The house on Maconda is being built SLOWLY by the owners themselves. They had hoped to be in it years ago, but that obviously didn’t happen.

  • Three homes in the Heights at W22nd and Rutland have been in construction for over 2 years.


  • I guess you eat at that Whataburger,too.
    That house at Westheimer and Timmons has been in progress for at least 5 years. I bet the neighbors LOVE IT!

  • Believe it or not, Tanglewood is great for this. I drive through the neighborhood every day, and some houses have been under construction for years. With long periods of inactivity.

    The house at the corner of tanglewood and San felipe (or is it huckleberry) was abandoned before Ike, partially completed. Then Ike hit, took the fence down. You drive by, can see right inside, no doors or anything. In the past week it looks like work has resumed.

  • You really won’t see much of that in Houston, and virtually none inside Loop 610. You need to go to the suburban areas, particularly the non master planned communities between the Beltway and Highway 6 / 1960. The most aggressive one is actually inside the Beltway near West Road and Gessner – a former Royce Homes (go figure) development called Westwood Gardens. It is a bombed out poster child for the subprime fiasco. I took pictures of it (on my computer at home) and will e-mail them to Gus tomorrow.

  • I suspect we will begin to see more and more of this. We are certainly seeing it in commercial properties.

  • 1) townhomes @ Patterson & Lillian (just off Washington)

    2) complex of townhomes @ 8th & Waverly (Heights)

    3) still waiting on the additional brick townhomes next to Dry Creek on 6th & Yale.

  • Regarding the property at Maconda & Westheimer, that house has been under construction since the mid-90’s at least. I suspect it is someone’s weekend project.

    Check out the neighboring area for empty lots that used to feature houses up until a few months ago, but now can’t sell or build…..just share their dirt with the neighbors.

    There are a few properties out there with variance hearing signs and total lot for sale signs. W TC Jester near W 18th St., W Dallas & Montrose.

    Also, one must mention the giant block of a house in West U on Weslayan near Rice that sat unfinished and wrapped in Tyvek for at least 2 years embroiled in a battle over the encroachment property.

    Finally, in the Heights, the former site of the Ashland House (1801 Ashland) is back on the market with the failed Magnolia Lofts project apparently scrapped. Nothing built yet, just razed. I guess the “Go Away Developers” graffiti on the sign actually worked.

  • For the longest time, there were some unfinished homes on the 500 Block of Cordell over near Miz Brooke Smith. I doubt they were finished before the market dried up.

  • Good evening, Howard Hughes. Yes, the ugly trio of unfinished enormous spec boxes in the 500 block of Cordell still stand, one with a fresh red tag this morning. These see some construction action for a while, then the money dries up and there is nothing, then another flurry of activity, then doldrums again. Rinse and repeat. To make matters worse, the two most recent ones are painted nauseatingly organic shades of puke tan and puke mustard. They can be viewed — and perhaps purchased at a bargain and finished out the way the buyer wants — just up the street from the Shipping Container House, which got a fancy new permeable glass driveway today.

  • Does Jared’s house in Sunset Heights count?

  • There are two nearly built townhomes at Spring and Sabine in Sawyer Heights. They look like they were once a part of a 9-10 townhome project with poured driveways and all! I haven’t been able to find any information on the builder or project, but the signs out front show them listed under City Life Brokers.

    On a side note, there are also some Featherston Homes ( http://featherston.therideahead.org/shearn/shearn.htm ) off of both Shearn and Houston that have yet to sell in at least 2 years. The quality is quite poor and they seem to be significantly overpriced for the up and coming Sawyer Heights area. The two homes on Shearn are about 60% completed — I’m assuming they’re waiting for the 4 on Houston Ave to sell before they have the financing?

  • I don’t think Jared’s house counts. It has never been demo’d and he never decided what to build.

  • Who is this “Jared”? Please enlighten me.

  • Waterhill Homes started a project on the corner of McGowen and Jackson in Midtown before they went out of business. These have become homes for the homeless. Great for the neighborhood….and so pretty.

  • Above writers have covered many locations, and there are many more, and more to come! RE the 2203,2205,2207 Rutland–a group of neighbors submitted a lengthy complaint with photos and violations to City Council, Mayor, Neighborhood Protection. Neighborhood Protection has followed through with at least 15 citations, requiring the buildings to be boarded up, trash to be picked up. As of today there is a pile of trash in front of 2205 which is owned by someone besides Choice Devel. The 2 end ones are in arrears on taxes. Anyone want a really ughly house that has has windows & doors open to the elements, critters, and vagrants for almost 2 years?

  • Here’s another in the Sawyer heights area:


    Looks under construction in the picture, but it has been sitting in its flapping Tyvek glory for about a year now. Unless the floorplans are utterly horrid, I don’t see how someone couldn’t turn this one around in no time. You could even market it through Urban Living!!

  • Jeez – after I made my very declaritory statement in my earlier comment that you won’t see much of any of this inside Loop 610, I started paying more attention to my inner loop and just outside the loop surroundings, and wow was I ever wrong! I totally overestimated the creditworthiness of smaller luxury custom builders and their buyers! There is indeed a lot of Tyvek flying around on some pretty premium dirt. Another one I just saw is the former Waterhill Homes development on the crook of Kingsbrook near I-10@Chimney Rock, behind the old Fox Hall apartments.

  • i have one of those next door to my nice house in champions….for 5 years the land is just sitting there beyond grown over with fallen trees and snakes …. he has not paid taxes or champions dues in 5 years …i have tried to buy the land from him as it is for sale but he is asking 3xs what its worth because he is a personal lender and he does not care…. is there anything i can do…he has no insurance so all of it fall on me to repair….i read this site everyday it is my fav and i trust you guys may have some way to point me….
    thank you so much

  • Tara, if the property is within City of Houston you can (if yu haven’t already) report the overgrown lot to 311 as a nuisance under Neighborhood Protection ordinances. Report weeds etc. over 3′ high, and tell ’em you’ve seen rats and other varmints (“rat harborage” is the official term).

    The city will come out with a warning sign and give the owner a certain period of time to clean the place up. If that doesn’t happen, eventually the city itself will come out and do it and bill the property owner. Of course if the guy already owes taxes and doesn’t give a hoot about the property this may not do much good in the long run, but at least you’ll have a cleaner lot next door.

    Best of luck to you…