Kickstarting a Sit-Down Restaurant for Melange Creperie; A Houston Marathon Tour of Construction Sites


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14 Comment

  • It’s a real shame about Westbury High School. Now they own a big chunk of land that’s cut off from the rest of their campus by two run down, junky apartments they have been a constant source of problems since 2000!
    The winners here aren’t the poor folks who live in those complexes: they suffer from leaky roofs, crime, and other problems. The real winners are the San Antonio based slum lords who own the complexes and milk them for all they’re worth!

  • @ZAW: Huh? If the current renters wanted to move, they could move now. Forcing them to move so Westbury High can have a natatorium (or not, since there’s no budget for building that) doesn’t help them in any way.
    I live in Westbury and I wish the high school was better, but forcing poor people to move elsewhere isn’t a real solution. Those people will still need education wherever they end up. Why not make Westbury HS better and let poor people live next door?

  • @Memebag: Have you gotten out of the single family areas of Westbury to drive around? Have you seen the miles and miles of giant apartment complexes around Southwest Houston? Nobody is stuck living in those complexes because there’s nowhere for them to move to. The reason they don’t move now is that the complexes they’d be moving to aren’t any better than the ones they’d leave, and moving is a pain.

  • Memebag, would you want your kids to attend a school that is next door to a slum? I can tell you that Westbury manor is not the only dilapidated apartment that is close to the high school and the surrounding environment is not very conducive to attracting better students and faculty. They already have an available parcel that was acquired next to Westbury Manor that is sitting idle. They don’t have to build a natatorium but they can at least allow us the opportunity to develop creative ways to use that property alongside the Willow Waterhole to help revitalize the area as a whole. Westbury has not fully recovered since the oil bust days and I saw it decline during my time there from 77-95. Now is the time to give WHS a rehab to attract quality students, family and faculty. The board’s decision on Thursday was a broken promise to do right for all of Westbury and not just the school. They did this in exchange for our vote on the HISD bond last 2012. I want to send my daughter to WHS in 12 years so I’m going to make it my personal mission to support the turnaround of the school.

  • Well said, Rich.
    From a different tact, HISD really need to view Bellaire, Sharpstown, and Westbury High Schools together. Bellaire is bursting at the seams: it’s the high performing school that everyone wants to go to. It’s also on a very constricted site that doesn’t have room to grow. Sharpstown and Westbury are on more generous sites, but they don’t perform and are under capacity. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that if you bring Westbury and Sharpstown up so they’re well-performing schools, it will help ease the load at Bellaire.
    There could be shared athletic facilities for the three schools, and it would make sense for those to be at Westbury, which had the biggest site.

  • @ZAW: I live in Westbury. I drive through the area all the time. Sure, there are other apartments to live in, but how why should the people living near WHS move to them? I know some Westbury home owners want them to move away because they are poor, but that’s just mean. So the winners are the current apartment residents. They won’t be forced to move.
    @Rich: Nope. I send my precious child to a pricey private school. So I’m part of the problem. But check yourself. You’re saying wealthier kids are “better” and “quality”. That’s mean. See above.

  • The problem isn’t that poor people live in slums next to an inner-city high school. The problem is that those people are so poor that all they can afford to do is to live in a slum and that forcing them to move will not change that fact. Wherever they might go from there, it will be a slum. If there aren’t enough slums to contain them in the inner city then they will make new slums in aging middle-income communities further out and the same underlying issues will persist, only in a different location impacting other people.

    On a vaguely related subject, I think that ZAW should relocate $1,000 from his bank account into mine. If he won’t do it voluntarily then public policy should compel him to do so. It would improve my circumstances and the circumstances of those surrounding me, and ZAW exists in a different jurisdiction and is therefore not as deserving of being treated fairly or equitably. Clearly then, screwing over ZAW to benefit me and mine is very good public policy.

  • If my $1,000 were a constant nuisance for you, Niche – if it was damaging your quality of life, threatening your safety, and costing you money and headaches, (Or if I had failed to pay taxes or something), you might have a point. But it isn’t, I haven’t, and you don’t. You’re comparing apples to oranges and you know it.
    Then there are people like Memebag. The “Oh but honey, the poor have to live somewhere” crowd. I wish you all were honest enough to say the rest of it (the part you’re thinking but not saying:) “…As long as they don’t live too close to me or my family.” Don’t deny it. It slipped out when you told Rich you send your kids to private school.
    Bottom line is this: The neighbors were pushing for the Westbury Manor Apartments to be bought by HISD and demolished because they are an eyesore. They are a constant source if problems for the school, and the neighborhood around it. The tenants there, many of them poor and disadvantaged, have gotten so used to living in those conditions that they don’t know any better – that’s the saddest part. And then you add in the lost opportunity to make Westbury a top-notch campus in HISD. You can slice it and dice it any way you want, but the ONLY winners in HISD’s decision, are the slum lords out of San Antonio who own the property.

  • They’ve gotten so used to living in those conditions that they don’t know any better? That’s some serious “white man’s burden” bullcrap.

  • @ZAW: I can’t live any closer to poor people without moving into an apartment. I’m in Westbury, on the western edge of it.
    And the poor do have to live somewhere. If we ship them out of Westbury, where will we put them? Sharpstown? Fondren? Why can’t those neighborhoods have “top-notch” public high school campuses?
    And who gave us the power to ship poor people around?
    Westbury real estate was cheap when I moved here 15 years ago. That’s a big part of why I moved here. It would be unethical for me to take advantage of that while attempting to deny the same advantage to people who live in the cheap apartments.
    And it would be against the original spirit of Westbury. If you go back to the original plan for the subdivision, it contained a mix of single family homes, townhomes and apartments. They were purposely decorated with common themes (all linked to Westbury Square) in an attempt to minimize class boundaries. It was a bit of suburban idealism with the intention that the people who clean my house and mow my lawn could live nearby, in housing that was similar to mine.

  • Memebag: I am supportive of affordable housing all over Houston. I take issue with those who believe that affordable housing has to be dangerous, blighted, and a nuisance. “Oh but if it’s nicer,” they say, “then the poor won’t be able to afford it.” To which I say: “hogwash: that’s why we have low income housing tax credits and other subsidies.” I can use a lot of examples but the latest is the Braeburn Village Apartments, which is right next door to Sharpstown High School. I pushed for tax credits at that complex when I was President of the Super Neighborhood, specifically because I don’t believe that affordable housing has to be slum housing. It’s working even better than I envisioned it: the waiting list for tenants and the ULI award nomination speak to that; not to mention the other new construction it has spurred around it.
    The case of the Westbury Manor Apartments is unique. First, it’s been neglected for way too long. Sadly it’s not alone. Houston has a shortage of safe, decent affordable housing, but we have a distinct surplus of slums that are affordable, but neither safe nor decent. Second, it’s in a bad location: it cuts the Westbury High School campus off from land that HISD already owns to the east of it. Third, as I said before, Bellaire’s campus is totally landlocked, Sharpatown’s campus is better, but not ideal. Westbury, by contrast, has room to grow. It would make sense for that campus to have shared athletic and other facilities to serve all three schools.

  • Just wanted to post a quick thank you for this informative thread on Westbury High School (and for the original article from the Chronicle). We moved to the area about a year and a half ago, so I always appreciate any news or information about the area, especially the schools and community improvement.

  • If the apartments are in disrepair, we should do what we can to get them repaired. If they’re just old and not very nice, that’s tough. Property owners are allowed to own old buildings that aren’t very nice.
    But we shouldn’t gang up and get them torn down using the lie of an unfunded natatorium just so our property values will go up, which is what’s really going on here. Homeowners in Westbury who bought during the last 30 or 40 years have all received the benefit of those low property values. Every neighborhood can’t be rich. It’s not mathematically possible.

  • FYI the blighted apartments immediately to the east of the campus were a problem when I went to WHS, 1996-2000.