New Townhomes for a New(ish) Blodgett St. in the Third Ward

This pack of Larry S. Davis-designed townhouses, clad in metal and stucco, is under construction in the Third Ward just a few blocks from TSU. A site plan shows 24 of ’em spanning Wentworth and Blodgett — the sidewalks along which are being repaired and gussied up to include new landscaping, granite benches, decorative pylons, and purty brick inlays. Floor plans show that the 2-bedroom, 2-bath townies range in size from 1,470 sq. ft. to 1,956 sq. ft.; some include a study. All but 3 appear to have been already sold. Those remaining start at $269,900.


That photo shows the construction site as seen from Blodgett.

Below: The unfinished back of the townhomes as seen from the intersection of Blodgett and Dowling. In the foreground is a used-car dealership.

Photos: Allyn West

44 Comment

  • Wow, you know Houston’s real estate market is doing well when you can sell anything in this area for 260000–A home a few blocks from TSU???–no thank you–wonder if with your purchase they give you ear plugs to drown out all the noise from the gunshots —

  • Are the putting an electrified barbed wire fence with land mines and German Shepherds with laser beams on their heads to patrol said fence? Otherwise, no thank you.

  • I live in this neighborhood and have had no problems. In reality, violent crime is lower here than in the Heights. Check the crime stats if you don’t believe me.

  • Here we go again. Would most of you personally buy a townhome there? No. I wouldn’t either, but not because of the gunshots that are supposedly flying around constantly. Lived two blocks away from there for three years – the biggest problem is that in that block are a busy bar that attracts bikers and a “lounge”, and further down the street, two more bars. The traffic and noise on Dowling Thursdays happy hour through 4am Sunday/Monday is the problem.

  • As a resident of the east end, I travel Dowling pretty regularly going to the med center and midtown. My perception has been that the western border of the (fictional) “no go zone” referenced by some commenters has shifted from 288 to Dowling and is bound to creep further east.

  • These aren’t the first town houses to go up in the Third Ward. Nor are they the most expensive. Also, there are homes in the Third Ward selling in the $1 million range but I wouldn’t expect the first two commenters to have a clue… Of course, this comment will probably get censored as well while the racist drivel of other’s makes the cut.

  • The location is geographically nice, rail will be faily close, and the other less desirable elements are fading. It’s the bee hive construction that causes a tremor in me.

  • This area has, and will continue to see new development. People forget what 4th ward was like just 10-15 years ago. Not everyone can afford 500k+ for a 2/2/2 in the Heights. Those with a little flexibility will see long term gains by jumping in now.

  • @doofus, never heard or seen anything in 3rd ward approaching 1mln(had to double check HAR). Secondly, you mentioned race here, nobody else did.

  • the part of the third ward north of mcgregor bounded by 45 and 288 is ripe for redevelopment. Close to downtown, close to museum district, to medical center, to rail, to UH, to midtown, lower westeimer.I’d rather live there than next to a cluster of apartment complexes.

  • I don’t think worrying about crime is inherently racist –and get real nothing in this direct area is selling for 1 million-please–it’s in proximity of a very dicey part of town, that’s just fact and as more expensive property is developed crime may get worse in the short term at the very least due to more desirable property to prey on–to imply that this is like living adjacent to Rice is absurd–I’m sure you all take strolls at night thru the TSU campus, like I do Rice–it’s the same thing really, right?

  • Shortly before the credit crunch some people were starting to develop lots on streets like Trulley. That ended, but I imagine it will start up again.

  • This isn’t Riverside Terrace, maybe I’d wade into the urban jungle of Third Ward to live there –still the area around it is still really rough, but if that can be cleaned up a bit, this area would really take off–some of the houses in there are amazing (tho many have been subject to awful renovations)–still I have friends who bought a really cool house in Riverside Terrace and have has some issues with crime and they never walk that area at night, which is a shame, hopefully in the near future that will all change, I hope so, it’s such a great old neighborhood steeped in history, with houses designed by some of Houston’s best architects

  • If I was buying in this area, a better investment would be to buy a nearby lot for 3oK and custom build your own place for another 250k. As a former owner of a townhouse like one of these… I’m so glad I sold it.

  • @Superdave – when we moved to that neighborhood 3.5 years ago from Meyerland, I literally pulled the crime stats from each area to show to our worried parents to shut them up about how dangerous it would be. And that was after both my husband and I living near UH for years prior to Meyerland. It’s not why we moved out of there, but we got so tired of battling the stigma of the neighborhood to friends and family when we told them where we lived. We’re looking to move again, and now that I know that part of town better are looking in that area

  • Its amazing how low we sink when comparing our lives to that of others… to look down on people without tree lined streets and BMW’s in the garage. There are MILLIONS of people in this city and for at least SOME, pockets of development like this are great news. “All but 3 appear to have been already sold” doesnt suprise me at all. At this price, the profit to developers is the same, so once these (and others) prove themselves, it is only natural that others will follow.

    And to “Shannon” who is “definitely not inherently racist”, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Shoppers can choose to turn their back on new construction like this, in East End and elsewhere due to local asthetics or local conveniences. But try to find anything close to these prices, which offer the same sq footage or quality west of 288/59. Urban Lofts has always been on the frontier and continue to be. Where ever you see established Larry Davis’ communities, is where people want to buy now. A smart shopper will recognize this. In 5 years…they’ll either be glad they purchased here…or regret that they hadn’t.

  • Isn’t this “gentification” personfied and the goal of much of the blighted inner city areas? Why bitch about it? Rice Military was a craphole, Cottage Grove is still a partial craphole and the West End is still teetering towards gentrifying. God knows, much of The Heights is as run down and crime ridden yet many people are willing to take the risk because they can’t afford a $500k townhome in Montrose This area is no different–someone has to take the first step. Kudos to the developer!

  • The neighborhood between TSU and Riverside Terrace isn’t bad at all when you compare it to what the areas of Washington Avenue were like prior to the townhome invasion. Certainly no worse than the Heights in the 1980s. Plus many of original homes, though often needing a lot of work, have inherent aesthetic appeal for many folks, which helps draw in gentrifiers. Someday the preservationists will be whining about how many of them are being torn down…

  • I live on the adjacent block just east of Dowling. I admit, I had some reservations about moving into this area, but it’s peaceful and my place is awesome. Nicer, larger and less expensive than my old place in Montrose. But yes, I do know why it’s less expensive. There are a lot of ideas people have about the other side of 288.

  • The Third Ward has real potential. If I was young, I would rather own a townhome in the third ward than rent 700 sq ft in a pencil box apartment for $1500 a month. Emancipation park is getting spruced up. Midtown and the Eastside are moving up rapidly. Lots of land to develop once all the other emerging neighborhoods fill up.

  • I don’t see the draw of Urban Pioneering. Sure a neighborhood can become better in 15 years, but you’re losing 15 years of quality of life in a nice neighborhood. I feel positive about any neighborhood in the long term, but in the long term we’re all dead.

  • @JT – “Isn’t this “gentification” personfied and the goal of much of the blighted inner city areas?” I don’t think so. The developers are usually the 3rd or 4th step in gentrification. My understanding is that it goes like this: First are usually the lower income artistic types who give the area a “vibe”. Then come slightly higher income artistic types who find fixer-uppers and start increasing property values. Then come the affluent who scrape the lots to build their own houses. Finally, the developers come in to build on any remaining semi-large contiguous lots. I don’t spend much time in this part of town, but I’m not aware of much of steps 1 or 2 happening there yet (but am open to being corrected). This feels more like developers trying to sell the area as being gentrified, make a quick profit (nothing wrong with that), and then leave the purchasers stuck with condos that will be underwater for the next 10 to 15 years. So if it is gentrification, I would call it “Astroturf Gentrification” – from a distance, it might look like the real, but up close, its really pretty fake and inferior to the real thing.

  • Fortunately commonsense, others feel differently. Especially fortunate for the City of Houston – imagine if the Heights, West End, Montrose, Westbury, Tanglewilde had all ended up turning into devastated wastelands – which was definitely the trajectory many felt those neighborhoods were on. If no one was willing to take a chance on such places, Houston would unquestionably be headed for a Detroit-styled future, as would many other cities, as the tax base dwindled to an insufficient level to support a shrinking and impoverished population.

  • @ commonsense. Just out of curiosity–what neighborhood do you live in?

  • @Walt, I get what you’re saying, but at the same time, though this may not be textbook gentrification, it is people taking a risk to live in a heretofore unexploited/under-developed area of the city. Meaning, the current reputation of blight and after dark petty crime is going to get changed. I think it is more a response to the fact that land values on the west side of the loop are maxed out beyond what is reasonable to build homes less than $300k.
    One last thing: Shannon, please start editing your comments before you hit the post button. Your spelling is embarrassing those who gave you your degree at UT.

  • Artist started moving to the area in the 90’s with Project Row House. Now that the organization has grown and expanded, It now owns large swaths of the area surrounding Dowling St. The area also has a great music herritage as well, specifically the blues.

  • Lived in Montrose for a while, couldn’t leave that circuis fast enough, now live in Piney Point.

  • as well as rap…. third ward has a large hip hop history. The young people moving here grew up on houston rap throughout the past two decades. Its not such a boundary like it is with older generations.

    Brooklyn, NYC has already experienced the same sort of movement from youngsters whose childhoods were filled with rap lyrics about Brooklyn.

  • Oh yes, rap will make us all flock to the 3rd Ward–I know when I want to drop 260000, the first think I ask is: where are the rappers?

  • Rap history in the neighborhood? Where do I sign up! Just have to donk out my g-ride and polish my gat first.

  • @Shannon–obviously you are not the target client for a Third Ward property since you feel compelled to let everyone know about all of your WASPish ties to The Dallas Country Club, Museum Tower, etc…..While rap is not my thing, it does not mean that a generation of people who do like it, can’t get financing to buy a $269k townhome. (That’s roughly a couple making $45k each) Tell us, how is life sipping mint juleps on the balcony at 2727 Kirby?

  • Personally, I can’t see myself living in Stepford, er, Piney Point – and I grew up near there, as some of my family still does.

    I was a gentrifier back when I bought my house a couple eons ago. Most of my newer neighbors seem a bit boring, entitled, and pretentious, which fits with the stereotype of their income bracket. If for some reason I had to buy now, I’d probably be looking in the UH area as well, or maybe Glenbrook.

  • All some poeple do is complain. Is people moving to 3rd ward hurting your feelings? Are you so scared of a little diversity in “tha hood”? If you wouldn’t live in the 3rd well fine with me. As for myself, I am a recent graduate who is sick of paying rent. I want to live close to town where I work and play. I can’t afford a half a million dollar home in montrose (where I am currently renting) or the heights. Therefore I am looking at homes in the area close to southmore, arbor, wentworth, ect. For $150,000 I can get a large home that has a lot of charactor that is in town. So bitch all you want about the area but it is perfect for me as well as many others.

  • What do you wussies consider a rough neighborhood?

  • I will acknowledge that some of the more offensive comments on this thread are not overtly “racist,” since they don’t explicitly refer to some group or another.
    Which is ever so much different from making a bunch of gratuitous, nasty comments. Looks like some will only release their worshipped stereotypes when they are pried from their cold, dead, bigoted hands.

  • My husband and I bought an Urban Loft Lester plan townhome near Baldwin Park a couple of years ago (thank goodness) and we’ve been delighted with it. These are fantastic, well built and stylish homes. I know things can be somewhat dicey in bits of the Third Ward but it’s improving all the time. With the rail line and all the development happening at UH I’m sure those that buy here will be as happy as we’ve been with our home.

  • Cheers to that!!!!!

    the area behind Texas Art Supply on Montrose extending all the way to downtown was sketchy throughout the 80’s and 90’s, but is now considered an excellent neighborhood. My parent bought rent houses during that time (my dad was an artist and loved the hood) and those 3-4 homes made them very rich over time.

  • @mollusk, no, I have no PC filter on my mouth and I would love to use more colorful and less cordial words sometimes, but the moderator on this site is so dang uptight, we have to maintain a pretense of civility.

  • Here is my story in regards to buying a beautiful and old (= lots of fixing needed), 1946, all brick, 2-story house near Dowling St. I found a foreclosure listing in 2010 for $130,000. At that time I knew the Heights and Montrose are out of my price range, since my income will not be getting over $70,000 in the foreseen future. Suburbs? I am from Europe, big city girl, suburbs do depress me with their sterility and boredom. I will never do suburbs, just not for me. I love my home because it was the best choice for the price and location; and the crime? I do not see ANY difference living in the Third Ward compare to Montrose (lived there for 3 years). Everyone knows what the difference is – it is the color! White people in the US are afraid to live in the black neighborhoods, while black people (American!) are hostile towards whites. Crazy it is. I am white, I guess, but not Anglo, and still after all those years in the US retain my heavy accent. It helps, because I do not associate myself with any of these color groups, alas! I have very very good relationships with my neighbors here because I am respectful, friendly, and helpful. I talk to people when walking my dog, or taking kids for a stroll around here. And there are very nice people who live in adjacent streets – Wentworth, Blodgett, Arbor, etc. I also realize that living in an urban area, near freeways, there will be all sorts of people around and I see many homeless passing by. But that is the life in the city with its high density! If I want peace and calm I buy a farm. The ONLY issue I have being a mother to two school kids – is the quality of schools. So my solution was to find magnet schools that my kids got into and I have to spend one hour in the morning driving my older one to her school in the Heights, and my younger one to his school, also near the Heights. And I am ok with this. So I am genuinely advising my friends to buy a house near me.

  • Here’s an update from the 3rd Ward from a willing urban pioneer.

    I purchased a cleared lot on Barbee St. for $55K in July of 2013; 5512sqft. I’ve already been offered $125K. Needless to say, I’m not selling. Yea, Dowling Street is busy on the weekends but that won’t last long.

    My biggest concern now is getting kicked in the teeth by HCAD when I build on my lot. And, BTW, I plan to honor the 1940’s brick house look by building something architecturally similar to many of the 2 story houses around there with a detached garage in the back accessible from a drive through car port on the side of the house.

    Better buy now before it gets “Montrosified”!

  • Herb: your right. Prices are going up. We used to be able to buy whatever boarded up house or run down apt complex we wanted in order to fix them up. Now most of that is gone.
    However, there is still an image problem for mainstream buyers and renters. I have properties in 3rd ward that are hard to rent that have 2 bedrooms, central air, and have been heavily upgraded. Meanwhile, less than a mile away in midtown we have small studios that rent for more that have wait lists.
    Also our third ward properties that we might list don’t sell for $50k/unit even though they are much nicer (and better financials) than properties a few miles away that sell for $100k/unit.
    The market is funny. But luckily that’s what allows you (as you did) to take advantage and get a good price (and make $ if that was your goal)