Rice Hotel Lobby Off Limits to Downtown Workers; EaDo’s in Eado; Downtown Pride


Photo of Dolce Living Midtown on West Gray: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool


18 Comment

  • I don’t see how the Rice Lofts can deny public access to the lobby when all the on-site restaurants (or at least Chipotle, Azuma, and Minuti – not sure about Sambuca) use the lobby bathroom as their restroom for customers, access to which is required by law.

  • And after construction around that area is complete, Rice will open back up to the public

  • Re: Fair Housing. There’s no tax credits in the world that will persuade a developer to build affordable housing in River Oaks, or even anywhere except “bad” neighborhoods. It’s not discrimination, it’s simple mathematics and finances.

    Also, everybody misses the point is that minorities/poor are not forced to live in “bad” neighborhoods, they ARE what makes the neighborhoods “bad”. It’s not the entire families, it’s usually the teenagers and young adults of those families. For example, Gulfton Ghetto could be a great neighborhood, it’s close to the galleria, on the edge of Bellaire, easy freeway access, etc, BUT it has the highest concentration of gang members of highschool age and high concentration of young adults unemployed or underemployed creating one of the worst neighborhoods in town.

  • That disparate impact decision will turbocharge inner loop gentrification. Basically, it’s now illegal to construct any more low-income housing in low-income areas; that was the heart of the case. So if all the low-income housing follows everyone out into the far ‘burbs, then there’s no threat to property values in Denver Harbor, etc. Hell, in 30 years Trinity Gardens could be majority white/asian.

  • Im lost on this fair housing thing. Can we still build affordable homes in low income areas or not?

  • Re: ‘Metro Wins APTA Outstanding Public Transit Agency Award for the First Time Since 1984’

    At the end of the day, Metro and the COH should put a new referendum on the November 2015 Ballot for: MetroRail along Westheimer from its inner-city start to The Sam Houston Tollway (West Belt/Beltway 8).

    That would be an extraordinary development and a great American public work. The question is: can Houston’s mediocre leadership get-it-together/make-it-happen? Hmmm.

  • @Mr.Clean19, therein lies the statistical conundrum which shoots the plaintiffs in the foot. Tax credits only make sense for developers in low income areas because the land is cheap, thereby making the entire project feasible and somewhat profitable. The ruling implies that a certain percentage of low income housing HAS to be in upscale neighborhood or not built at all, making it not feasible for any developer to undertake. The net effect is LESS low income housing overall.

  • @Mr.Clean19: I think it means if you want federal funds, you will have to spread the low income housing around. That seems like a good idea to me.

  • “We as a Court have constructed a scheme that parcels out legal privileges to individuals on the basis of skin color.”-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
    Forced economic and racial diversity. Tom Jackson is right. All developers of low-income housing, whether they take the government bribe/tax credits or not, will fear being sued as racists if they build their projects in areas with high Black or Hispanic populations. So they’ll go out in the White and Asian areas. But wait…Asians are minorities and Whites will be soon. But that doesn’t matter.
    Most developers will just say screw it since they’ll have to pay a lot more for land in “nice” areas. So less projects will get built. Or, the subsidies will need to be increase to offset the extra cost of land.
    After the Affordable Care act decision a few days ago that proved that words have no legal meaning anymore, and this…it’s clear we’re living in a 1984ish society where truth and logic don’t matter but what the State wants does, and that’s called freedom.

  • Mrclean,
    you can build anything you want anywhere, but if you hope to get tax credits for what you build, it seems those might be reserved for someone wanting to build in river oaks. indeed, it may be easier to get the tax credit if you are building in a rich area. Gotta wonder if they are going to offer more tax credits for those bold enough to put together a plan to build in expensive areas.
    It’s not a bad deal on the surface, but I don’t see how it will work, or make the situation better. The subsidized taxes presumably make the cost lower for the builder so they can pass on lower rent costs to the poor. so if you force them to either build with no tax credit (which I presume would increase the rent costs), or build in a more expensive area (which I presume would increase the rent costs), there’s no actual benefit to the people we’re trying to help?
    Is there something else I’m missing in this?

  • @Zippy. Relax, all this means is that they are going to put a passcode or key lock on the front lobby entrance.

  • commonsense: Careful, blaming people for their situation is not PC these days. It’s due to white privilege and a white power structure that keeps minorities down.

  • The government wants you to build low income housing on Post Oak in the Galleria or in River Oaks, Memorial or the Heights.

  • What this means is that there will be a legal basis to fight every attempt to provide funds for affordable housing (low-mod income housing) that would be located in predominately Black/Hispanic area or predominately lower-income areas. The “housing advocates” will want all such subsidies or public housing expenditures to be aimed at locations in higher-income and Anglo/Asian areas.
    Since these areas usually (but not always) are more expensive, the financial feasibility of such projects will likely be more difficult without increasing the funding levels, as other commenters have noted.
    Still, the suburban residents who always freak out when a LIHTC project is proposed in their school zone may find that the weight accorded to community opposition in the application review process will be effectively diminished, as the competitive set of eligible locations will be restricted pretty much only to middle class or affluent areas.

  • @ toasty: Such housing developments have income limits for borrowers and maximum allowable rents, all of which tie back to regional median income data. So while it will probably make it harder for these projects to pencil out, the effects you’re asking about are not really applicable.

  • Re: Fair Housing. This was an excellent decision. I’ve seen how tax credits were getting scored and awarded and it always struck me that the TDHCA’s method for awarding them completely and totally undermined the spirit of the Fair Housing Act and made it ineffective as social policy.

    (I wonder whether anybody noticed that there are more than a few local black political incumbents that stand to gain by concentrating poor black voters in certain places rather than other places. Some of them have been fairly aggressive about that and nobody from outside of their districts seems to want to fight them. Fighting it would’ve been a lose-lose battle.)

    I would suspect, as Planner implied, that the distribution of tax credits is likely to shift into suburbia. I would imagine that the boundaries between “good” and “bad” school districts will become very active. For example, a developer might go after relatively cheap land just inside of a “bad” district and then argue that their market area should largely include the much “better” (and whiter) areas just beyond. There’s all kinds of wiggle room to go on using that and similar tactics. And these tactics will always exist…

    What the court’s decision will likely elucidate in short order was that the Fair Housing Act was fundamentally flawed in the first place. Even if its purpose and intent was very well justified and nuanced in many ways, it was unwise and counterproductive to give ‘problem states’ so much control of the federal program.

  • Somehow I knew you would cheer the SCOTUS’s decision on Disparate Impact law, Niche. You see nothing wrong with HUD’s one-size-fits-all policies: policies that haven’t changed since 1994, and have done nothing to solve urban problems in the U.S.
    The reality is that groups like Inclusive Communities are fighting the wrong battles. Their goal is to make it easier for the poor to move to wealthy neighborhoods, where the schools are better and the streets are safer. They dont use their resources to address lead paint and other problems in older housing. They don’t work for improved, community based policing. They don’t create after school programs to help get kids off he streets. They don’t work on improving the schools. They don’t fight to get these areas their fair share of parks, transit, and civic assets. It’s really sad, because If they spent half as much effort on improving neighborhoods, as they do trying to force unwanted housing on suburban communities, they could affect real change. In fact, one could argue that groups like the Inclusive Communities poject, and HUD itself, should be sued on the grounds of disparate impact for their part in the urban inequities that plague America.
    As you know, I left the Sharpstown area for Sugar Land, and it was precisely because of this sort of urban neglect. So for me it’s personal. It shouldn’t be. Our cities are terribly divided places, between rich and poor; white and black. I am guilty of contributing, in a small way, to those divisions, true. But here’s a right and a wrong way to address this, and try into force unwanted low income housing on middle class neighborhoods is the wrong way.

  • @ ZAW: There is absolutely nothing about Inclusive Communities’ mission statement or vision that aligns it for or against your personal preferences about how to improve poverty-blighted neighborhoods. If you don’t like them then don’t support them; many people will support them however, even if you don’t, and Inclusive Communities would actually be betraying their supporters to support what you want. And that’s fine by me, that they do what they do, even though I agree with you that there exist alternative methods to dealing with urban blight that have a better bang for the buck. There is room in this universe for a vast plurality of ostensibly pro-social enterprises.

    The SCOTUS decision may actually favor what you and I both want, which is that the TDHCA will refocus its tax credit program on major repair and rehabilitation of substandard housing.