Serial Renovator Decides To Knock Back a Couple in Midtown, Start from Scratch

Excavator, 1707 Holman St., Midtown, Houston

The Komatsu has arrived at the doorstep of this 1941 bungalow at 1707 Holman St., in the southeast corner of Midtown. Once it disposes of the property, the excavator will work its way through another home abutting this one’s back yard — at 1706 Francis St. And once the land is clear, Jared Meadors and Tony Tripoli will start building this development of 6 close-but-not-touching townhouses fronting a long driveway extending all the way from Holman to Francis:

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Rendering of Townhomes at 1707 Holman and 1606 Francis Streets, Midtown, Houston

Under the name Medusa Properties, Meadors has renovated and saved from demolition a series of homes, duplexes, 4-plexes, 6-plexes, and 8-plexes in and around the Inner Loop. This Midtown development will be his first new-construction project in Houston, but not his first ever — Meadors says he and Tripoli got their start building houses in Atlanta — and not his first attempt to build new in town. Back in 2008, a variance Meadors needed to subdivide a corner lot occupied by an older building in Sunset Heights and build 3 new houses on it was denied by the planning commission.

Images: Jared Meadors

New Townhome Row

19 Comment

  • I am not an architect, but that rendering is not too inspiring. ‘Don’t know if it’s ugly either, so the best I have to say is ‘Fuck, another one?’.

  • Jared has done some really lovely restorations/renovations, but these townhomes are just SO ugly. Jared, if you’re still reading/commenting, what makes you decide on this design? I’m genuinely curious. Is it really all about cost?

  • That sucks, from quaint and historical to ubiquitous and downright generic (read: ugly). Ah well, the bubble will burst and at least it’s not more stucco..

  • “close but not touching townhouses” I thought the correct term for that was patio homes. Townhouse share a wall and have condo association fees, patio homes do not share any walls and the owner owns the building and a portion of the land. Yes or no?

  • Funny, I know that place. Right across from our 1624 Holman apts. You could get a house around the Holman apartments for free just a few years ago. Now they’re demo’ing and doing new construction all over.
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    Nutballs.

  • @ Tim: In a patio home, one wall of the house usually has a zero side setback and also forms the wall of the outdoor enclosed living area of the next door neighbor’s property. These may or may not fit that definition. There might be tiny side setbacks on each side of the property line between the houses instead.

  • That bungalow appears to be lovingly restored and even has a white iron picket fence. Why??? Those town homes will share a very narrow common driveway. Where will their guests park? What if a resident is washing their car and blocks access for their neighbors?? I foresee confrontations over that.

  • Is this the guy who wanted to knock down the little post office building on Baylor near 26th?

  • @ coconutbutter: What makes Jared’s renovations so impressive is that he brings up the interiors of otherwise very ordinary buildings of an older vintage to modern functional and aesthetic standards. His exteriors might get cleaned up, but not totally remodeled. You’d never guess at how nice his properties are from their exterior. That’s just fine for most renters or buyers, and I think that Jared understands that very well.

    By contrast, the sort of person that’s looking to make a unique architectural statement with the house that they live in probably isn’t in the market to purchase one of six townhomes all in a neat row.

  • A bit off topic but can anyone explain the fascination Houston builders have for these town homes that are 3 feet apart? Seriously what is point? A window view is either directly into your neighbors home or a sea of Hardiplank. Nothing will grow in the dirt and I would imagine it would be cumbersome to do repairs or maintenance in such a three story canyon. As these developments all share common drives and some common green space no matter how small, it seems there has to be some kind of HOA involved. So why not capture the space and just have a reinforced common wall between the units?

  • @TheNiche – While I hate the sentiment that the buyer who buys a “townhouse” six in a row is someone who lacks taste (although this may be entirely true), I would venture to say that this is pretty much the entry-level SFH home inside the loop. Not too many first time buyers can afford to buy a SFH on a standard urban lot now. I myself would be completely priced out of a home if I didn’t purchase when I purchased (and even these boxes would probably be completely outside my budget).
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    I very much like Jared’s work, which is why I’m a bit shocked at how ugly these townhouses are. If my situation were different, I would actually be interested in purchasing a townhouse home from someone who did such beautiful renovations, thinking that their new builds would echo a pleasing aesthetic (and it needn’t make a dramatic architectural statement – just one that isn’t so ugly or something so builder-trend).
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    This is not criticism on Jared’s part; I’ve really admired and appreciated his work, so I’m just seeking a bit more understanding behind these kind of decisions. If it’s about cost and picking up “meh” projects on the side to finance some of the more enjoyable/nicer projects, so be it! (Unsure if these types of homes tend to generate a lot of profit, too.)

  • @JT, I may be totally off base, but I believe some of it has to do with lender preferences. Attached townhomes have both common walls and common roofs which need to be insured. The mortgage lenders get a little skittish about that and will issue all sorts of riders. If the property has no common features with the one next door, it doesn’t seem to freak out the lenders.

  • Hey guys. Lots of interesting comments. :) I’ll get back to some of the individually at some point.

    The elevations will look more like old brick warehouses when we’re done… hard to really show that in a simple, two-dimensional rendering.

    Something more like this:

    http://www.medusaproperties.com/unit_photos/86_1397582245.jpg

    The closest new(er) construction that I’ve seen around town to what we are going for is the Bell Lofts building over on Taft (which is kind of a misnomer since they are just loft-y looking townhouses):

    http://www.medusaproperties.com/unit_photos/86_1421422525.jpg

    And, clearly, there are many cool things that we would LOVE to do on this project that either aren’t allowed by the City of Houston building codes, aren’t practical due to the price point / construction budget–or simply are not appropriate from a style perspective in this particular location.

    I learned a long long time ago that no matter what you do–someone’s gonna bitch and moan about it… so you’re better off just doing what you love and trusting your intuition than trying to make the mob happy. :)

    Cheers.

    JM

  • Is there room to store the garbage cans in the garage? Many builders are not allowing space for garbage cans and you can see 2-3 right in front of recent/new homes. Any you pay upwards of $300K for that?

  • I think someone who has restored old houses has the heart to be able to shift into building new houses and bring the same ability to blend quality, beauty and profit into them. The old brick look and lines is a winner in my book too.

  • Darby Mom – it isn’t just 300K townhomes that are poorly designed to accommodate trash cans — there are plenty of 700K+ homes in the GOOF area that suffer from the same lack of planning.

  • Add me to the chorus of being a “fan of Jared”. I’ve seen his rental listings in the past and followed it to his website to ogle the renovation projects. It takes a rare blend of smarts and style to do these things profitably and with finesse.
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    After seeing his courteous reply in the comments, I’m willing to cut him some slack and take a wait-and-see approach to the final product. At the least, I wanted him to know that there’s another fan of his work here in Houston.
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    And, just for the record in the interest of disclosure: I’ve never rented a property or communicated with him in the past or present.

  • Disclaimer: I have communicated with and done business with Jared and visited his properties. He is not aware of this fact. He wasn’t an easy client, but to say so should not be construed as a disparaging remark.

  • My girlfriend rented from Jared for almost a year. The guy is a tool. Her place sucked. Sure it looks cool in the pictures — what with a high res photo of a lightbulb or water knob — but it was lipstick on a pig. He tries to make it seem like he’s doing it for some noble effort. He does bare minimum to keep people renting so he can flaut this epic remodeled image. When my gf was renting from him, Her water was out for 10 days. I guess a new water heater doesn’t make for a cool photo. There was roof leaks that never got fixed. The appliances were old (honestly the fridge must have been original to the apt.) I’ve lived in a few older complexes in Montrose, all ran by better managers and in better shape (and cheaper. He makes it seem like he’s doing you a “favor” by so graciously picking you to live there).

    And after reading his comments from his fight in the heights to get his way, my beliefs is only confirmed. He comes off as a spoiled brat. And his website doesn’t do anything to improve that image.

    I know the house he’s going to knock down. It’s a cool house, recently renovated, in an area being turned around. He’s going to knock it down to shove in a 6 pack of junk?