05/25/17 3:45pm

RESIDENTS NEAR SMART FINANCIAL CENTRE: DON’T WANNA LIVE WITH ‘EM, MAYBE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ‘EM Mike Snyder reports from a dead empty plaza at the new Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land for the Chronicle this week — utilizing the deserted backdrop for some quiet contemplation and speculation regarding the development’s likely ability to draw long-term business. So-called “destination center” projects like Smart Centre and Town Square are “a big part of [Sugar Land’s] long-term financial strategy to broaden our economic base and keep our property taxes low,” city business director Jennifer Mays tells Snyder — but Snyder and others suggest that a lack of nearby residential development may make it harder for Smart Centre to take off the way Town Square has. Snyder also notes that 900 new apartments were originally planned near Smart Centre, but were nixed on account of objections from “residents concerned that renters would increase traffic, crowd schools and damage their suburban lifestyle.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Smart Financial Centre

03/03/17 11:30am

Encampment removal at Louisiana St. and Congress Ave., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Among the flurry of in-the-works policies Mayor Turner announced yesterday related to reducing the number of homeless folks in Houston: some staffed bare-bones shelters consisting of at least a fence,roof and a bathroom, either under overpasses or on private land. Just where would those be set up? The city says they’ll be looking for suggestions from city council members and communities of spots in their own districts where shelters and services might be a good fit.  Per Rebecca Elliott’s report, Turner told the Chronicle this week that he thinks it’s “important for people who are saying ‘we don’t want them here’ to join in with us in helping to identify acceptable locations.”

Here’s a list of other plans floated yesterday, none of which yet come with an expected price tag:

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Scrounging for Change
08/08/07 10:13am

Katy residents upset with the prospect of a new low-income housing development in their community have won a round: Elrod Place, a 126-unit, 25-acre project proposed for 3700 Elrod Place—near Katy’s Bridgewater subdivision—won’t be able to get the $12 million in state housing tax credits the developers had applied for. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has denied the application by Barry Kahn of Hettig/Kahn Holdings.

04/25/07 9:48am

Construction of Waterside Court by Hettig-Kahn Holdings

One of the advantages of covering real estate throughout an area is the opportunity to spot larger opportunities—in issues that at first glance might seem only of interest to a particular neighborhood. Communities battling with new development, for example, might benefit from hearing how residents in other locations might deal with similar situations.

Over in Katy, residents up in arms about a low-income housing development proposed near the intersection of Clay and Elrod have been actively challenging the rosy picture of the low-density project presented by developer Barry Kahn. Residents of the nearby Bridgewater subdivision have been joined by the Katy Area Economic Development Council, Katy Rep. Bill Callegari, and the Katy Area Economic Development Council in opposition to Elrod Place, which would consist of 76 single-family homes and 50 apartment units for seniors.

Their complaints? The project would lower home values, put a strain on area schools, and increase crime in the neighborhood.

The Katy Area Economic Development Council sent a letter to state officials claiming that Katy was the wrong location for this project:

Our opposition should not be construed as a referendum on the need or lack thereof of affordable housing. We do not feel that the development of a project of this type is compatible with the stated goals and objectives of the Katy area.

More succinct are the comments of Jeff, one of many posters to news websites covering the controversy:

Fact is, Mr. Kahn just needs to pack his bags and go elsewhere. In fact, if he is such a philanthropist and wants to help the disadvantaged, why does’n he house 4 families of 4 in his 6000+ sqft mansion? Hmm…….

and:

This development must be stopped. We do not want Katy to become like the inner-city of Houston. We do not want an overburdened and underfunded school system. We do not want high-crime where gangs control neighborhoods while citizens lock themseves in their homes behind barred windows and doors.

This is what many of us moved to Katy to escape from.

So . . . readers, can we help out the people of Katy? Got a better spot for this development in your neighborhood? Just let us know, and we’ll pass the information on to Mr. Kahn. We’ll be waiting patiently for your email.

Photo of Waterside Court, another development by Hettig/Kahn in northwest Houston, under construction: Hettig/Kahn Holdings