- Amazon Eyes West Houston for 1M-SF Distribution Center Along I-10 [Realty News Report; previously on Swamplot]
- HFF Secures $65M in Financing for Retail Portion of CityCentre [Houston Chronicle]
- Northwest Mall Closing 45 Out of 50 Stores on March 31 [HBJ; previously on Swamplot]
- Grand Morton Town Center Lands Taco Bell, Whataburger, McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A [Houston Chronicle]
- Year-Old Little Liberty in Rice Village Has Closed, Will Be Replaced by Island Grill [HBJ; previously on Swamplot]
- Next Chapter of Montrose Management District Lawsuit Likely To Be Resolved by End of May [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot]
- Podcast: Understanding Houston’s Affordable Housing Crisis [The Urban Edge]
- State Senator, Environmental Group Call for Investigation into Halls Bayou Dioxin Waste Pits Near Hitchcock [Galveston County Daily News ($)]
- Local Artist Develops Houston-Themed Emoji App [Houston Chronicle]
Photo of Lynn Park: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool
2 of the remaining stores at NW mall:
1. Post Oak Club, a center for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings
2. Chapa, a nightclub – in case the the AA meeting goes poorly
There is no affordable housing “crisis”. Urban Edge = worthless.
@OhBrother, I concur. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with kids growing up in slum houses and being forced to attend failing schools because of their parents income. That’s just the god blessed american way.
Re: Northwest Mall Closing 45 out of 50 stores
Well, if the bullet train from Dallas ever comes to fruition, the Northwest Mall landing spot will be vacant and ready for them. In the meantime, can we put the homeless camp over there?
Heck, if the city is in the grocery land leasing business (e.g. HEB land for Macgregor/288 ‘food desert’), why not pay the owners of Northwest Mall some rent for the homeless camp.
I would hardly attribute Northwest Mall’s closure to e-commerce and the rise of online sales. That mall has been a dead mall for over 15 years, this is just the final nail in the coffin.
Unaffordable Housing Crisis = another government cherade! Just consider who gave the highest campaign/lobbying amounts to the 2016 race… it wasn’t Goldman it was the National Assoc of Realtors! To the tune of nearly $120MM. And one of the 1st Trump orders was to stop the planned reduction on PMI. Next to scale back regulations and overinflate the market so commissions get pushed higher and money continues to get laundered from avg Americans trying to live out the dream to the ‘swamp’ contributors.
Northwest mall was just a victim of changing demographics like all the other failed inner Beltway 8 malls. None of these are ever coming back.
Why can’t we just keep all the homeless downtown anyways? Nobody lives there and it’ll never catch up to the other business districts growing at far greater clips.
You want to make housing more affordable? Get rid of zoned schooling.
The likes of Sealy, Conroe and Alvin being suddenly flooded with Millionaires would be so hilarious for all parties involved you couldn’t possibly vote against it.
I actually would tend to agree that there is a housing affordability problem, but I frame it in economic terms rather than in a myopic focus on government-subsidized “affordable” housing. We really ought to be asking why new housing costs so much more than it did just ten or fifteen years ago. This is an issue that affects most people throughout the region and at every strata of society. Some of the causes are regulatory (such as with stronger flood control requirements), some of it has to do with banking regulations and interest rate policy, and some of it has to do with shocks to both the demand and supply side in recent years in Houston. We also need to establish why it is that household sizes are decreasing but that the average size of new homes has continued to increase, and how skewing the housing stock as such is likely to play out in the future. (Will there be a new era of boarding houses?) Home values are not the only factor in housing price; insurance costs have risen as well, especially in coastal counties. These are primarily suburban issues, but new housing in the suburbs accommodates the vast majority of new household formation in our region and really ought to dominate the discussion. Our new arrivals have all got to go somewhere.
There does still exist a lot of inexpensive honest-to-goodness unsubsidized *affordable housing* which is attainable for people on a minimum wage, but it sucks to varying degrees…and the way that the federal and state governments have approached their housing subsidies hasn’t really been focused on the affordability of new or used shelter insomuch as it focuses on the affordability of new and renovated shelter that doesn’t badly suck. Meanwhile, the government’s own rules regarding how it contracts to build things results in extraordinarily high costs of construction and terrible cost containment as compared to the private sector, undermining its own mission. (This is one area where Trumpian rhetoric about renegotiating terrible deals and saving money would really pay off if actualized.)
Here’s the thing, though, is that very-inexpensive stuff is supposed to suck. That’s how the free market works. The prospect of living a crappy lifestyle is a good reason to reform one’s prospects, get trained, go to work, gain experience, get paid more…and pay taxes. And it’s a good incentive to use birth control. There will always be people who make bad decisions, but you can only help them so much without breaking the system for the rest of us. If there are *legitimate* health and safety hazards in privately-operated rental housing, then decide what those are, enforce them, and be done with that as an issue.
OTOH, if either 1) it is a priority to try to put poor people into “high-opportunity” neighborhoods, then give them housing vouchers for that purpose, and 2) if it is a priority to preserve historically mono-cultural communities from the egregious folly of gentrification…well then, don’t do #1, and maybe even give people from special classes voucher to entice them to embrace, preserve, and strengthen their historically-segregated traditional communities. (For example, pay upper-middle-class black professionals to move their families into the 5th Ward.) I happen to think that #2 is an utterly terrible idea, but in either case, keep that issue totally separate from housing affordability. These are not the same thing, or rather they shouldn’t be.
The owners of NW mall got more than they paid for it from TXDOT when they expanded the freeways. I have a hard time feeling sorry for them.
I didn’t even realize the NW mall was a going concern. For some reason, I thought all business other than the parking lot carnivals had shut down years ago. I suppose many other thought the same. It certainly isn’t helped by its poor freeway access.
Late last year, Halbach wrote in a findings of fact and conclusions of law that “the assessments paid by owners of real property within the district were not made voluntarily, but were paid under duress.” The judgment said the district has assessed and collected nearly $6.6 million.
The district has said the property owners are not entitled to a refund because claims that the funds were paid under duress were never proved. ”
Uh, I didn’t pay, got sued, and they tried to foreclose on my properties. I finally had to pay or have my properties taken. That’s not duress?
@Erika drain the swamplot!
Seems like you’ve been in a chatty mood lately – thanks for the thoughtful comments on this and other recent Swamplot articles that further discussion, it’s a welcome balance to snarky/flippant comments by the others.
Joel: Hold on, I need to put on some sad violin music to read your sob story. :(
Joel- I forgot to add…perhaps the parents of these poor kids should’ve made better life choices, or better yet, not have children they couldn’t afford to take care of.
But of course the eternal victim enablers will always have excuses for them. 0 personal responsibility always. You should apply to work over at Urban Whiner, you’d fit right in over there.
Someone wake me up when Niche gets done.
@OhBrother, Framing this as a personal responsibility issue is just ignorance or blatant stupidity. It’s about creating and maintaining an educated and mobile workforce to better the cities GDP and tax revenue for everyone involved, which you can’t have with failing schools and terrible infrastructure. Have you ever wondered why Houston’s economy is dependent on importing talent from outside the city and from abroad? Texans aren’t the brightest bulbs in the lot.
I can say that punishing young children for the financial situation of their parents is entirely indicative of Texas’ backwoods version of religiosity though so no surprise there.
Really no surprise joel will continue to pass the blame. 0 personal responsibility seems to be his mantra. Everything is always someone else’s fault.