The Skylane Is Falling in Woodland Heights

The low-lying Skylane Central apartments beside the Taylor St. bridge are about to be sold to Greystar, which says it plans to tear them down and put up something like this parkside 8-story complex — but that’s just one of several renderings the Houston Chronicle is reporting that the developer is considering for the site near White Oak Dr. at the southern end of the Woodland Heights. The deal should be done by September.

Rendering: Meeks + Partners

25 Comment

  • huge improvement to the neighborhood.

  • Is this the same Greystar of Metropole fame?? hahaha. They are awful. This confirms my thoughts that apartment building inner loop is overblown

  • If the architect’s rendering of the project is even remotely accurate, Mango Beach and the Little Buddy are toast. In addition, the new tenants will need to be aware of the high probability of flooding in the underground parking garage. The real looser in this development are the townhomes along Usener, they will probably loose their view of downtown.

  • Well it’s better than building the thing smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood. I wondered how long it would be before that complex gets razed.

  • jgbiggs is right. Skylane is literally right up against the Taylor St overpass. This rendering is total bunk. While I am happy to see the current situation go, the developers should at least be honest about what is being planned. This picture can in no way represent reality.

  • The perspective on that rendering is soooo distorted. Cars and people taller than a single story? Also, the footprint for any new build on that tract is going to end up being pretty small, since a good chunk of it is in the floodWAY, and not just the flood plain. For example, the area right beside the bridge is an old creek bed right up to where it (apparently) got filled in to build Usener.

  • Benny: I live in a property owned by Greystar, The Boulevard, on North Blvd. and it’s a very well maintained complex. We have excellent maintenance and a helpful office staff. I’ve lived there for 3 years and have no complaints.

  • Yikes, I really should proofread my comments. Looser should be losers.

  • Well it’s about time, and while I hate to see people get displaced from an affordable place to live, the surrounding neighborhood has evolved to the point where the complex either had to undergo a radical remodel or be replaced. Can’t wait to see the rancor that will happen once the place gets built, the nouveau riche tenants move in, and then start bitching when the hispanic baseball leagues and their fans start parking and hanging around all over “their” park.

  • @jgbiggs – I’m willing to bet that the owners of those townhomes are willing to trade their views of DT for the fact that that cesspool is gone.

  • Well, if Greystar would just add ground-floor retail, Mango Beach could move right in!


  • All Skylane Apts. have been a blight on Houston since the day they were first built. Was that the 50s?

  • Interesting, the rendering looks like they are proposing to build up quite a pedestal of earth with a rather tall retaining wall as a foundation for the new building.

    I owned one of those red brick/grey “town homes” (actually they are condos) immediately behind this site for about 10 years, and sold it about 3 years ago. The skylane building there was one of the key reasons I gave up on the property and didn’t keep it as a long term investment/rental (the other being flood insurance issues part of the property had, that all of the condo owners were subsidizing).

    I never had any issues with the skylane tenants, there were several long-term tenants in the units directly accross from where I lived, who were quite friendly and neighborly, quite a few families putting their young kids on the school bus every morning. However, when I did sell that condo, those apartments were THE issue all interested buyers seemed to be concerned about. It came up more often than flood-zone questions from buyers.

    Not really sad to see it go. With a traffic light added to help make the left turn from Taylor bridge coming from I-10 to usener and vise-versa, the increased traffic volume should be manageable here. If I was still an owner, I’d trade the 8 story shadow looming above for the replacement of skylane

  • All I ask is for responsible development… please!

  • Thank goodness. Anything is an improvement over the current deteriorating complex.

  • “All Skylane Apts. have been a blight on Houston since the day they were first built. Was that the 50s?”

    I think the 60s. Cody did a really nice rehab on 219 West Alabama. Including a rehab of the tenants. Maybe a stucco facade for 520 West Alabama. Anything but that pre-Hardiplank siding. Sorry but it still screams Skylane. The rest are pretty much, well, as you put it, a blight. Although some are beyond blight.

  • Matt: Thanks. The hardi on the side replaced old vinyl that was falling off over old wood lap siding which was rotten. It was a mess. But the majority of the building is brick.
    And just as an FYI, there is no more “Skylane”. That was started by Darby Suiter and they’ve gone away with the
    ‘new breed’ of apartment owners.
    We bought the three in Montrose (all were dumps I have to say), and the one in the Heights (that is the subject of this story) was bought by Brightside Properties. Like we’ve done with ours, they’ve upgraded and updated theirs. It’s still old, and it’s still not the best looking, but it offers affordable rents that the new place will not.
    I know it’s cool to bash some of the older ‘ugly’ places but not everyone can afford $2/SF rents.

  • Speaking of Darby: Regardless of his investment choices, he was a great musician who I played a lot of gigs with and he met a very unfortunate end last year.

  • Cody doesn’t own 219… He never did shit to it except kick out some tenants. I moved out just after the new owner took over in 2011. My loss, dang!

  • Poor Rice: Not to get into a debate here, but you know that the reason the new owner bought the place is because it had become stabilized due to (most of the) older tenants leaving? And the newer tenants that came (of which I assume your one?) came because of the upgrades that were done in and out? We could not have gotten new tenants (and thus new owner) without fixing the issues with the place.
    Did you also know that we continued to manage the property even after the new owner bought the place?
    As someone that lives very close to 219 (and the sister property at 502, which we still own/manage), I’m very happy to see those places turned around (it was a giant ancillary benefit to purchasing them). I walk by 219 all the time on my way to rail/tacos-a-go-go/julia/sparrow/etc. and I remember how bad it used to be.
    Heck, I still remember personally kicking in doors and finding prostitutes working in the bathrooms. Drug users hiding in kitchen cabinets. Going to the property at night and physically throwing out non-residents hanging out in the courtyard. Adding cameras and replacing the exterior lights so it lit up like a stadium at night. We’d kick out one dealer and lock up their unit only to have the apt next door broken into and someone dig through the wall.
    All that was fixed after about 6 months.
    It may not have been A+ when I turned over management but don’t kid yourself about how bad it was when we bought it.

    (I’ll get someone to update our page to show some 219 before and after just for giggles)

  • Joe: Very very sad :(

  • I used to live several blocks from the Skylane complex on Richmond @ Hazard. I haven’t been by there there in several years. When I lived in the neighborhood just to the south of that complex, the other neighbors were so uppity about how the “trashy” tenants were dragging down their property values. I just chuckled and thought: no one forced any of you to but in this area. If they don’t like it,move to fricking Fort Bend /Montgomery counties and/or any of the outlying Stepford Wives suburbs where everything is bland,dull and master planned !!!

  • Anyone is foolish for keeping large sums of money in their home. Just too dangerous: robbery/theft/fire/flood,etc. RIP Darby

  • Patrick: We bought that one exactly two years ago. It’s nice now. Though, honestly, “looks” wise it’s not drastically different as we are (VERY) weak when it comes to design and aesthetics. What’s funny about that is most of our buildings are in areas where there is so much creativity yet despite our offers to neighbors to help design whatever they want, we don’t get much feedback. So we do our best to make them look nicer from the outside, but they’re still ‘meh’ :)

    We’ve done some repainting, then new doors/windows and light landscaping/cleaning. The biggest changes are inside (the units), which brought new tenants, which came from strict leases regarding payment and strict removal for disruptive behavior.
    Either way, as far as I know the civic group in the area is happy with the place as the cops are not coming by there every day. Maybe they still hate the place? If they do, I haven’t heard…