Three-Story Townhome, Great View, Close to Transportation

Great real estate video takes time. Bicyclist and blogger Dave McC has been very patient:

I’ve been waiting for a year since this place was finished to time it right for a good photo op. Today was that day! Houston has some wonderful examples of Developers Gone Wild (TM). This is a great one . . .


If you can’t read the sign… it says “Inside the Loop, Within Reach”. What it doesn’t say is that it’s within reach of the TRAIN 5-feet from your bedroom window!!! Oh, the passed out hobo at the bus stop adds a nice touch too. This can be yours for a mere $320k! But hurry, it’s only been on the market for a year!

From the reader who sent us a link to the video: “Does anyone know where this is?”

Photo and video: Dave McC

36 Comment

  • heh.. that on the East side of Heights, roughly between Washington and I10..

    I drive/bike by here every day, and wonder what kind of soundproofing they have there.. it must be fantastic!

  • This only thing that can save this townhouse, is if the developers know something we don’t, as in the rail line being removed/relocated. But I have not heard anything regarding that. With that, this is the dumbest location for a new home, or any home.

  • The charming clochard on the park bench, some fluffy white sheep photoshopped in– why, we’re in the South of France, that’s where this is. Turrets-sur-les-Trax

  • I live in Cherryhurst, between Fairview and Westheimer, and that same train sometimes wakes me up. Granted, I’m a light sleeper, but I simply cannot imagine paying to live next to that train. There are thousands of other options in that price range, so I don’t understand why anyone buys those places. There are hundreds of new townhouses between Center St. and those tracks. We looked at one next to the tracks a couple years ago. The rooms were shaking when the train went by. We all (including the realtor) started laughing, and moved on.

  • On my occaisional drive to IAH via the Hardy Toll Road. I often wonder when the Rail Yard Auto Depot Condos are coming.

  • This is the most egregious example, and impossible not to notice given both that huge sign and its prominent location on Heights Blvd. But, there are similar townhouses all along that track between Old Katy Rd all the way through the First Ward. I think someone should organize an alt-Home Tour of some of these, timed with the train schedule, of course.

  • If you are watching tv when the train goes by you can get motion sickness. I know this from personal experience.

    FYI – hobos were men that rode the railways and worked (operative word) worked for their living. They did not want handouts, just a life without strings.

    Bums, those are the guys that you will see passed out at busstops, sleeping under Pierce Elevated, etc.

    Just a lesson in terms. :)

  • What this failed to capture in this is the real kicker in the deal:

    The other side of the development fronts to the recycling center and the headquarters of Admiral Linens.

    Think about this for a second: one way access with u-turn to your luxury townhome, the glory of modern industrialization whizzing by your bedroom, the aroma of recycled garbage grabbing your attention first thing in the morning, the panoramic views of vagrants loitering about the fine streets, and the appreciation for capitalism at its finest while underpaid immigrant workers fold uniforms at all hours of the night.

  • What is the address for this place?

  • Well, Superneighborhood 22 is trying to get a quiet zone implemented for the west end of the Washington corridor. All those newbie townhome buyers out there must have missed the rail line while doing their due diligence. But hey, they are close to Benjys now.

    I say let the train whistles blow!

  • How timely…

    Residents approve plan for quiet zone

    bah! humbug! I live about 1000′ from these lines, and like the horns.

  • Aw, Harold, you beat me to the turret! And let’s not overlook, among the attractive features of this lovely townhome, the daily doses of diesel exhaust ascending to the bedchamber windows several times a day, the seizure-inducing flashing red lights of the crossing arm, and and tintinnabulation of the bells, bells, bells, bells….

  • 120ish Heights Blvd. Just north of Center St. At least you are close to Star Pizza, Hickory Hollow BBQ, and Porch Swing Pub…

  • The quiet zone for rail initiative is being worked on by Super Neighborhood 22 along with the City of Houston. Bellaire has already implemented this.

    The quite zone restricts horn usage but safety upgrades are required to meet federal guidelines. This has been quite popular in many communities across the country. The local communities must fund the upgrades.

    This isn’t bad if you are about 30-40-feet away. But 5-feet is ridiculous. I’m usually all for build it if it will sell, but something has to have crossed the developer’s mind that this may be a difficult sell.

    I’ve lived near railroads all my life. I even had a dorm room in college on a 5th floor that was even with a very busy railroad track (hilly area of north Louisiana). I think I got used to the vibrations and horns, but I would never get something that close. I was at least 60-feet away back then.

  • That’s if the developer had a mind to begin with.

  • Awesome!
    Here’s the link to the listing:

    I actually toured one of the homes in my quest for a TH inside the loop almost a YEAR ago! They have dropped the price since we looked at it.
    The pictures shown in were very misleading!
    We cracked up when we saw the tracks, the bus stop, and the fact we sat in traffic trying to make a u-turn to get into
    the property. You are literally RIGHT on the tracks and the street. The gal afterwards were very interested in what we thought and why we didn’t like it.
    Humm….real mystery there! : )

    Aside from the train tracks, we felt the construction was shoddy….lots of corners cut and it came out looking
    looking (upscale to a degree) apartment. In fact, my rented apartment at the time had the same flimsy closet rods…you know the ones that bend and pull out of the wall if you hang more than 3 coats 6 jeans?!

    No thought went into this development and sadly it still on the market.

  • “All pre-wired for surround sound & data.”

    There’s an understatement.

  • I use the adjecent recycling center once month. At least the train whistle drowns out the sound of all the glass bottles breaking as they land in the bin!

  • Maybe they are soundproofed, but you can’t take out the ground rumbling!

  • From reading the quiet zone story I’m guessing it’s different from the wayside horns system that Sugar Land put in. I’m close to that line every day and the improvement that the wayside horns give is phenomenal. The train can only be heard if you are approaching the crossings on the street itself. This was also accomplished without having to close any streets or disrupt traffic flow.

    I’m sure these horns are not cheap but surely they are cheaper than carrying out permanent road closures. Is there any reason that CoH isn’t considering a similar system for neighborhoods that are interested?

  • its a gated community! its safe!

  • The wayside horns are good, but closing of minor streets and improving existing crossings is dealing two other primary issues.

    UPRR determines whether a new crossing can existing and what it would like to close. TxDOT, City of Houston, and Harris County have little say. The reason is because UPRR actually owns the land the tracks are on.

    UPRR would love for less crossings to exist and for major crossing to be grade separated to allow trains to travel faster.

    The removal of the minor road crossings is also a play by the City of Houston, Harris County, METRO, and TxDOT to help in convincing UPRR to allow them to put commuter rail on UPRR’s tracks. A lot of people champion the idea of commuter rail, but UPRR isn’t really liking the idea because it will interfere with its freight operation. The Port of Houston (even in this down economy) is seeing freight tonnage increase. UPRR provides a fast way to move the tonnage out of the port to distribution centers on the edge of the city or move freight to San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, or to Shreveport. These cities are major distribution points for goods by truck. The more capacity and speed UPRR has the more attractive they are to use versus trucks from the port. Commuter rail throws a wrench into that forcing a fixed schedule operation on a rail system that has pretty flexible schedule in place as UPRR needs to suit its existing customers.

    This is why commuter rail plans on parallel tracks in many places so UPRR can be amenable with the concept.

    A lot of this is being set up under the guise of quiet zones to prep for the future.

  • How many main freight lines are there out of the City from the port? This is obviously in a different league cost wise but would there be any mileage in something similar to the Alameda Corridor out of the Ports of long Beach and Los Angeles. All the freight is then moved to a separate line with no chance of interaction with other traffic. This obvioulsy requires consolidation of rail lines but that may be no bad thing in Houston.

  • Is this a Northgate home? Those guys are fools.

  • Jimbo,

    There have been tons of studies done on what you are referring to.

    There have been plans to build a loop around Houston (think of the Grand Parkway location or further from the port side. This would allow port train traffic to move around the city and intercept outgoing lines. Remaining internal lines can be used for commuter rail and limited freight traffic to customers inside that loop.

    As you may have guessed, this is extremely expensive. The idea of quiet zones to reduce crossings and build grade separations at major roads (Richmond, Westheimer, San Felipe, TC Jester, Durham, Shepherd, and Taylor/Sawyer is actually cheaper.

    It’s not a simple task and tons of tax payer dollars will go to any solution since UPRR will not foot the bill for all of this infrastructure. UPRR was here first before all the crossing and the city kept crossing its tracks.

  • I wonder which developer it was who built these? and I wonder which financial (bankrupt) institution lent money to have these built?

    the property might have been cheap when they bought. it was cheap for a reason.

  • I use the recycling center behind these townhouses all the time and am amazed that anyone would buy them.

    ….this thought came to my mind on a Sunday morning at 9am as I am throwing glass bottles into the recycling dumpsters and appreciating the crash of bottles breaking. Oh yeah, from the recycling center you can see into the upper floor bedrooms. HA

    All they need to do now is open chemical processing facility next door and you would have the sense of smell and taste ruined too.

  • Ah, yes, a former client of mine. This community is called The Villas @ White Oak on W. 14 1/2 St. and is developed by Enzo Investments. The townhomes are built by a subsidiary of Enzo call Northgate Custom (LOL!) Homes. Our job was to make people not notice the train tracks (with accompanying trash and discarded furniture) just feet from their $300+ townhome. It’s called marketing. Evidently no other marketing firm has been able to accomplish that either.

  • P.S.: Frank
    Yes, they are fools. You nailed it.

  • Those tracks were first laid out in 1889, and are part of a major east-west route. Lots of trains. Nice loud trains. I love trains. Maybe I’ll go look at this townhouse.

  • By no means am I trying to justify this idiotic development, but one question has been nagging me:
    “Which party displays greater stupidity: the developer or the buyer?”

  • This would make a great home for:
    The deaf or a person who needs to awake the same time every morning and doesn’t have an alarm clock or a former train engineer, conductor or baggage handler or a very lonely person who needs to wave at something everyday to feel wanted, or a couple who make love everyday timing their culmination to the rumbling, shaking, earth shattering noise that could only happen if you lived and slept 5 feet from the rapture. See there is a market for this residence and I’m sure that you could come up with more potential buyers who fit this demographic if you really tried.

  • the ego of a developer flush with cheap bank money… hence this idiotic development! i can’t see that unit ever selling and true there are several developments all along that rail line but none are quite that close.

    i regret not purchasing a lot not too far from there for $30k a few years back…
    Hopefully Northgate has REALLY deep pockets because there holding costs on this one will be serious…

  • the address of this is roughly ~110 heights blvd., houston, tx, 77007. there are several single family units within close proximity to one another on this lot. two of them (there’s another one behind the one in the video) are right up on the tracks.

    and this particular unit is not $320K. my wife and i checked these out back several months ago and this one was around $295K. still high, but get your facts straight. whoever posted this is just throwing shit out there without knowing what the deal is (“don’t beleive everything you read on the internet).

    this stretch of railroad will soon be a “quiet zone” (i.e. no horn blowing):

    it should happen in early 2010.

    what makes this property even more laughable is the fact that there is a non-maned recycle center on the back of it. so not only is the train an annoyance, you have to hear the sound of the recycle trucks bleeping for hours a day. you gotta love the no zoning, zero planning houston development!!!

  • Yo Htownbrown-
    These pathetic properties have given us a lot of entertainment, and it’s nice to see it is still happening.
    But before you go throwing down on somebody for “not knowing what the deal is”, you might want to know that the unit which is now $299.9 used to be $324. Sister units are as high as $365.9.
    Time is the 4rth dimension in pricing.
    “Don’t believe everything you write on the internet”

  • Here’s a large size of the photo. The sign says “From the $320s”

    Two more video clips…