Trammell Crow’s 5-Story Apartment Complex Surrounding Holdout Heights House

Holdout Properties at 610 and 606 Allston St., Adjacent to Alexan Heights Apartments, Houston Heights

Construction of Alexan Heights Apartments, 655 Yale St., Houston HeightsFrom a couple of Swamplot readers come images of the Little House at 610 Allston St. and a neighboring vacant lot. They’re the lone holdout properties on the block also bounded by 6th St., Yale St., and the Heights Hike and Bike Trail. The 5-story Alexan Heights apartments are going up on the entire rest of the block — including a 50-ft.-wide sliver to reach around and hug the 2 wouldn’t-sells (at right in the photo at top and the one directly below):


Construction of Alexan Heights Apartments, 655 Yale St., Houston Heights

The home at 610 Allston was built in 1930. Here are views of the front of the apartment complex, which faces 6th St.:

Construction of Alexan Heights Apartments, 655 Yale St., Houston Heights

Construction of Alexan Heights Apartments, 655 Yale St., Houston Heights

A second complex from Trammell Crow Residential, the Alexan Yale St., is beginning construction to the south of this one, on the other side of 6th St.

Photos: Swamplot inbox (top photo); Christopher Andrews (all others)

Alexan Heights

25 Comment

  • Last time I looked, the empty lot had “For Sale” signs on it which makes me wonder why the didn’t sell. Maybe they couldn’t come to terms with TC, but that lot must now be worth much less, given that it’s enveloped by the apartment building.

  • How very Chinese. Reminds me of that iconic image of the holdout tenement sitting in the middle of some major work site, surrounded by sheer cliffs on all sides, except for a pathway to the door.

  • Don’t give in, and make sure T-C Comes Correct. There’s a pocket of Not Moving on the 500 block of Allston, including a little house all the way at the end. I hope they hang on as well.

  • I respect their holding fast, but it’s a pretty poor economic decision. If they had to heavily alter the design of the complex due to this house, that suggests they would have offered the owners quite a bit to sell. And now the owners have a home with a big apartment building crammed next to it, making it worth drastically less.
    Sometimes being principled is pretty expensive…

  • this would be funny if they could eventually build a high-rise on the two small lots. rather intimidating in its current form.

  • That will me a nice leasing office one day.

  • Reminds me of the duplex on Bellefontaine that is surrounded on all sides by the huge Maroneal complex. That holdout house was always occupied by Rice students who nicknamed it “The Alamo.”

  • I have heard that TCs buyout offers were not very generous. They may be wary of paying someone a bonus for holding out in fear that it will breed copy cats.

    And even with the apartment complex, I suspect a town home developer would pay at least $100k more than TC was offering a few years ago. The location is excellent and people in town homes do not really care much whether they are pressed up against a big building.

    Of course there is also the oft ignored fact that some people just really like where they live and do not want to move. If anything, the apartments will make a nice sound barrier and reduce energy bills by shading the house for most of the day. I am not saying that I want one around my house. Just thinking out loud that moving might have been a worse fate for the holdout than staying.

  • @Semper Fudge

    The Alamo has fallen and is set to be replaced by 4 townhomes. Either way it looks less goofy than this with that narrow sliver of complex to the right

  • I’m still shocked the city allows wood construction of this size. Firewalls and sprinkler systems or not, still seems like a pile of kindling to me. I guess they will change to require concrete construction on 3 or more stories once they have their first disaster. The inferno on West Dallas last year wasn’t occupied so I guess everyone pretty much dismissed the possibility or what could happen. What a shame.

  • @OkieEric REMEMBER THE ALAMO! (mainly, all the awful beer consumed in the backyard there)

  • They should see if they could get it rezoned as retail to serve the tenants of the apartments and then open a dog kennel or a tuba store.

  • HouCynic misses the point. Urbanists want mid-rise, because it fits their vision of what a city ought to look like (see: every architectural rendering in every regional/city/district/neighborhood plan from the last 15 years).
    If you require concrete above 2 stories, you end up bifurcating the market so that everything stays at garden apartments/duplexes until the land value supports concrete slab, at which point you jump directly to high-rise. For the Urbanist, garden apartments aren’t dense enough (because everyone will still drive everywhere), but high-rises outside the urban core are too dense (because something something “human scale”). The only way to get that “goldilocks” 5-7 story midrise is to allow wood construction with firewalls.
    To that end, I would predict this’ll still be legit even after the first big conflagration.

  • @Mike Honcho,

  • @Tom Jackson: you were right, up until you said that low-rise garden complexes aren’t dense. In fact, many of Houston’s densest neighborhoods, are full of low-rise garden apartments.
    There are reasons for this. First, a lot of those high density areas are poorer, and families live in small apartments. But more to the point here: Apartments have gotten bigger since the days of the garden complex. In the 1970s, a reasonable one-bedroom was 450 square feet. Now they’re 800. Two bedrooms could be 700 square feet. Now they’re 1,200. Not to mention high ceilings. The old buildings had 7’6 ceilings. Today that’s 9′; sometimes more. So you have buildings that are larger, and neighborhoods that look more dense, but they’re really not.

  • This reminds me of Antoch Missionary Church that stood up to Century Development, which may have seemed economically questionable at the time. Regardless of economics, they stood with their beliefs and the desire to hold on to history, which they certainly did mch better than the rest of 4th Ward.

  • “They should see if they could get it rezoned as retail to serve the tenants of the apartments and then open a dog kennel or a tuba store.”
    You know how I know you aren’t from Houston?

  • At first I was giving @Mike Honcho the win, but @GoogleMaster eked it out.

  • The property owners need to re-purpose the house into a bar like Lizzards with outdoor seating, they would clean up….

  • OMG. Lizzard’s Pub is still open! I had no idea, and I live within a mile. I used to go there in the 80s.

  • Maybe the person is playing the long game and going to put in a drinking/eating establishment in the middle of however many prospective customers who are likely in the right demographic.

  • @Tom Jackson Urbanists do not necessarily support any one particular type of housing high or mid-rise. But it’s all a moot point without a non-biased and “capable” planning commission. Our fine city can’t even consistently administer the Historic Preservation Ordinances. $$$ and tax base contribution drives development… period. Urban planning is a fantasy in Houston.

  • That is a great idea about opening a lizards type place and making a mint. I’m pretty sure TC’s lawyer clerks have already counter-thought this chess move though.

  • Why not have it all!?
    Hold out against the machine, create a hip eatery/drinkery that services the new ‘locals’ and build a space-needle with condos and revolving restaurant towering above?