Where 173 New Homes Are Going in the East End, Next to the Railroad Tracks

Simms Woods Homesites, 5401 Lawndale St., Simms Woods, Houston

Simms Woods Homesites, 5401 Lawndale St., Simms Woods, HoustonDevelopers are planning to put in a 173-home subdivision on the 11.93-acre former site of the All Woods Schroeder (and later, Woodlands Mill Work) warehouse adjacent to the HB&T rail line near the intersection of Jefferson and Hackney in the Simms Woods subdivision, west of Idylwood. The official address of the not-just-yet-subdivided property is 5401 Lawndale St., but only a small leg of the land fronts Lawndale — between Telephone Rd. and Wayside Dr., across from the KIPP Explore Academy.¬†Demolition permits for portions of the former warehouse buildings were approved back in 2011 and 2013, but a reader reports that the last structure was cleared just recently (see photos).

On May 15th, the city’s planning commission is set to consider the layout for the new subdivision, which includes 11 new streets, 173 new homesites, and 25 “reserves” — to be used for guest parking and bits of open space. Here’s the proposed layout:

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Simms Woods Homesites, 5401 Lawndale St., Simms Woods, Houston

The developer is an entity named Lawndale Partners LLC, which purchased the property in January.

Simms Woods Homesites, 5401 Lawndale St., Simms Woods, Houston

Simms Woods Homesites, 5401 Lawndale St., Simms Woods, Houston

Photos: Gabriel Martinez

Clearing Simms Woods

34 Comment

  • Wow, looking at the plat can these be anything but new-age row houses?

  • 173 houses divided by 11.93 acres = 14.5 homes/acre. I’d say that’s pretty tightly packed.

  • Small town homes wow just what Houston needs more of and a lot more traffic for the area guess the developer did not take all this into consideration

  • I had been curious what they would be putting in here behind the post office. I agree WR, it will be interesting to see what they come up with to put on such small lots. You can almost fit 4 of these lots into the lots of the neighboring neighborhoods (by a rough guess zooming in on the proposed layout). Good to see development…but would hope for something that will give the inhabitants some elbow room.

    On an unrelated note:
    Glad to see the HB&T name still shows up on things, even though it has been gone for a number of years.

  • Speaking of the KIPP Academy, before it became KIPP, a builder was set to put townhomes (or condos or apartments) on that property which is also right by the railroad tracks. I ~think~ it was Perry Homes but not sure.
    .
    That did not materialize. Oh well, more traffic for that area. More congestion on Wayside at the Walmart.
    .
    Who is Lawndale Partners LLC anyway?

  • well I live less than a 1/2 mile from this location and although I would rather $200-250,000 homes to be built on the site, ANYTHING is almost better than the old warehouses. We have new home construction in the Broadmoor neighborhood, renovations and upgrades to Austin High School (my oldest 2 attend lamar now), hopefully redevelopment of the old Finger’s site and portions of Macy’s distribution center. Unfortunately it looks like we’ve lost the Botanical Gardens (for now) and we might have to enlist a cat & dog posse to round-up the strays but the East End is showing signs of life. My only worry is the growing population of bare-footed, pet ordinance violating, can’t seem to find a lawnmower or weedeater hipsters, who drag race down neighborhood streets and blast, heavy metal, tejano, country or rap music till well after midnight. But no worries, at least now we may be able to add a coffee shop, veggie/vegan cafe, etc. to the bike shop. Long Live the East. peace

  • @roadchick it seems like a lot, but the city allows up to 27 units per acre. Just under 2 two times what is proposed here. Although not really possible with the road network and other Ch 42 standards in place, that means that there could be 322 homes on this site if the developer wanted to.

    @Brian D since when did a developer take anything outside their site into consideration? Though, there will probably be a traffic increase but I doubt anything considerably significant.

    One of my main concerns is since the developer is solely using a 28′ PAE road network I hope they have the right mind to install some sort of sidewalk network throughout the development. It would be a shame to have a nice new 12 Acre development in the city without any sort of internal sidewalk system.

  • Lawndale LLC? I live near here and this scares me. No website for the developer so I’m thinking some kind of cheapie construction aimed at naive, low-income buyers. Maybe even modular homes with those tiny lots.

  • I pulled their LLC agreement. The group formed in October 2013 and has three managing members, Jorge Casimiro, Sonia Casimiro, and Jose Castillo. Casimiro seems to have a checkered history with the Tremont tower and Tremont homes. Perhaps someone on here knows more about him.

  • Perry Homes was going to build across Lawndale, but the land was too contaminated and they sold to KIPP Academy. Modular homes aren’t allowed within the city limits so it will probably be something similar to Frank Liu’s Midtown Village bounded by Pease, Delano, Ennis, and the Gulf Frwy. Those patio homes average 1500 s.f. and have a similar gated entrance.

  • @Karma & @Dana-X

    Most developers create a new LLC or LP for each project they do. This basically makes it so that if they were to get sued for everything they have, the LLC or LP would get sued, not the parent company such as Hines (not saying this is Hines) minimizing the loss. So most likely this developer has done a lot more work in Houston, they are just using an LLC because it is a separate project. If this was a cheapie developer I don’t think that there would be any s.f. of green space leftover and the entry wouldn’t be divided so they could max out their lot count.

  • 173 new households will now learn the super-secret Jefferson cross-thru route to Wayside! The problem is that crossing is not much more than a single lane wide and street-parked cars block it even further. Hopefully the developers will widen it……but being Houston you know that ain’t gonna happen. I support the infill, but worry about the cost to the already crap infrastructure. (I live in Eastwood). Polk and Lockwood are already destroyed from truck traffic. People talk about Richmond and Alabama being bad–it’s even worse over here!

    Not sure about the people to the west, but I bet CCP homeowners association will pipe up if they haven’t already.

  • Watch out everyone, we’re starting to look like a real city.

  • the site looks a lot like the urban infill developments KB Homes (who absorbed Ray Ellison of crap builder legend) did in San Antonio in the early 00s. I remember looking at a couple of their developments when shopping for my first house. At the time they were marketing them as “California style” –not town homes; almost but not quite zero-lot line, and no available street parking except for cut-outs. Good luck getting Houstonians to actually park in their driveways. I just don’t understand that behavior. 2-3 cars per house crammed up against he curb and no one in the driveway.

  • Thanks for the info ^. Tremont Towers…ahh yes. My intuition that this was scary was correct. Something about the street names and layout screams Ponzi scheme/sucker’s paradise.

  • Tremont homes… here comes some high density ghetto.

  • Dana – X…

    Spanish street names = Ponzi Scheme? I guess they should have went with enchanted forest, whispering pi es, or rainbow unicorn. I would pick living on the proposed street names any day over the typical idyllic suburban street names.

    My guess is they want to make sure they can at least sell these homes under 300k (which is increasingly harder to do in the loop) hence why they have lots smaller than the typical 50×100 seen in the original plats of Houston.

  • I just googled the man’s name (with Tremont) and some really bad stuff came up. One can only hope that they’ve changed their ways. I mean crap builder and lending fraud?

    How do these type builders get backing? Thanks to LSM for getting their LLC info.

  • Bearing in mind that any commercial use is likely to add more rush-hour traffic than a residential use (and leaving aside that the land is too expensive for industrial, too poorly laid out for retail, and is in a pathetically weak office submarket), what would people LIKE to have seen built on this site?

    Housing for billionaires probably isn’t the solution (to suggest a modest proposal), however much we might prefer it to for-sale market-price workforce housing that’ll be sold to people that can qualify for a mortgage in an environment with tight lending practices and that will have the means to inject quite a bit of money into the neighborhood businesses that we all can enjoy.

    Of course…this might also make a good multifamily Tax Credit site. I’m sure that everybody in the neighborhood would just be THRILLED about that.

  • Awesome cant wait!

  • I couldn’t live near there because of all the stray animals. My wife works at a school in the east end and her school is a magnet for everyone in the surrounding area to abandon their animals. The gates of this place will be teeming with stray animals begging to get in and have a life outside of the terrible existence that they will have had until then.

  • Wow, reading up about these guys….this really bothers me. I was really hoping to see Eastwood flower over the next decade, but having this much ghetto property get built in the middle of it? Man, that’s really sad.

  • @RIL. The street names and plat triggered the scam response in me because 1) the Spanish names, including what looks like “Familia Street”, appear to me to be aiming at naive Spanish speaking buyers and 2)I am aware of some folks who got scammed by a couple of very similar looking subdivisions of manufactured housing in the Houston area (not in the city limits) and they had names like “Santiago Hill Lane” etc., so that was more of an automatic reaction.
    And plus I know the area and since a Rice Military-type townhouse takeover hasn’t even begun anywhere nearby, the demand for them would likely come from a lower-income group and so these are likely going to be built as cheaply as possible. I have seen some incredibly ugly, cheap new housing over here in the past few years by “developers” on scattered parcels.
    And now we find out some infamous scammers/crooks who have left stains all over town are behind it. Yes mortgage guidelines are stricter than 10 years ago but there are still some no-down and FHA programs to shoehorn people into crap housing. It would be nice if this were to become a residential rose garden inspired by real demand in a strong market in an area that is beginning to blossom but the early returns are in and it’s looking like a weedpatch.

  • Property addressed is north and west of Country Club Estates. Idylwood is further away. This area down to Harrisburg once was home to seventeen subdivisions (1028-1040) which were considered prime areas built around the old capital of Texas. I hope the subdivision will include a reservoir for flood control which could also provide subdivision green space. I hope the city will protect and serve this subdivision better than the previous ones. Subdivision could have bus and rail service. Good luck.

  • much needed infill for the area. I’m not excited about the people doing this, but hopefully it will be a good project.

  • There is also an informative article on the chron website from 2008 titled “Owners stuck with flawed homes in Montrose, Memorial” for those interested. I hope the developer has learned from past mistakes but in my experience these traits run the same as they do with financial fraudsters… they don’t regret putting out a bad product, they regret getting caught.
    Personally I would rather see the warehouses for another 5-8 years and then something good going in there to reflect what I hope will be a booming Eastside at that point. Whether that’s higher end grocer/ retail, offices, restaurants… I think any of those would be preferable to some fly-by-night townhomes that will never be sought after due to their proximity to a heavily used rail track. I feel bad for those in Houston Country Club place.

  • With this information out there, anyone buying this garbage are fools.

  • The comments here are the best investigative journalism I’ve seen that is any way devoted to a developer.

  • Just my opinion but after driving all around Eastwood, Des Jardins, Country Club Place, Idylwood, Forest Hill and Harrisburg Avenue this afternoon, I think moderate price housing is all this area warrants. There is already so much abandoned/vacant warehouse and retail space and the older neighborhoods just look like they are in a general state of decline. 65% of what I saw was unkempt. Even Idylwood seems a bit ragged in places. This tract of land doesn’t have the greatest adjacencies (it will probably look like an exisiting infill development nearby at Woodridge and I-45) and really doesn’t lend itself to anything other than an apartment complex or townhouses. I am even re-thinking the Botanic Garden idea–it’s just a somewhat sleepy depressing area with a long way to go.

  • You could always read up on Tremont Tower in the Swamplot archives. There’s even a tag for it.
    http://swamplot.com/tag/tremont-tower/

  • This housing development is the first of its kind in decades. I have had the pleasure of meeting the builders & I look forward to this project being completed. The neighborhood will not become apartments or condo style living, they will have a HOA & be priced from $200k. The builders have also expressed interest to contribute in other ways to our neighborhood. They are currently working with all applicable city departments to ensure a smooth transition for surrounding properties.

  • This made my stomach turn, east wood is so beautiful and peaceful with gorgeous homes and has managed to preserve some awesome building and now we have a greedy developer to come in and jam pack 11 acres with ugly piece of shit carbon copy homes, horrible! Which means this is the begining of another dominino effect of exactly what is happening to poor montrose – so sad. It would be awesome if to see some tasteful eco safe homes bei ng built but that is just wishful thinking