Where a Couple Dozen Townhomes Are Going in the Far North Heights

Townhome Development at 241 W. 27th St. and Rutland, Houston Heights

A reader sends us this pic of the scene looking north from the corner of 27th St. and Rutland, just a block south of the North Loop, where a grid of townhomes is replacing the former site of the limestone-clad church and its parking lot at 251 W. 27th. The religious institution, known variously as the Houston Restoration Church, the Fulbright United Methodist Church, and the God’s Spirit of Faith Fellowship Church, was sold in August and torn down last month. An appraisal district map shows a new subdivision named Hannah Square with 12 townhome lots facing 27th St. on the old church site, and another one with another dozen lots facing 28th St., called Erin Park. The developer appears to be Colina Homes.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

There Was the Church

29 Comment

  • This is the Eastern edge of a complete clusterf*** of townhomes being jammed relentlessly into every possible nook and cranny of “underdeveloped” real estate. The square bounded by probably 24th, Yale, Durham, and N. Loop is being developed into yardless, 3-story people boxes faster than as you can say “selling for land value”.

    Given, the quality of most housing on these development lots wasn’t incredible to start with, it’s still a shame that the future of that area is in the hands of a brood of fly-by-night developers in a race to see who can cram the most improved square feet onto the smallest lot size. That whole area is going to end up looking like Rice Military, which is to say, a soulless maze of towering sardine cans. Blech.

  • Since those People Boxes are selling like hotcakes and people can’t get enough of them, your opinion of them is immaterial and carries as much power as a fart in a tornado.

  • A ride around the far north Heights (bordered roughly by Yale, Shepherd, 610 and, say, 23rd) reveals a staggering amount of residential construction activity.

    The Sullivan Brothers project on 23rd is finally nearing completion. A dozen new townhouses at 26th and Ashland. Eight single-family at the same corner, with 20 or so to follow between 26th and 27th. Eight single family houses at 26th and Rutland. Twenty townhouses about to go up at 24th and Lawrence. Plus a dozen or so 2-6 house developments. The numbers easily reach into the triple digits, and that’s without anything on the old NFF site (the double block between Nicholson, Rutland, 25th and 26th), which could add another hundred.

  • Ian, my partner and I are going out this weekend to look at towering sardine cans. Seemed to work pretty well for Rice Military as there are so few for sale right now and they’re all at incredibly high prices, only in the range of a jumbo loan at this point. I’ll take a 3 story no-yard peoplebox over a rundown 1,200 sqft bungalow (that’s just being sold for lot value anyways).

  • Ian,

    There is definitely a spectrum of quality. The Sullivan houses on 23rd are actually very well done. The ones built by Sandcastle on 26th (on slabs), are, well, less so (and priced accordingly). The “Ashland Square” houses on 26th are a bizarre mishmash of facade styles, with tiny back yards, though, amusingly, the website lists a pool as an option.
    The townhouses are actually less Rice Military style and more Shady Acres style: 10-12 units on a shared driveway, which I generally prefer over the front-facing garage.

  • If they keep building like this in the Heights, in a couple more years it will actually start to get nice up there.

  • I love how so many uptight Heights residents continue look down their noses at those of us that CHOOSE to live in these “towering sardine cans”. Guess what, Ian? I don’t want to live in an old bungalow nor live in a New Orleans garden style home. Get off your high horse.

  • Amen Ian. While I’m usually happy to see increasing density, most of these townhouse developments isolate themselves from the street and do not really mesh with the surrounding neighborhood. Worse, in 10 or 15 years the original buyers will have moved on to something newer or rented out their units, and what will be left is poorly-built and maintained town homes with faded paint, rotting trim, algae-covered roofs and walkways, etc. Just look at any townhouse in midtown built 10-15 years and see how distressed they look today. The HOAs are not generally invested in much beyond minimal landscaping and basic repairs to common areas.

  • As I’ve said in the past, Commonsense: almost anything sells like hotcakes when it’s new. The real test comes in 15 or 20 years, when the newness has worn off. That’s when they have to get back to the basics to sell themselves: proximity to jobs, quality of schools, local crime rates, access to parks and recreation….
    .
    Case and point: Westwood. Those condos and apartments sold like hotcakes, too – back in the 1970s and early ’80′s. But look at them now!

  • Oh, and basics like an awkward floor plan, or too many stairs, or windows that open onto a neighbor’s Hardiplank siding – those matter more on older properties, too….

  • Enjoyed reading all the responses, except, predictably, commonsense’s.

    People can’t get enough of it, hyuk hyuk! Come on. You could sell “luxury” single-wides on a 2,000 sqft lot in the outlying Heights right now, for good money, all day long. You and SFP and your ilk are making money selling crappy, oversized, generic houses at inflated prices in a hot market. We get it. I care about the neighborhood first, you care about profitable development first, fantastic, go enjoy all the happiness that it has bought you. Go on, get.

    Angostura, exactly. The pace of construction in that area is staggering. Also there is the ex-warehouse site next to Fiesta (40+ townhouses) and the Alamo elementary development across Yale in North Sunset (60+ townhouses).. and numerous others. The NFF land is too incredibly prime to hang out for much longer. The “Ashland Square” development.. advertised at $550s? Seriously?

    Ron and merp, please feel free to go vote with your dollar. It’s your right and nobody is stopping you.

    Helios and ZAW – that’s definitely what I was getting at. These cheaply built, inward-facing developments are not going to age well. New residents better hope inner Houston continues to fill out, and stays high-rent.

  • Take that NIMBYS !!! Build baby Build!!! all these stupid NIMBYS get mad when things are built in the stupid Heights…cause we all know The Heights is sacred!!! Stupid thing is there are so many crappy scraggly lots and house scattered throughout the heights yet the Hipsters act like it makes the neighborhood look better? stupid NIMBYS

  • I guess I should just assume that whatever happens everyone won’t be happy..but…… What does the Heights want for itself? I look around and sometimes have a hard time seeing what it is that everyone bemoans is being destroyed. Sure, there are a lot of really nice old houses that look great, but there are also a lot of really scraggly houses and lots. Is it that the Heights wants the whole place to look like those few redone or look alike homes that line a few choice streets or is it that the Heights wants to remain a single family neighborhood (I thought that is what the suburbs are for)? A lot of the town homes look weird but maybe that adds to the character rather than detracts. Aren’t a bunch of homes better than a barren lot or broken out building?

  • Every time elseed posts something, I can’t help but to think of the bully from The Simpsons:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAUNlO6-rlk

  • To sustain the property values and desirability of the neighborhood, the double block between 25th and 26th should be made into a park by the city. The immediate area is seriously lacking open space for recreation.

  • Ya’ll living in the greater Heights area should be happy about this – it’s one small step closer to the area not being a giant shithole anymore.

  • Tremendous idea Thomas.. unfortunately that’s, what, 200k sqft at $40-50 per? I doubt the city would front 8 or 10mm in land alone for what would be an admittedly excellent location for a park.

  • Actually just searched HCAD, NFF holds 366k sqft. Wowza.

  • I don’t understand why everyone who comments on the swamplot only sees the world from their point of view and how it affects them…one of these days people with too much time on their hands will get that is why the free market works and no Thomas getting the City to build a park is not the way the free market works….

  • Oh no. I feel like another quixotic lecture on the invisible hand is coming….

  • @Thomas: See the stories from a short while back about the City of Houston blowing all the development fees on park maintenance instead of acquisition. This property did change hands during the recession and probably sold at a discount. The City could have and should have taken a shot at it to build a new park. Instead, the city just keeps selling off land as fast as it can inside the loop.

  • The dense townhome developments are mini slums feeding off the surrounding neighborhood.
    Treeless, lots of pavement, lack of character, a plop of poo in a pretty yard.

  • If you think the Heights was a trashy ghetto/barrio before gentrification, give this turdfest 10-20 years and see what the neighborhood is like.

    All this type of development makes me realize what a real pig Mayor Porker is.

    Watched a televised planning commission meeting on public access earlier in the week and thought what a bunch of butt kissing retards that commission is. They didn’t give a rat’s ass about all the neighbors filling up the meeting to voice concerns about this kind of development, they just went down their list rubber stamping project after project. Basically telling those folks in attendance, tough shit people, better luck next time.

  • The Starbucks at Nicholson & 610 will next to expand. BTW, is the former wire factory site at about 25th-26th a brown field or what?

  • What it is with people against densification of Houston’s urban core? People are against townhomes, multifamily, McMansions (not densification but still), office…people, there is absolutely NO valid reason that the urban core should remain the same low-density suburbia as which it was originally built – it does not make Houston better. Market economics, sound infrastructure, and accounting for truly harmful physical externalities (does NOT include traffic) should rule, not capricious personal aesthetic preferences (I’ll make one exception: the sign code). Following those principles ARE what makes Houston better. Especially when they result in adding to the population of affluent residents who will help make the city more fiscally sound by generating tax revenues and being less likely to cost the city in terms of public safety and social services (a politically incorrect statement but true nonetheless).

  • Local Planner, it sounds as if you’ve been sipping some of that Agenda 21 kool-aid.

  • AMEN LOCAL PLANNER!

  • HHAHHAHAAHAHAH take that NIMBYS!

  • Progg…thanks for the shout out!