White Oak Music Hall’s Incentive Program; Houston’s Newest Historic Landmarks


Photo: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


12 Comment

  • Enough with the silly “food desert” nonsense for the lazy and/or entitled. If you need groceries, get on a bus, bike, or walk to a grocery store.

  • Get on a bike or walk to a grocery store in a food desert? I can’t tell if you’re joking or are just that thick.

  • That said though, I’m not sure that’s a particularly great spot for an HEB. There’s already an HEB right down the road on OST. The best place to drop one imho would be in Eastwood/EADO. There is a serious dearth of good grocers over there and there are a lot of fairly well to do people over there that would love to not have to drive to montrose or gulfgate. Say somewhere near lockwood on harrisburg (rail access) or polk

  • Just moved to East End, pls send HEB. Although I will say the Kroger on Polk is not nearly as horrible as I assumed it might be.

  • No, Virginia, there is a food desert problem in Houston. It is not the same issue that exists in inner city neighborhoods in places like DC, NY, Philly, Chicago and Boston where the majority of the low income population does not own a vehicle. In Houston, being able to walk to the grocery store is more a privilege in a few wealthy areas like River Oaks, parts of the Galleria, Montrose and Midtown. For everyone else in Houston, the city is too spread out to expect people to be able to walk to the grocery store. The problem is that there are areas of town that have very few major grocers within a reasonable driving distance. On the eastern quadrant of inside the loop between 288 and I-10, you only have a Kroger, HEB, Fiesta, Sellers Bros and Walmart within the neighborhoods. By comparison, I am within about 2 miles of three Krogers, a Whole Foods, a crummy HEB and Foodorama, Fiesta, Walmart and Sprouts. I cannot go in our out of my neighborhood without passing a grocery store. People who live in areas with few major grocers also tend to have limited access to vehicles and very limited time for shopping. A trip to a major grocery store will often be a once a week or every other week trip and the corner convenience store will be relied on to fill in the gaps. That means fewer chances to stock up on fresh produce and more reliance on package processed foods. If there were more major grocers in the area, there would be less reliance on the corner convenience store and more opportunities to get fresh produce. It would also be much easier for people who rely on the bus, biking or walking to get to a major grocer if there was more of them in the underserved areas.

  • I was a bit surprised the learn that HCC is real-estate speculating with citizen’s money. Not too successfully though, if it sold the plot for $4m and then bought it back for $14m.

  • Regarding food deserts, I noticed that in the Chronicle’s map, they must have used the “centroids” (a GIS term) of the various neighborhoods to do their measurements. In several cases, the neighborhoods identified as food deserts have supermarkets just barely outside their boundaries.

    Also, I wonder how this analysis treated meat markets, fruterias, farmers markets, etc.

  • So the COH is expecting to have an appx. $125 million budget deficit next year that the new mayor and council will have to grapple with, yet someone, somewhere in city government thinks it would be a great idea to use, or borrow from the Feds about $14 million to dig HCC out of their hole and then try to be the landlord for a grocery store. I’m very far from being a tea party type, but this is the kind of thing that gives the tea party types ammunition with which to gain elected office.

  • I’m complete agreement with Shady Heighter’s comment that the City needs to stop spending/lending/gambling with money it doesn’t have on speculative land deals. If HCC messed up, let them find their own solution.
    I love HEB but, if it can’t do the deal without public assistance, then maybe it is a capital project that shouldn’t be done. I seriously doubt that the brainiacs at City Hall can do better deals than a private for-profit company like HEB. Finally, if the folks at City Hall have nothing better to do, then let’s put them on pothole fixing duty to keep their idle hands occupied.

  • The research on the health and economic effects of “food deserts” is premised on a compelling hypothesis but has been empirically examined and findings are mostly inconclusive. As Local Planner pointed out, its hard to develop an objectively correct methodology; and I’ll add to that that the researchers probably have been fairly exhaustive in their p-hat mining, probably varying their methodologies in hopes that they find a statistically significant result that a journal would publish. So that probably means something.

    Given that and also its dubious record with incentives offered to retailers, I’m not sold on that as being a good use of the City’s very limited financial resources at all, and especially given that its bonds are on the precipice of a downgrade.

    More generally, retail business establishments tend not to be a very effective means of economic development in the middle of a jurisdiction as large as Houston. The business that it draws is only going to result in business elsewhere within Houston being siphoned off, so the net fiscal and employment impact is limited, and touting it is disingenuous. I might say something different if it were the City of South Houston and they were poaching from Houston’s tax base, for example; I might say something different if it were an investment that intended to increase land values generally in a district or along a corridor; but its neither of those, and this doesn’t make much sense to me.

    The tract of land is also challenged from a geophysical perspective (as much of it is the filled-in streambed of Brays Bayou). That can be overcome at a certain level of intensity of development and I’m confident that it will be in the future. All that has to be done is wait. Its even kind of a shame to develop at a low intensity if it can accommodate higher-intensity uses in the future. Of course, in the future (with or without an HEB) all the poor people will be gentrified away and the “food desert” issue (if it is an issue) will probably have resolved itself.

  • this is a great location for an HEB. The mentally ill who are discharged from across the bayou at HCPC will now have a place to hang out. plus its relatively difficult to access location except for the road directly feeding to and from 288 will assure the location’s already backed up traffic due to the flow into the medical center area to increase, AWESOME!

    i realize that Debakey HS is moving next year so that will help a bit but there is nothing like sitting on 288 trying to exit to MacGregor slowly ascending the ramp.

    this is a terrible idea, i used to work at HCPC. We discharged patients all the time and most of the time they didn’t have rides. What they did have was a bus pass and the bus stop is where the HEB is planned to be.

    add in the drug users that seem to roam about just north of the area (my favorite memory this week from driving up delano street to elgin was two crackheads fighting in the middle of the street over a bike) and you have the makings of either a stabbing in the parking lot or possibly an overzealous cop shooting a mentally ill discharge because he overreacted when the person failed to leave the HEB.

    and just so you know, HCPC only keeps the patient till they are stable and no longer a threat to themselves or others. the moment they walk out the doors, they can stop taking their meds. they aren’t bad people but some of them do hear command voices and that is when you have police tragedies particularly when the HEB hires rent a cops from another county or area that doesn’t have training in mental health issues…

  • MrErection- I’m serious. There is already an HEB right down the road. Quit enabling laziness. This is obviously just pandering by the city council. No such thing as food deserts. It’s a made up buzz phrase. Come back to reality.