Comment of the Day: What I Learned Early in the Houston Real Estate Biz

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT I LEARNED EARLY IN THE HOUSTON REAL ESTATE BIZ “In 1993, I was with a firm that looked at buying many of the run down apartment complexes in Greenspoint. Our intent was to renovate them, thinking that the many class A office buildings contained many potential residents. Greenspoint was an enigma: awful multi-family and beautiful office development. You don’t often see the two side by side like this. When we got into town and started touring the area, we immediately saw the two critical falacies of our plan: 1. we needed to own and renovate all of the multi-family to turn the neighborhood. One holdout property would serve as a sanctuary for all that was bad about Greenspoint. Unfortunately, not every property was available for purchase. 2. Some of the properties, in particular those developed by Fred Rizk, were functionally obsolete. For example, sliding glass doors opening directly into parking lots–no way to easily dress this up. We never spent much time on the deals after that. On a more positive note, my boss at the time corrupted my by taking me to the St. James Club, and since that time I have considered it the best strip club ever.” [LandMan, commenting on Waiting for the Renaissance: What Could $32 Million Buy at Greenspoint Mall?]

10 Comment

  • Lipstick on a pig, I believe Goldman Sachs (Archon) tried and failed w/ Greenspoint MF. I realize areas can change for the better but I don’t recall it ever happening in Houston outside the loop or beltway. I welcome examples if I’m wrong.

  • @ cross: There was a lot of demolition and reconstruction of apartments between 610 and Voss over the last several years. And neighborhoods like Glenwood Valley, Garden Villas, and Westbury are coming back even though crappy apartments remain a problem.

    But yeah, I don’t think that Greenspoint is desirable enough to begin with that it can be completely turned around.

  • TheNiche is right.

    I drove down Voss the other day. It was the first time I’ve been in the area in the last 6 years since I moved out of an apartment.

    Many of the old apartments are gone and replaced with larger denser configurations. The whole appeared different definitely has much more activity than it used to (and it used to be busy back then). Although this neighborhood wasn’t bad, it was old and could trend downward without reinvestment.

  • @TheNiche, you’re right about the near west side, I assume we mean Glenbrook Valley? which happens to be one of my favorite subdivisions in Houston but the immediate surroundings continue to deteriorate. Once our youngest is off to college I would love to rehab a MCM modern there, in fact there are two great examples currently on the market for $179 and $189k. Robert (and others) has done an excellent job promoting the area.

  • Greenspoint is the proverbial pig with the lipstick…

  • The St. James is the best!

  • The St. James is the best!


    The best boobs?

  • @cross: Unless you’re using the city of South Houston as your reference point, surely Glenbrook Valley is near southeast, not near west side?

  • This is the same reason why the Gulfton Ghetto will never go away.

  • @Art: Gulfton is a tough nut to crack (particularly north of Bellaire Blvd. and west of Chimney Rock–most of it–which isn’t zoned to Bellaire HS), but it’ll slowly be chipped away at as the housing market and land prices return to normalcy and owners of apartment complexes realize that they can cash out to townhome developers. But as difficult as Gulfton is, Greenspoint is hopeless.

    @cross: Yes, I meant Glenbrook Valley. My mistake. Oh, and let’s also add much of Spring Branch and western portions of Memorial (outside BW8) to the list; not much movement on the crappy apartments, but these areas are coming out of a funk nevertheless.