Note: Story updated below. And read more here.
Though their neighbors at 4444 Westheimer were assigned “move out concierges” to help with their “residence transitions,” it doesn’t appear that the tenants at the Westcreek at River Oaks apartments, just east of the Loop and south of San Felipe, will enjoy the same luxury, now that they’ve been asked to leave, too. (Though they will get their security deposits back!) A tipster explains that eviction notices from property owners Kaplan Management Co. were delivered late last week politely requiring that 2 of the buildings at 2049 Westcreek Ln. be vacated by the end of November, so they can be torn down. Why? The notice explains that “the community is being redeveloped.”
It’s not explicit, of course, but the force behind that redevelopment appears to be the (Not Really In) River Oaks District in Highland Village. Several of the side streets to the east of the apartments on Westcreek Ln. are already being singled out for new gated communities as construction on Oliver McMillan’s mixed-use development with the curious name and the blanket-sharing movie theater gets going.
- River Oaks District coverage [Swamplot]
- Previously on Swamplot: More Homes, More Gates in the River Oaks District, Highland Village’s River Oaks District: Up It Goes!, A Community Wrapped in a Gate Inside the River Oaks District, River Oaks District To See Action, Adventure, 4444 Westheimer Residents To Be Gently Escorted from Their Domiciles, Westcreek Apartments, Refinanced, Waiting
It always amazes me that HUD, at the bequest of developers, will use its power to quash local opposition to low-income housing projects in the suburbs. But when tenants are abruptly evicted from an affordable apartment complex to make way for luxury redevelopment close to Downtown, HUD is completely silent.
It’s not just this one complex or here in Houston that this is happening. I’m seeing it all over the country, and it’s troubling. I guess money talks, but when it comes to affordable housing, should that really be the case?
Tells you a great deal Kaplan. Well here goes another relatively affordable apartment complex in a great location, though you didn’t have to be Nostrodomos to know this properties days were numbered. I had friends who lived here when we all got out of UT (I lived at The Creole), you really wonder where freshly minted college grads are going to live now, where are affordable apartments? I guess they’ll live with their parents or with 4 friends. This River Oaks District (Jesus, what a cheesy name for a development not actually in……River Oaks. It will be the development that ate Lower Briar Hollow or Upper Afton Oaks…oh goody
Unless the existing apartments receive federal funds or other assistance, HUD has no say in the matter.
@ZAW: HUD doesn’t really have any jurisdiction here. The issue of tenant evictions for demolition and redevelopment is a matter of state law. In Texas, 30 days notice is all the property code requires to clean out a building that is going to be demolished.
As I understand it, Kaplan had let the property deteriorate. Kaplan was not fixing plunbing issues, or the gates etc. You wonder how a company gets away with being essentially a slum lord, I mean people are still paying rent even though the developer is nefariously selling the property out from under the tenants. This company seems to be doing the bare minimum for its tenants, why am I not surprised.
@ZAW, affordable or government subsidized? Big difference. The government is not in the business (at least it shouldn’t be) of dictating real estate prices/rents or guarantee anyone the ability to live in an area they can no longer afford.
@ZAW, HUD will only fight for those who receive their Section 8 vouchers.
This is the exclusive River Oaks District now, aka GACO (Gated Communities District). Mixed use is fine but not mixed income. People looking for $1100 a month rent are getting squeezed like that last dollop of toothpaste outside the loop or east of Downtown.
I do sympathize with the people that are forced to leave apartments without much assistance, I hope they can find something comparable, even though it gets harder by the day.
On the other hand, I have no sympathy for the HUD clowns. They have no problem using our tax money to give nice homes to people (voters) that, for the most part, have no interest in improving their situation.
I won’t be surprised if, during my lifetime, they never sell the projects near downtown, despite increasing demand and land values. They would rather keep these low-lifes happy and voting than to have a huge crowd screaming “Racism!” and blocking highways.
@WASP there are affordable apartments, just not in these posh areas that they can’t afford.
The real problem is that HUD is saying one thing, and doing another. They say the want socially, economically mixed neighborhoods. It’s why they so often get into lawsuits with suburban towns. But they’ve done nothing to address rapid gentrification in downtown areas.
It’s not just that they won’t get into fights with downtowns – those (hopefully won’t) come later. It’s that HUD’s policies don’t align to what they claim to be in favor of.
If you want nice things make more money. Poor people don’t get nice things. That’s the way the world works.
Houston used to be unique in that you could live in proximity to choice areas in cool garden apartments, like The Creole on Yorktown et.al., (no Zoning, the reason) they’re all either being torn down or on life support, that’s to be lamented. I’m fortunate in that I can now afford to live where I please, but young educated recent grads are going to have difficulty , that I did not when I was 21, finding cool apartments near choice neighborhoods. This effects the fabric of the city, we will have apatement ghettos like The Village in Dallas, it’s a real shame, these cool gardens apartments near great neighborhood is why I moved back to Houston when I graduated UT, I could have gone anywhere, but I liked the fact I could live near safe nice areas even though I was just graduated and hardly making 100000 a year.
WASP said, ” It will be the development that ate Lower Briar Hollow or Upper Afton Oaks…oh goody”
Maybe it’s a good thing that METRO’s University line down Richmond has been delayed then … that orientation makes so much more sense. That line should happen just about the time that Afton Oaks is eaten at that rate. (Must be a conspiracy!)
They received 60 days notice. That is plenty of time to make arrangements to move and, as one commenter noted, beyond what is required.
Do you really think the landlord should have to keep the place open in perpetuity just because some people want to live there? Or should he be allowed to sell it?
I get it that it is increasingly difficult to find an “affordable” place to live inside the Loop. No question about that. But why should the burden of providing “affordable” housing fall on this one landlord (and others like him) if they have better opportunities to realize the value from their investments?
*people who live in 700 dollar one bedrooms are not what I would call poor, the people in these complexes are mostly young college educated professionals
The affordable housing will come after the overbuilding, bust, and bailout. This city can’t maintain the amount and price of apartments that are being built IMO.
I would rather have an urban core that is so strong economically that it prices out new college grads (whatever happened to roommates?) than one that has trouble competing with the outer suburbs. The city government sure as heck needs this to shore up its tax base.
I would view the possible push of young people with disposable income into the East side and formerly marginal or declining inner suburban areas (Spring Branch, etc.) as a net positive for the city. Places like Brooklyn NYC and Oakland CA have experienced this kind of benefit. It’s a good thing. And here, no bridge or tunnel connection needed.
@Commonsense, I would have thought you to had a better understanding of real estate. I suppose you are not familar with LIHTC, Section 8, UDSA-RD or Chapter 380? Civilized societies always help those that need help, whether you agree or not. I assume that you are a proponent of white collar welfare. Tax credits and development incentives are needed, yet they are welfare however you slice it.
LocalPlanner – that’s the point I was getting at. I don’t view the imposition of low-income housing as a positive for anyone- city or suburb – at least not the way they do it now.
The current approach to affordable housing on the part of HUD strikes me as incredibly unfair. As I’ve pointed out in the past, it turns it’s back on poor neighborhoods in favor of trying to move a lucky-few poor people to middle-class neighborhoods. But also, and to the point here: if a suburban town used it’s development regulations to make it impossible to build affordable housing – chances are good that HUD would sue them. But I’ve never seen HUD go after a City for doing exactly the same thing downtown.
@Higher Density, Tax credits and development incentives are given in return for some other tangible benefit, it’s not welfare, it’s business transactions.
Welfare is something that’s given for nothing in return and is based on some vague ideology. Civilized societies that have given TOO MUCH welfare have always collapsed under it’s weight.
The best way to help the poor is to make them uncomfortable in their poverty
– Ben Franklin
@ZAW: I don’t think the feds should be subsidizing housing period, either for affordable / low-income housing (except maybe for those truly incapable of providing for themselves like the severely disabled) or through the mortgage interest deduction. Taxpayers in any community have the right to some officially considered process for expressing their opinion when any publicly subsidized or funded project is being done in their neighborhood. That doesn’t meant their objections are of merit, but it does mean they should be heard and recorded.
However, if a residential project is being proposed somewhere that is not publicly funded and will serve a low-income population, or if a privately funded development project removes a stock of private affordable housing, there is absolutely no need for an officially recorded public opinion process, and certainly not any justification for the private developer’s property rights to be restricted or interfered with. So, it is inappropriate use of government authority to either require affordable housing set-asides or to zone out multifamily and entry-level single family.
I think that Houston should implement a program similar to SMART housing here in Austin. Rent is astronomical here in Central Austin, so the city has created a program that forces new apartment complexes to provide a certain number of affordable units to those who meet certain guidelines (I’m on a pell grant, so I’m paying $600 for an apartment that usually rents out for 1200). Conservatives will argue that these type of programs hinder development, but SMART housing sure as hell as not hindering the explosive growth here.
It is NOT my understanding at this time that the entire complex has been sold. Only half the complex (the land adjacent to River Oaks District) has been sold and will be torn down. Please note that I live at these apartments and provided information for this story.
If my understanding of this changes then I’ll submit another tip. ONLY the east side of the street has been given notice. Not the west side.
The developer of River Oaks District is a genius and the magnitude of this development is extraordinary. River Oaks District is a mere 5 to 10min away from Houston’s River Oaks (the wealthiest neighborhood in Texas). It’s going to be on par with the Beverly Hills Shopping District. The design layout of River Oaks District is very similar to Beverly Hiils. The same world-renowned designer shops and boutiques in Beverly Hills will be at River Oaks District.
The shops in Beverly Hills cater to the rich that shop there from all over the world, but especially to their clients in nearby Beverly Hills, the wealthiest neighborhood in California and one of the wealthiest in the world. The shops in River Oaks District will cater to that same wold clientele, but especially to those in nearby River Oaks, the wealthiest neighborhood in Texas, and also one of the world’s wealthiest.
Beverly Hills and River Oaks are iconic bastions of extreme wealth. River Oaks District is the latest new luxury playground for the worlds rich to live and play. It’s only appropriate that a development like this is surrounding itself with multi-miliilion dollar gated fortresses. River Oaks District (ROD) is an icon in the making.
I lived in LA, Beverly Hills doesn’t have a 2.4 million square foot behemoth down the street to compete with Rodeo Dr (Beverly Center is a fourth the size of The Galleria) and The Shops at Century Center isn’t much bigger). Yes, River Oaks is wealthy but wealthiest in the state I think not, it can be argued that Highland Park is wealthier than River Oaks. This River Oaks District is like The Pavilion, which was never a real competitor to the Galleria, the Galleria is the top attraction in Houston for heavens sake. Simon is taking no chances tho and that’s the reason for all the recent upgrades to the Galleria. This may end up being a success, it’s more that likely, but the idea that it will really upstage the Galleris is absurd.
I think “Honest Truth” has been drinking way too much of the Kool-Ade.
And you know what else is true? The people who live at the existing apartments go to the Galleria as well. Everyone goes to the Galleria. It’s got the nearest Macy’s; it had the nearest Apple Store for a long time as well. If my friends and I can’t agree on a restaurant for lunch, we’ll pop on down to the food court and take care of that problem. I used to go to the Border’s at least once a month, before they replaced that respite with yet another vapid clothing shop – the same sort of shops I’m sure they’ll build here, on the grounds of the few remaining legacies that Mr. Swain and Mr. Houck built here some 45 years ago.
@ ZAW: I understand why you’ve got a hard-on for HUD, really I do. But it doesn’t seem germane to the Westcreek redevelopment.
@ WASP: Kaplan bought Westcreek a long time ago and it was always very clear that their intentions were to redevelop the property. Its true that they allowed for some deferred maintenance to accumulate; and why shouldn’t they? Repairing something that you’re only going to tear down would be very wasteful. Also, zoning can be used as a lever to exacerbate multifamily tear-down activity; and it is sometimes lends itself to corrupt practices. Study the situation in Dallas closely, going back about ten years, and I’m sure that you’ll agree.
River Oaks is indeed the wealthiest neighborhood in Texas and Highland Park is the wealthiest in Dallas; that’s a fact. There’s much more wealth in River Oaks and Houston, than Highland Park and Dallas; you can’t argue that.
Beverly Hills doesn’t have a 2.4 million square foot behemoth down the street. Instead, down the street it has Beverly Center (1 million sf)…in the opposite direction down the street it has Century City (1 million sf)…and right across the street it has a huge Neiman Marcus and a gigantic Saks Fifth Avenue (housed in 2 buildings)…so its really a wash with River Oaks and Beverly Hills.
Super-luxe designers want their own luxury enclave in Houston, as they do Beverly Hills…outside of the mall environment but close to it. That’s what River Oaks District is about, and it will compliment the Galleria, and so will BLVD Place…making Houston’s already extraordinary shopping scene even more fabulous. The Galleria is undaunted but is renovating to prepare; it will quickly replace the stores that go to River Oaks District and BLVD Place with its long waiting list of stores who’ve wanted in for quite some time…and with its expansion will make even more money…even as River Oaks District and BLVD Place thrive. It’s not about ‘upstaging,’ it’s about expansion…expanding options, locations, and, of course, expanding sales. This new boom in Houston has only exaserbated the ridiculous amount of wealth in River Oaks and Houston, so it’s no surprise that their playgrounds are expanding.
You made a pretty broad statement. Please name one society that HAS COLLAPSED because of giving “too much welfare”.
“Civilized societies that have given TOO MUCH welfare have always collapsed under it’s weight.”
PRO TIP: THERE ARE TONS OF AFFORDABLE PROPERTIES INSDIE THE LOOP, INCLUDING PLACES JUST 1 OR 2 MILES FROM MIDTOWN/MONTROSE/DOWNTOWN.
Geeze. While living *IN* Montrose is getting pricy (due to basic supply and demand) there are still tons of value to be found very close by. People just are “afraide” to venture 1 or 2 miles south or east.
We’re renting 2 bedroom totally renovated units with central air in 3rd ward (less than 2 miles from my own home in Montrose) for $650/month. Yet only a mile away in Midtown, we’ll rent a small dumpy studio for $700/month. A few miles from Montrose to the Southeast (toward med center) we have 1 beds for $400, and 3 beds for $700. Those have almost no demand while our $1,000 1bed that’s 1.5 miles west into MOntrose has a wait list.
So if you’re wondering where all the cheap housing has gone, it’s still here. You don’t need to move 100 miles away to find it. You just need to expand your search slightly beyond a very small radius.
(website link from my name removed so as not to seem like a plug)
@etherist, Rome for starters, USSR more recently, Greece and the rest of EU neo-commies are almost there. Venezuala is on the fast track.
Your two examples of “societies that have collapsed” because of governmental largesse are Rome and the USSR.
Rome really collapsed because of “too much welfare”? No.
The USSR? No. Uprising against political repression, failure of central “command and control” of the economy, expensive arms race versus the US, sure. But not “too much welfare.”
Venezuela? Hasn’t collapsed yet, but if it does, you might be right about that one example.
@etherist, Rome collapsed because of ever increasing welfare the whole “Bread and Circuses” thing. All the money was spend on placating the masses, which weakened the armies and opened opportunities for invaders.
USSR collapsed because of low productivity of workers and great disincentives for individuals to advance. The capitalist ideology and way of life where one COULD raise above others ultimately doomed the system.
Greece most definitely collapsed under the weight of it’s welfare, early retirement, unrealistically high pensions, and numerous other social programs. Now the “makers” Germany et al, have to come to the rescue.
@honest truth. I don’t know where to begin. First Beverly Center is 800000 square feet, also Los Angeles Metro is 4 times the size of Houston and LA is much wealthier. In relation to Highland Park and River Oaks, HP has a higher per capita income and a higher house value. I have nothing against River Oaks, my grandmother lives there, and it’s certainly one of the premier neighborhoods in the country but Highland Park is indeed nicer and prettier for that matter. As for the River Oaks District Development, time will tell, I’m not an investor so I really don’t care.
I pulled so much tail in those apartments. Only the fond memories will remain.
These construction projects are financially backed up by the Mexican cartel using the investment to clean the funds from