Inside That Track-side Townhouse

Thanks to some helpful Swamplot commenters, we have more of the scoop on that railroad-track-side townhome featured on this site yesterday. The project, developed by Northgate Custom Homes, is called Villas at the Heights. And yes, units are still available!

114-M Heights Blvd., which has the front-row seat on the railroad track just north of Center St., is in fact listed at the same price it started at when it first hit the market, a week and a year ago. However, it’s been marked down three times and up twice since then, reaching a low of $296,900 last May and a high of $324,900 last August. Today, you could snap this place up for a mere $299,900!

If you like the track frontage but feel a bit nervous about owning a townhome that directly faces busy Heights Blvd., you might prefer Unit A in back, available for the same price. It’s the same model, which Northgate calls “The Blue Violet.”

A peek at the interiors of the development’s model home:


Here’s an aerial view of the yard:

And the rear facade. Swamplot reader JG has a few comments about the location:

What [Swamplot’s earlier post] failed to capture in this is the real kicker in the deal:

The other side of the development fronts to the recycling center and the headquarters of Admiral Linens.

Think about this for a second: one way access with u-turn to your luxury townhome, the glory of modern industrialization whizzing by your bedroom, the aroma of recycled garbage grabbing your attention first thing in the morning, the panoramic views of vagrants loitering about the fine streets, and the appreciation for capitalism at its finest while underpaid immigrant workers fold uniforms at all hours of the night.

And the Art Car Museum is just up the street! Reader marketingwiz confuses the address with another Northgate development, but otherwise recognizes this place:

Ah, yes, a former client of mine. . . . The townhomes are built by a subsidiary of Enzo [Investments] call Northgate Custom (LOL!) Homes. Our job was to make people not notice the train tracks (with accompanying trash and discarded furniture) just feet from their $300+ townhome. It’s called marketing. Evidently no other marketing firm has been able to accomplish that either.

Photos: Dave McC (top); Northgate Custom Homes (listing photos and site plan)

11 Comment

  • I also did work for these guys. They were just starting and wanted a logo for “Enzo” in the Ferrari font. Seriously.

    Their newer marketing seems to be done with at least some help from 002 Magazine.

  • Anyone else find the disparity in styles between the front and rear of these units nothing short of schizophrenic?

  • Frank: Our firm did a marketing plan that recommended ad insertions in 002 Magazine, among many other things, but the ‘bald man with a bad lisp’ pooh-poohed those ideas as being “ineffective.” Good to see at least one of our numerous suggestions became worthy enough to use! In less than 30 days on that account, Northgate’s president, marketing director and VP/sales resigned or otherwise left the company. There had been no intention of replacing them. What’s wrong with this picture?

  • of course in new york and other cities one will see construction next to tracks, etc. i aware of those tracks. in fact i owned a home in west u very close to rr tracks. it was further away than these units. after awhile i never even heard the train.

    my question is with the availability of land in that area why choose such a location?

  • Why choose such a location? asks Rollo. Because the dirt is cheaper. What amazes me is that dirt is just a small increment cheaper in the “problem” locations. That increment apparently looked tempting enough to these builders.
    I guess they figured that the thrill of something “brand new, never lived in”, coupled with special builder financing (like maybe “nothin’ down and a $2000 gift card from Matress Mac”) would carry the day. As it has for so many other builders of dicey stuff.
    What is going to happen to all those starry eyed buyers when it’s their time to sell? Now the new has rubbed off, the trendiness is over, the e-z financing is gone, and your house is on the railroad tracks.

  • That locomotive driver was way over the line with the amount of time he spent pulling the air horn. For an at grade crossing it should be a series of three burst of two medium length soundings. That guy was on the horn continuously for a good 30 seconds.

    Developers amaze me. They cut corners in the worst possible ways….eventually though this’ll get priced so some sap will buy it.

  • Looks like there will be less noise eventually…

    Residents approve plan for quiet zone Project similar to one in Bellaire, West U. areas

    “In quiet zones, train crews are exempt from sounding their horns as the train approaches roads that cross the railroad tracks.”

  • He was probably on the horn so long because he spotted some guy (with the camera) on the track side of the down and blinking gates.

    If the engineer sees anyone on or near his tracks, you better believe he is going to be on that horn…

  • I’d reckon the warehouse that was previously there was best for being next to the railroad. If memory serves, that track has a lot of slow/idle trains, too. Here’s a picture before the land was cleared from MSN maps (with train and all!):

  • I know THAT is a straight piece of RR track & I realize the train speeds are slow to non-existant…
    but doesn’t anyone worry about a DERAILMENT!?
    Even a collision at the intersection could cause one, and, I don’t think there’s a home-owners insurance rider it.

    Just sayin’

  • Wow, the interior is so traditional!
    I was expecting a more edgy style, say warehouse shelving, wired window-glass, Perelli flooring, swing-out bar seating, gimbeled cooktop, rubber-bumpers…