Redeveloping Kennedy Place

Right on time for tonight’s public meeting, Swamplot’s “Bottom” of the Fifth Ward correspondent Vaughn Mueller sends in a bit of information about the proposed redevelopment of the Houston Housing Authority’s Kennedy Place apartments:

It is located in lower fifth ward, bounded by Bayou, Gillespie, Meadow and Baron streets. According to the HHA, it was built in 1982 but in its current condition, it looks reminiscent of a 1950-1960 1-story development. There is currently no central AC or heat in any of its 60 units.

In mid July a sign was put up out front describing the construction. Soon after, we received a notice of public meeting in the mail also describing the construction. The meeting is set for August 18th. The new development will contain 108 new apartments, 88 of which are going to be government assisted while 20 are going to be market rate.

The proposed site plan:


The mailed notice says the HHA is planning to build 20 1-bedroom units, 58 2-bedroom units, 26 3-bedrooms, and 4 4-bedrooms.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tonight at the Kelly Village Housing Development Community Building, 1119 Grove St. Adds Mueller:

This should definitely help Lanterra homes sell the 3 groups of town homes that they own across Bayou street (2 groups are already built, 1 full city block has been replatted but construction has not started). Urban Lofts will also benefit because they own 2 large sections of land across Baron and Meadow st. The section across Baron St. has already started development and currently has some homes for sale.

Photos: Vaughn Mueller; Site plan: Houston Housing Authority

20 Comment

  • Out with the old slum and in with the future slum.

  • What a complete and utter waste of money. HHA wants to tear down 60 perfectly acceptable public housing units in order construct 88 new public housing units and 20 new market rate units. I don’t get it.

    It would make much more sense to rehab the current 60 units and build 28 new public housing units somewhere else. HHA has no business building 20 market rate units at all. Plenty of market rate developers can fill that need without taxpayer help.

    Separately, the site layout is terrible.

    Also, the location sucks. If you want to help out poor folks who need public housing, why not house them near the bus line where they might possibly be able to get a lift to a job someday.

  • Bernard:

    While it would be better if there were bus routes that ran closer to the site, the number 11 bus runs along Nance and has a stop that is about 400 feet from the corner of Meadow and Gillespie. (Not to mention that bus routes can be moved if there is enough demand.) Not being directly on a bus route should not be a major consideration for siting low income housing, as long as there is a bus route within walking distance.

  • I really wish they would just tear them down and sell the property to one of the willing developers scoping that area. That’s how Urban Lofts made it sound when we bought one of their units that borders this dump. Why build public housing in an area that doesn’t even have any commercial development…?

  • “Why build public housing in an area that doesn’t even have any commercial development…?”

    Did you choose your home’s location because of its proximity to commercial development? Are you assuming that the less well off are somehow not intelligent or able enough to be able to commute to work the same as everyone else?

  • I interpreted Steven Nichols’ comment as saying that there wasn’t much consumer-oriented commercial development nearby. There is plenty of industrial stuff near there. But I think it is pretty deficient in terms of supermarkets, clothing stores, etc.

    That said, poor neighborhoods everywhere often lack variety and quality when it comes to shops in the immediate area. Which is one more reason why it sucks to be poor.

  • Oh, my bad in which case, sorry Steven. You’re probably right. I shall now go and hide in a corner somewhere and feel foolish.

  • I think it’s just plain RESPONSIBLE to be sure public housing & public transit are linked.
    Some northern, rust-belt cities have areas where every grocery and pharmacy has closed. Residents eat only at fast food places and loiter/pass out on street corners to receive medical attention; they’re trapped in their neighborhoods.
    We shouldn’t think that the same sort of dire, economic turn-down won’t ever hit Energy City. But plan for it and it probably won’t.

  • I’m wondering why Steven bought a house across from “a dump” in a neighborhood where there are no amenities such as grocery stores and drugstores, and why he’s complaining about the possibility of public housing being built on top of a site that is already public housing?

  • I drove by this place today after typing my initial comment. Turns out there are quite a few buses routes that run on Jensen Drive that aren’t all that far from this site.

    That being said, tearing this place down still seems like an extreme waste of money.

    If HHA owns this site, they should sell it to an investor. They can lease back the units for the residents via Section 8 (or whatever they call it now). They can use the proceeds to build more units elsewhere, even across the street. There’s plenty of land avaialble. Why on Earth would they want to squander such a valuable asset?

    Why tear down 60 public housing units just to build 88 new units on the same site?

    It makes no sense. <——-This is coming from a commercial real estate pro with over $1 Billion of closed multi-family deals under his belt.

  • Bernard,

    It’s really easy to explain why this waste is occurring. It’s the federal government. Common sense hasn’t stepped into the D.C. Beltway in a long time.

    And to think, some people want these same guys to be running our healthcare?

  • The devil is truly in the details, (which is why the administration has been trying to shove their takeover of the private health care system down everyone’s throats before anyone had a chance to actually examine the ugly details) there is money to be made from one or another federal program by demolishing the existing units and replacing them with the same, only newer with government funding. Never underestimate the money to be made off of taxpayer funded programs at the expense of the underprivileged.

  • Please stop talking about healthcare. You will only start an argument with those that disagree with you and that would be simultaneously bitterly contentious and really really boring.

  • I was going to buy one of the Towers over at Urban Lofts. I think the sales people need to be informed about whats going on here. They told me that these were going to be demolished and then new Townhomes were going to be replacing them.

    Makes no sense, i thought they were trying to build up the area. Why keep GA housing in an area they are trying to bring up?

  • Is there any way we can stop them from redeveloping this? Most of the neighborhood burglaries, car break-ins are carried out by the residents of this place… I am good with living together but not when idiots run around and try and break into their own neighbor’s houses!!

  • Anybody been by there lately to see what’s going on? Has it been demolished? Is there construction happening on the new units?

  • Yes,the new slum is promply underway. They will be robbing the homes here again in no time. Completion set for december.

  • Mr.Bernard you are a very silly little man. I wonder why folks that have no idea what it means to the people to speak for the people.I come from here and I go to college from here. A dump, no this is my home buddy. You are very greedy and inconsiderately a mean person. Money don’t make you happy nor right.We do more than sit around and complain. Some of us have jobs and careers in this neighborhood. I myself and bettering to go forward and not to bat an eye of the likes of heartless and close minded people.

  • Listen buddy, have you turned on your TV lately? Robberies are occurring everywhere and not just here. To be honest the people that are robbing you may not even live here. I get that you are angry and frustrated,but remember you have not checked the identification cards of the thieves so the finger pointing should go around.People are getting their heads cut off in other areas so are you disappointed you didn’t buy there?

  • May GOD bless you all and keep you and your families safe even from yourselves.Now on that note please wake up.I see and hear what is going on,but to not see it and hear it that is terrifying and very nerve racking.When you hear about meth labs in the home across from the school or church what neighborhoods is that? Or how about kids killing at school ,what slum is that huh? Parents killing their own children and vise verse this is a daily slum act now isn’t it? Most of these poor people have a ton of money with no joy.How sad.