Two Second Ward Rowhouse Transplants Now Ready for Their Latest Change-Up

After hauling all 6 of their endangered Victorian cottages 8 blocks and arranging them neatly off Sampson St. 4 years ago, Michael Skelly and Anne Whitlock are now ready to part with the 2 pictured at top. $700,000 is the asking price for both structures — which occupy a single 5,000-sq.-ft. lot at 3408 Garrow St. They’ve been on the market for a week.

Since relocating them, Skelly and Whitlock have also redone the interiors of the 2 cottages:


That’s the current state of the living room in the 1,028-sq.-ft. north structure, which shoulders Garrow St.

Its kitchen:

Both cottages — as well as the 4 others not currently up for sale — neighbor a former firehouse on the corner of Garrow and Sampson that the pair also bought and remodeled.

The southern building (on the right) is a bit smaller at 884 sq. ft. . . .

But has a similar kitchen layout:

With this space adjacent to it:

Photos: LoopNet

Firehouse Backyard

27 Comment

  • A wee bit ambitious for cottages in a not fantastic area. We shall see.

  • @Jonathan. What’s not fantastic about the area? Would you care to elaborate? Or have everyone assume you’re a bigot. At least that’s how I’m reading your comment.

  • I interpret Jonathan’s comment as meaning that the area is unproven and perhaps $700,000 is on the high side for small home(s) on a small lot compared to others in more established and reliable neighborhoods that have schools with proven track records. I’m assuming by your moniker that you have bought nearby and perhaps are sensitive to criticism of the area.

    I wouldn’t invest my money there either for the record. You know the old wisdom about buying the cheapest house in the most expensive neighborhood. It doesn’t work the other way around. Location location location.

  • A bigot for not wanting to pay almost a million to live 3 meters from a new homeless shelter that makes a housing project look like a dream?

  • That’s literally four blocks from me. It’s a great area, just got news that a new BBQ place is going in a few blocks away. Plenty of restaurants and bars in the area too. “Not fantastic”?

  • Wow, your bigot comment is completely uncalled for. It is not a “fantastic area” , I watched the firehouse and wanted to buy it years ago but never had the opportunity. What they have done moving those homes there and restoring them is amazing but a $700k price tag for two very small structures positioned in a combination of industrial (see transmission shop warehouse adjacent) and run down residential houses nearby. Some that are barely standing, literally, which have no business being inhabited but are, with trash in the ditches and vacant lots. I love the east end and want to see people come in and restore structures that are still salvageable but I’m a realist as well. It’s a tough area around the firehouse and to suggest someone should be assumed a bigot for pointing out that this price tag is a “wee bit ambitious” (which is kind) for the area is ridiculous. I know bigot has become a popular word to throw around and hope it sticks on something you don’t like but maybe think about another way to respond to what seems like a very fair assessment of this property/asking price.

  • Not a fan of the east end either. If this was in the 1st or 6th ward I could see the 700k price tag panning out.

  • I agree with Jonathan, it’s overpriced for the area (both in sq footage and location)…. a classic case of over spending on a renovation. (I personally love what they have done, but would never pay that much for it.)
    Instead of calling out Jonathan a bigot, EastEnder, you should ask yourself if your feelings were hurt. Most people don’t live in “fantastic” areas, but they can still be nice or upcoming areas. As one suggested to me a few days earlier, “Perhaps a little less Starbucks”?

  • @eastender its not a great area.

  • “Perhaps a little less Starbucks” has been filed in my back pocket to pull out next time someone acts overly offended.

  • i find it amusing everyone’s feathers were ruffled by @eastender. But isn’t calling an area “undesirable” or “bad” just as politically incorrect as prematurely calling someone a bigot?

  • East end has lots of potential for those who want to be close to downtown and not pay a lot. It is sort of like the Heights and Montrose back in the 70s/80s but hasn’t quite appreciated in value or attraction at the same rate. This has allowed longtime residents to not be displaced. With the closure of Atlantic Coffee should be interesting to see what happens now especially along Harrisburg. I do agree $700K for two small houses on 5K sqft lot is still a stretch at this time.

  • And right next to a transmission shop, if you ever blow a tranny. 3 stars, too. From Google, Wouldn’t recommend this shop to anyone, took my car here for a clutch replacement ended up with a broken radiator brace and transmission problems. I never seen a female mechanic working in stilettos with a kid around her. Owners where very unprofessional and discourteous. I wouldn’t take my weedeater there to have it serviced. A waste of money signed very unhappy costumer…..sounds like a fantastic area

  • @simplysid your statement/question isn’t even logical. Calling someone a bigot without reason because you don’t agree with them isn’t politically incorrect it’s just inappropriate. Using terms such as undesirable or bad in the context of real estate investment is just that, descriptive and informative.

  • Based on these comments, ignorance dies very hard. And boy, has there always been this negative perception of the East End based on that pure ignorance. The East End isn’t the Heights or Montrose….yet, but to cast it aside because the neighborhood is not up to your personal standards is extremely short sided. As a resident for 9 years, believe me when I say this area has vastly improved and is still improving. Not appreciated in value you say? My East End home was bought for 130k in 2010, it’s market value today is close to 300k. So regardless of what ever old fashioned, outdated perceptions you may perceive about the area, it won’t stop the throngs of people moving over here, all the new construction and the buzz the neighborhood has built throughout the last decade.

  • I like what they’ve done to the houses for the most part but you can buy 1 house with that much sq ft and same lot size a mile or two east of there for under $300K. There are plans for the alternating one-way streets of Sampson and York to become some sort of “major collector” street plus this is just a few blocks from Metrorail so that adds some value as this could be commercial land at some point.

  • @simplysid: what words do you suggest we use to compare and contrast areas of River Oaks vs. the Third Ward?

  • Dirt in the area is valued at $22/sf. That plus <2000 sf of structure at, say, $200/sf, means that this would appraise a lot closer to $500k than $700k.
    The houses look great, but there's a significant amount of future appreciation built into that price. I hope they find either a cash buyer or a compliant appraiser.

  • This is very consistent with Michael Skelly’s overinflated ego, as well as his seemingly neverending goal of dumping loads of money into something that will likely never turn a profit or amount to anything. It can be compared to the $200 million he blew on his Clean Line projects that never amounted to anything. Buyer beware.

  • Not sure why so many love to hate the East End and the visionaries bringing positive change to the area? You mean its easier to love all the stereotypical yuppies inflating prices in the Heights and Montrose, taking what were once cool neighborhoods and turning them into bland cookie-cutter inner-city suburbia? Tear downs in the Heights asking $360/ft+? Give me a break! Skelly is asking 2009 Heights prices when a tear down Heights bungalow could be bought for $200k and today is $500k – people buying there today have no sense whatsoever, just mindlessly running with the herd. If this property were in the Heights all the yuppies would be clamoring over the care, attention and expense the owners took to restore these old gems. It’s clear those hating the East End will be the same ones stuck in their vanilla Heights bubble watching while we are out enjoying the amazing sunsets against the skyline while cruising bikes, blading and rowing along Buffalo Bayou, chillin with the eclectic community of artists/makers/working class/entrepreneurs/professionals, and soaking in the down to earth vibe you just don’t get anymore in Heights or Montrose. Keep your Heights, keep your Montrose – so overplayed and passe. If you have even a dash of class or decency, you’re in the East End.

  • @everyone ??? Describe a fantastic area? Please elaborate so that I can check boxes on my list to see if I belong to one. Thanks. I will definitely get back with the results if anyone cares.

  • EaDo haters?? I never said I hated it. I love the idea of urban pioneers making previously blighted areas into walkable, and safe communities. It helps the value of everyone’s property in the city. The original point was that the cottages are overpriced for the area as it is currently. It was the implication that the aforementioned observation was somehow racist that brought on the comments.

  • Personally i think if the east end is good enough for richard gere to own property there, sign me up.

  • Okay, EastEnder, you asked for a checklist, here’s my stab at one—i.e., stuff I like: well-maintained older houses; supermarkets and restaurants aplenty that you can walk to in ca. 10 minutes from your well-maintained older house; public schools you’d be happy to have your kids attend; the absence of vacant or neglected industrial properties; easy accessibility to the city’s main amenities (arts, sports, green spaces); trees, lots and lots o’ trees.
    And, while I’m writing, I’ll pile on about your initial comment. It was an unfounded and ugly thing to say. Had Jonathan said “not fantastic because of all those Ammonites living there,” then you’d have an example of bigotry. You should get over your hurt feelings about the East End and apologize to him.

  • 3833 Rice Blvd in West U is for sale. A bigger home, on a bigger lot, for only 25k more than these cottages…

  • @Nice Neighbor 3833 Rice Blvd is a tear-down lot value only so it is not a good comparison… that being said 700k is overly ambitious even if you account for an income stream from one of the units. A similar lesson is being learned at 4401 Leeland which is a very nice remodel with income potential from a garage apartment. Has been on the market for 50 days and dropped from 680k to 600k. The 500k mark has been breached on the East Side, but it will be a while before we start seeing 600-700k. The I-45 reroute may further delay that day.

  • @Nice Neighbor. Thank you for your defense of my initial comment, I think he/she is just not a very civil person in general and no amount of lucid reasoning is going to make he/she realize that you shouldn’t throw around such loaded rhetoric.. Perhaps they should find a better outlet for their hostility, IMO. For the record, as for the Eastside/SE side, I like Eastwood and Riverside Terrance very much, I simply think this price is ambitious for the area as it is currently. End of story