LOCAL is one of our favorite magazines in the city, and it’s where most Houstonians look to find what’s hot in the city now and in the near future. Even being the urban pioneers they are—LOCAL is of course formerly known as 002 magazine, the first hyperlocal lifestyle magazine based in the heart of Houston—they looked to Bill for “Where to Live Next,” a July Home & Design feature on Houston’s hottest truly up-and-coming neighborhoods.
You will often hear Bill wax poetic about how Houston is an evolving city that, for at least the past two decades, has seen a long-term trend toward urban renewal with more and more people desiring to be closer to Houston’s core. Many of these would-be urbanites have found themselves priced out of areas like The Heights, Montrose, and Rice Military that were the epitome of the rediscovered inner loop. They’re now looking for alternatives that allow for the same urban, close-in sensibility but are on the more affordable side.
Often times when you read or hear about up-and-coming neighborhoods, the areas mentioned are actually already past the point of up-and-coming. Instead, they’re the hot neighborhoods that everyone already knows about, and ones that may have already succumbed to gentrification. Bill wanted to share with LOCAL parts of the city that are still flying under the radar of most Houstonians looking for the next big thing in Houston real estate. These are a bit more affordable neighborhoods relatively close to Houston’s core that are beginning to revitalize while managing to keep their rich character and history intact.
This is a 4-part series on four up-and-coming areas (including their neighborhoods/subdivisions) Bill believes are the next places to live. Areas include Greater/Near Northside (Lindale Park, Ryon, Cascara, Hardy Yards), Greater East End (Eastwood, Idylwood, Lawndale/Wayside, Magnolia Park), Southwest (Willowbend, Westbury, Maplewood/Robindell, Post Oak Manor), and Greater Fifth Ward/Kashmere Gardens.
Here’s what he told LOCAL should be on the horizon for urban Houston homebuyers and investors:
Greater Northside: Northside & Near Northside
(Lindale Park, Ryon, Cascara, Hardy Yards)
This area, which gets its name from its orientation to Downtown, neighbors the Greater Heights and has been simultaneously experiencing sizable waves of new development from the overflow of the Heights and inner loop revitalization while under the watchful eye of its management district, which oversees development, and neighborhood associations that are seriously concerned about preserving its character. Largely developed Post-World War II, it has seen an increase in revitalization over the past few years but without the displacement of its long-time working class Hispanic community.
The Greater Northside as we know it today is predominantly a result of the aforementioned development after WWII, but its history can be traced all the way back to the 1880s when the expansion of Hardy Rail Yard spurred the initial development of the area, bringing many working-class European immigrants (mostly Italians, Germans, Poles and Czechs) into the area. Railroad traffic eventually largely diminished and following WWII, the area saw a decline, but the industrial feel that was brought about by the rail yards remains today. There was then a shift away from the reliance on the rail yard railroad industry, and Hispanic immigrants (primarily Mexicans) began moving into the area, bringing with them a distinct culture that remains prominent today.
The 5.3-mile extension of the METRORail Red Line, which began running in December of 2013, extends all through the Greater Northside, connecting it to downtown and beyond. It represents a new type of rail line critical to the development and growth of an area that originally sprung up around an important rail line. Unlike the original stretch of the Red Line, which starts in downtown and hits stops like the Museum District, Hermann Park, the Texas Medical Center and NRG Park, this extension makes its way through mostly residential parts of the Greater Northside. The extension was added knowing that there were plenty of residents who would take advantage of the line, and that businesses would benefit from being connected to downtown. As expected, the line has generated an increase in new residential and commercial development in recent years.
Here is what to look out for:
- A great deal of investment has been implemented into the area like the METRORail Red Line extension and White Oak Music Hall.
- City planners and developers have created a master plan designed to develop a new urban district just north of downtown by transforming Hardy Rail Yard, the 45-acre brownfield that was formerly the site of the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific rail yard, into a vibrant mixed-use development called Hardy Yards.
- Residences at Hardy Yards, located at N. Main & Burnett, is the first project to break ground on the Hardy Yards site. The four-story, 350-unit mixed-income apartment complex currently will feature about half luxury units (around $1.90 per square foot) meant for professionals working downtown and about half units meant for working professionals making between $35,000 and $45,000. The entire project, said to be one of the first truly mixed-income projects in the city, is expected to be completed in summer 2019.
- TxDOT and Rice Design Alliance are working up plans to create a deck park that would bridge the Near Northside community to the Greater Heights. We cover it in great detail right here.
- The Greater Northside Management District was created by Texas Legislature and began providing services in August of 2006. Management Districts are tax increment zones which allow commercial property owners in the area to work together to supplement existing public services by supporting current major activity areas, promoting neighborhood revitalization, and supporting raw land development. Among the services currently provided by the Greater Northside Management District, which is funded by an assessment on commercial property owners within the District, are a security patrol, graffiti abatement program, and a maintenance/litter abatement program.
- Avenue CDC is an organization committed to developing affordable homes for both purchase and rental, and Near Northside is one of their main focus areas. The organization aims to turn aging/neglected housing stock and vacant lots in the area into affordable housing.
- It’s organizations like the Greater Northside Management District and Avenue CDC that are working to create even more affordable housing in the area.
- TxDOT began a $35 million improvement project in April that will tear down and replace the Elysian Viaduct which runs from Brooks St. to Commerce St., connecting Near Northside to downtown. The project, which is designed to help handle growth in the area and the city in general, will add shoulders to the roadway as well as a 5-foot wide sidewalk. It’s expected to take about two-and-a-half years.
- The area is seeing an influx of young, first-time homebuyers, who are drawn not only to the more affordable prices for these close-in neighborhoods, but easy access to the METRORail and the growing number of area restaurants, bars and entertainment options geared toward Millennials (White Oak Music Hall, Edison Houston, Raven Tower).
- Avenue CDC
- Brooks St.
- Commerce St.
- downtown Houston
- Edison Houston
- Elysian Viaduct
- Greater Heights
- Greater Northside
- Greater Northside Management District
- Hardy Rail Yard
- Hardy Yards
- Lindale Park
- METRORail Fulton Line
- METRORail Red Line
- Near Northside
- Raven Tower
- Residences at Hardy Yards
- Rice Design Alliance
- The Edison
- white oak music hall