Heights Blends Old & New – Houston Chronicle (Part 1)

Filed in Heights News & Events by on January 20, 2011

Heights Blends Old & New (Part 1 of 2)

The Houston Chronicle published an article on 01/09/11 with the title above:
The following is what I provided as background information, presented in two parts:

What Attracts Buyers to the Heights?

The main attraction to the Heights is its old neighborhood feel. This cohesiveness comes from the porches. When these homes were built at the turn of the century (pre air conditioning) the porch was a much used extension of the house. These porches still unify the neighborhood today. You see your neighbors on the porch as you walk your dog; your party spills out onto the porch. This is still where you greet people. There isn’t a row of garage-front homes that suck in cars and people, not to be seen again.

Of course location, location, location. The Heights is minutes from downtown, the Med Center, the Galleria… central to everything.

A more recent attraction is status. Even suburbanites have been to Lights in the Heights; Heights First Saturday; multiple home tours, etc. People are proud to say they live here; a “cool” part of town. Twenty years ago it was a funky, eclectic neighborhood, with “good, bad & ugly” areas. It is still eclectic, but the rough areas are in-filling with $500K homes.

Boundaries of the Heights

The Heights is bounded roughly by Shepherd on the West, I-45 on the East; Between I-10 and the 610 N Loop. There are some little pieces that stick out beyond these, but not much.

Different Sections of the Heights

The Heights is made up of a lot of different subdivisions. Houston Heights is the largest and oldest. In fact it was once a City on the outskirts of Houston (Parts of it are still “dry,”a vestige of its earlier days). It straddles Heights Blvd., roughly from Shepherd east to Studewood. The premier streets of Harvard, Cortlandt, Arlington, Columbia, between 11th and 20th are deed restricted. Many other streets are not so restricted allowing lots to be split and more affordable homes to be built on 25-33 ft lots instead of 50 ft wide lots. Alleys allow garages to be built behind the houses.

Deed restricted Woodland Heights and Norhill are east of Studewood. The deed restrictions cover the lot size, and limit commercial use. Because lots can’t be chopped up (and the lack of alleys for back garages) new construction is typically large homes on full size 50 ft lots. New construction start at $650’s

Sunset Heights straddles N Main Street above 20th St. This is an area close to the 610 Loop with more commercial development, warehouses, etc. Escalating land prices are enticing sales of the junky old places, so a lot of new home construction is going on.

Brooke Smith is a more isolated area of the Heights, tucked away near I-45. There isn’t much new construction here, so land prices haven’t been pushed up as much. It has some delightful folk Victorian homes at prices not found in the rest of the Heights.

To see location of these areas see www.RichMartinHomes.com for an interactive map of neighborhoods.

Houston only has 15 historic districts, and 4 of them are in the Heights. Houston Heights West, Houston Heights EastNorhill,  and Freeland. A fourth, where I live, in Woodland Heights is being pushed and contested now. http://www.har.com/houston-historic-districts/default.cfm

The Heights

Old Heights Theatre Sign. Popular Shops on 19th St

For more information on Houston Heights please see:


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