New development surging in Houston's Third Ward area

March 11, 2013 4:21:29 PM PDT
The Third Ward is getting a new look with new buildings and new development. Companies are working to revitalize one of Houston's oldest neighborhoods, and they see some real money in it.

Third Ward is a study in contrasts. On its west side, there are sleek new townhouses already pre-sold. On the eastern edge are abandoned properties awaiting new owners and what will eventually be a METRO rail line. That's where we found Khadijah Williams.

"A lot of construction, trying to rebuild stuff around here," said the student.

It has been overlooked by development for years. In the last few years, new duplexes operated by Project Row House were built -- affordable housing built atop land that was set aside for such a use through a land bank.

Nearly 2 million square feet have been put into that land bank for affordable housing. It's a move made into law by State Rep. Garnet Coleman, who didn't want longtime homeowners pushed out by rising property vales and taxes.

J.L. Bearden was born in the Third Ward and lives in one of the duplexes. He's seen a change.

"They really started getting rid of the old houses and stuff, and redeveloping for low-income families," said Bearden.

It's not all low income, and that's the difference. Townhomes have crossed Highway 288 to the east. What had been a kind of dividing line just off Dowling is a new development. The prices start in the low 200s. A selling point is its rooftop views of downtown Houston.

"Whether it be the Medical Center, soccer game, to the opera or to the ballet, it's all here," said Larry Davis with Urban Lofts.

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