New SW Houston neighborhood filled with debris and trash after construction abruptly stopped in 2020

Friday, February 17, 2023
Residents living in debris-filled area after construction was halted
A breach of contract between the builders, Lea Homes, and the developer CitiTrend Home LLC is said to be the cause of why construction stopped in August 2020

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A homeowner in southwest Houston is frustrated after developers have suddenly stopped finishing the construction of brand-new houses and sidewalks.

Damian Barnes has reached out to his homeowner's association about the upkeep of the neighborhood and safety concerns, but he's still waiting for answers.

"It just makes the neighborhood ugly," Barnes, who lives in the Leawoods community off West Orem Drive, said. "We had so much potential."

When Barnes moved to the Leawoods area in 2018, it didn't look the way it does now.

"It's a bit depressing," he said. "I was excited about moving into the neighborhood, having my own home here in my hometown, but this is what we're left with."

ABC13 was in the neighborhood and saw homes that were not finished with rebar and trash in the community.

The work isn't done.

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"As with the sidewalk, it's incomplete," Barnes said. "So you can't even walk around the block with your child on a stroller or something. You have to get off and walk in the street because nothing is complete."

Barnes told ABC13 things had been this way since August 2020.

"Construction just ceased for no apparent reason," he said.

The real reason it still needs to be finished is money.

CitiTrend Homes LLC is the developer for the neighborhood. An owner says there was an internal disagreement with the builders, Lea Homes, about the work being done and payment.

ABC13 found that Lea Homes is currently suing CitiTrend for a breach of contract of up to $1 million, the lawsuit stated in August 2020. Lea Homes demanded CitiTrend pay them nearly $500,000 for constructing the roads and lots in Leawoods.

According to the lawsuit, CitiTrend refused to pay, and that's when construction stopped.

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The builders and developers told ABC13 there should be a resolution in court within the next month.

Lea Homes said depending on the outcome, either CitiTrend will continue developing or a new developer will take over to finish the neighborhood, which is good news for Barnes.

"I'm glad there's a possibility of a resolution, but it took me reaching out to you guys to get answers," he said. "They never told us anything."

While the legal battle runs its course, Barnes is waiting but tired of the mess spilling into the streets.

"This is an eyesore," he said. "This is horrible. We shouldn't have to live like this."