Sunday, February 17, 2008


So why are they building legions of townhomes and massive apartment buildings next to train tracks in the Warehouse District? It is truly disturbing to live within earshot of the many of the 2,200 trains that travel through Houston each week. There are a ton of empty or seemingly abandoned imitation brownstones and modernist monstrosities, yet they keep building.

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The Warehouse District is currently a well-situated downtown location for many artists' studios, but with property values skyrocketing we all wait for the other shoe to drop and the exodus to begin. At least 5 new spaces have opened in the blue-collar Eastwood and East End neighborhood (adjacent to the Warehouse District) in the past few months. If the planned East-West commuter rail ends at the Eastwood Transit Center it may be an entirely different landscape in just five years as students and commuters shift their habits.

If the developers are right, they may be banking on the Freight Rail Study's designs on eliminating trains from the inner loop and their investments paying off quickly, but the longer those poorly constructed slabs sit in the swamp and rot the more likely it is that renters will fill the gap. Lower income families and students will fill the Warehouse District again, but not artists.

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Eastwood is too good for that. Storefronts and warehouse spaces for cheap, easy access off the freeway and less crime (not too much less). We'll see if trains actually do disappear from downtown, but it seems safe to say that the artists may migrate east anyway.


Anonymous said...

An artist should never remain stationary anyway.