Growth at All Costs

Heights residents say infrastructure can't support another Trammell Crow property.

 Highlights from Hair Balls

Surreal Estate

For several years, complaints raged around the development of a Walmart near the corner of Yale and I-10. Certainly there was some degree of "Walmart sucks and we don't want it in our neighborhood" frustration, but chief among the legitimate concerns was what would happen to traffic at that intersection and the one immediately adjacent to it, Heights and I-10. If you have driven in that area since Walmart and all the corresponding shops have opened, you know the whole area is a traffic cluster-you-know-what, made worse by the fact that trains still halt traffic, sometimes at rush hour, along Heights Boulevard.

Add to this the exponential growth throughout the historic neighborhood over the past five years, and the worries of residents seem justified. Now comes word that developer Trammell Crow is adding to plans already in place to build a massive apartment complex on Yale just six blocks north of I-10. One complex at Yale and 7th — right near where the hike-and-bike trail crosses Yale with no signal, it should be noted — is under way, and now they want a second just a block south at Yale and 6th.

As you might imagine, folks in the Heights are not thrilled.

A story in The Leader detailed many of the concerns and what was being done to address them, which is essentially nothing:

"'Horror, shock and disbelief' are among the reactions of neighborhood residents, said Roxanne Davis, a founding member of the neighborhood advocacy group West Heights Coalition.

"A second apartment complex would likely compound any traffic, safety and density concerns the neighborhood had with the first one, she said. WHC had, for example, estimated ­Alexan Heights's 361 units would generate 500 cars following roughly the same peak commuter hours and southbound destination: I-10."

I lived in the Heights for more than 15 years, and there were always concerns about development encroaching on the historic neighborhood. For the most part, areas deep inside the neighborhood have been spared, but portions along the major throughways — Yale, Studewood and Shepherd — are starting to show signs of economic expansion, with apartments planned at Studewood and 14th, for example.

With no zoning laws on the books, developers are free to do pretty much whatever they like regardless of how it affects the neighborhood. It's ironic considering that when I moved in back in the mid-90s, people considered large sections of the Heights to be dangerous. There were gang fights at Love Park, just a block from where I lived.

As gentrification has set in, commercial enterprises have made their move as well, dropping expensive homes onto lots far too small to support them, just like what happened in West U, the Montrose, the Washington Corridor and other Inner Loop neighborhoods.

Game Time

Bringing Shame
Mark May self-righteously tells off Johnny Manziel, has difficulty remembering his own early years.

Sean Pendergast

Let me preface this post by saying that I don't know Johnny Manziel personally, but from what I know of him, I like Johnny Manziel.

I know the same things about Johnny Manziel that most of you know. I know everything that he tweets, Vines and puts up on Instagram. I know the secondhand accounts that people who come within 100 yards of him tweet, Vine and put up on Instagram.

That's about it.

I know more about Johnny Manziel than I ever would have known if he had played college football as recently as five years ago, and from what I know, I definitely think 20-year-old Sean would have liked 20-year-old Johnny.

So the carousing, the boozing, the pro player jock-sniffing, the pooning, the drunken "woe is me" tweeting, I have no problem with these things. These are all things I did or probably would have done at age 20 if I'd had access to them. Most of us would have. And for that, I not only don't begrudge, but I like Johnny Manziel.

Deep down, I, we, a lot of us at least, are probably jealous of him.

Now, if Johnny wants to damage his draft stock in the process by getting sent home from the Manning Passing Academy, that's his business. I was 20 once, and trust me, 20-year-old Sean preaching at 20-year-old Johnny would be hypocritical at best.

Mark May, apparently, doesn't see this the same way as I do.

The former Outland Trophy winner at Pitt and former offensive lineman for the Washington Redskins, now turned oft-mocked, lazy narrative-spewing screamer for ESPN's college football coverage, is not a fan of Johnny Manziel. He intimated as much in a July 15 tweet after Manziel's latest booze-fueled foibles in Thibodeaux over the weekend:

Wow, what a preachy cock.

Many of us sit back and assess what Johnny's actions mean to his future, and that's completely fair. Assessing is completely fair.

Within the context of A&M's upcoming season or the draft next April, how Johnny's off-season, his addiction to social media and his love for mixed drinks affect those things is a reasonable blog or sports radio topic, no different from his 40 time or his ability to read a disguised blitz. They are all baked into the "Johnny Football" profile, his profile as a player and as a leader.

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I used to live in the Heights and saw this coming years ago.  When Target was built, everyone complained.  Now they all shop there.  The same for Walmart now.  Eventually they will have to widen Yale as well.  Thanks to the high price of gas, and this being the hip place to live,  this is what you get.  Self-righteous-trust-fund-baby-granola-eating-liberals should not be allowed to bitch just because some apartments come into their sacred little "utopia".

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