For decades, the area between Houston Avenue, Studemont, Interstate 10 and Washington Avenue was a tangle of warehouse, industrial plants and a smattering of wood-frame homes. It has only been in the past ten or 15 years that the area, which is home to numerous art complexes, began to see significant development as there became more of a desire for urban living. The first such domino to fall was when a Target, something the entire Heights area lacked after Kmart on 19th Street closed its doors (along with all the other Kmarts in Houston), opened. Eventually, a Kroger Signature store followed just west at Studemont. Now, one of the last industrial holdouts is finally clearing out.
Texas Tile Manufacturing, located smack-dab in between Target and Kroger, has finally decided to vacate its huge facility that now represents prime real estate along Interstate 10.
According to a story in the Houston Chronicle, the property has been valued by the Harris County Appraisal District at $14 million, but it is no doubt worth quite a bit more.
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This will add to the already exploding development of the Heights and areas along Washington Avenue. The stretch that runs from Houston Avenue west to Heights Boulevard, now on both sides of the freeway, is booming with retail, mixed-use and residential development.
Certainly, the continued growth will be good for those seeking real estate, particularly close to the inner core of the city. Residential property inventories are at or near all-time lows across Houston and the demand continues seemingly unabated. Stories of bids for homes well above asking price and with double digit-bidders within days after the homes are listed are commonplace.
Of course, some of the older residents in the area might not be thrilled with it all. Residents of the Heights, the city's oldest residential neighborhood, threw a fit when Walmart moved into its space along Yale Street. Concerns over congestion and a general downturn in the neighborhood were the primary reasoning. No doubt, driving down Heights or Yale during rush hour is not a pleasant experience and even the expansion along Interstate 10 that just concluded earlier this year can't alleviate the traffic problems caused by the popularity of the area.
Still, Houston has been clamoring for blighted industrial areas to be replaced with modern development for decades. With the closing of the tile plant, it appears that change is going to come and quickly.