St. Elizabeth Hospital shows tricky trade-offs in developing Houston’s Fifth Ward. The main difference, really, is the site: The Fifth Ward is wildly different from arty, gentrifying Montrose. Gregory Luchin works to renovate a Fifth Ward house into a rental property on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Houston. “If you propose market rate (housing), somebody’s going to say you’re fostering gentrification. Communities across Houston are concerned about gentrification changing neighborhoods and pushing out long-time residents. People wait at a bus stop next to the former St. Elizabeth Hospital on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Houston. Neighborhoods with at least a 90 percent chance of gentrifying include Fifth Ward, Gulfton, Trinity/Houston Gardens, OST/South Union, Second Ward, Acres Home, Near Northside, South Park, Pecan Park and South Acres/Crestmont Park. 3204 Lyons Avenue LLC is offering the opportunity to invest in a cash-flowing portfolio of residential and commercial property on Lyons Avenue in Houston's historic 5th Ward. She has reported on a wide variety of topics for the business desk since joining the Chronicle in 2018, including economy, labor, employment, energy, and the environment. […] Houston City Councilman Peter Brown, left, talks to Ed Merchant of the Ford Foundation about possible development in the Lower Fifth Ward area. Please put your zip code (77020 or 77026) in the comments. Houston was listed as one of the most economically segregated cities in the United States by a Pew Research study in 2012. 1:39. They say the Fifth Ward doesn’t have the services to support more low-income residents. Kevin Mack takes a break while working to renovate a property that his brother bought, next to the former St. Elizabeth Hospital, on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Houston. Amy McCaig. Three case studies selected, Fifth Ward, OST/South Union and Greenspoint, were found to have relatively high susceptibilities to gentrification according to … Houston's St. Elizabeth's Hospital on Lyons Avenue photographed in April 1947. Built in 1925 this house has witnessed greats like Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder on the porch, in the house, walking down the street. To most people who live in Houston, the Fifth Ward is a ghetto, a high-crime, low income neighborhood, a place to be avoided. Gentrification has changed the social and economic demographics of major cities around the United States, causing many low-income native residents to be forced out of their homes. New homes are being constructed in the Fifth Ward, along New Orleans Street, on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Houston. Renderings of St. Elizabeth’s Place, the planned mixed income housing project on a 2.5-acre site in Houston’s Fifth Ward. The Texas Commission on the Arts designated Houston’s Third and Fifth Wards as cultural districts on Sept. 3. "We don't like it, and we don't want it to happen. 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Instead, it has become a source of division. Reach her at erin.douglas@chron.com. Opponents also claim that those leading the redevelopment have conflicts of interest. He started a new initiative called “Buy The Block” to help native residents invest in their properties so they can stay in the neighborhood for the long-term future. In the past decades, change has crept in, here and there – a new-ish apartment complex sits directly across Lyons Avenue from Jam – but the neighborhood remains much … Payton is member of the board of the area’s tax increment reinvestment zone, which finances redevelopment and allocated $100,000 to the project, according to city records. He said he is concerned it will fail like the addiction treatment facility, one of the structure’s former uses until it was shut down in 2014. The derelict building, 115,000 square feet, still towers over the Fifth Ward, the one-time safe haven now the face of desolation in a struggling neighborhood largely passed over by the prosperity that has lifted so many other areas of the city. That failed, too, in 2014 after executives of its parent company were indicted in a Medicare fraud scheme, finances ran dry, and state regulators shut it down. Researchers found parts of Houston’s Third Ward, Denver Harbor, Fifth Ward and Gulfton neighborhoods are among the most likely to gentrify, with a more than 90 … The question is whether that lack of resources is a reason to block a new housing development. St. Elizabeth has become the center of the fight over the direction of the neighborhood as newer, wealthier residents with eyes trained on property values contend with poorer, long-time residents increasingly worried whether the Fifth Ward’s future holds a place for them. Where do they go?”. Although he does not currently live in the area, he grew up nearby. Older residents, however, support the redevelopment, glad it will preserve affordable housing in an area where people are struggling. By Jennifer Kelly Over the last month, Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP), a nonprofit comprised of developers, real estate agents, and city officials, has revealed its plan to gentrify east Houston, particularly the… The 20-story, Class A property was built in 1982 and renovated between 2016 and 2019. 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A man rides by the former St. Elizabeth Hospital on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Houston. “It’s a difficult balance because no matter what you propose, somebody’s not going to like it,” said Bill Fulton, director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, a research center at Rice University. "I'm not opposed to affordable housing at all, but the area is not ready for it," said Hector Torres as he talked about plans for the former St. Elizabeth Hospital on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Houston. In 2016, Mayor Sylvester Turner killed an initiative to place an affordable housing complex near the Galleria, which got the city in trouble with federal regulators, who said the decision contributed to economic and racial segregation in Houston. Everything has a life cycle, including a neighborhood; what's old will eventually be reborn. New home for sale on the corner of Nichols and Wipprecht in the Fifth Ward, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, in Houston. The developers, amid increasing opposition, adjusted the proposal to reduce affordable units and significantly increase market-rate apartments by constructing another building on the site. Gentrification will come, either way. The area has fought over the decades to prevent gentrification … Today, shattered glass from broken windows litter the ground near the abandoned hospital. Houston Gentrification Maps and Data To assess how gentrification has reshaped urban neighborhoods, Governing analyzed demographic data for the nation’s 50 most populous cities. A broad analysis of gentrification in Houston is needed to understand its processes and scale. The article was updated Friday to reflect new information from the Fifth Ward CRC regarding the number of affordable and market rate units. Cuadros said he and his family have lived near the former hospital for 25 years, and are worried the development will add more of the same problems to the neighborhood. Boarded up homes and businesses line the once-thriving Lyons Avenue that was sliced and diced by the expansion of Interstate 10 and U.S. 59. If you are just a Fifth Ward Supporter feel free to leave blank. All rights reserved. Mack's brother, Gregory Luchin, said he wanted to turn the house into a rental and build another structure in the back of the lot. Thankfully, we no longer have to sit on the sidelines as our communities are gentrified. The Fifth Ward CRC plans to begin construction on the project in the fall, but has run into challenges. The Fifth Ward CRC has targeted projects on Lyons Avenue to help revitalize the strip, including the Deluxe Theater, which Is the third time the charm? Virtually all of the neighborhoods on the east side of Houston inside the Interstate 610 loop — including Old Spanish Trail/South Union, Fifth Ward, Denver Harbor, Kashmere Gardens, Eastex/Jensen, Near Northside, Second Ward and Pleasantville — are susceptible to gentrification in the future, according to a new report from Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Young patients at Houston's St. Elizabeth's Hospital in the Fifth Ward, March 1959. While most of Houston has grown rapidly, the population in the area surrounding the hospital has declined in recent years, falling about 3 percent since 2016, according to the Census Bureau. Now we own it and are bringing it back to its peak potential. The main complaint of residents is the lack of — or disappearance — of community amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants and banks. Photo: Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer. […] Neighborhoods on Houston’s east side highly susceptible to gentrification. Torres moved to the area five years ago hoping the neighborhood had potential. A developer plans to turn the site in the Fifth Ward into an affordable housing development, which worries some residents. But the nonprofit maintains the Fifth Ward has a housing shortage and needs greater population density to attract more businesses and services. It was photographed on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Houston. The highway expansions initiated the deterioration of the neighborhood in the 1960s as population loss accelerated by black migration to the suburbs meant businesses had fewer customers to frequent their stores. HBCU grad Christopher Senegal is encouraging Houston's Fifth Ward native residents to fight against gentrification by investing in their communities. Third Ward is a historic African American community southeast of Downtown Houston. “The Fifth Ward will continue to experience stunted pockets of growth where prosperity circumvents the masses and lands in the hands of (developers),” Erica Hubbard, president of the Progressive Fifth Ward Community Association, the neighborhood group opposing the project, wrote in a letter to the state housing authority. The catalyst for the dispute is a proposed a $53 million renovation of the former hospital into mixed-income rental housing, with a little over half the units set aside for low-income households. Boarded up homes and businesses line the once-thriving Lyons Avenue that was sliced and diced by the expansion of Interstate 10 and U.S. 59. A developer plans to turn the former St. Elizabeth Hospital, seen in the background, into an affordable housing development. The Fifth Ward is a historical political district (ward) and a community of Houston, Texas, United States, northeast of Downtown. At issue are not only the familiar concerns and conflicts around gentrification, but also the very nature of economic development in historic and under-served communities, an undertaking fraught with complications and contradictions. Opponents claim that placing more affordable housing in an impoverished area with few businesses will simply bring more of the same problems, such as drugs and prostitution, into the neighborhood. Texas Inc.: Get the best of business news sent directly to your inbox. Of the 110 units planned, 98 will be affordable to households that make 60 percent or less of median area income. Long term residents refer to it as the Black Wall Street of Houston. Construction on the former St. Elizabeth Hospital on Lyons Avenue in the Fifth Ward is slated begin in the fall of 2020 to transform the abandoned facility into a mixed income housing development. Although Holloway said he didn't live in the neighborhood, he said he saw the development as more evidence of the growing gentrification in the area. Tweet. Photo: Tom Colburn, HC staff / Houston Chronicle. A mural is seen on June 21 along Jensen Drive titled "The Fruits of Fifth Ward" in Houston, which is a tribute to the men, women and children of the Fifth Ward. Chris Senegal built five two-story townhomes on Des Chaumes Street off Liberty Road, right by the Eastex Freeway. “The area where we lived in Fifth Ward 15 years ago is totally unrecognizable now,” he said. Sitting on three acres of land, St. Elizabeth Hospital, at 4514 Lyons Ave., remains a lingering ghost of its failures — or of its contributions, depending on who you ask. At the time, half the population was African-American and half Anglo. Houston's fifth ward is a historically black neighborhood just north of downtown's east side. Chris Senegal built five two-story townhomes on Des Chaumes Street off Liberty Road, right by the Eastex Freeway. Gentrification or segregation? Still, Payton said, she believes the complex would attract working class individuals and families. The city of Houston has labeled parts of Fifth Ward to undergo the process of gentrification. HOUSTON – (Dec. 13, 2018) – Virtually all of the neighborhoods on the east side of Houston inside the Interstate 610 loop -- including Old Spanish Trail/South Union, Fifth Ward, Denver Harbor, Kashmere Gardens, Eastex/Jensen, Near Northside, Second Ward and Pleasantville -- are susceptible to gentrification in the future, according to a new report from Rice University's Kinder … The neighborhood, today about 40 percent Hispanic, had a median household income of $22,190 in 2018, less than half the Houston median of $51,140. Gentrification in the United States is commonly associated with an influx of higher-income movers into historically divested neighborhoods with existing, working-class residents, often resulting in increases in property prices and investment into new developments. Senegal hopes that the new initiative will encourage others to invest in their communities rather than move out when they reach a higher income bracket. The first project consists of 14 townhome developments worth $3.9 million focused on bringing successful, native Black professionals back to the neighborhood. Overall, gentrification in Houston has accelerated since 2000 with increases in the most recent years studied (from 2010 to 2016). “Given the rapid threat of gentrification in Houston’s Fifth Ward, we were eager to find a response that better encouraged integration,” states Kathy … It was reopened as an addiction treatment facility, but was shut down in 2014. The hospital was opened in 1947 and later shuttered. The Circle Coalition is a new coalition of Fifth Ward residents, families, small business owners, and activists, to advocate for and manifest a future of Fifth Ward that is powerful, joyful, beautiful, healthy, and safe. Senegal’s journey started back in 2013 when he purchased a block no one wanted due to issues with drugs and crime. Photo: Artist rendering of mixed-use "East River" project, part of nonprofit Buffalo Bayou Partnership's plans to gentrify the Fifth Ward and East End. They want bigger units designed for families rather than one or two bedrooms, because they worry only single people transitioning from unstable economic situations would want to rent small units. R. … Marie D. De Jesús/Staff photographer Show More … As developers contend with these competing desires, they often find it’s damned if you develop, damned if you don’t. AP Facebook But in the historic Fifth Ward, one builder argues development can occur in a responsible way, that doesn’t uproot members of the community. "We're very aware of the gentrification in our community, we're not a part of it...and that's why we're investing in our community," said Trey Holloway as he worked to renovate a Fifth Ward home to be used as a rental property on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Houston. The hospital was opened to address a severe shortage of hospital beds in Houston for African American residents, but was closed at the end of the 1980s amid financial problems. Taking care not to displace long-time residents and providing housing that attracts more robust economic development, all while nodding to history, pose dilemmas for the Fifth Ward CRC. In Fifth Ward, Harvey raised the stakes. Third Ward is nicknamed "The Tre”. He initially planned to add another structure in the back of the lot, but said the proposed development may change his plans. On the other side of the debate, several long-time residents don’t want the area to change too much and fear gentrification. Only New York and Philadelphia were more economically segregated. “The question really becomes: Do you want a vacant, dilapidated building that is a harbor for crime to stay there?” Payton said. was restored in 2015 in a $5.5 million project, and the Houston Independent School District’s Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men, now one of Houston’s highest performing schools. asked Rene Cuadros as he talked about the proposed affordable housing development at St. Elizabeth Hospital on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Houston. Within the same block is a recently redeveloped office complex that houses both the State Senator and the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation. The hospital addressed a severe shortage of hospital beds in Houston for African American residents, but was closed at the end of the 1980s amid financial problems. On HoustonChronicle.com: Houston gentrifying faster than other Texas cities, Fed analysis finds. Third Ward history. A developer plans to turn the former St. Elizabeth Hospital in the Fifth Ward into a mixed income housing development, which worries some residents, while others welcome it. Luchin said he grew up "bicycle distance" from the hospital, but he now lives in Spring. African Americans are often the ones who feel the worst effects of gentrification as higher-income earners drive up real estate values, pricing residents out of the neighborhoods they made famous. They fear getting pushed out by young professionals and developers seeking lower prices and greater appreciation for real estate inside the Loop. Critics, she added, are missing the bigger issue. The proposal initially set aside 98 of 110 units as affordable; now it calls for 92 of 179 units to be reserved for low-income households. It was photographed on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Houston. Opponents argue the city will remain economically segregated as long as developers have incentives to build low-income housing in low-income areas. Revitalizing aging properties has proved tricky for the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation, as it has for developers in other historic, struggling communities where residents want to preserve the character — and people — of the neighborhood while encouraging new commerce. That may not affect land-buyers, investors, and builders - but it does affect the psyche of residential and commercial occupants. The iconic Fifth Ward art installation Fifth Ward Jam, created from a houses slated for demolition. Home to historical landmarks, cultural diversity and notable figures in education, music, politics and art, these neighborhoods have played an influential role both in Houston … For example, H-E-B typically needs seven acres to build smaller stores in urban areas. It’s a sensitive argument to make in Houston. “Given the rapid threat of gentrification in Houston’s Fifth Ward, we were eager to find a response that better encouraged integration,” states Kathy Flanagan Payton, President and … Adams has witnessed changes first-hand as a resident of both neighborhoods during his more than 25 years in Houston. While most of Houston has grown rapidly, the population in the area surroundin… Some residents in the historically black community were born in the hospital, which closed at the end of the 1980s due to insurmountable debt. He was turned down by 23 lenders before eventually receiving funding. St. Elizabeth Hospital is designated as a historic structure and, for the Fifth Ward CRC to receive tax credits, the architects must leave the walls where they are, restricting units to one or two bedrooms. Some newer residents oppose the project, arguing it will further contribute to economic segregation in Houston (most of Houston’s public low-income housing inside the Loop is on the east side, while the west side rapidly gains in economic power and prominence). Communities across Houston are concerned about gentrification changing neighborhoods and pushing out long-time residents. It was reopened as an addiction treatment facility, which was shut down in 2014. Renderings of St. Elizabeth’s Place, the planned mixed income housing project on 3 acres of land in Houston’s Fifth Ward. He has managed to amass $700,000 through crowdfunding to protect his long-term, fixed-income residents from displacement. The highway expansions initiated the deterioration of the neighborhood in the 1960s as population loss accelerated by black migration to the suburbs meant businesses had fewer customers to frequent their stores. Trash sits along Waco Street in the Fifth Ward neighborhood on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Houston. “We are in a community that is 150 years old, where you have existing structures with sentimental value, and those things discourage new development from coming into the community, because in order to put the land together, somebody has to be displaced,” said Kathy Payton, CEO of the Fifth Ward CRC. KHOU 11 577 views. She said she avoids any conflict of interest by removing herself from tax increment financing decisions for projects on which she is working. She has interned for Bloomberg News and The Denver Post, her hometown paper. "I wouldn't vote yes or no because I wouldn't want that on my conscience," he said of the proposed development. St. Elizabeth Hospital once bustled with activity along one of Houston’s busiest streets, caring for generations of black Houstonians, who, into the 1960s, had few other options in a segregated city with a severe shortage of hospital beds for people of color. If you propose low-income (housing), people are going to argue you’re concentrating poor people.”. © 2018 - Houston Defender Media Group. The young entrepreneur was able to use crowdfunding to allow everyday people to invest as little as $250 to own a piece of his company’s real estate portfolio. For one entrepreneur based in Houston, the solution to combating the problem is through a new initiative empowering residents to invest in their communities. Revitalization or gentrification? “I’m worried about the displacement of people in this community. “To me it seems like (the developers and the city) want to keep this area low income.”. 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