From his second-story apartment in west Houston, Milton Lawson thought he had avoided the worst of Harvey. But then officials began releasing water from the nearby Addicks reservoir. Lawson recalls his journey from evacuation, to rundown FEMA hotel, and then back to his apartment a week after the storm to try to retrieve the one thing that mattered to him most.
Looped In returns with a multi-part series exploring the lives of several Houstonians who survived Hurricane Harvey but remain in a state of limbo as they seek to rebuild after the worst rainstorm in U.S. history. In coming episodes listeners will also hear from real estate and development experts who will discuss what the storm means for Houston's future and the future of development in our city.
Research has shown that living near a Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or Starbucks can increase the value of your home. The same might be true of craft beer breweries, these suddenly popular hangouts that have been multiplying in Houston's inner city and some suburbs too. Nancy talks to Chronicle editor Ronnie Crocker about the craft brewery movement and how it's changing the real estate market. Not only is Ronnie the Chronicle’s beer writer but he lives within biking distance of four breweries.
Retailers don’t just take up space in shopping malls and strip centers. Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart and others have been building giant warehouses to store everything from toothpaste to toilet paper to toys. Nancy talks to Chronicle reporter Dylan Baddour about what’s behind the building boom.
Nancy hits the road to visit painter John Calaway in his new studio in Acres Homes, a historically African-American neighborhood that has long attracted artists for its open space and affordable land. Now, though, high-end developers are discovering the area, offering hope for better infrastructure while introducing fears of gentrification.
Nancy and her Chronicle colleagues Allyn West and Jody Schmal discuss the hour they spent with the new owners and consultants (including James Beard award-winner Chris Shepherd) of the Heights-area farmers market.
When real estate investor Mark Davis released some early renderings for a redevelopment project on lower Westheimer, they were criticized by some who didn’t like the plans for parking on the site. Davis tells Nancy and Allyn what he actually wants to do with the property, clears up some misconceptions, and voices some of the challenges of developing in arguably the most urban spot in town.
City planner Christopher Andrews joins Nancy and her co-host Allyn West to discuss how Houston’s parking ordinance and other building regulations shape the way real estate is developed here. They discuss one project at length – a lower Montrose antique shop where a redevelopment proposal has caused a stir among a group of Houstonians passionate about development.
Texas may be a long way from legalizing marijuana, but if that day ever comes Houston's real estate market could change dramatically. That's what happened in Denver, where commercial real estate prices have spiked and apartment rents have doubled, in part, because of the thriving pot industry. Nancy and her editor, Al Lewis, were at a real estate conference in Denver recently where they met marijuana magnate Pepe Breton. Breton joined Nancy and Al by phone to talk about the challenges of his business and how he's preparing for future markets to open up.
When Houston Chronicle managing editor Vernon Loeb arrived in Houston some four years ago he rented an apartment in Montrose and began exploring the area on foot. An avid marathoner, Loeb learned his new neighborhood by running it almost every morning. He was struck by how Craftsman bungalows and Victorian mansions cozied up to four-story townhomes and 1950s apartment complexes in a harmonious way. Yet Loeb's modern view of Montrose stands in contrast with the way many longtime Houstonians remember the area. Loeb joins Nancy and Allyn as they explore the past, present and future of Montrose.
New owners of the Heights-area farmers market say they want to expand the offerings with a seafood counter, a butcher and a baker. They plan to improve the space by adding bathrooms and fixing the jumbled parking area. Nancy and her colleague Mike Snyder (a loyal farmers market shopper) get the dirt on all the plans from one of the market’s new owners, Todd Mason.
In 1970s and 1980s Houston, skyscrapers were built as urban icons where form often overtook function. Nancy Sarnoff talks to the Chronicle's Allyn West about how the city’s newest office towers are transforming into dynamic spaces meant to engage workers and foster collaboration.
Nancy and Erin (she’s back for one more episode!) host their first live show from the lobby of downtown’s historic Texaco building – now a luxury apartment tower called The Star. In front of about 25 of their most loyal listeners, the ladies interview Dean Strombom, an architect with Gensler, about how the office of the future is changing the way people work.
A wave of new restaurants connected to local superchefs (such as James Beard Award-winning Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s and Chris Shepherd of Underbelly) are beginning to congregate in an unlikely place: the airport. From farm-to-table to Asian-fusion, the dining concepts at George Bush Intercontinental Airport are expanding as the city catches up with a national trend. Chronicle reporter Nancy Sarnoff is joined by food editor Greg Morago to discuss how airports are offering more restaurants that reflect the local flair.
On Erin's last official episode of Looped In, she and Nancy share memories of their past year podcasting about the quirks, the curiosities and the characters that define Houston real estate.
Looped In will continue, but the pair's nearly year-long partnership has come to an end following Erin's recent relocation to Washington D.C.
Before ending the episode, Nancy and Chronicle multimedia director Scott Kingsley put Erin in the hot seat for a final lighting round of questions.
Eek! We’re recording our next episode in front of a live audience. Want be part of our first live show? Listen for details.
Houston has perhaps the most competitive grocery market in the country, and as H-E-B's real estate broker, it's Lance Gilliam's job to keep up with the major players and the latest trends. Gilliam, a partner with Waterman Steele, joins Nancy and Erin to talk everything from sushi stations to online grocery shopping.
Nancy Sarnoff and Erin Mulvaney are joined by retail guru Ed Wulfe to discuss Uptown’s Zone d’Erotica, the adult novelty shop widely seen as a striking contrast to the gleaming Galleria and other luxury spaces surrounding it.
Nancy and Erin continue their conversation with the Houston Housing Authority’s Tory Gunsolley about how the city is grappling with its lack of affordable housing.
Historically, Houston has always been a relatively cheap place to live. Now, not so much. There are more than 300,000 households here paying more than 50 percent of their incomes on housing, according to the Houston Housing Authority’s Tory Gunsolley, who joined Erin and Nancy to talk about the challenges.
For the past 30 years multifamily analyst Bruce McClenny has seen the apartment market boom and bust a few times. The wild overbuilding always results in the same thing: developers cutting rents and offering steep discounts to get "heads in beds," as the saying goes. McClenny, founder of Houston-based Apartment Data Services, joined Nancy and Erin to talk local multifamily trends, including how long renters will have the upper hand.
Condomania: Nancy and Erin are joined by Jacob Sudhoff, a luxury real estate broker marketing some of the most expensive condos in town, to discuss why Houstonians never had much of an appetite for condo living and how that's changing.
Downtown boosters have floated myriad proposals over the years as they've worked to transform the city center into a vibrant place for people to live, work and most importantly, stay. The latest proposal is a plan to address and provide recommendations for downtown's continued economic potential, as well as offer ideas on mobility, technology and public spaces. When a Houston mega-church recently said it was planning a new location downtown, a move urban boosters saw it as a sign downtown is starting to take real shape as a residential neighborhood. Nancy and Erin talk about the changes happening downtown, past proposals to make the urban core better and the newest plans that aim to bring more life to the city's core.
Many of the thousands of laborers building Houston's glass and steel skyscrapers, apartment complexes, houses and roads are immigrants living here illegally. What if they were forced to leave the country? Chronicle reporter Dylan Baddour recently wrote about this charged issue, one that could have serious economic repercussions. Contractors told Dylan that construction companies would "face a difficult fallout, including higher labor costs, construction delays, and some projects canceled altogether." Dylan joined Nancy and Erin to talk about what he learned from his reporting and about the workers he met on Houston construction sites.
Houston architect and planning advocate Joe Webb joins Nancy and Erin to talk about “Plan Houston,” the city’s first-ever comprehensive planning effort meant to provide a strategic vision for housing, transportation, neighborhoods and other key issues facing the city.