Looped In

From urban renewal to suburban sprawl, Houston’s real estate market is going through one of its most dynamic times in decades. Join real estate and development reporter Nancy Sarnoff as she meets the city’s developers, deal makers and dreamers and dishes with colleagues on all things Houston real estate.
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Looped In



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Jul 5, 2017

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.

Jun 23, 2017

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.

Jun 15, 2017

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.

Jun 7, 2017

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.

May 31, 2017

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.

May 22, 2017

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.


May 11, 2017

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.

May 10, 2017

Eek! We’re recording our next episode in front of a live audience. Want be part of our first live show? Listen for details.

May 4, 2017

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.

Apr 27, 2017

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.


Apr 18, 2017

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.

Apr 13, 2017

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.

Apr 5, 2017

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.

Mar 27, 2017

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.

Mar 11, 2017

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.

Mar 2, 2017

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 issueone 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.

Feb 24, 2017

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.

Feb 17, 2017

Before a 240-mile train connecting Houston to Dallas becomes a reality, the folks proposing it must convince an unknown number of property owners to sell them their land. The company behind the project, Texas Central, says it has agreements to buy a portion of the land it needs, but it’s facing opposition from some landowners who believe the train will ruin the character of the area. The Chronicle’s transportation reporter Dug Begley joins Nancy and Erin to explain this controversial project that connects business, politics and culture.

Feb 8, 2017

If you tried but to rent your house during Super Bowl LI but never had any takers, you're not alone.

Supply of short-term rentals was way up during the week of the big game. Nancy and Erin are joined by Heights resident Sorcha Landau who listed her updated Craftsman bungalow on Airbnb, but it never got booked -- even after she repeatedly dropped the price.

Jan 31, 2017

Houston will get a flash of Hollywood glam this week when celebrities begin to descend on the Bayou City for Super Bowl LI. Local publicist Mark Sullivan dishes on the best places to get a glimpse of Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Josh Brolin among lots of other A-list film stars, rock bands and politicians – oh, and of course plenty of familiar faces from reality TV.

Jan 26, 2017

Thousands of Houstonians have listed their homes on various vacation rental platforms in hopes of cashing in during Super Bowl LI. But is it realistic to find someone who will pay thousands of dollars a night for your home or apartment? And what about the risks? What happens if a guest breaks your beloved antique vase or throws a raucous party and your neighbor calls the cops? Nancy and Erin bring Airbnb's Laura Spanjian into the studio to answer those questions and more about what to expect if you're a first-time renter.

Jan 11, 2017

Dwight Silverman spent years raising kids in a comfortable subdivision in piney northwest Houston before deciding to buy a townhouse inside the Loop. About a year ago, he and his wife moved again. They sold a bunch of their furniture on Craig's List and rented a two-bedroom apartment within walking distance of restaurants, wine bars and a Whole Foods. On this episode of Looped In, Nancy and Erin talk to Silverman about his transition from homeowner to apartment dweller and what it's like to be a renter by choice.

Dec 27, 2016

It’s Swampie season. The real estate website Swamplot is collecting ballots for its annual “Swampie” awards, which showcase all that is remarkable and peculiar about Houston real estate. Nancy and Erin bring Swamplot editor Christine Gerbode into the studio to talk about the popular site and this year's categories for the Swampies.

Dec 22, 2016

Houston was hit with two major flooding events two years in a row. Roads and highways were under water. Subdivisions and people's homes were destroyed. Questions arose about why is this happening and what can be done to stop it. One of the biggest questions was about how Houston’s famous sprawl and building boom may have led to the devastation. On this episode of Looped In, Nancy and Erin interview their colleagues Mihir Zaveri and Mike Morris, the Chronicle's Harris County and city of Houston government reporters who are asking some of the tough questions about development policy in Harris County and the city of Houston. Is the government doing enough to protect property owners from flooding? How much has development led to flooding in areas that have never flooded before?

Dec 16, 2016

There could be weighty implications for Houston if president-elect Donald Trump picks Ben Carson for secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Nancy and Erin explain, while also updating listeners on the lawsuit against the Montrose Management District.

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