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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Town centers in The Woodlands, Sugar Land and elsewhere are filled with storefront-lined streets, multifamily housing and even hotels and office towers. But there's a darker side to suburbia in areas that lack infrastructure and private investment. In this episode, Nancy and Erin bring on the Chronicle’s suburban columnist Mike Snyder to discuss new research from Rice University’s Kinder Institute about this region’s ever-changing suburb.
Which Houston neighborhoods were designed to look like English cemeteries? Why does U.S. 59 outside the 610 Loop veer off at a 90 degree angle towards Sugar Land? Houston housing expert Scott Davis answers these questions and others as he shares his research on Houston’s development history with Nancy and Erin.
In typical millennial fashion, Looped In co-host Erin has picked up and moved. She put Houston in her rear-view mirror last week when she took a three-day road trip to her new home in the Washington D.C. area. In this episode of Looped In, Nancy gets Erin to share tales of her cross-country road trip, including the bars, the Walmarts and the road-side casinos she saw along the way. Oh, and “the leaves!”
Nancy and Erin hear from H-E-B's Scott McClelland, who is hoping Heights residents vote 'yes' Tuesday on the ballot measure that would allow off-premise beer and wine sales in what is now the dry part of the neighborhood. He has a lot riding on the vote.
On Nov. 8, residents in a corner of the Heights will vote on a measure that, if approved, would allow stores to sell beer and wine for the first time in more than 100 years. Heights resident and real estate broker Bill Baldwin loves his Cabernet, but wants the neighborhood to stay dry. Just days before the election, Baldwin joins Nancy and Erin to explain his position and why he’s going up against a beloved grocery chain to oppose the measure.
On the latest episode of Looped In, Parks Board president and CEO Beth White joins Nancy and Erin to chat about the transformation of Houston’s once tired bayous into connected greenways throughout the city. A Chicago transplant, White compares Houston’s strategies and initiatives to bring more greenspace to her former home. They also discuss trail-oriented development, neighborhood parks and how to pronounce B-A-Y-O-U.
Nancy and Erin continue their conversation with Houston land use professor Matthew Festa about the city’s lack of a formal zoning code. And in the “lighting round of questions,” find out what Festa’s favorite land use juxtaposition in Houston is. (Hint: it has the word “Zone” in it.)
Houston has long been famous for its cowboys, pickup trucks and freeways. But there’s another key characteristic that’s shaped the city from early on: a lack of zoning. Erin and Nancy talk to land use professor Matthew Festa about why Houston never adopted a formal zoning code and what rules are in place that actually do govern how and where things get built.
A Houston developer is planning what it says will be a “transformative” mixed-use project that could shift the urban core to the east. It will be built near downtown along Buffalo Bayou, but the company is calling the project East River. Nancy and Erin discuss the name and what it means for a multi-billion-dollar development to go up in the middle of gentrifying and working-class neighborhoods. They also get an update on what happened with the big Astrodome vote.
Some call it the Eighth Wonder of the World. Others refer to it as the albatross no one can figure out. Whatever it is, the Astrodome has a special place in Houston’s history. Ahead of what could be a potentially historic day in Harris County’s Commissioners Court, Erin and Nancy get the backstory on the latest proposal for the Astrodome from the Chronicle’s (County/dome) reporter Mihir Zaveri.
Erin and Nancy give a shout out to the GBV -- or Glenbrook Valley -- in the latest episode of Looped In. It has been called the neighborhood “where Don Draper would live if he landed a big oil account.” While, this neighborhood in southeast Houston near Hobby Airport is somewhat overlooked, it has been growing in popularity as Inner Loop neighborhoods slip out of range for a lot of buyers. Realtor and GBV resident Robert Searcy guest stars and helps give details about this swanky historic ‘hood: the swingin’ parties, built-in martini bars and pink-tiled counters and, most importantly, the affordable deals.
Nancy and Erin talk about a few different upcoming and recent stories they have worked on for the Chronicle. They explore some of the quirks of land use in the Texas Medical Center and revisit one of their favorite topics: millennials. The land ladies also discuss one of their not-so-secret reality TV obsessions and their hope to bring on a famous guest.
In this episode of Looped In, Erin and Nancy talk about the latest, greatest and most controversial music venue in town: The White Oak Music Hall. To help them out with analyzing the saga and Houston's entertainment scene, they welcome chron.com reporter and man about town Craig Hlavaty as a guest.
In this episode of Looped In, Chronicle reporters Nancy Sarnoff and Erin Mulvaney speak with fifth-generation Houstonian James Glassman to explore the meanings and backstories behind some of the words in his book, “The Houstorian Dictionary: An insider’s index to Houston.