New Ashby Controversy

From traffic tower to money tower? Ashby high rise's neighbors see their home prices skyrocket

Money tower? Ashby high rise's neighbors see their home prices jump

News_Ashby high rise_building monster
Houston's booming housing market is putting money in the pockets of Ashby-area homeowners. Photo by Katie Oxford
News_Ashby HighRise_Streetsign_Bissonnet_May 2012
A lawsuit attempting to block the controversial high rise goes to trial this November. The project has yet to break ground. Photo by Karen Burd
News_Ashby high rise_building monster
News_Ashby HighRise_Streetsign_Bissonnet_May 2012

As legal attempts to block the Ashby High Rise move forward, area residents find themselves enjoying a veritable explosion in property values.

Houston real estate firm Greenwood King reports that its homes in Boulevard Oaks — the area encompassing the controversial 21-story building — sold for an average $1.36 million in the first half of 2013, an astonishing 58 percent jump compared to the first half of 2012. The neighboring Southampton community saw a similarly whopping 29 percent increase.

 "There's a buying trend towards homes with character." 

While the numbers clearly reflect Houston's frenzied residential market, the rise may come as a surprise to the vocal Stop Ashby opposition group, which has long voiced concerns about diminishing home values. Construction on the building at 1717 Bissonnet has only just started.

Greenwood King realtor Caroline Keeland tells CultureMap that prospective buyers continue to flock to the area, even amidst the ongoing controversy and sea of yellow "Tower of Traffic" signs.

"There's a buying trend towards homes with character," Keeland explains. "And both Boulevard Oaks and Southampton have plenty of them . . . These are architecturally diverse neighborhoods. On the whole, they're very historic. Yet, at the same time, they welcome unique modern homes."

She notes a similar pattern throughout the Heights, which, like the Ashby High Rise area, also remains close to downtown and cultural hubs like Montrose and the Museum District.

Though the site at 1717 Bissonnet was cleared for the residential tower this spring, construction on the project has yet to start. A group of high rise opponents that filed a civil suit against the building's developers in May will get their day in court this November.