neighborhoods

West End school’s slated renovation sparks memories of neighborhood’s history of gentrification

CINCINNATI — Golan Marom may not be from the West End, but he said feels a connection to the buildings in the neighborhood anyway.

“The architecture and the history of that area, I think, is really, really wonderful,” Marom, the CEO and founder of Zada Development, said. “I think that it’s unique in that it just has its own character to it.”

The developer from New York is fixated on redeveloping the Heberle Elementary School building on Freeman Avenue, a vacant property he acquired about two years ago. Built in 1929, the school has been closed since 2007 because of its poor condition and students’ declining enrollment. Some in the neighborhood say the building has been languishing over time, as evidenced by its cracked and boarded up windows and the weeds springing up from the pavement in its front yard. In 2018, it was reported that a part of the building’s facade fell, sending bricks into the street.

Still, despite the extensive repairs that will have to be made to the building, Marom is enamored with Heberle’s charm. His vision is to rehabilitate it into a set of lofts, specifically for artists and recent college grads, as well as commercial space. He said he wants to serve the local community and create a living space that is welcoming to young people.

“What I think that the community’s lacking is not necessarily affordable housing, but maybe something, you know, a step above that,” Marom said. “You know, so housing that’s unassisted but that’s at a price point that people that are starting their lives, you know, can feel comfortable in.”

Marom’s plans are a steep departure from the original plans to redevelop Heberle. He said there were once plans to turn the school into a luxury housing space within a larger

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Mesquite City Council approves expanded road improvements in two neighborhoods

Those living in the Quail Hollow and Town East Estates neighborhoods are the next Mesquite residents to have their streets designated for road repairs.

The Mesquite City Council approved two separate contracts at a Monday night meeting, clearing the way for localized concrete repair on streets, sidewalks, gutters and curbs. The work will begin as soon as next month.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, seen at a meeting March 19, 2020 in Dallas, is seeking re-election to a post he has held since 1985.

The council approved a $1.4 million contract with KIK Underground, LLC for the Quail Hollow project, which is expected to take six months. It also approved a $4.15 million contract with HQS Construction, LLC for the larger Town East Estates project, which is expected to take around a year.

“Quality streets in our neighborhoods is vital to maintaining community pride and curbside appeal of our housing stock,” Mesquite Mayor Bruce Archer said in a statement. “The City Council is committed to repairing as many residential streets as possible, as quickly as we can. Improving streets also improves neighborhood vitality.”

He said the council is aware that there are still several neighborhoods that need repairs and the city is working as fast as it can to get to them.

Road work is already in progress on six miles of road in the area south of South Parkway and east of Peachtree Road. Those projects, and the pair that was recently approved, are part of the city’s ongoing Real Texas Roads bond program, approved by voters in November 2015. That program has resulted in improvements on 33 miles of two-lane residential roads, according to the City of Mesquite.

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HCAD residential appraisers to start visiting neighborhoods and homes

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While they do it every year, the Harris County Appraisal District is reminding residents that appraisers will be visiting neighborhoods throughout the county starting Oct. 1.

With so many people working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, HCAD wants residents to know what to be on the lookout for when appraisers show up to verify neighborhood changes, property characteristics and other data.


While initially focusing on new construction, all properties are subject to verification.

“Correct data is essential to developing accurate estimates of value,” said Roland Altinger, chief appraiser. “Field inspections by our appraisers are a very important part of this process.”

HCAD wants residents know what appraisers will look like and what they will do while appraising properties.



Foremost, appraisers “will never ask to enter” a home nor ask property owners to accompany them around a house.

“Appraisers will knock on the front door to alert the resident they are on the property, identify themself as an HCAD appraiser, and ask permission to measure the home and any other structures on the property,” HCAD reported in a news release. “If access is denied, the appraiser will leave the property and estimate the size and characteristics from the street. If the property owner is not home, the appraiser will measure the sections of the structures that are accessible without entering a gate.”


Appraisers may appear as early at 7:45 a.m. but not later than 5:15 p.m. All appraisers wear a blue jacket or vest with the “HCAD emblem on the front and HCAD Appraiser on the back and carry an identification badge with his or her picture, name and unique appraiser number.”


Since they work from their own personal vehicles with a magnetic sign attached, identifying them

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Homes in Black and Latino neighborhoods still undervalued 50 years after US banned using race in real estate appraisals | The Conversation

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

Junia Howell, University of Pittsburgh and Elizabeth Korver-Glenn, University of New Mexico

(THE CONVERSATION) The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

Racial inequality in home values is larger today than it was 40 years ago, with homes in white neighborhoods appreciating $200,000 more since 1980 than comparable homes in similar communities of color.

Our new research on home appraisals shows neighborhood racial composition still drives unequal home values, despite laws that forbid real estate professionals from explicitly using race when evaluating a property’s worth. Published in the journal Social Problems, our study finds this growing inequality results from both historical policies and contemporary practices.

In the 1930s, the federal government institutionalized a process for evaluating how much a property was worth. Often called redlining, this process used neighborhood racial and socioeconomic composition to determine home values. Homes in white communities were deemed more valuable than identical dwellings in communities of color.

Legislative action in the late 1960s and 1970s prohibited this practice. But the law allowed appraisers to use past sale prices to determine home values. Our research shows how using old, race-based sale prices ensured appraisers continued to define homes in white neighborhoods as worth more than similar homes in Black and Latino communities. Racism was baked into the system.

Real estate professionals compound these historical inequalities by assuming communities of color are undesirable, even when real estate demand suggests otherwise.

Why it matters

For most U.S. families, their home is their greatest asset. As their home appreciates in value, their wealth increases, enabling them to fund their retirement, their children’s college educations or unexpected expenses like large medical bills.

The racial inequality in home values

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