The highway expansions initiated the deterioration of the neighborhood in the 1960s as population loss accelerated by black migration to the suburbs meant businesses had fewer customers to frequent their stores. The catalyst for the dispute is a proposed a $53 million renovation of the former hospital into mixed-income rental housing, with a little over half the units set aside for low-income households. The Texas Commission on the Arts designated Houston’s Third and Fifth Wards as cultural districts on Sept. 3. All rights reserved. A developer plans to turn the former St. Elizabeth Hospital, seen in the background, into an affordable housing development. The highway expansions initiated the deterioration of the neighborhood in the 1960s as population loss accelerated by black migration to the suburbs meant businesses had fewer customers to frequent their stores. But in the historic Fifth Ward, one builder argues development can occur in a responsible way that doesn’t uproot members of the community. Third Ward is a historic African American community southeast of Downtown Houston. Erin is an energy reporter for the Houston Chronicle. A developer plans to turn the former hospital in the Fifth Ward into an affordable housing development, which worries some residents. As developers contend with these competing desires, they often find it’s damned if you develop, damned if you don’t. Some residents in the historically black community were born in the hospital, which closed at the end of the 1980s due to insurmountable debt. Adams has witnessed changes first-hand as a resident of both neighborhoods during his more than 25 years in Houston. In 2016, Mayor Sylvester Turner killed an initiative to place an affordable housing complex near the Galleria, which got the city in trouble with federal regulators, who said the decision contributed to economic and racial segregation in Houston. Payton waves aside such concerns. When the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation proposed the renovation, the nonprofit thought it would turn St. Elizabeth into a symbol of hope, one that would restore a decaying eyesore, spur jobs and economic activity in the neighborhood, and provide affordable housing. WeBuyBlack reported that Southern University graduate Christopher Senegal recently acquired two blocks in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward known for its African American roots and dubbed Houston’s “Black Wall Street“. With 5th Ward, there's no gentrification "finish-line", so there's no way to predict how much beyond a buyer's investment the area will improve. If you are just a Fifth Ward Supporter feel free to leave blank. On December 4, a group of protesters disrupted an event carried out in downtown Houston by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP), the non-profit organization behind the Buffalo Bayou East Master Plan, a proposal to build a string of extravagant parks along the bayou in an attempt to rapidly accelerate gentrification in East End and Fifth Ward. Gentrification in the United States is commonly associated with an influx of higher-income movers into historically divested neighborhoods with existing, working-class residents, often resulting in increases in property prices and investment into new developments. Revitalization or gentrification? A developer plans to turn the former hospital into an affordable housing development, which worries some Fifth Ward residents. While most of Houston has grown rapidly, the population in the area surroundin… Although he does not currently live in the area, he grew up nearby. “It’s a difficult balance because no matter what you propose, somebody’s not going to like it,” said Bill Fulton, director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, a research center at Rice University. St. Elizabeth Hospital is designated as a historic structure and, for the Fifth Ward CRC to receive tax credits, the architects must leave the walls where they are, restricting units to one or two bedrooms. It was subsequently settled by freedmen and became known as the Fifth Ward in 1866, when an alderman was elected to represent the community in the Houston city government. was restored in 2015 in a $5.5 million project, and the Houston Independent School District’s Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men, now one of Houston’s highest performing schools. “The Fifth Ward will continue to experience stunted pockets of growth where prosperity circumvents the masses and lands in the hands of (developers),” Erica Hubbard, president of the Progressive Fifth Ward Community Association, the neighborhood group opposing the project, wrote in a letter to the state housing authority. Trash sits along Waco Street in the Fifth Ward neighborhood on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Houston. Now we own it and are bringing it back to its peak potential. 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