03/23/97

Montrose not for starving artists anymore

By Katherine Feser
Houston Chronicle


The demographics have changed with the rising property values in Montrose.

"This used to be a Bohemian artist-type area," says real estate broker Ray Allison. "The free spirit is alive and well; it's just got more money behind it now."

With homes in good shape ranging from $150,000 to $300,000, Montrose is likely to appeal to the middle-level manager who plays in a band or paints on the weekends, Allison says. "The true starving artists have moved out of this area to the Wards closer to downtown."

Mixed among quaint cottages and bungalows are duplexes, apartments, condominiums and shops. Several restaurants and museums are within walking distance.

The diversity of the community was one of the things that appealed to therapist Nancy Johnson-Gallagher when she moved to a 2,000-square-foot bungalow from a spacious new home in the suburbs.

"I liked the character of the old neighborhoods where everything wasn't cookie cutter," Johnson-Gallagher says. "I felt like in the suburbs my children just got this very skewed view of life . . . not a real life view of people being culturally different."

Many houses have been renovated in recent years, including Ed Mason's 3,000-square-foot Arts and Crafts style house, built in 1911. He researched colors of old homes before choosing a creamy tan with bottle green windows and dark red-orange accents.

"I wanted today's amenities, but I wanted to keep it as close to the original condition as I could," Mason says. The refurbishing included new appliances, plumbing, wiring, wallboard and adding central air and heat. Some of the original fixtures such as a skirted tub were refinished.

Named for a historic town in Scotland, Montrose was developed in 1911 by J.W. Link of the Houston Land Corp. Link's house is now the administrative building for St. Thomas University on Montrose Boulevard.

New developments include Courtlandt Place Lofts, a 14-unit town house loft project planned at Taft and Lovett where a nightclub will be torn down. The 3,000-square-foot lofts will start around $250,000 and feature high ceilings and large open spaces with a view of downtown.

Neighborhood facts and map
Number of homes374
Median price$115,650
Median price per square foot$89.44
Median size1,990 square feet
Median lot size5,950 square feet
Median year built1930
Average number of bedrooms2.6
Average number of baths2.0
Median estimated tax$3,191
School district Houston Independent School District
SchoolsWilson and Poe Elementary, Lanier Middle and Lamar High

Source: Crawford Realty Advisors