Third Ward residents supporting change while helping the neighborhood

Third Ward is one of Houston’s oldest communities, but the historically Black area is quickly changing. Rows of luxury condos are replacing old buildings, and demographics are shifting.

Considered the cradle of Houston’s civil rights movement, Third Ward’s Black population has dropped from 77% down to 60 %. Meantime, the white population had increased from 9% up to 28%, according to a 2015 report from the U.S Census Bureau.


Many longtime neighbors worry gentrification is wiping affordable Houston, the area’s culture and displacing residents. It’s a major reason Brittany Hyman leads the Third Ward Real Estate Council. The non-profit is focused on getting neighbors equitable opportunities and access to capital, so they can invest in Third Ward.

Hyman and several others in the area recently joined in purchasing a vacant building on Emancipation Avenue.

"What we hope to see is a mixed use development, where we could see retail and have space for entrepreneurs in the area," she said.


Real estate developer TJ Tijani lives in Third Ward and recently bought an old building on Cleburne Street. He plans to turn it into a boutique hotel. He said with gentrification changing Third Ward, it’s important that Black developers are investing and involved in the area’s future.

"We can’t control the change, but we can be part of it. That’s why I decided I want to own in areas that are highly changing, where we know a lot of people that look like me, are being priced out of their homes. If people that look like us are able to get into ownership, I think we have a really good chance in his area," Tijani said.

Hyman and Tijani both feel the more they invest in Third Ward, the greater say they’ll have in its future.

Tijani also mentors up-and-coming developers, looking to invest in their communities. Learn more about his Houston summit by clicking here.  You can learn more about the Third Ward Real Estate Council here