Homeowner holds out on selling hilltop house




Posted on September 6, 2013 at 6:16 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 6 at 6:41 PM

AUSTIN -- If you've ever traveled along I-35 near downtown, you've probably seen the little green house on the hill. It sits nestled between two high-rise condos. You may not know the house belongs to the Lopez family. They've been offered millions of dollars to sell, but Mary Lopez continues the fight to keep it standing. 

"We had a developer coming in from California. Sadly, each home that was sold around here, and I can remember for sure about 5 specific homes, sold for about $125,000. After those people left, within two to three years, they came back visiting my mom and saying they had really made a wrong decision in selling," Mary Lopez said, in the UT Radio and Film Documentary produced by Andrew Caldelago, Issac Simon and Lauren Hardy.

"I assumed somebody would've bought it and put a condo up there already. I'm surprised that it is still there. It is an eyesore for sure," said Ron Wight Owner of Uncorked Restaurant.

In the past few years, the home has been boarded up, tagged with graffitti and set on fire. Police respond to the house regularly, homeless people break in, build fires, and leave trash behind.

"There's lots of homelessness around. We're here to cleanup the city, we want a better place for everyone," said Wanfer Llund, who lives nearby.

"Our family has always instilled in us, this is our home. We would like more than ever as a neighborhood to see them replaced with houses," said Mary Lopez.

Lopez is a board member for the Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation. The group helped build an affordable housing high rise condo next door to the Lopez House.

It's a battle of preservation versus development, with the last house standing -- as a reminder of what Austin used to be. And the question of what it will become.


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