A Rooftop Party Deck Behind the 11th St. Someburger? Those Lofty Earlier Designs for 1111 Studewood Place

Is this what the mysterious new 6-story concrete-frame mixed-use building going up behind the 11th St. Someburger in the Heights is supposed to look like? Sort of, but not exactly. The rendering of the project above (and a whole bunch more, below), found on the website of ZDA Architecture in San Antonio, shows a decked-out version of the more boxy structure that’s pictured on this new sign and that showed up on the corner of Studewood and 11th 1/2 St. yesterday:


The stripped-down, cast-stone-lintel-free version of the project shown on the sign could be what the developers ended up with after several rounds of cost-cutting and bank-balance checking. But a source tells Swamplot that there will likely be “slight modifications” to the design shown in that image as well. Meanwhile, several rounds of “unapproved” earlier proposals for the building are still on display on the architect’s website:

And what about the pool on top? Is it still in the project?

Only a few more stories to go before we find out.

Renderings: ZDA Architecture. Photos: David Hille

60 Comment

  • I guess I don’t know much about the condo market in Houston, but are there really people willing to spend “from the $400’s” on a condo when you can spend the same amount for a house with 4 walls of your own?

  • While speculative, this project is visionary. If only they could spread their footprint to cover the adjacent, decreipt burger stand.

  • That burger stand has more taste than that whole poroject……

  • Wow, that’s actually a lot less terrible than I thought it would be.

  • I know someone who bought a house two blocks away with it’s own pool for 300k. Who is the jackass lender involved in this project?

  • Most of the renderings look a whole lot like that apartment complex at Yale and 21st.

    And, yeah, for $400K you should get some dirt, or at least a better nabe.

  • We in the Heights love the Someburger.

  • Thanks for the update

  • But it’s a loft see, you’re paying the extra 100 grand in order to be able to see all your AC ducting, makes perfect sense.

  • Visionary? Decrepit burger stand?

    All I can say about this thing is that I am glad that it isn’t as bad as it could have been. If ground floor retail and condos in a brick box is visionary, then maybe someday people in Houston will get cable TV and the internet. The PR on this thing was that they were working closely with historians on the architecture. Pphhhffttt. Yeah, right. Its a brick box. What a vision. But at least it isn’t another cheap stucco thing.

    And that “decrepit” burger stand is a Heights institution. A cheeseburger at Someburger brings me back to my childhood, going to the local burger stand with my dad after a morning spent fishing.

    Yeah, its better than a vacant lot. But, it could have been so much better than the brick box on the billboard. Even the proposed designs are flavor of the day modern with no sense of the archictecure and history of the Heights. So, I am thankful for a brick box instead of another stucco junko, but that is about it.

  • Get rid of the ‘decrepit burger stand’? Obviously you have never had a Someburger hamburger! Honestly, I really don’t understand why people are so quick to eliminate anything that looks old without even considering what service is provided. Have you killed off your grandparents?

    Go eat a Someburger and you will shut your mouth!

  • Gotta love comments from folks like laudedgent, who are hell bent on turning the heights into every other generic neighborhood in town.

    Someburger is a heights institution. If you don’t love it, leave it for west u or bellaire. Oh wait can’t afford either, so that’s why you’re here.

  • Who would buy a $400K condo? Gee, let me go out on a limb and say…….i dunno…..maybe……uhhhh, someone that doesn’t want to own a house? Y’all are retards. Nice looking development. Wish it was higher so they could look into your pathetic little yards and laugh about how you have to mow them.

  • The mid-400s?! Good luck.

  • come on….please do not speak for all of the Heights dwellers on the subject of Someburger. Im sure it was great in its time…now it is a dirty eyesore and probably could not pass a health code. the food is only fair, and expensive! much better burgers and fries at the creeks, Southwells, the soon to arrive Christians, etc. Someburger is just looks old and dirty, no matter if it is an institution or not. Even 11th st. cafe across the street is trying to clean up…!

  • I don’t know… I mean that window outside the loft bedroom places it right in the middle of Eleanor Tinsley park, levitating over the Buffalo Bayou. I’d pay 400k for a magic levitating loft with a view like that! I bet it wouldn’t even be touched by hurricanes or flooding. Though getting in might be a bit of challenge. It looks like they turned the park into a golf course too… Four!

    SFP, lay off the name-calling. Using that type of language only lessens the point of your message. Thank you,

  • i think it looks pretty cool. brick midrise with retail on the first floor–not sure how it could be much better.

    someburger is an eyesore regardless of the quality of the food.

  • I think this looks awesome

  • It is not an issue of condo v. house. It is an issue of condo mid rise v. townhome. 400k+ will get you into a very nice, large townhome in just about any part of town. No big condo association, ground floor parking, two car garage with lots of room for bikes, kayaks and whatever junk you have, lots of windows, a little patch of garden space, no sharing elevators with neighbors smelling of their morning run or last night’s partying, and no noise coming from below, above and on all four sides. Why blow 400k+ on a fake loft (love how they put in faux duct work to make it look like a loft conversion from warehouse space) when you can get so much more for your $ in one of the twenty zillion townhomes around town?

  • @ Matt:

    A free-standing house in the middle of Heights/Woodland Heights with a lot large enough for a pool for ~$300k?

    Are you being serious or just loquacious?

    Must be a pretty small or poor-condition pool. I’ve never seen anything with a pool in that area for less than $600k.

  • Whether or not you like the project you have to give them props for their inclusion of dog-themed art. No loft is complete without a giant chihuahua portrait over the sofa. (Or is it a corgie?)

  • I don’t understand condos. You pay a house-like price to share walls with neighbors, pay a maintenance fee, and own an asset that can only depreciate in relative value because without land a home is just hardware.

  • I like it. Most of the renderings have the top floor as only a partial floor, and some of them having it top out at 5 floors. I think this will flow, and not quite the monstrosity people were worried about. I am a little let down in the design though, although it appears nice and is definitely better than the standard stucco with lick and stick stone, I was really hoping they would do something more interesting. I’ll hold my opinion on the 400k lofts until i see the size/amenities of the units.

  • I do not reside in the Heights and have never had a Someburger. Neither are relevant to my accurate assesment. A true visionary is not embraced by the masses (or hoardes of group think Heights residents), only accepted once their methods trickle down and become the norm. That is all.

  • Landed Gent, hold your tongue, sir! You know not what you speaketh!

    I love me some Someburger.

    I admit that I find the building attractive. It’s too mammoth, though, for that spot and does not fit the area. I suspect the developers think Studewood (and I suspect Houston Avenue) will evntually fall in favor of new development.

  • Also, did anyone else notice that there aren’t any pesky little bungalows in ANY of the renderings? Weird.

  • STating the obvious….Whatever dude. The Heights residents are some of the most annoying people in the city, i can call them retards if i want. I lived amongst them for 6 years. I have countless examples to back up my assertions.

  • Looks great; 1911 and 2011 at the same time. It will be interesting to see, if this economy finally is revealed and collapses, whether $400K warehomes can actually be sold.

  • They should consult with 505 Jackson Hill on pricing, there are about 5 condos for sale there for $200k+ the for sale signs have been there since the building has been open.

  • In response to
    From SFP:
    …. so they could look into your pathetic little yards and laugh about how you have to mow them.
    June 3, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I have a big lot (>7K sq ft) with a big yard in the Heights and I PAY someone to mow it for me. There are houses on very small lots behind me and two of them could fit into my backyard.

  • @Terry:


    I think this went for 275k. Pretty decent sized pool. In fact, probably as big if not bigger than the ones with 600k+ houses because the house doesn’t take up the entire lot.

  • True, Marcy. The only things my brother does in his back yard is have huge parties and sunbathe nude (though not at the same time). But then people with private back yards can do things like that. ;D

  • Marcy. That’s awesome. I love paying people to do stuff.

  • @SFP – “Marcy. That’s awesome. I love paying people to do stuff.”

    Like paying condo maintenance fees?

  • Old School! could you have found a smaller house to use an example? unimproved? and the sale was in 2009 went the market was completely cratered. cute.

  • it looks really nice and you obviously start prices high and then go lower depending on demand, business 101 folks. nobody here can say what they need to sell them at to get expected profit out of it especially if they’ll have income through ground floor retail. there are folks that are willing to pay more for a place that will look much better than a 300k home and not involve the tedious maintenance (plenty of folks with more money than time).

  • A fair comp would be my house. Just under 2000SF so not huge. Old (~100 years). Only 1.5 baths. Does have a pool but it’s not large and needed work.

    That was over $400k.

    So yeah. Single family homes in good areas are not cheap. A nice condo in a new “hip” multiuse building in a desirable park of town for $400k isn’t crazy. If I were single and a bit younger I may have gone the condo route rather than SFH

  • Oh. “A” for effort, but the “home value finder” on HAR doesn’t = the purchase price or value. Might as well use zillow

  • 275 was a killer deal on that home. Would probably sell for over 300 now.

  • LudaKris,

    What do you define as “improved” if Old School’s example house is “unimproved?” Also, how big do you think these condos are going to be, exactly? Finally, you noted, I am sure, that the condos are priced “from the $400’s.” Pretty sure that means the smallest, cheapest condo will cost more than $400,001… with the added bonus of monthly maintenance fees.

    What a great deal! Not.

  • looking like upper kirby with all the other
    large apt. buildings not the right fit….
    but i do love me someburger

  • not the point of my comment, mel. the typical heights house that old school was aiming to use as a reference is not a 912 sf home and the current market is not the pricing that was paid in his example in 2009 (which may have even been a foreclosure, but definitely not in the best of markets.) also, you are RIGHT…improved was not the correct word. i looked again and it was a very nice house…especially 2 years ago. my point is dont us that as the example. furthermore, personally, i’m not into condos either. i dont get it either, paying that kind of money for what to me is an apartment. BUT…there IS a market for it and it suits the taste and needs for alot of people, and i am sure that there are alot of condo-types that would really like to be in the Heights…and there hasnt been much for them in the past. To each his own, right? and because the project is small (by condo project standards)…I am sure they will manage to sell through them all. Think…who would have thought Finger would have PRE sold 80% of One Park Place on Discover Green (or whatever its called)and it is now almost completely full. Do you have any idea how $$$$ those are? Either way…I think for what it is it is being tastefully done…

  • Ok, I can see how this one is shaping up… The condo owners will soon begin to simmer on the rooftop deck as their sushi soiree is ruined by the stench of burning ground beef. This olfactory assault combined with the humiliation of having their guests burdened by the sight of that decrepit shack and the lines of disheveled patrons loitering on the corner leaves them with no choice but to take action. Man the condo battlements and blast the plebs with your water hose, throw chunks of ice on their heads, dump rotten food at their feet, report them for code violations! It’s the proven formula for ridding yourself of neighborhood riffraff.

  • Kilray– you are so right!

  • I love living here in the Heights, but I’m not such a fan of Someburger. The couple of times we picked up food there, the order was wrong, and the flavor was mediocre. Being old looking is no sin. Some might regard it as character. But the quality is poor IMO. There are better places a short drive away: the Petrol Station in Garden Oaks comes to mind. Also the aforementioned Southwells.

    I’ve been told that the place caddy-corner from Someburger (SE corner of 11th and Stude) is going to be a burger joint, too. Any truth to that?

    As for the brick box, it looks like it will follow the design theme from down the street where Glass Wall and Stella Sola sit. I’m not sure what I think of new, purpose-built properties made to look like old industrial repurposed buildings.

  • Seabird, it was going to be burgers- would have been a great spot for burgers. Now it is going to be Liberty Kitchen and Oyster bar. Oyster bar. In the Heights.


    Soon we’ll have Christian’s Tailgate on 6th, though.

  • Some people prefer condos. I had to laugh at the comment that “it can only depreciate.” Given how many of my friends back east have condos that they bought for $200K that are now work $800K, that’s pretty amusing.

    I do like living in the Heights, but I’m fully expecting many of my neighbors to be upset that something urban is being built here. Sometimes the Heights seems like a city neighborhood for people who’ve never lived in an actual city.

  • who would have thought Finger would have PRE sold 80% of One Park Place on Discover Green
    Not one single unit at One Park Place was pre-sold. It’s a rental project.

  • The faux outrage at this project amuses me. This was a dirt lot on a major thoroughfare. Only something new could be built. Nothing would have pleased some Heights residents, since the price of the land would have required a large structure. This project is fine with me.

    Oh, and Someburger ain’t all that. I’ve tried to like the place, living only 4 blocks away, but the burgers are nearly burnt and dry every time I’ve eaten there. I guess it is not the burger, but the appearance.

    And bring on the oysters!

  • Dave, you are spot on. But that’s a common way for folks in the Heights to complain about new construction – label it as “faux (fill in the blank)” and by default it is not appropriate for the neighborhood.

  • Thanks, Mel! I actually like the idea of an oyster bar. Looking forward to the new Christian’s Tailgate, too. And the new D’Amico’s.

    Lots of stuff to look forward to.

    FTR, I’m not against this condo development, but I think 6 stories is going to be too big. That’s a LOT of mass for the surrounding area and totally out of scale.

    And comparing condos in the NE to condos in Houston is like comparing apples and llamas. They’re two entirely different markets. First of all, mortgage rates for condos and townhomes are typically higher than single family residences. Add in the monthly maintenance costs (which for lux devs can run almost as much as the actual monthly note) and you’re looking a property that’s more at risk of being walked.

    Those types of properties are better buys in very dense urban centers like NY or SF. But Houston has a lot more single family homes in decent areas that don’t require a 2 hour commute one way.

  • I have to agree with Dave.

    I’m glad something is taking the place of the “lovely” vacant lot that has sat there for years. To everyone complaining about it, you should have bought it yourself or gotten your hot yoga group to chip in. You didn’t, so suck it up and deal with it like an adult. As for Someburger, meh, I’ll leave it. It may have been great back in the day, but so was DDT, BHP and fin-fin. Since about 1/4 of the heights residents are from or lived at one time in south Louisiana, we welcome Liberty and their oysters (please carry Barq’s in a bottle). Also, please open quick like and in a hurry because the Big Mamou ain’t cuttin’ it.

  • “From LandedGent:
    [..] A true visionary is not embraced by the masses (or hoardes of group think Heights residents), only accepted once their methods trickle down and become the norm. […]”

    Was your private secretary on vacation? The word is “hordes.”

  • They’re “hoardes” if there are a lot of them, and they are trying to get all the extra “No Wal Mart” signs, handcrafted candles, and SUV-sized baby strollers in the Heights and hide them all in a secret stash in their garage.

  • If I thought the building would look like any of the architect renderings on their site, I would say “great.” However, my fear is that it’s going to look exactly like the sign that I see daily across from my own neighborhood- a big, brick box that looks more like it belongs in a cheap, suburban industrial park. Rumor has it that these same guys (one who claims to live in the Heights) bought the large Lutheran church property right up the road. I am all for density, but not cheap, ugly, crappy density just for the sake of building something. I doubt this project will be anything like the gorgeous renderings above and will not even end up looking as nice as the apartments that took over Kaplan’s. Sad days indeed.

  • BamX2,

    First, in fairness, I don’t like oysters. If offered the choice, I will pick burgers every time. So, forgive please the offense. If they serve oysters and burgers, I’m there. Given the name, though, is Liberty Oysters going to be Yankee-fied? If so, I hope to enjoy hot open face sandwiches.

    Second, I do not belong to a hot yoga group. If only I had thought of that, though!

    Finally, that in the comment section to a blog devoted to Houston real estate, you are not permitted to express a contrary view unless you actually own the parcel in question is truly facinating. Thank you for sharing your contrarian opinion. I am going to have to ask you to keep it to yourself, though, since you apparently don’t own the mid-rise in question, or Someburger.

  • P.S. THe owner of Someburger is a really nice guy. He hangs out at the Shiloh occasionally and is always a pleasure to talk to. If you Someburger haters ever need a cold beer, you might stop by the bar and look for him. After chatting with him, I’d like to see if you would still be so quick to kill his business.

  • *SNORT!* Mel wins the internets for today.

  • Latest photos from architect; looks like it got dumbed down or “value-engineered” to save $$$:


  • Here’s their website. I wish they’d used the blink tag.