Apartment Block Planned for Montrose and Fairview, Replacing Hollywood Vietnamese and Parking Lots

Variance Sign in Front of Hollywood Vietnamese Restaurant, 2409 Montrose Blvd., Montrose, Houston

A variance notice now up on the south side of Fairview St. at the corner of Montrose Blvd. is one sign that a full-block apartment complex is being planned for the site. Another clue: A reader tells us the Hollywood Vietnamese & Chinese Cuisine restaurant at 2409 Montrose Blvd., which occupies the only building on the block, is planning to shut down before the end of the month. A spokesperson for the planning department says a complete set of documents for the variance hasn’t been received yet.


A job name listed on one of the drawings submitted so far calls the project Farb Montrose. Developer Jonathan Farb’s CityPlace Midtown apartments opened at 306 McGowen St. in late 2010. The variance for the Montrose property, which measures just under an acre, appears to request reduced setbacks along Montrose Blvd., Hyde Park Blvd., and Grant St.

A proposed site plan of the complex included with the application shows a multi-story garage taking up most of the site’s footprint:

Site Plan for Apartments at 2409 Montrose Blvd. at Fairview, Montrose, Houston

Photo: Chris

Farb Montrose

69 Comment

  • Man, that’s disappointing. I always loved eating at Hollywood when I lived in the area. I love the pho and the gloriously tacky decor.

  • Cue the “what’s happening to my Montrose” crowd’s grumblings.

    Fundamentally, I just don’t understand the apartment boom. Rent for a 2BR/2BA runs what inside the loop on average – $2k? You can get a mortgage for a $275k house with 5% down for around that. I guess if these idiots are willing to throw money away then they’ll continue to build them.

  • Gary, your’e conveniently leaving out property taxes.

    Also where can you get a not-rundown house for that cheap in this area??

    Lets say you find a 400k house, that’s 3000+/mo including taxes and insurance.

    I don’t rent anymore myself, but if you want to live in a desirable area but can’t afford all of the costs related to home ownership, it’s not a terrible deal.

  • Gary there are no houses in that area for your imaginary $275K. Some people don’t want to live in Katy.

  • I used to eat at Hollywood a lot, but a few years ago the quality went downhill. I’d go back every year or so hoping it had improved, but no such luck. I’m still sad to see it go. Not as sad as I was to see Lido close. Or Phil’s.

  • Not terribly surprised that Hollywood is shutting down as they seldom are very busy …. perhaps the owners will revert back into their old restaurant in the block behind it. I just hope the new apartments aren’t as boring as most that seem to be appearing in Montrose …. after all, it is “Montrose” and it should have a little pizazz

  • There goes the gayborhood………..now where are the drunks coming out of South Beach or JR’s supposed to go after 2 a.m? Guess only Katz’s and Theo’s are left.

  • The residents will love sites to see there. Imagine at your balcony watching corner working trannies, underages drinking across the street at Bayou City, and not to mention the freshly released inmates from county that occurs once a month only a block away (two blocks away are where most inmates for minor offenses are dropped off when released).

    Countdown till residents complain about the nightlife.

  • I feel like the “cue the complainer/NIMBY” copypasta crowd on this site usually far outweighs the actual complainers.

  • sad to see hollywood go. i love their chicken vermicelli and their egg rolls. more traffic for montrose blvd. as well, although im less concerned with that.

    if the first few floors are only parking, i assume this will be at least five stories tall . . . .

  • Mostly I am sad because that Hollywood was like the only Chinese restaurant in Montrose open on Christmas day because I guess Chinese restaurateurs in Montrose have not figured out jews yet.

  • I hear you, Gary. I’ve asked the same thing for several years now. But It makes sense if you look at it from the developers’ side. Land in Montrose is expensive. To make the pro forma for an apartment complex work, they have to build at a certain density and charge a certain amount in rent.
    That said, We all make our own decisions on where to live. If you have $2,000 a month to spend on an apartment, who am I to tell you where to spend it? What bothers me are the people who go on and on about how expensive Montrose is getting, and then in the next breath talk smack about neighborhoods that remain affordable. Get over yourselves: if you have $700 a month to pay in rent, there are still plenty of places you can afford to live. I’d list them here but it’d probably make certain people mad….

  • @Gary: Prices for rentals in Houston are approaching those in places like Boston, Seattle, DC, etc. but are not quite there yet. Thus, to people moving in from out of state, the prices seem reasonable enough, especially considering that you also get a pool, exercise room and parking. Also, a lot of people coming to Houston are on assignment for energy companies and get a healthy housing stipend that more than covers the high end rent in town. And then the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of young people a few years out of school with no kids who are making very good money in the energy industry but not enough to afford to buy inside the loop.
    The rent premium is more than worth it for them as they are close to all the entertainment, sports and good places to eat and drink.

  • oh no. more comments from the “i like to refer to people with similar comments as a crowd” crowd.

  • This is such an ugly block, and Hollywood Vietnamese is no architectural gem, so at very least this should improve the streetscape considerably. I also hear that restaurant had huge roach and rat problems and many health code violations.

  • Well let’s get rid of the nostalgia of the whole gayborhood and build more apartment complexes and steaks n shakes! Geez! What’s next south beach?! JR’S?! Mining?!!

  • @dag @Jeff – I’m not talking about the fucking suburbs. We bought in the greater Heights 2 years ago for around $250k for a 3BR/2BA with a yard. Now, the house is worth ~ $345k. And, my mortgage quote included property taxes built in monthly. If you have excellent credit, this is a no-brainer.

    @OldSchool – a housing stipend makes sense – I never thought about that one.

  • Nobody went to Hollywood for the food. Nobody went to Hollywood for the architecture. Nobody went to Hollywood for cleanliness.

    If you were there even once in your lifetime on a summer night after 2:05 AM, you’ll know why this is a such a bummer for the neighborhood. And all for another shitty, faceless apartment complex.

  • Now that you guys have already smacked the others down for it I will no longer write my
    “cue the why do they have rules if they let everyone get a variance crowd”

  • Im just not getting it………if you keep throwing up apartment buildings that take up full blocks in hip/trendy inner loop neighborhoods don’t you run the risk of complaints from the folks who can “afford” to live there and the building changing the landscape of the uniqueness that make the neighborhood so hip/trendy?

  • i wonder where r the roaches going to eat then… i was a hollywood fan until this month 2 roaches came out of my plate////

  • Hollywood was good, then went ghetto. Good riddance.

  • “JonB
    August 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm
    I feel like the “cue the complainer/NIMBY” copypasta crowd on this site usually far outweighs the actual complainers.”

    Post of the day right there……

  • Does anyone else remember the excellent Mexican restaurant (with the even better brunch) that occupied this space prior to Hollywood? I miss that place, awesome fajitas!

  • Was it Cafe Noche before it was Hollywood? The patio was always nice, and the food was decent. I think it was the same people who ran the Moose Cafe before it became the Tavern and now, apartments. I wouldn’t object all that much to greater density if there were some real traffic solutions. I wish with the housing stipends Google type buses also would serve these complexes to get the energy people to and from work. I suppose that’s too energy efficient, though.

  • I’m going to be that guy.

    This is a prime location for ground floor retail. It’s a shame there won’t be any.

  • Farb builds beautiful apartments. It will help the appearance of that block for sure. There are several other after hours places to eat. And the new residents will be pumping lots of money into the Montrose neighborhood businesses. Everyone wins!!

  • You should see the pissing and moaning on the Hyde Park Civic Assoc. page.
    Do people just not realize we live in a city? There will always be traffic, except downtown after hours or weekends.

  • Idk, this was an ugly block and like many have said; Hollywood quality went way down hill. Farb should build a decent building. Montrose was always destined to go upscale, it has a great location and nice neighborhood feel. Though, like another commenter stated, this area can be sketchy. @ZAW—thx. If I could rent in Montrose or live in Sharpstown; I’d chose the later and I think id be in the majority…wait, I KNOW id be in the majority.

  • Oh Please ZAW, please do tell us poor losers where we can afford to live on our meager wages. No seriously, we would like to know.

  • I would put a gay bar on the first floor.

  • I felt like a call girl on that plot of land. First I sold it to Leroy Melcheor for $10/sf; A year isold it to a The Burkitt Foundation for $15/sf; another year passed and I sold it to JR McConnell for $25/sf.
    It was foreclosed by a bank and ten years later I sold it to Bill Sadler for $10:sf who opened a fantastic Mexican restaurant.
    The rest is history.
    It amazing how the world (and prices) twist.

  • Here is my email to the planning department . Feel free to copy and paste the email to planning.variances@houstontx.gov, districtc@houstontx.gov,districtk@houstontx.gov, districta@houstontx.gov,districtb@houstontx.gov, districtd@houstontx.gov, districte@houstontx.gov,districtf@houstontx.gov, districtg@houstontx.gov, districth@houstontx.gov,districti@houstontx.gov, districtj@houstontx.gov, mayor mayor@houstontx.gov, atlarge1@houstontx.gov, atlarge2@houstontx.gov,atlarge3@houstontx.gov,atlarge4@houstontx.gov, atlarge5@houstontx.gov atlarge5@houstontx.gov,avondale@avondaleassociation.org I am writing this email in opposition to the variance request being requested by Developer Jonathan Farb to reduce the building lines along Montrose Boulevard, Hyde Park Boulevard, and Grant St for the use of a Multi-family residential development. The approval of this variance will result in additional traffic, both motor vehicle and pedestrian, which the infrastructure in the neighborhood cannot presently handle and will not be able to handle with a high density project of this nature.
    I would support the project if certain conditions are met to improve the infrastructure of not only the block, but the feeder streets and the areas of Avondale that will be impacted by a project of this caliber. First, I would ask that the developer agree to resurface Hyde Park Blvd from Montrose to Taft, Fairview from Montrose to Tuam, and Grant St from Fairview to Wertheimer Rd. In addition, add sidewalks along both sides of the street on Hyde Park Blvd from Montrose to Genesee, Fairview from Montrose to Tuam, and Grant St from Fairview to Wertheimer Rd.
    I do not feel that it is in the best interest to have a development of this caliber in that area of Avondale. I would ask that they reconsider their project and consider a lower density project such as town homes.

  • I lived in Montrose for 7 years. It is quickly losing its eclectic charm. I don’t want Houston turning into another Seatle, Boston, or DC.
    Montrose will end up being full of those over-priced apt buildings and 3 or 4 story townhomes. It’s a developers market. If this trend otinues what’s going to happen to our city when they’re sitting empty?

  • Never tried Hollywood and it looked totally unappealing. Not sad to see it go.

  • @Gary. I heard a giant WOOSHING sound when I read your post. You bought two years ago for 250. Its now worth 350. The point everyone is making is that you can’t buy for 250 anymore. Your anecdote only goes to support that..

  • @Gary – I understand what you’re saying, but *that was two years ago*. I seriously would like to know where inside the loop you can buy a home for $275K now, with a comparable neighborhood feel to that of Montrose. You even said that your property went up $70K. I’m sure if people knew how much houses were nowadays, they’d like to go back two years and buy at those prices.

  • Some of these previous comments made me think I was reading The Onion.

    spowers: If only Houston COULD turn into Seattle, Boston or DC. Wow, that would be beautiful in terms of great pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.
    John Trujillo: seriously? I disagree with every point you make, and the shrill tone is a big turn off. And yes, long-time Hyde Park homeowner here.

  • @spowers: Montrose, or The Montrose, take your pick, lost most of its eclectic charm long before you moved in. Did you bring any eclectic charm with you? If not, then you can understand why the area is changing the way it is.
    @Fernando: Hollywood used to be one of the better Vietnamese restaurants in the area. Plus they had a nice patio.
    Anyone else remember La Jaliscience across the street, where El Tiempo went in? I remember it was horrible, but you could get a complete Mexican dinner for less than $5. Complete and horrible. A friend called it “The Jolly Science”.

  • @Darogrr: I could give you the list of neighborhoods. But I’m afraid Shannon would blow a gasket.
    Oh hell. here goes:
    – Richmond Strip area, west of the Galleria. It’s relatively safe to rent in a bigger apartment complex here, I have a coworker who does. Just don’t go to any of the nightclubs on Richmond and you’re OK.
    – EADO and areas around UH still have some affordable apartments, though their days are probably numbered. Same goes for neighborhoods north of downtown I think, but I haven’t checked in a while.
    Reliant Stadium area / neighborhoods south of the TMC and 610. If you go here, avoid the apartment complexes south of 610. Either stay in the single family neighborhoods or in an apartment complex north of 610.
    Westbury/ Brays Oaks is good. Until very recently I would have advised staying in the single family areas. But they’re making tremendous strides to getting the apartments improved. It is getting to where even the big apartments are an option for a single guy or a daring couple.
    And, of course, the single-family portions of the Sharpstown and Alief areas – excluding Westwood.
    (Cue Shannon’s freak out on the last two….)

  • Alief?? That’s probably the worst neighborhood in Houston. I don’t even think it’s even worth a freakout since the neighborhood speaks for itself. It’s the perfect place for those that don’t believe the fear-mongering hype of Sharpstown, but desire living the authentic experience in Alief.

  • Thanks @ZAW but as a native Houstonian, I just have to say, you have got to be kidding.

    None of those areas are any replacement for Montrose. I get it. Us losers are being priced out of the neighborhood we have live in for decades, but let’s not add insult to injury pretending that there are safe, affordable alternatives.

    “Daring”, “Relatively Safe” and “Avoid” are not exactly appealing terms for a prospective renter, but there you go.

    Yes, we had a very well-kept secret for a long, long time, but the secret is out and the neighborhood of “Montrose” no longer exists. More power to the new people and I hope they enjoy their creation.

    As for me, it’s goodbye to Houston. There’s gotta be some place better than this.

  • @Jon Trujillo. Farb should repave selected streets from Montrose to Taft???? I can see asking for a dedicated left turn lane in the Montrose median or even an upgraded traffic signal but re-paving streets that his property only abuts for a block? Why not ask Charles Armstrong to repave the streets since his businesses pull more traffic into the area than this complex will? Hollywood was nasty ten years ago–while the style of the building remains to be seen, the additional residents create additional demand for existing business and perhaps makes the future development at Montrose and Westheimer only more marketable to retailers, eateries, etc….as it will be more or less equidistant from Hanover’s new high rise to the south. So you get that walkability factor going on……..

  • Darogrrr: so what, you throw up your arms, and declare “oh woe is me. I can’t afford to live in Houston at all now because Montrose is expensive,” as though there were no other neighborhoods in Houston.
    I’ve seen this a lot here on Swamplot. They say it’s all about safety but many of the neighborhoods I listed are just as safe as Montrose ever was. No. It’s about attitude. People think they’re cool. They think Montrose is where cool people live, and to live anywhere else is profoundly uncool. That’s why I say they should get over themselves.

  • Well, they were right about the shutting down this month, but I don’t know if they intended to go out this way:

    “Inspectors closed Montrose mainstay, Hollywood Vietnamese & Chinese Restaurant, citing a rodent infestation and roaches. They say there were “live healthy cockroaches” in the kitchen at the business at 2409 Montrose. “Gnawed and contaminated food” along with rodent droppings had the inspector deem the food there “not safe for human consumption.”


  • @Darogrr. Houston real estate will always be cyclical. A few decades ago when everyone wanted to move to the suburbs, the montrose/4thward areas were undesirable and it was affordable. Now that the trends have shifted towards living closer to town, those areas are being gentrified and are now the desirable area. So that older “charming” apartment is going to be torn down by someone who can afford to build something new. Thus, sending the displaced people to find something more affordable, probably out in the suburbs.

  • @James: well said!

  • I highly doubt any of the displaced Montrosites are going to be flocking to the suburbs. More than likely, they’ll stay in the area in places like the East End or Spring Branch. It’s not that the Montrose neighborhood was just cheap, it also attracted a certain personality type. Unless your main source of entertainment is sitting at home watching TV, you’re not going to want to live in the suburbs. There’s a reason why suburban-type developments are loathed by certain old-timers in town, because they don’t like them and won’t frequent them. Nobody complaining about the encroachment of Katy-ville is just going to throw up their hands and move to Katy.

  • I used to live about 4 blocks from here for 6 years in the 90s.. Would eat at cafe noche, la Mexicana, and la jaliscience all the time. That was when I was young and enamored with living in a new big city… Eventually I got tired of the drug dealers and prostitutes hanging outside my house, getting my house and car broken into, etc. Very glad to be living far away from there now and I really don’t miss it.

  • Darogrrr, if you’re over 40, you’ll remember that Montrose 20 to 30 years ago wasn’t considered very safe either. Lots of people on street corners selling drugs or their bodies. That’s why rents were cheap, and people didn’t build shiny new things. There was lots of fun to be had in Montrose in those days, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking it was some sort of wonderful neighborhood.

    I still miss Cafe Noche!

  • @ShadyHeightster No kidding! Montrose has changed quite a bit in the past 5 years, too. My old six unit apartment complex no longer has any sunlight thanks to the new 2x 3-story townhouses built next door, and all of these older buildings (perhaps hold-outs) have been demoed and replaced.
    Not in Montrose but in a similar “neighborhood is changing vein,” I doubt anyone would even recall or know about the murders of Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena in TC Jester Park only 20 years ago. Ugh, that case still makes me shudder. -___-

  • I think this development will be great for Montrose. Farb is known for high-end apartments and town homes that can only add more value to the neighborhood, especially when you consider what’s there now. This apartment building will bring in residents who are looking to spend time and money in Montrose businesses.

    Neighborhoods all over Houston are changing as the city grows. I for one am glad that Montrose has the ability to grow with it and still maintain its character, shops, and restaurants.

  • Montrose actually was a wonderful neighborhood 20 to 30 years ago.

    It is not much of a neighborhood at all nowadays.

  • @ ZAW I’m not saying “Oh Woe is Me”, I’m saying there are NO safe affordable alternatives to Montrose for people who don’t make a helluva lot of money. I suspect you know I’m right. It’s a simple fact. There are no safe, affordable alternatives to Montrose.

    Easy for YOU to say “move to Sharpstown”, “move to 3rd Ward” YOU don’t have to live in Sharpstown or Third Ward.

    It’s actually just called not knowing of what you speak.

  • @James. Yes, I understand that Montrose was once not desirable so it was cheap and now it is desirable so it’s not cheap. Geez.

  • @ShadyHeightster.
    I agree 100%. I guess I am mostly thinking of the “well kept secret” of the Montrose that has existed for maybe the last 10-15 years.
    I remember Montrose being very “rough” in the old days, it was quite literally a “gay ghetto” when I first moved here.
    I’m really not lamenting the old Montrose when I post. I am lamenting that there is just nothing comparable.
    I have driven and scouted all over town looking for a suitable alternative, I really have. I think there would be nothing greater that could happen than for all the gentrification displaced people to find another area and start moving in.
    There simply is no where else in Houston to create a Montrose. I do have to say I get a kick out of the suggestions of people. My favorite being I could live on the Richmond strip as long as I stay out of the clubs.

  • But I DID live in a neighborhood just south of Sharpstown for over five years, Darogrrr. I moved when I got married because we wanted a house that was ours; not mine. We moved a little further away, but not far – just to the south of Brays Bayou.
    The houses are reasonably priced, and so are the rentals. I was perusing HAR earlier this evening and saw several rentals along Creekbend for $1000 a month or less. (And that $1,000 a month was for a two bedroom). One of the units I saw was renting for $600 a month! That section of Creekbend is pretty nice. The landlords have gotten together to clean up the complexes and address crime issues. The street is lined for a stretch with small, well kept town homes. It kind of reminds me of what some of the side streets in Montrose were like when I moved there in 1998.
    (For what it’s worth, I lived in Montrose for five years and Old Braeswood for three years before I moved to the Sharpstown area. I know the gig.)

  • @ZAW I appreciate you making your point but it still kind of sounds like apples and oranges.
    It sounds like you were a homeowner, not a renter.
    Everything looks great in the “For Rent” magazines.
    I hope that the apartment owners do upgrade the area without raising the rents too much and I hope people can move out that way. It’s still not Montrose. It’s still not get on the bus and you are downtown to you job in 15 minutes. It’s still not walk your dog at 5am. It’s still not walk to the store on Sunday and it looks like you live in a small town.
    I’m lamenting the “old Montrose” Geez, can I have a minute to do that without being told I’m whining? There , I’m over it and I understand Montrose is gone.
    I still don’t believe there is a replacement and I don’t believe we will ever agree on that. Thanks.

  • OK, Darogrrr. I will grant you that the “old Montrose” has gone the way of the “old Chinatown” – and it was done by the same people. But there’s a new Chinatown now along Bellaire in Sharpstown. Maybe there will be a “new Montrose” established somewhere. Eastwood maybe? Capture some of the cool of the old Montrose; and the cheap rents.
    Remember the artists trek in New York City. In the 1960s and ’70s they were in SOHO. In the 1980s they moved out to disparate neighborhoods in Brooklyn. By the 2010s they had landed in DUMBO Brooklyn. Where to next? The New York Times seems to think it might be Mott Haven in The Bronx, but who knows. There will be a next because “cool neighborhoods” never stay cool for long.

  • perfect place for a new complex as that hollywood restaurant was a terrible place for a long time. nobody should be interested in preserving the old fabric of the gayborhood to the greater montrose’s own detriment. there’s tons of people and families in this area that are working hard and deserve the best this neighborhood can provide for them.
    the good thing is, there’s so many complexes being built with so many more on the way and just around the corner (westheimer/montrose, east castle ct. area, just off shepherd from alabama to westheimer, dallas, w. gray) that rents will be levelling off where they are now for some time. oil and gas hiring slowed earlier this year and it’s now just the construction and retail carrying the slack until we hit equilibrium in the coming years. the only oil company expanding in town is chevron, but even they’ve already completed a lot of company transfers so with more oil companies moving to the suburban campus style hopefully prices will be much more contained moving forward which will be very good for affordability. in that same time the old montrose houses will continue to be knocked down in mass with more townhomes being built every month adding more inventory to the low supply we’ve had these past couple years that have pushed up prices. hopefully the property taxes will soon catch up for the homeowners and we’ll all be in a good, stable spot.
    as someone who bemoans the loss of the old montrose, the end was clearly in sight even 10yrs ago when i moved here and the oil and gas push only hastened the inevitable change. for better or worse, i’m just glad that all this new inventory will provide a lot of new housing choices and allow me to remain in the best of part of town as the years go on which could not happen in the other modern boom cities due to horrible development restrictions that blatantly favor the original homeowners at others expense.
    and please stop mentioning traffic. montrose should be stacked up day in and day out if you’re at all familiar with how bad traffic is in the suburbs. our grid pattern of streets can support a whole lot more traffic perfectly fine.

  • ouch, scratch that, just read lauren’s comment “I for one am glad that Montrose has the ability to grow with it and still maintain its character, shops, and restaurants.”
    maybe we are in a lot more trouble than i think as this statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

  • I’d suggest looking at the duplexes in Eastwood, built in the 20’s. I had a friend move over there from Montrose and he loved it. All the neighborhoods ZAW mentioned are not at all the kind of thing a Montrose lover would ever want; they’d leave Houston first. Montrose is ground zero for gentrification, it’s just a fact. I too am sad at the Perry Home remake of Montrose, but nothing really can be done to stop it. It’s free market economics at work, which is fine. There will always be a gay presence in Montrose and some unique things will remain, but affordable Montrose is a memory.

  • People, part of the reason many neighborhoods were cooler 30 years ago is that you were 30 years younger.

  • Haven’t seen any updates on this story, and the variance signs came and went rather quickly. Is this still on or is this going to be another spot left to rot before any action happens??

  • Saw that the variance signs went down a while ago. I wonder if this project is going thru. anyone?

  • city of houston acting very provincial in it’s planning. other small and large cities have prohibited residential and commercial buildings without conveniences on ground level such as restaurant, dry cleaning, bank, etc etc. this cuts down on traffic, creates more neighborhoody feel, and reduces crime. houston should not allow one more darn apartment building or condo without this. wake up planning and annise. this still creates the tax revenues you want so badly, but creates a better city and saves costs of re-doing these 3rd-world streets that keep breaking our rims and axles

  • There are now signs on the door saying Hollywood will be closed at the end of November.

  • I live at the Gardens right across Hyde Park from where this is being proposed, and I am really hoping that there will be some commercial space on the ground floor to help the walkability of this area. Otherwise, I see it as more unnecessary traffic on Montrose Blvd without any mitigating factors.

  • Until the construction begins, Farb has donated the space to K-9 Angels Rescue. Stop by if you are thinking about getting a pet! I saw lots of sweet ones last weekend.