Apartments, or Maybe More, To Replace the Black-eyed Pea on Bellaire Blvd.

Black Eyed Pea, 4211 Bellaire Blvd., Houston

Variance Sign at Kilmarnock Dr. and Gramercy  St., Ayrshire, Braeswood Place, HoustonHere’s the variance sign (at right) that went up over the weekend at the intersection of Gramercy St. and Kilmarnock Dr., backing up to the power-line easement and ditch that separates the city of Bellaire (beyond the sign) from Houston. Supra Color Enterprises, the Florida-based landlord of the Black-eyed Pea restaurant at 4211 Bellaire Blvd. (above), is requesting a variance from the city as part of an effort to redefine its 1.8-acre property at that address as an “unrestricted reserve.” The variance application doesn’t reveal Supra Color’s plans for the land, but it does refer to a “proposed multifamily development” on the site.

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A new apartment building planned for Bellaire Blvd. on the Black-eyed Pea site might help explain some of the various rumors passed back and forth among the property’s neighbors over the last few weeks and months: That the Black-eyed Pea site has been sold; that some sort of “multi-use commercial structure” is planned for the site; or that the sale or development plan also includes the adjacent Uzi’s Autohaus, Palace Bowling Lanes, and even the Blair House Apartments snuggled up only a gas station away from the corner of Bellaire and Academy St., in Southside Place.

And then there’s the version of the rumor that involves a new Trader Joe’s taking over the Palace Lanes spot.

Variance Sign at Kilmarnock Dr. and Gramercy  St., Ayrshire, Braeswood Place, Houston

The variance application names the development Crain 25, but it doesn’t exactly indicate the scope of what’s planned. The application asks the city not to force Supra Color to extend Kilmarnock Dr. (pictured above, looking north) through its property to Bellaire Blvd., which the city’s development regulations would otherwise require.

Variance Sign at Kilmarnock Dr. and Gramercy  St., Ayrshire, Braeswood Place, Houston

Residents of Gramercy St., which runs parallel to Bellaire Blvd., to the south, might not want an adjacent road connecting to the busy thoroughfare either. (One resident, just to the right of the photo above looking west along Gramercy St., is using what might otherwise become a new branch of Kilmarnock as a yard, according to the application. An extension of Kilmarnock would continue through that yard and cut through the west side of the Black-eyed Pea property).

But the reasoning of Ayrshire residents might differ a bit from that of the would-be developers, who complain that a required 60-ft. right-of-way would eat up approximately one-third of their property (colored red in the variance-application map below), and “would not allow reasonable use of the land.” Presumably, that means it would also put up major obstacles to whatever development the company is planning.

Notification Map for 4211 Bellaire Blvd. Variance Application, Houston

What is it planning? Here’s as good an explanation as the variance application provides:

Constructing Kilmarnock Drive from Ayrshire Addition north to Bellaire Boulevard would not provide accessibility benefits to this area.  It would however provide a connection with the proposed multifamily development and existing commercial establishments with the residents of the adjacent community.  This would create an undesirable situation for the residents in the adjacent neighborhood by likely increasing traffic flow, and would not be in the best interest of the public.

Photos: iBurn (Black-eyed Pea); Swamplot inbox (others). Map: Jones & Carter

Development Rumors and Mashed Peas

30 Comment

  • The City of Houston never met a variance request it didn’t approve. Sad.

  • Oh, joy. Another multi-family, mixed-use project, not even a mile away from a similar development on the site of the old Shell complex at Bellaire and Braes Blvd. It will be interesting to see what eventually happens there. Blair House and the bowling alley have been there a looong time.

  • Ground floor retail tenant already in place.

  • The language on the variance sign is a “request to exceed intersection spacing and a request to NOT extend public street or terminate with cul-de sac”
    This can be read as two separate negatives: 1. a request NOT to extend public street AND 2. a request NOT to terminate with cul de sac .
    The cul de sac request could have far more bearing than limiting street extension.
    My understanding is that if they extend Kilmarnock then by our restrictions they have to keep going and make a new cul de sac which would create a new residential street behind the houses on Gramercy. This would essentially enlarge our cul de sac. It would be complicated as part of it would then be in Ayrshire and part in Houston and perhaps it would have to navigate around a gas pipeline problem. I sure can see why no developer wants to do that kind of old fashioned, residential project because it would be all community minded and perhaps add something to the Ayrshire neighborhood like some more single family homes. They are not asking for the street to be condemned as a street they are asking to change the restrictions in our neighborhood. Cul-de-sacs are not allowed to have a huge traffic flow which would be a problem for them if they found a way to tie in to our property. The City can agree to these variance requests and end our cul-de-sac protections and then alway grant the development road access later. The developers can build a high rise on that lot. They would have a traffic fight on their hands with moneyed West U. They need our back street access for a big project and they can only do that if we give up the cul de sac designation. Like the Ashby Highrise, a huge development would destroy our neighborhood’s charm and green space and watershed/flood protection and ruin our streets for the children that play here. The proposed development is unrestricted. The developers are trying to persuade the neighborhood that we neighbors are on the same team they are on because we don’t want a road cutting through to Holcombe and they don’t want a road cutting through either. That “No Road” comes with a nasty catch though (giving up the cul-de-sac protections) and does not mean that they couldn’t request a little minor “extension” of the Kilmarnock road to their lot once they have gotten rid of the requirement that if they extend at all they have to make another cul-de-sac. That requirement would ruin all kinds of big plans all down the shopping center on their end of the equation and it wouldn’t be the worst outcome to have another Ayrshire street on our side of the equation. I can envision far worse outcomes.

  • This will be a new apartment complex by Mill Creek Residential.

  • Hate to lose Palace Lanes if that version is true. It’s the last “real” regulation-lane bowling alley inside the city.

  • My grandmother lived in Braes Heights for over 50 years, on Gramercy for most of them and in the Blair House for the last few of them. It would be sad to see everything on that block of Bellaire replaced this way, but I suppose that is progress. I wonder if Moellers Bakery would remain.

  • @EllenLeemann Thank you for the excellent summary! We West U residents will be watching this VERY closely!

  • Oh no, I hope they don’t take Moeller’s Bakery down. Now that would be a tragedy.

  • Doesn’t Southside Place have a say in this as well? This looks like it could get ugly and complicated, involving three different cities.

  • If you west u folks would contract the braeswood place home owners association to help out, it work better than going alone.

    Let’s work as a team to keep it the way it is…

  • Supra color is owned by Kurt tezel in coca beach Florida. He owns a karate school and can be reached at Phone: 321.536.6516
    E-mail: kurt@tezelinvestments.com

    Let him know what you think….

  • Btw, this is all public info and I found it in 10 min of web searching…

  • I am sad to hear about palace lanes. Every time I pass palace lanes it all way pack and such an icon in that area. Also it will be sad to see moeller’s bakery to close which is one of the best bakeries in town. I love driving around moller’s and see there awesome window designs. I love redevelopment/new construction but I am upset to see these southwest houston landmarks to go away for apartments.

  • whoa coca beach sounds like a pretty great time!

  • @Googlemaster: Bellaire, West U, Southside and Houston all converge within a few hundred feet of that project.

  • Welcome to Houston–the City with NO limits ( on development)!

  • FWIW, the church across the train tracks from Little Woodrow’s in that same block area has been for sale since last fall and had no takers. Are there zoning restrictions on what can be rebuilt there if the church is demolished?

    As for taking out the whole block for redevelopment, that’s a Capital Bad Idea from a congestion standpoint. Although Bellaire is six lanes in that block, the train alone can already back traffic all the way to Newcastle or Weslayan/Stella Link. Adding several hundred residents/customers to that intersection would be a cluster.

    It would also be a concern for the foot traffic in the area — a lot of residents walk to the West U Community Center, which is across the street from this location. Also in the same area is the Evelyn’s Park project, which is still raising funds — http://evelynspark.org/.

  • Heather – The whole stretch of land from the rain tracks to Buffalo are ripe for redevelopment. Bellaire Blvd is going to be an utter disaster zone for the next 10-20 years.

    But Trader Joe’s??? Oh fer Pete. I pray Whole Foods moves instead. (I called it accurately when the Randall’s on Voss closed, but my intuitive sense is unfortunately not as strong on this one).

  • I just spoke with the owner of Palace Lanes who lives across the street from me in Meyerland. He told me that it is for sale and they’ve had some good and not so good offers. He said he hasn’t had one from Trader Joe’s. He told me the problem is that many places see the ordinances put in place by Southside Place and back off. Particularly the ordinance that no building can be higher than 50 feet. He told me they had a pending sale but Southside Place wouldn’t budge with the 50 feet and the buyer backed out.

  • So is the City of Houston waterline work that is going to tear Bellaire up again between Buffalo to the rr tracks related to this expected development? Does the Southside Place City Council know this is going on?

  • They’re just going to tear down everything fun and replace it with more houses. Then no one will want to live in them because all the fun stuff is gone.

    R.I.P. Palace Lanes and Moeller’s.

  • JV – the Whole Foods that anchors the complex just up the street is in year 13 (I believe) and doing fine where it is and has remodeled a few times (the new bar inside opens next month) so I don’t see them moving down the block. It’s a perfect size, IMHO. I realize rationally that the whole area is ripe for takeover, but emotionally I don’t want it or feel the area needs it. I’ve said on other threads that the Stella Link corridor reminds me of the stretch of Weslayan in West U that was rebooted with the first round of mini mansions during the Enron years. The newest round of folks who are now bulldozing the 50s and 60s ranch houses for 4,000 to 6,000 SF homes want what they want, and they want “new” across the board, sadly. I’ve lived and worked in the area for 29 years. It wasn’t broken.

    I think the multi-jurisdictional aspect of the proposed development could mean years before a sale ever closes or anything breaks ground, which unfortunately keeps a lot of people in limbo if they can’t sell/vacate/relocate their businesses.

    Clint — Thanks for the insight. I’m sorry to see him sell it but I understand if he’s being offered bank for it, and it will set up his family for a good, long well, you can’t really walk away from that.

    Note for admin — Zip is 77025, not 77074.

  • The response that I received from Mr. Tezel:

    Although I own the parcel, the zoning action is being done by a prospective purchaser. I have forwarded your email and concerns to them.

    Sincerely,

    Kurt Tezel
    Supra Color Enterprises, Inc.
    Kurt Tezel, President
    1980 North Atlantic Ave., Suite 704
    Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
    (321) 536-6516 cell

  • @Heather: Fixed the Zip. Thanks!

  • I used to live on gramercy. I don’t think the neighborhood will miss the bowling alley too much. It brought crime to the area. There was a shooting between some urban youths a couple of years ago. The perp fled and was found in a shed in a yard on gramercy. Plus pretty much every house on the 4100 block of gramercy that was on the north side had been broken into sometime in the 16 years we were there. The urban youths would use the alleyway to access the back yards.

    We will miss the apartments when they go, full of really nice elderly and asian folks.

    About the only thing that keeps the crime from getting out of control is the fact that the southside/west u/ bellaire/constables will pretty much pull over any one who is not White/asian/Indian.

    And yes, those cops are hard asses and we like it that way. Even my wife who is not white got pulled over. The moment the cop found out she lived on gramercy, he let her go…

  • JV, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Please stop commenting on here like you are some expert. Know the neighborhoods before you speak!

  • We were given a drawing and more of a description of the project. The multi-family housing development they propose to build if the variance is accepted would be 7 stories high – 32 units per floor. Builders can only build up to 8 stories on a “local street” now after the Ashby High Rise debacle. That “local” designation is what saves us from having a full high rise tower built there which it could be if Bellaire was deemed a thoroughfare. Parts of Bellaire not owned by Houston like City of Southside and City of Bellaire are called thoroughfares but have other building limitations in their codes. Ironically this is a catch-22, If the street were a thoroughfare it would mean they would not be required to build a road by the city as the rule is when you replat you have to have an road intersection every 1400 feet. So we can’t ask the city to call it a thoroughfare to get rid of that 1400 feet rule because then they can build a high-rise that is even higher and denser. So far, the drawings they are showing us are ending in a fence and not allowing access into our deed restricted neighborhood. The city is able to give them the developer the variance for a no road-and no cul-de-sac project which is what they say they want and supposedly the city has said to a few people that they have the authority to enforce “no vehicular access” to protect us (though it not clear if we would have 250-400 new pedestrians using a pedestrian gate with their dogs using our street as their dog poop spot). If the developer gets their variance we hope we get all the protections our deed restrictions should allow us and will not be at all connected to this development through any gate, door, driveway. Our integrity as a separate community should be respected. On a side note, I wish the city would require that when developers plat these big multi-family projects (400-450 people) they had to incorporate a green space for their tenants and their children and pets. That would be more like what is built in successful pedestrian friendly cities. We also are running out of space in our schools in this neighborhood and if the City is going to start allowing these dense multi-family buildings, they need to build more schools. I think Mark Twain was having to turn away resident siblings zoned for the school last year. It is so poorly thought out. Southside’s 60 foot height for buildings seems sensible. As more and more young people are priced out of the possibility to own a home inside the loop, apartments are going to be the only options young families have to live in- so we’d better start building the parks and schools these new urban families will need.

  • That was my yard where they found the shooter. Awesome. So, you’re right, the bowling alley is good and bad. Maybe this project won’t happen since the price of oil is down and Houston may bust. Does anyone have any updates please? I just found out about this…