Apartments Planned for Montrose Fiesta Site Will Go Tall Mediterranean

Apartment developer Marvy Finger tells Nancy Sarnoff that he’s the developer who’s buying the Fiesta Food Mart on the corner of West Alabama and Dunlavy — and planning to build a 6-to-8-story complex in its place. Finger says the closing is scheduled for February, and that he’s looking to fit 390 apartments onto the 3.68-acre site. Finger has charged architects Wallace Garcia Wilson with designing something “Mediterranean” — presumably a structure dressed up in that style will fit the neighborhood better than Lake Flato’s new H-E-B Montrose Market across the street, the modern Menil Collection campus nearby, the many bungalows and brick homes surrounding the site in Lancaster Place, and the occasional new gallery along West Alabama. “We’re going to try to create something really beautiful,” he tells Sarnoff.


Sadly, renderings of Finger’s proposed model development aren’t available yet. There’s plenty of time: A spokesperson for Fiesta says its lease for the property runs through 2015. Fiesta has occupied the building since 1994.

Absent from Finger’s announcement: any mention of retail. Earlier rumors had suggested the apartment building would include shops and restaurants on the ground floor at least, similar to West Ave.

Photo: Candace Garcia

36 Comment

  • Oh the jealously I have… One day Cody… One day :-)

  • I can’t prove it, but Weingarten must be involved.

  • Alex, Marvy Finger, his brothers, Jerry Finger and the late Ronnie Finger grew up with Suzanne Levin and her brother Jay Cohen. Furthermore, Drew Alexander’s father, Sanford Alexander also grew up with the Fingers and the Cohen’s. Sanford Alexander’s mother was a Weingarten.

  • Oh joy more overpriced apartments that no one really wants. Beautiful my @ss.

  • I bet they went to high school together, Alex. Those two families have been in Houston longer than … well…the bayous I bet.

  • Some lick n’ stick would really make that Mediterranean look pop.

  • I feel like now is the time to move away from Houston (corporate relocation) with the intent to return in 3 years because I will have my pick of the dozens of new mid-rises that will be inside the loop! Oh and a few high rises too…

  • Marvy Finger is Kevin Bacon !!

  • Finger builds a really nice product. along with the HEB, it will help the neighborhood along as, or maybe no one has noticed…it has passed the old and charming mark and is deep in the shabby and dilapidated arena. Can’t wait to see what Marvy does….it will be an improvement no matter what!

  • Something “mediterranean” is a code word for something Tuscan. How original! Break out the wine and cheese!

  • cm=corey,

    Is there some epidemic of vacant apartments and homes in this area that I am unaware of?

  • Why not take a chance on a modern design? If your idea is take advantage of the beautiful new food museum across the street, then why not go with a complementary design? Modenism isn’t scaring people away from the HEB.

  • The HEB is not modern.

  • So, the old apartments were torn down to build a new grocery store, and the old grocery store across the street will be demolished to build new apartments?

  • cm=cory: I would think that the bank and developer would have done some due diligence with respects to the demand before shelling out millions for the land and building costs. Do you think they’d build these if no one wanted them?
    And as someone that knows the mulitfamily market in this area a little bit, occupancy rates are about 100%. I don’t know of a better place for such a project. There is ridiculous demand in Montrose for housing, which is why even the ugly places stay full

  • Just what Houston needs, another “cartoonish” copy of a Mediterranean/ Tuscan building design that will have no sense of proportion or scale. Why can’t any developers in Houston take a few ques from other cities around the U.S. (or world) and build something that is actually architecturally interesting.

  • Josh: Blame renters or home buyers. They (builders) are responding to demand.

  • Funny observation, “nearnort”!

  • But this particular cartoonish, lick-n-stick, 6-8 story extravaganza will have a shiny new grocery store right across the street! That’s special in the market.
    The Post Richmond complex (@Jack/Colquitt/Garrott/Milam) will be Mission-ish, which is a nice change of pace don’t you think?

  • Love the snark in this post!

  • Is there even a rendering out yet or do people just like to preemptively complain?

  • Another turd in the hood.

    But it will be bright and shiny.

  • Nearnort nailed it:
    So, the old apartments were torn down to build a new grocery store, and the old grocery store across the street will be demolished to build new apartments?

    I will have to go to that Fiesta one last time. I suppose disco Kroger on Montrose will accept the refugees.

    Let’s face it, unless something is approaching the century-mark, all bets are off and it’s totally market-driven. And even when it comes to historical districts, they sound like great ideas to people who don’t live there and dubious at best to those who do.

  • Do you think we can get Mr. Finger to build his apartments on stilts so we can keep the Fiesta?

  • @mmmyes: hahah. I just lol’d for real and everyone around me just gave me a funny look (I’m at tacos a go go. Luckily I recognize many of them do they know I’m not nuts :)
    Thanks for the laugh.

  • Obviously all the HOAs in the area love gridlock! Nothing like paying $1,500 for a one-bedroom apartment, having a “chi-chi” grocery store across the street and being able to avoid the gridlock by just walking to the grocery store, is there?

    Now if this was being planned for Southampton, there would be a traffic impact study showing it would cause too much traffic, an emergency city council meeting to determine whether it violated the “Driveway Ordinance” and if need be a new ordinance.

    Maybe they woshould just call the whole area “Galleria East.” Or better yet, well, we have EaDo. So this could be Greed-O.

  • My point has been vindicated time and time again, look at the rental rates of say the average AMLI. Cody you’re REASONABLE and diligent, the level of managerial crap present in large scale apartments is shocking and ridiculous I’ll certainly not fill their coffers.

  • Corey: I can’t argue with you on what might be happening with the upper end of the market. I just know that there is very very high demand in this area. On top of that, multifamily seems to be the only safe investment sector. Add those up and something like this being built doesn’t surprise me (I’ll admit that the style might be safe, even lazy)
    Normally I look at what’s being built as the market telling me indicators of demand since I have to suspect that real people investing real money wouldn’t do so foolishly (and I do realize how ridiculous that statement might sound :)

  • I hate to say it, but there’s a lot going for inoffensive tried-and-true faux-historical designs built from readily available, durable, and inexpensive materials by contractors that have done dozens of projects before, just like it.

    Spectacular architecture necessarily entails the risk of spectacular failure.

  • If the planned apartment is to have commercial stores in its ground floor, then it would definitely be great for business. It’s a very wise strategy that would help him earn money big time since almost everything the residents need are placed in the same building.

  • The height is too great for the neighborhood. Where is the Ashby high-rise outrage? People who live in the nearby street will be living in the shadow on this behemoth.

  • The shadow will only be cast down upon them during the hottest afternoon hours. It’ll save them electricity, which is economical and ecologically friendly. They’ll be bragging to their friends, no doubt.

  • Just curious to know a little more about this longtime relationship between the Fingers, Levins and the Cohens. Is the Cohen family the same one that produced Ellen Cohen…our illustrious city council person who failed to represent the home owners in our recent battle over the variance request for this very same property? If so, then everything makes SO much sense!

  • I think TheNiche said it best (#30): The [ugly] status quo is easy and cheap – why take risks? This is the mentality that makes Houston, Houston, and this is why Houston is ugly, easy, and cheap. Just what Houston needs: another “Mediterranean” Villa, or French Chateau, or Spanish Revival building. BARF. Why not make it a mixture of all three and stir it up with a dirty, oily dipstick? All of the potential should be squeezed out of this project until it is as dry as last years Thanksgiving wishbone, then it should be propped up with an open-air parking garage, cheaply constructed cookie-cutter units that will be rather nasty in 10 years, and exorbitant rents. Then it will fit in purr-fectly! Go H-town!

  • Is there someone who can let the Fiesta parrot borrow a copy of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds? !