Thursday is a big day for the Ashby Highrise:
Developers Matthew Morgan and Kevin Kirton, of Buckhead Investment Partners, will appear Thursday before the General Appeals Board, a city panel that hears appeals of permit denials. They will ask for approval of a 23-story building at 1717 Bissonnet with more than 200 apartments, a restaurant, a spa, retail space and offices, which the city repeatedly said would worsen traffic congestion to unacceptable levels.
In August, the city approved modified plans that stripped out all of the commercial uses except the restaurant. The developers have not picked up the permit, however, and said Tuesday that they still want to build the original project.
What’s the difference between the plan approved by the city and the original design Buckhead is still pushing for?
In addition to a reduction in the number of residential units, the developers report the changes included:
elimination of a small retail store, a wellness spa as well as a handful of private offices. Also, a pedestrian plaza in front of the residences was replaced with a driveway.
“Removing these amenities completely contradicts‘ city officials’ statements that they want new development inside the Loop to create a ‘walkable Houston,’” Morgan said in a statement.
According to an analysis of the changes by the development’s neighborhood opponents, the newer design cuts a total of 15,000 sq. ft. of office and retail space from the original proposal, but more than doubles the amount of restaurant space — from 4,950 to 10,000 sq. ft. And 5,000 sq. ft. of the cuts were Buckhead’s own executive offices.
Meanwhile, leases for tenants in Maryland Manor — the apartment complex currently on the site — have been extended through August of next year.
- Ashby developers push for original plan [Houston Chronicle]
- Ashby developers’ appeal to restore mixed uses set Thursday [River Oaks Examiner]
- 1717 Bissonnet Timeline of Salient Events [Buckhead Investment Partners]
- Town Hall Meeting presentation (PDF) [Stop Ashby Highrise]
- Ashby Highrise coverage [Swamplot]
Rendering of pedestrian plaza in original design: Buckhead Investment Partners