In keeping with the project’s general theme of creative use of space, designs for the Ivy Lofts highrise put all of the building’s exterior crannies and levels to work. Renderings show at least 9 variously-sized and -sheltered rooftops and outdoor spaces incorporated into the plan for the proposed tower, whose teensy condo floorplans will start at 300 sq. ft.
Developers are already setting up a sales room in a former grocery store warehouse on the site (located on the block between Live Oak, Leeland, Nagle, and a discontinuous stretch of Pease), not far from coffin-factory-turned-craft-store Texas Art Asylum. Novel Creative Development hopes to sell all of the tiny condo units before contractors break ground in June on the tower (pictured from the south below):
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The muffled whir of power tools could be heard last week through the razorwire-topped fence and metal siding of the former Leeland Wholesale Grocery, south of Leeland St. between Live Oak and Nagle. The 10,000-sq.-ft. warehouse is being converted into a sales center and showroom for the Ivy Lofts micro-unit condominium highrise, which will eventually spring up on the same city block. The warehouse will be outfitted with several full-scale models of the project’s adorably tiny floorplans, which start at a dorm-room-reminiscent 300 sq.ft. An Ivy Lofts marketing representative for the project assured Paul Takahashi of the HBJ that the lack of wasted space in the units “will change the way Houstonians live.”
Developer Novel Creative Development anticipates opening the sales center in April and selling all of the planned tower’s units before demolishing the warehouse as contractors break ground on the highrise itself in June. Plans for the tower (shown below from the south) include 7 floors of parking, ground-level retail space, and various recreational nooks:
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Ivy Lofts Sales Center
Will the Houston Dynamo get to build their stadium in East Downtown — or off Westpark, near the Galleria? So far, the odds are . . . neither. The final go-ahead for building a soccer stadium on the EaDo site will require county commissioners to formally join the new East Downtown TIRZ (boundaries shown outlined above). But they can’t vote on that proposal until commissioner El Franco Lee puts that decision on the agenda. So far he hasn’t done that — and he apparently won’t talk to the press or constituents about his intentions.
Meanwhile, over in Bellaire, city officials are rushing to put in some “stop-gap” zoning changes to the Research and Development District at the northern edge of the city. Most of the site of Midway Companies’ proposed Dynamo Stadium development there lies within Houston city limits, but a small portion on the east side is apparently in Bellaire’s RDD.
What sort of zoning changes are being discussed? Instant News Bellaire‘s Angela Grant explains:
The new Comprehensive Plan envisions the RDD as a mixed-used urban area that includes residential, retail and offices, along with METRO’s future light-rail station. But as the zoning codes are currently written, developers could construct car lots, warehouses or other things that conflict with the “urban village” idea. . . .
The main change would be that developers wishing to construct residential, commercial or mixed-use buildings would need to go before the city in a planned development process to have their ideas approved before moving forward. The city would get a chance to review the plans, consider whether they conformed with the Comprehensive Plan, and reject any developments that did not.
Map showing outline of TIRZ 15: Gensler (PDF)