Here’s the 8-Story Apartment Complex That’s Replacing the Montrose Fiesta

Introducing the Susanne, what appears to be that “Mediterrenean” and “really beautiful” apartment complex that developer Marvy Finger has been saying he was going to build on the site of the recently demolished Montrose Fiesta and the rest of that low-slung strip center at the corner of Dunlavy and W. Alabama. A reader sends a photo of the sign now posted on the construction fence advertising the new complex and its website, on which the rendering above appears; the website provides few details about floor plans and amenities, but it appears that there will be a swimming pool and that the parking garage will provide direct access to each of these 8 stories.


You can see the H-E-B Montrose Market in the background, which replaced the Wilshire Village apartments.

Images: Finger Companies (rendering); Swamplot inbox (photo)

43 Comment

  • Interesting location. Wondering how Alabama and Dunlavy carry the traffic.

  • I like that the website link provides a photo of the part of Buffalo Bayou Park that is about to be redeveloped as well.

  • Holy mackerel, Marvy. It looks like Buckingham Palace.

  • Maybe they are using a different definition of “Mediterannean” than I am used to…not sure what that means, why it’s considered good, or how that building embodies a regional architectural style.

  • I see their website lists, “Houston METRO station located at Dunlavy and W. Alabama” under the Neighborhoods tab/other amenities.
    They mean a…. bus stop?

  • That’s going to block out some sun. It looks big enough to double the population of the neighborhood.

  • This doesnt look bad. I am not sure it is “mediteranean” but it looks like it could be a beautiful building. 8 stories seems reasonable for that spot. What do you think the materials will be? I really hope it is real stone and brick – which would insure this building will be timeless. If it is stucco or something cheap, then I would no longer have high hopes for it.

  • needs first floor retail

  • @Andoni, the stone and brick are merely veneers just like everything else, they do not increase the life of the building. In fact, stucco provides structural rigidity to a building because it is attached at thousands of points, vs. brick freestanding a couple of inches from the wall. PS, stucco is more expensive than brick in some cases.

  • Nice, and in comparison to the HEB it will not produce much additional traffic.

  • I don’t know if it is ‘really beautiful’ or ‘mediterranean’, but it’s not ugly, and definitely not the diabolic building (that took over the beloved fiesta) that folks were making it out to be.

  • @Dana-X Since Metro is the name of our entire transit agency, technically any stop could be considered a Metro station. Unfortunately, this will probably mislead people from other cities for whom the word Metro has come to mean a passenger rail system.

  • looks good to me and much better than the average apartment complex these days. there’s hardly any traffic on dunlavy/alabama outside of rush hour traffic and we don’t design roads for peak hour traffic and never will.

    now people’s cars being able to handle the roadways is a completely different story of course. would love to see some estimates on how much money houstonians spend on car repairs and work up some kind of return on value if we instead were spending that money on road repairs. of course though of us able to afford to newer cars and range rovers don’t have to worry about it, but i would almost guarantee that discretionary/retail spending would increase if we had better roads whuich would benefit everyone equally as opposed to the situation we currently accept.

  • Stucco is not structural, it is a finish material the same as the brick veneer. You don’t build an 8 story building and count on stucco to help with structural resistance.

  • No, it is not an intended structural element but has the additional side effect of tying the plywood underneath together… Creating a shear wall effect. It’s a bonus.
    PS, there’s a reason tract home builders use brick, it’s cheaper.

  • At the risk of this sounding like a repetition of the inside joke that many comments on this board suggest there should be first floor retail, I’m just going to go ahead and say it: “There should be first floor retail.” Less traffic, more foot traffic.

  • that wasn’t my main concern – structural. I do think that real brick is a more timeless, and lasting material to use. I’d like to see it be brick

  • No way is brick cheaper than stucco, and it lasts for eons longer (OK, a slight exaggeration). I have a stucco on my townhouse and would have MUCH preferred brick … there is a reason why builders have “recently” found this material and that is it saves THEM money.

  • “…parking garage will provide direct access to each of these 8 stories.” Hopefully that doesn’t mean the garage will be 8 stories as well. Yuck.

  • Brick is certainly more aestheticly pleasing and doesn’t mildew like Stucco, but whatever, it looks ok, hardly “beautiful” and not exactly something you’d see hanging off a cliff on the Amalfi Coast, but it’s better than most of the shit they’re building

  • This actually looks nice…nothing “out of the ordinary fantastic”, but still nice.

  • Maybe now the City of Houston will PAVE Richmond Drive!!! I give Richmond from Montros to 610 Swampie award for worst road. It just tears up my Lamborgini every time

  • I’ve used brick and it costs $4.50 to $5.50 per installed square foot, stucco costs between $5.00 to $7.00 per square foot installed, depending on the process. Brick is more resilient to external forces but it is not without problems… it can grow mold, it can retain moisture, it can trap moisture on the wrong side of the wall, it can develop stress fractures, the mortar can and does fail after a while. Both stucco and brick can suffer greatly from improper installation of course.

  • There seems to be an inverse to curb appeal for residential properties. The smaller the residence, the more curb appeal matters and vice versa. I know b/c I don’t care what my condo tower looks like but I care a lot about my views of the bldgs surrounding me. I think the mere girth of the massing proportions alone tends to obscure any cute notion of curb appeal.


    This project reminds me of Farb’s completed complex on Travis St. I’m also kinda glad it got toned down from “Mediterranean” yellow to “museum board” grey. Keep that crazy turret stuff out of sight in Hunter’s Creek where folks have an appreciation for that sort of curb appeal.


    P.S. not all bricks are created equal and stucco is pretty labor intensive and more artistically rendered or rather “hand made” than 99.9% of commercially available masonry. Along with what Commonsense was saying if the weep holes get clogged within the wall cavity you got serious problems.

  • This is an attractive, clean design – certainly an improvement over the old strip center. Now it’s time to improve / gentrify the adjacent infrastructure starting with that nasty stretch of W Alabama between Montrose and Dunlavy which is loaded with crevasses, potholes, ridges etc. Those alone make navigating it a daily hazard, but it’s even worse because of the morons who pay little attention to rush hour lane direction flips that happen each day, transforming the commute to a sport.
    The 4th largest city shouldn’t have the kind of inadequate roads more likely encountered in developing nations, and the situation seems to be growing. Hey COH: instead of awarding huge tax abatements to flush players like Chevron, you might want to focus on the city’s future by investing in infrastructure. It’s in desperate need of a major revitalization.

  • Please fix these damn roads already!

  • so glad i moved.

  • and here i always thought that the lane flip that was originally installed only for traffic alleviation for 59 re-construction and left in place for the ever pending/bankrupt richmond rail was always the moronic part. not the cdrivers trying to utilize a main travel artery as the 2-way street it was originally intended and designed for.

  • @joel
    Excellent point.

  • Where are those METRO tax dollars going? Didn’t voters approve of that referendum for roads to be improved (at the expense of light rail)? When will those inner loop roads be fixed? Montrose? Westheimer? Richmond? It seems like they haven’t been serviced since before freeways were built.

  • I wonder if the back of this thing is an exposed 8 story parking garage backing up to the neighborhood behind?

  • METRO tax dollars won’t be nearly enough to get us new roads. it takes increased gas taxes, lots and lots of new toll roads, or higher property taxes.

    our state and local gov’t have naturally chosen just one of these options and it’s probably the worst one by far.

  • Thanks to Annise ” Asshat” Parker & her development at any cost. Oh yeah except not replacing/repairing/maintaining the streets/roads. Where is the $100 million + per year in new revenue from the Rebuild Houston scheme we the TAXPAYERS approved several years ago going? Not to repair/replace the infrastructure in the neighborhoods. Annise is using our tax dollars to subsidize more crappy development for RICH corporations. She needs to go.

  • Needs more Tuscan.

  • WTF?! On my commute this morning down West Alabama, I had to get out of the middle inbound lane at Dunlavy because there were TWO giant “oversized load” flatbed trailer-trucks trying to make a right turn from westbound W. Ala to northbound Dunlavy. They totally jacked up the intersection so that only one lane (the southmost eastbound lane) was getting through. I didn’t stick around long enough to see whether they ever made it through the intersection without creaming the north-facing parked cars on Dunlavy or the southbound cars stopped for the light.

  • It looks like a giant English palace or fancy hotel. The design should be more modern and have some retail. Eight stories is too tall for that area. How will it blend in with the neighborhood? Oh.. right, it won’t…

  • Marvy, that is one heck of a Polished Turd.

    You should feel proud in the morning.

  • The prelim plans Finger submitted to the planning commission during the replat hearings show a massive 7 story garage that opens towards the neighborhood to the east rather than towards the business to the south. The neighbors sharing a boundary with The Susanne are rightly concerned about potential lighting, noise, & vibration from the garage. To date, Finger has not shown interest in discussing the garage design with the neighbors other than to say they will complete site work and begin construction in November. The construction schedule is 22 months. Oh boy.

  • Yea, thanks Annise Porker for whoring out our neighborhood for all this massive development, meanwhile, what about these F’ng streets?
    The CoH Public Works one man operated “Patcher” machine has totally ruined Alabama between Kirby and Weslayan… WTH were they thinking using that lazy-ass machine? Made it worse than a farm road.

  • I’m glad someone else has noticed the sloppy job on Alabama. I have yet to see ANY patch done by COH, whether by that worthless machine or the requisite gang of five it takes to do it manually , to be effective let alone executed properly.

  • I agree with markd, the streets are horrible. And the band-aid method of repair is a waste of time and money. You practically need an off road vehicle to drive around in this stupid town.

  • Street gripes aside, it looks perfectly nice.

  • Everyone wants the COH to do every thing, but no one wants to pay enough taxes to do all those things. Every one wants some one else’s thing to get cut in order pay for their thing. Go Figure.