The request for a variance that would allow developers of the 3.68-acre property at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama to avoid putting in cul-de-sacs at the ends of Sul Ross and Branard St. — and that prompted the posting of signs around the Fiesta Food Mart on the property — isn’t the work of a new owner. It was submitted by the same owner who has held the property since the early sixties when the current shopping center was constructed.
So why the need for a variance that would only matter if the grocery store were redeveloped?
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“The property is now for sale,” the application states, “and it is likely that a new owner will remodel or expand the center or that the property will be redeveloped for other non-single family uses.” It’s buyers that are pushing the seller to action: “Prospective purchasers indicate that they need to have the issue of cul-de-sac bulbs for the two streets that dead end into the property resolved (as well as some easement problems resolved).”
Whether applying for the variance is a condition of an already negotiated sale or merely a part of the owner’s marketing strategy isn’t clear. For a buyer, an application by the current owner would have a few advantages: The planning commission wouldn’t be able to require any concessions from the new developer as a condition of the variance — as happened when H-E-B applied for its own variance across the street. And the current owner can fight the cul-de-sac requirement by arguing that building one at Sul Ross “would necessitate the removal of the existing building.” That’s something someone planning a new structure in that location might have a harder time saying.
- Previously on Swamplot: The Montrose Fiesta Is Over: Here Comes Lancaster Square, West Ave-Style Apartments and Retail Planned for Dunlavy Fiesta Site?, The Dead Ends of Wilshire Village: No Montrose H-E-B Without a Variance?
- Wilshire Village coverage [Swamplot]
Map of 3803 Dunlavy St.: Houston Planning Commission