Private ‘Aspen Heights’ UH Dorms Planned for North of I-45

Proposed Aspen Heights Dorms, Cullen Blvd. at Coyle St., East Downtown, Houston

A company that’s been building a growing chain of private college dorms is seeking a 10-year tax abatement from the city to help it build a $56 million 305,076-sq.-ft. complex just north of the Gulf Fwy. from the University of Houston. Houston’s version of Aspen Heights (as the company and all its dorms are named) would sit on 7.7 acres just north of the Catholic Charismatic Center on Cullen Blvd., across the street from the former Finger Furniture warehouse recently purchased by developer Frank Liu. The dorms would sit in the far southeast corner of East Downtown, backing up to the railroad tracks that form the neighborhoods northern and eastern boundary:


Proposed Aspen Heights Dorms, Cullen Blvd. at Coyle St., East Downtown, Houston

Proposed Aspen Heights Dorms, Cullen Blvd. at Coyle St., East Downtown, Houston

Drawings presented to a city council committee depict a 4-story “wrap style” development which leaves the existing mobile-communications tower on the site intact. The 739-bed facility, which would include singles, quads, and doubles, would aim to open in fall 2015.

Images: Aspen Heights

A Quarter Mile from Campus

18 Comment

  • Interesting choice for location; 1-45 has long been considered a barrier for UH related development. UH is immediately across the freeway and Cullen Street is a nice entry way into the campus (as oppossed to Scott Street) so a decent choice. Hopefully, the redevelopment of the fingers propery will compliment. UH would be wise to acquire any land it can between Scott and Cullen Streets north/east of the campus.

  • On the “wrong side of the tracks” in so many ways.. although a positive step towards bringing more students closer to campus, it’s on the wrong side of I45 and adjacent to the freight rail rather than the new Metrorail.. even if priced accordingly, I would not risk my life living on this side of the tracks and having to cross I45 multiple times a day just to get to class. They’re not getting any of my student loan dollars.

  • How much are lift tickets going to be?

  • One stands a 100% chance of getting stabbed in the face in that location withing 14 days of moving in.

  • If city dollars are used to boost this project, it should be to make the Cullen/I-45 underpass as safe and appealing as possible for pedestrians or some other method to diminish that barrier. Then UH gets the benefit of all the potential development in an expanded geographic area, not just a single project. If the student housing complex can’t make their project work with easy access to campus and thousands of students with loan dollars to spend, the project is flawed and shouldn’t exist.

  • nice sketch up “renderings/screen-shots” very professional looking …

  • Ignorant comments. That immediate area is pretty desolate of people or activity. How do people expect an area to transform without some initial “risk” involved? Oh I forgot, a typical Houstonians perception of what is safe and nice consists of the brand new, contrived, sprawling, sh1thole burbs.

  • Nice add to an ugly spot. And so close to MetroRail. I see it turning into an Aspen Heights to Tampico Heights party train.

  • According to the PDF, it looks like the city is adding pedestrian lighting the entire length of Cullen and an emergency call box on the north side of 45. I suppose we’ll find out soon if that’s enough to allay the concerns of students and parents.

  • This will help usher the spread of the Heights all the way to Clear Lake.

  • Is the developer aware that these poor kids will have to shop at Combat Kroger?

    (Seriously, though, as far as brownfield redevelopment goes, this makes sense, and there’s no reason why UH can’t alter their shuttle bus network to serve this site. I do hope the developer ran their site plans by the Gulf Coast Rail District. They are seeking funds for a grade separation between Cullen/Leeland and the railroad tracks, and I hope this doesn’t complicate that plan.)

  • As someone who lives in Eastwood & works at UH, I make that crossing on a regular basis. Cullen is the main pedal/walk route to campus when crossing the freeway, and assault & battery, robbery, rape, etc. hasn’t been a problem for the last ten years.

    The physical aspects of crossing are not a problem on the south side of the intersection. It’s the north side that’s the dangerous proposition (because of people coming from the north side peeling off the feeder, making a right turn to get on campus).

    A nice new bit of residential would help things along in the area, like getting the Krappiest Kroger In Existence to step up their game.

    All that said, I’m completely against it. A ten year tax break? Sorry, they can stuff their project right up their… Aspen.

  • Wow, getting advantage on poor area to just save more taxes, wow!

  • I think this project is a step in the right direction for this part of East Downtown. They’re taking a huge risk, you don’t think Aspen has done thier research. It’s laughable for people to comment about stabbings, rapes, and other crimea in the part of town. But that’s OK, these perceptions and rumors keep my taxes low.

  • Nice idea, but I hope something is done to mitigate traffic in the area. It is little appreciated that both TSU and UH empty into I45 on closely adjacent entrances off Cullen and Scott, then immediately there is the split to 288. It is crammed almost all of the time. The light rail will help in the short run, but eventually total traffic (rail + auto) will increase to fill available capacity.

  • I have to agree, for the prices charged to most dorm residents (those prices being a function of government policy toward student debt, an issue that is beginning to get some traction as being a financial bubble), this would be a fairly undesirable site. As a tenant, you’d have to put up with commuter traffic after classes let out or walk under a freeway. And this isn’t on a shuttle route and isn’t really easy to add into a shuttle route given the traffic if nothing else. And then there’s the noise from the freeway and the noise from the very frequent trains. The best thing that it has going for it is proximity to an actual grocery store, even if it’s not a fancy one.

  • City Council just voted unanimously to approve the Tax Abatement Reinvestment Zone for the Aspen Heights site. No discussion, so we can assume the numbers are the same.

  • I heard this project is now dead due to financing.