Just down the block from that recent fence-related mishap at the all-cleared Ashby Highrise site is the proposed site of the . . . Ashby Midrise? Well, the official moniker of this 5-story condo box at Ashby and Sunset is Chateau Ten. And if that name (or the purple-hued rendering pictured on the sign) seems familiar, it’s because an identical building from the Randall Davis Company is already going up on Spann and Welch on the lot adjacent to where Hines might or might not be building that 17-story office tower off San Felipe.
“Nice!” says homeowner Scott Reamer in this video he shot today from his backyard, just 5 ft. away from the Ashby Highrise site, when a bunch of bricks from the Maryland Manor Apartments wall that demo workers were banging on to take down topples his fence.
Here’s what’s going down over at 1717 Bissonnet. Making way for the Ashby Highrise — whose developers this week signed new builder Pepper-Lawson Construction to replace Linbeck, which decided to back out earlier this year — the salvaging and knocking down of Maryland Manor started last week. And this is what things looked like this morning:
There they go: The Maryland Manor Apartments received their demolition permit on Friday, clearing the ground for the Ashby Highrise. Salvaging work inside these 10 structures at 1717 Bissonnet St. is reported to begin today, prepping the fought-over Boulevard Oaks corner for the 21-story, 228-unit residential tower.The final few tenants were seen moving out of Maryland Manor at the end of March.
MOVING DAY AT MARYLAND MANOR A Swamplot reader sends in this update on the progress at 1717 Bissonnet, where the Maryland Manor apartments are still standing in the way of the Ashby Highrise: “I live around the block . . . and it looks like all the tenants are out. We have noticed fewer and fewer cars in the parking lot, but as of this weekend they are down to only 3-5 cars. We saw multiple moving trucks all weekend and lots of abandoned furniture at the dumpster. So I am guessing the demo is starting soon.” [Swamplot inbox; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Maryland Manor: Candace Garcia
Buckhead Investment Partners’ Kevin Kirton tells former HBJ staffer Allison Wollam that his company plans to submit the latest version of the now-21-story apartment building known as the Ashby Highrise to the city for its already assured permitting approvals in the “very near future” — in time to begin construction late this year. Building the project, he says, should take 18 to 24 months — about the same amount of time it took the proposed development to obtain its original permit approval — 3 years ago. There’s pricing info in Wollam’s report, too:
A LIST OF GENTLE ASHBY HIGHRISE PROTEST METHODS A settlement of its lawsuit with the city earlier this year guarantees that developers of the 21-story residential highrise planned for the corner of Ashby and Bissonnet (at right) next to Southampton will be able to receive building permits. But Culturemap editor Clifford Pugh reports that neighbors still opposed to the project have approved and sent a letter to the developers of the highrise at 1717 Bissonnet that includes a laundry list of the proposed tactics they plan to take to stop the project from being built — or to make things difficult for the company, Buckhead Investment Partners, if it proceeds with the project. Among them: filing their own lawsuit against the developers; appearing at the businesses and homes of the project’s investors and lenders (“as soon as we can identify [them]”), contractors, and other service providers to demonstrate opposition; monitoring and reporting construction violations; picketing the building’s leasing office whenever it is open; sending regular communications to tenants “to let them know that they are not welcome in our neighborhood”; challenging the permits of the building’s restaurant tenant; boycotting the restaurant and — if it’s a chain — all of its other locations; appearing at the homes of the restaurant’s owners, investors, and chef to demonstrate opposition; and (possibly worst of all:) posting “unfavorable reviews” of the restaurant online. [Culturemap; more from the West University Examiner; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Candace GarciaUpdate, 10 pm: The most recent draft of the “open letter” has been toned down a bit,reports the Chronicle‘s Nancy Sarnoff. The new draft makes no mention of the homes of the project’s investors, lenders, contractors, and service providers, or its restaurant’s owners, investors, or chef; says the leasing office will be picketed only “regularly”; and (most notably) drops any suggestion that area residents might post negative restaurant reviews online.
Neighborhood residents hoping to weigh in on the details of the proposed settlement announced 2 weeks ago in the lawsuit filed against the city of Houston by the developers of the proposed Ashby Highrise were greeted at last night’s meeting with Mayor Parker with news that the agreement had already been finalized. The settlement requires the city to approve and permit a 21-story mixed-use tower at 1717 Bissonnet St., as long as the predicted traffic it generates meets a few prescribed limits. The agreement also puts a few restrictions on traffic flows in and out of the building on separate driveways facing Bissonnet and Ashby St., and requires developers to build an 8-ft. fence and camouflage the 5-story parking garage behind it with greenery where the building backs up against homes on its south and east sides. Also included: some lighting and noise-mitigation requirements, and a free morning and afternoon weekday shuttle service for the project’s future residents to and from the Med Center.
In a letter sent to Southampton residents, Mayor Parker says she is recommending that the city settle the lawsuitfiled against it by the developers of the proposed Ashby Highrise. “Unfortunately, the city has no legal basis for stopping” the building from being constructed, she writes: “Even success in the courtroom in the City’s litigation against the developers . . . would not halt the project, since the developers would still be able to proceed with their current permit application, which mirrors that which the city was compelled to approve in 2009.”
Instead, Parker writes that the settlement will allow the city to “ensure some control” over certain aspects of the multi-story residential tower: “It will also eliminate any possibility that the developers can build a project as large as that sought in 2007, or that the City may be subject to damages for its failure to approve that permit applications, either of which can happen if the City loses the current litigation.”
An architecture firm headquartered in Dallas has filed suit against the developers of the Ashby Highrise, alleging that Buckhead Investment Partners made “copies and derivatives” of the firm’s design for the 27-story Grant Park Condominiums tower in Minneapolis. Humphreys and Partners Architects designed that complex (pictured above) in 2003. The lawsuit is also directed at EDI Architecture, the firm Buckhead hired to produce drawings for the proposed highrise at the corner of Bissonnet and Ashby near Southampton.
The lawsuit claims that Buckhead infringed on Humphreys’ copyright by submitting plans for a proposed 23-story tower at 1717 Bissonnet to the city of Houston. Those plans have already received permits. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to prevent Buckhead from constructing the building, because doing so would “necessarily create additional copies and derivatives” of Humphreys’ intellectual property.
How closely does Houston’s proposed tower follow Grant Park’s design?