05/07/13 11:05am

A NEW BUILDER FOR THE ASHBY HIGHRISE Though it remains to be decided in a court of law whether the 21-story Ashby Highrise will deprive nearby Boulevard Oaks homes of sunlight and rain, there now seems to be a firm at least agreeing to build it: Prime Property’s Nancy Sarnoff reports that Pepper-Lawson Construction has signed on, replacing Linbeck, which decided to back out of the project earlier this year. The Maryland Manor Apartments, shown here standing in the way at 1717 Bissonnet, started coming down last week. [Prime Property; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Candace Garcia

05/03/13 12:00pm

LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF THE ASHBY HIGHRISE Though the demo of the Maryland Manor apartments at 1717 Bissonnet has already started, a group of homeowners still seems intent to stop the Ashby Highrise from going up in their place, filing a lawsuit this week against developer Buckhead Investment Partners that argues the building will cast a shadow — literally — over the neighborhood: Among other concerns about traffic and privacy, the suit alleges that the 21-story tower would deprive neighbors of sunlight and rain, limiting the enjoyment of their yards and making the maintenance of their gardens impossible. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Candace Garcia

04/29/13 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: STAKES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD “I always have fun explaining to out of town guests what those signs are. For my benefit, I hope they stay up for a while longer, at least until the building is finished and their predictions come to pass. As an aside, I do feel bad for the lawn people who have to mow around them each week . . . they are unsung heroes in this drama.” [JD, commenting on The Last Stand of the Ashby Highrise Impediment Apartments]

04/29/13 10:00am

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.


03/18/13 4:45pm

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

09/13/12 1:15pm

ASHBY HIGHRISE FUNDING HUNT ENDS WITH HUNT FUNDING The developers of the Ashby Highrise tell Nancy Sarnoff they’ve got funding for the 21-story apartment tower that’ll replace the Maryland Manor Apartments at 1717 Bissonnet. The money’s coming from an El Paso real estate firm named Hunt. Buckhead Investment Partners also names the contractor they’ll be working with: Linbeck, whose top executive “lives in the neighborhood adjacent to the building site.” (Leo Linbeck III also started his own Super PAC, aimed at kicking out incumbents of both political parties in Congress.) The construction schedule has been pushed back, though — it’ll now begin early next year. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Candace Garcia

09/04/12 11:24am

Tenants in a bank of courtyard-style apartment complexes across from Poe Elementary School at the northwest corner of North Blvd. and Hazard St. have received notices that their structures have been sold and will be demolished, so that the buyer can build single-family dwellings in their place. “I know one tenant has a lease until May 2013,” a source tells Swamplot, “but they are offering free rent for Sep/Oct if the tenant agrees to vacate by Nov 1.” Another tipster claims the buyer is Lovett Homes, and that the homebuilder plans to build 6 new “very high end” homes on the property.


08/28/12 1:36pm

As Federal-style homes go, this ivy-clad example on North Blvd. in Edgemont has a pedigree that earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places. An understated bronze plaque displayed discreetly beneath a demilune portico says so, but doesn’t elaborate. The 1925 home’s design is reportedly the work of C.B. Schoeppl & Co., whose efforts can also be found in a NRHP pair on Westmoreland Ave., as well as in a few other older Houston neighborhoods. Listed a couple of weeks ago for $1.9 million, this green-roofed home at the eastern end of the Boulevard Oaks Historic District sits back from — and a bit above — the tree-lined esplanade along North Blvd. But its corner-lot address is a tad shy of the double-allees of live oaks found a half-block to the east, in Broadacres.


08/08/12 10:15am

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:


04/26/12 11:49am

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 Garcia Update, 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.

03/13/12 11:35am

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.


03/02/12 5:32pm

In a letter sent to Southampton residents, Mayor Parker says she is recommending that the city settle the lawsuit filed 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.”


02/02/12 6:33pm

The decent-apartments-not-too-far-from-Rice gig is up for the red-brick Greenbriar Chateau Apartments just south of Hwy. 59: According to a couple reports, residents of the buildings at 4100 Greenbriar received a letter today from Kaplan Management, notifying them they have until March 8th to leave. The courtyard-style 3-story Mansard-roof buildings, which date from 1969, will then be torn down and replaced with a “‘state of the art’ housing complex.” Renters current on their payments will be offered $250 to help pay for moving expenses, the letter said. An entity connected to InSite Commercial Real Estate bought the 3.63-acre site last August.

Photos: Apartment Guide

01/17/12 5:20pm

Possibly the largest house numbers in Houston belong to this painted-brick structure at — what is it? Oh, yeah — 2101 Banks St. in Boulevard Oaks. Among the perks available with the revamped 1935 home: built-in bookcases in the entryway, a 2-story back porch overlooking a landscaped back yard, and a vastly reduced likelihood that you’ll ever receive someone else’s mail by mistake.


11/21/11 2:29pm

A Houston attorney says the site plan for the Ashby Highrise “substantially” copies the one a Dallas-based architecture firm created for the same developers 5 years ago. Patrick Zummo, who is representing Humphreys and Partners Architects in a lawsuit filed last week against Buckhead Investment Partners, tells the West U Examiner‘s Charlotte Aguilar that the plan for the Ashby Highrise site at the corner of Bissonnet and Ashby — which Buckhead attributes to the firm it hired later, EDI Architecture — is “extremely close, if not identical to” both a plan Humphreys drew up for the same site while under contract to Buckhead in 2006 and the site plan the architecture firm produced a few years earlier for the Grant Park Condominium tower in the Elliot Park neighborhood of Minneapolis (above).