01/30/08 3:14pm

Legacy at Memorial 25-Story Apartment Tower in HoustonThis is the best image we’ve been able to find online of the 25-story apartment tower about to go up at the site of the former Ed Sacks Waste Paper Co. at 440 Studemont, just north of Memorial Dr.

And it makes you wonder: Do these out-of-town developers really know what they’re doing here? First they give the project a name — “Legacy at Memorial” — that makes it sound like a funeral home, in a town where death is already a major industry. Then . . . they think Houston residents will stand for 15 percent of the units in the combination highrise-lowrise development being marketed as “affordable housing.” But weirdest of all . . . it looks like they forgot to give their building a theme!

Memo to Legacy Partners and your California retiree funders: Your tower is going up against some aggressively themed competition. When renters can go next door and feel like they’re in Italy, or go down the street to get a little stucco taste of New Orleans, or cross Allen Parkway for a full-fledged Beaux-Arts Alamo resort revival, just who do you expect is going to want to want to live in an apartment that looks like . . . a building in Houston, Texas?

More on the tower that forgot to put on its clothes and makeup . . . after the jump.


10/29/07 12:30pm

Greenbriar Chateau Apartments, 4100 Greenbriar St., HoustonFirst, they came for Maryland Manor. And then: the Greenbriar Chateau apartments? Just what is happening to the great Mansard apartments of Houston? And what will be next on the chopping block: that birthing place of Bushitude, Chateau Dijon?

No 23-story tower has been proposed for the Greenbriar Chateau site—yet. But think of the stylistic possibilities: a Tuscan shopping center . . . or taller, vaguely turn-of-the-century New York-ish apartments. Sure, it’s more than three-and-a-half acres at the northern edge of Boulevard Oaks, but really, it’s those mansards that have to go.

A local investment group has obtained a $10-million loan to buy the 145-unit Greenbriar Chateau in the near southwest submarket. Given the location, it could end up as a conversion into a higher-density project.

Bammelbelt LP bought the complex, built nearly 40 years ago at 4100 Greenbriar St., a prime infill location within minutes of Rice University, Hermann Park and the Texas Medical Center. Sources familiar with the area say rising land costs for infill sites could prompt similar deals by investors buying aging properties as land plays.

Swamplot readers: is this your home? When you get that little slip in your mailbox, let us know.

10/29/07 10:02am

Tuscan Villaggio Shopping Center in Tuscan Lakes

There’s so much of that Tuscan charm in Houston, sometimes it’s hard to keep the new developments straight. Maybe this will help:

Villagio, you’ll remember, is the “boutique life-style center” opening in Cinco Ranch, but also planned for the Woodlands and north Austin, and later . . . Round Rock, San Marcos, New Braunfels, and Dallas. Tuscan Villaggio, on the other hand, is the 30,000-square-foot Tuscan strip planned for the corner of League City Parkway and Tuscan Lakes Boulevard. It’s pictured above, and planned for only 15 tenants. The first phase will open next year adjacent to Tuscan Lakes, the 840-acre uh, Tuscan development in League City also developed by Johnson Development Corp.

Villagio in Cinco Ranch has Bookworm and Network Funding Mortgage. But you’ll be able to identify Tuscan Villaggio because a new 31,310-square-foot Tuscan-themed Kiddie Academy will be nearby.

Got it? Which one more convincingly conveys that authentic feeling of historic Italian drive-up retail?

Drawing of Tuscan Villaggio: Slattery Tackett Architects

09/26/07 9:52am

Le Maison on Revere Apartments

Worried that there still aren’t going to be enough places to live near the corner of Westheimer and Kirby after all the construction is done? Relax. The Texas division of Orlando, Florida’s ZOM Development just got a slew of construction permits approved yesterday for their next fancy apartment complex just a few blocks to the east of that busy intersection, at the corner of Revere and Cameron, at 2701 Revere St. (Cleverly, the address on the permits is listed as 2727 Revere. Why would they give it that number?)

Going up: Le Maison on Revere, 431 rental units on a just-under-six-acre site, a five-story mix of “flats and high-end loft units.”

But it looks like there’s more to it. Not satisfied with the Beaux-Arts-meets-the-Alamo stylings of the Bel Air Apartments they recently developed and filled up not too far away on Allen Parkway, the sleek modern look of the 2727 Kirby tower now going up across the street from their new development, or the apparent Superman-in-Gotham City theme of West Ave on the other side of Kirby, ZOM has apparently decided that their new complex will, at last, point out the absurdities of the area’s stylistic hodgepodge.

How? By theming the building with a higher, more symbolic purpose in mind.

That’s right: The Le Maison on Revere apartments will be marketed and dressed up to look like “New Orleans garden style apartments,” and thereby perform the public service of reminding residents of the former glory of their neighboring city and the dangers of living at low elevations in a high-water town.

Expect the top floors to fill up first.