The Apartments Behind the Finger Apartments Behind the Montrose Whole Foods

What’s going on here? From behind a window across W. Dallas, a reader sends this photo and wants to know. According to a construction manager on site, the work to this point has involved utility excavation for what will be, he says, “Class A apartments.”


The former grassy knoll lying west of the Magnolia Cemetery on Montrose Blvd. and east of the Finger apartments under construction behind the Whole Foods on Waugh was owned by AIG until 2012, when Dallas developers JLB Partners purchased it. City records show that JLB owns almost 3 acres here.

Calls to JLB for more information about the development haven’t been returned. But, for the sake of comparison, the developers do have another complex in Houston: The Ava, south of Westheimer near Hillcroft.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

36 Comment

  • Honestly, how many apartments can be built in this area?

  • Neal77007, the demand is there. One bedrooms in this city are so high right now. And two bedrooms aren’t that much better. As long as the demand is there then keep on building!

  • Has anyone given any thought to the traffic gridlock that will ensue once the 1000+ units being built inside the loop are rented? I mean, these people will each come with a car. No light rail fantasy or “walkable city” hokum will come to fruition. Do we plan on widening roads?

  • Isn’t it natural for the number of apartments to increase once an area becomes high priced and desirable? Those who aren’t able or don’t want to own will still want to live there.

  • As long as banks or investors think math works, it’ll keep being built. It’s a self-corecting situation.

  • Joe, how long have you lived in Houston? No one EVER gives any thought to traffic gridlock. Or any other inconveniences brought on by real estate development like this.

  • Joe, there is already significant traffic on roads in that area all day, and especially at rush hours. Houston has been adding large numbers of people to the west side of the inner loop for the past 6+ years. And they keep coming.
    Roads aren’t going to get widened. There is no room for that, and the purchase of ROW would be prohibitive. As another story on this blog mentioned this week, city streets are backlogged for rebuilding and repair. The only mass transit option that would help would be for METRO to create some north-south bus lines on Montrose/ Waugh/Shepherd that run every 10 minutes or less. Not that that would put a huge dent in traffic. As the old adage says, “it’s going to get worse before it gets better”.

  • “Has anyone given any thought to the traffic gridlock that will ensue once the 1000+ units being built inside the loop are rented? I mean, these people will each come with a car. No light rail fantasy or “walkable city” hokum will come to fruition. Do we plan on widening roads?” – Joe
    Speaking as someone who lives near Greenway Plaza, the answer is no. No planning to mitigate the everpresent traffic. No stoplights on Richmond for a mile between 610 and Weslayan. No dedicated right turn lanes to help people get to the 59. No road maintenance program for a road that get thousands of cars/trucks per day. Outdated medians and left-turn lanes that accommodate 5 cars waiting to turn left, but which make everyone after that obstruct one of the two remaining lanes.
    Since we don’t have zoning, we ought to at least have a sensible plan to mitigate the side effects of lack of zoning.

  • SUCKS. This would have been a perfect place for a park to serve all of the massive apartment complexes in the area. Just think when this opens, Fingers’ complex opens, and the Regent Square gets built out… holy density when added to the already massive complexes just on the other side of Montrose Blvd!

  • Joe, I remember a televised police chase a few years back on ABC 13 during the middle of rush hour. The helicopter pilot was dismayed at the criminal’s decision to drive on city streets instead of the highway like most do. The thing was, right smack dab in the middle of rush hour this guy had no traffic problems whatsoever driving all around the city on local streets–the traffic gridlock was all on the freeways. The problem with Houston traffic is that everyone is on the highways and no one uses the local streets to get anywhere, in part no doubt because so many streets are discontinuous.

  • About ten years. I thought Texans were smart. Am I wrong?

  • Yes, traffic is going to become more congested and parking tighter / more expensive because of the thousands of units, additional office space, and more retail coming to the west part of the urban core. So? Funny how that’s something common to most successful and popular cities. Is “the government” supposed to turn all of our urban thoroughfares into 6 or 8 lane giants like outer Westheimer? Require all development to include a vastly greater amount of parking? Shut down new office and retail development (which have a much greater impact on traffic than apartments and townhomes in any one spot)? Would these measures (assuming any measures should be taken at all) somehow make Houston a more desirable place? Or are there other ways of adapting our infrastructure that should be considered?

  • Severe overbuilding of class A apartments inside the loop. Stick around folks, you’ll see blodd in a year or two.

  • congestion, yes. GRIDLOCK? GGRRRIIIDDDLLOCCCKK? i dont think so.
    I know I know….”sir, I’m sorry, you can’t move into this area of town, you might cause us GRIDLOCK!”
    on another note….did i miss a tyrade of moaning and crying about the massive clearing of trees and shrubs along the bayou at the NWC of I-10 ? Did nobody notice? Or is everybody supercool with it now since it was done by either HCFC or some similar entity? I keep looking for the long list of commentary about that….was hoping to spend my lunch hour perusing some o’that!

  • @Joe: Texans aren’t a homogeneous group of people — same as any other large group of people. Some are smart. Some are not.

    If you’ve been here 10 years then you can answer your own original question.

  • The apartments are a natural outcome of supply and demand. Last I checked, it was more like 12,000 apartments planned to be completed by the end of 2013 in the inner loop west area. It’s simply part of a growing city. Unfortunately, it’s going to be very difficult to move that many people efficiently in cars, especially since the roads CAN’T be widened in most cases. The gridlock you speak of will become a reality unless we invest more in transportation options beyond the car. It’s not an issue of hippies or lefty elite trying to promote rail and biking and busses just because they like them for academic reasons. It’s an issue of being able to move people around at all with those kinds of densities. There’s a critical mass at which cars alone can’t keep up. When we reach it, you better hope you have alternatives in place, or we’ll all be stuck.

  • I had friends from Atlanta visit and they were VERY impressed with our traffic. Yes our freeways are crowded but the surface streets are not. For the most part, you get off the freeway and traffic moves well or is non existent. That’s not the way it is in Atlanta. All their surface streets are awful too. The way we are now building we will experience Atlanta’s traffic soon.

  • All of these new apartnment units along W. Dallas will have great access to the expanded hike/bike trails along Buffalo Bayou. About a 10 minute uninterrupted ride into downtown. And while the “it’s too damn hot to ride in a suit!” folks yell at me, consider that more and more companies downtown are offering shower and locker room facilities to their employees. Biking from this area is a realistic transit option.

  • “Or are there other ways of adapting our infrastructure that should be considered?”

    Unless you’re thinking a series of tubes like on Futurama, I’d say you ran out of options. Buses and rail aren’t the answer. No one moves here without a car. Buses and rail are just another boondoggle for developers and contractors. As someone wisely pointed out, it will have to get worse before it gets better, but it’s so much easier to prevent these problems instead of fixing them. I’ll be there, in a few years, to say “I told you so.”

  • Could it be that we’ve entered a density feedback loop? The inner core starts to get some density. This creates traffic. Traffic means that people will want to drive less. Driving less means moving closer in. Moving closer in creates more density…

  • As for the people who actually live there, traffic will only be a problem if they want it to be. They’ll live a third of a mile from the Buffalo Bayou trail, which will get them to downtown and the rail lines in minutes. Grocery shopping obviously won’t be a problem either.

    As for the people who are just passing through, do they really have a right to complain? It seems unreasonable for people who won’t or can’t use alternative transportation to gripe about a development that at least leaves the option open.

  • @Joe
    Unless you intend to artificially limit density with government regulations that fly in the face of supply and demand — rail, bus, bike and walking are the only widely-known ways to solve the problem (unless work-from-home arrangements or unemployment get a big boost). And for the record, roads are a MUCH bigger boondoggle for contractors.

  • The best way to actually get rail and meanful public transportation is to have population density to truely support these infrastructure investments. The mass building of these apts may help get us there. Of course we wish we would be proactive instead of retroactive.

  • why do people keep mentioning downtown commutes and moving closer in to work? how many new jobs are being created in the downtown area relative to outside the loop? if oil & gas is driving growth in this city i would think most of these new folks will be heading 20 minutes west with just a few 10 minutes east, anyone have the numbers indicating commuting patterns?

    and Joe, the issue has never been one of planning in general, it’s of how do we plan to pay for it and get it to pass at the ballot box. i think you’ll find traffic will have to get drastically worse before a majority of voters are willing to pay to fix it with alternative options. the vast majority of people in houston will not benefit from most of the transit options that have been discussed in the past so can’t say i have an issue with it as it is either.

  • With light rail most probably dead along Richmond, METRO should give serious consideration to putting a light rail line down Washington Avenue from downtown that would connect up to the NW Transit center at I-10 and 610. They could still get the connectivity with Park and Ride that they want, while serving the new residents along the Rice Military/West End corridor. That area will be as dense as Richmond in less than 10 years, plus you’d maybe take some drunks off the street!

  • Funny how everyone lusts for density and when it happens they start complaining. We live in an economically advantaged city with strong industries, strong wages, and an influx of talented residents from other depressed cities in this country.

    Stop complaining and enjoy the fact that we’ve got it pretty darned good in Houston. And furthermore, a few hundred units added to W. Dallas is NOT going to cause gridlock. Ya’ll sound like the same people claiming a meager 2% haircut to gov’t spending is going to shutdown the country.

    I guess some people are only happy if they’re complaining . . .

  • @rex
    Houston has actually tried to be proactive about transportation, but we have a long history of politicians blocking voter-approved transit initiatives. In 1988, Houston approved some sort of passenger rail initiative (though I don’t know the details), but Mayor Bob Lanier pulled funding to prevent it from being built. In 2004, Houston voted to approve the red line. It got built DESPITE Representative Tom DeLay blocking $65 million in federal funds from the project. Metro made up the difference. Finally, Houston voted in favor of four additional light rail lines, two of which are under construction. After the sketchy mobility payments vote, Representative John Culberson blocked federal funding for rail projects, effectively killing the other two voter-approved lines.
    In short, Houston politicians have been blocking voter-approved transit initiatives through back channels for decades. With that kind of representation, it’s hard to make any progress.

  • I was hoping for a Trader Joe’s. Whole Foods is too far.

  • If traffic or congestion is a concern to you in this area, I hate to break it to you but this apartment complex will be a drop in the bucket compared to Regents square. However, that area can absorb the traffic. I used to live at W Dallas and Dunlavy. Between W Dallas, W Gray, and the Allen Parkway, getting to downtown and midtown is a breeze. Taking Waugh or Dunlavy gets you to the cool stuff in Montrose. I could go on, but this whole area (w/ the exception of Shepard, W Alabama, and Westheimer) are actually not that busy, can be biked, are close to a park, and are well served by bus — well actually only in the east west direction for the bus service.

  • Finger is adding 431 units next to Whole Foods, Regent Square is putting up 290 units down the street in their apartment tower, Hanover at W. Gray and Waugh will be 275 units, the Richdale development on W. Gray where the ballet used to be is supposed to be 160 units and this new one on Montrose and Dallas will probably be at least 250 judging from the size of the lot and the economics of apartment complexes. That makes somewhere in the neighborhood of 1300-1400 new units all within about a mile of each other. That will certainly impact traffic in the area. The bigger impact is going to be on retail in the area. A couple thousand more people are going to be living in the area, yet the retail layout is largely going to remain the same. Regent Square may finally get active and save the day with some needed retail and restaurants. But once all the apartments fill up, there will be long lines at Starbucks whether you are on the north side of W. Gray, southside or inside Barnes and Nobles.

  • Walt #20 all growing cities are in the density feedback loop, with some time lag, unless regulations are in place to not allow the city to densify.

    1) City grows
    2) unit transport price increase
    3) City densifies
    4) total transport cost decreases
    5) repeat 1-4

  • you all still want Houston to be a cowtown..its the fourth largest city in the USA..cmon now you been to NY, Chi town or LA….? now that gridlock….get used to it and get over it…you don’t like it ….leave dodge…

  • Rumor around the neighborhood it’s going to be a sonic. My thought it’s likely to be a strip center or another gas station. Stop building more douchey apartments, I don’t want my neighborhood as dense and over run as the Heights has become.

  • Someone from the HOA for the townhomes across from this claims the construction is for a development similar to that on West Ave with high end condo/apts on top and retail on the first floor.

    I’m hoping it’s a Sonic though. My husband hopes it’ll be a high end strip club.

  • Considering all of the new habitational developments in North Montrose since Regent Square stopped in their tracks 2008, I am really curious how the traffic and transportation assessements by the city get approved without any infrastructure (streets and wastewater) changes planned. Gridlock flooding in 2014?

  • Looks as though a short term solution as been found.