The Apartments Taking the Place of the Houston Ballet on West Gray

The apartment complex the Richdale Group is planning to put in place of the just-vacated Houston Ballet building at 1916 West Gray will indeed have retail space on the ground floor — if you count the facility’s leasing office, that is. Also right in front on the first floor: 2 apartments and 4 head-in parking spaces, for potential tenants only. The parking garage will go in back, accessed from Bell St. A plan for the development, labeled the Graybelle subdivision, was submitted as part of a variance request for this Thursday’s planning commission meeting. The developers are requesting a 15-ft. setback along West Gray in place of the usual 25 ft. requirement. The lot is directly west of Randall Davis’s gargoyle-festooned Metropolis condo building.


The former clothing factory on the site had been the home of the Houston Ballet since 1984. The organization sold the property to Atlanta-based Novare Group in 2009. The Ballet’s brand-new digs are Downtown.

Plan: EDI Architecture. Photo: LoopNet

15 Comment

  • More pictures needed.
    ps –
    No variance!
    (tell the investors it’s about Houston’s future as a liveable city and all for the best)

  • @movocelot

    Doesn’t the orthodoxy say that smaller setbacks increase the livability of a street? This is something I agree with, but its more of an impression and I don’t necessarily think it should be required. Are there any arguments against small setbacks, or lowering the setback requirements, besides the ability to cheaply widen the roads?

  • I’m always in favor of bigger setbacks:
    for bus-stops,
    trees maturing (lets give them that chance,) passenger-rail,
    street artists,
    The public corridor can never be reclaimed once the variances are granted.

  • Variances are a way developers steal land from the population. No variances should be granted along throughfares such as this. We need the widest setbacks possible to avoid another Woodway Canyon.

  • Just because you have a wider than usual setback doesn’t mean it has to become a parking lot.

  • I’ve requested variances from COH before for a project along Westheimer… and without naming names or addresses, after 4 tries it didn’t work, but 5th try and $500 cash worked like a charm. It was only a 2 foot overhang into the easement.

  • I worked for Richdale a long time ago. This company is beyond cheap! The Slosburgs own Richdale and try to run everything from Omaha, NE. Kroger had to threaten legal action when a shopping center they own had almost no outdoor lighting due to burned out light bulbs!! CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP Richdale built the Tuscany branded properties which have an extensive history of complaints. Also they do not do background checks on residents, so who knows who is moving in next to you. If you think renters with criminal backgrounds can’t afford to live in their properties, you are sadly mistaken. Their other cluster f**k is The Lanesborough in Texas Medical Center. Lanesborough is older than Jesus, but they still lease out of a construction trailer because Richard won’t spend the money to build a clubhouse.

  • Slightly off topic, but since when are criminal background checks needed to rent an apartment. Ever heard of “paid your debt to society”? How are we to rehabilitate the formerly incarcerated if the only place you want them to live, is with other criminals? Be fair, and a little more forward thinking.

  • So looks like the developers are intent on making West Gray look like Westheimer and every other poorly designed/realized streetscape in Houston. Oh well, the suburbanites (who cringe at the thought of living inside the loop) will be thrilled, as evidenced by comments regarding the project at Waugh. They are so insecure that they freak out if anyone wants to live differently than they do. I wonder, who would pay to live in those two first floor apartments facing Gray?

  • The ballet building already sits pretty close to the road. It seems to me a 15′ setback would actually still be an improvement, as long as they put trees and landscaping in.

  • John…guess what…you don’t need to know WHO would pay, but people will. Apartment developers don’t just throw up complexes without knowing they can fill them up and what kind of rents they can get. They know where the demand is and what the projections are. And as an inner looper myself? My opinion of the cityscape along most of West Gray? It’s not much to look at as it is now. The apartments will definitely improve the visuals, as will many of the other new developments coming online in the area. Hanover builds a very good product. And it will attract good tenants, which will help surrounding retail, restaurants, attractions thrive.

  • So on West Gray, sometimes there a 15 ft. setback requirement, and sometimes it’s 25 ft.

    From this story:
    “The developers are requesting a 15-ft. setback along West Gray in place of the usual 25 ft.”

    From the story on the variance request at the Tavern location:
    “And it’s hoping to get a variance from the planning commission that would allow the buildings to have smaller setbacks than current regulations allow: 15 ft. along Waugh (where 25 would otherwise be required) and just 5 ft. along West Gray (otherwise they’d need 15). “

  • No setback variance should be granted. Moving buildings closer to the street makes for a clostrophobic atmosphere. Also, when the city needs to widen W. Gray, where will they get the needed land. They will have the same problem they have on Woodway west of the W. Loop. Granted setback variances make it impossible to widen Woodway there.

  • P.S. Sorry for the typo!

  • Bill, quick question…pretend you and your family live in an apartment and Joe the felon lives next door. Joe was charged with aggravated assault and served 3 years in Prison. He served his debt to society, and now lives next to you in a class A apartment where you pay $2,350/month in rent and seem to be very happy. Then Thursday after work you accidently park in Joe’s parking spot. He loses it, takes a bat to your car, and threatens to beat you up. Do you blame/hold the management/owner liable for letting in the felon or are you content and just happy the the progressive management team has attempted to accept the felon. Let’s be rational here. The average American victim would sue the mgmt/owner for leasing to a felon. Thanks.