The Spur-Side Lot on W. Alabama Primed for Packed-In Homes

Note: Read more about that tree here.

The sign shows that a variance is pending to reduce the setback here along Spur 527 — at left in the photo above — the better to fit 15 single-family lots on the less-than-an-acre property between W. Alabama and Marshall St. in the Westmoreland Historic District. A site plan included in the variance application for the subdivision Carnegie Oaks at Westmoreland shows that the 0.83-acre lot would be parceled out, with driveway access to the north from Marshall and to the south from W. Alabama. The lot’s right across the street from that fixed-up former Skylane complex the Spur. A city rep says that the planning commission will decide on the variance next week.


In the site plan above, Marshall St. is at the top and W. Alabama at the bottom.

Images: Knudson (site plan); Allyn West (sign)

24 Comment

  • True density that even dental floss won’t slide between. Someone pop a bottle of champagne.

  • It’s to be celebrated that they’re cleaning this area up, it always had such potential, but it really had gotten seedy in parts–Bravo!–build more!

  • I wonder if that reserve lot indicates that they’ll try to keep that fantastic live oak on Marshall. I hope so.

  • I hope someone keeps an eye on the giant tree.

  • the tree extends way beyond the reserve area . . . . . they’ll kill the largest tree in Montrose

  • Lots 3, 7, 12, 13, 14, and 15 would literally face an elevated roadway. You’d have to be insane to buy one of those.

  • What, no first floor retail????

  • Doofus – The lots facing the Spur are like the 3rd Floor condos in a luxury highrise. You can’t build the penthouse without building the 3rd Floor condos too. Someone clearly will buy it. You just have to factor everything into the price.

  • @6, you wouldn’t have to be insane, just dense. Density is good, right?

  • It’s official : Annise Parker nor any of our equally lame brain city council members give a rats patoot about preserving any old growth trees.As long as they doesn’t see them: outta sight,outta mind.It’s funny though that the billboard in the sideyard of 3618 Burlington LOOMS over our (already aiming for higher political office) mayor’s residence and there’s not a darn thing she can do about it. More than likely the person that owns the Burlington property is getting a nice income from the grandfathered in billboard.He may have told the mayor the billboard stays. And she may have implied legal action,which he countered with I’ll see you and your administration in court and she realized the outcome may not have been in her favor.She got thwarted.The billboard is like a huge wood & metal abstract tree LOOMING over the mayor’s backyard and she is peeved about it and there’s nothing she or anybody can do to remove it.Now she knows how we citizens feel about her administration ruining Houston. Like another poster on here, I am no longer a fan of our mayor. She has not done anything inspiring or original or outside of the box.Just advancing “safe”,middle of the road issues which any politician with half a brain can do. Annise could have built a legacy of true quality of life accomplishments that would have benefitted ALL Houstonians.Not just the moneyed,connected,well off elite and their minions.Her legacy will include MORE concrete & wanton unplanned development,way LESS green space &trees(regardless of the supposedly Green Space projects she has going on), HORRIBLY “maintained” streets that eat vehicles,etc. No matter how she tries to spin everything ,we all KNOW better.

  • I believe that parcel is where the Staiti House (now in Sam Houston Park) was originally situated. Sorry to see the tree go, but I can understand the developer wanting more units.

    It is in the Westmoreland Historic District, so it will be interesting to see what the places look like. They will have to “fit in”

    @Patrick, what makes you think the Mayor tried to get the billboard taken down? That seems like a very odd and speculative comment. You don’t like our Mayor, do you?

  • This might be slightly better-located than the compound at 607 Oakley.

  • Patrick, I think your comment reflects how little you know about how the city works. You are assuming and implying a whole bunch of stuff that is inaccurate. I know the owner of the billboard house. No, there is no issue with the mayor or legal issue. It has been there for years and meets what the law requires (not passed by any of the current city council or the mayor). Also, perhaps you are unfamiliar with the fact that laws related to land use in Houston far precede the current administration. You want a law changed, a tree saved, etc., then elect people with a mandate to do something about it, or just recognize that we are a city owned by developers to whom we, as voters, have ceeded our responsibilty to by voting for city councils who are beholdent to them. Ranting about the mayor isn’t going to solve this problem, just look at the heat she has taken over the Heights preservation ordinance and the food to the homeless issue…both quality of life issues. This city’s libertarian bent prevents even the most well meaning leaders from moving any community wide issues forward. The individual is what counts here, and little else.

  • Patrick: what do you expect? She works
    for Bob Lanier.

  • Old growth live oaks are priceless. I understand economics, fine, but we need some kind of reasonable ordinance to protect “historic” trees.
    Maybe the developer would only be able to cram 13 3-story townhomes onto 40k square feet, instead of 15. A tragedy, I know, but I think the public interest is worth something here.

  • What defines a tree in Houston, Texas as ‘old growth’?

  • By the look of that canopy coverage of the old-growth tree in the photo, I’d be willing to guess that oak was here when the Allen Brothers landed. As it seems to be going in in the HTX these days, no history is worth preserving. The Ben Milam, The shamrock, The Oil and Gas building in the Village, Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral (original), etc…

    Adios Houston, it was nice knowing you.

  • It’s going to suck to see this big empty lot go as it was a nice “park” type area that I cut through all the time to go from my house (in westmoreland) to the rail, or tacos a go-go or Tafia/Sparrow, etc.
    I like the green space but I didn’t think it would last forever. The land is too valuable. It would have been great if someone would have bought it and turned it into a ‘real’ park but that would have been quite the bill to cough up.
    Now I sort of wish 219 W. Alabama apartments were like they were befor since there is no way someone would have built something like this next to the way that place was.

  • The large oak tree on this lot is priceless and how old is it? Well over a century I’m sure. If any of us want to save it let’s get a petition going or some sort of action the planning committee will consider.

  • If I were the developer I’d say leave the big old tree, cut off a couple of units and save construction costs on those, raise the price of the other units. The tree is built-in curb appeal that no amount of crapping landscaping can come close to. The well-to-do tenants they are expecting can surely afford to pay a couple of hundred grand more per unit to make up the developer’s cost in order to have that gorgeous tree on the property. Taking down trees takes away the shade and makes more unshaded sweltering concrete everywhere. I don’t get it.

  • Did everyone miss Texasota’s comment on the fact that the tree is smack in the middle of the reserve lot, suggesting its preservation… or is this a pipe dream?

  • Everyone,
    I appreciate the spirited discussion about our new development in Westmoreland. Although I know it is not possible to please everyone, I sure aim to develop a community on the land in question which all can eventually look on with pride. I would like to take a moment to address some of the valid concerns, people have raised, and also to quash any misconceptions people may have.
    1) THE TREE IS BEING PRESERVED (NOT CUT DOWN AT ALL). The Oak tree on the Westmoreland/W. Alabama property is a piece of Houston History and the centerpiece of the development. I am actually leaving it as a reserved area to have as a park that will be left open to the neighbors as well. Arborists specializing on preservation of such trees have been hired and are an active part of the process.
    2) Traffic. The homes each have their own two-car garage with ample space for an additional guest car to park in front of the garage (as is standard practice in many shared communities). Furthermore, only the 7 larger homes on larger lots have access to the Westmoreland side of the street. In addition, as was promised in the community meeting, it looks like I am going to be able to add 5/6 spaces for guest parking. This is almost a guest spot per home. (Realize the 8 homes on smaller lots on the W. Alabama side do not have access to the Marshall side of the street at all, although will be designed to match the feel and architectural flavor of the entire community.
    3) Legally a developer can build 24 homes on this lot. And developers in the past have had approval for 40 and 57 condos, as well as 22 townhomes. Although, economics do not come into play a lot of times when people are forming their opinions of such matters, we at Carnegie Homes truly have made great efforts to respect the integrity of the area, the tree, and the neighbors. We are building homes at a very high quality and attention to architectural and landscaping which will raise and enhance the community and resale values, if anything. (An Award Winning well respected Architectural firm is designing the development)

    I appreciate the forum concerned neighbors have created to voice their opinions, and am confident, most of you will eventually see and appreciate our vision for the development. (We are considering the final name as “Masterson Oaks at Westmoreland” to honor the great family residence which once inhabited the property in question.)

  • The incredibly small “park” so generously set aside to protect the big tree is about the size of my bedroom. This develpopment means more traffic. I live in this area and there is no room for visitors to park on the street near my house. Westmoreland doesn’t need any super high density development like this, especially development that is not in the character of the historic district.

  • TOO many homes period on that piece of land. Add that to the destruction of one of the most beautiful trees in the inner loop and this is just bad business. HORRIBLE idea and if the city votes YES on this project I will vote NO for the Mayor and all of her minions come next election. STOP THE GREED NOW.