West Ave Ready To Push West

WEST AVE READY TO PUSH WEST Catie Brubaker reports that West Ave is set to begin construction on an expansion in January, consisting of 270 new apartments and 150 new retail parking spaces. The new development will go in the fenced area west of the existing garage, north of Kipling St. and just south of the Regency House condos. Isn’t this area marked “Phase III” on circulated site plans? Yes. The much larger development originally labeled Phase II — stretching all the way south to West Alabama and west to Virginia St. — has now apparently been switched to a later, third phase. Planned for  that much bigger extension: “350 multifamily units, a 175-key hotel, 100k SF of office, and an additional 275k SF of retail. Nick [Hernandez of Page Partners] says Page is ‘way down the road’ on preleasing, especially for restaurants.” [Real Estate Bisnow; previously on Swamplot] Photo: West Ave River Oaks

32 Comment

  • I’m still waiting for Cru to open in that place, that would be the only reason I would consider fighting for parking there. (or remain civilized and just valet)

  • “On the residential side, leasing specialist Michelle Kluge says the units are 92% occupied and Gables is granting no concessions”

    Holy cripes? It seems so deserted though. Corporate housing maybe?

  • 92% occupied at ~$1500/mo? That’s some cash flow.

  • Also, compare that 92% to 2727 Kirby across the street, which appears to have sold 8 units from an HCAD search of the address.

    Eight, in a thirty-story building.

  • @Spoonman,

    Compare what? Monthly maintenance fees at 2727 run $1,500 a month.

  • @cross, I was referring to the apparent occupancy rate.

  • I live two blocks behind West Ave. The place is certainly full judging by the amount of dog feces being left on Virginia and Ferndale Streets by our new neighbors.

  • Well, when you live in a fancy “urban apartment development” like that there is no way you should be expected to pick up your dog’s crap. Leaving it to spoil someone elses day is all part of the urban experience. In the Heights I have discovered that it is apparently part of the “living in a historic district” experience too.

  • Hey dog crap in the street – Just like Paris. It is soooo European.

  • I think the 92% occupied figure might be referring to units that are ready to be occupied. I think they are still building out some units.

  • I know a few folks that have recently moved into these way overpriced and fancy “urban apartment development” places.

    The common complaints from them all are a lack of adequate security features and an epidemic of burglaries that always seem to happen at the most opportune time… like an inside job or the like. So opportune the tenants believe the maintenance crew or some other property personnel are on the lookout for the right time to strike.

  • West Ave must be a mirage, and it can’t possibly be expanding. Thus story is just a left wing, liberal, tree-hugging lie. We know it’s not true because we are constantly reminded by many geniuses here on Swamplot that mixed-use development CAN’T work in Houston. Not possible. Not profitable. Not successful. No one wants it. Yeah, right. West Ave is what Midtown shoulda coulda been, instead of the suburban-style mess that it has become. Rock on, West Ave.

  • I don’t think it’s a question of whether mixed-use CAN work, it’s a question of whether developers should be forced to do it.

  • I think its also the question of whether it can work everywhere or not. We are constantly being told by many geniuses on here that the solution to any site within the inner loop is some kind of one size fits all mixed use utopia. This development clearly shows to me that mixed use works in the right location. I’ve not heard anyone here say that the same wouldn’t also be true of midtown which has definitely been screwed up. However there are also plenty of sites in the City where this type of development wouln’t work.

  • I drove through there last night around 8pm, it was a ghost town, except for backed up valet service. It seems just like the W Gray @ Bagby cluster£uck, where businesses have to rely on outside traffic to sustain themselves. If that’s the case what’s the point of a mixed use?

  • In order to grow, Houston needs to have more people living inside the loop. The highways are full and gas prices aren’t going down anytime soon. The problem inside the loop is that many of the roads are already at capacity. Mixed use mitigates this issue by putting residential development above retail. Garden style apartments and Walmarts do nothing to mitigate traffic impacts. If you do some good planning, you can develop walkable areas where people have everything they need below their condo/apartments and do not have to drive to get groceries, go out to eat, shop, etc. Paris figured out how to do this about three hundred years ago.

  • I love walking the urban streets of Houston in the summer months, reminds me of les Champs Elysées.

  • Wimps.

    I work downtown and walk 8-12 blocks, in high feels, at least three times a week, 12 months out of the year.

    Walking is good. Eventually you get used to the heat. So, bring on the mixed use.

    If you’ve had the pleasure of visiting Dallas in the last few years, they have done a great job building mixed-use along the rail line… if ONLY we had something like that. I’d ditch my car and never look back.

  • “If you do some good planning, you can develop walkable areas where people have everything they need below their condo/apartments and do not have to drive to get groceries, go out to eat, shop, etc.”

    Yes, if they’re willing to buy groceries at only the store closest to them, buy clothes at only the stores near them (which gives the denizens of West Ave…Tootsies?), and go out to eat only at the restaurants within walking distance.

    “Paris figured out how to do this about three hundred years ago.”

    Which is why there are no cars in Paris.


  • @Mel,

    Correct you are, I hate to admit it, but Dallas has done a great job w/ Uptown, if only our city would require minimal street parking and decent walkable setbacks, unfortunately our city is in bed with the merchant builders. Like someone said above, imagine how great midtown could have been with a little planning. The summer heat is manageable for short walks but most Houstonians will not walk 8 to 12 blocks in April, let alone August. You must be the only woman on the streets DT in the summer, don’t you love the smell of urine in the morning.

  • As a friend and I pulled up to the valet stand in the garage at West Ave, we were struck with one of the most baffling interactions I’ve ever encountered. The man behind the stand did not move or react as we pulled up. I got out of the passenger seat and said “….yeah? we’d like to valet” to which he responds, “oh…well…you might want to take it to the other valet stand…i mean…i can do it…but….” We just stared at eachother for 10 seconds. I said you should change your stand so it doesnt say “valet” — he agreed. WTF. Why are you here?! We were in a new, higher end vehicle so I can’t assume it was based on pretension.

  • As a sidenote, I did not choose to valet and always prefer parking myself. The fact that there was a paid worker with no apparent duties is the point of the post.

  • West Ave may be a great example of mixed use, but I still cannot reach it without my vehicle. Other than the 250 people living above it, and perhaps the 50 people living at 2727 Kirby, who else among Houston’s 2.1 million residents can walk to it? And, since the future Trader Joe’s will be miles away, those residents will certainly have to drive as well.

    I do not find most inner loop roads to be at capacity. The problem is much worse farther out. Perhaps Kirby would qualify, but this mixed use development will exacerbate the traffic on Kirby, not cure it. Retail does that, far more so than residential apartments.

  • Dave- I am always amazed about how little Houstonians know about Houston. West Ave is in the 77098 zipcode. The 2008 estimate for population density was 8,990 people per square mile and that was BEFORE West Ave, 2727 Kirby, and the Belle Meade at River Oaks (just 4 blocks away) opened. Within half a mile of West Ave, you can find major apartment buildings like Gables Upper Kirby, Belle Meade, The Westheimer, Greystar’s Upper Kirby, and more. There are also numerous condo towers (2727 Kirby, Huntingdon, Lamar Towers, and Regency House) as well as thousands of condos and single family homes in the surrounding neighborhoods of WestLawn Terrace, Avalon Place, Davy Crockett, Ferndale Kerrs, River Oaks, Alabama Place, Montlew Place, and Colquitt Court. People around these parts have been walking to Whole Foods, Becks Prime, Chuy’s, Pesce, Kuhl Linscomb, Mission Burritos, Ruggles Green, etc… for years. I’ve been to West Ave dozens of times already and never once in my car.

  • Sure would like to see the “traffic impact studies” for West Avenue. Or do those only apply to hirises in Southampton?

  • You just have to laugh at the clowns who show up here whenever there is a discussion about walking in Houston. They ALWAYS proclaim that no one will walk here in the Summer. Why can’t they just admit that they are lazy slobs who wouldn’t walk across the street in March, if they could drive? These people must never ever leave Houston; afterall the French Quarter in NOLA is not empty in Summer and it’s hotter and muggier there than in Houston. Miami, Atlanta, Phoenix, Tucson – all hot as hell, and all have pedestrian districts packed in the Summer. San Antonio’s River Walk (that’s WALK not drive) is packed all Summer when it’s 105 degrees. I wish these losers would just…..shut up.

  • People are willing to sweat at the riverwalk and Miami beach, they’re tourist destinations. It’s completely different when you have to schlep groceries 5 blocks to your house every day.

  • Reminder: All posts concerning walkable cities MUST contain your current height, weight, age, and couch usage so that proper judgement can be passed. Thank you and now back to your regularly scheduled snack.

  • One of my favorite quotes: “If you are overweight, your dog isn’t getting enough exercise.”

  • I was back up in Dallas a few weeks ago and the in-fill and growth in Uptown is something to behold when compared to Houston’s midtown. The only thing we have over them is great Vietnamese food.

    As for the walking debate, I think it is probably most agrgued by those that don’t live inside the loop and don’t walk anywhere anyway. I don’t always walk to the grocery store (4 blocks) but if the sun is shining and I only need a few bags I do. The same goes for restaurants and other businesses in walking range. If the weather is good and I am not going to have to carry too much back I am inclined to walk.

    I know that not everyone feels the same way and can afford or even want to live in these denser neighborhoods but, given the option, there are certainly more who will. More housing, at a broader pricepoint, and more retail are needed. Not everyone can afford $2,000 a month for rent or a $500,000 2 bed/2 bath bungalow. The credit crisis has blown the condo market to hell so those aren’t a great option right now.

    I was nearly laughed out of the Gables West Avenue leasing office when I asked to see a 2 bedroom for under $2,200 on a year lease. The agent suggested that I visit one of their older properties nearby.

    At least it does seem like there is going to be progress along Gray at Waugh in Montrose, Gray in Midtown and here at Kirby.

  • Probably missed the boat on this but to hold Paris up as a model of urban development is a bit rich. An exhorbitantly priced inner core surrounded by high rise ghettos that regularly erupt in massive riots. What a model city!

    Its also worth nothing that the French arguably invented the giant big box hypermarket. The first Carrefour opened there in 1959 whereas the first Walmart didn’t open until 1962. Carrefour is still the world’s second largest retailer by revenue.