Apartment Building Replacing Tavern on Gray Won’t Have Any Retail, But Really Wants To Hug the Street Anyway

Houston’s own Hanover Company wants to build this 5-story apartment complex on the current site of the Tavern on Gray, just east of the shopping district that extends along West Gray to Shepherd. 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). Sure, the Hanover West Gray project would have 2 floors of parking (one of them underground) underneath 4 residential floors — but the extremely persuasive variance request kinda makes it hard not to wish the place had conditions that were less — you know, tough and urban:


The narrow (200’) width of this inner-city block, when coupled with the required setbacks, creates dimensional problems for apartment development and particularly for the structured parking. Suburban apartment sites are several acres in size and do not have this kind of dimensional constraint.

It is a whole lot better out there, isn’t it? If it can’t get reduced setbacks, the company would have to build buildings that were “substantially” taller, Hanover says in the application.

Further, the standard setbacks push the open space to the public edges along the street, reducing the area available for courtyard open space for the enjoyment of the residents.

Notably absent from the application and the included rendering (at top), which imagines a view of the project from the corner of Waugh and West Pierce: Any hint that the company might be planning to put in some retail spaces — or hey, even tavern spaces — on the ground floor. No matter: The sidewalks in the drawing sure look like they’ll get a lot of foot traffic anyway. We count 33 pedestrians, 2 bikes, and a baby in a stroller hanging out in front. And according to the variance application, the building will end up with all of the benefits of ground-floor retail anyway, even if it ends up with parking spaces — and no stores — up against the sidewalk:

Allowing the setbacks to be reduced provides the opportunity to create an urban style apartment building with an unfenced and heavily landscaped area between the building and the street. The resulting proximity to the sidewalk promotes “eyes on the street” by the apartment residents, increasing the safety for pedestrians walking to the numerous nearby existing stores and office
buildings as well as to the Whole Foods Market now under construction.

Rendering and Plan: Hanover Company. Photo: Swamplot inbox

74 Comment

  • I read the first line hilariously as “Houston’s own HANGover.” Which, given the Tavern, would make sense.

  • 5 foot set back not very pedestrian friendly which the neighborhood is known for.

  • Is it just me, or does that rendering seem WAY out of scale to the drawing and the actual space available? I go by the Tavern almost daily, and that lot is nowhere near as big as the rendering makes it look.

  • “Further, the standard setbacks push the open space to the public edges along the street, reducing the area available for courtyard open space for the enjoyment of the residents.”

    Typical…developers don’t care what the public has to see.

  • Was at the Tavern last night and saw the sign. Bummer.

  • This is all fine but if you want to really increase the pedestrian friendliness of that stretch, you need parallel parking at the curb.

  • Very simple, 10 feet in the courtyard will not be missed. 10 feet on the sidewalk will be sorely missed. Even freaking Walmart is willing to put in wider sidewalks.

  • Anything is better than the Tavern…well, almost anything.

  • Anything is better than the Tavern and its oyster shell lots…well, almost anything.

  • Isn’t the setback measured from the property line, not curb. Wouldn’t the sidewalks be in the ROW no matter how much of a setback is required?

    I am not an expert – just asking the question.

  • gotta say, Waughsup is a great name for an llc

  • I hope the Tavern is preserved, at least in spirit, somewhere on the property. After all, Inner Loop apartment dwellers need somewhere to see puddin’ wrestling, too.

  • It sounds like Jim knows about the puddin’ wrestling first-hand. ;-)

  • This ridiculous crap is exactly why Houston’s Inner Loop needs ZONING. It is obscene that the COH would grant a variance and not REQUIRE ground floor retail; in this neighborhood, on this street. We know the COH will roll ever and grant it without regard for what is best for the city, as long as the developer writes a check.

    These same developers build projects like this all over the country with retail because they must, and they still make money. They LOVE Houston because they don’t have to make any effort whatsoever in cases like this.

    We’ve been through this before, in Midtown, when, after Post built apartments with ground floor retail and 12-15′ sidewalks; every other developer (and CVS) came in and built suburban apartments on entire city blocks. Now, instead of a walkable urban Midtown, there are dozens of blocks with nothing but fences, 3′ sidewalks, zero street life. Just last year, Camden demolished two city blocks of retail and restaurants and replaced it with a giant apartment block making another half dozen Midtown blocks unwalkable and essentially unusable – except to drive by.
    Will this city ever learn, grow a pair, and demand what’s best for its future?

  • “Allowing the setbacks to be reduced provides the opportunity to create an urban style apartment building with an unfenced and heavily landscaped area between the building and the street. The resulting proximity to the sidewalk promotes ‘eyes on the street’ by the apartment residents, increasing the safety for pedestrians . . .”

    The Allen brothers ride again.

  • yes this is horrible news since i live in one of the homes now to be demolished for this monstrosity. I am finding out just today that this is being built here. There is no preservation going on in the montrose and it is extremely upsetting.

  • @Northwood: You’re correct, the setback is measured from the right-of-way line, not the curb. The sidewalks are almost always within the City’s right-of-way, so the 5′ or 15′ measures from the back edge of the sidewalk.

    I must say I don’t object to the reduced setback, since I like a more urban building style, but I do wish there was sidewalk-fronting retail, at the very least on the Waugh Drive end.

  • Zero Setbacks + Groundfloor Parking = The Calais.


  • Yep, and if you recall the Calais promoted ground floor retail, then dropped it after they got the positive press.

  • Poor widdow dewelloper. sniff

    Should a variance be granted? No. No. DOUBLE NO!
    Narrow, shady, echoey streets are quaint in ‘old towns’ of european cities and in the French Quarter, but, THIS so-called “urban” shouldn’t be a goal in Houston, in general, nor in West Gray, in particular.
    Some development must be dense to be efficient, but RULES ARE RULES!

    @ Jason, yes these drawings often don’t foreshorten enough, so the foreground looks immense. Also the opposite sides of both the streets are ‘invisible.’

    @ Jon re: “Will this city ever learn, grow a pair, and demand what’s best for its future?”
    I second that rhetoric!!

  • Isn’t there already a plethora of apartment buildings in that area that look virtually identical to this proposed design?

    The answer is yes, and I bet most, if not all, of them have vacancies.

    There is no need for another complex. In addition to ruining the ecclectic feel of the area and necessitating the demolition of older home that actually have some character, it will just add to the already saturated market for “luxury” apartments.

    Like some others nearby, it is likely to become a deteriorating, dorm-like mess in no time at all.

  • From Bill:

    The Allen brothers ride again.


    Yep. Welcome to the tropical paradise as they advertised it. Tropical perhaps. Paradise? “They paved paradise, and put in a parking lot…” The Allen brothers forgot to mention the 200% humidity and the mosquitoes the size of prehistoric birds. The first of the many con artists who have made Houston what it is. Or isn’t. Including a couple of mayors.

    I hope they don’t plan on widening Waugh or West Gray. They started this “street hugging” over on Woodway between South Loop West and South Post Oak some years ago. And of course cannot widen Woodway now. Unless they tear down all the buildings.

  • Houston doesn’t have a developer problem; it has a lack of passion problem. Developers will do whatever the rules allow them to do, nothing more. They are not interested in investing more for the potential of greater long-term returns because as soon as this project is fully-leased, it’ll be flipped to a REIT. The only way to get better developments is to make and enforce rules,ordinances, and guidelines that require better.
    There have been 25 years worth of studies and master plans showing what Houston should be doing in regards to development, especially streetscapes inside the loop for a better future, but the masses still voted for Parker instead of Brown – who had real passion about these issues.
    And we still board flights out of town when we want to experience the kinds of cities and public spaces that we don’t demand for our own.
    And please, none of that clap about how having stiffer requirements stifles investment. NYC and SFO have the most complicated, complex, and difficult permitting processes in the country, and developers continue begging to build in those cities – and making money.
    They are not going to do anything for the “good” of the community, city, or future. It’s about immediate return for shareholders and little else. There is actually nothing wrong with that – it’s their job.
    It’s only Houstonians lack of passion that allows lame-ass developments like this, allowed sending the shuttles elsewhere to be defensible (where is our world-class space museum to honor it – Space Center Houston ain’t it), and allows pro team owners to field lame teams year after year and still get rewarded with our hard-earned millions.

    We have no one to blame but ourselves.

  • It gives potential drunk drivers less room to work with. You make one mistake, BAMMM your in someones apartment…Seems like a reasonable variance request to me.

  • I don’t get all the hate. The Tavern site is a dump and an eyesore. Their parking lot is a joke. The rest of the houses on the block are obsolete at best. Good riddance to them all.

    I think the proposed project looks great. Would I like some retail? Sure. Is it the end of the world not to have retail? Of course not.

    I live a few blocks from this project. There’s plenty of retail, restaurants and bars within walking distance.

    Some of you retail lovers need to realize the primary factors that drives retail development: households and income within the trade area. This development is a step in the right direction.

    If we stuff more people, more jobs and more money into the inner loop, the bars, restaurants and shops will find a way to squeeze in somewhere and earn our dollars.

  • Thanks for the photo credit guys.

  • i can’t imagine anything else going in on this lot other than housing, so we should at least be happy that it’s dense housing and not another doctors townhome. as for setbacks, they’ll dissapear eventually, but if someone wants a favor then we should make them pay for it somehow.

    if that’s best done with retail at street level then let’s do that. i haven’t noticed a shortage of retail vacancies in the inner loop though (i may be wrong, i’m not in the industry) so i’m not sure what kind of retail one could expect to fill a spot inside a complex with difficult parking besides another boring bar/coffee shop, but as a developer i would definitely consider it a risk to my margins.

    i take it there’s not enough room for an ashby highrise here?

  • I bet $100 none of you moaners care enough to actually, oh I don’t know, go to the variance hearing…
    And there’s a simple way to keep someone from tearing down your 1940’s bungalo… BUY IT.

  • Actually, ground floor retail is an uphill struggle. Apartment managers want to manage apartments. Shopping center managers want to manage retail tenants. Plus, with the slim profile of this lot…where 10 extra feet is needed for the parking…putting 50 or 100 foot deep retailers in the garage would be even worse.

    And, despite the claims of the poster several spots up, mixed use retail space is a very hard sell. Dallas pushed several developers to include ground floor retail in new complexes, and most of them sit idle.

    The fact is, Houston is capable of separating the two, so developers and retailers prefer to do so. Only in dense urban areas do retailers attempt to carve out space wherever they can find it. Despite the love affair with mixed use retail, it is still a very rare bird…especially in new development.

    It is still amusing to see many of the opponents of the “suburban style” Walmart posting complaints about dense urban residential development. Isn’t this EXACTLY what they wanted on Yale? Is there nothing that will please some people?

  • Re: Comment 23 — well said, John. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture.

  • @ John: Amen brother!! (do you suppose high humidity causes lack of passion?)
    @ Bernard: New homes at this site are definitely welcome. But they do not have to be designed exactly as proposed here.
    @ joel: No.
    Setbacks won’t just naturally disappear; we residents and voters LET them disappear.
    @ Jim re: (I paraphrase) ‘Moaners go BUY those properties you care about.’
    That’s where thousands of years of freaking CIVILIZATION come in: People establish and support rules for the common good!
    Houston is not the OK-Corral, okay?
    I don’t live near West Gray, though I go there often. I go there because it has draws (cultural and economic.) Fu** the area up, and those features move away. Who wants that? Developers?
    Oh yeah, developers want that . . .

  • Actually, I own a house a stones throw away from there… Put up or shut up.

    Nothing threatens civilization like people who think bitching is equivalent to getting off there ass and doing something :p

  • Houston’s “Planning” commission will certainly grant a variance for something as horrible as this. They are bought and paid for, and appointed for life.

    All they want to know is, “Is that check made out to cash?”

    You can show up and complain all you want to. It will make no difference. It made no difference when the Youth Hostel wanted a variance on Lovett, it will make no difference here.


  • Dave, your comment “Actually, ground floor retail is an uphill struggle” is utter non-sense. It’s the same BS that has permeated the debate in this city for 20 years. Ground floor retail exist in every city in the world. It is being developed VERY successfully here in Houston in brand-new developments, West Ave and City Centre. Even the Woodlands and Sugarland have successful projects.

    Yes, it is far more prevalent where land values are high and density warrants it, OR where codes demand it, OR where city leaders and developers share a VISION and a PLAN for the communities where they are built.
    The problem with NOT having a plan is that once this project is built as described, that major intersection will be remained unchanged for 100 years. With more and more development on Waugh; Whole Foods, restaurants, a Finger midrise or highrise coming, it would be smart to PLAN the corridor from West Gray to Allen Parkway as an urban, dense,walkable district. It’s already happening, but like Midtown, with no plan, so it will wind up sucking just like Midtown. It doesn’t have to be this way.
    Your comments represent the lazy, least common denominator mentality that is the problem. “Oh, at least they are building something” Many of us don’t believe that doing the “least” is good enough.

  • And what retail is supposed to create that urban ambience? Another nifty nail salon? Perhaps a darling dry cleaners?
    Oh yes, there’s that adorable mailbox etc….store. Wait, there isn’t a Kolache shop within a mile!
    Let’s face it, there are plenty of retail spaces in the area. None of the types of businesses that would open would generate “ambience”. You need independent retailers–clothing boutiques, home furnishings stores, a voodoo shop etc…..and
    those retailers are few and far between. For example, no one can seem to make a go of it in that strip near Paulie’s on Westheimer and that is a “cute” area. If you are so dead set on retail at ground level, go work yourself up a business plan, get a loan and set up shop. Be sure to give up your weekends, holidays and forget your profit sharing, cushy healthcare and don’t take it personally when some wannabe matron treats you as though you were only good enough to clean up after her dog.

  • John,

    Speaking of lazy, least common denominator mentalities, are the anticipated residents of this apartment complex to lazy or stupid to walk across the street to the River Oaks Shopping Center? What could possibly go in this parking garage that cannot be found in the River Oaks, or up Waugh, or east on W. Gray, or in the future Regent Square, which will rise just a few blocks away on Dunlavy. What is it about this 200 foot wide strip of dirt that holds the entire future of Houston mixed use urban walkability in it’s grimy little fingers?

  • i would just be careful with trying to use those faux city-centre developments as an example of mixed use retail working as those are of an entirely different scale than this and aren’t really comparable. along with housing, they’re also designed and dependent on being destination spots and are much more extensive and rely on big pocketbooks. definitely not the type of businesses that create a nieghborly ambience anyway.

  • Mixed-use projects are all the rage, but often times, the ground floor retail storefronts remain empty long after residents have moved in.

    ” The Cityville apartments just east of Parkland Hospital offer more than 260 new rental units in a row of brightly colored buildings.

    One look at the parking garage shows that the apartments have leased well.

    But so far, not much is going on with the ground-floor retail space. Only one space, containing a small sandwich shop, is occupied in the 42,000-square-foot strip along Medical District Drive.

    Developers are hoping that retail business will pick up in the project when the DART rail station opens across the street in 2010.

    Such mixed-use developments with shops and apartments are all the rage with developers.

    Although the apartments have been a hit, somebody forgot to check with the shopkeepers. And some of these projects – like the one on Medical District Drive – have been slow to lease.

    That doesn’t surprise apartment analyst Greg Willett.

    “It’s a good concept, but it hasn’t always come together the way people thought it would,” said Mr. Willett, vice president of research with Carrollton-based M/PF YieldStar. “Multifamily developers don’t necessarily know how to do retail correctly.”

    Often it’s not the developer but city officials who want to include shops in apartment complexes. The cities want the sales taxes generated by retail, he said.

    And sometimes it’s easier to get a mixed-use development zoned than stand-alone apartment projects, industry consultants and builders say.”

    Full Story: Mixed-use developments often struggle to fill retail space
    Source: Dallas Morning News, April 11, 2008

  • The Jim who quoted Ada Louise Huxtable (me) is not the same Jim who lives by the “put up or shut up” philosophy and can’t spell “their.” I just wanted to get that on the record.

  • 5 feet?? There’s not a lot of landscaping that can fit in 5 feet, unless they remove a sidewalk.

  • You “planning” simpletons crack me up… or maybe you’re scaring the shit of me… I’m not sure.

    Do you really think that “planning” or zoning or whatever you want to call it is going to get you what you want? 4/20 was yesterday, so I’ll just assume you’re all still too baked to think clearly.

    The last time the City of Houston decided to get in the planning and real estate development business we ended up with Mercado Del Sol. I have zero reason to believe any future effort to “plan” our great City’s development would yield better results.

    It’s down right comical to see people hold up NYC or San Francisco or Sugar Land (gasp!) or The Woodlands (gasp!) as examples that Houston should try to emulate. Holy shit, people!!!! Do you not realize that we are already 10x better than these places and we’re only extending our lead further from here????

  • We moved out of this area not because of new development but becaus of lack of development ideas. The lots are just too small the houses are just too small. Move to OAKFOREST and buy a new home there huge and great and you will have tons of space. Montrose is over its only for the young if your over 35 and your still going to bars and clubs and that is your priority seek counseling. There is more to life than Montrose.

  • There have to be potential retail customers to go in those spaces. Presumably if the developer thought they could make money from retailers they would put them in. But they’re already building in a district with a lot of retail.

  • If I live in a “walkable” neighborhood I have access to a couple of restaurants and maybe a couple of services but with my CAR I have access to THOUSANDS of restaurants, services, venues, malls, etc. without having to use the same one twice… Why would I give a sh*t about a “walkable” neighborhood?!?!??!?

  • It’s like people want to LIVE in the developer’s West Ave renderings. Lots of people walking around shopping at high-end boutique shops, eating at hot trendy restaurants, driving Bentleys and Ferraris. Maybe some day all of Houston will be like that rendering… *sigh*

  • ha ha ha ha ha Ha Ha Ha HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    this string of comments is outstanding!
    so many of you talk like Houston is this giant failure of a city. Hm. Growing. Sprawling. Economy that survives when others fail. Destination city to live. Difference? No zoning. Could that have something to do with the success of this city? Also, the fact that there is something for everyone, including neighborhood and areas of town that cater to all types of preferences…so you have choice. Freedom to move, to buy, to build, to change.
    And furthermore? personally? not interested in a walkable neighborhood most of the year…a little on the warm and humid side for that in our city. But, again, to each his own!

  • It’s amazing to watch year after year, just how defensive, antagonistic, and belligerent so many Houstonians are towards anyone who suggests that Houston is big enough for more than one type of lifestyle. Houston is 650 plus square miles, but the suburbia-living, Suburban-driving masses FREAK OUT if some of us even suggest that even ONE of those 650 square miles is planned and used differently.
    San Francisco is always in the top ten of walkable cities, top ten of vacation spots, top ten of beautiful cities. Yet, San Francisco is only 49 sq miles, why is ONE square mile of something like it too much to ask for Houston; that would leave 649 SQUARE MILES of car-required bliss for the rest of you. Why are the reactions from those who claim not to ever want to be without their car so violent? No one is requiring that you ever enter that scary square mile; just drive around it! Are all your feelings hurt because some total strangers don’t share your idea of utopia? Why do you care?

  • The only reason I personally care is because people who push “walkable” neighborhoods, more parks, rail, etc. never put their money where their mouth is. They always want someone else to bear the cost, just like the good ‘ole communist system. And that’s the part that’s frankly offensive to me.

  • Commonsense, ARE YOU SERIOUS?? Who’s “money” do think paid for the expansion of the Katy Freeway to 30 lanes to benefit west side developers and suburbanites? Whose money is paying for the ridiculous Grand Parkway? Billions of “our” money is spent to basically subsidize the costs of living for those who choose to live 30 miles from their jobs. That is offensive to me.

  • The I10 expansion and the Grand Parkway were either voted for or scheduled by elected officials, which only shows that MAJORITY is willing to put their money on the car concept. If you believe the alternative is a better choice, then put down the bong and round up some votes.

  • Commonsense, Thanks. Your post and attitude completely prove the points of my earlier post.

  • more to what Ludikriss mentioned, houston is primarily a destination because we have jobs and it’s cheap. however, we have an average income far below that of most big cities and when you spread those meager incomes out farther than other cities and make folks spend a sizeable amount on their own transportation, it means there is both not enough demand or enough concentrated disposable income in sizeable areas to support that type of retail. living in houston means we have to have cars so no matter what kind of developments we implement people will always resort to the most efficient means, which is usually driving. even in places like san fran, concentrated shopping districts still form and it’s mostly eateries and junk that dot the more barren landscapes. being that we have easy access to grocery stores here and lack tourism altogether we really don’t require those kinds of places. we’ll get there, but we need more density and this complex will help that by pulling in more young professionals with money to burn in the area.

    some of this can be related to what we’re seeing with the gov’t. forcing things into development when there just isn’t the market for it can be wasteful for everyone and deter future investment in the area which is not good for future prosperity.

  • “some of this can be related to what we’re seeing with the gov’t. forcing things into development”

    Like the Grand Parkway.

  • SCW – making yourself feel good about your move out of Montrose? I am over 35 and like living Montrose area. AND I don’t go to bars and clubs past 6pm. There is more to this area than bars and clubs numbnuts. parks, walking trails, museums. Oak Forest is for people with kiddies who have no life.

  • I hope all you retail-philes are all patronizing “bungalo”at W Clay and Marconi.

    And for those of you wanting to open your own retail nearby, the abandoned house with the homeless guy living on the front porch at Waugh just north of Clay is available.

    What are you waiting for?
    How’s my spelling?

  • Seems like a lot of people are taking cheap money for granted, to the point where they don’t even consider it as a factor in creating Houston’s advantages (or, more likely, were too stupid to realize it in the first place).

    Those days are in danger of leaving us, and there will have to be some lifestyle changes around here.

  • @John

    Good call on the Grand Parkway, seems like eminent domain somehow gets a free pass from the “me want it” crowd. Turns out talking out of both sides of their mouth only works for them when they can get away with it.

  • @ Jim – I drive by there almost every day. That guy has been there for years! I have wondered how he gets by with living on that porch. He ‘tidy’s up’ his space when he leaves and recycles old political signage well. If I was bold enough, I would put a six pack of tall boys and a couple of Antoine’s subs on ice and offer it up in exchange for his story.

  • So if the government, elected by the people, decided to take land by eminent domain and spend a ton of money on a freeway, that’s democracy in action. If the government, elected by the people, decides to require setbacks and parking lots, that’s the will of the people! If the government, elected by the people requires walkable development in a few locations, that’s communism.

  • You’re missing the point, the elected officials determined that a whole lot of people need/want the Grand Parkway and they also determined that not enough people care about the walkable developments to spend money on it. So, yes it IS democracy in action.

  • Alright, it’s a little too obvious now. Good job, troll, now move along.

  • What most fail to see, and why Houston will never be a “walkable city”, is that for most of the year it’s too hot and humid to walk anywhere! I know when I go out to eat I don’t want to walk in somewhere with sweat pouring down my face and my damp shirt stuck to my back. I also don’t want to carry my week’s worth of groceries home.

  • Rice, if you drive around one of those walkable utopias they are referring to and look at the people walking around, you can instantly tell that taking a shower was never very high on their priority list in the first place.

  • Whose going to walk to a walkable area like that? just the people who lives in the apartments! We are not an urban dense city so we should just embrace Houston for the sprawl (yes, even inner loop where you have to get in your car to go anywhere) it is. Great people, great restaruants, no snow, etc. It is hot outside, so you know what is walkable in Houston? It is the malls!!! Just build apartments and condo’s on the malls and that would be a walkable neighborhood. And very appropriate for a place like Houston where everbody does love their cars! They tried to make downtown living cool and there are a lot of empty lofts and apartments. 98% of everybody here wants a car and a garage and a tree…and to be close to the freeway.

  • Commonsense=oximoron. I lived in the Montrose for 10 years and was 20 lbs lighter than now, I miss walking to the store, parks, restaurants. I do walk the dog but not as much fun as it was 20 years ago.
    I grew up in New England and moved here for the heat, I can shovel 90 degree days for months on end here. Screw walking, digging driving living in snow! Its easier to strip and take a cold(luke warm) shower than bundle up with 3 socks, longjohns, gloves, scarves, hats, and a space heater. Plus if you dont have friends with a pool you are not connected. It is always appropriate to show up at my pool with a six pack and a bag of ice in august anytime.

  • The bozos at the planning department (lower case intentional) are very sensitive to public opinion. Very. Inordinately so.
    If even just a handful of locals show up and voice opposition to the variance–unless there was a payoff (which certainly happens all the time in government), the variance will be denied or a decision postponed (in order for applicant and opposition to confer / come up with a plan that is mutually agreeable).

    I’m no fan of the pricks who own the property that the Tavern and their parking lots sit on–they’ve created one of the biggest eyesores in the Montrose / River Oaks area on that corner–so I’d love to see just about ANYTHING go up on those lots that require taking a bulldozer to the Tavern.

    But if you don’t like the setbacks they are asking for, show up at the variance hearing, request to be heard, and voice your opinion in a logical, rational way to the city council who makes these decisions.
    If enough people show up and do that–and by enough I mean even just a handful–the city will probably make them go back to the drawing board and come up with another proposal.

  • Jon and John above are right about the value of Houston looking at an urban option, but the presence of so many like Freddie J Jones and Ludikriss. They see only one way, and out of 650 sq miles, not one should be set aside. Ironically, it is GOVERNMENT rules and funding that promotes suburban, space-wasting development. If people had to pay every day for the cost of the roads they use,or for the government-required parking spaces (subsidized by non-car users in the prices they pay), they might think differently. Instead, the costs is hidden in catch-all taxes. And, after all, isn;t it a goverment regulation that these developers are trying to waive? So, the suburban-lovers say that businesses should be able to make their own decisions as to what works, govt’ should not push urbanism, therefore, they should NOT be allowed to make their judgements here, and the variance should not be waved -Do I have that right? Houstonians, who have a lower average wage than those in Seattle, San Fran, or NYC, pay more in absolute dollars in transportation. FACT is that it is the city government, with the support of many Houstonians who see no value in an attractive city, and prefer to retreat indoors, actively makes urbanization difficult, and promotes far-flung developments with miles of expensive infrastructure at taxpayer cost.

  • @Jared (If enough people show up and do that–and by enough I mean even just a handful–the city will probably make them go back to the drawing board and come up with another proposal.)

    I love your optimism.

    Have you ever seen that work? Because I have not.

    The latest was the overwhelming number of folks showing up to oppose the Lovett Inn’s variance request for parking. The “planning” commission did not care. The fix was in, as I expect it is in here.

  • In all the years I worked at a shop on West Grey, I never had a customer who walked there.Which explains the valet parking in the Events/Mandola/Friedkin parking lot.

  • Of course nobody walks to the shops on West Gray. They are in a standard suburban shopping strip, desgined for car access, and all storefronts are fronted by parkng lots. That is not urban curbside retail. Strange argument to make. All of Houston is like that, with the micro-exception of McKinney Street & Main, and Bagby and West Gray. It’s why Houston is routinely labeled the fattest city in America, and why we are the most polluted. I like Houston for other things, but facts are facts. Who are all these people so adamantly opposed to even one corner of walkable space?

  • I am glad Tavern is going away! This bar saw it’s best day years ago. I can remember when it was Blue Agave, then like three or four other bars before becoming Tavern. I am not keen on the plans without retail, but I am sure it will go forward without any retail no matter what the public thinks. Everyone should start looking at the old homes on the other side of that same stretch of West Gray because there are a few investors who have been buying properties for another large development. If you look at HCAD you will see blocks starting to come together under the same names that have secured other single family lots to combine them in to large tracts. The Tavern build is just the begining of the end to what we all knew as the Reality Bites Hood…..yes I know the home in that movie was on West Dallas.

  • Why aren’t people around this area complaining about new retail??? Is there some website where people sign up and complain with the city????

    It would be nice to have a little alley between buildings with a coffe shop, a crepe shop, a flower shop..common folks…look at what city center became!!!! It’s awesome!!!

  • @JR REsident, despite your wildest desires Houston will never become Paris.

    …”Crepe Shop?”

  • The best alleys have creep shops.