Hey, good one! Remember all those revisions Buckhead Investment Partners finally made to the Ashby High Rise plans — cutting out a bunch of the ground-floor retail space, enlarging the restaurant, and putting that big driveway loop on Bissonnet — so that the city might finally approve the Southampton-side tower? Yesterday the developers told the Chronicle‘s Mike Snyder they were really just part of an elaborate fake-out maneuver:
Between July 2007 and August of this year, city officials rejected applications for the project 11 times on grounds that traffic it generated would increase congestion on nearby streets to unacceptable levels.
In August, the city approved a 12th application after [Buckhead’s Matthew] Morgan and [Kevin] Kirton removed all the commercial uses except the restaurant and reduced the number of residential units. The developers said Wednesday that they changed their plans to test whether the city would approve their project under any circumstances, but never intended to build anything other than the project they designed in 2007.
Aw, c’mon: If you actually did go ahead and build the approved plans, that would be a great stunt too! But how did these fun-loving developers happen upon such a wacky strategy? Snyder provides some insight into their inspiration:
Morgan and Kirton said they haven’t given up hope that a new administration would approve the original project, even though both mayoral candidates committed to the neighborhood recently they wouldn’t do so.
“In the political process, people don’t always say and do the same things after an election,” Morgan said.
Yesterday, city council members turned down an appeal by the developers to let them build the original plans rejected by the city engineer — y’know, the version they were really serious about.
- City Council rejects Ashby high-rise [Houston Chronicle]
- Council rules against Ashby developers’ appeal [River Oaks Examiner]
- Ashby Highrise coverage [Swamplot]
Rendering of original Ashby Highrise: Buckhead Investment Partners