Ashby Highrise To Start Rising on Bissonnet This Year

Buckhead Investment Partners’ Kevin Kirton tells former HBJ staffer Allison Wollam that his company plans to submit the latest version of the now-21-story apartment building known as the Ashby Highrise to the city for its already assured permitting approvals in the “very near future” — in time to begin construction late this year. Building the project, he says, should take 18 to 24 months — about the same amount of time it took the proposed development to obtain its original permit approval — 3 years ago. There’s pricing info in Wollam’s report, too:


Apartments in the tower planned for the corner of Bissonnet and Ashby and long advertised prominently on many Southampton front lawns will average 1,350 sq. ft. and cost around $3,375 a month, or $2.50 per sq. ft. Kirton is eager to use a committee of neighborhood residents intended to address construction-related issues surrounding the project (and required by the settlement of the developer’s lawsuit against the city) “to communicate with the community,” he tells Wollam.

Photo of Maryland Manor Apartments, 1717 Bissonnet St.: Candace Garcia. Rendering: Buckhead Investment Partners

62 Comment

  • Great cant wait to see this building go up.

  • I guess a lot can happen between now and a mid-2014 completion date, but wouldn’t you expect a lot of competition in the high-end rental market by then? $2.50 will be some of the highest rates in the city.

  • Sad, I feel bad for the people in that neighborhood and its such a shame Bissonnet is such a nice street to drive down. The traffic is going to be horrendous when this thing is being built :(

  • Haha! Sucks to be the upper middle class people that live around there. Oh, first world problems.

    I don’t feel bad for anyone living around there.

  • I suspect that the developers have some deals lined up with big health care companies to provide corporate housing for short term projects in the Medical center. For $3,375, you can own a much large townhome in most parts of Houston or a house in the Heights. Park Place downtown has kept rents high and stayed full thanks to corporate deals.

  • I have a single family a mile or so from the Ashby highrise and my mortgage (15 yr) is way less than 3375.

  • Wow, that is a hefty rent! Does it come with a unicorn or some magic beans? Maybe, now, people who move here from the East Coast will feel more at home.

  • What the heck are they going to offer to get that kind of $/sf. I just hope the investors are as skeptical of the $2.50/sqft. as the rest of us.

  • I think by setting the $/sf this high they are trying to avoid getting too many Rice kids as residents. Although their parents most likely can afford it for them, they will most likely opt for cheaper alternatives. This would avoid turning high-rise living into a party central like The Royalton and Memorial by Windsor.

  • Can’t wait for the “neighborhood committee” to start “communicating.” Their last “communication” was a threat to harass the developers, anyone associated with the project, and any and all tenants. The $2.50 per square foot probably includes armed guards, missile detection systems and anti-missile installations that even the Israelis don’t have. And maybe free cable…

  • $3375? In Houston? That is crazy-talk, though if I were an eccentric billionaire I’d rent one just to spite the NIMBYs.

  • I hope they find another parcel nearby and build a 42 story tower.

  • Marvy Finger has done well with the “upper end” and not all of them are “corporate” types. He apparently learned the “art of marketing” from Edith Personnette.

  • @GlenW a 42 story tower would be great !!!

  • Can’t wait to see the finished product. However I am skeptical they will be able to lease at rates that high.

  • I (heart) Ashby Highrise!

  • YES!! This property is an ideal place for high-rise living. Wonderful 360 urban views. Tree lined BLVD. Not on a quiet “side” residental street(!), but attractivly placed near shopps and food ect. On a street with plenty of traffic lights. This type of development is what makes houston a great place to live. Those who don’t like it…. should move out to the middle of “no where”. I can see a day when bissonet is lined with highrises from the museum all the way out to 610 loop.

  • People who think that $3000plus for rent in a luxury high-rise in Houston is “outrageous” have not been paying attention for the last 10 years. Museum Tower and several others have been at 95%plus occupancy for years with similar rates. I think a lot of Houstonians have NO idea just how wealthy hundreds of thousands of their fellow Houstonians actually are today.

  • Will it have scary eyes and crazy arms?

  • Some of Randal Davis’ places rent for a high price like this, and all of the 3 or 4 units I’ve been in were just shiny turds… kinda cheesy for all that rent. And there is a LOT of big money in Houston. Big Stupid money.

  • @katie
    Well, it is the “Tower of Terror.” Scary eyes and crazy arms seem appropriate.

  • These rents are perfectly inline with other similar buildings (especially ones close by).

    Don’t also forget about corporate housing which many workers get paid especially when they are relocated. My current job is paying me $3,600/month just for housing and living expenses beyond my contract pay here in North Dakota. Same deals happen all across the U.S. and world when relocating employees on contract or temporary basis.

  • Good! I tried to park close on Ashby close to Rice for a night time event, and every damn street had neighborhood parking restrictions. Real Asshole behavior by the property owners who owe all of their neighborhood’s cachet to Rice and the people that attend their events. I hope that tower causes a goddam eclipse in that neighborhood and that all their grass and trees die from lack of sunlight.

  • Traffic will be slow during construction but will NOT be increased by more than a few seconds after the bldg is finished. Traffic was the only thing the opposition could find to get the masses to get upset about. Everything was legally done by developers. Move to the suburbs if you do not want your inner city to grow.

  • Scott,

    Did you ever consider paying for parking, that their neighborhood wasnt a parking garage?

  • I can’t wait. I wonder if they will give an anti-NIMBY discount to those of us who loathe their neighbors?

  • $3,300 plus is reasonable high end rent especially for this location, as someone stated Museum Tower is the best comparable. Despite a comment to the contrary you cannot own in the sub-market for $3,300 once you factor insurance and real estate taxes into the equation.

  • Rise, Ashby, Rise!!!

  • The parking restrictions were started years ago, back in the 90’s. They’ve gotten more restrictive as the years go by. Part of the problem is that the Rice students and faculty wont park on the campus for some reason. Dont know what it costs to do so, but it must be astronomical. There is almost no parking on the campus that isn’t either pay or permit only. Thats why the nearby residents had to get the signs. Otherwise the students, faculty, and night time event attendees would have the streets 24 hours a day. It is NOT a reaction to the highrise of doom.

    I lived on the first block of Bolsover for ten years (in the 90’s) and more than once came out to get into my car and caught Rice students with a rachet set removing a’No Parking’ sign by their car.

    Also, money is nice and money is important; I work hard for it every day. But, I am so freaking bored with some developer’s ‘highest and best purpose’ cant. A city is made up of more than dollars and what they can buy. Only a philistine would define the highest and best purpose soley in terms of monetary value.

  • @Lost in Translation – yeah I paid $7 for two hours of parking at Rice. After 7:30pm on a Wednesday. I could fathom the daytime proscriptions – but at night – it’s assholeish plain and simple. It’s still the Montrose not Shadyside.It’s not a gated community, it’s a public Houston street. I paid for that street. All Houstonians did. And so what if Rice students park there for a few hours? it’s not like they were juvenile deliquents. They’re nerds. Protecting yourself from nerds in unwashed 10 year old cars – my oh my, what bourgeois martinets you are – I hope that high rise brings all the “wrong sorts of people” to live on your doorstep. Quel horreur!

  • Height restrictions that never expire and would require a neighborhood vote, not city approval are still attached to this property through deed restrictions…… They never expire and should be clearly disclosed via the closing documents from the title company otherwise the title is not clear once the restrictions are violated…..we in the industry call it an encumbrance…….also what bank in their right mind is falling for the we are going to rent it so we can build our monument to ourselves no matter what kind of developer attitude? Get a clue banks because this type of development will remain vacant just as the towers in the Galleria have since the 1970’s……. How about we focus on building in areas that need us, like the Hardy Rail Project or the East End or finishing Midtown? Are so called rich people these days that stupid or closed minded that they can only conceive building in an area that is already “cool” or “affluent”? What a JOKE!

  • The tower would fit nicely on Allen Parkway, Durham or North Shepard…all of which have better downtown views and the Heights options would never be blocked due to the height restrictions of the Historic Heights neighborhood……..but what do I know, only have done these kind of projects and worked out kinks like this for years……..think outside the box people…..that goes for tear it down Marvey too…..Here is a clue Marvey, tear down your ghetto old apartments before tearing down historic buildings anywhere!

  • Also the Heights locations would allow the retail option to be put back in to the building design………making the project even more appealing

  • LOLing at the same idiotic comments but the new one about this site being close to “shopps and food” is a new favorite. Hope the new residents enjoy eating at raven and picnic and then repeating the same over and over again…

  • From Greg L H:
    YES!! This property is an ideal place for high-rise living. Wonderful 360 urban views. Tree lined I can see a day when bissonet is lined with highrises from the museum all the way out to 610 loop.

    =======not on the south side from Kirby to just past Weslayan you won’t see this. West U zoning prevents that from happening……

  • A few random thoughts…

    1. Build it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. I drove westbound on Bissonnet a few weeks ago at 5:30 PM on a weekday and there was NO TRAFFIC AT ALL, just smooth sailing.

    3. The maintenance fee alone at the Huntingdon is nearly $1.00 PSF / month. Don’t forget the real estate taxes on top of that. $2.50/SF in rent doesn’t seem so bad.

    4. Lots of other stuff on Bissonnet is ripe for redevelopment too.

  • While the rent makes me gasp a bit, it is commensurate with that being charged at other high-end apartment buildings like Seven Riverway. (see link)

  • @Scott:

    The population of Rice (students + staff) has probably doubled in the past 20 years. And the university has eliminated all unregulated parking on campus. Protections for residential parking in the surrounding neighborhoods are a necessity at this point. I see this as no different from any other large urban campus in the United States. Houstonians that visit Rice, the Village, the Med Center and probably Montrose one day will get used to paying for parking. It’s part of living in a denser city.

  • Bill who do you think you are not to have to deal with people parking on your street? People in New York deal with it. People in London do. Paris, Moscow, Chicago, Mexico City – whatever. The reason not to park on a city street is the requirement that traffic will flow. Those residential streets near Rice do not have traffic flow issues. The problem really is that Ashby residents think that they live in a suburban enclave and not in a city – a city that is becoming denser. And they are protecting their prerogatives. But it’s not as if the whole population of Rice, (less than 9,000 people) are going to be parking in front of your house. Especially after 7pm. This is all bound to change anyway because developers are now going to start crunching the numbers to see if they can buy some adjoining properties on Sunset. Those views from midrise condo towers would be just lovely looking out over Rice.

  • Scott. I’m just a simple man with simple dreams. Not even a homeowner yet.

    I think you are missing my point. First, are you suggesting that all of the Rice community would not park in the neighborhood if there were no parking restrictions? They could park for free and be closer to their dorms/offices. Of course they would. That’s commonsense. So we can at least agree that some residential parking restrictions are needed. I do empathize with your frustrations on a Wednesday night. Perhaps a model like downtown (free from 6 pm to 7 am) would make more sense. I’d be cool with that.

    Down the line, I could see a zoned residential parking system in place like DC, San Fran, etc. Residents would at least be guaranteed some street parking on or near their block, but maybe not in front of their own house. But that still wouldn’t benefit visitors too much.

  • I cant wait to see this tower go up and all those rick folks living around it implode with rage because they didnt get their way.

  • Sorry you got all butthurt Bill, but your wrong. Parking on Ashby itself has been locked down and closed off for years, most of the North South streets in the area are that way. For the E-W streets, like mine, they are restricted from 9-5 M-F and open on nights and weekends. Even that openness is a bit much as I have had to chase people off who park in front of my driveway. At this point I am just going to start calling tow trucks.

    You’re so urban, maybe you should park downtown and take the train to Rice. I mean that is what they do in New York and Chicago.

  • Sorry, not Bill, Scott. Bill is right.

  • Scott, your rants echo the occupy Houston crowd, “we want it all, oh wait, we have to pay? No fair!”

  • Residential parking permits are a crock of shit.

    All taxpayers pay for the roads, including the curb in front of your house. Property owners do not own that curb.

    If parking is scarce, and there is a problem with people camping out in spots, the solution is easy: parking meters. Rates can be varied depending on the time of day, so that they are cheaper or free for off-peak times – like a Wednesday night.

    But the spots, which are a public good, should not be privatized for only the people who live there. Those aren’t private roads.

  • I did pay for that. I paid for those streets, in my property taxes and sales taxes, and especially those Metro taxes I’ve been paying for 30 years that has yet to bring any sort of train or tram anywhere near where I live. You do not own the street in front of your house. Houstonians do. It is a publicly owned resource. It can not be privatized in Houston. Does that sound all Commie-fied and Pinko to you? Well that’s America for you.

    I’m sorry Matt that you don’t see the humor in hyperbolic exaggeration for humorous rhetorical effect. I guess you went to a bad college. But goody for you, you have done well financially, and you have the privilege of living next to people that actually do go to a good college, and you should be happy to let them park in front of your house at nighttime, from 7 until midnight. Or you could still just be churlish and lose any sympathy that other Houstonians have for your NIMBY upper class “problems.”

  • Sucks working in that Ashby area as a contractor – we have to either get a “permission slip” from the home’s owner to display in my windshield to park close to the job, or park way away from the job site so the parking nazis don’t go into a frenzy.

    Over here in Winlow Place we have to deal with Westheimer clubbers/hanger outers or Brasil patrons(somehow Dan was able to open that place with NO parking lot at all) or obnoxious parents/teachers from Lanier who can’t park close enough to the school. For some reason every time our neighborhood tries to get restricted parking the CoH says no way. Guess we need more whiny-ass crybaby lawyers living over here to get our way.

  • only dense multi-family areas have the right/need for parking restrictions, anything else is just pure greed. paying the same tax rate as everyone else in the city doesn’t privilige you to control of the surface parking on public streets, control of the elevation of neighboring homes, a vaccum of silence at all hrs of the day etc, it simply entitles you to the same protections as all other taxpayers.

    all this does is distort true market/living conditions at the expense of efficiency and best use of property.

    i just like how all these home dwellers just loving living next Rice and enjoy soaking up all the money/time investments the school devotes to the area all the while restricting access to the school from new homeowners/students in the various ways discussed above.

  • For those Of you who claim that your taxes pay for the roads, maybe slips should be issued out to give you access commensurate with your contribution. Oh, you’re a student and don’t pay property tax and only minimal sales tax. Sorry you can’t drive on Houston’s streets. Oh, you’re a billionaire businessman, park wherever you like, the middle of Katy freeway is fine by me. In any case, complaining about the residents asking for parking restrictions is just churlish. If it really is necessary to park in southhampton, petition te city of Houston. If your argument is intelligent and persuasive enough I’m sure you can convince COH to lift the parking restrictions. Otherwise, these arguments just smell of someone who can’t stand not getting their way.

  • Oh wow. You really don’t get what living in a city entails, and why people have been doing so for thousands of years. We all pay a price to live in a city. Everyone pays property taxes, even if they don’t own their house, because those taxes get passed along as a portion of rent. In exchange for the taxes we all pay, we enjoy certain commodities in common like police and fire protection, and roads. I actually need streets much less than the average Houstonian since I only drive about 5,000 miles a year. But I pay for highways and byways all the same. I too would like to only pay for items that actually use, for example since I don’t have kids, why should I pay for your kids education? Well because living in a society and an economy that needs growth and assets to commercial activity, it’s actually beneficial to pay for some things I don’t actually use directly. Parking once every 20 years on Ashby street to go see a theater show across Sunset isn’t a lot to ask for or expect.

  • I get what living in a city entails and calling people assholes because the city decides that there need to be parking restrictions in their neighborhood because it wasn’t meant to be a street parking area just smacks of entitlement. And saying you deserve it because you pay taxes is hilarious non sequitar. There’s plenty of public spaces that restrict how you can use them. You just don’t like this one because it inconveniences you. Maybe the answer does need to be meters over the neighborhood, but your complaining here won’t solve a thing.

  • When I’ve lived in cities with residential parking restrictions, the reasoning has been that everyone has to park on the street in dense residential areas where off street parking is rare, and if you don’t have some kind of permitting, people won’t want to live there & it will hurt the neighborhood.

    I’m pretty astonished by the idea of residential parking permits in an area where everybody seems to have a driveway.

    (Ah, fond memories of looking for parking for 45 minutes after work because I lived near Fenway Park and it was game day…)

  • Lost_In_Translation, Scott would probably be on the first bitch-bandwagon if there were meters, I mean how dare the city try and make money in front of a homeowners house, I mean, Scott pays property taxes…..

  • I’m only okay with Residential Parking Restrictions if the houses that get them have to pay significantly for their exclusive private use of public property. I believe it currently doesn’t cost much. THere are some instances where yes it makes sense (the area around Rice is a great example) but I don’t think the city should just give those people private access without some form of compensation. (BTW I live in the heights and constantly have people parking in front of my house for local businesses which i’m find with, if they block my driveway i call a tow truck… pretty simple.)

  • In Boston the resident permit is free after you prove residence. In DC I used to pay $20 or something like that. The permit doesn’t give you exclusive use of public space. It gives you the right to fight it out for a space (I remember reading at once point that Beacon Hill in Boston has only half as many spaces as residential permits issued).

  • There wasn’t a parking problem on the streets around Rice campus until Rice (inexplicably) made the entire campus pay parking. However…best solution if you don’t want patrons of a business parking in front of your house, or townhomes built next door? Buy the property and shut ’em down for good. Not sure why the folks around the ashby high rise did not do this. They certainly have the money.

  • nobody has complained about the idea of parking meters here, just people sticking their necks out to reinforce policies that they have yet to acknowledge even make sense or serve the greater community with a purpose.

    every single neighborhood surrounding a school in this city deals with excessive street parking. how many of these ‘hoods have parking restrictions?

  • I can’t wait for this to get built so I won’t have to see those uly yellow monster signs anymore all over this neighborhood.

  • Markd. “Big stupid money”. Great description. Is that the kind of money one doesn’t personally have but someone else does?

  • I find it interesting that not person blames Rice U, I mean they have massive parking space at the stadium , yet choose to use it for bicycle training instead of the much needed relief parking…..

  • katie: Will it have scary eyes and crazy arms?
    I LOL’d for real after reading this.

  • So sad. The developers coming into Houston are worse then the tow truck Vultures! I’ve lived here for 28 years and our city is losing the charm it once had. We are turning into another L.A.