Residents near the section of 7th St. between Yale St. and Heights Blvd. have been discussing plans to turn the group of warehouse buildings long held by Pappas Restaurants into a 4-building “creative neighborhood and shopping destination” called Heights Mercantile. The Finial Group, which bought the properties from Pappas and a few other landowners last year, hired Austin architect Michael Hsu to come up with plans for renovating 3 of the buildings lining 7th St., tearing down the long warehouse lining Yale St. and replacing it with the new 2-story structure pictured above. The new project is a joint venture between Finial and a local investment firm called Radom Capital.
A notable feature of the 1.4-acre site plan is 3 stretches of head-in parking along 7th St. The plan shows 36 spaces on the north side of the street, facing the row of wooden bollards lining the hike-and-bike trail converted from the path of the former MKT rail line and 2 banks of 11 spaces in a row on the opposite side. Although head-in parking configurations dominate in some portions of the city (Rice Village, for example), new stretches of more than 4 spaces in a row have been prohibited by city regulations for decades.
The Pappas warehouses have head-in parking along 7th St. The developer not only wants to preserve and adjust that arrangement for the new development, but is asking the city to count these on-street spaces toward the required number of off-street spaces. The planning commission is scheduled to rule on the associated parking variance application this afternoon.
Here’s a site plan:
“If the long-existing parking spaces on 7th are not considered as parking available for this propose[d] shopping center,” reads the variance application, “it will not be feasible to preserve two of these old buildings or to create this area into a small scale shopping center. If the spaces in front of Building 2 are not reconfigured, there will be insufficient room for a sidewalk along the north side of this building.”
Building 1, at the southeast corner of Yale and 7th, would look like this if only one car were parked in front of it:
Building 2, at the southwest corner of Heights and 7th, would get this treatment:
An existing bungalow at 711 Heights Blvd., just north of the northwest corner of 7th, is in the historic district. Finial plans to convert it to a restaurant:
Here’s a detail of the new-construction Building 4 shown at the top of this story:
Hadn’t heard about this proposal until now, or still need some time to study it before weighing in? The city’s planning staff thought so: A spokesperson says at today’s hearing they’ll be recommending the commission defer any vote for 2 weeks.
- Heights Mercantile [Finial Group]
Renderings and site plan: Michael Hsu Office of Architecture. Map: Finial Group