The outline of a 20-story apartment building called Montrose Gardens made its first public appearance late Friday in the city’s planning commission agenda, where its footprint covers over that of the Khun Kay Thai Cafe on the corner of Montrose Blvd. and W. Clay St. Only 9 of those stories will be for living, so what’s going into the rest? According to the building’s engineer: “A variety of retail stores, restaurants, and coffee shops” — all 24,000 sq.-ft. of which would be buffered from the 150-or-so upstairs apartments by 9 stories of resident-only parking. Underground, a separate 2 floor garage will gobble up retail traffic from an opening on W. Clay.
Also present on the 19,900-sq.-ft. site where the apartment’s staking its claim: the restaurant’s 2 parking lots. The northern one ran over the duplex-turned-psychic-shop directly south of it after the structure — memorialized in the aerial below — was demolished in 2016:
All 3 lots are owned by a group connected to Tanawat Sumrith, who — along with partner Anuch Sumrith — acquired the restaurant from its 2 sister-in-law founders in 2015. The earlier pair opened for business in a converted house at 1209 Montrose 37 years ago under the name Golden Room. It was originally a Chinese place, but they began slipping Thai dishes onto the menu — according to Greg Morago — in an attempt to work up the inner Loop’s appetite for the obscure cuisine. By the time they swapped out the aging yellow structure for the current red stucco and rebranded as Khun Kay, they’d gone fully Thai.
Houston’s planning commission weighs in on the apartment proposal this Thursday. Two variance requests are on the table, asking permission to nudge the building up 5 ft. from the property’s edges along Montrose Blvd. and W. Clay. In return, the developer promises new, bigger sidewalks shaded from the adjacent roads by strips of trees.
And in the back: some sort of barrier to separate the building from the row of townhome developments behind it — none of which measure more than 5 stories.
- Montrose mainstay Khun Kay changes hands [Houston Chronicle]
- Previously on Swamplot: The Golden Room’s New Colors