NEW ALEXAN BLAIRE HOUSE WILL EAT BLAIR HOUSE APARTMENTS ON BELLAIRE BLVD. Even though the location isn’t specified, there’s enough detail in a press release put out by Bluerock Residential Growth REIT last week announcing its joint venture with Trammell Crow Residential to build a 269-unit apartment complex “2 miles from the Texas Medical Center” to identify where the new construction will take place. And to know that if it goes forward, it will spell doom for the Blair House Apartments, next door to the Palace Bowling Lanes, at 4139 Bellaire Blvd. in Southside Place. The biggest giveaway: The new project’s name, Alexan Blaire House, which combines Trammell Crow’s multifamily brand with a can’t-quit-it developer addiction to adding a trailing ‘E’ wherever it might stick. Plus, both Blair(e) houses sit on 4.16 acre sites. The existing 12-building complex of 2-story structures was built in 1963. [Bluerock Residential, via Houston Business Journal] Photo: Apartment Science
Sad; not because of the architectural signifigance, which does not exisit, but sad because my grandmother lived there. I think of her when I drive by. The house she had in Braes Heights from 1945 is gone, as well as ‘The Rutledge’ apartment she lived in on the bayou near the railroad tracks. I especially loved those units ~ super retro mod. Many elderly people in this complex that have lived in the area for a long time will be displaced. Affordable housing continues to become increasingly limited in our city. Houston needs organizations like New Hope Housing to keep doing great projects to fill this gap in our city. Check out their site if you are inclined to learn more or make a donation: http://www.newhopehousing.com
Does “Alexan” reference a place? (Alexia? Alexas?) Or some guy named Alex?
This will ultimately increase the volume of units available in the med center which is good news for the many students and young professionals paying to be close to the Med Center / UH / TSU / Rice and competing with doctors for housing. This complex won’t be cheap, but it will put downward price pressure on other older, large complexes in the area. There are likely still enough older units in the area that are comparably priced that will be available. Alexan should provide relocation services. Some big developers do that.
I have many memories of that complex with my grandmother who lived there for a couple years, as well as a cousin and her husband when they were newly-weds. It will be sad to see it come down.
Hello Karen, thanks for the nice post and the link, I share your sentiments about these old houses and apartments and their history being unceremoniously scraped away, and the loss of affordable housing this development represents. It affects not only the poor, elderly and invalid (the “typical” residents of apartments such as these), but for students, entry-level professionals, and young families who want to save as much money as they can. I know of a young couple with a newborn who was able to buy their own house thanks to the considerable amount of money they saved by renting at the complex mentioned here. Nowadays, even if you can find a cheap rental, the wrecking ball will pay you a visit very soon afterwards, as I discovered twice during 2014.
Those older apartments in that area and Montrose were often quite large, too, and usually pleasant, laid back places to live.
The drive from Bellaire to the med center is going to get worse and worse!
Maybe they will fix the water pipes on this stretch of Bellaire, its frequently down to one lane due to the pipes breaking right in front of this property.
I feel your pain Karen. I would just point out that affordable housing is easy to come by here in Houston. Safe, decent affordable housing that you would feel OK having your grandmother live in: that’s what’s increasingly hard to come by.
It’s a very important distinction to make, but alas, few do. Well maintained, affordable, older buildings Inside the Loop are bulldozed left and right. Trying to get a neglected building in a poorer neighborhood up to standard is like pulling teeth. And the housing advocates who should be down in the trenches on both issues, go around picking fights with suburban communities instead. It’s enough to make me want to scream!
I remember when the Blair House was just a vacant field with a small little league baseball field. We played in the Karl Young Little League. I was on the Owls…. We also use to walk over to The Recreation Palace Bowling Lanes on Saturdays to play pinball, get a burger and watch Dick Gottilieb broadcast bowling. I imagine one of these days the bowling ally will meet its fate….
I think Blair House is pretty close to fully occupied, as well, which makes it a sadder situation for all the folks who will be displaced. I’d venture a guess none of them will find something comparably affordable, safe, and walkable inside the loop area. They’ll be pushed out to Hillcroft/Gulfton/Chimney Rock.
Do the Blaire House plans indicate whether they’ll accounting for the Palace Lanes acreage as well? I hope not. It’s still got a solid, regular clientele, and it’s the last regulation-lane/old school bowling alley inside Beltway 8.
The press release states: “To attract the area’s high income demographic ($187,000 estimated average household income within a one-mile radius) the joint venture will incorporate best-in-class interior finishes and will offer a higher than average proportion of two bedroom units which, in light of limited supply, are expected to command higher rents per square foot.”
In other words, medical and college students will NOT be able to afford these, nor will the elderly Blair House residents about to be displaced. It would be more for affluent Southside Place/West U empty nesters who want to downsize but don’t want to leave the neighborhood.
Blair House now, Palace Lanes next. Look for mixed occupancy, and possibly a midrise, on that plot in the near future.
There won’t be a mid rise because it is the city of southside place not houston. There are some issues with the place lanes property about its location at the southside place/houston nexus that prevent tall buildings from being built. Palace has been shopped around before but because of those issues, no one wants it. At least that was the word around the neighborhood. Plus west u, bellaire and the neighbors don’t want the extra traffic .
I’m sorry to hear that the classic Blair House may be demolished soon to make way for a nouveau-riche behemoth. Yes, I know that the old must make way for the new but I liked the looks of this grande dame next door to the Palace Lanes. Together, they were a steady presence as other projects swirled around them in the general area.
Like others have said, it will make life tougher for the elderly and middle-class tenants that live there now since they will have to move to a probably not-as-desirable neighborhood. Why does the West U/Southside Place area need MORE rich people? (tongue in cheek question)
This is going to be an increase of 50% more people in the development and the design being put forth before Southside is asking for all the traffic to enter into and out of the complex from Academy. The current Blaire House property has multiple entrance/exits on Bellaire and one on Academy. Southside also allows parking on that block across from the Blair House and Valero which means it is often times one lane approaching the light at Bellaire when driving North on Academy. The left turn lane from Bellaire driving south is so packed as people try to access Valero that it enters into the though lane on Bellaire when it backs up. This will be even worse with more tenants trying to get into the one entry. This is an HISD bus thoroughfare in the mornings and afternoons too – so there is a lengthy turn time for each bus negotiating that corner. Because the current occupancy does include many elderly, those tenants are not on a work schedule that adds to traffic but they are leaving. Developers who come here assume that it will be yuppie single people moving in and are not allocating enough parking per apartment and assume these tenants will be here for a couple of years and then move on. I have a strong hunch that just like now, the new tenants are going to be prudent families with children who will want to take advantage of the excellent school zoning of Mark Twain, Pershing/PinOak and Bellaire and the safety of a patrolled neighborhood. These are not people with one car per family. I have tried to contact HISD to see if they are even aware of the massive increase of families who will be zoned to these schools when the rest of Bellaire is developed for multi-family housing on a much larger scale. Nobody returns a call from the schools or administration. We also need to make Southside aware that the backlog of traffic from just having one entry/exit will produce massive traffic jams on Academy and congestion on the 4000 block of Gramercy for people trying to cut through coming west on Bellaire to make a right lane at the stop sign instead of sitting at light. This will be another huge problem as 4000 Gramercy was already ruined when developers again did not allot enough parking places for their tenants when building the condominiums on the South side of the street – so the extra car is parked on the street. Often 400 Gramercy is one narrow driving lane which is a one way jam up on trash pick up days and requires people to pull into driveways to allow cars coming the opposite way to get through. Huge Mess! Please send Southside City Council a message if you live around here!
@MarkH: Karl Young Park is still where it was on Stella Link, if that’s what you’re thinking of. The playground is a bit different now (and less wooden). The concrete courts and the playing field remain.
how sad for this to happen. my dad used to work for Blair House many many many years ago. Mr. Lester Prokop was the owner of this property but after his death his children took over. They didn’t manage it like the way their dad did (not saying this as good or a bad thing) but goodbye to a place that was part of my childhood memories.