The 0.4-acre property on Westheimer a few blocks west east of Weslayan St. where developer Randall Davis hopes to build a 20-ish-story condo tower has been listed for sale on commercial real estate portal CoStar, however, the highrise project is still in the works, a representative of the broker tells Swamplot. In the meantime, the site remains home to the closed-down Krispen furniture store pictured at top, whose owner, Pamela Parker, sold it back in late 2017 and vacated it after the new year.
The rendering shown above of what Randall Davis wants to do the site emerged early last month as part of a variance request that the developer submitted, seeking permission to build the tower closer to Westheimer than is typically allowed. Before the city planning commission could weigh in on the request, however, documents outlining single-family deed restrictions for the site turned up, and Davis withdrew his petition. A public hearing, at which the commission would consider getting rid of the deed restrictions, hasn’t yet been scheduled.
The development team that had hoped to put a 7-story, 24-unit condo building dubbed Mandell Montrose on the corner of Commonwealth and Fairview streets appears to have given up entirely on that effort now: 3 days ago, the property — which includes the house-turned-leasing-office pictured above — was listed for sale at a price of $2.6 million. It’s the second condo project that failed to get off this particular ground in the past 2 years. The seller Midtown Uptown Development Partners picked up on the site after a different developer’s plans to put an 8-story building called Flats on Fairview there fell through.
The good news is that this porch view from the adjacent house remains totally unobstructed:
In an email sent out to constituents earlier this week, a staffer for City Council member Greg Travis writes that the little red rectangle above — marking where Randall Davis has plans for a 50-unit condo tower — is subject to single-family deed restrictions. That doesn’t prohibit the developer from going ahead with the highrise at 3723 Westheimer, she explains, although it does mean Davis perhaps jumped the gun by submitting a variance request for the development to Houston’s planning commission last week. It’s now withdrawn that request and instead plans to hold a public hearing before the commission. The date is TBD, but it will “likely take place on February 28,” according to the staffer.
Residents of Westgrove Court — the subdivision along Eastgrove and Westgrove streets that the tower wants to move into — and others nearby will receive a written notice 15 days before it goes down. “If residents of the 38 single family home sites in Westgrove Court jointly file a protest (a letter signed by them),” she writes, “the Planning Commission will have to approve by 75% and not simply by a majority.”
On Monday, Nancy Sarnoff over at the Chronicle reported Davis was under contract to buy the 17,300-sq.-ft. property. It isn’t the first time someone’s tried to put something other than single-family on it: For decades, the single-story retail building shown above has been there. It sports a fenced-in patio at its corner:
The rendering above looks east from the corner of Westheimer and Eastgrove St. to show the first few floors of a new 20-story condo tower that developer Randall Davis wants to build on the just-under-0.4-acre lot formerly home to the KrispenHome furniture store. Plans for the highrise made their first appearance before Houston’s city planning commission yesterday, where they were deferred until the group’s next meeting in 2 weeks, but not before residents and representatives of the site’s neighboring subdivisions got a few words in. Roughly a dozen speakers from Westgrove Court — the 2-dozen-home residential neighborhood that lies southwest of the would-be tower, along Westgrove and Eastgrove streets — were particularly loud in decrying it. They noted that Westgrove St.’s current narrowness already makes creates tight squeeze for passing traffic.
The same goes for Eastgrove St., where a site plan submitted by the developer shows curb cuts giving access to a driveway at what’d be the southwest corner of the building:
Trying to pin down where Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke stand before casting a ballot this afternoon? Here’s a last-minute rundown: O’Rourke, the out-of-towner, slapped his trademark black-and-white signage in August on the concrete OST building shown, picking up where the Encore Theatre — a venue focused on works by black playwrights and casts — left off inside. The structure shares a wall with a back-door bar dubbed Speak Easy, a 1,000-sq.-ft. outfit that’s been around off Conley St. for over a decade.
Cruz’s team on the other hand, has been holed up on the seventh 12th floor of the Phoenix Tower (shown above) in Greenway Plaza, off Buffalo Spdwy. near 59. He’s a longtime fan of tall Houston buildings: In 2008, he and his wife Heidi bought a condo on the 19th floor of the Royalton at River Oaks — shown below — which then became ground zero for sightings of the couple, as well as a choice spot for the occasional protest. They sold it last July a few months after picking up a $1.6 million house in River Oaks proper.
Looking east from what’s now the top of the soon-to-be-7 story Giorgetti Condo midrise on Steel St., you get a real eyeful of the planned 32-stories taller Hanover River Oaks apartment tower that’s rising next to it (and a glimpse at 2727 Kirby in the distance). Both unfinished buildings are going up on the northern half of what used to be the Kirby Court Apartments and together will occupy almost the entire block south of the former West Ave retail and apartment complex that’s recently made quite a new name for itself as “The Shops at Arrive.” A handful of houses and retail buildings along Kipling St. — including the Becks Prime on the corner of Kirby — are the only veterans sticking around.
A look in the opposite direction shows the Giorgetti’s bald head backed by neighboring townhouses along Virginia St.:
The sales center for the not-yet-built Mandell Montrose condo slated for Fairview St. is now closed, and a representative of its sales team tells Swamplot that the developer has no plans to reopen it. Since the building’s abandonment, signage outside the converted Hyde Park residence taken over by the agents has adopted a lower position than it previously held on the structure, pictured above.
And in the neighboring 12,493-sq.-ft. lot on the corner of Fairview and Commonwealth streets — where Midtown Uptown Development Partners planned a 7-story, 24-unit midrise to overtop the surrounding neighborhood — the tallest structures are still the signs stuck up there just over a year ago:
Making an appearance on the city planning commission’s agenda this week: a proposal for a 16-ft.-deep, aluminum-sheathed steel canopy shown at top outside The Revere at River Oaks condos on Welch St. that’ll soon break ground in place of the 2-story River Oaks Manor condo complex demolished on site last June. Kirksey Architecture’s design for the canopy calls for it to hang out over the condo’s entrance and extend to an adjacent drop-off area, a widening of the existing street that’s planned just north of the 9-story, 33-unit building.
But the approval Pelican Builders is now seeking isn’t for the 4-ft.-5-in. that the canopy will encroach on the public right of way. In the application, the developer states that it already has an agreement for that portion of the structure. Instead, this approval is for the 11-ft.-4-in. section of the canopy between the right of way and the building, which requires a variance separate from the one that already covers the small portion (overlaid with a criss-cross pattern below) that they city has agreed to permit:
Snapshots from the scenic Robbins Brothers jewelry store parking lot on the West Loop show how much progress has been made on the 34-story Arabella (formerly Arábella) condo tower next to the Targetparking lot on San Felipe. Construction on the bumpy building began in 2015 on a portion of the former Westcreek Apartments at the corner of San Felipe and Westcreek. The photo at top shows the new building at 4521 San Felipe towering over the 25-story SkyHouse River Oaks apartment building, as well as the 17-story Wilshire condo tower.
Demolition has begun, a reader notes, on the Ripple Creek Townhomes at 1015 S. Ripple Creek Dr., a 3-building assembly of 2-story structures fitted onto a 2-plus-acre site directly east of the Second Baptist Church complex on Woodway Dr. The gently named Ripple Creek Dr. is the first north-south street east of Voss on the north side of Woodway; the townhome buildings, which were built in 1970, are wedged between it and the more workaday Bering Ditch, an actual waterway known to carry actual water north to Buffalo Bayou on its straightened, concrete-lined haunches.
Neighbor-with-a-security-cam Bill Curry has now posted to YouTube 6 additional time-lapse videos covering days 2 through 8 of the demo of the Googie-style River Oaks Manor condo complex at 2325 Welch St. The structure went down at the end of last month across from his home just east of Revere St., in an unnamed neighborhoodreal close to River Oaks.