The Muse Moving in Next to the Post Office in Castle Court

What’s to become of the Andover Richmond Apartments at the corner of Richmond and Graustark after all the residents move out? This, after a little site-scraping: A 270-unit Trammell Crow complex called The Muse. A source tells Swamplot the 4-stories-over-garage concoction will be very similar to the Alexan West University going up on the former site of the Courts at West University at Law and Bissonnet — but without all the angles dictated by that stealth-fighter-shaped site. EDI Architecture is the designer for both apartment projects. Here’s a plan of the top-of-garage level at 1301 Richmond:


Images: Trammell Crow Residential

29 Comment

  • *goes back in time to the late 60’s*

    Ugh not another Faux-french chateau apartment clone.

  • that area floods

  • The inevitable march of time goes forward and replaces old,outdated, way past their prime buildings with newer structures. Although the newbies are fresher,cleaner and feature more amenities/technology,most,if not all ,have NO soul. It is what the market desires.

  • It would be hard to design a more generic apartment block.

  • I could cry. I have such good memories from that complex that go back decades. Take a look that the crap that is going to replace it…more wood frame tacqoui to bless this corner. Geez Houston…when are you EVER gonna get it together?

    Glad I left.

  • seems like I’ve seen this quite a bit lately. Is there only 1 designer for inner loop properties?

  • Build it! Out with the old in with the new. 124 units gone. 270 units on the way. The core of Houston is being rebuilt right before our eyes. Newer. Denser. Taller. More affluent. I like it.

    Projects like this, and dozens more like it, are capturing the highest earning share of the young, educated, professional demographic. All these folks want to live inside the Loop. I say we make room for them.

    Once these folks are here, they don’t want to leave. Sure, some will get married and be forced to Sugar Land or Pearland, or Katy because they aren’t successful enough to by a house or townhouse in Houston’s core. Those with the financial means to stay though, will stay. Their money will fuel the developers who will buy more obsolete properties and redevelop them into something far more valuable.

    This is how cities get built. I’m loving my front row seat for the show.

  • I was going to say the same thing! They all look the same, with generic, plain design.

    I was just in uptown Dallas the other day; we honestly, need to take lessons.

    And get rid of all the damn power lines! It’s what makes our city look so ugly!

    It always reminds me of the No Doubt song, “I’m walking in the spider webs. Leave a message and I’ll call yoooo back.”

  • Ugh. Not another one of these. Boring.

  • Every time one of these goes up it feels like another lost opportunity. This site and this money could have been spent on something that people would actually be excited about, that would enrich the neighborhood. And yes, people will flock to it, but only because there is nothing better being built right now. I am beginning to think that there is a city-wide conspiracy for mediocrity among the developers. No risk on the part of the developer, and we are stuck living in these banal, bottom-line constructions because there is no competition out there offering something better.

  • Generic is a relative term, what would ya’ll rather have it look like?

  • These pencil boxes aren’t going to stand the test of time. Some of the older ones in Northern Midtown that are between 10 and 15 years old are already turning into P.O.S. Are we creating the next Gulfton, one that will stretch from Midtown out past the Galleria? I’ve been in several complexes that have the bells and whistles (stainless, granite, a pool deck, etc…) but the walls are paper thin, the hallways are dark and dingy, and the windows are cheap cheap cheap.

  • Sure, they’re bland. Sure, they’ll have the same easily anticipated life cycle of every other apartment complex that has ever been designed to appeal to the masses. They’re all eventually replaceable.

    That’s pretty much how it’s always been with apartments. Back when brick apartment blocks were built, THOSE weren’t special either. They only became special with time and scarcity…and even then, more in some neighborhoods than others. If black people had been living in them for a half century, nobody would care.

    Seriously, there are plenty of older apartments left. They’re just not going to be on this side of 288. No biggie. Y’all aren’t racist, right? Sure…

  • These are not intended to appeal to the masses. These are supposed to be high end apartment complexes that are probably anticipating $1,250 or more for a one bedroom. That is why everyone is scratching their heads when they see such bland archeticture on these buildings. Why not invest a few extra bucks and build an apartment complex that has some attractive architecture?

  • Could the banality and sameness of what developers in Houston are constructing be in part to changed lending standards by the banks?
    Back in the 1970’s Gerald Hines developed very innovative office buildings for the day, employing famous architects for the design. Pennzoil Place is no cookie cutter “international style” box, that’s for sure. But back then, we didn’t have interstate banking either. For those of you born post 1985, that means ALL of our banks were headquartered in Texas. I’d assume Hines went to see Ben Love at Texas Commerce Bank, or the guys at Allied Bank, and they worked out the loans. Today, those loan officers are in New York or Charlotte, and don’t want to risk their bank’s money on something avant guarde.
    Also, developers today rarely keep their portfolios together more than a few years. They “flip” their completed properties to REITs so that they have the capital to build something else. When you need to turn your property over quickly, it’s best to have something the buyers understand, and that didn’t cost so much per square foot that you can’t make a profit selling it in 18 months. A REIT just wants to purchase something with what they feel will be a certain stream of income over a 10 year time horizon. They are oblivious to the fact that it’s not a thrilling design.

  • It’s a product that needs to appeal to as wide of a customer base as possible, therefore it needs to have features that most people like and avoid features that some people find offensive. After all, when it comes to place where they live, people are predominantly conservative. Look at a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, they’re pretty bland, but they sell a million time fold more than let’s say Pontiac Aztec or the Scion toasters.

  • The continued decline of the neighborhood…

  • I wonder what the overlap is between people who complain about “generic” new development, and complain when something other than a bungalow gets built in the Heights, and complain about how the Ashby High Rise was going to destroy the otherwise generic character of its neighborhood.

    I wish I could keep commenters names straight or there was some search function by commenter.

  • Great strategy Bernard – let everyone that can’t afford $1,800/month rent or a $400,000 townhome get forced out to the suburbs.

    As someone who has just recently relocated to Katy from Greenway Plaza for the very reason mentioned above, but would have rather stayed where we were, I take great offense at the “less succesful” comment. Both my wife and I have college degrees, work extremely hard, but neither of us have had the same fortune as you apparently have to land a job that will fund an extravagent lifestyle and allow us to make moronic, misinformed proclomations.

  • EDI is also the architect on the Ashby monstrosity. Surely there are other options than these ugly structures they are churning out. Look at some of their other work. Makes your wonder where this city is headed–certainly can’t compete with Dallas.

  • awp, everyone is entitled to their opinion, even when it differs from yours. They are bland cookie cutter buildings, like the bland cookie cutter apartment buildings built by previous generations of “developers” (I use that term loosely). But I must say, this time around the blandness is unusually pervasive. Although ugly, at least in the 60’s and 70’s they were building garden apartments of contemporary and varying degrees of “Disneyesque” architecture (i.e., Swiss Chalet style), and there was a wide variety of kitch. Now, just bland sameness…..everywhere they build.

  • MJ,

    Why not buy in braeswood or oak forest or Eastwood or idylwood? If you were looking for inexpensive newer townhomes, lots in spring branch or just was’t of downtown? I don’t see where your offense comes in. No area is supposed to stay the same price forever. The builders are just building to maximize their return, so why the hate?

  • SJ,

    I never stated my preference, or claimed that anyone was right or wrong.

    I agree everyone has differing preferences. These preferences are subjective and thus there is no way, known to me, to decide whose preferences are correct. So my general stance on this type of debate is that if you don’t like it, don’t move there.

    Instead, what I was pointing out was the potential contradiction in belief by some commenters. Who on the one hand decry the genericness of new construction and on the other hand complain when the genericness of old construction is compromised. I wished for some way to find out if my impression (that some of the prolific commenters hold these two opposing viewpoints at the same time) is correct. Then I could ask them explicitly why generic is good except when it isn’t. Is there some objective measure?

    Large parts Montrose and the Heights were/are quite generic (pretty much the same houses over and over again) to me. I would also guess that most of the people complaining about the generic nature of new construction also love Montrose and the Heights, as I do.

  • >>Generic is a relative term, what would ya’ll rather have it look like?

    Is too much to ask to retain the services of a Pritzker Prize-winning architect? Ha, ha.

  • Do yall feature dumbest comments of the day? Because TheNiche’s comment above suggesting that anyone who finds the design of this conderblock bland must be a racist is just good stuff.

    Somwehere on the internet, there must be a message board dedicated to, say, knitting, wherein one commenter who finds a certain style of cross stitching dull is accused of being a racist. That’s the level of discourse we’re talking about here.

  • heyzeus, you completely misread TheNiche’s comment. Try again.

  • It was his multi-stepped tangent to go from complaints about blandness of this building to imaginary racism of the complainers, not mine.

  • Read again carefully. TheNiche is not suggesting that anyone who finds that design bland must be a racist. If that’s your take on the comment then you’re misinterpreting it as stated above.

  • agreeing with heyzeus on this one.
    i see absolutely no logical way race could have been brought into that argument.
    there are certainly buildings that people lament that black people live or lived in, just as there are plenty of places that no one is lamenting that housed both black and white people.
    it’s such a non-sequiter i can’t even imagine where it came from.