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Village Highrise Cancelled

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I suppose West U is close enough.

Jan. 15, 2005, 8:49PM

Developer calls off high-rise project

Residential units near Rice Village no longer planned

By NANCY SARNOFF

Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

After months of opposition from neighborhood residents, an Atlanta-based apartment and condominium developer has canceled plans for a 28-story high-rise near Rice Village.

Patrick Trask, a principal with Wood Partners, said his firm is no longer pursuing the project and will focus on other opportunities.

The residential tower was proposed for a small site on Shakespeare Street in Wessex, a residential community of upscale homes between West University and Southampton.

While Shakespeare is already home to several small-scale apartment buildings, residents in surrounding subdivisions said the new high-rise would increase traffic, reduce property values and destroy the fabric of the neighborhood.

They also said it might violate deed restrictions.

The developer had not decided whether to lease or sell the residential units.

Trask wouldn't discuss why the project was shelved, but residents clearly put up a formidable fight.

Neighborhood groups lobbied city officials and convinced 1,300 people to sign a petition against the high-rise.

For as long as Houston's real estate landscape remains free from any type of zoning, clashes between developers and residents will persist.

A project in the Heights is facing opposition from neighbors who think that a condominium building planned for the corner of a dead-end street will create traffic and safety hazards.

A division of Group LSR, which is planning several residential projects in Houston, wants to build one near the intersection of 5th Street and Oxford.

The project is moving forward, according to the developer, but it has been scaled back significantly.

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Another highrise lost in Houston. I wish they would find another spot for it, mabe in Greenway plaza??? Or Montrose or The Galleria???

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I don't think this is one that people are sad to see go. It seems this developer clearly didn't do a thorough due diligence in selecting it's location.

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Maybe it doesn't hurt for this development, but for others it does, especially with no zoning and NIMBY's, some good things can really go down the drain.

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I for one feel that a high rise in this area was a bad thing. The fabric of that area is so great, I wouldn't want a 28 story building screwing it up.

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I agree with Gary. This area is very quaint with that small town feel. While I am all for densification I'm glad we have a few areas that make a different model work so well.

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I guess they became reactionary after the Robinhood high-rise was built.

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Another highrise lost in Houston. I wish they would find another spot for it, mabe in Greenway plaza??? Or Montrose or The Galleria???

How about midtown or downtown?

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I think the only area where highrises are sure to be approved is uptown. I would like to see them happen in midtown but it just seems that midtown is destined for midrise residential buildings (4 stores or less). Examples include: Ventana, the Calais, Camden Superblock, Post Midtown, the Edge.

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I think the only area where highrises are sure to be approved is uptown.  I would like to see them happen in midtown but it just seems that midtown is destined for midrise residential buildings (4 stores or less).  Examples include: Ventana, the Calais, Camden Superblock, Post Midtown, the Edge.

I know. It would be nice otherwise.

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The economics change drastically when you move from low-rise to high-rise. That might have a lot to do with why you don't see high-rises developed in less affluent areas like Midtown and Downtown. The neighborhoods perhaps just aren't strong enough to support what will have to be fairly expensive units. Conversely, look at the number of new residential highrises along Memorial, in the Galleria area, and in other "upscale" locations.

The proposed Village highrise would have the right local demographics, but the traffic situation and the potential disruption to the local neighborhoods would have made it a tough sale to local residents. It's hard to argue that the cancellation of this project is a particularly big loss when so many other expensive highrise units have become available around the Galleria, and this one didn't seem to work well with its neighborhood.

All that being said, there's nothing inherently wrong with not having highrises, and the kind of mid-rise development you see in Midtown can be very much conducive to an urban environment. Look at Paris, London, or Berlin, where residential buildings often run around six stories. Midtown doesn't have a lot going for it, but maintaining a relatively small scale to new construction seems like it would help, rather than hurt, growth in the area.

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I aggree. I think Midtown will fill in evetually with more mid-rises.

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I live on that side of Robinhood tower and don't see any negative associated with highrises. No traffic whatsover, at least extra traffic. The building engages the street level well, but its a wierd place for an upscale residence, next to a Pizza Place and a School.

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