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Electrical permit issued for a 21 story apartment building.

The Ashby high rise land is finally being put to use!    

Comments section...   "This thing had better have long arms and huge teeth like all the ads show it as having or I'm going to be sorely disappointed."     http://www.chro

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Htown has a good point here. They fought the battle and lost. It's time for the signs to come down. 

 

But they haven't lost.  The case was not dismissed and goes to jury trial in November.  Figure in appeals etc, and the site could remain vacant for a long time yet. 

 

 

 

Squeaky wheels, grease..

 

 

 

 

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I just dont understand, with Downtown hading out tax breaks like crazy to get places like this built, and other more scenic areas in Houston begging for development why are the  developers dead set on pushing this one.. A place like this would be great in the Herman park area...Can someone tell me why they are fighting so hard for a area that does not even want them there.

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They probably just don't want to lose the investment they already made, although perhaps they could flip it as-is and still come out ahead.

True but even thou we all know that those who oppose them will lose in the end.. How long is does  this project get delayed in the process? months, years ?.. In the end they still lose millions in lawyer fee.s and various other costs ..

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But they haven't lost.  The case was not dismissed and goes to jury trial in November.  Figure in appeals etc, and the site could remain vacant for a long time yet. 

 

 

 

Squeaky wheels, grease..

But what do the signs add to the lawsuit?  the signs on the fences along Greenbriar are a great example.  they are all faded and almost completely covered by the vines on the fences.  if your plastic sign has disintegrated and the vegetation has covered it up, then it's been up too long.  

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Perhaps, the developers think that yes, at first it will be hated, but like many things in life, the community will get used to it. Then they can gobble up other tracts of land in the area and in a few years, or a decade or so, other projects similar to this will rise. The more that rise, the less opposition it will have. Just a thought. And yes, with so much opposition, I also wonder why the hard push to get this built when so much of the inner loop is ripe for highrise development. I live in the Copperfield area, and our neighborhoods are roughly 25yrs old. Single or double storey only. I would not want something like this in my neighborhood, personally. On the other hand, I see vacant plots of land STILL on Eldridge and Hwy 6. I would gladly welcome a highrise in those areas.

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Then they can gobble up other tracts of land in the area and in a few years, or a decade or so, other projects similar to this will rise. The more that rise, the less opposition it will have.

A boy can dream.

This is the perfect location for a tower to help fill the skyline gap.

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  • 1 month later...

Houstonians for Responsible Growth, a nonprofit that represents developers, filed an amicus curiae brief in anticipation of Monday’s trial over the lawsuit filed against the developers of the proposed 21-story high-rise at 1717 Bissonnet, which is widely known as the Ashby High-rise.

It states that the lawsuit attempting to stop the project by the neighborhood group is a “tool” to push zoning on a property that is slated for a lawful use. ”The control of the city’s development should not be shifted from the government to unelected citizens by way of nuisance actions, and the Court should reject such an attempt,” the brief states.

Full Article: http://blog.chron.com/primeproperty/2013/11/brief-court-should-reject-neighborhoods-attempt-to-stop-ashby-high-rise-developers/?cmpid=staffblogshcat

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Chron has been reporting on the trial. Today in court, an appraiser said the tower would lower neighborhood home values. Isn't that irrelevant to whether this is legal? To me, the Ashby attorneys should state that and not even bother arguing that point.

 

Or am I wrong?

 

http://blog.chron.com/primeproperty/2013/12/appraiser-testifies-ashby-high-rise-will-hurt-home-values/

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This is an upscale highrise. As one person in the Chron comments said, this isn't a greyhound bus station. This may hurt property values for a short while because of the simple fact that you now have a giant highrise looking into your backyard; however, we're talking about the Rice area here. Those values will surely go back up. Look at the highrises that were built near River Oaks in the 70s and 80s. Pretty sure property values there are ever increasing...

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This is an upscale highrise. As one person in the Chron comments said, this isn't a greyhound bus station. This may hurt property values for a short while because of the simple fact that you now have a giant highrise looking into your backyard; however, we're talking about the Rice area here. Those values will surely go back up. Look at the highrises that were built near River Oaks in the 70s and 80s. Pretty sure property values there are ever increasing...

 

But is the question of it increasing or decreasing the values even relevant to the legality of them being able to build?

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But is the question of it increasing or decreasing the values even relevant to the legality of them being able to build?

Nope.

The nimbys would not have a case if they cant prove it is illegal for Ashby to build a highrise there, which it is not.

The issues of properties values going down, the nimbys not liking that this is being built, the possibility that traffic might increase, etc, are all irrelevant.

The only reason they have taken Ashby to court is to discourage them from building by putting up such a huge fight, whining and bitching and dragging things out, using their rich politician friends to create bogus red tape and to cost the developers an untold fortune in legal fees in hopes the developers will decide to just cut their losses and give up.

Which aint gonna happen.

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The Chron has been reporting on the trial. Today in court, an appraiser said the tower would lower neighborhood home values. Isn't that irrelevant to whether this is legal? To me, the Ashby attorneys should state that and not even bother arguing that point.

 

Or am I wrong?

 

http://blog.chron.com/primeproperty/2013/12/appraiser-testifies-ashby-high-rise-will-hurt-home-values/

 

 

Let's think about this logic....if a person, who lives in a nearby house and plans to stay there for  while wouldn't lower property values be a blessing??

 

The whole tax system in Texas is largely based on property taxes of your value of property. If your 1 million dollar home is now valued at $700k you will be paying LESS in taxes. In Texas you choose how much taxes you want to pay as per your residence selection.

 

Like I said, if your plan is to stay and live in one of the most desirable places in the city then you are savings 10s if not 100s of thousands over a X year period by having this quality development near your resident (according to their argument)

 

 

Of course, I actually think this project will raise their property values but just playing devil's advocate here.

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the people who live in that area want it to be exclusive- they want the property value high to keep out those who are not like them, and they don't care about paying higher taxes on the property. It's just money to them.

( i have a client who lives in the noontime shadow of AHR on the other side of Bissonnett.... that is his attitude)

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the people who live in that area want it to be exclusive- they want the property value high to keep out those who are not like them, and they don't care about paying higher taxes on the property. It's just money to them.

( i have a client who lives in the noontime shadow of AHR on the other side of Bissonnett.... that is his attitude)

 

Hilariously misinformed statement is hilarious.

 

Question, which apartment community do you think will have higher rents, The Maryland Manor apartments that were torn down or the "luxury" high rise planned to replace it?

 

But hey, you have a client...

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Hilariously misinformed statement is hilarious.

Question, which apartment community do you think will have higher rents, The Maryland Manor apartments that were torn down or the "luxury" high rise planned to replace it?

But hey, you have a client...

I suspect the local residents weren't particularly fond of Maryland Manor, either.

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Some really good commentary of the Ashby trial from Erin Mulvaney and Nancy from the Chronicle over the past few days. Start from the bottom of this post to read them in order.
 
 

#AshbyTrial halted until Monday as structural engineers from both sides analyze new evidence from defense.

  1. Appraiser: If this owner wasn't building the high-rise in that spot, it would be someone else. The demand is too high. #AshbyTrial

  2. Appraiser on stand to analyze the claims made during residents' expert testimony #AshbyTrial

  3. Resident testifies he would like Ashby high-rise in his neighborhood. Has brokered a deal in neighborhood and knows developers #AshbyTrial

  4. Architect Britten Perkins of EDI International takes the stand. Says he's designed highrises on smaller parcels than Ashby site #AshbyTrial

  5. Keep up with the #AshbyTrial this afternoon with @nsarnoff Jury hearing from residents in favor of the project

  6. Resident has lived in highrises in the past and says being able to walk to a restaurant is positive. #AshbyTrial

  7. Resident's ex-husband is related to the developers. He's a nephew of one and cousin of the other. #AshbyTrial

  8. Resident says controversy has been "very troubling" and notifications from protesters have had a "significantly negative edge." #AshbyTrial

  9. Boulevard Oaks resident who favors the project takes the stand. She lives about a block from the site. #AshbyTrial

  10. Lighting expert says most parking garages have more "foot candles" (light measurement) than ashby garage will #AshbyTrial

  11. Bos brought a light fixture into the courtroom and is now demonstrating how it will shine light in the garage #AshbyTrial

  12. Defense calls lighting expert John Bos #AshbyTrial

  13. Developers wouldn't have had to do traffic anal w/out restaurant. Steitle: "They almost didn't have to do one to begin with." #AshbyTrial

  14. We're back with live updates from the #AshbyTrial. Testimony continues this afternoon from developer's traffic expert David Steitle.

  15. Ashby developer says there will be more green space and distance from curb than older apt complex previously on that site #AshbyTrial

  16. Houstonian left me a message to say he would love to live in the area around Ashby high-rise but cannot afford house #AshbyTrial

  17. Engineer: If I had known from the beginning it would go to the lawsuit and we needed full blown data, I would have done it. #AshbyTrial

  18. Engineers watch carefully over construction site to avoid errors that could cause foundation problems, expert says #AshbyTrial

  19. The battle of experts is in full swing at #AshbyTrial Engineer testifies the tower will not affect the structure of residents' homes

  20. Developer says some of his earliest memories are of neighborhood near Rice University where he grew up. it's important to him #AshbyTrial

  21. Kevin Kirton, one of the developers, called to the stand #AshbyTrial

  22. Festa: Austin, as part of larger trend, is revamping its zoning code to become less restrictive as it becomes more dense #AshbyTrial

  23. Festa: People in the planning community saying lets make land use more inclusive, less restrictive. #AshbyTrial

  24. Festa: The secret Houston has is that is does have some land regulations, such as deed restrictions, private covenants #AshbyTrial

  25. Festa: Houston is famous for not being a zoned city #AshbyTrial Voters turned down zoning several times

  26. Law professor Matthew Festa who specializes in land use issues takes the stand #AshbyTrial

  27. Lawyers arguing to judge whether damages can be claimed before building is constructed #AshbyTrial

  28. Defense attorney suggests some houses left out of appraiser's analysis, including http://on.trulia.com/1dQpE3P  #AshbyTrial He says not comparable

  29. Att. says certain homes not included to compare home values to affected high-rise site. Expert says these are not comparable #ashbytrial

  30. Defense attorney claims appraiser didn't take into account other developments in his home value estimate http://bit.ly/1cWZ3gG  #AshbyTrial

  31. On cross, defense attorney suggests residents' protests, press coverage had an effect on property values #AshbyTrial Appraiser disagrees.

  32. Signs coming up again in #AshbyTrial . Here's what they look like in case you haven't been around for last 7 yrs: http://bit.ly/18i4M11 

  33. On cross, attorney asks whether hypothetical info used for decrease in home values? Of course, the tower hasn't been built. #AshbyTrial

  34. Expert disagreed that yellow and black signs would cause any property damage #AshbyTrial

  35. Homes around site of high-rise now appear to be valued b/n about $520,000 to $2.7 million based on appraiser's chart #AshbyTrial

  36. It has been suggested that the big yellow & black Tower of Traffic signs in neighborhood could lead to lower property values #AshbyTrial

  37. Appraiser says the decrease in value is a minimum estimate bc market puts into play that the tower may not be built #AshbyTrial

  38. Home values around Ashby high-rise would decrease b/n 12 to 19 percent and townhomes 16 percent. #AshbyTrial

  39. The Chronicle's @erinmulvaney is tweeting updates from the #ashbytrial over contentious Rice-area high-rise project

  40. Correction: That's 22 percent on average. #AshbyTrial

  41. Appraiser in #AshbyTrial says that home values near high-rise will sink 22 percent compared to unaffected homes, or $46 a foot

  42. Appraiser on stand for residents in #AshbyTrial to determine high-rise effect on property values of surrounding homes.

 

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'Twill be a happy Christmas in Southampton:

 

 

A verdict has been reached in years-long fight between residents and the developer of a planned 21-story high rise in the Rice University area. A jury has unanimously sided with residents who've filed a lawsuit opposing the construction of the Ashby High Rise at 1717 Bissonnet. As for the future of the high rise, the judge will now determine whether the project is a permanent nuisance, and if the judge says yes, it could stop the project...This case is sure to set a precedent for the future of development here in Houston.

 

 

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=9363856

 

 

 

Squeaky wheels....grease...

 

 

 

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It will be interesting to see if the developer appeals, and if so, on what grounds.  How much can they be willing to sink into this proposal?  What will be even more interesting is the extent to which this ruling really does set a precedent.  I'm sure the people in River Oaks who are unhappy with the proposed office building on San Felipe are paying extremely close attention.  

 

 

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It will be interesting to see if the developer appeals, and if so, on what grounds.  How much can they be willing to sink into this proposal?  What will be even more interesting is the extent to which this ruling really does set a precedent.  I'm sure the people in River Oaks who are unhappy with the proposed office building on San Felipe are paying extremely close attention.

In order for the jury to award tort monies, tort has to be proven not speculated.
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Keep in mind that this win for 20 of the 30 Plaintiffs does not mean that the Project will not get built, even if it is upheld on appeal.

 

Judge Wilson will hold a separate hearing on whether or not to permanently enjoin the Project. If there is no injunction issued, the Project could go forward with the payment of damages that were determined by the jury today.

 

Attached is the Charge of the Court with the jury's findings.

58775292.PDF

Edited by nate
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You have seriously got to be kidding me.

I have no words. Where did these jurors come up with these random/outrageous dollar amounts? Even down to 'xx,xxx.58 cents'. Cents? Really?? Who the hell do you think you are? Man, now I REALLY hope this thing gets built so bad and it actually DOES lower their precious property values to the tune of more than they are awarded and they end up having to stay living under the "Tower Of Terror" because moving out would equal a huge loss.

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I wanna know who handpicked that "appraiser", he was probably greased by the deep pockets of the residents.

I HIGHLY doubt that if this project gets built i will be able to waltz into SouthHampton and buy a house for 22% less than what I can now. If anything, like other posters have already stated, it will just make everything even more expensive than it is now.

Buncha hogwash.

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Wait wait wait... they are getting paid damages for something that hasn't even been built and may not be allowed to be built. Okay.

 

I believe the damages are payable only if the project is built.

 

Buckhead (the developer) has said they will appeal, but I don't think they said on what grounds.  I'm no lawyer, so correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my understanding that appellate courts are hesitant to overturn (unanimous) jury verdicts except when there has been an error of some sort, or something that compromised the fairness of the trial.

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You have seriously got to be kidding me.

I have no words. Where did these jurors come up with these random/outrageous dollar amounts? Even down to 'xx,xxx.58 cents'. Cents? Really?? Who the hell do you think you are? Man, now I REALLY hope this thing gets built so bad and it actually DOES lower their precious property values to the tune of more than they are awarded and they end up having to stay living under the "Tower Of Terror" because moving out would equal a huge loss.

 

I'm sure they got these numbers from various appraisers and expert witnesses who put a number on the loss of market value.  Both sides got the chance to present testimony from their own expert witnesses and the jury got to decide who they believed. 

 

There is nothing too surprising about this verdict.  If you are the guy next door, is having a 20 story building over your backyard a nuisance?  I see how the jury would think it is, and it's easy to get an appraiser to give an opinion on a loss in value if it gets built.  It's also clear the jury thought other people were too far away to be effected and gave them nothing.  That being said, I'd be very surprised if the judge permanently enjoins this project.  The residents will get compensated for the loss of use and enjoyment of their property and Buckhead will build their building.

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I still believe the primary tactic of the residents is to delay this project until legal fees, shift in capital markets, shift in demand, etc force Buckhead to take another route.  I know Buckhead has very publicly stated they will fight this as far as it can go (Supreme Court?), but the costs they're incurring have to be getting outrageous? Do you think they'll eventually sue to recoup those expenses?

 

I'm also betting they can sell the parcel for a very healthy profit (not bad for a "worse case scenario").  I did have another general question:

 

Hines vs Buckhead:  In a project like this, how much does the relative profile/experience of the firm come into play when we're talking about securing financing or quality contractors?  Has Buckhead completed a project like this before?  Does that even matter?

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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to Ashby High-Rise: 1717 Bissonnet

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