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Spring Branch Updates


Ducks

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The following is a portion of an email I received today from Rep. D. Bohac

BOHAC: POSITIVE QUALITY OF LIFE CHANGES IN SPRING BRANCH MAKE THEIR MARK IN 2008

HOUSTON--State Rep. Dwayne Bohac is pleased to report a number of improvements in the Spring Branch area will have positive impacts on the community. Some of the enhancements include the beautification of two I-10 intersections, Gessner and Bunker Hill, the reconstruction of Long Point Road, a substantial increased law enforcement presence, and retail development.

"There are so many different projects underway. Whether they are spearheaded by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the Spring Branch Management District or from new business in the community, the revitalization of this historic area is becoming more evident with each passing day," said Bohac.

I-10 at Gessner and I-10 at Bunker Hill

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Memorial City Management District are collaborating to beautify the intersections of Gessner and I-10 and Bunker Hill and I-10. TxDOT is rebuilding the intersections as part of the Katy Freeway expansion.

After the intersections are complete, the management district has a master plan and funding to install landscaping, Texas-style architecture, and new traffic lights that resemble gateways. Brick pavers will also be used at both intersections to create a unique, interesting design pattern in the roadway.

"When all is said and done, these intersections will be much more welcoming sites as 'gateways to Spring Branch,'" Bohac said.

On top of this green space design improvement, the Spring Branch Management District will soon be adopting an extensive esplanade landscape design master plan for the Spring Branch community.

New Shopping Center: Village Plaza at Bunker Hill

In addition to work being done by governmental entities, new business will make its mark at Bunker Hill Road and I-10, where Fidelis Realty, Inc. is developing a 46-acre, 520,000 square foot shopping center north of I-10. It is expected to open in a year.

The center will include a 127,000 square-foot H-E-B market, which will combine a regular H-E-B supermarket with features from the company's more upscale Central Market. Other major anchor tenants include PetsMart and Circuit City.

Allen Hassenflu, of Fidelis Realty, said the shopping center will also include multiple restaurants on pad sights near the feeder road giving residents north of I-10 more eating choices. Restaurant names will be disclosed when all leasing details are finalized.

"The hard work of our local leaders to create well-planned, thoughtful economic development is paying off," Bohac said. "I believe this kind of new business development is exactly what we need to breathe more life into Spring Branch."

--snip--

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continued........

Increased Law Enforcement Presence

To make the community safer, the Spring Branch Management District has contracted with the Precinct 1 Harris County Constable's Office to provide police patrols within the management district's boundaries. Acting as a "force multiplier", these officers recently began patrolling and are augmenting the city of Houston's law enforcement presence.

David Hawes, Spring Branch Management District Director, said two supervisors and six deputies are now patrolling the district, and another patrol position will be added soon. The nine constables work exclusively for the management district and patrol the streets daily, with a higher concentration of officers on the street during high crime periods. Their work began this past November with an intense focus on problem apartments, where HPD has recorded a high volume of "calls for service."

"Business owners and residents want to feel safer in their community, and an increased law enforcement presence is vital to this effort," Bohac said. "In fact safety is one of the main reasons we worked with business leaders and community leaders to create the Spring Branch Management District. We also wanted to promote enhanced urban design features and green space, and we wanted to focus on transportation improvements--especially along Long Point and Gessner."

Reconstruction of Long Point

To ease traffic concerns, the City of Houston will begin major construction this year in an ongoing effort to update Long Point. The Spring Branch Management District will help as well. "Councilmember Toni Lawrence has made the complete reconstruction of Long Point one of her main goals," said Bohac, "and it is one of my highest priorities as well."

The city will begin enlarging the intersection of Long Point and Wirt Road by adding turn lanes. The city has also budgeted for changes to be made on both sides of Long Point between Pine Chase and Johanna drives.

In addition, the city has funds to improve the intersection of Long Point and Blalock Road and a stretch of Long Point from Hollister to Pech roads. This project is slated to begin at the end of 2008.

"Spring Branch is among the best places to live, work and raise a family, and we are now at a turning point to a brighter future," Bohac said.

***

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  • 3 months later...
Looks like the shopping center at the Northeast corner of Blalock and Westview is getting a much needed makeover.

Saw that myself. Definitely much needed. I am loving my purchase in the area... things are a changing. If only the apartments around here would go... the values in this area would absolutely skyrocket if that happened.

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Saw that myself. Definitely much needed. I am loving my purchase in the area... things are a changing. If only the apartments around here would go... the values in this area would absolutely skyrocket if that happened.

It's my understanding that an apartment complex can only apply for an apartment "permit" every 15 year, and many of the complexes are coming up on their second renewal...at 30 years. I'm told that many permits wont be getting renewed and the apartments will be torn down.

I know nothing about this aside from what I was told by a crazy neighbor.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wouldn't bother me one bit to see the apartments on Cedar Post/Westview go away. Understand everyone needs a place to live, but man, have those started inhabiting the drudges. They are pretty old, I think I heard they were built late 60's. I was @ a town meeting sometime ago and I heard mention about how apartments have a "lifespan" of 40 years and they do one of two things. Either torn down or MAJOR RENOVATION.

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  • 7 months later...

Been a while since perusing this site. Thought I was ahead on what Fiesta was turning into but some other poster beat me to the punch. Anyone out there aware of demolitions of OOOOOLLLLDD apartments in the area? Reason for my asking is Cedar Post Lane, off of Westview has a sign posted for brand new patio homes sites for sale. Thought this was interesting as they have several old apartments in the area.

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  • 1 month later...
Could anyone provide an update on the improvements to Spring Branch since the February 15th, 2008 posting? Thank you.

Here's an article concerning the recent joint-meeting of the various Spring Branch Super Neighborhoods:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nb/mem...ws/6349974.html

I'm particularly interested in the new signage and landscaping that is to be installed at various entrances into Spring Branch, as well as at certain intersections within it. Here's a map of where this is to be installed:

http://sbmd.org/Documents/Large_MasterStreetscape_Ver4.pdf

It appears as if this is going to be a fairly substantial project, and I think that it's great that Spring Branch will get its own distinctive look. And as has been noted in previous posts, the redesign of intersections along Long Point has already begun.

G-man

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  • 2 months later...
in case it hadn't already been mentioned...

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/6451680.html

Lupe Tortilla Mexican Restaurant leased 4,000 square feet in the Echo Lane Shopping Center at Interstate 10 and Echo Lane. Jim Smith Jr. and Matt Strange of Smithco Development represented both the tenant and the landlord.

AWESOME. There are renovations being done next to Kobe Japanese restaurant....and I was wondering what it was going to be. A Lupe Tortillas would be brilliant.

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  • 2 months later...

So does anyone know what these really nice stone blocks are going to be at I-10 and Gessner & Bunker Hill? Looks possible pedestals for signs, water features or statues. Whatever they are they have conduit or plumbing going to them.

They're going to be four "monuments" so-to-speak to set-off the Memorial City area. I think I read about it in last week's HBJ.

Found it...

http://houston.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2009/07/20/tidbits1.html

Drivers on Interstate 10 will soon be able to tell when they’re anywhere near the Memorial City District.

The district plans to install four obelisks beside the freeway as part of a branding campaign in West Houston.

The gateway markers, five stories tall with lighted tops, are scheduled for installation in late September on both sides of the freeway at the Bunker Hill and Gessner intersections.

Commercial businesses subject to assessments for improvements within district boundaries are spending approximately $548,000 for the larger-than-life landmarks.

Edited by Ducks
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That is F'ing awesome. Very excited by this!!!

I read another related article somewhere describing how unhappy some the nearby residents were about it. Can't remember why exactly... I'll see if I can find that article.

Edit: Now that I think about it, I think the descension is discussed in that article. I just don't know how to login and see the remainder of the article.

Edited by Ducks
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Full-length article. Just FYI.

Memorial City stages all-star branding show

Drivers on Interstate 10 will soon be able to tell when they’re anywhere near the Memorial City District.

The district plans to install four obelisks beside the freeway as part of a branding campaign in West Houston.

The gateway markers, five stories tall with lighted tops, are scheduled for installation in late September on both sides of the freeway at the Bunker Hill and Gessner intersections.

Commercial businesses subject to assessments for improvements within district boundaries are spending approximately $548,000 for the larger-than-life landmarks.

Some area residents are less than thrilled with the plan.

“I don’t think anything should be built that close to the freeway,” says Donna Freedman. “It’s going to be a distraction.”

Bases for the obelisks — square wooden structures supported by rebar — have already been installed by the Texas Department of Transportation as part of the freeway widening project.

TxDOT also allowed officials to pick some design elements for the freeway to match the district’s decor.

Perry Pace, project manager for the Memorial City District, says TxDOT painted huge stars on the retaining walls along many miles of the recently widened Interstate 10, and permitted the ones in the Memorial area to carry the district colors.

“It just so happens that our logo was a star, so it worked out perfectly,” Pace says.

In addition, old street signs were replaced last month by new ones adorned with the district’s colors and logos — at a cost of nearly $136,000.

Next up, the district will put in extra landscaping along the freeway.

The star-studded branding project has some area activists upset about the money being spent on these improvements.

Pace assures that revenue generated by the tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) for enhancements in the area is not being used to fund the identifying features.

Edited by Ducks
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  • 2 weeks later...

Images of the Gateway Markers here:

http://www.memorialc...tch_Current.pdf

and here:

http://www.memorialc.../mcd_info_1.pdf

and finally:

The Gessner Road Widening Projectwill transform this great urban boulevard into a pedestrian-friendlythoroughfare and create a signature entryway to welcome residents and visitorsto the Memorial City area. These improvements includemore lanes, wider sidewalks, improved drainage and picturesque landscape.

The Gessner Widening Project is ajoint effort between the TIRZ-17 Redevelopment Authority and the TexasDepartment of Transportation to rebuild a better street. Construction will begin June, 2008. The project is forecasted to last 18-months.

Widening the section of GessnerRoad, which runs parallel to the Memorial City Mall and the Memorial HermannMemorial City Medical Center will improve traffic flow south of I-10 with the addition of a fourthlane in each direction. Additional lanesfor turning movements will be added in both the north and south bounddirection. These dedicated turn laneswill minimize traffic flow disturbance caused by the heavy access demand foradjacent businesses. All of theimprovements are imperative because Gessner Road is a busy commercial corridor home to retail,medical facilities and restaurants.

Improved drainage and reducedstreet flooding are two more benefits of reconstructing Gessner Road. Two five-foot by eight-foot box culverts willreplace the single smaller pipe that currently conveys the rainfall runoff todrainage channel W151. Increased watershed storage from the oversizedculverts will benefit W151 by providing detention during big rain events; thetwo proposed box culverts connect into an existing 60-inch pipe that conveysthe water to ditch W151. The existing60-inch pipe acts as a restrictor limiting the flows from the new box culvertsto W151. A larger storm sewer is also advantageousto W153, also known as Buffalo Bayou, by reducing overland sheet flow.

Another welcome addition to theGessner Road Widening Project is wider sidewalks. Currently, Gessner Road lacks a sufficient sidewalksystem for friendly pedestrian traffic. That’s because the sidewalk is either too narrow on the west side or isnon-existent on the east side. A new network of eight-foot wide sidewalks willconnect residential neighborhoods to shopping, transit and work and convert theMemorial City area into a walkable community.

Other scenic street designs tobetter accommodate pedestrians, shoppers and tourists alike includetheater-style street lamps, improved signage, bus stop enhancements andlandscape planting. More than 100 largeshade trees, along with hundreds of shrubs and flowers will transform thisactive city street into a scenic streetscape people will want to visit.

In the end, the Gessner WideningProject will reveal a scenic and bustling thoroughfare to serve as the gatewayto connecting people with businesses within the Memorial Cityarea.

Edited by SpringShadows
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