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Prime Land Up For Grabs

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By NANCY SARNOFF

Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

Prime land up for grabs

A pair of prime parcels of inner-city real estate is about to change hands for the first time in decades.

Apartment developers are in negotiations with the William Dickey estate for six acres of coveted land on Kirby Drive.

Gables Residential and the Hanover Co. are lined up to take control of two tracts on the west side of Kirby just south of Westheimer, according to real estate sources.

Gables is said to be planning an apartment project on four acres that front Kirby, while Hanover is eyeing two acres just west of the Gables site for a high-rise residential tower.

The proposed projects will replace the River Oaks Tennis Club and an adjacent retail center that currently occupy the land.

An official from Gables would not comment. Hanover could not be reached.

The Dickeys, an old-line Houston family that has owned most of the land along Kirby between Westheimer and West Alabama for more than a century, put the property on the block earlier this year.

The family, which has maintained control of much of its land through long-term ground leases, is expected to sell the two acres to Hanover and lease the four acres to Gables.

The Dickeys are also looking to lease about two acres on the east side of Kirby, where the now-defunct Hard Rock Cafe and Anthony's restaurant buildings sit.

About five years after real estate developer William Dickey died, his family decided to relinquish control of nearly eight acres of land on Kirby.

Bids for the property were solicited in May by Wulfe & Co.

Of the more than 20 offers that came in, just a few are left standing, said Kenneth Katz of Wulfe & Co.

"The site will likely be developed as a mixed-use project by one or more developers," is all Katz will say about the deal.

In addition to the land on Kirby, the Dickeys also control long-term ground leases with Whole Foods for its West Alabama supermarket and the Ainbinder Co., which owns the Borders bookstore shopping center across the street.

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I don't think that's the Taco Milagro shopping center, but the one further south down the street. I think there is a clothing retailer or maybe a tanning salon in there. I can't remember now.

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I hope this is going to be a good development, and nothing crappy like gables Augusta.

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Hasn't Gables only done mid-rises? I'd rather see something more urban than the other Gables projects I've seen.. unless I'm confusing them for something else.

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Bye bye Taco Milagro?

Taco Milagro is on the northeast corner of the Westheimer and Kirby intersection. The article states that the land is on the west side of Kirby, just south of Westheimer.

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Gables has some interesting projects in Dallas, so they might be able to do something here.

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