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High Rise Offices on White Oak?


lwood

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Well there you go. Even if a developer has not initiated meetings with a neighborhood group (and btw, those meetings are always a fiasco comprised of people that hate the project with very few that show up that are indifferent even if such people are numerous) it is possible for the developer to forsee and overcome the most likely objections in the design phase. It looks to me like you acknowledge that.

I don't disagree that it's possible for the developer to foresee and overcome the most likely objections in the design phase. But I wasn't going as far as saying that I believe that was done here. I did want to acknowledge that some effort has apparently been made to take the neighborhood into consideration, mainly just to be friendly, but the scale of the building would foreseeably be far and away the major objection of local residents.

It may be short-sighted to underestimate the scope of their market area. There are not many buildings of the sort that exist, after all, so they may very well be reaching into the Washington Avenue, Montrose, and many other areas.

I was just going by maya-arch's: "Target tenants will be neighborhood small businesses and individuals currently doing business in homes, garages, guest rooms, etc...within walking or biking distance and not wanting a heavy commute routine." I'd agree with you that the draw would likely include a larger area. (And there are parts of Washington Ave. and Montrose where I think the building as currently envisioned would be a good fit and welcomed by the immediate neighborhood.) Don't disagree either that maya-arch may be only tangentially related to the project if at all - I'm giving him/her the benefit of the doubt just in case.

That is not uncommon in other cities, albeit done under threat of credible political opposition. It is effectively unheard of in Houston unless it is a local government entity seeking federal funds. If you don't like that and would like to change it, I'd still oppose such a policy position, but would welcome you to try.

Thanks. Though I was actually focused here just on this one building and ways an Ashby-High-Rise-style showdown and all that brings with it might be avoided - thinking maybe the politicians could be kept out of it. I certainly don't think NOT having a public meeting would serve that goal in any way.

Edit: Didn't see the intervening posts. There aren't townhouses "directly behind this lot" are there? - there are houses, I think - I remember one facing Oxford when I walked by, but I didn't turn the corner and am just looking at the satellite image right now. There are townhouses down the street from them that replaced (if I remember right) some scary apartments - but I don't think they extend to the back of the 3110/3122 lots. Probably doesn't make that much difference to your point, though, Red.

Edited by tmariar
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Oh - "their" is this group, I believe:

http://www.cisnerosdesignstudio.com/

A midrise for the Heights (not this project) is shown in their slideshow. Any idea where that one will be located?

If the illustrations are any indication, their designs seem sensitive to and appropriate for the various locations.

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I certainly don't think NOT having a public meeting would serve that goal in any way.

Having the meeting would have adverse consequences. Only people with a dog in the fight and that care tend to show up. The unaffected or indifferent stay home and the building's future users don't know who they are yet.

It's a mob scene by default and design.

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There aren't any 3- or 4-story townhomes at all around there? That doesn't seem right.

I don't recall any townhomes on that street being 3 story.. much less townhomes at all!

On 7th - 7 1/2 streets there are some single family houses which are 3 story.. but the closest 3 story townhomes I can think of are up near 14th and heights.. (brownstones)

but I don't think any residential or commercial on White oak are larger than 2 stories.. I may have to look again..

Edit: There are indeed 3 story townhomes in the area.. I'm now willing to accept a 11+ story building in the same area.

Edited by Zippy
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I don't recall any townhomes on that street being 3 story.. much less townhomes at all!

On 7th - 7 1/2 streets there are some single family houses which are 3 story.. but the closest 3 story townhomes I can think of are up near 14th and heights.. (brownstones)

but I don't think any residential or commercial on White oak are larger than 2 stories.. I may have to look again..

I think there's a 3 story across the street on the triangle shaped lot White Oak @ Oxford. I forgot why this might matter though.

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I think there's a 3 story across the street on the triangle shaped lot White Oak @ Oxford. I forgot why this might matter though.

I think the argument that an 11+ story building would not stand out much if there are already 3-4 story townhomes in the area.. :shrug:

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I think the argument that an 11+ story building would not stand out much if there are already 3-4 story townhomes in the area.. :shrug:

No, I was only impuning your credibility, is all.

And the townhomes on 6 1/2 Street are on the same block as the propsed midrise.

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First post..I came across this thread while trying to confirm a story I heard this week about a planned development on White Oak, and I thought this was it. However I realized that this group is discussing development to the west of OC and what I heard from a White Oak business owner was very specific about a similar development to the east of OC. More specifically, the lady that owns the strip center east of Charlies Liquor (White Oak Bakery etc), the Camphouse BBQ property, and the adjacent commercial building (with the black iron fence) along with the empty lot across the street next to the ditch...has signed a contract to sell it all to a single developer. Additionally, the developer has plans similar to the Rizk project on the west (mixed use high rise) but that the empty lot on the south side of White Oak is planned to be a parking garage. The business owner I talked to spoke directly to the seller, so this is all third-hand information. I'll ask for more specifics, but in the meantime, I suggest we get independent corroboration before the hand-wringing starts.

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Having the meeting would have adverse consequences. Only people with a dog in the fight and that care tend to show up. The unaffected or indifferent stay home and the building's future users don't know who they are yet.

It's a mob scene by default and design.

I'm sure you're right about the unaffected and indifferent not attending, but don't see how that's a bad thing. And even if we agree that the target market is broader than those within walking or biking distance as suggested by maya-arch (hence the need for the multi-story parking garage), wouldn't potential users know who they are?

I'll admit not to having been to a public information meeting before - have only read accounts of them. I think that you're right that, unless required by law, they tend to happen only when political pressure grows to a certain point - meaning a stage at which the various interest groups have organized and become intransigent. While I wouldn't say such meetings are doomed to failure by nature or design, at that stage I can see why they would be less effective.

But what about an earlier-stage meeting, when the developers' plans might not be set in stone and the residents and market area are still looking primarily for information and to voice generalized concerns? Do you see any non-pollyannaish reasons why the developer for this particular building might benefit from an early-stage meeting, assuming for the purposes of discussion that things will follow an Ashby course otherwise (the Heights being lousy with lawyers, so to speak)? Learning something about their target market's needs/preferences? Gauging opposition? The political expedience later in the process of having already had a public meeting (when any opposition is still grass-roots)?

Here's a photo of the 3-story on the southwest corner of the intersection - on the "triangle" created by the old train tracks, so you're seeing 2 of just 3 sides - currently the tallest building on White Oak, that I can think of. I can't even think of another 2-story building on White Oak as I sit here other than Fitzgerald's (built in 1918 as a Polish social center - Dom Polanski).

gallery_2051_88_942399.jpg

Fwki - Welcome and thanks for the info - very interesting.

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gallery_2051_88_800896.jpg
I'll ask for more specifics, but in the meantime, I suggest we get independent corroboration before the hand-wringing starts.

First off, welcome to the HAIF...say goodbye to your life.

Second, I think the sign is really the only thing that can be confirmed and is a pretty good sized clue. Stick around, prepare to lose some sleep and keep and eye on this.

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And even if we agree that the target market is broader than those within walking or biking distance as suggested by maya-arch (hence the need for the multi-story parking garage), wouldn't potential users know who they are?

The parking garage is necessary to conform to city codes. See Article VIII Division I Section 26-492 of the municipal ordinances. There's no getting around that.

But what about an earlier-stage meeting, when the developers' plans might not be set in stone and the residents and market area are still looking primarily for information and to voice generalized concerns? Do you see any non-pollyannaish reasons why the developer for this particular building might benefit from an early-stage meeting, assuming for the purposes of discussion that things will follow an Ashby course otherwise (the Heights being lousy with lawyers, so to speak)? Learning something about their target market's needs/preferences? Gauging opposition? The political expedience later in the process of having already had a public meeting (when any opposition is still grass-roots)?

The target market is pretty easy to pin down with study and informal one-on-one meetings. And the nature of the opposition is pretty easy to figure out, just looking at Ashby as a model for neighborhood resistance. And having had a meeting is not the least bit to the developer's benefit if it didn't go well and allows opposition to coalless early on.

The best approach for the developer would probably be to propose something outlandish, have meetings, ensure that a big stink is made about it, and then to 'cave in' to residents so that something of moderate size can be built that would've also been difficult to get permits for if that's how they had started out. But that approach would be dishonest; I don't think that route appeals to anybody.

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The target market is pretty easy to pin down with study and informal one-on-one meetings. And the nature of the opposition is pretty easy to figure out, just looking at Ashby as a model for neighborhood resistance. And having had a meeting is not the least bit to the developer's benefit if it didn't go well and allows opposition to coalless early on.

Here's to the opposition going coalless early on...Houston has enough of an emissions problem already.

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No, I was only impuning your credibility, is all.

And the townhomes on 6 1/2 Street are on the same block as the propsed midrise.

Ah.. I apologize... I'll fix my previous post and say there is nothing larger than a 3 story building in that same area. This makes all the difference, I'll now accept a 11+ story tower in the middle of da hood..

Edited by Zippy
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The target market is pretty easy to pin down with study and informal one-on-one meetings. And the nature of the opposition is pretty easy to figure out, just looking at Ashby as a model for neighborhood resistance. And having had a meeting is not the least bit to the developer's benefit if it didn't go well and allows opposition to coalless early on.

Coal-less = less emissions from combustion of fossil fuel

Coalesce = get together, gel

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First post..I came across this thread while trying to confirm a story I heard this week about a planned development on White Oak, and I thought this was it. However I realized that this group is discussing development to the west of OC and what I heard from a White Oak business owner was very specific about a similar development to the east of OC. More specifically, the lady that owns the strip center east of Charlies Liquor (White Oak Bakery etc), the Camphouse BBQ property, and the adjacent commercial building (with the black iron fence) along with the empty lot across the street next to the ditch...has signed a contract to sell it all to a single developer. Additionally, the developer has plans similar to the Rizk project on the west (mixed use high rise) but that the empty lot on the south side of White Oak is planned to be a parking garage. The business owner I talked to spoke directly to the seller, so this is all third-hand information. I'll ask for more specifics, but in the meantime, I suggest we get independent corroboration before the hand-wringing starts.

The Geoff Vaughan property (the primary subject of the thread to this point) is outlined in red below.

Outlined in purple is property owned by the "Ralph S. Burroughs Family Trust c/o Alice S. Burroughs" on the north and south side of White Oak, according to HCAD.

gallery_2051_88_118089.jpg

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The Geoff Vaughan property (the primary subject of the thread to this point) is outlined in red below.

Outlined in purple is property owned by the "Ralph S. Burroughs Family Trust c/o Alice S. Burroughs" on the north and south side of White Oak, according to HCAD.

gallery_2051_88_118089.jpg

Personally, I would like to see that area east of o.c. be developed. There is nothing in there that is very useful, the potential for that space is great, just have to see what the plans are and how that potential is realized. Feel free to knock down Fitz's as well, while they're at it.

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I'm not sure White Oak is the best example of historical integrity.

Bingo! I'll even go so far as to say White Oak (at least that part) is more business than residential, and if your going to put this somewhere better here than most other places in the area. Exhibit A should be Heights House. Yes, ugly as sin if you're not into that sort of thing, but a 10 story apartment complex that has been a part of the neighborhood for decades with standard housing next to and behind it.

Also, think of this. Maybe, just maybe going higher density here saves a house or two deeper in the neighborhood.

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I don't think that's fair to say because (at least as far as I know) there has been no meeting or other coordination with residents yet. How can our views have been taken into careful consideration if they haven't been solicited? In fact, it looks like all the Heights residents that have posted here so far have some reservation about the project as currently planned.

It would be disingenuous to dismiss our opinions as NIMBYism given that (1) the target tenants are apparently local residents (meaning this isn't a case of one neighborhood not wanting to host a project that would benefit a larger area), and (2) the more obvious reason why there might be opposition from residents is that many people who live in the Heights do so because they prefer its character to that of neighborhoods in which this project wouldn't be so out of place.

I acknowledged before that there appears to have been some attempt made to take the neighborhood character into consideration in planning this project - perhaps more of an attempt than many developers would make. And yet, no other developer is proposing to build an 11-story building in the middle of White Oak.

I respect the opinions of the non-residents who like the sound of the project - that's great, and I'm sure there are locals who would support it as well. But it does seem reasonable to hope that the developers of a project of this size - especially one targeted for use by current residents - would hold a public information meeting of some kind to provide residents with more information and an opportunity for questions and feedback. If a project was planned for your neighborhood that was exponentially larger than anything previously built there in the past 100+ years, would you not hope for the same?

i pretty much agree with this sentiment. possibly this developer is trying to make it "look" like he cares for the neighborhood, lulling people in to complacency b/c they will think "well, he has clearly consulted my neighbors and has the area's best interest in mind." maybe this developer is an anomaly, but most developers only have one thing in mind- their bottom line.

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Personally, I would like to see that area east of o.c. be developed. There is nothing in there that is very useful, the potential for that space is great, just have to see what the plans are and how that potential is realized. Feel free to knock down Fitz's as well, while they're at it.

Absolutely. That stretch of road is just hideous (no offence to the Burroughs family). If the price of dynamiting that largely useless and ugly stretch of White Oak (located conveniently in a wet area) is a brand new midrise that looks old, I'd say it is a small price to pay. And, if a midrise locates here, one at the corner of Oxford would not appear out of place.

If this were occurring on some of the interior residential streets, the opposition would be obvious, and I would join in. However, the commercial and high traffic streets should be treated differently, as they ARE different. There is nothing quaint about a high traffic street, and as for historical, these are commercial thoroughfares.

If they redevelop the Burroughs property, which I hope for, there is no rational reason for me to oppose redevelopment 100 feet to the west. In fact, the CURRENT makeup of the Burroughs property pretty well takes away any claims to historical character to that whole block.

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Absolutely. That stretch of road is just hideous (no offence to the Burroughs family). If the price of dynamiting that largely useless and ugly stretch of White Oak (located conveniently in a wet area) is a brand new midrise that looks old, I'd say it is a small price to pay. And, if a midrise locates here, one at the corner of Oxford would not appear out of place.

If this were occurring on some of the interior residential streets, the opposition would be obvious, and I would join in. However, the commercial and high traffic streets should be treated differently, as they ARE different. There is nothing quaint about a high traffic street, and as for historical, these are commercial thoroughfares.

If they redevelop the Burroughs property, which I hope for, there is no rational reason for me to oppose redevelopment 100 feet to the west. In fact, the CURRENT makeup of the Burroughs property pretty well takes away any claims to historical character to that whole block.

i agree. i am not at all opposed to development- especially on these busy street (i love what's happening on studewood and think that those allegro type building all up and down white oak would certainly be an improvement).

i just think 13 stories looming over the neighborhood is a little much. i mean, all the people for at least 3 blocks behind will no longer have any privacy in their back yards. that sucks.

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Absolutely. That stretch of road is just hideous (no offence to the Burroughs family). If the price of dynamiting that largely useless and ugly stretch of White Oak (located conveniently in a wet area) is a brand new midrise that looks old, I'd say it is a small price to pay. And, if a midrise locates here, one at the corner of Oxford would not appear out of place.

If this were occurring on some of the interior residential streets, the opposition would be obvious, and I would join in. However, the commercial and high traffic streets should be treated differently, as they ARE different. There is nothing quaint about a high traffic street, and as for historical, these are commercial thoroughfares.

If they redevelop the Burroughs property, which I hope for, there is no rational reason for me to oppose redevelopment 100 feet to the west. In fact, the CURRENT makeup of the Burroughs property pretty well takes away any claims to historical character to that whole block.

This is just based on a vague recollection of when I looked at HCAD on those properties a year or so ago, but I think the Burroughs family may not have owned all the property it currently does on White Oak for that long. I don't mind the businesses that are/were there - a White Oak Bakery or a Camphouse BBQ is unlikely to be able to afford space in a new development, which will have higher rent. I stopped off for barbecue at Camphouse far more often than I go to, say, McCain's or Glass Wall (though, Heights Yankee, I like the look of the Glass Wall building, too - they did a good job on that). But it's not lost on me that an anti-yuppification platform is not going to get me very far in light of the changing demographics.

And my concerns about the Vaughan project and the (unconfirmed) Burroughs project aren't so much about preservation of the structures that they will replace (though, yes, I also do hate to see 1920's houses and even warehouses torn down instead of updated), but about the scale of the projects. If you start putting up multi-story buildings on a street as tightly parceled as White Oak, then what you're going to be seeing at ground level (and/or 2-4 stories up) is parking garages. I think it's impossible to make a multi-story parking garage that would not look as jarring and out-of-place on White Oak as the Disneyesque rows of neo-Victorians do among the bungalows on the interior streets (sorry, no offense intended). And call White Oak a commercial district all you want, and add all the period touches you can, but I'd say the same thing about any building on White Oak that gets much over 4-5 stories tall - though I'd probably take a 6-story building over a shorter multi-story parking garage.

While I think there's more to it than just personal aesthetics, opinions on these issues are obviously going to vary. I'm not going to say that tall buildings on White Oak would ruin the neighborhood or anything like that, but I do feel strongly enough to want to find out as much as I can and have as much input in the process as possible. Seems like learning more is the key thing to be doing now - though I don't think it's premature to be getting the word out as well.

If anyone is interested in coordinating on at least getting more information, feel free to PM me. Maybe we can exchange some thoughts or, if there seems to be a lot of interest, meet to talk at OC or something.

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If they redevelop the Burroughs property, which I hope for, there is no rational reason for me to oppose redevelopment 100 feet to the west. In fact, the CURRENT makeup of the Burroughs property pretty well takes away any claims to historical character to that whole block.

Does the current makeup of the property at 10th and Columbia take away any claims to the historical character of that part of the neighborhood?

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Does the current makeup of the property at 10th and Columbia take away any claims to the historical character of that part of the neighborhood?

If you are asking my thoughts on demolishing the building and putting up a midrise at that location, my response is that I will drive the bulldozer. The property at 10th and Columbia, like the strip centers and warehouse on White Oak, adds nothing to the neighborhood (well, with the exception of the sounds of gunfire). New construction at both locations not only will not detract from the neighborhood, but will add value to the neighborhood.

These attempts to characterize ANY demolition and new construction in the neighborhood as detrimental could not be more misguided. It is a case by case analysis. Demolition of degraded structures with little or no historical significance does not destrot the neighborhood.

I do NOT find a 13 story structure to be the best replacement for those buildings by a long shot. It seems to be out of scale for the lots. A midrise, however, might be. I'm sorry if my refusal to be boxed in by single-minded approaches to aesthetics offends you or my other neighbors. While my house came with numerous deed restrictions, toeing the HHA party line was not one of them.

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The business owner I talked to spoke directly to the seller, so this is all third-hand information. I'll ask for more specifics...

Additional details: The Burroughs property is under contract until expiry sometime this July without positive action, e.g. extension, etc. The seller understands that the buyer is having issues with the city on the southern parcel which encompasses "the ditch", and that is holding up the deal. It's not clear what those issues are (wetlands?).

As an aside, 6-7 years ago I witnessed some U of H students clearing and excavating the west side of "the ditch" over a period of several weeks (across from Jimmies). They came up with what looked like cement steps leading down to a mooring area. I spoke with one student and she said that they were investigating the site which was used to bring supplies and ice to the area, and naturally it became a social gathering place. Apparently "the ditch" was once navigable when White Oak Bayou was controlled at a higher level than today.

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I'm sorry if my refusal to be boxed in by single-minded approaches to aesthetics offends you or my other neighbors. While my house came with numerous deed restrictions, toeing the HHA party line was not one of them.

I don't even know what the HHA party line is, but if it's against all demolitions and new constructions, that does seem short-sighted. I haven't seen much evidence of that attitude in this thread, though. Or that much aesthetic single-mindedness among the Heights residents posting, really, other than that the scale of a new construction on White Oak would be a factor in our opinion of its desirability.

If something you considered too big turns out to be in the works for White Oak, will you fight against it? I'm just wondering how many will. If there were a non-judgmental emoticon, it would go here - obviously, there's only so much time in the day, and there are so many things not right in the world, and who relishes a fight with developers? Often people will fight something like this only if the construction will hurt them financially, and I'm not sure parking garages or a big building on White Oak would damage property values other than in the very immediate surrounding area - the adjoining lots and perhaps a little further out - and that's probably not even true uniformly. If there were a public parking garage next to Jimmy's, maybe that would up the commercial value of the adjoining lots.

Heck, maybe all our property values will go up. Then I can pay that much more in property taxes. Yay.

I'm on vacation this week, and have spent way too much time thinking and typing about this already - just thought I'd make the observation that there hasn't exactly been a wave of anti-development frenzy overtaking the thread. My above offer still stands, though - if there is anyone who wants to coordinate on finding out more information about what's planned for White Oak, I'm in.

Fwki - Just saw your new post. Again, very interesting info (to me at least) - thanks! Looking at the 1922 topo map, it does look like the "ditch" (probably what's been called Gostick Gully) used to be more prominent, and that the south White Oak Burroughs lot is essentially right on top. I marked it, White Oak, and Oxford in red on the below:

gallery_2051_88_31765.jpg

Edited by tmariar
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If I considered the building unsuitable for any number of reasons, of course I would oppose it. I have no problem duking it out. I do it for a living. I suspect that since I have a much more laissez faire attitude toward these things than many of my neighbors, the fight would be taken up long before I got offended. Driving through the hood on my way home from my tax protest (good news! Your land values are going way up!), I was picking out which structures I wanted kept, and which ones they could bulldoze without me blinking. The architecturally significant ones get to stay. The 70s tilt walls can go. But, I was amazed at the number of clearly non-historical structures that I believe make up the quirkiness of the Heights....and, it could include the buildings on White Oak. But, at the same time, they could go away without hurting my feelings either.

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If you start putting up multi-story buildings on a street as tightly parceled as White Oak, then what you're going to be seeing at ground level (and/or 2-4 stories up) is parking garages.

Not if there's retail on the ground level, as is planned.

Above that, a lot of things can be done to the side of a parking garage. Want to clad it in mirrored curtain wall? Done. Want to go totally minimalist with architectural concrete? Done. Want to place a brick facade complete with fake wndows and ledges on it? Done. That is not an issue at all, regardless of your personal tastes.

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Not if there's retail on the ground level, as is planned.

Above that, a lot of things can be done to the side of a parking garage. Want to clad it in mirrored curtain wall? Done. Want to go totally minimalist with architectural concrete? Done. Want to place a brick facade complete with fake wndows and ledges on it? Done. That is not an issue at all, regardless of your personal tastes.

Putting the parking garage on floors 2-4 instead of 1-3 doesn't make a big difference to me - it simply forces the building higher. I like the idea of ground-floor retail generally speaking, but if there's a height trade-off to be considered, depending on the height we're talking, I might not always side in favor of ground-floor retail. I'd have to know more.

As for my personal tastes, they are just that, as I've stated repeatedly. I try to avoid purporting to speak on behalf of anyone else on this topic, much less as the voice of objective truth on what is and is not an issue. And to be respectful of others' views, hoping to receive the same courtesy in return.

Going to try to get back to my vacation. In case I manage to stay away from the computer for a while, hope y'all have a great weekend. Red, hope you got some relief from your protest.

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Putting the parking garage on floors 2-4 instead of 1-3 doesn't make a big difference to me - it simply forces the building higher. I like the idea of ground-floor retail generally speaking, but if there's a height trade-off to be considered, depending on the height we're talking, I might not always side in favor of ground-floor retail. I'd have to know more.

So...you'd rather have an 11-story building without ground-floor retail than a 12-story building with retail? Doesn't seem like one additional story of height makes all that much of a difference. And it would seem like ground-level retail would be far preferable to a blank wall.

I'll grant you that different people have different tastes, but that kind of a tradeoff just seems like a no-brainer.

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I think it would depend on the height, what the retail was likely to be, and other things. If it were just an 11-story building like the tower in the rendering, yeah, I'd say might as well add a story and put some retail at the base. What really jumped out at me in the Vaughan rendering, though - right after the height - was the large 4-story base of the building, which looked liked it took up most of the property, was all parking garage, and to me not that attractive. I just imagined sitting out at one of the picnic tables at Onion Creek and having that looming over me, and it was a visceral reaction (same as the idea of looking up at that tower from my back deck). Don't know whether I'd rather have the base be 3 stories and no ground-level retail - it's probably an easy call for some people, I'm just saying it's not an easy call for me - that extra story on a base of those dimensions is a lot of extra bulk. And, as I keep thinking, out of scale with what's around it.

I just don't like the idea of multi-story parking garages fronting that street (at ground level or just above) in general. Maybe those closer are having a big problem with people parking in front of their houses, though, and any neighborhood opposition will coalesce around the height/scale issue and not the parking garage issue. So be it. To me, if a parking garage is essential, I'd rather someone build one that has a little more space to work with, so it might be placed somewhere less dominant. If everything now on the North Burroughs property were to be replaced by two strings of 3-story or even 4-story mixed-use buildings with a 3-story parking garage in the middle - and the Vaughan property replaced with a similar height building but no full-lot parking garage - it wouldn't be that big of a deal to me, and would seem to be a better fit and more natural in terms of growth on White Oak. A parking garage on the south side of the street, pushed toward the back of the Burroughs property, also wouldn't be a big aesthetic issue for me - though it might for the people whose houses are right there.

It remains to be seen what issues if any the neighborhood will find important, mutual, and realistic enough to get behind (one of the reasons I'm interested in others' opinions). I'd give way to the majority view, as we'd have to unite to do any good, I imagine. But for there to be a majority view, I guess we have to have individual opinions - and so those are mine, for what they're worth. Surely they can't be "wrong" in any objective sense, Niche. Tell me that I'm likely to find myself the extremist amongst my neighbors, and I'll say you may well be right.

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I lived in Woodland Heights in the late 90's and it was frustrating the lack of retail in the area.

Then, I had to drive to Montrose or Galleria area to do my shopping and to run errands.

I guess most people that live in the Heights would rather drive, as I did then, then to welcome new retail/commercial development in the area.

My advise to the developer is to find a site on Washington Ave. or Near East End where they will be welcomed with open arms. :rolleyes:

Edited by UpperEastSideNewbie
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i gotta tell ya, i was driving up montrose earlier today and, as i drove by the 8 story condo building next to pronto (at W Gray) it really hit me hard how bad something like that would look on white oak. i mean, that building is only 8 stories and it looms over the road, even though that is a very busy, built up area. additionally, the scale at which even 3 or 4 stories are built by a lot of these developers makes them much bigger than just their number of floors. drive down washington and look at some of the new commercial buildings with only 3 floors, but they are monstrous.

i honestly *do* encourage development in the heights, but it has to be fitting to the area. to repeat my earlier comment, anything over 4 stories clearly removes any semblance of privacy for the people who live behind there. those are the people who really need to get interested in this project...

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  • 1 month later...

The text of the short piece to which lockmat linked above (thanks):

HHA Board Opposes Hi-Rise on White Oak

The following position statement was adopted by unanimous vote of the HHA Board of Directors at its July 21, 2008 meeting:

In furtherance of its mission to preserve and enhance the historic character of Houston Heights, the Houston Heights Association cannot support the construction of a high-rise commercial building (9-13 stories with three lower floors of parking garage) currently proposed for the corner of White Oak (6th street) and Oxford.

The scale and form of the proposed building is not in character with adjacent commercial and residential architecture or with the neighborhood as a whole, which is largely composed of one and two story buildings. Such an intensive use of the site would result in a building that would tower over and impose itself on the views of historic residences and their gardens. It would also create a significant increase in vehicular traffic at the intersection of 6th and Oxford.

The HHA understands that change is inevitable, and actively encourages the construction of new buildings (on non-historic sites) that are compatible with the form, scale and character of the Houston Heights. The construction of this office tower would create a precedent for the future development of large scale multi-story commercial and residential buildings that would be in direct conflict with the unique small- town character of one of Houston's special neighborhoods.

Edited by tmariar
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The text of the short piece to which lockmat linked above (thanks):

HHA Board Opposes Hi-Rise on White Oak

The following position statement was adopted by unanimous vote of the HHA Board of Directors at its July 21, 2008 meeting:

In furtherance of its mission to preserve and enhance the historic character of Houston Heights, the Houston Heights Association cannot support the construction of a high-rise commercial building (9-13 stories with three lower floors of parking garage) currently proposed for the corner of White Oak (6th street) and Oxford.

The scale and form of the proposed building is not in character with adjacent commercial and residential architecture or with the neighborhood as a whole, which is largely composed of one and two story buildings. Such an intensive use of the site would result in a building that would tower over and impose itself on the views of historic residences and their gardens. It would also create a significant increase in vehicular traffic at the intersection of 6th and Oxford.

The HHA understands that change is inevitable, and actively encourages the construction of new buildings (on non-historic sites) that are compatible with the form, scale and character of the Houston Heights. The construction of this office tower would create a precedent for the future development of large scale multi-story commercial and residential buildings that would be in direct conflict with the unique small- town character of one of Houston's special neighborhoods.

Thank goodness. I like the way it is written: we are open to new development, but please do not make it obscene.

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  • 1 month later...

The sale of the Burroughs property I referred to above has closed, according to a friend who discussed the transaction with Alice Burroughs. I checked the County Clerk's Office and it looks like the transaction took place on July 28th under a warranty deed. The Grantee is an entity called "DC Heights LP". For more details and to determine the exact lots, one would have to visit the Clerk's office on Caroline St. or have access to an associated database.

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  • 2 months later...

Based on the information provided in an earlier post about the former Burroughs property, I did some digging on the Texas Secretary of State website. I wanted to make the information available in case it leads to more details about any proposed projects along White Oak. DC Heights LP reportedly bought the property. The LP was formed in July 2008. It is located at 1330 Post Oak Blvd, Suite 2190, Houston, Texas 77056. The entity's general partner is Nav-Realestate LLC, which shares the same address with DC Heights. Bryan J. Danna is the registered agent for both entities. Coincidentially, Mr. Danna's address is in the Heights - 827 Nashua St., Houston, Texas 77008. It looks like Mr. Danna works for a company called Venture Commerical. His email is bdanna@venturehtx.com. Does anyone happen to be neighbors or friends with Mr. Danna?

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I am personally neither for or against this project - It would be strange, and possibly ugly, but I have a big problem with people thinking they get to control the private property of another person. It would be a much more aesthetically pleasing thing to have a smaller building on that site, but if the site is unrestricted, and the developer bought it because of that reason - just because you dont like it, does not mean you should get to put a stop to it. Its not yours!

Any single person who wanted to keep the area the way it is, could go buy everything they want to preserve. But in my opinion, if you cant afford to buy it, you dont get a say on what happens with it. If you dont like it, you have two options. 1) deal with it, 2) move....apparently now people think there is a 3rd option - complain and sue, and make it such a hassle to do anything, that nothing gets done. People who take that route, should have to post a bond to reimburse the builder for his lost income as a result of their apparent dislike.

I actually feel sorry for developers who have to deal with people who think they get to tell them how to build on their own property.

The text of the short piece to which lockmat linked above (thanks):

HHA Board Opposes Hi-Rise on White Oak

The following position statement was adopted by unanimous vote of the HHA Board of Directors at its July 21, 2008 meeting:

In furtherance of its mission to preserve and enhance the historic character of Houston Heights, the Houston Heights Association cannot support the construction of a high-rise commercial building (9-13 stories with three lower floors of parking garage) currently proposed for the corner of White Oak (6th street) and Oxford.

The scale and form of the proposed building is not in character with adjacent commercial and residential architecture or with the neighborhood as a whole, which is largely composed of one and two story buildings. Such an intensive use of the site would result in a building that would tower over and impose itself on the views of historic residences and their gardens. It would also create a significant increase in vehicular traffic at the intersection of 6th and Oxford.

The HHA understands that change is inevitable, and actively encourages the construction of new buildings (on non-historic sites) that are compatible with the form, scale and character of the Houston Heights. The construction of this office tower would create a precedent for the future development of large scale multi-story commercial and residential buildings that would be in direct conflict with the unique small- town character of one of Houston's special neighborhoods.

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Great. Hey, Marksmu, where do you live? I have this idea for a combo pornshop/slaughterhouse/rehab center/rendering plant and I'm scouting locations. ;)

Realizing that this was tongue-in-cheek (and pretty funny), I think Marksmu has a good point.

If residents want to preserve a certain aesthetic in their area, it seems more equitable to do that on the front end -- organize support and petition for a municipal ordinance restricting certain uses of property in that designated area.

I'm all for keeping the character of a place intact and having sensible development, but IMO, it is unfair to go after a developer after their purchase of unrestricted property. If you want restrictions, go get'em now. If you want to seek restrictions after the fact, that is fine too, and that is your right. Heck - I may even support your agenda.

However, any notion that you are manifestly entitled to these restrictions -- after the fact and at the expense of the developer -- is suspect.

Edited by Shamrock
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Based on the information provided in an earlier post about the former Burroughs property, I did some digging on the Texas Secretary of State website. I wanted to make the information available in case it leads to more details about any proposed projects along White Oak. DC Heights LP reportedly bought the property. The LP was formed in July 2008. It is located at 1330 Post Oak Blvd, Suite 2190, Houston, Texas 77056. The entity's general partner is Nav-Realestate LLC, which shares the same address with DC Heights. Bryan J. Danna is the registered agent for both entities. Coincidentially, Mr. Danna's address is in the Heights - 827 Nashua St., Houston, Texas 77008. It looks like Mr. Danna works for a company called Venture Commerical. His email is bdanna@venturehtx.com. Does anyone happen to be neighbors or friends with Mr. Danna?

Thanks for the information regarding the Burroughs property. Venture Commercial bio page.

Venture Commercial appears to own other Heights-area properties as well. On their "for lease" list are the following:

- The remodeled retail center at Yale and 11th (odd there's not a newer picture included - it looks very nice now)

- A site at I-10 and Shepherd

- A proposed retail center at 34th and Shepherd

- A redeveloped shopping center at 43rd and Oak Forest

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