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Heights Mercantile Developments


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I am sorry but that is not correct.  There is no onsite parking at Coltivare due to the variance.  There are only onsite bike spaces.  Usually bike spaces can only be used for 10% of the allotment.  However, Coltivare received a variance to pump up that allotment.  They have also obtained some leased spaces, but the variance was largely to reduce parking requirements due to increased bike racks.  See the tweet above from the Planning Department.

 

 

The ordinance doesn't require on-site parking, it requires off-street parking. The variance was to allow the head-in spaces (which Coltivare leases) to be counted despite not meeting CoH's minimum depth requirement.

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The request to reduce parking in an area that already lacks available street parking will almost certainly be opposed?  Two proposed restaurants?   The imminent completion of 500 plus apartments on Yale will not help the parking situation.  The streets are already pretty narrow when people park along 7th and Heights to access Revival Market, the bike trail, the jogging trail, Donovan park etc.  Forget the inconvenience to residents, how will emergency vehicles respond? 

 

Look at the situation on Arlington St. with Coltivare; the residents are very upset.  Coltivare received a reduction in parking from the City when they added 40 bicycle spaces.  Unfortunately, no more than two bikes are ever parked there.  Rather, for every table that is occupied you see multiple cars.  Gelazzi does not have enough bathrooms so their guests have urinated in yards on Harvard St.  And Revival Market at 550 Heights is a tiny place, but it is packed to the gills with tables and standing patrons that often exceeds its occupancy permit.  Now Revival also wants to start a dinner service with a bar license,  Diners at Revival already occupy the parking lot and much of White Oak and Heights Blvd. 

 

Heights Blvd in particular has a lot of nice homes.  I feel so sad for those residents on Heights and nearby streets who will experience the noise from the thumping bass from the proposed rooftop restaurant late into the night, the lack of parking, elevated crime and emergency vehicle problems. 

 

 

This is why we can't have nice things.

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The CoH parking minimums are not sufficient to keep people from having to park in the neighborhoods.  They are just mitigation of the issue.  Unfortunately, a lot of people in Houston are not used to dealing with parking in an urban area and will block driveways and ignore other parking restrictions just to keep from having to walk a few blocks.  Even if everyone follows the parking minimum rules, there will always be spillover when you have a very popular restaurant. 

 

 

The parking minimums are a blunt instrument at best. The average Houston parking space probably spends 16-20 hours per day empty, yet we continue to require more every time someone builds anything.

 

It's possible to manage the situation. Try parking where you shouldn't in Montrose and see how fast your car gets towed.

 

Additionally, HFD is fully and unilaterally empowered to limit street parking on one or both sides of the street if they conclude that emergency vehicle access is a problem.

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Some info on the development planned for the former Pappas warehouse on 7th between Heights and Yale:

 

http://www.heightsmercantile.com/

 

http://www.finialgroup.com/properties/flyers/pappas-yaleflyer.pdf

 

 

 

The developer is requesting an off-site parking variance to count the head-in spaces on 7th as part of the minimum required.

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I would by 100% in support of the variance if they irrevocably committed to building street fronted shops as they appear in the renderings.  My only fear would be that they get the variance and then back pedal on the plans and put up a cheap strip mall instead of the slick two story building in the renderings.  The benefits of this kind of development (assuming it is what they say it will be) outweigh the parking burdens on the neighborhood, which as noted above can be mitigated by strong enforcement from CoH and HFD.  More pedestrian friendly development along Yale St. will help slow down the expressway that Yale St. has become.  The intersection of 11th and Yale will have a new Weber/Pera restaurant and more than likely additional retail development where the post office is.  A block to the north, the redevelopment of the property across the street from the firehouse will probably have a retail element.  The more retail we get on Yale St., the more people will be slowing down to pull in and go out of each establishment and slow down just to look at what is going on.  The alternative is more junk strip centers that will still have spill over parking issues and do nothing to create any street life. 

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The scale and style seem more like Washington Ave or Midtown and incongruous for this historic district. What will that look like next to the bungalow that is being remodeled to the south?

The pictures in the "lookbook" look like urban streetscapes, but the parking site plan still looks like a cheap strip mall with much of the parking visible from the street.

Still, how excited are you to see hipsters, barefoot, but wearing suits and briefcases traversing the Boulevard in grass sod-lined hamster wheels! It is a bizarre fiction, much in the way it is a fiction that you can hold the developer to renting to local businesses. They will rent to the highest rent paying option.

Is there any real reason to let over 90 spaces be given gratis on a city street absent a serious benefit to the community?

The local businesses that are already there do not have any parking credits, other than Coltivare which has had a dubious parking outcome at best. This project will kill the true local businesses like Barrio Antigua. But maybe the guy in the hamster wheel will come out. That would make my day!

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Still, how excited are you to see hipsters, barefoot, but wearing suits and briefcases traversing the Boulevard in grass sod-lined hamster wheels! It is a bizarre fiction, much in the way it is a fiction that you can hold the developer to renting to local businesses. They will rent to the highest rent paying option.

The local businesses that are already there do not have any parking credits, other than Coltivare which has had a dubious parking outcome at best. This project will kill the true local businesses like Barrio Antigua. But maybe the guy in the hamster wheel will come out. That would make my day!

 

What you have written here is pure, bizarre, fiction.

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It is not in a historic district.  I would agree that it would look better if it tried to emulate the original commercial architecture (like the property at Yale and 12th that will be renovate).  But, absent the historic district, anything goes.  And if I had a second choice, it would be what they are doing.  It is a modern warehouse/loft style that is attractive, has lots of big windows and is very open to the street.  It does not at all look like a strip mall.  The parking that is shown in the renderings is the existing parking on 7th street, which is either a single row of head in or parallel parking.  That is what we have on 19th street. 

 

The complex is going to be across the street from about 700 units of apartments.  I take the hipster in the hamster wheel with a grain of salt.  It is just marketing BS directed at younger people.  But, that market segment is definitely going to be there and is probably a significant reason why this development is happening. 

 

There is no guaranty that this won't fill up with national chains.  However, the typical strip mall denizens are not likely to go near an unusual development like this due to the fact that there is no parking in front of the retail pads.  Many of the typical strip mall lessees will not rent unless there is parking in front.  That is why so many developers in Houston are chicken of ground floor retail. 

 

Your claim that Barrio Antiqua will be adversely affected is silly.  Would you rather have your store across the street from a busy development with nice restaurants and retail or a food distribution warehouse with 18 wheelers coming and going all day?  For every customer that skips over the store due to parking another dozen will walk across the street after having a nice lunch to do some shopping. 

 

Coltivare would have had to add about 8 spaces had they lost their variance.  People would still be parking on Arlington even if they had 50% more than the required city minimums.  The problem is not Coltivare.  The problem is that people have built huge houses over driveways, fill their garage with junk and expect to have exclusive domain to the right of way on the street for their parking.  I looked at a couple of houses a block from Studewood and White Oak when I was looking to buy.  I passed on them because I knew that there wood be spill over from the commercial areas.  If you bought on a street that is close to one of the commercial corridors in the Heights, you are going to have people parking their cars on your street no matter what.  Limiting development will not solve the problem.  It will just mean that the existing retail will become so overcrowded that it won't be worth it to try to go out to eat in the neighborhood. 

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i've seen the site plans and detailed renderings - this is a great project. you will NEVER please everyone, especially in the heights, but as an amenity for the community as a whole it will be fantastic. besides they are talking to some really interesting potential tenants. on top of that the owner is passionate and committed to making this thing a true success. it will be a little more austin than heights (michael hsu is the architect) but very cool.

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The variance application is up on the DRC system website.  I stink at the internet and have no clue how to post it here.  Hopefully, someone else will be able to do that.  As noted above, it is Michael Hsu.  It looks like a great project with a nice layout that puts the shops fronting the streets and minimizes the parking lots.  The bungalow next to the one that got demoed on Heights and 7th is going to be a restaurant space.  It will be great to have a restaurant in that space and sit out front, watching people go up and down the bike path on 7th and running trail on Heights.  I was up at Donovan this weekend when it was packed with kids.  I only saw maybe three cars parked on 7th that were clearly not construction workers from the Trammel Crowe site. 

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Why is a parking variance warranted?

Why should the public carry the burden for this developer?

I drove by 5 times this weekend and all the parking spaces were occupied except one or two each time.

And why are they so focused on preserving clearly nonhistoric noncontributing and unappealing buildings? Are they getting grandfathered on some requirements?

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Why should the public be stuck with a suburban strip mall (the inevitable outcome if no variance is granted for parking) just because a small handful of residents living near the proposed development have buyer's remorse over their decision to buy a residence in close proximity to a commercial corridor?

 

I have my kids at Donovan several times a week.  I am far enough away that I will usually have to drive.  I have never once had to park west of Heights Blvd.  Never.  Anyone using the hike and bike trail can park on a dozen different streets to have access.  Most everyone in the Heights who uses the trail will just . . . hike and bike to it.  The only real loss is for the people living nearby who will now have people parking in front of their houses.  See the first sentence above.

 

The buildings they are saving are from 1940.  The buildings would probably be contributing if in a historic district (only the bungalow is in a historic district).  Much of the original architecture has been lost, but the architect has done a nice job of reimagining the space into something open and attractive with a nice street presence.  And they are also using the nice bungalow on Heights. 

 

Frankly, this development is the best thing to happen on Yale St. since perhaps 1920.  It is so much better than a strip mall, townhome cluster or big box apartment complex that it is well worth it to have a few extra parked cars on the street here and than. 

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Why is a parking variance warranted?

Why should the public carry the burden for this developer?

I drove by 5 times this weekend and all the parking spaces were occupied except one or two each time.

And why are they so focused on preserving clearly nonhistoric noncontributing and unappealing buildings? Are they getting grandfathered on some requirements?

Gorgeous house available in Katy. No parking issues.

 

http://swamplot.com/old-katy-home-juices-up-the-joint-300k/2015-01-30/

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I think I am hearing you say that the hundreds of people who have voiced their oppositions to the variance should move to Katy! The 30 people who live on that block should move too! And the thousands of people who currently use the parking at that location to access public amenities should move! Of course I should move because I do not want to live in Montrose or Midtown (that's why I invested in the Heights!). And in your mind all those people moving sounds better than denying the variance for which there is no public purpose to support subsidizing the developers' parking? I sure hope you don't work for the Planning Department because you would be abusing your discretion!

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I use the MKT trail about every weekend, and very rarely see people use the head-in spaces in order to use the trail or to go to Donovan Park, where there is almost always closer parking available w/o having to cross Heights Blvd. (There's an entrance to the park on Harvard, as well.)

 

I haven't heard anyone throwing shade at Urban Jungle, whose customers are the largest users of those head-in spaces (at least on weekends), and which has, as far as I can tell, approximately zero off-street parking.

 

That said, at peak demand times, which is to say weekend evenings, one very rarely sees a high proportion of those spaces occupied.

 

However, if this is built as designed, people WILL park on neighboring streets. Unlike, say, Coltivare, however, of the dozens of on-street spaces within a few blocks of here, the majority do not front residences. I'm even OK with parallel parking along Yale (which is perfectly legal currently), as it will put Yale in the same situation of the other North-South arteries in the Heights (Heights Blvd & Studewood) as having one travel lane in each direction.  Currently the limit on Heights is 35 mph, but people routinely drive 20. On Yale the limit is 30 mph, and people routinely drive 50. Some parking in the right lane might calm traffic a bit, without really increasing traffic, since the real bottleneck is the light at I-10.

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I think I am hearing you say that the hundreds of people who have voiced their oppositions to the variance should move to Katy! The 30 people who live on that block should move too! And the thousands of people who currently use the parking at that location to access public amenities should move! Of course I should move because I do not want to live in Montrose or Midtown (that's why I invested in the Heights!). And in your mind all those people moving sounds better than denying the variance for which there is no public purpose to support subsidizing the developers' parking? I sure hope you don't work for the Planning Department because you would be abusing your discretion!

 

The people who live on that block should welcome a wonderful new development and the luxury of being able to live in a single family house and be able to walk out their front door and down the street to great restaurants and shops.  If they are so disgusted by having people use the public parking in front of their homes, they should at least wait until the development is finished before moving to Katy because their property values will get a significant bump if the development goes through as planned.  Right now, the burdens of power transformers, I-10 noise and industrial buildings weigh heavily on residential real estate around the area of the development.  Put in a world class development and you will see the benefits quickly outweigh the burdens.

 

If you did not want to have parking issues around your house, you should have never moved near the two busiest roads in the Heights.  I made sure I was a few blocks from the commercial corridors in the Heights because I wanted a quiet street more than I wanted to be near restaurants and shops.  Of course, you don't have to move to Katy.  You can just move to one of the hundreds of blocks in the Heights that are not affected by commercial/retail development.  Just because you made a bad decision on what part of the Heights to buy a home does not mean you get to suppress development that is beneficial to the rest of us.

 

I won't even go into how silly it is to claim that there are thousands of people who use a few dozen parking spaces. 

 

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The people who live on that block should welcome a wonderful new development and the luxury of being able to live in a single family house and be able to walk out their front door and down the street to great restaurants and shops. If they are so disgusted by having people use the public parking in front of their homes, they should at least wait until the development is finished before moving to Katy because their property values will get a significant bump if the development goes through as planned. Right now, the burdens of power transformers, I-10 noise and industrial buildings weigh heavily on residential real estate around the area of the development. Put in a world class development and you will see the benefits quickly outweigh the burdens.

If you did not want to have parking issues around your house, you should have never moved near the two busiest roads in the Heights. I made sure I was a few blocks from the commercial corridors in the Heights because I wanted a quiet street more than I wanted to be near restaurants and shops. Of course, you don't have to move to Katy. You can just move to one of the hundreds of blocks in the Heights that are not affected by commercial/retail development. Just because you made a bad decision on what part of the Heights to buy a home does not mean you get to suppress development that is beneficial to the rest of us.

I won't even go into how silly it is to claim that there are thousands of people who use a few dozen parking spaces.

I agree, I am a bit surprised by some of the backlash against the project (although my guess is the supporters would vastly outnumber the opposers but the opposition is always the loudest). The reason I moved to the Heights was because I wanted to live in a dense, urban walkable neighborhood and the Heights offered what we were looking for. I am moving to this area of the Heights and certainly hope the project goes forward as planned.

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If you want your investment to grow you should be supportive of this plan.  If the heights becomes another strip mall centric Katy then your 900sqft bungalow won't net you as much profit.

 

SMH. You dont get it. Some people have roots here and its folks who have these types of comments, 'your 900sqft bungalow', that are ruining it. Ha. You come off so negative on this and ND site.

I'm all for new developement but this us and them is ridiculous. I've lived here all of my life, so you can build whatever you want. This will never erase the memories I have of this place. Lets see these houses after our next big hurricane. ;) I grew up in a bungalow and those houses are built to last. 

 

Be nice behind your keyboard son. 

 

P.S. I like to VISIT Katy, its changed so much over the last 30 years.

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I welcome this development.  That parking is hardly ever used (I regularly take my kid to play in the park there, and i've never had to park west of Heights, normally I'm able to park right next to the park) and the site plan looks pretty interesting.  Interesting sites typically get interesting businesses, as cookie cutter corporate business tend to shy away in favor of suburban strip centers (which is what will happen here if no variance is provided).  

 

I do think that if the parking variance is granted, there should be some stipulations to ensure we get something like the rendering, and they don't pull the ole rope a dope on us and build a crappy strip center.  I'm hoping for sushi/bagel/indian food, just one of those would be a giant victory to me.

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I agree, I am a bit surprised by some of the backlash against the project (although my guess is the supporters would vastly outnumber the opposers but the opposition is always the loudest). The reason I moved to the Heights was because I wanted to live in a dense, urban walkable neighborhood and the Heights offered what we were looking for. I am moving to this area of the Heights and certainly hope the project goes forward as planned.

 

There are real issues with parking, but they are not the fault of the businesses moving into the area.  People do park like idiots when they park in the neighborhoods for places like Bistro Zelko, Coltivare, Good Dog, etc.  Most of the streets affected can only handle parking on one side of the street, but people park on both sides, making it impossible for emergency vehicles to get through and for some residents to get out of their driveways.  And some people are just dumb enough to park right in front of someone's driveway.  But the City is supposed to help regulate and mitigate this issue.  The parking minimums are not the answer, as evidenced by places like Montrose and Washington Ave.  If the City curbed and guttered the affected streets that are still just 18' wide and have open drainage ditches and restricted parking to one side of the street, the impact would be limited to idiots parking illegally, which can be quickly remedied by one of the many tow trucks in the area that will happily whisk a violator off to a very expensive involuntary parking lot complete with pitbulls rushing the gate when you come to bail out your car.  But chasing off projects like this one and smaller efforts like Coltivare will just mean that we will only get strip center developments in the Heights but will still have the same parking problems. 

 

 

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I wouldn't hold my breath on the city adding curbs and gutters in narrow problem streets in the Heights anytime soon, especially with real serious problem areas of the same nature in the West End/Rice Military/Cottage Grove/Washington Corridor

 

Sadly, there are parts of town that have it much worse than we do:

 

http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/news/neighbors-appeal-for-help-with-crumbling-streets/

 

i also think the City resists curbs and gutters because they know that the open drainage ditches act as needed storm water detention.  

 

But setting aside the CIP mess, the City could put in restrictions on parking on both sides of the streets tomorrow if they wanted to.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Neighboring land owners hired an architect who designs suburban strip malls and Buccees to tell the planning commission how to develop an urban inner city project.  His big point was that the developer could do structured parking.  But he generally seemed to think that the development was too dense and would impede the right of way with door swings, etc.  Translation:  Strip malls should rule the city.

 

One person claimed that the binder company on Heights Blvd had their property on the market, but the developer would not buy.  I have not seen it on the market.  But if it is and can be bought, the developer should buy it and use it for parking. 

 

Whatever happens, the property will get developed and there will be plenty of folks in the burbs who will come and block everyone's driveway along Heights Blvd. and will still park in the right of way along 7th, forcing the poor children of Houston to have to walk an entire city block to go to the park.   

 

Some argued that granting the variance would set a precedent so that developers would line up to get parking variances.  The opposite precedent has been set.  Any creative repurposing/infill project that relies on an urban redevelopment model cannot get done in Houston.  Infill sites will either go residential (townhomes) or go with parking in front strip centers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Neighbors needed to hire an architect because PD staff was

     1) so absurdly unsympathetic to the concerns of over 450 neighbors to follow its obligations of enforcing city code and

     2) impotent and incompetent in comprehending and enforcing the city code. 

 

PD staff met with the developer repeatedly, and knows them well enough to sit with them throughout the presentation making comments about the neighbors.  That doe snot look very impartial to me.  The developer hired its expert to present the various request.  Why shouldn't the neighbors that that seriously?  A bunch of neighbors who saw a problem needed help to understand the mechanics of the code that PD could not understand themselves.  If you watch the video, PD was so inept that they did not know their own street and bike plans for lights at that intersection!  Total comedy.

 

This morning my realtor friend confirmed the binder company property is quietly on the market.  

 

PD should do its job and expect the same level of scrutiny from now in for all parking issues in that area. 

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Neighboring land owners hired an architect who designs suburban strip malls and Buccees to tell the planning commission how to develop an urban inner city project.  His big point was that the developer could do structured parking.  But he generally seemed to think that the development was too dense and would impede the right of way with door swings, etc.  Translation:  Strip malls should rule the city.

 

One person claimed that the binder company on Heights Blvd had their property on the market, but the developer would not buy.  I have not seen it on the market.  But if it is and can be bought, the developer should buy it and use it for parking. 

 

Whatever happens, the property will get developed and there will be plenty of folks in the burbs who will come and block everyone's driveway along Heights Blvd. and will still park in the right of way along 7th, forcing the poor children of Houston to have to walk an entire city block to go to the park.   

 

Some argued that granting the variance would set a precedent so that developers would line up to get parking variances.  The opposite precedent has been set.  Any creative repurposing/infill project that relies on an urban redevelopment model cannot get done in Houston.  Infill sites will either go residential (townhomes) or go with parking in front strip centers.

 

Agree 100%.  Also, from what I have heard this "architect" and laughable "urban land planner" were all hired by commercial business' in the area who have a commercial interest in protecting the parking around there because they themselves don't have enough parking.  And it is pretty funny (or really not) that a local business owner stands up and talks about a petition he got signed but himself doesn't provide enough parking for his customers.  Sad really.

 

I'm sure the developer will figure something out to still come up with an awesome development that benefits the community because listening to him speak you can tell he actually has a vested interest in the Heights and actually cares unlike most developers I've met.  Hopefully, it will be so great that no amount of parking will be sufficient and the area gets flooded with street parking (and I live in the area).  I chose to live in an urban area because I like to walk out of my house and see people milling about, etc.  

 

Houston is in such an exciting time of growth right now, especially inside the loop.  Hopefully, this can help raise community awareness across the city as to how silly these parking minimums are and we can start working to get rid of them.  I know I was not all that aware of their effects on good quality urban development before this.

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Was it residential neighbors who hired him or as he stated commercial neighbors? I find it unfair that the commercial developments here who provide almost no parking (and likely have some kind of grandfathered status) went out and hired someone who would say what ever they needed him to protect the public parking for their own use.  

 

What blew my mind was the number of people who spoke that bought in the just the last few years along Heights and were just outraged and so surprised that there is actually traffic on their street! OMG who could have predicted that!?!? And what is sad is they think that by denying this variance nobody will be parking in front of their house and it will "save the neighborhood" from this development.  The development is still going to happen in one form or another, and people will still park in front of their house if the places are popular. 

 

My question is, won't the developer need a variance to maintain the public head in parking if they develop the area? Typically when you develop a property like that you redo the sidewalk, curb, driveways, etc and this parking might fall in those boundaries. So the net result of denying this variance could be a large reduction in public parking in the area. 

 

I can see why they denied the variance because as presented because the hardship was created by themselves.  Since they are tearing down that warehouse they have the option to build it back much smaller and thus provide the parking on site for the whole development.  So an option that I can see is to come back and present all the parcels separate and have the warehouse provide all the required on site parking.  That way the bungalow and the other buildings will have a legitimate undue hardship because the only alternative would be to tear them down completely. That is the reason staff ultimately supported the variance. 

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whose interests should the City promote--the local residents immediately surrounding the proposed project, or those of the greater area/city as a whole?  i'm sure one's point of view depends almost entirely on the group in which you fall.  in any event, seems pretty clear that the city decided to pander to the immediate neighbors this time.  

 

if i were the developer, i would be talking to Smoochies to see about opening a second store directly in the heights.  

Edited by htownproud
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Maybe building a concrete parking lot will prove once and for all that parking on the streets will still happen.  With any luck the nimby's will learn that lesson and be less likely to fight the next fight knowing regardless of what they do there will still be cars on their street.  I am continually amused at the now urban legend status created by the Coltivare parking issues and the belief that some have that the existence of their garden (instead of a parking lot) is creating the parking issues.....or the false belief that Coltivare has less parking than the city requires.   Its not.  Its Billy Bob and Buffy Sue and all their friends that show up in separate vehicles for dinner.  That's the Houston mentality unfortunately.  Eventually parking lot mentality will lose....capitalism almost guarantees it....but I fear that concrete pours are inevitable during this process.

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Other people parking on the street in front of you house is just a fact of life inside the loop (except in River Oaks, I guess).  That's why they're called public streets.

 

I only get annoyed when someone either 1) blocks my driveway or 2) parks dead square in the middle of what would otherwise be two parking places.  #2) happens a LOT, in neighborhoods and downtown.  It's one of those things that causes me to contemplate trying to invent a vaporizing death ray.

 

I really liked the Heights better when there weren't as many entitled twits living there.   :mellow:

Edited by mollusk
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Concrete was already in the plan for the entire lot at Heights and 7th. The developer plan shows their intent to turn that whole lot into parking.

The neighbors' architect suggested the developer could be creative by structuring parking behind. This would allow a nice front for walkers. I think he is right.

Edited by HeightsPeep
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The neighbors' architect suggested the developer could be creative by structuring parking behind. This would allow a nice front for walkers. I think he is right.

 

@HeightsPeep, you are obviously a neighbor with a vested interest and not a real estate developer.  As a person in the construction industry, I'll give you some help.

 

With a speed ramp and structural footings, the developer would need a ground + 4 story parking garage to accommodate the parking on that lot.  It would be highly unlikely that they can economically justify a scaled 1 and 2 story retail development with a 5 story parking garage.  That is why TCR is building a 6 story project across the street. Based on your prior posts, I'm sure you would also then object to a 5 story garage being built.  Even with the garage, many patrons will still opt to park in the head-in parking and neighboring streets.  Some people, myself included, just prefer to surface park.

 

As a neighbor who walks and bikes by this property every week, I am ashamed to have allowed people like you to be the voice of the Heights.  You do not represent my interests and quite frankly, your emotional tirades discredit your views.  I only hope this developer will come up with an acceptable alternative solution so that this project actually gets built.

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The neighbors' architect suggested the developer could be creative by structuring parking behind. This would allow a nice front for walkers. I think he is right.

 

I work in a building with structured parking.  Despite my utter diligence, everyday I almost squish a pedestrian trying to pull out of the garage because you have to stick the front of your car out of the garage before you can see people on the sidewalk.  It would not be nice for walkers to have to risk their lives getting across Yale only to be run over by someone coming out of a parking garage. 

 

Also, you cannot fit a structured parking garage on that lot unless you put in under or over the building.  As RealEstate noted, that would mean 4-5 stories.  That part of the property is not in a historic district and can build as high as it wants. 

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Thank you Real Estate for your "help," but I own a dozen properties in the Heights, some commercial and some residential. Do you?

I have have never requested a variance and I provide adequate on site parking. I suggest this developer scale back and meet the requirements. Being greedy will backfire.

Since you chose to live in a historic district, perhaps you should be ashamed for supporting the scale, design and public burden proposed by this project.

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So apparently all the people who spoke against the variance yesterday have made their peace with the Heights Walmart development. That's what a development that doesn't need a parking variance looks like.

 

Whenever they finish building whatever suburban-style strip center the neighbors want them to build, when I need to visit there to sell gold or buy a mattress, I'm going to park on the street out of spite.

 

 

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Thank you Real Estate for your "help," but I own a dozen properties in the Heights, some commercial and some residential. Do you?

I have have never requested a variance and I provide adequate on site parking. I suggest this developer scale back and meet the requirements. Being greedy will backfire.

Since you chose to live in a historic district, perhaps you should be ashamed for supporting the scale, design and public burden proposed by this project.

 

Were you then one of the people who paid the mattress store developer to speak against the variance? 

 

And if they decide to just move on and go with the easy Smoochies plan will you be more satisfied?  

 

How about a Ashby Highrise type development? or something more like what is being built across the street?

 

You don't get to pick and choose the developments that get built near you but you can support those that provide you with the highest quality of life and by rejecting this variance it opens up the possibility of getting something far worse.  **And still nobody has answered my qeustion about the head in parking. Because the variance was denied, why would this not be developed in to parallel parking and be big net loss of public parking to the area? The developer would have to get a variance to maintain that style parking right?

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Since you chose to live in a historic district, perhaps you should be ashamed for supporting the scale, design and public burden proposed by this project.

 

I live in a historic district.  You will not see another developer do a better job of respecting the scale, design and public burden of a retail development than this developer did.  The irony of all the crying about traffic and people parking their cars on the street (dear god no!!!) is that requiring big parking lots will just mean that all the retail redevelopment in the Heights will have to go on big lots and not in the small lots that line traditional commercial corridors like White Oak, 11th and 20th.  Where will new retail developments go?  Look out your front door.  The old rundown garden style apartments on Heights Blvd. are the perfect sized lot to convert into a small strip center with nice big parking lots.  By blocking the ability of people to redevelop odd shaped smaller lots, you are just ensuring that the larger lots on Heights will end up as retail strip centers with plenty of traffic and spillover parking problems.  

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Thank you Real Estate for your "help," but I own a dozen properties in the Heights, some commercial and some residential. Do you?
 

 
@HeightsPeep, I would like to offer some additional free advice - you would be far more persuasive if your arguments were based in logic and not in emotion. :)  These forums are meant to be an avenue of discussion about real estate and not avenues for personal attacks.
 
It's very easy to hide behind an alias and make claims of grandeur.  But to answer your question, I do own multiple residential and commercial properties in the area.  Not "a dozen" like you, but several.  And if you count units, I suppose I do own over "a dozen." :) I've also developed and remodeled properties in the Heights.  These factors do not give me any more standing on this forum than my neighbors who own less in the area.
 
 

I have have never requested a variance and I provide adequate on site parking. 

 
@HeightsPeep, buying in the area is as easy as writing a check and that action takes little skill. The vast majority of properties in the Heights do not meet current code and are grandfathered in.  Have you ever DEVELOPED a commercial property in the Heights? If so, why don't you share this property and your experiences with us? Again, we can all be heroes behind an online alias. 
 
 
 

I suggest this developer scale back and meet the requirements. Being greedy will backfire.

 
You just said in your prior post that you wanted them to build a large parking garage.  But you now want them to "scale back" - which one is it?  
 
As a person who spends his life building real estate, I know that developing a property that is the scale of this project is not a simple undertaking.  These developers should be applauded for their efforts and LACK of greed.  A greedy developer would have built a 20 story high rise structure on the large lot and replaced the smaller buildings with NNN drive-through deals.  That's not what the neighborhood wants to see here. 
 
Have you ever contacted the developers of this project?  I reached out to them after reading about this project and they contacted me within minutes.  They couldn't have been any more professional and were genuinely enthusiastic about the positive impact this project will have for the area.  
 

Since you chose to live in a historic district, perhaps you should be ashamed for supporting the scale, design and public burden proposed by this project.

 

 

@HeightsPeep, commercial land prices in the Heights no longer support the construction of SFR Victorian houses.  Have you not seen the architectural atrocities that almost every other developer in the Heights has built?  Do you even know what Yale looks like?  I cross it every day and it is architecturally horrific.  This development would be the single nicest property ever built in my corridor of the Heights.  Their architect's portfolio and reputation are beyond reproach.  Kudos to the developer for trying to use existing buildings and keeping a multi-parcel development.

 

I really hope the developer reads this message and knows that there are many more of us reasonable, progressive and appreciative Heights dwellers.  We will all support your project, so please retool your efforts and resubmit your plans.  

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A combined 30 post between the two, are now the loudest people on this thread...  This is a perfect example of what is going on in the neighborhood.  (not saying either of you are new or insignificant to the 'hood, but I find the parallels amusing)

I want this development to happen, as a user of the neighborhood.  (I also happen to live here)

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • The title was changed to Heights Mercantile Developments

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