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Hines' Somerset Green - Old Katy Rd.

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Hines is developing a large gated community on 46 acres inside the loop at 6900 Old Katy Rd. The community will consist of 500 single family homes and have a European style. 

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/morning_call/2013/10/hines-plans-large-gated-community.html

 

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/Residential-project-aims-to-create-a-posh-bit-of-4876633.php

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More Specifically: British Style Homes

 

http://houston.culturemap.com/news/realestate/10-08-13-british-style-community-to-rise-in-houston-big-name-developer-bets-on-high-priced-homes/

 

 

 

6b7FxxS.jpg

 

British-style gated residential community is coming to a largely commercial and industrial zone inside Loop 610 as early as 2015, thanks to a recent land purchase by Houston-based Hines, which is mainly known for its skyscrapers gleaming across the globe.

The project, named Somerset Green, is expected to consist of about 500 high-end townhomes on 46 acres at 6900 Old Katy Road near Star Motor Cars, theHouston SPCA and Decorative Center Houston.

 

Edited by editor
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Here's the press release:


 

HINES TO DEVELOP 46-ACRE PLANNED COMMUNITY INSIDE

HOUSTON'S PRESTIGIOUS 610 LOOP

 

 

(HOUSTON) - Hines, the international real estate firm, announced the recent purchase of a 46-acre tract of land inside the 610 Loop at Interstate 10, located on Old Katy Road behind Star Motor Cars, the Aston Martin dealership and next to The Houston Design Center, on which the firm will develop Somerset Green, a high-end planned community with detached townhome sites, water features and green spaces.

            The European-style neighborhood, which is in close proximity to Memorial Park, will contain elegant three- and four-story single-family townhomes that will be gated and guarded 24/7.  Hines will master plan the site, design and build all of the infrastructure, and sell the lots to builders for both spec and custom homes.  Coventry Homes, Pelican Builders and Toll Brothers have committed to develop a significant portion of the project. Preston Wood & Associates is the land planner for Somerset Green. 

            The community will be fashioned after the Regency style of architecture. The development will contain pocket parks, dog parks, and an amenity area/gathering spot with a resort-style swimming pool.

            "Hines has developed a number of high-profile master-planned communities including: First Colony in Sugar Land, TX; Las Colinas in Irving, TX; Palencia in St. Augustine, FL; Cool Springs in Franklin; TN; Aspen Highlands and Five Trees Aspen, CO; Pokrovsky Hills in Moscow; and Mala Sarka in Prague," noted Hines Senior Managing Director Rob Witte.   "We are pleased to bring our expertise to Somerset Green, and to create a new property tax base of up to $300 million for the City of Houston."

Hines is a privately owned real estate firm involved in real estate investment, development and property management worldwide. The firm's historical and current portfolio of projects that are underway, completed, acquired and managed for third parties includes 1,283 properties representing more than 516 million square feet of office, residential, mixed-use, industrial, hotel, medical and sports facilities, as well as large, master-planned communities and land developments.  In Houston alone, Hines has developed more than 51.8 million square feet since its founding in 1957. Currently, Hines manages 378 properties totaling 151.9 million square feet, which includes 84.3 million square feet for third parties.  With offices in 111 cities in 18 countries, and controlled assets valued at approximately $25.2 billion, Hines is one of the largest real estate organizations in the world. Hines is also a world leader in sustainable real estate strategies, with extensive experience in LEED®, ENERGY STAR®, BREEAM, Haute Qualité Environnementale and DGNB green building rating systems.  Visit www.hines.com for more information.

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What a poorly rendered master plan.  If I were to do that for one of my clients I'd get laughed out of the meeting.

 

Where's the rendering?

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Hines must not know how to play this real estate game on a professional level...

Edited by JJxvi
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Hines must not know how to play this real estate game on a professional level...

 

Ha, I'm not critiquing their competence in the real estate market at all.  I think we all know how successful they are.  Just saying this is an amateur rendering.  It's a large part of what I do so that's what stuck out to me.

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So ... Hines will build the streets and put in the sewer lines, but leave all the architecture to the developer/builders who buy the lots?  It strikes me that this project, as it unfolds, won't have as a strong a "Hines" imprint as people might expect, based on projects they did in the past.  For instance, the Ethan's Glen town homes off Memorial west of Bunker Hill Village.

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So ... Hines will build the streets and put in the sewer lines, but leave all the architecture to the developer/builders who buy the lots?  It strikes me that this project, as it unfolds, won't have as a strong a "Hines" imprint as people might expect, based on projects they did in the past.  For instance, the Ethan's Glen town homes off Memorial west of Bunker Hill Village.

 

You are basically correct, this looks like lot development for builders.  I believe their (Hines) value is in assembling the land, city approvals, (land) design, and the infrastructure.  A lot of builders either can't or don't want to do that themselves.

 

This might be the largest tract of land sold inside the western loop in a long time!

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Why are they calling a gated community British/European style? I don't remember any gates on communities in neighborhoods in Britain or Europe. Much more of a public emphasis.

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I thought the same thing, but I'm sure the "British style" is a marketing hook and nothing more.  It won't extend beyond suitably British-sounding street names.  

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I thought the same thing, but I'm sure the "British style" is a marketing hook and nothing more.  It won't extend beyond suitably British-sounding street names.  

 

The average suburban British house is pretty uninspiring. I wouldn't see that as a plus when looking at homes.

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The average suburban British house is pretty uninspiring. I wouldn't see that as a plus when looking at homes.

 

They're probably going for something more like urban British houses. They mentioned Regency style - I guess some place like Mayfair is their inspiration.

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As others have said, it is certainly under construction. I drove by it trying to dodge the traffic on I-10... the really difficult part is trying to even get a picture of it. There's a lot of brush in the way that doesn't allow a clear picture of it from any road. Next time I'm on my bike, I swing by and see if I can get it.

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I am trying to visualize what this area is going to look like... Are we thinking brownstone-like buildings of brick with little to tiny yards? More along the Heights? Or just straight up townhomes...

 

I am disappointed this area will be gates. Hines seems to do a good job usually, but this is a new thing. It wont feel as much apart of the community / area as it would if it flowed organically with the area.

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As others have said, it is certainly under construction. I drove by it trying to dodge the traffic on I-10... the really difficult part is trying to even get a picture of it. There's a lot of brush in the way that doesn't allow a clear picture of it from any road. Next time I'm on my bike, I swing by and see if I can get it.

Considering it seems to be a ways off from Interstate 10 (on Old Katy Road, dead end portion, if the result from Google Maps is anywhere close to correct) and Interstate 10 is sunken at that point, really good eyesight!

Maybe you mean 610?

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Considering it seems to be a ways off from Interstate 10 (on Old Katy Road, dead end portion, if the result from Google Maps is anywhere close to correct) and Interstate 10 is sunken at that point, really good eyesight!

Maybe you mean 610?

 

IronTiger pulling a Houston 19514. Just need the ;-)

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....Yea seriously...

 

Anyway, that actually isn't what I meant at all. Trying to dodge the traffic on I-10, I got off at Washington Ave and went up Hempstead Rd. It is clearly visible from there right before 11th. (....and then I took 11th to my home).

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I am trying to visualize what this area is going to look like... Are we thinking brownstone-like buildings of brick with little to tiny yards? More along the Heights? Or just straight up townhomes...

I am disappointed this area will be gates. Hines seems to do a good job usually, but this is a new thing. It wont feel as much apart of the community / area as it would if it flowed organically with the area.

I felt the same way in thinking Hines was a more visionary developer than to build gated neighborhoods but I guess his business is first and foremost to make money.

More disturbing is the thought that, given a blank slate, urban Houstonians want to live inside gates just as much as suburban Houstonians. Perhaps most new residents of the Heights would gate the whole neighborhood if they could. The civic beauty of a city where sidewalks line the streets and the streets flow into avenues, where one can walk for hours and pass from neighborhood to neighborhood before returning home, and see and say hello to other people doing the same thing, is dead to them, if they can even imagine it.

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I felt the same way in thinking Hines was a more visionary developer than to build gated neighborhoods but I guess his business is first and foremost to make money.

More disturbing is the thought that, given a blank slate, urban Houstonians want to live inside gates just as much as suburban Houstonians. Perhaps most new residents of the Heights would gate the whole neighborhood if they could. The civic beauty of a city where sidewalks line the streets and the streets flow into avenues, where one can walk for hours and pass from neighborhood to neighborhood before returning home, and see and say hello to other people doing the same thing, is dead to them, if they can even imagine it.

The area is a former industrial site and it shows. It's on a dead-end road next to a railroad with no walkable retail anywhere nearby.

It certainly doesn't feel like the way the Inner Loop's ought to be, but then again, what does?

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Who designed Houston's street system or did non-zoning mean no one did?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Enfant_Plan

Probably a traffic engineer from A&M....

In all seriousness, one of the biggest problems is the closed neighborhood and cul-de-sac development pattern that kills any type of grid layout.

Think about all the people that work inside the loop, including galleria area, and live west of the galleria (from the villages all the way to Katy) There are only 6 roads they can take. (westpark, Richmond, westheimer, SF/briar forest, memorial and I-10). In a non suburban model city, all the streets in between would run full length, and the traffic load would be shared by 50 streets instead of 6.

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All of the recent and planned residential development in the area follows a similar pattern, i.e. gated and completely closed off from the surrounding community, although on a much smaller scale in comparison to this Hines project.  I can't really blame developers at this point because they are the first movers in this area and there is literally NO immediate neighborhood that homebuyers would want to interact with.  If this brownfield to residential redevelopment trend continues, it would be such a tragedy to be left with dozens of similar style developments, completely cutoff from each other, islands to themselves, especially when you have the polar opposite in a 60 year old neighborhood immediately to the east.

Edited by houstontiger

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All of the recent and planned residential development in the area follows a similar pattern, i.e. gated and completely closed off from the surrounding community, although on a much smaller scale in comparison to this Hines project.  I can't really blame developers at this point because they are the first movers in this area and there is literally NO immediate neighborhood that homebuyers would want to interact wit.  If this brownfield to residential redevelopment trend continues, it would be such a tragedy to be left with dozens of similar style developments, completely cutoff from each other, islands to themselves, especially when you have the polar opposite in a 60 year old neighborhood immediately to the east.

 

It's nice to have choices.

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A French guy named L'Enfant (L'Enfant Plaza) designed the streets of Washington DC.

Who designed Houston's street system or did non-zoning mean no one did?

Can they be redesigned to work better now and are they doing that?

I have always thought of Houston as all freeways with a few crossing streets commuters don't really use unless avoiding a wreck.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Enfant_Plan

 

I think the original grid downtown was laid out by the Allen Brothers and then extended into midtown and east end; most later additions were probably laid out by the developers of the respective areas, except for maybe the other wards. So the Shadyside developer (Joseph Cullinen?) laid out Shadyside, the Broadacres developer laid out Broadacres, the Heights developers did the Heights, etc. Luckily up until the 1920's most of these developments were open grids because people got around on horses and wagons and wanted simple direct routes, but I guess around 1910 you started to have new exclusive neighborhoods that were designed for privacy (Shadyside, etc.), and as the automobile became more widespread, more and more neighborhoods went to this pattern.

 

I'm not sure what sort of a precedent there is in American cities for the city government forcefully opening up a street grid that was closed off and exclusive. I know it took decades for them to put Voss across Buffalo Bayou and connect Westheimer to I-10 against staunch local opposition. To do anything more than the occasional one-off road to relieve a desperate traffic problem would probably require a level of civic power that Houstonians don't have the stomach for yet. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the KBR area.

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Let's not get too carried away here.  There are breaks in the Chicago street grid, and <GASP> gated neighborhoods too.

 

Well of course in a metro area of over 9 million there are going to be some breaks and a few gated neighborhoods. Big difference from Houston though, which was <GASP> the point.

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The street grid where this is located is so messed up that I don't blame them for doing a gated community.  It is adjacent to a major railroad junction.

 

Exactly.  It's really pretty irrelevant to the rest of Houston whether this community will be gated or not gated.

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I agree if nothing else around there turns over. If other industrial properties around there continue to turn over, then it would be better in the long run if they weren't all separate gated developments. It could even be a denser, non-Victorian version of the Heights if coordinated well, which is admittedly unlikely, but by no means impossible.

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Have you guys ever been over to this area? There are at least 3 other gated neighborhoods within a 5 minute walk of this project. This is nothing new.

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8%20chicago_grid_photo.jpg?itok=yElbQqW6

Ain't no street grid like a Midwestern street grid, 'cause a Midwestern street grid don't stop...

Whoa, looks like an areal view of my Sim City Mega Cities! ;)

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Perhaps most new residents of the Heights would gate the whole neighborhood if they could. 

 

No perhaps about it.  All around my neighborhood, immediately after the noobs tear down the real bungalow to build a fake bungalow four times bigger, the very next thing installed is a full perimeter fence with an electric gate.  I suspect they'd like to turn the sidewalks into moats while they're at it.

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Well my brother just spun out his F250 into one of these small gated condo communities and plowed right through the rod iron fence so I guess we're one step closer to removing those gates :lol:

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They have a massive hill on the property now. Maybe it's the dirt from the lakes...?

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