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Proposed 4-Story Multifamily at 1933 Dryden

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6 minutes ago, KinkaidAlum said:

OMG. Those are great examples of art deco. This must be what all the "NO 7 story apartments" signs are about. 




Owl House Properties, a local property management company, plans to combine, or replat, lots 1933 and 1937 Dryden Road, in May 2020 into a one-lot, a four-story apartment complex, according to company president Ben Bahorich (Will Rice ’10), drawing backlash from some Southgate residents. The property management company, which owns several properties that are primarily occupied by Rice students, has twice been criticized by students in Thresher coverage in the past year for poor living conditions, unfair leases and delayed renovations. 


Bahorich said the company decided to construct a four-story apartment complex after weighing profits against the community’s hesitations with having a tall building in their residential neighborhood just south of campus. 


“Four stories — that’s our proposed structure, which is the smallest structure that we can actually do where we [would] make economic returns,” Bahorich said. 


However, members of the Southgate neighborhood have shown signs of disagreement with the proposed replat. Around the neighborhood, signs with phrases such as “No replat” and “No 7 story apartments” have surfaced protesting the new complex. Although these signs suggest that the complex will be seven stories tall, Bahorich said the company is planning for the complex to be four stories tall. 


“The developer needs the Southgate Civic Club’s approval of the building plan prior to construction,” Beech said. “We have not yet given that approval, but we are in discussions about the proposed building and hope to reach an agreement.”


According to Bahorich, the company hasn’t officially settled on how much they will charge for rent, but estimates that a 3-bedroom unit will cost between $2,700 and $3,000 per month. The complex will house 18 units, compared to the 8 units in the two existing houses.





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The lots ARE deed-restricted, but the restrictions allow for multi-family on these lots, with design approval.


The two buildings have a total of 8 apartments, at an average of around 1000 sf each, and apparently not in great shape. Property taxes alone are $400+ per month per unit. Owners are probably facing either a renovation or a teardown.


The two lots combined have an appraised value of around $1.5M. If they renovated the structures to a value of $200/sf, they'd need $1000/mo per unit just to pay the taxes, and probably $2500-3000/month to cover the debt service on the land + reno cost. Almost certainly doesn't pencil. It would also be an improvement to land value ratio of about 1:1, which is way underbuilt.



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Well the art deco movement began right about 100 years ago so in true Houston tradition these must to torn down lest we have designs that are near or over 100 years old. All to be replaced by a pine framed, hardie plank clad beige block of units that will look dated before the first tenant even moves in. 

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Southgate Civic Club Update - Dryden Replat

After meeting and negotiating with the developer several times in January and February, the Southgate Civic Club (SCC) has reached a compromise agreement for the Dryden replat and the construction to follow. Under the agreement, the SCC will not oppose the replat of the two lots and the construction to follow. In exchange, the developers have agreed to modify their construction plans in several important respects, and have also agreed to important permanent construction and use restrictions on the combined lot. The City of Houston Planning Department explained that this is a “must approve” replat without any variances, and that the replat would be granted at the hearing and that, according to their interpretation, it does not violate the deed restrictions. The developer (Ben Bahorich) was encouraged by architects and developers to maximize the value of the site with a seven-story structure. Ben took into account the residential neighborhood and downsized the structure to four stories, as well as agreeing to other important concessions requested by the neighborhood. The planned four-story structure consists of one parking level with three stories of apartments above (18 units). The structure will have more than the required amount of parking and will have an underground stormwater detention system, private garbage collection and some level of on-site property management. We expect demolition and construction to start in late May or June of 2020. Most importantly, the developers have agreed to impose construction and use restrictions (deed restrictions) on the combined lot that automatically renew and will bind future owners of the lot. The key new deed restrictions enter into effect within days after replat approval and include a 50 ft. height limit, a four-story maximum, no further recombination with other lots, and no short term rentals (Airbnb) permanently after an initial period (6 or 9 months) where it is allowed for up to 50% of the bedrooms. The developer also agreed to remove the rooftop deck for residents, which was an important concession. The new restrictions ensure that this developer (post replat) and future developers can’t build a seven story, 90 ft. tall building. As part of the agreement, if neighborhood residents stop this project before completion, the new deed restrictions would be terminated, and the next lot owner would be free to build a larger structure. After this experience, the SCC will improve the transparency and explanation of deed restrictions and guidelines. We will provide better notice to future developers/buyers about SCC’s plan approval authority and interpretation of the deed restrictions by recording additional documents in the county property records and also updating the website. Lastly, I would like to thank you for the numerous volunteer hours logged by many in the neighborhood, working to protect our community. We have plans to further strengthen and amend our deed restrictions, and will inform you when we are nearing those steps.



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