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Future Redevelopment of 4910 Montrose Blvd By Levcor


HNathoo

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1 hour ago, HNathoo said:

Looks like an entity tied to Levcor (address 7800 Washington Ave - suite 800) has purchased the old church at 4910 Montrose.

They seem to be retail development company, hopefully they do something tasteful. They also bought that property in the Heights that used to be Sand Dollar store on 18th and Yale.

https://levcor.com/projects#view=grid

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2 minutes ago, hindesky said:

They seem to be retail development company, hopefully they do something tasteful. They also bought that property in the Heights that used to be Sand Dollar store on 18th and Yale.

https://levcor.com/projects#view=grid

Exciting! This little pocket is filling in nicely. I wonder if that Illuminati lodge across the street is next? 😁

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18 minutes ago, CREguy13 said:

Interesting.  Hopefully Levcor is planning for this to be mixed-use and not strictly retail.  High-rise hotel, residential or both is perfect for this location.

I hope your right but if you look at their projects they have never done a high rise build only renovations to an existing building. Most of their stuff is big box retail. The Heights Sand Dollar building looks promising if it happens.

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20 minutes ago, CREguy13 said:

Interesting.  Hopefully Levcor is planning for this to be mixed-use and not strictly retail.  High-rise hotel, residential or both is perfect for this location.

Don’t think straight retail would pencil out given the land prices over here. 

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4 hours ago, clutchcity94 said:

If you were a betting man, what do you see going in this spot and when?

I don’t think capital markets are open to high rise apartment construction in Houston right now. Maybe they’ll go for historic tax credits and remodel the church into a high end restaurant or event venue? 

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Hmm, another Christian Science church goes away. Are they losing members quickly, or are the members moving to other areas. 4910 Montrose is a good sized facility that implies there were a number of members at some point in the past.

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13 hours ago, HNathoo said:

I don’t think capital markets are open to high rise apartment construction in Houston right now. Maybe they’ll go for historic tax credits and remodel the church into a high end restaurant or event venue? 

I can see the possibility of a high end restaurant, especially with the fine dining restaurant slated to open just down the street in the new Nancy and Rich Kinder Building at MFAH. 
 

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13 hours ago, Ross said:

Hmm, another Christian Science church goes away. Are they losing members quickly, or are the members moving to other areas. 4910 Montrose is a good sized facility that implies there were a number of members at some point in the past.

Replying to my own question, Christian Science is dying. They are selling property all over the country, and membership is way down.

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  • The title was changed to 4910 Montrose Boulevard purchased by Levcor
  • 1 month later...

I biked down there today and there is definitely some crane action going on. It’s further down from the Alliance development. Looks to be the church property.

What could the crane be for though if the church hasn’t even been demo’d yet?

Edited by clutchcity94
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Rode by toward the end of my ride. Turns out they are changing out the chiller on top of the Finger Museum Tower apartments. But they weren't able to make any lifts since it was too windy. They will have to finish up on Sunday. On cranes I've operated the manufacturers have notes that tell you to de-rate the capacity of the crane depending on the wind speeds. The Tadano cranes I've operated say you have to de-rate by 50% if the wind is 20-27mph and by 75% if it's above 27mph. At 30mph you have to stop all crane operations. Not sure what the charts are for this crane but I'm sure they have wind speed limits too. With those kind of limits there is now way to make these lift with as windy it was today and it was very windy today.

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  • 1 month later...

https://realtynewsreport.com/keep-montrose-weird-combining-growth-flavor-and-funk/

 “There’s an old one-story church near the Mason Building and the new Glassell School between Bell Park and 5000 Montrose purchased by Larry Levine with Levcor for $162 a foot,” says Davis, who is also president of the Museum District Business Alliance. “It’s a full city block, for about $8 million.  He said he’s not sure what he’s going to do with it.  He loved the real estate. 

I think he’s looking at some multi-story hotel concepts but he has not announced anything definitive yet. When people pay these big numbers, they really don’t have any choice but to go up (high-rise) with it.”

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  • The title was changed to Future Redevelopment of 4910 Montrose Blvd by Levcor
  • 1 month later...
  • The title was changed to Future Redevelopment of 4910 Montrose Blvd By Levcor
  • 5 months later...
On 1/4/2021 at 7:16 AM, Ross said:

Hmm, another Christian Science church goes away. Are they losing members quickly, or are the members moving to other areas. 4910 Montrose is a good sized facility that implies there were a number of members at some point in the past.

This is a pretty fine example of neo-classical architecture, which seems to have been the favored style for the Christian Science movement, given its associations with the rationalist tradition of New England religion. I am surprised we haven't heard anything from the preservation community, especially considering their impassioned defense of the old Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral downtown. Examples of this style may become victims of their own success... there were so many neo-classical churches built in the U.S. that they tend to be seen as "just another church," although this example is certainly more graceful than most, especially with the large oak trees.

 

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

This is a pretty fine example of neo-classical architecture, which seems to have been the favored style for the Christian Science movement, given its associations with the rationalist tradition of New England religion. I am surprised we haven't heard anything from the preservation community, especially considering their impassioned defense of the old Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral downtown. Examples of this style may become victims of their own success... there were so many neo-classical churches built in the U.S. that they tend to be seen as "just another church," although this example is certainly more graceful than most, especially with the large oak trees.

 

Would be a shame to lose it. It definitely is a prime example of Neo-Classical, and sits on that site very nicely. Hope it stays, but understand if it goes. That whole area is just too valuable in regard to real estate. You are correct that Neo-classical churches are a victim of their own successes because there are so many, but also even the use case and low density of Houston in general is the same. I think we have had discussions about this in other threads, but single story low density is just hard to keep and reuse if you want to up the density. So this too is also a victim in that regard. If we had built more mid-rise buildings in the early days like I've seen in other American cities (this includes where I live now in Salt Lake City) then it would be a lot more difficult to tear down. Walked this area a lot when I lived in Montrose, and always liked passing by this church.

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584995969_4911MontroseBlvd-GoogleMaps.jpg.822b894454a92251f69768756eaba49b.jpg

That thing is a beauty, especially when considering the oaks. I'm not the biggest preservationist, but someone gotta figure out how to use this space without taking it all out 😬. Maybe a restaurant with a five year lease that alternates its theme every year? I'm just spitballing 😝

I'm sure the ownership group is mulling their options. I know finding and keeping tenants in the retail space just across the highway has been an up and down experience, based on what I've heard from clients (also, COVID's effects can't be downplayed on the foot traffic in the area) but with Chelsea having come online, Boone Manor coming online soon (.3/.4 mile walk), and the museums finally starting to get back to true pre-COVID types of foot traffic and programming, we probably will hear something soon. Its just too good a spot, with easy access to a busy road and so many pedestrians, to just let it sit and count on the land value increases to justify the investment.

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3 hours ago, X.R. said:

584995969_4911MontroseBlvd-GoogleMaps.jpg.822b894454a92251f69768756eaba49b.jpg

That thing is a beauty, especially when considering the oaks. I'm not the biggest preservationist, but someone gotta figure out how to use this space without taking it all out 😬. Maybe a restaurant with a five year lease that alternates its theme every year? I'm just spitballing 😝

I'm sure the ownership group is mulling their options. I know finding and keeping tenants in the retail space just across the highway has been an up and down experience, based on what I've heard from clients (also, COVID's effects can't be downplayed on the foot traffic in the area) but with Chelsea having come online, Boone Manor coming online soon (.3/.4 mile walk), and the museums finally starting to get back to true pre-COVID types of foot traffic and programming, we probably will hear something soon. Its just too good a spot, with easy access to a busy road and so many pedestrians, to just let it sit and count on the land value increases to justify the investment.

Why does the retail space across the highway have a hard time keeping tenants? Isn’t the location just as good?

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On 12/1/2021 at 5:37 PM, Luminare said:

Would be a shame to lose it. It definitely is a prime example of Neo-Classical, and sits on that site very nicely. Hope it stays, but understand if it goes. That whole area is just too valuable in regard to real estate. You are correct that Neo-classical churches are a victim of their own successes because there are so many, but also even the use case and low density of Houston in general is the same. I think we have had discussions about this in other threads, but single story low density is just hard to keep and reuse if you want to up the density. So this too is also a victim in that regard. If we had built more mid-rise buildings in the early days like I've seen in other American cities (this includes where I live now in Salt Lake City) then it would be a lot more difficult to tear down. Walked this area a lot when I lived in Montrose, and always liked passing by this church.

I agree on the density and the economics. Of course, there are some other pretty nice churches in that neighborhood with similar density. St. Paul's United Methodist at Main and Binz has similar density and is certainly a landmark that should be protected if it is not already (one of the few Gothic churches in Texas that used cut limestone rather than brick or rubble stone - thank Jesse Jones, Walter Fondren, and "Silver Dollar" Jim West for the cash), and First Presbyterian and South Main Baptist both also take up a lot of space. Only difference is that these grew into campuses with robust congregations while the Christian Science church withered. 

But if we think of churches as a form of architecture worth preserving - and I don't see why not, it is the form of architecture that is probably the least practical, that spends proportionally the most on beauty for beauty's sake (museums and courthouses are also up there) - then we run into a problem when you consider that most of Houston's best churches in the first half of the twentieth century were built around South Main and Montrose. Even the Masons got in on the action. So you lose a pretty big chunk of Houston's architectural story if all of these get turned into midrise apartments, although that would probably make for a more active neighborhood.

As to the restaurant option, I just can't eat in someone's former worship space, I don't care whose it was. I'll never eat in a synagogue, a mosque, etc. If other people want to and it saves the building, <shrug>. I've often thought St. Paul's could turn into MFAH's medieval wing if the Methodists someday go away.

Edited by H-Town Man
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7 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

But if we think of churches as a form of architecture worth preserving - and I don't see why not, it is the form of architecture that is probably the least practical

It depends on how it's preserved.

HAIF's former sister site has documented many dozens of churches, synagogues, and other holy places that have been redeveloped as small condo buildings.  They command premium prices because of the high ceilings, good locations, and interesting architecture.

Mid-century Catholic churches are especially good in this regard because many of them had bowling alleys in the basement, which from an engineering perspective, convert nicely into underground parking.  (Lots of column-free space.)

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I'm normally the first to call for preserving an existing building, but in this case I don't think it's worth it. What I do care about is those trees. Here's what I want

  • Some kind local wealth monster donates the millions of dollars it would take to relocate the old growth live oaks to fill in gaps on Main St. 
  • Two oaks are retained and moved slightly to work as street trees
  • A signature 50 story residential tower is built with a small-scale grocer. Maybe a Trader Joe's.
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2 hours ago, Texasota said:

I'm normally the first to call for preserving an existing building, but in this case I don't think it's worth it. What I do care about is those trees. Here's what I want

  • Some kind local wealth monster donates the millions of dollars it would take to relocate the old growth live oaks to fill in gaps on Main St. 
  • Two oaks are retained and moved slightly to work as street trees
  • A signature 50 story residential tower is built with a small-scale grocer. Maybe a Trader Joe's.

Or maybe a Central Market!

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I've heard the lease is only for 2 or 3 years.......so I'm guessing Levcor is just buying time until they can put together a better development plan and/or find a long-term tenant.

Plus, the Story dude is giving me Joel Osteen vibes.  Lots of drama at St Lukes from that guy.  I hope he ends up far away from Montrose..

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5 hours ago, talltexan83 said:

I've heard the lease is only for 2 or 3 years.......so I'm guessing Levcor is just buying time until they can put together a better development plan and/or find a long-term tenant.

Plus, the Story dude is giving me Joel Osteen vibes.  Lots of drama at St Lukes from that guy.  I hope he ends up far away from Montrose..

The Story Pastor - Eric Huffman (*and his wife Geovanna) are NOTHING like Joel Osteen!!! They are both fully ordained pastors of the United Methodist Church of which the The Story is a new church plant that has been growing since its inception about 4 years ago. 

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22 minutes ago, Pastor said:

The Story Pastor - Eric Huffman (*and his wife Geovanna) are NOTHING like Joel Osteen!!! They are both fully ordained pastors of the United Methodist Church of which the The Story is a new church plant that has been growing since its inception about 4 years ago. 

User name checks out.

22 hours ago, Ross said:

Here's something interesting https://thestory.church/nextchapter/

Building apparently leased to another church.

Booooring

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38 minutes ago, clutchcity94 said:

User name checks out.

Booooring

You expected a super tall there? It's a nice building, and a church leasing it reduces the potential for stupid developer tricks for the duration of the lease term.

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Those who wish for a world of only highrises and no churches would do well to remember the Grenfell Tower fire in London, when it was the local churches and mosques that provided the first stages of relief for the people left homeless by the fire, as the government social services were mired in bureaucratic inefficiency. Here is an article about it:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2017/jun/22/after-the-grenfell-fire-the-church-got-it-right-where-the-council-failed

That being said, there is no way this will survive as a church longterm. For the purchase price of $8 million to be adequately returned, it would take an annual lease rate of around $500,000, which would translate to $40/square foot - higher than most of the retail rents in Houston.

 

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