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Student Housing and Retail Center by UH Gets Approval

Texas Construction News from Virtual Builders Exchange

by Adolfo Pesquera

Houston (Harris Co.) – The Houston Planning Commission granted a variance to allow implementation of a Transit Corridor Ordinance Standards for a portion of Beulah Street, a condition requested by a developer in order to commence the first phase of a student housing and retail project.

The developers–Debora Hunt MooreJoel Lee MooreJohn Andrew Moore and PJ Gateway I LP–intend to demolish a small strip center at the northeast corner of Scott Street and Elgin Avenue, across the street from the University of Houston campus.

The 1.73-acre site fronts Scott Street upon which runs a light rail line. City staff recommended approval at the Sept. 3 meeting.

“This proposed redevelopment is on the edge of the main campus … at the Scott Street stop on the new (South-East Purple) light rail line. A rail line also runs along Elgin. Beulah Street between Scott and Lucinda is a designated Transit Corridor ‘A’ street. The developer is proposing to have a consistent streetscape character around the entire project by treating the frontage along Lucinda and Beulah in the same manner as the transit corridor streets,” the staff report to the commission stated.

“A pedestrian realm will be created along all the street frontages with appropriate sidewalk widths and landscaping and with building facades close to the pedestrian realm. The project is ideally located for students, such as upper classmen or graduate students who want to live near, but not on, campus.

“This development will include retail to serve the students’ daily needs. What is being platted now is the first phase of a multi-phase project intended to create a quality living and pedestrian environment for students at the city’s largest university. The developers own additional land across Beulah and Lucinda which will be developed in future phases but will be used temporarily for parking.”

“Since ‘east’ Beulah is not a designated Transit Corridor or Type A street, the granting of the variance request would allow for a unified streetscape that conforms to the requirements of Transit Corridor Ordinance for the entire development.”

The developers are dedicating right of way for the widening of segments of Beulah to allow for an ultimate right of way width of 50 feet. After widening, the distance from the back of the curb to the property line will vary between 20.57 feet and 22.97 feet along West Beulah and 10.8 feet and 11.3 feet along East Beulah.

The only public citizen comment came from UH interim director of planning services Jeanne LaMontagne, who took exception to the developer’s use of the project plat name UH Student Housing and Retail Center. LaMontagne wanted to clarify that in no way was the project approved by or affiliated with the university.

Mary Lou Henry of architectural and planning firm Vernon G. Henry & Associates Inc., a part of TBG Partners, said their client only had “UH” in the name to make clear the future housing was only for college students. Henry said the name could be changed to respect the university’s trademark.

Steinberg Design Collaborative LLP created the architectural rendering and referred to the project as Elgin Student Housing – Enclave PM.


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By |2018-04-19T10:45:27-05:00September 9th, 2015|Construction Preview|

About the Author:

Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.