Feature Illustration: Concept design of the Upper Kirby Senior Living tower as it would appear from the corner of Richmond Avenue and Revere Street. Courtesy: Hines.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Houston (Harris County) — Hines obtained variances from the Houston Planning Commission on two mid-rise projects–a four-story multifamily north of Greater Heights, and a seven-story senior living tower in the Upper Kirby District.
The two projects came before the commission February 14, both with recommendations for approval from city staff.
The Upper Kirby Senior Living project is to be located on a lot at the southeast corner of Richmond Avenue and Revere Street. The project site is currently the home of an auto dealership, Momentum Audi at 2315 Richmond Ave., and extensive demolition of existing structures will be required. There is also a Momentum Volkswagon of Upper Kirby dealership directly west of the project site in this mixed commercial neighborhood.
However, higher density residential has also been developing. Just to the north at 2300 Richmond Ave. is the five-story UK apartment complex.
Hines requested a reduction of the building line to 5 feet from the standard 10 feet for this neighborhood.
Perspective of the Upper Kirby Senior Living tower from Revere and Portsmouth streets illustrates the plaza at the corner and the contrast of materials between the living quarters and the parking garage. Courtesy: Hines.
“The applicant is dedicating 10 feet of public right-of-way and opting in to the Transit Corridor Ordinance development standards for a zero-foot building setback on Richmond Avenue.
“Because of the unusual physical characteristics affecting this site, particularly the unusually large amount of public right-of-way that has been previously dedicated, the applicant is unable to make reasonable use of their land without requesting a variance along the southern property line to allow for a five-foot setback.
“Since the original rights-of-way were dedicated, the subject tract has lost over 18-percent of its total volume due to public right-of-way dedication along Richmond, Revere and Portsmouth.”
The architect, Munoz Albin, drew up an odd-shaped ground floor plan that looks like a backward “J” with serif. Although the upper floors would be at 5 feet from the sidewalk along Richmond Avenue and Portsmouth Street, there would be an open-air plaza off the southwest corner of Revere and Portsmouth. The parking structure is within the south side of the building, with an entrance ramp on Portsmouth.
The ground floor site plan of the Upper Kirby Senior Living tower. Courtesy: Munoz Albin.
Garden Oaks Multifamily
North of Houston Heights, Hines has assembled six commercial lots in the 1000 block of West 34th Street for a multifamily project referred to as Garden Oaks Multifamily on the project documents. In the conceptual architectural renderings submitted by EDI International (see below), it is also referred to as 34th Street.
Front facade of the Garden Oaks Multifamily, as illustrated by EDI International Courtesy: Hines.
All of the commercial lots have structures in place that must be removed, including the four-building complex known as West 34th Business Park.
While the residential component for Garden Oaks is four stories, the parking garage component will have seven levels and space for 556 vehicles. It will also have two enclosed courtyards, with a pool in the west courtyard.
Concept site plan for the Garden Oak Multifamily (aka 34th Street). Courtesy: Hines.
This appears to be one building on the site plan, but it is subdivided into five contiguous (adjoining) structures and is referred to as five buildings.
- Building 1: 21,349 SF
- Building 2: 15,512 SF (Area doesn’t include garage)
- Building 3: 21,739 SF
- Building 4: 23,960 SF
- Building 5: 26,715 SF
Hines obtained a building setback reduction on the south end of the project site along Gardendale Drive, narrowing it to 10 feet from the code-required 20 feet. Gardendale Drive is a narrow neighborhood street ending in a cul-de-sac that runs parallel to 34th Street. Hines also got a 20-foot right of way dedication along Gardendale instead of the required 30 feet.
“The applicant is proposing a 382-unit multi family structure that will take primary access from W. 34th Street. (Hines) is opting into the performance standards for a reduced building line of 15 feet along W. 34th Street. The applicant is providing a 7-foot unobstructed sidewalk with a 4-foot safety buffer along W. 34th Street and will have a total distance of 21 feet from the (back of curb) to the proposed structure, with a minimum 15-foot pedestrian realm.
“Due to the use and building design, the proposed dwelling units along Gardendale will provide an active use, with pedestrian access, that will provide a more attracted pedestrian realm and more eyes on the street. The applicant is providing a 6-foot unobstructed sidewalk with a minimum 4-foot safety buffer with street trees located within. The distance from the back of curb to the proposed structure will be approximately 23 feet with a minimum 15-foot pedestrian realm.”
More on EDI International
In addition to the Garden Oaks (34th Street) project, EDI International has five other multifamily projects in the Houston area that are currently in the design phase, according to its website.
The developer Alliance Residential commissioned EDI to design Minimax, a four-story Type 5A wood frame construction structure on an 8-acre site that will have 342 units and a 474-space garage.
Wood Partners is developing Alta Medical Center, a four-story Type 5A wood frame construction structure with a seven-story Type 1A precast concrete parking structure with space for 413 vehicles. It sits on a 4.22-acre site and will have 333 apartment units.
Wood Partners is also developing Alta 6400 Washington, a five-story Type 3A wood frame construction above a two-story Type 1A cast-in-place concrete parking structure with space for 320 vehicles. It sits on a 1.48-acre site and will have 203 apartment units.
Alliance Communities is developing Tortilla Factory, an eight-story Type 1A light gauge steel structure with a seven-story Tpe 1A concrete parking garage with space for 472 vehicles. It sits on a 2.35-acre site and will have 337 apartment units.
Trammell Crow Residential is developing Alexan Lower Heights, a four-story Type 5A wood frame construction above a cast-in-place Type 1A concrete retail structure. The garage will have space for 526 vehicles and there will be 375 apartment units.