Houston: Morgan Group Plans Another Pearl Brand Luxury Tower
Feature Photo (above): The Pearl Midtown, from a promotional video. Courtesy: Morgan Group.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Houston (Harris County) — Morgan Group has revived its plans to build a 13-story Pearl brand luxury apartment tower in the north end of Midtown.
The Pearl Rosemont project has been in the works since at least 2015, probably earlier. It was introduced then as a five-story wood frame podium style apartment building with zero building lines on all sides. It’s located at 102 Dennis Street, three blocks south of West Webster Street Park. The design firm was Wallace Garcia Wilson and it had a price tag of $20 million. It’s going to cost much more than that now.
Pearl Rosemont is located in the north side of Midtown. Image: Google Earth.
It was supposed to have been built between July 2015 and July 2016 but more than three years later this 153-unit project remains listed on the Morgan website with a “TBD” anticipated opening date.
Meanwhile, Morgan did get underway on a Pearl brand project elsewhere in town. The Pearl Midtown is a six-story, 264-unit building with a 24-hour cyber cafe, resort style pool retail and parking garage, located at 3120 Smith Street. Currently under construction, it’s scheduled to open end of the year.
East and South elevations of the revised Pearl Rosemont. Courtesy of Morgan Group.
Back to Pearl Rosemont, Morgan has submitted plans on the 102 Dennis Street project that on one document refer to it as Pearl on Helena. The project was before the Houston Planning Commission on Thursday for a 3-foot building line variance (zero line for balconies and overhangs) on Drew Street, a zero building line on Helena, and a 5-foot building line on Albany Street.
The project site is a full city block and has an area of 50,000 square feet. City staff took note that Morgan has moved the structure back from adjacent rights-of-way and increased the height.
“The Helena and Albany pedestrian realms will feature a distance of 26.5’ between the back of curb and proposed structure. The Drew and Denis pedestrian realms will each feature 15’ of space. The Albany pedestrian realm will feature additional space in order to protect the root structure of an existing mature tree. A tree protection easement is being required as a condition to approve the variance.”
The developer’s briefing notes to the commission recall its previous version:
“This project was previously approved for four floors of apartments over two floors of garage in July of 2014. This site is within
the Midtown TIRZ, which has an adopted Project Plan approved by Council that calls for buildings to be constructed up
close to the sidewalk as a way to promote a walkable pedestrian environment.
“The plan for this property is consistent with the Midtown Plan. An urban style apartment building with nine floors of apartments over a four-floor garage is proposed.”
Site plan for the Pearl Rosemont. Courtesy: Morgan Group.
Sidewalks will be a minimum of 6 feet wide. The face of the building at the ground level will be 5 feet-5 inches from the property line on Dennis Street. The upper floors on Dennis Street come out to 3 feet from the property line with balconies and overhangs coming up to property line. Building lines on the other sides will vary from 3 feet-2 inches up to 8 feet-6 inches.
“At the corner of Dennis and Albany, there will be a glass storefront that will include access into the building for both residents and visitors. An additional resident access point will be located on Helena near Drew. A third access point will be located on Albany near Drew.
“One of the main concerns of residents from the prior approval was all the traffic coming out onto Dennis Street. In response to that concern, the developer has added a second ingress/egress point on Drew Street. Constructing the buildings close to the street is common in older sections of cities like Boston, New York, and Philadelphia and is a major factor in creating a sense of security and safety as well as in defining a pedestrian realm.
“There is a very large street tree on Albany, which the builder proposes to save by notching the building back 8.5’. New trees to be planted will be a minimum of 3” caliper. Sidewalks will be a minimum of 6’. Other streetscape amenities will include pedestrian scale
lighting and a mural from a local artist on one of the walls.
“Another change from our previous submittal is that the building will be setback a minimum of 15’ from the back of the curb on Drew and Dennis and a minimum of 26’ on Albany and Helena. This is in line with the work the walkable places committee has been doing.”
Ziegler Cooper Architects is on this project now, same firm that handled Pearl Midtown. Robinson & Company Landscape Architecture rounds out the design team.
The architectural documents show a 13-story building with parking from ground to fourth floor. The garage entrances face Drew and Dennis streets. There’s a lobby/leasing office, mail room and dog wash at the corner of Dennis and Albany.
Cross section of the Pearl Rosemont. Courtesy: Morgan Group.
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.