Texas Construction News from Virtual Builders Exchange
by Adolfo Pesquera
Houston (Harris County) – The city Planning Commission approved the site plan for a proposed four building expansion to an apartment community in northwest Houston, but postponed a decision on a unique five-story office building with a garden roof.
Gold Quest Group LLC, a residential/commercial brokerage firm, controls a vacant lot at the northeast corner of the Interstate 10 frontage road and Radcliffe Street near TC Jester Road. The firm retained the services of The Woodlands office of BDC Nomadas, a multi-national architectural firm that was founded in Venezuela. Previous projects by BDC Nomadas include The Woodlands Gate complex, the Valencia Town Center and the Special Education Institute, both in Venezuela,
BDC Nomadas is designing a five-story office building on a lot of about one-third of an acre. Vehicles will enter the building and park at ground level or one story above. Ground level parking will be screened on all sides, except for the entrance, by a landscape earthen berm.
The second and third floors are dedicated for office use. The fifth story will have an enclosed garden.
BDC Nomadas brought the case to the commission to request a variance for a 10-foot building line instead of the required 25 feet.
The report to the commission said, “The intent of the developer is to create a commercial property that would create an urban feel by including a walkable environment and a building that is aesthetically pleasing. This property was previously platted as a single family residential subdivision with a 10-foot build line located along the Katy Freeway service road, Radcliffe Street, and Cornish Street.
“In its current state, the property has one 6-foot sidewalk that is located along the Katy Freeway service road. In order for the client to be able to provide enough parking, square footage for commercial use, and to implement the pedestrian realm ordinance they are requesting a reduced building setback variance.”
Cross-section view of the office tower by BDC Nomadas.
The sidewalk on the I-10 frontage will be relocated and widened, and it will continue around the block to Radcliffe and Cornish streets. Trees and green space will be installed between the sidewalk and the right-of-way. Benches will be installed between the sidewalk and the building.
The Planning Commission considered the case March 1 and deferred the plat upon staff’s recommendation so that the developer could have more time to submit project information.
Raghu Apartments, 8657 Pitner Road
The site plan for the proposed expansion of Raghu Apartments. The new construction is labeled Buildings 1 to 4. Courtesy of Purser Architectural.
Plans for a major expansion of an aging apartment community in northwest Houston were given the commission’s blessing, after Houston Councilmember Brenda Stardig, District A, spoke in favor of the project.
Stardig said she and the neighbors in Spring Branch Central had a productive meeting with the owner that resulted in a Letter of Intent and Agreement with the property owner.
Conditions he agreed to included construction of a 5-foot-wide sidewalk with a wrought iron fence along the rear of the property so that children would be safer while walking to the athletic fields and recreation facilities of the Spring Branch Family Development Center, which abuts the apartment community’s eastern property line.
There are 16 structures in the existing apartment complex, which used to have 278 units but currently has 234 units.
Agent for the developer, the surveyor Jean McKinley Company Inc., and Katy based Purser Architectural propose constructing a two-story building that will have eight two-bedroom units and four one-bedroom units. There will also be three three-story buildings and each will have 12 two-bedroom units and 18 one-bedroom units for a total addition of 102 units.
Parking will increase from the current 302 spaces to 549 spaces.
The commission was asked to consider a variance from ordinance that required an extension of Soway Street with a cul-de-sac. But staff noted that such an extension made no sense “due to the existence of a two-story brick building; connecting said street to Pitner Road would put said building 3 1/2 feet into the right-of-way.”
The Raghu Apartments on Pitner Road, northwest Houston. Photo credit: Google Maps.