Houston: Office and Apartment Mid-Rise Buildings on the Planning Commission Agenda
Feature Illustration (above): An architectural rendering of Mia Bella, a luxury apartment building being proposed in the Second Ward. Courtesy: Anderson Canyon LLC.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Houston (Harris County) — Two multi-story buildings, an apartment mid-rise proposed for the Second Ward and a new home in the form of an office tower for a general contractor in the Rice Military neighborhood, will be awaiting the Houston Planning Commission when they return from Thanksgiving holidays.
On the Nov. 29 agenda, the commissioners will consider 190 TC Jester, a four-story office building that is being proposed by Arch-Con Corp. It is located at the southeast corner of TC Jester Boulevard and Schuler Street, a few blocks north of the Washington Avenue corridor.
This is a 30,485-square-foot structure that will have 105 parking spaces–most of that being below the office levels. However, the future tenant is request 108 spaces. Marshall Construction Company has its offices in a one story building at this location.
“Based on the regular parking requirements of the tenants and the high number of visitors from contractors, sub-contractors, architects, engineers, land planners, and other tradesmen on a regular basis, the parking area is expected to be full routinely,” Benchmark Engineering Corp., the applicant agent, stated in the project description.
The proposed new home for Marshall Construction Company. Illustration courtesy of Powers Brown Architecture. Below is the ground level site plan.
To handle all the parking issues, there is a request pending to permit a 10-foot building setback along TC Jester instead of the required 25-foot setback. Benchmark claims the required setback line will prevent development “in a holistic manner.”
“The main office tenant will be a construction firm that requires lots of visitors to meet at the building in addition to the employees of the construction firm and other tenants. The current location of the tenants requires employees and visitors to find parking along nearby streets or other locations,” Benchmark said.
“The existing building and other structures will not accommodate the developer’s use, so the developer is prepared to tear down the existing structures and construct a new office building. The development will be utilizing an expensive but preferred underground detention facilities under the parking area in order to facilitate the development of the site,” the Benchmark added.
To ensure a pedestrian realm, Arch-Con proposes a 20-foot 8-inch buffer along TC Jester.
“Since the proposed building will be along a public bus line, the developer plans to construct landscape improvements–a 10 ft. wide sidewalk along the frontage of TC Jester Blvd., and add sidewalk improvements for the bus station located at the corner of TC Jester Boulevard and Schuler Street–thus, making the walkway convenient and user-friendly for all neighbors and commuters.”
Elevations of the planned Mia Bella luxury apartment mid-rise. Courtesy: Anderson Canyon LLC.
On the other side of downtown, a luxury apartment mid-rise, Mia Bella, is in the works. This residential project will be located southeast of North Nagle Street at Fox Street and just a few blocks south of Buffalo Bayou. The four-story podium-style structure will have three stories of upscale rental suites above a ground level podium parking.
It will have nine one-bedroom units, 12 two-bedroom units, and parking in the garage for 33 vehicles.
This is in an old single-family housing neighborhood that has been experiencing gentrification in the last few years. A number of town-home developments have recently been completed as urban infill projects.
The developer agent, Interfield Group, is asking for a 3-foot building line along Fox instead of the required 10 feet, and a 3-foot overhang for a canopy.
The project is on a small lot, about a third of an acre. Because it is a corner lot, city ordinance would require land dedications along both streets, but this would deny the landowner 1,700 square feet of land, making the project impractical, the agent claims.
Mia Bella site plan. Courtesy: Anderson Canyon LLC.
“Mia Bella will contribute to the beautification and walkability of these two block faces,” the agent stated in the application.
The design team met with representatives of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership and based on those meetings made a number of concessions to create a pedestrian realm.
7-foot sidewalks along Nagle and Fox streets
Parallel curb cutback and parking along Fox
Two compact parking spaces within the property and two more spaces along North Nagle
A bike rack along North Nagle
3-inch caliper trees along both streets
Landscaping with up-lighting fixtures between the sidewalks and the building, and sconces at the entrances
Improvements to pavements sections of Nagle and Fox streets to 22-foot widths
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.