Houston: Office/Retail Project in Works for I-45/Wayside Property
Featured Illustration (above): A conceptual rendering of the planned Hass Center/South Gulf Plaza office/retail complex , made up of two new buildings (foreground and background). Image: Doan and Associates
by Edmond Ortiz
Houston (Harris County)–The Houston Planning Commission on Aug. 22 granted a variance to a planned mixed-use project located southwest of downtown.
The project at 5815 Gulf Freeway, west of South Wayside Drive, is called Hass Center in documents on file with the city. But it carries the moniker South Gulf Plaza in a conceptual rendering.
The project would involve construction of a two-story, 24,797-square-foot retail/office building and a one-story, 16,048-square-foot retail building.
According to a plat map on file with the city, the smaller retail building would include 6,000 square feet of restaurant space.
Plans call for more than 239 total surface parking spaces and landscaped medians in between the two buildings.
The proposed Hass Center/South Gulf Plaza would be tucked between a residential subdivision and retail section at the corner of Interstate 45 and Wayside Drive. Image: City of Houston/Century Engineering
Houston-based MattressFirm had been operating its corporate headquarters and a retail supercenter in a 54,615-square-foot building that would have to be razed from the property.
A variance request dated Aug. 1, 2019, describes Houston company Doan and Associates LLC as “the developer of the subject site.” Doan and Associates, which provided the aforementioned conceptual rendering, has handled designing, planning and consulting on a range of commercial and residential developments.
It was in 2016 that Sugar Land-based Hass Holdings LLC acquired the property, which is currently valued at $4 million, according to Harris County Appraisal District records.
Hass Holdings directed by Amir Hassan, who is connected to a handful of trucking and logistics businesses.
The variance request was to ensure that three neighboring residential roads – Dwinnell, Harriet and Dorbrant streets – do not extend past the western boundary of the project site property.
City codes does typically permit the consideration of extending any public street that presently stops at a plat boundary without a cul-de-sac.
In a memo to the Planning Commission, city planning staff said, “The property owner intends plat all of the property he owns, to create an unrestricted reserve, the property will be developed as commercial, therefore allowing these streets to be extended east and/or end in a cul-de-sac would create an undue hardship by depriving the applicant of the reasonable use of the land.”
City staff supported granting the variance, explaining in the memo that strict application of the code allowing extension of such streets would “make this project infeasible due to the extentence of ususual physical characteristics that affect the property in question, or would create an impractical development or one otherwise contrary to sound public policy.”
City staff also agreed that the streets surrounding the property – South Wayside, Sunnyland and Eskeridge steets – can adequately serve the projected traffic flow that will be produced by the new development.
Plat map shows the proposed placement of buildings at Hass Center/South Gulf Plaza. Image: Century Engineering
The Planning Commission unanimously approved city staff’s recommendation.
The new retail/office center would sit in an increasingly busy part of the Lanwdale/Wayside neighborhood that includes a number of restaurants, a bank, mobile phone stores and a Walmart Supercenter.
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.