Houston Planning Commission Gets Look at Four Apartment Projects
Feature Illustration (above): The north elevation of Stanmore River Oaks. Courtesy of City of Houston public records.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Houston (Harris County) – The Houston Planning Commission was presented Thursday with plans on four apartment projects, including a luxury eight-story midrise to be located in the River Oaks district.
The River Oaks project, called Stanmore River Oaks, is proposed to be built on a 1.75-acre site in the 2300 block of Westheimer Road. Its boundaries extend to Revere Street to the west and Cameron Street to the south, but it does not reach Westgate Drive to the east since the developer did not acquire the four lots on that side.
Once built, the midrise will be across Cameron Street from La Maison River Oaks luxury apartments, a five-story brick midrise.
Constructing Stanmore River Oaks will require the removal of several tenants from a commercially successful strip center. The former neighborhood grocery story has been home to a cluster of retail businesses and restaurants, including the popular Avalon Diner and the Berryhill Baja Grill around the corner off Revere.
Stanmore River Oaks would be across from La Maison apartments (right), on the commercial retail lot that is home to Berryhill Baja Grill (left) and many River Oaks shops. Image: Google Streets.
According to the staff briefing to the commissioners, “This is the site of a grocery store developed in the mid 1960s. It is to be redeveloped for a multifamily residential building that will have a much more urban feel than the existing suburban style strip center.”
The neighborhood residents might differ with that description, since the midrise will mean sacrificing a local gathering place that is within walking distance of La Maison, the Avalon Square apartments across Westheimer, and much of the neighborhood beyond is also residential.
The residential units have an unusual floorplan in that the floors are shaped like a reversed “S” lying on its side, thus providing two open zones, possibly for above/ground amenity spaces on the third level.
Stanmore Partners, the developer, brought the project to the commission for a variance on the building line, asking to reduce it to 10 feet from Westheimer.
The proposed site plan for Stanmore River Oaks would have an extensive pedestrian realm with landscaping along Westheimer Road. Courtesy of Stanmore Partners.
“To achieve this urban feel, the developer would like to bring the building and its associated activity up closer to Westheimer,” the staff report continues. “A few years back, Upper Kirby District and TIRZ #19 undertook providing several pedestrian enhancements when they did utility construction within the right-of-way.
“These enhancements included adding benches, trash cans, trees, pedestrian scale lighting, and a slightly wider sidewalk on Westheimer that amounts to about 7 feet in width. The TIRZ also planted trees approximately 2 feet from the back of the curb.
Stanmore proposes widening the sidewalk by 2 feet-6 inches to make a 9-foot 6-inch sidewalk and provide the 6 foot clear zone that will make this stretch of frontage more comfortable for pedestrians.
There will be a three-level parking garage with one level place underground. Stanmore will shield the two above-ground levels of parking with architectural louvers and display windows to create a more interesting walk for pedestrians.
“The rest of the frontage will be the lobby for the apartment building with extensive glazing. There will also be extensive landscaping to make the pedestrian experience more enjoyable,” staff added.
The existing driveway cuts along Westheimer will be eliminated, thus reducing traffic risks to pedestrians. In the place of the current driveway cuts, the developer will plant street trees that match the trees planted by the Upper Kirby District.
The garage access will be from the west side of the building on Revere Street.
This cross-section of Stanmore River Oaks illustrates its proximity to the street and the division of residences versus garage space. Courtesy of Stanmore Partners.
Stanmore River Oaks is not yet listed on Stanmore Partners’ website as a project in development. The company is in the process of completing Ravella at Town Center, a 306-unit midrise at 4674 Town Center Parkway; also, they are constructing Ravella at Memorial Villages, a 318-unit midrise project located at 1111 Blalock Road, just north of the Interstate 10 Katy Freeway in west Houston.
Landmark on Gosling
The proposed site plan for Landmark on Gosling. Courtesy of City of Houston public records.
Landmark Companies is planning a 408-unit, garden style apartment community on almost 29 acres. This would be the company’s ninth apartment project in the greater Houston area.
The project named Landmark on Gosling is on a narrow elongated strip of land that will have traffic access to West Rayford Road on one end and Gosling Road on the other.
Sixteen residential buildings are planned and they will come in three building types (elevations). The unit mix will consist of 240 one-bedrooms, 132 two-bedrooms and 36 three-bedrooms.
Landmark proposes to have all surface parking, providing a total of 735 spaces. Of the total, 40 spaces will be covered parking and 30 will be garage spaces.
To compensate for storm waters, two large detention ponds are on site. The south pond will be almost 3.7 acres and the north pond will be 1.26 acres.
Landmark was seeking a variance to avoid having to construct an east-west local street through the property, but staff recommend that be denied:
“The subject site is situated within a block of approximately 4000’ between Rayford and Dovershire. The long intersection interval, the proposed development intensity, and the proximity to two floodways emphasize the need for optimal traffic circulation within and around the subject site.
“The property is affected by a stub street within the Dovershire Place community, an approved general plan to the west. Extending this street through the subject site would allow the applicant to satisfy the intersection spacing requirement and provide better connectivity and traffic circulation within this developing community. Also traffic going south on Gosling to reach Doveshire Place community can use this street connection to go west instead of going all the way through Dovershire. The Harris County Engineer’s office has expressed support for staff’s recommendation.
Burgess & Niple prepared the preliminary site plan.
Lake Houston Senior Living
The proposed site plan for Lake Houston Senior Living. Courtesy: City of Houston public records.
Medcore Partners submitted a plat for approval, but it was withdrawn at their request. This is a 7-acre site at Atascocita and the developer announced in April plans to construct a 186-unit senior living complex in partnership with The National Realty Group (TNRG).
It is located east-northeast of the intersection of West Lake Houston Parkway and Will Clayton Parkway.
This is an independent living, assisted living and memory care community that will be operated by Integral Senior Living.
At the time of the announcement, Medcor claimed the architectural designs would be completed by November and construction would immediately follow. Plans are to get the residential complex finished by March 2020.
Lake Houston Senior Living in context with the neighboring properties.
Lake Houston Senior Living will offer a variety of lifestyle programs, planned events and outings. Amenities are to include a fitness/wellness center, bistro, courtyard, an activity room with theater, and beauty shop.
Smart Living at Cypress Creek
Proposed site plan for Smart Living @ Cypress Creek. Courtesy of City of Houston public records.
This is a garden style apartment community on what is presently 16.7 acres of a heavily wooded tract of land that reaches to the northeast corner of the intersection of Mills Road and Perry Road.
MuCasey & Associates submitted a site plan that illustrated a 306-unit complex comprised of 11 podium style buildings and a row of townhouses divided in three segments. There is also an amenity center that is located next to a pool deck.
The total net living area is 276,600 square feet, with an apartment mix of 156 one-bedrooms, 132 two-bedrooms, and 18 three-bedrooms. All parking is surface parking with a small percentage of spaces in garages.
A large, narrow north-south section of the tract is being set aside for stormwater detention.
This application was deferred for two weeks at the request of City Council member Brenda Stardig “To have time to communicate with the developer.”
A request was made by the civil engineers on this project, Civil-Surv Land Surveying LC and Big Red Dog, to avoid terminating Spring Miller Drive with a cul-de-sac at the proposed plat boundary.
Civil-Surv stated that, “The cul-de-sac would not be used by the vast majority of the residents of the single-family neighborhood and would create additional paving for the City of Houston to maintain. The stub portion of Spring Miller is very short and any driver can easily see it’s a dead end currently and not turn down the street. It is for these reasons, that providing a cul-de-sac at this stub street would not be sound public policy.”
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.