Houston Heights Historic District Commercial/Residential Project Nears Completion
Texas Construction News from Virtual Builders Exchange
by Adolfo Pesquera
The Houston Planning Commission approved a request to allow several on-street parking spaces to count toward the required parking for a proposed residential development that is to result from the renovation of three historic buildings in the Houston Heights Historic District.
Located in the 100 block of West 12th Street and Yale Street, the two-story brick buildings were constructed in 1916 and 1922. The historic preservation project was listed as 104 W. 12th St on the application.
The ground level of the structures were of mixed commercial use, with one being an automtive repair shop for much of its life. The upper levels had been used for residential or office. The buildings have been empty for years and were in poor condition. The third building is a woodframe structure.
The owner, 1144 Yale LLC, was being required to provide 29 parking spaces for the 9,043 square feet of living space. A reduction of that requirement is allowed based on the buildings being historic and contributing structures. Renovation of the corner building is complete and the rest are currently undergoing reconstruction.
Staff noted that, "The existing two story commercial brick structure located at the corner of Yale Street and 12th Street has been renovated and will be used for a plumbing fixture showroom and a doctor’s office. Now the developer plans to renovate the wood frame structure and create three multifamily units.The applicant proposes to provide the four required parking spaces for the multifamily units on the proposed parking lot."
"The owner does not have enough off-street parking to get a building permit or certificate of occupancy to restore this building. Due to the lack of off-street parking, this is depriving the owner reasonable use of the building the Houston Historic Commission is requiring to be restored," a staff report submitted to the March 16 Planning Commission said.
Four on-street parking spaces on West 12th Street were allowed to count toward the parking requirement of the brick buildings, and an additional space was allowed for the woodframe structure.
"Through the use of "Parking Credits" provided to historic districts as well as a bike rack the landlord was able to meet the parking requirements of 16 spaces for the restored mixed-use building. However, there is no room on the site to provide the additional 4 required off-street parking spaces for the overall development."
The restored mixed-use buildings were approved by the Houston Archeological and Historical Commission in December of 2015 and a Certificate of Appropriateness was obtained.
The owner would like to improve the final wood structure that was built and moved to the site around the same 1920s timeframe. However, there is no additional space on the site to provide parking that will meet city code requirements.
"Due to the building’s "Contributing Structure" status, the abandoned wood framed structure cannot be removed from the site," staff said.
Without the additional off-site parking, the structure cannot be permitted. That would leave the structure uninhabitable and non-repairable.
Bill Baldwin of Boulevard Realty, (also a planning commissioner), has represented the owner in marketing the property.
Adolfo Pesquera is a veteran news journalist. He has previously worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. He is a communications graduate of the University of Texas-PanAmerican.
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