February 06, 2006
Mixed use development near Reliant

This is going to be happening right near where I work.

A property near Reliant Center that for years housed big-box retailers like Target and Garden Ridge has changed hands and will be redeveloped into an urban apartment project.

Fidelis Realty Partners bought the land on Old Spanish Trail just east of Kirby at the end of last year and has since demolished a building there.

The Houston real estate firm and developer Simmons Vedder & Co. are planning a five-story structure with four levels of apartments above shops.

The project is similar to the much-admired Post Midtown Square, one of the few projects in Houston that truly mixes uses with hundreds of loft-style apartments over retail space.

Designed by the Steinberg Design Collaborative architecture firm, the new project will face Old Spanish Trail and have an East Coast brownstone look.

It will have about 300 apartments and 40,000 square feet of shopping space.

I hope to heck this includes some restaurants. I've said many times before that there's damn few places to eat around there - it's the main reason why I'm so skeptical about the proposed Astrodome Convention Center project. The area just desperately needs something that isn't fast food or in the Olive Garden/Red Lobster part of the spectrum.

There's been a minor boom in housing around this area. A new apartment complex is opening at OST and Greenbriar, next to a bigger one that faces the Smithlands light rail stop. This one here will be a short walk away. I'd love to know how many people who live in these places, including the new one when it's done, actually use the light rail to get to work. That's part of the allure of this kind of development, right? It'd be nice to have that confirmed.

One last thing:

Alan Hassenflu, a Fidelis principal, said this area near the Houston Texans' stadium has "transitioned up."

Indeed, the football stadium, Metro's light rail line, and growth in the Texas Medical Center have helped change this area, with some landowners improving their properties and developers building new apartments and condos.

"There's very little land left," said Hassenflu, noting a strong demand for housing by medical workers.

There's still a vast empty space at OST and Almeda, where a couple of sleazy hot-sheet hotels were torn down a few years ago. I measured it at a litte more than a mile from there to Greenbriar, so it's at least theoretically within walking distance of the Smithlands station. Until I see a sign that those lots are about to be built up, I say there's still land left.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 06, 2006 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack

Best neighborhood in town (of course part of the reason I say that is because I live there). We recently rid ourselves of one of the autos since we take the train so much; the wife to and from work, me to and from the doctors.

Charles, try the French Corner on OST or Cayenne's or New Orleans Cajun Kitchen on Kirby, or Fred's Italian Corner and Jimmy Wok (have the pho) north a little on Holcombe -- go Greenbriar and avoid the construction. There's plenty of good sushi places with adequate parking south of the Village as well.

Posted by: PDiddie on February 6, 2006 7:40 AM


I was just driving that part of town for a background on a story.

Plenty of land left over there. Obviously, as you get closer in to the city (esp. with the Pavillions going in), you see the land prices skyrocket if you can find it.


Posted by: Analyst on February 6, 2006 9:55 AM

It is an extremely high-crime area. I cannot imagine why anyone would want to live there, unless they have no choice at all. Why a residential developer would develop there, when there are clearly other choices, is a real mystery. Perhaps the land is, literally, dirt cheap.

Posted by: Dalicious on February 6, 2006 11:03 AM

Oh for God's sake, Dale.

The truth is that thousands of us live there and work, play, shop, eat, go to school and to church in the neighborhood. How difficult is that really for you to imagine?

And what could you be so terrified of, to post something so ridiculously alarmist?

(The next hurricane's refugees, perhaps?)

Posted by: PDiddie on February 6, 2006 2:05 PM