November 01, 2007
Construction and deconstruction update

You won't see this again any time soon:

That's because according to Houstonist, the old building on Bolsover where that sign was has now been torn down. I did a driveby yesterday and confirmed it, as well as the fact that Bolsover is officially closed off between Kelvin and Morningside. Sounds like construction is going to begin relatively quickly, too, though in this town that could still mean months. I'll try to keep an eye on it.

Meanwhile, Swamplot notes the next large Inner Loop structure that's on the endangered list:

A local investment group has obtained a $10-million loan to buy the 145-unit Greenbriar Chateau in the near southwest submarket. Given the location, it could end up as a conversion into a higher-density project.

Bammelbelt LP bought the complex, built nearly 40 years ago at 4100 Greenbriar St., a prime infill location within minutes of Rice University, Hermann Park and the Texas Medical Center. Sources familiar with the area say rising land costs for infill sites could prompt similar deals by investors buying aging properties as land plays.

That's just north of US59, immediately after the under-construction bank where the old Texaco station used to be. It's also right across the street from where our pediatrician is.

Situated on 3.6 acres, Greenbriar Chateau has a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $790 to $950 per month. Bammelbelt LP will manage and lease Greenbriar Chateau.

And as with the late Allen House complex, that's one less inexpensive apartment option in town. We'll see how high-end the new thing is, assuming such a project does go forward.

Speaking of Allen House, the buildings on the south side of West Dallas and west of Dunlavy are all gone. I'd post a picture but there isn't really anything to see, just empty space. There's still a section of Allen House standing, east of Dunlavy, and as reported before, it still appears to be inhabited. For how long, I couldn't say.

Finally, I noticed a few days ago that the fencing that had surrounded the now-demolished portion of the River Oaks Shopping Center has been taken down. The area has been paved over and striped for extra parking, for which the need is unclear. At least, by my observation, it isn't being heavily used. But I guess it may as well be used for something till the big shiny new Barnes and Noble (at which I will not shop) gets built.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 01, 2007 to Elsewhere in Houston

I am assuming that Weingarten had to weigh two options (cash flows), one risky and one safe. The risky one would be to keep the north section of the River Oaks Shopping Center open as long as possible, collecting rents until the last possible month, then tear it down and immediately build the new B&N or whatever replacement they choose. The reason that this choice was risky was that in the period before teardown, it might be possible for the City of Houston to make it impossible to complete the teardown. The chances were small, but the City might respond to public pressure as we now see them doing in the Ashby case.

The safe option is to tear down immediately, forgo the short term cash flows from the leases, but prevent any possible legal barrier to tear down later. Which is what they did. In essence, they chose to buy a bond rather than an option.

Posted by: RWB on November 1, 2007 7:10 AM

"The chances were small, but the City might respond to public pressure as we now see them doing in the Ashby case."

You must be joking. Weingarten is "mayor-friendly" and "cooperative" with the city. Meaning they will get what they want.

The mantra at City Hall, as always, is that if you want to play, you got to pay.

You can kiss the River Oaks Theatre goodbye. Although they may save the marguee and stick it on a pole the way they did with the University Theatre marguee when they built the Village Arcade.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on November 1, 2007 9:58 AM