New development planned for West Gray

From Prime Property:

West Gray may soon get a lot busier.

Developers are proposing multi-story apartment complexes on two sites just a short distance apart along the largely retail roadway, which runs from River Oaks to downtown.

Both developers are requesting variances from the Planning Commission that would alter the building setbacks for their projects.

The first is at the of site of the Tavern on Gray, a sports bar at at the corner of West Gray and Waugh.


The second complex is proposed on the site of the old Houston Ballet building on West Gray near Dunlavy. The ballet recently moved downtown.

Click over to see the relevant documents. The rendering of the first site, called Hanover West Gray, hilariously depicts wide-open, uncrowded streets at the Waugh and West Gray location. It’s almost as funny as the drawings you see of various suburban-style strip center developments that show happy people walking through tree-lined areas instead of the vast tree-free parking lots that will actually get built. (Like this or this.) Where do the people that do these drawings live, and what color is the sky on their planet?

Jokes aside, I’m generally happy to see infill development happening. What needs to go along with it is a rethinking of the streets that serve these areas, to accommodate and encourage walking and transit instead of simply drawing more cars, of which these streets already have plenty. Andrew Burleson proposed one such alternative awhile back – sadly, the accompanying pictures are no longer there – but there are other possibilities if we’re willing to commit to the idea. The problem, as always, is money, and that’s in short supply these days. It won’t get any cheaper to deal with later on, that’s all I know.

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