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Ashby rises again

It’s baaaaaaaaack.

The Ashby high-rise is making a comeback.

The developers of the proposed luxury residential tower that has enraged residents of the upscale neighborhoods around it resubmitted construction plans to the city Wednesday, requesting another permit to start building their project.

The plans represent the same 23-story design the city approved two years ago, according to the developer, Houston-based Buckhead Investment Partners Inc. Instead of for-sale condominiums, however, the units will be apartments.

[…]

Jim Reeder, co-chair of the Stop Ashby High Rise Task Force said the group is evaluating ways to defeat Buckhead’s proposal. “The community will exert itself in a way that will not be ignored,” he said.

The developers said they are moving forward because of strong market demand for rental properties. [Matthew Morgan, president of Buckhead Investment Partners Inc] said the company has financing lined up in order to move forward.

“We have the ability to start this project as soon as we’re ready,” he said.

How is it with all of the still empty lots in this town these guys wind up ready to go first? As if Mayor Parker needs another controversial issue she didn’t initiate to deal with.

The fact remains that this project is inappropriate for the location, and while the city is working on a new ordinance that would prevent future Ashby Highrises, there’s really nothing it can do now to stop this one from going forward. Well, nothing that won’t invite another lawsuit, anyway.

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7 Comments

  1. Jules says:

    At least Parker isn’t giving the developer $6M in tax breaks like she did for the Heights Walmart. I still don’t know why she did that.

  2. Ross says:

    WalMart didn’t get 6 million dollars in tax breaks. Ainbinder is going to fund improvements to City property, and recover the costs through reductions in sales tax remittances. The City gets improvements that would have to be made in any case, but doesn’t have to put out any cash up front. I don’t see a problem with this.

    As for the Ashby construction, there’s a lot of whining from people who think they know better than the property owners what should be done. I would not be sad if those doing the whining fell into a deep hole and disappeared. It’s not their property, they have no say. Period. End of story. If you want Houston to end up like the dead cities elsewhere, Dallas comes to mind, bring on the restrictive zoning rules and the corruption that comes with them.

  3. Jules says:

    Ross, the developer is also going to get reimbursed for ALL property taxes – not just the increase due to development as City staffers said in the Request for Council Action (the one page summary Council uses to inform their vote).

    The reimbursement continues until the $6.05M + interest is fully repaid – it does not end in 10 years as you may have heard.

    It’s also not going to be interest free to the City, even though Mayor Parker said it would be in a radio interview less than a week before the Ainbinder 380 was put on the Council agenda. The interest rate is unknown but can be as high as 10% (perhaps higher). The lowest it will be is probably 4.25%.

    The 380 also provides over $400K for private detention improvements – that’s public money for private development – it’s not just improvements to City property.

    The public improvements mainly serve the development, and leave out the major infrastructure item in the area – the load-limited, functionally obsolete Yale Street Bridge (except for possibly dangerous resurfacing and cosmetic painting).

    I think anyone who read both the Ainbinder 380 and the Request for Council Action and listened to Mayor Parker’s statements in Council during the Council discussion of the 380 would see a lot of problems with it. You don’t need zoning to have corruption.

  4. Ross says:

    I’m happy to have the WalMart there, and don’t feel ripped off by the 380. You may be. The city still gets improvements that would have to be made anyway, but there’s no actual cash outlay.

    Parker is a horrible mayor. I regret voting for her.

  5. Jules says:

    I agree that Parker is a horrible mayor. I regret voting for her too.

    Which of the improvements would have to be made by the City?

    The tax base will be decreased because they will refund all the property taxes – even the amount Walmart/Ainbinder are currently paying – the City will have less tax revenue than it has now from the time the reimbursement starts until it finishes.

  6. JJ says:

    The real question about Parker’s misstatements about the 380 etc. is whether she is just stupid and doesn’t bother to learn what’s what, or is she just a liar who tries to slip past opposition by telling untruths. People around City Hall can’t decide. There seems to be plenty of evidence of both aspects of her personality.

  7. […] can see the letter and some more information here. It’s pretty much what we’ve known all along, that there was nothing the city could do to stop this thing. Which, in a different and more […]