[C]alling it another Ashby high-rise may be a stretch.
For one, the proposal is for an office building.
And the rendering is old. A newer plan is being considered with only nine stories -- six levels for office and three for parking, according to Tim Cisneros, the building's architect.
The developer hasn't even gone to the city for a construction permit.
"We're just looking at who's interested in doing the deal with us," said Ed Rizk, a real estate broker and developer who's pre-leasing the building.
Those involved in the project said there's a need for office space in the Heights, where area businesses operate out of rundown strip centers, outdated office structures and historic homes.
"The options for Class A office space in the Heights are virtually nil," said Cisneros, who sees the market as small law firms, accountants, architects and other small businesses whose owners live in the Heights.
Residential units were, however, considered for the site.
But condos would generate a lot more traffic than an office building operating just during business hours.
And a shopping center would require loads of parking.
"We're trying to envision if it's an appropriate building type," Cisneros said.
The proposed office building would be built on a 25,000-square-foot parcel at 3110 White Oak, just west of the popular Onion Creek restaurant and bar.
It would replace a house and small shopping center and could contain 50,000 square feet of office space and just enough ground-level retail space to support a bank or restaurant.
Land owner and developer Geoffrey Vaughan couldn't be reached, but his architect thinks the project could serve as an example for acceptable urban development.
"Is it ambitious? Yes. Potentially controversial? Yes," Cisneros said.
"But I think maybe it could sensitively set the model for some development patterns in Houston."
Barring any new information, I don't think there's much more to say about this until such time as permits start getting pulled, and the neighborhood reacts. In the end, I think it won't be too contentious, but let's see what the specifics are before we get too confident.Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 30, 2008 to Elsewhere in Houston