October 17, 2008
Deadline looming for the hippie bohemian attorneys

Is the dream doomed?

The developers of the Sonoma project are up against it - specifically, up against a one-year deadline to accomplish a few specific tasks related to the Bolsover abandonment.

A condition, passed by the Houston City Council at the time of the sale, specified that some changes to the site of the high-end condo over retail project must be completed within one year.

"The work that has to be finished within 12 months of the effective date of the ordinance pertains to utility work and changing the appearance of the street," Public Works spokesman Alvin Wright said.

The sale of the 2400 block of Bolsover was approved Aug. 8, 2007, but was contingent on the receipt of two letter of credit, one -- for $55,315 -- to cover the work required within a year.

Because an extension to the line of credit was granted by the city, the deadline to complete the work was pushed back until the end of October, Wright said.


The alterations to the property that must be made by the end of the month, pending extensions, are:

The plugging and abandonment of the 8-inch water line within the street, and the relocation of the existing storm sewer inlets to Bolsover and Morningside.

The developer is "required to eliminate the appearance of the public street" at the intersections of Bolsover and both Kelvin and Morningside.

As if the project didn't have enough problems. So the obvious question is what happens if this deadline isn't met? Will City Council and Mayor White aggressively pursue getting their street back? Or will they grant an extension, perhaps contingent on some condition like modifications to the construction schedule and/or a financial penalty?

I posed that question to Council Member Anne Clutterbuck's office, since Sonoma is in her district. They told me that they were researching this and would get back to me. I will post an update when that happens.

(Thanks to Swamplot for the catch.)

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 17, 2008 to Elsewhere in Houston

Of course they will be granted an extension. They are political insiders. They have bought City Hall. Those who pay, play. And get to build. Something the developers of 1717 Bissonnet didn't realize. But probably have now. Anne Clutterbuck has never been really proactive with regard to either Sonoma or the Medical Clinic of Houston. Her attitude was and is "well, that's just the way it is." A quite different attitude than the one she took towards 1717 Bissonnet. You can say they are different but they are not. They are all commercial development with potential negative traffic impact which encroach a single-family residential neighborhood. Two got their permits and whatever else they wanted or needed. One didn't. One may have to file suit against the city. The reality of Bolsover is it should not have been sold or conveyed in any manner to a private developer. The city did that with Amherst and to date Weingarten has yet to live up to their part of the deal and instead continues to make a fortune towing people who ordinarily would have parked on Amherst. For free. Welcome to Houston. Definitely developer friendly. Depending on how generous the develeper is with City Hall.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on October 17, 2008 2:38 PM
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