Mayor Annise Parker has sent a letter to residents of the Southampton area saying the city has no legal basis to stop developers from building the controversial Ashby high-rise as outlined in their 2009 plans.
“I am accepting the advice of city legal counsel and recommending the settlement of the lawsuit,” she said in the Feb. 29 letter.
Under the terms of the settlement, the city would approve a 21-story building consisting of 228 residential units, 10,075 square feet of restaurant space and four town homes. It will also incorporate a pedestrian plaza to enhance the area along Bissonnet Street.
The Chron story has some reactions to the city’s move.
Matthew Morgan, president of Buckhead Investment Partners, said Friday that settlement discussions with the city have “yielded some encouraging results.” Neither he nor his business partner Kevin Kirton would discuss the matter further.
“Until something final has been filed with the court, I don’t think we can really say much more,” Morgan said.
Jim Reeder, co-chair of the Stop Ashby High Rise Task Force, said the settlement details do not adequately mitigate the impact of the project if it were to be built.
The corner of Ashby and Bissonnet is already congested, he said, and traffic is likely to further encroach into the neighborhood with hundreds of apartments and a restaurant.
“People are concerned about the quality of life, their property values; they’re concerned about maintaining the character of their neighborhood; and they’re concerned about safety,” said Reeder, a resident of Southampton, an upscale neighborhood near Rice University and the Museum District.
You 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 suitable location, sounds like it would be a fine project. Hope whoever moves into those residential units is real good at making friends. Swamplot has more.