Neighborhood happy with new Ashby tower modificationsThe developers of the Ashby high-rise have reached a comprehensive agreement with the local Southampton neighborhood over the controversial development. Negotiations had stalled over attempts to shrink the development, so an innovative solution was found actually enlarging the tower. A lot. As you can see in the accompanying picture and comparative graphic.
The new enlarged plan alleviated both of the neighborhood's primary concerns. The large size justifies direct on and off-ramps from the Southwest freeway into its garage, as well as its own detour and rail stop from the new Universities line, removing any concerns of additional neighborhood or Bissonnet traffic. Since the first 100 floors or so will be used for parking, Southampton residents don't have to worry about tower residents peering into their houses and back yards, since they'll be about as high up as the steady stream of Southwest planes landing at Hobby airport, with the same microscopic view.
These improvements, as well as simple prestige and the promise of some cute street-level retail (including a flagship Whole Foods, required for all such developments), convinced the local residents that the project had shifted from a liability to a very strong asset for the neighborhood. In fact, it is so popular now, City Council and the Planning Commission are considering a new 1/2-mile minimum-height ordinance to force developers to build other such towers around town. Developers are welcoming the law, saying they always wanted to build something that cool, but the persnickety market just wouldn't let them. Bear Stearns is expected to commit financing for the new Ashby project, the Astrodome hotel, and any proposed future super-towers that can get their applications in before JP Morgan Chase completes its takeover of the defunct investment bank.
Hope you enjoyed this year's April Fools post (source - thanks HAIF). Thanks to Patrick for the graphics work. Here are previous years if you missed 'em and would like a chuckle:
- 2007: Mayor expands historic preservation, air pollution initiatives
- 2006: Metro settles Universities/Westpark/Richmond rail alignment
- 2005: Houston embraces "New Weather Urbanism"