Élan at Avenue R

Stacey Spencer and a few other Larchmont Civic Association board members had a chance to meet with the developer of the new apartment complex at Richmond and Barrington.  The following are notes taken by Stacey Spencer from the meeting:

Greystar Meeting

Élan At Avenue R

12/13/11

Purpose of Meeting:  To Give the Larchmont Civic Associations Representatives the opportunity to begin a dialogue with Greystar and the opportunity to understand the nature and scope of the Greystar development Elan At Avenue R.

Greystar employees and contracted firms in attendance:
Trent Connor, Managing Director Development, Greystar
Brian Herwald, Manager Development, Greystar
Jon Prejean, Partner, Meeks + Partners (architectural firm)
Mark Kirkland, Civil Engineer, Kimley-Horn and Associates

Considerations for Greystar concerning Larchmont and the residents:

  • Larchmont was developed beginning in the early 1950s.
  • We are a community of 309 residential locations.
  • From the beginning, we have had residential Deed Restrictions defining our use as single family residences.   We have defended these restrictions on many occasions.  These Deed Restrictions have been updated from time to time to continue to protect the residential quality of our neighborhood.
  • We are family friendly, with many young people playing, adults walking and jogging, and frequent street gatherings such as Halloween parties, Movie Night, Oktoberfest, etc.
  • We are a family legacy neighborhood where children who grew up here are returning to buy houses as they start their families.   We are a compatible mix of young couples, singles, and retirees, all of whom are quite proud of the neighborhood.
  • We have worked closely with Uptown Houston on many issues such as zoning considerations (when zoning was up for a vote), landscaping, the Chimney Rock Wall, and drainage problems.
  • We have worked with TEXDOT on the Highway 59 wall and Larchmont Green.
  • We have witnessed our property values increasing over the years, and have single family appraisals up to the $900,000 range.  We do not want to see these values harmed.

Larchmont residents concerns include:

  • Drainage – sheet (ground water) and sewage
  • Cut through traffic/ how it affects safety of walkers, runners, bicycles and children.
  • Crime/ brought by additional traffic
  • Quality of life of Larchmont residents on the 5400 block of Lincrest.
  • On-street parking by apartment residents and their guests.

Overview Provided By Greystar:
Greystar was founded in 1993 in Houston but has since moved it’s corporate headquarters to Charleston, SC. Their three lines of business are property management, investment and development. Greystar is the 3rd largest multi-family developer in Houston with 30,000 units. Greystar is also the 3rd largest fee management company in the United States with over 180,000 units. Trent Connor has been with Greystar since 1999 and has built over 13,000 units in the Houston market. www.greystarconstruction.com

Meeks + Partners is a Houston based architectural firm and has been in business since 1974. Meeks has designed hundreds of thousands of apartments throughout the United States and many in the Houston market.

Questions:

Overall Project Design , Positioning and Policies

  1. What is the estimated total cost of the project?
    Answer: The land cost was $9.7 million and the estimated total project cost is $48 million. This project will be owned and managed by Greystar.
  2. Has Greystar developed a property that is similar in design and finishes so that people can go look at what is going to be built?
    Answer:  Yes. Calais at Courtland came to mind, in Mid-Town off SPUR 529Similar type properties built by other developers that are closer to Larchmont include the property at Weslayan & Hwy 59 at 4100 SW Freeway was designed by Meeks and built by Dinnerstein). Another example would be the apartments on Hidalgo between Sage and S. Rice called Three Thousand Sage.
  3. Can a pdf be provided with the elevations?
    Answer: Yes, the elevations that face Richmond and Barrington and also facing the residents of Lincrest:  Greystar 1006A400 Model
  4. Provide copy of the tenant selection policy?
    Answer: Yes, their rental agreement. They do not rent to felons, nefarious characters nor those with poor credit.  Resident Lease Qualification Acknowledgment & Master Addendum WER
  5. How many tenants are allowed per unit for 1 bedroom and 2 bedrooms?
    Answer: Up to two people per bedroom.
  6. Are there to be weekly rentals?
    Answer: No. Most leases are for a year but they have signed six month leases in the past.
  7. Will they be marketed as furnished apartments?
    Answer: All units will be unfurnished.
  8. Can a list of property amenities and interior and exterior finishes be provided?
    Answer: The units facing Richmond and Barrington will have a more progressive elevation. The exterior finishes on those streets will include brick, stone, stucco and metal panels. These elevations will incorporate flat roofs. The units facing the apartments to east and facing our residents on Lincrest will have more of a residential feel. The finishes used will be brick and siding.
    The interior finishes will be high end and will include 10 foot ceilings, stainless appliances, granite countertops, bamboo floors, ceramic tile, carpet and wood stained cabinets.
  9. Is there a manager on property 24/7?
    Answer: No but she will have an apartment there when she would like to stay. There will be leasing agents living on site.  Greystar offers up to two units free of charge to law enforcement officers to reside, as their presence on the property discourages unruly and unlawful behavior.
  10. Where is the parking garage?
    Answer: The parking garage is surrounded completely by the residences themselves. The residents of Lincrest will not be able to see it or have lights from it, come into view once the buildings on the south side of the property are erected. The buildings on the south side of the property will have an elevation of 55 + ft. The parking structure will have an elevation of 55 ft.  The construction of garage is projected to begin in mid March with completion projected in May.
    Greystar Building Plan – 1006A300_Model
  11. What is the amount of visitor parking available inside complex (ratio of parking spots per apartment)?
    Answer: The parking space ratio required by code is of 1.33 for 1-bedroom units and 1.66 for 2-bedroom units. They said that they exceeded the code requirements but could not tell us off hand the number of parking spaces.
  12. Can all visitors parking be accommodated inside the complex?
    Answer: They believed they could.
  13. Will apartment residents’ vehicles be required to have identifying stickers?
    Answer: Yes, they will have an identifying sticker on their vehicle.
  14. What type of units will be on the south side of the property?
    Answer: All units on the south side of the property will be one bedroom units.
  15. Are there balconies and if so, facing what direction(s)?
    For specific floors or each floor? Are there restrictions of use? What can be placed on patios (grills, laundry, mops, furniture)?
    Answer: There are balconies on all sides of the property and on all upper floors. There are restrictions of use. Code does outlaw the use of BBQ pits. The balconies will not be permitted to be used as storage areas.  Bikes may be stored neatly. Only patio furniture and plants will be permitted. No animals will be tied up or kept on balconies. No flags will be permitted. Satellite dishes are allowed but a deposit will be required. They are concerned about the aesthetics and curb appeal of the units and they said they enforce their policy strictly.
  16. What is the distance of the southward facing units from the property line?
    Answer: the minimum distance to the south property line is 15 feet with a variation of up to 20 feet. There is a pathway and green space under the utility easement that will be planted with various varietals of trees allowed by code as to not interfere with the power lines.
  17. Where are dumpster locations?
    Answer: The two trash dump sites for residents will be located inside the project between the residences and the parking garage. Refuse will be compacted and stored in rooms off of these collection points until trash is to be picked up.  The trash pick up site will be at the northeast corner of Barrington and Beverly Hill. They said that these dumpsters should have no trash in them until the day of pick-up. Trash pick-up days will be as needed.
  18. What days/time will trash pick up occur?
    Answer: As needed (But, I think they said no less than twice weekly.  I’m afraid “as needed” will cause panic.  Maybe “weekly” is better?)
  19. Will pets be allowed? If so, what types and up to what weight? Are there any on-site facilities for exercising resident’s animals?
    Answer: There will be pets allowed. There is a green space and walkway along the entire stretch of there east and south property lines as well as a dedicated dog park on the ESE side of the property.

Design of rain water drainage.

  1. How much water must be held on-site. During construction? When in use?
    Answer:  The city requires water detention of .55 per acre foot of volume x the square footage of impervious ground.  Greystar will install a vault outside of the leasing office, under the driveway, that will meet and exceed code requirements. The result will be zero sheet flow from the property onto the surrounding properties or streets. All drainage will flow inward from the property line and will be managed through drain pipes. All down spouts will also tie in to the drainage pipe.
  2. Where does it tie in to the drainage system? Or which direction does it flow? Barrington? Richmond?
    Answer: The main drainage of the property will tie in on Richmond and flow east. There will be a small pipe to handle a minor flow that ties into Barrington. But the majority will flow down Richmond. The pipe tying in at Barrington is far smaller than what was there previously.
  3. If there are elevation differences, will there be run off from the south side of the complex into the backyards of the residents of Lincrest? If so, what are contingent plans to fix?
    Answer: There should be no sheet flow (run-off) from the property. All property elevations are to be angled inwardly toward their drainage pipe and detention tank system.

Plumbing  & Sewage

  1. Where does it tie in to the city’s system?
    Answer:  Sanitary sewer ties in on the east side of the property.  Water ties in on Barrington.

Fences and Gates

  1. What type of perimeter fencing will be on the south side of the property? How tall will it be?
    Answer: The perimeter fencing along Barrington and Richmond will be of iron or metal fencing. The fencing along the south and east sides of the property were planned to be of wood. The height is still undetermined. Greystar is willing to discuss the fencing options with the residents of Lincrest.

Traffic flow

  1. Where are the entrances and exits for street traffic and foot traffic located?
    Answer:  The main vehicular entrance will be on Richmond Avenue and there will be a secondary entrance at the corner of Beverly Hill. The will be pedestrian gates at: the southwest corner of the property facing Barrington; the corner of Beverly Hill and Barrington; and the northeast corner of the property facing Richmond Avenue (see drawings).
  2. Will Beverly Hill continue to be an ”egress only” street on to Chimney Rock?
    Answer: Yes
  3. Since the Beverley Hill will be an entrance/ exit, will traffic be allowed to turn left (or south) when exiting the complex?
    Answer: Yes. Most traffic is projected to flow directly on to Richmond Avenue from the Richmond entrance and from Barrington onto Richmond. They did not have the data concerning traffic flow down Beverly Hill. They also stated that they only projected that 5% of the traffic flow would go south thru Larchmont to S. Rice.  They are restriping Barrington at Richmond to better define lanes to handle traffic more efficiently.
  4. Will the entrance on Richmond have a traffic signal?
    Answer: It would be too close to the light at Barrington. On Richmond, there will be a dedicated left lane for westbound vehicles for turning into the properties main entrance with capacity to hold 8 to 10 cars at a time waiting to turn into the property.