Bellaire residents may have noticed since the fall a sign posted at Bissonnet Street and Mulberry Lane declaring a future development for the long-vacant tract of land, a rarity in a city that doesn’t have much land sitting around these days.
That tract will remain vacant for now — Sources indicate that the stagnant economy may have bogged down the development plans. Commerce Equities, Inc. had planned to construct a new commercial building, but the building permit expired on Jan. 6.
“Half was going to be a doctor’s office. The other half was going to be left open to fill as needed,” said Community Development Director John McDonald in December.
Commerce Equities submitted plans to the city over the summer when applying for a building permit. The plans show the building with a brick and stone facade. It that would have been one story on one side, and two stories on the other side. The tract on Bissonnet Street between Mulberry and Howard Lanes is zoned as mixed-use, which allows commercial buildings and certain types of residential developments.
McDonald said the plans were unique, simply because the city doesn’t have much vacant land where people can construct similar developments.
“We just don’t have a lot of land,” McDonald said. “Most of what we see will be redevelopment.”
A representative from Commerce Equities, Inc., the development company, did not return multiple messages seeking comment about the current status of the project. If plans resume, the company would have to apply for another building permit. However, since the tract is already zoned to allow this type of structure, the company would not need to go before the city council or any commissions for approval.
Cory Decuire, a project manager at Identity Architects, was the person responsible for designing the building and he also worked with the city’s community development department.
“Right now it’s kind of on hold,” Decuire said. “When everything started going down with the economy, a lot of projects go on hold.”