Bellaire’s Planning & Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing at its 6 p.m. meeting Thursday (July 11) on a four-part package of changes that could turn nearly 13 acres of the former Chevron Oil property into a mixed use development known as “Bellaire Place,” with high-density apartments, retail, offices and parking for 1,400 vehicles.
The meeting will take place in Council Chambers at City Hall, 7008 S. Rice Ave. First up is the swearing-in of the new and returning commissioners, election of a chair and co-chair, and adoption of the rules of procedure. The agenda, including the proposal, can be viewed here
SLS Properties is asking for a zoning change that will permit construction of a 300-unit midrise residence built on top of a parking garage facing Fournace Place and five other buildings on the South Rice Avenue side of the property that would potentially be marketed for retail, hospitality, and office spaces, including a movie theater and an athletic club.
Currently, the entire property is zoned as a Technical Research Park District.
The Fournace residential development would be six stories and provide a parking garage for more than 400 cars, while the cluster of mixed-use buildings would have a three-story parking garage adjacent, providing more than 700 parking spaces and another 200-plus surface spaces.
SLS has already redeveloped former Chevron office space on Fournace for multiple tenant use and owns two, six-story office buildings across the West Loop from the property. Kirksey Architects has done the preliminary designs, showing the proposed development in the middle of a vast green space — which in reality is two expansive neighborhoods of Bellaire single family homes, many worth $1 million or more.
The Bellaire Place presents exactly the kind of dilemma that Bellaire leaders had both anticipated and feared.
With its proximity to the Loop, the Galleria, a new Uptown METRO bus service and terminal under construction and its sheer size, the property has been seen as an opportunity for a high-end destination, planned mixed-use development that could enhance the city’s profile and add sizeable tax revenue to municipal coffers.
But those neighborhoods on its northern and southern borders are inhabited by a number of residents who want to hold Bellaire’s leaders to the “City of Homes” slogan which defined the nature of the city’s development for a century.
Additionally, that northwest quadrant of Bellaire has experienced the least flooding problems of any section, with water flowing to the southeast toward Brays Bayou, but city leaders have expressed concerns about the growing impact of drainage from the city of Houston.
Eventually Bellaire Place would have to have the approval of both the commission and City Council before it could move forward.