Home > New Construction, Uncategorized > Will this be the next Ashby high-rise case?

Will this be the next Ashby high-rise case?

 The dust has settled on the Ashby high-rise case, but will we see similar events unfold in reaction to a tower currently under construction in River Oaks? Three little words handwritten on a trial court’s order have me wondering.

 

2229 San Felipe Rendering

Hines’ proposed office structure at 2229 San Felipe in the River Oaks neighborhood.

    
On Feb. 27, a Harris County judge denied residents’ request for a temporary restraining order to stop construction of a 167,000-square-foot office tower called 2229 San Felipe, located on a 35,000-square-foot parcel between Kirby and Shepherd Drive. Houston-based Hines is developing the project and began construction early this year.

 

 

2229 San Felipe - 18 story bldg

 

Notably, “at this time” was handwritten on the paper denying the temporary restraining order, according toDaryl Bailey, an attorney with Gray Reed & McGraw PC who specializes in business litigation with an emphasis on real estate matters.

The River Oaks lawsuit is similar to the claims of private nuisance made by the plaintiffs in the Ashby high-rise case. The River Oaks plaintiffs also filed a public nuisance claim, which is being challenged by the defendants, who state the plaintiffs have no standing to assert a public nuisance, Bailey said.

 

2229 San Felipe map

 

Nothing has been filed in the River Oaks lawsuit since the Ashby high-rise ruling May 1.

The plaintiffs in the River Oaks case, residents who live near the proposed building, have a petition with more than 1,000 signatures included with the lawsuit.

“2229 San Felipe LLC believes that the lawsuit is unfortunate and misguided, but will continue to work with the community during construction and thereafter,” Hines said in a statement previously. “2229 San Felipe LLC of course denies the allegations.”

Hines states in its most recent court filing that it is far from being “abnormal and out of place,” the standard used in the Ashby case to measure what constitutes a private nuisance, Bailey said.

Hines declined to comment on the most recent filing.

“As support, Hines points at all of the mixed-use, multistory development in the general area of town where the Hines project is being built,” Bailey said. “Combining the ‘abnormal and out of place’ standard with the judge’s words ‘at this time’ appears to be fertile ground for future uncertainty in an area where certainty is begging. Only time will tell.”

Hines spokesperson George Lancastertold the Houston Business Journal earlier this year that Hines has taken measures to limit the impact the construction process has on the neighborhood and that “we worked hand-in-hand with the city of Houston’s Public Works Department” as part of the permitting process.

“The city also suggested a few modifications, which we complied with — basically locations and angles of access and egress points,” he said at the time.

Jenny Aldridge covers real estate and construction for the Houston Business Journal.

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