Back to Press + Awards

Memorial Green developer responds to neighbors' concerns

Houston Chronicle | 03.17.2015

Midway Companies is revising its master plan for the gated Memorial Green mixed-use development at 12601 Memorial Drive, Chairman Brad Freels confirmed on March 4.

Freels shared a letter being sent to prospective home buyers that states Midway will eliminate a proposed 250-unit apartment building and parking structure from its plan, scale back commercial space at the front of the property and increase the number of single-family homes.

The letter indicates the action is in response not only to economic factors and market demands for luxury homes but also to "very direct, yet cordial, concerns" expressed by neighbors.

"One of the keys to creating a successful development - the right product in the right place - is being a good neighbor to those around you," the letter states. "Finding that perfect balance between what is economically feasible and what the market demands, while being sensitive to the wants and needs of those most affected, is paramount."

"It's a huge relief to me to know they've abandoned one of those huge parking garages and the wrap-around building for apartments," said Kay Haslam, a neighbor who joined other nearby residents to try and influence Midway's plans. "The plan was not taking advantage of the natural beauty of the site."

Set in a mostly residential area, the wooded, 14-acre property was once the site of a senior living facility that was demolished about 15 years ago. After Midway announced plans to develop it as an urban-style village last year, neighbors began voicing concerns to Houston city officials about its impact on traffic, the environment and drainage.

Neighbors contended a traffic impact analysis done on the development was flawed, and they raised questions about the city's enforcement of its tree ordinance and other regulations.

A proposal by the Memorial City TIRZ 17 to annex the new development as a way to fund street and drainage projects for the area further inflamed the debate.

That proposal was later withdrawn.

Henry Drewinko, an attorney who lives in neighboring Ethan's Glen, said members of the neighborhood's HOA board reached out to Freels to discuss the issues.

"Brad Freels was very sympathetic to our concerns and has been working diligently to address them," Drewinko said. "We understand that's led to a significant redesign of the development. We are very pleased with their response to our concerns."

The Midway letter does not specify the number of single-family homes to be added in the final plan.

Midway's original master plan included 57 two- and three-story homes ranging from 3,000 to almost 5,000 square feet and priced from $1 million to $2 million. Heritage Texas Properties is marketing the homes.

According to the letter, the original plan's six-story apartment building and four-story office building on the front of the property will be replaced by two smaller three-story buildings with retail and restaurant space on the ground level and office space on the second and third floors. A parking structure also is eliminated.

The changes are being incorporated into the final plan and could delay completion of the first-phase homes from early summer to late summer or fall of 2016.