Prevent the commercialization of the Museum Park neighborhood!
We can save our residential Museum Park lifestyle and community.
Help us protect our historical neighborhood from the ruination and commercial exploitation of developers interested only in their own personal monetary gain.
Parc Binz, located at 1800 Binz Street (the corner of Binz and Chenevert Streets), is a planned 6-story retail/office/medical building with a restaurant/bar being developed by Balcor Commercial. A spokesperson for Balcor, the primary commercial developer in the Museum Park area, boasts the company has over 700 million dollars in private institutional investment planned for commercial and retail buildings in the neighborhood. Parc Binz is the FIRST large retail building intended to transform our residential neighborhood to a commercial one. If it is built, in the City’s eyes our neighborhood from Herman Park to Blodgett Street and Almeda to Caroline Streets MUST be considered commercial rather than residential. This “grandfathers” Museum Park for extensive commercial development.
On July 21, 2011 City Council approved the Houston Planning Commission’s recommendation to replat 1800 Binz located between Chenevert and Chartres streets as “unrestricted reserve” rather than “residential.” This will allow Balcor Commercial to build its grotesquely large retail building in a residential neighborhood. Balcor misrepresented the property to the City as being occupied by commercial buildings and thus entitled to be replatted as an office high-rise building site. This was totally false since the 36,000 square foot site is currently a multi- family apartment building, was previously approved a plat for 17 residential town homes, and was originally the site of single-family homes. Moreover, the company applied for a variance to push this tower within 10’ of the street curb, projecting out the upper stories even closer to the street.
Balcor has planned a 58,000 square foot building that will be jammed onto only 36,000 square feet of land with ‘0’ setback for the surrounding homes! A 90’ six story tower wall will totally dwarf the surrounding 2-story homes and cast a shadow of darkness on the street scape and the luxurious Tuscan Woods Villas townhomes across the street at 1814 and 1818 Binz!
From an architectural standpoint, the scale and size of Parc Binz in relation to its neighborhood are extremely overbearing, hovering over all nearby structures. Moreover, precedence for a standard 25' setback was set years ago with self imposed setbacks for the Children’s Museum, the Children’s Museum Annex, and the planned Holocaust Museum expansion as well as the original architectural setback pacesetter, the Fine Arts Museum of Houston.
Parc Binz is only the first phase for the doomed Binz/Chenevert intersection. A mirroring 5-story Phase Two office building and reinforced concrete parking deck across the street is slated to begin construction soon after Parc Binz is completed!
A City traffic study done for the location was seriously flawed! Based on an outdated 2006 traffic count study, it totally neglected to consider traffic from the many new townhomes and large apartment complexes built since 2006 within a half-mile of the site. It also disregarded the dramatic increase in traffic due to the use of Binz as a major connecting thoroughfare to the Medical Center, the museums and, most importantly, freeway 288. Predictable rush hour traffic jams will be created by the lack of traffic lights and stop signs at the intersection and no central turning lane off Binz. Accidents waiting to happen will certainly result with vehicles entering and exiting the Parc Binz parking garage directly opposite two residential community driveways. Emergency vehicles will be hindered in congested traffic much of the time. And tranquil Chenevert Street will be turned into a jammed parking area for “too large” delivery trucks waiting their turn at loading docks.
Previous retail site location studies have categorically stated that retail developments in the residential environment of mid-Binz would be grossly inappropriate. Their professional consensus was that retail development should be situated and planned for the primary neighborhood traffic path meridians located on the Almeda and Main Streets corridors.
Stop the decline! Already housing values of homes facing and sandwiched in between the Parc Binz development have declined 30% or more, causing homeowner financial losses of over $100,000! Some homeowners have panicked and listed their home for sale. New buyers are hesitant to purchase new homes for fear of declining values attributed to these ill-conceived high rise office buildings and the unsafe projected traffic nightmare on Binz Street. If the whole Museum Park area is classified as commercial by the City, then… you fill in the blanks!
Is Parc Binz the first retail project intended to open the entire Museum Park Neighborhood for commercial exploitation? We believe it is! Help save our residential community by supporting our cause. The first step is to save our Binz Street neighborhood from becoming a canyon corridor of 6 story, 90’ high retail buildings.
Houston is the only major American city that does not have zoning controls. Some say “it’s too late, the damage is already done… there’s nothing you can do.” We say, it’s never too late! And we haven’t even begun to fight!
Gabe Gutierrez of KHOU 11 News reported on October 17th after speaking with residents of the Museum District.
“It’s just going to ruin the whole neighborhood,” said Carl Gibbs, who’s lived in the Museum Park area for more than 20 years and whose home is right next to the proposed development.
He and other neighbors worry the building will increase traffic and tower over its surroundings.“It’s a commercial abuse of a residential neighborhood,” said Mike Wiglesworth, who also opposes the project. “Three of my neighbors have put their properties up for sale in fear of what it will do to their property values.”KHOU 11 News
Andy Cerota of ABC News reported on August 1st on the Parc Binz development plans. Carl Gibbs, a longtime resident said in his interview:
“It’s just not a commercial area. It’s a residential area. That’s the beauty of it.”KTRK ABC 13 News
Please give us your support. Place a sign, donate a dollar or two to fight for our neighborhood! Give us a call at 713-521-9661 or send us an e-mail.