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Ashby High-Rise to Move Forward, Despite Citizen Resistance

by Houston Agent

A projected image of the Ashby High-Rise, a multi-unit development that received, after years of resistance, the go-ahead from Mayor Parker.

Mayor Annise Parker announced Monday night that she signed a settlement between the city and the developers of the Ashby High-Rise, the much-resisted Southampton development that will now officially move forward.

The mayor’s announcement came as no surprise, after last week’s letter to Southampton residents that the city had no legal power to stop Buckhead Investment Partners from constructing the high-rise.

“We have exhausted all legal means to stop this project,” Parker said in front of a crowed of residents on Monday, according to a Houston Chronicle report on the settlement. Buckhead filed the lawsuit two years ago, alleging the city had overstepped its authority in denying permits for the project.

There are pending changes to the property, though, based on the nature of the settlement. Buckhead and its architects will begin incorporating those alternations – which include minimizing light and noise – next week, the Chronicle reported. In additional comments, the mayor was still hesitant to embrace the 21-story development, which will eventually contain 228 apartments.

“We have delayed this project. We have, I think, improved this project,” she said. “But you can go ahead and say it, lipstick on a pig is still a pig.”

Jim Reeder, the co-chair of the Stop Ashby High Rise Task Force (one of the more passionate groups advocating against the high-rise), addressed the mayor in a question-and-answer session Monday night.

“I feel wholly deflated,” Reeder said . “Make sure you believe you have done everything … to ensure that this is the best deal you can get.”

Reeder, though, along with the approximately 500 residents who showed up at Monday’s meeting, indicated to the Chronicle that he’s not finished opposing the high-rise.

“The friend of my enemy is my enemy,” Reeder said, specifying that the agents who lease the development’s units, residents who live there and people who frequent the planned restaurant for the building could be economic targets for the opposition.

“Whatever happens here, I can assure you this ain’t over,” he said.

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