But she would like the area’s infrastructure to keep up with its growing population.
“With so many multifamily developments coming here, I hope it will be the impetus to bring the city to the table to talk about infrastructure,” said Savino, who also is a past president of the Washington on Westcott Roundabout Initiative.
The apartment complex project under construction at 230 T.C. Jester is a development of Houston-based Kaplan Cos. and is between Allen and Schuler streets. When District at Washington opens this summer, the four- and five-story complex will comprise about 396 units.
This particular complex probably will not have a major impact on the community, Savino said, but it is one of numerous projects in the area.
“The residential areas are redeveloping. We’re seeing lots of new types of businesses, including office space. Now we need the glue that holds this together, and that’s infrastructure,” she said. “This should be a call to the city to come out and look at the signs and markings and streets.”
District C City Councilwoman Ellen Cohen agreed that many residential development projects are proposed and in the works for the area.
Roadway improvements, including work on Washington Avenue and rehabilitation of the Yale Street Bridge over White Oak Bayou are proposed in the city’s Capital Improvement Plan for 2014-2017, she said.
Woodcrest resident Tom Dornbusch said the rising complex on T.C. Jester is a welcome signal that more people are attracted to the area, but added, “What concerns me is I have not seen a new traffic analysis for the area.”
Dornbusch, who is president of Super Neighborhood 22 that includes the Washington Avenue/Memorial Park area, also said the complex plans illustrates the need for improved pedestrian and bike accessibility in the area.
“If I lived that close to Memorial Park, I’d want to get to Memorial Park easily, by walking or biking, and there’s really not a good route to get to Memorial Park from that area by bicycle,” he said. “Allen Street would be a great hike-and-bike route. At this point, it has not been pursued.”
Cohen said the mayor’s office has plans to create an expanded, more connected bike-trail system for the city.
Traffic on T.C. Jester is not bad now, Dornbusch said, but the railroad that crosses T.C. Jester does cause regular backups.
“It carries – the last I heard – 24 trains a day, which is one an hour. The more traffic we have on T.C. Jester, the more desire we’ll have for grade separation on the railroad track,” he said. “That would mean a flyover. That’s not going to be an attractive situation for the apartment complex, and for our neighborhood it would mean more noise.”
The District at Washington complex’s amenities will include an 11,000-square-foot clubhouse, pool, a dog park and a fitness center with a studio for yoga and spinning. Monthly rent will range from $1,209 to $1,959.
Savino, who owns an architectural firm in the area, said she’s been watching the District at Washington construction.
She finds the project’s location on T.C. Jester, a wide esplanade, a good choice.
“The siting of that kind of multifamily structure is good, and that doesn’t always happen in our city,” she said.
Wayne White, who lives one block off Washington between T.C. Jester and Shepherd, has been frustrated with the conditions of the infrastructure in his community.
“You have all of these townhouses, and the streets looks like third-world countries,” he said.
Woodcrest resident Randy Haws said he thinks the apartment project on T.C. Jester could do the community good.
“Woodcrest is a neighborhood that has some of the older bungalows. Some are in poor repair. Anything that is new and nice – the first impression is that’s a good thing,” he said.
The increasing development in the area represents an important new chapter, Savino said.
“Even though it destroys the common solitude that was this neighborhood 10-12 years ago, fine. Let’s make something better.”