Heights Waterworks site conversion now under way

Mar. 18, 2017Heights Leader

Driving down 19th or 20th Streets earlier this week, residents may have noticed the sudden emergence of cranes, city trucks and loud bangs—all a sign that a much-discussed project appears to have been set in motion.

Work on the old Heights waterworks, a two-acre site stationed between West 19th and West 20th streets at Nicholson (as well as an adjacent 1.8 acre second tract, where the water tank used to sit), looks to be in full swing as the old site finally undergoes a facelift which has been in discussion since the end of 2016.

Alliance Residential’s plans for the southwest and southeast corners of West 20th and Nicholson will still include one eight-story, 275-unit apartment complex and one sixstory, 63-unit complex. The first would be 80 percent one bedroom units, and 20 percent two bedroom units, while the second would be 90 percent two bedroom and 10 percent three bedroom units.

Alliance’s partner in the deal, Exezidis, has plans for at least two restaurants on the waterworks site. Since the decommissioned water plant is a City of Houston protected landmark, it cannot be demolished, and Exezidis plans to keep the structures much the same, particularly on the outside.

Concerns regarding infrastructure, sewage, water and traffic dominated a December meeting of residents, and were addressed at another public meeting in January.

“I understand the concern,” Cyrus Bahrami told The Leader back in December. Bahrami oversees development, investment and construction operations for Alliance’s Houston office. “We don’t build stereotypical apartments. This is going to integrate with the community.”

The timeline for the project – at last check – had an eye on completion of the two housing units by 2019.