(Updated with possible sale to H-E-B)
The sad, twisted saga of the could-have-been-retro-cool Wilshire Village apartments is in something of a limbo right now -- the area has been cleared, there's lawsuit activity, no one knows exactly what's going to happen to the Montrose property.
Rumors are that H-E-B is looking to put a supermarket there. Maria-Elesa Heg says she has a better idea -- make it a park.
The Montrose Land Defense Coalition has put up an online petition calling for the city to make the site into the greenspace that is rare in the neighborhood.
In less than two days, 300 people have signed it, Heg tells Hair Balls.
She doesn't expect the city to put out taxpayer money for the land, valued at about $27 million.
My plan is to find private investors to aid the city's purchase of this property, if not in full, then a significant portion thereof. The land would be used as community gardens, space for a farmers' market, and parkland for general enjoyment to increase pedestrian traffic in that area of the Montrose.
If the city cannot procure the entirety of the property, private investment in partial lots would be encouraged in order for use as small commercial spaces, focusing on local arts and artisan crafts, a cafe or community space.
She says the response has been enthusiastic so far.
"I am finding that everyone I've spoken to, from coworkers to city officials, have been supportive of this initiative," she says. "The Montrose deserves to maintain its integrity. Development for development's sake has been a blight on the neighborhood, as large numbers of half finished condominiums in disrepair can attest to."
Soon there will be a more fully developed website outlining the plan.
Anyone who lives near the the site, at Alabama & Dunlavy, knows that parkland is in short supply. Seeing 7.7 acres of green space can inspire some impressive plans.
Whether this one works out or not, it's definitely worth a shot.
Update: It may be too late, however. The River Oaks Examiner is reporting that H-E-B has confirmed it is trying to purchase the property; it has a deal but is still doing sue diligence. Which, given the apparently tangled ownership situation, may take a while and could come apart, we guess.