cramped quarters

New Montrose neighborhood gym built just inches away from historic home

Montrose neighborhood gym built just inches away from historic home

Montrose gym historic home too close
It's a tight squeeze at 239 Westheimer Rd. Photo courtesy of ABC13

For third-generation business owner Amanda Hoak, it's the perfect place to relocate Arden's Picture Framing from the Alabama property they've been renting.

"We wanted something clients could come in to and feel they were instantly in a home, not a strip center. Something with character and history," Hoak says.

The house at 239 Westheimer Rd. was built in 1915. "I love this property," says Suzanne Anderson, who has owned the prime real estate since 1995. When asked if she has had offers to sell, Anderson replies, "Oh yeah, all the time. At this point in my life, I'm not interested."

Both ladies say they don't oppose progress, but a new build, a fitness center, next to a historical home in this case, equals one tight squeeze. "I can see how it's a gamble. We could benefit from it or it could hurt us," says Hoak. Anderson adds, "It's tricky, I'm not sure how they'll put the siding on their property. I'm not sure how I'll maintain mine."

Just how tight? About eight inches from Suzanne's rooftop to the side of the new build. The ground level offers a little more breathing room. The city says the builders are in compliance and they've done nothing wrong.

The leasing broker says developers worked for months with the city ensuring all building codes were met and they say they've passed multiple inspections, pointing out that Houston building codes are more stringent than many cities.

"That's the way it is in this neighborhood, that's the way it is in Houston," says Anderson. She says she would have liked the developers to flip the plan, there's a lot more room on the other side and while Houston may be known for being friendly, being cozy with the neighbors in this case is something she believes might need to change.

"It won't protect this building, this is already done but if it protects the next one, it would be fantastic," Anderson adds. 

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