New Redevelopment Project Planned for East Montrose
Most people are familiar with Gratifi, Cuchara and Max’s Wine Dive. Now the owner of those venues, Fred Sharifi, founder of SFT Investments, is planning an impressive new project, redeveloping a number of nearby commercial properties with new retail, office parking space. He is hoping to bring in some daytime activities to balance out the area’s evening crowd. The preliminary site plan (above) and three-dimensional concept (below) show the existing restaurant/bar buildings (A and B) and the prospective new structures in the early stages of the new concept. Fairview runs east and west through the center with north/south streets Morgan, Taft, Mason and Genesee depicted from left to right.
Among the proposed buildings are three mixed-use structures. One will be located at 2302-2308 Genesee (E), currently the location of some older apartments and Meteor Lounge. 10,000 square feet of office and retail space on the ground floor are planned, with a 5-6 story parking garage above, which Sharifi hopes will alleviate some of the parking pressures in the area. The second construction project will be situated on the southwest corner of Mason and Fairview (F). The structure will include 7,450 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, and 10,500 square feet of office space on the second floor, which will overhang the retail space at the rear of the building and provide a covered drive off Mason leading to surface parking, and an outlet on Hyde Park.
The other two buildings (C & D) being planned are as follows. Building D on the northeast corner of Mason and Fairview will be a 2-3 story, 10,000 – 15,000 square foot mixed use retail, showroom, and event facility. Building C will be a small 1-story 1,000 square foot structure in the corner of the parking lot next to Cuchara and Max’s Wine Dive, envisioned as a dessert spot, flower shop, or ice-cream parlor. Sharifi is contracting with the well-known Houston architectural firm Gensler to undertake the designs of all four buildings, with engineering and design work expected to take close to four months, and a planned start date in late August or September 2016.
Sharif is no stranger to developing restaurant and retail space. Born and raised in Tehran, he came to the U.S. in 1969 to attend the University of Texas in Austin, where he did his undergraduate and graduate studies in Petroleum Engineering. After graduation, the Iranian revolution derailed his plans to return to his native country. Instead, Sharifi went into the restaurant and real estate business, opening the first Hungry’s in Montrose in 1975.
Since then, Hungry’s Bistro served diners for over 40 years in the Rice and Memorial neighborhoods. His real estate portfolio includes over 30 inner loop commercial and residential properties. One of his most recent developments houses Common Bond, the award-winning cafe at Dunlavy and Westheimer. On the residential side, he is currently developing a plan for four-story luxury town homes on Portland Blvd behind Museum Tower on Montrose.