Montrose complex built feet away from century-old headstones

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by Drew Karedes / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on March 24, 2014 at 10:21 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 25 at 1:47 PM

HOUSTON -- One of the newest apartment complexes to hit the scene in the Montrose area is causing some controversy because of its location.

The complex, located at West Dallas and Montrose, is being built just feet away from century-old headstones.

Magnolia Cemetery has been there since 1884.

It’s home to some recognizable names in Houston history, including Bammel, Halliburton, Wortham and Telge.

Residents who move into the five story complex next door will now get a view of those headstones and the others on the property.

“This is not right,” said concerned citizen Trisha Keel. “If I have an open grave here and I’m standing here crying my eyes out because I’m putting someone in the ground, and I look up to see someone eating a bowl of cereal wearing their skivvies, it won’t be good.”

Trisha Keel doesn’t have a family member buried at Magnolia. However, she feels so strongly that she wrote a letter to the mayor’s office.

“I could sit on their patio and prop my feet on top of the gravestone. It’s too close,” said Keel.

Keel feels it is disrespectful to the people coming to visit loved ones who have passed. She is also disturbed to think about residents living so close to the dead.

“Those people who move along these edges will experience the decaying, dying energy,” said Keel. “This is not a place for new life.”

Keel, a native Houstonian, acknowledges Houston’s steady growth but believes this particular construction is setting a dangerous precedent.

“This isn’t going to be stopped, but there should never be another one ever. That’s why I’m speaking up,” added Keel.

Glen Telge, president of Magnolia Cemetery, says he wasn’t thrilled about the new complex at first.

“I feel like Magnolia Cemetery is a gem in the city of Houston. It’s like a sacred spot,” said Glen Telge.

He has since warmed up to the new neighbor and is trying to keep an open mind.

“It comes down to what can you really do about development. There’s some things we have control over and other things we don’t,” said Telge.

JLB partners, which is the developer and builder of the complex, purchased the property from AIG a year and a half ago.

A JLB spokesman says the corporation met with the cemetery association and has spent a significant amount of resources making sure the process has been respectful.

He also pointed out that a wall will eventually be completed around the backside of the complex to separate it from the cemetery. 

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Montrose complex built feet away from historic cemetery

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