More than 600 people came home to their Galleria area apartment complex Friday to find a notice on their door letting them know they have until the end of the year to move out.
Oliver McMillan, the owner of 4444 Westheimer, is clearing everyone out to make way for a 650,000-square-foot mixed-use luxury retail shopping center. The center will be called River Oaks District.
"What I've been told is they've been working on it for like eight years now and finally it's come through, so we knew it was a possibility," said tenant Regina White.
White said she signed an addendum along with her lease contract informing her that the property might be redeveloped, and if that happened, she may only be given 30 days notice to vacate.
Not everyone remembers signing that document.
"There's no conceivable way that every one of us can get out of here safely by the 31st of December," said renter William Henry. "It's no way."
Henry has lived at the complex for the last three years, but some tenants have been there much longer. The complex has been around for more than 40 years.
"The problem is they decided to do over the Christmas holidays," said renter Daniel Cotlow. "They're throwing a thousand people out into the street in the holidays."
KPRC Local 2 found the leasing office packed. Apartment locators have moved into an apartment to help relocate tenants. If they move sooner rather than later, and agree to a certain move-out date to control moving vans and traffic on the property, the complex will refund one month's rent when they get their security deposit back.
Oliver McMillan released a statement that says, in part, "While we acknowledge that the redevelopment of our community is a boon to the local economy , we recognize the inconvenience this creates for current residents are empathetic to their needs. We are cognizant that change is difficult and that our current residents need assistance in making the transition to a new home."
To see renderings of the River Oaks District, visit Oliver McMillian's website.