HOUSTON -

A judge has issued a ruling in a lawsuit filed by homeowners to stop a controversial high-rise from going up near Rice Village.

The judge's ruling is a big win for developers of the 21-story Ashby high-rise, but a blow to area residents who say the tower will destroy their quality of life.

The judge Thursday denied the motion for permanent injunction filed by 20 residents against the proposed development that is planned for the corner of Bissonnet and Ashby near Rice University. And he said residents shouldn't immediately receive damages because the project has not been constructed.

A statement released by Buckhead Investment Partners read in part, "We are pleased with the Court's decision, as this ruling is proof that fully entitled and lawfully permitted real estate projects should move forward without delay and is consistent with our understanding of Texas law. We look forward to providing the City of Houston and the Texas Medical Center/Museum District with a nationally-recognized "green," upscale, and neighborhood-friendly lifestyle housing...Onsite project work will resume as soon as possible...We respect the judicial process and are grateful for the opportunity to put an end to this dispute in a fair and balanced manner."

However, residents have characterized the development as the Tower of Traffic and a building that would be out of place in the neighborhood.

What's not clear with Thursday's ruling is whether the project will proceed or whether the residents will file an appeal.

This case has lingered for more than five years in court.