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  2. Amazon HQ2

    Enjoyed the article. You mentioned Austin and Dallas as better fits for Amazon. Speaking on Dallas only, why do you believe it’s a better fit for Amazon? I’m asking because I really don’t know. What doesn’t Dallas have that we don’t? Does Dallas have a better reputation than Houston outside of Texas?
  3. Amazon HQ2

    You don't need a state to own or control an industry to diversify your local economy... you need a good municipal / regional recruiting agency and to be able to market your area's assets. The Greater Houston Partnership is notably weak on this subject and was very probably a contributing factor in a weak pitch to Amazon. What surprises me is for such a large MSA, there's notably very little ambition to be better, or to think big. HoustonIsHome nailed it on the head - there's complacency in the status quo. Houston's biggest regional competition, Dallas, used to have a terrible reputation as dysfunctional city government and is often lambasted as the home of the "$30,000 Millionaire"...but even it's biggest detractors can't accuse Dallas of being small minded or complacent in not being a Tier 1 city. Correspondingly, city leaders in North Texas have made dedicated efforts in attracting new blood to the economy by selling the attractiveness of the school districts, high living standards and inland port. As a result, in the last handful of years MSA has seen Toyota totally relocate from California, and new offices for Liberty Mutual, State Farm, JP Morgan, and others...all solid, high paying, jobs that feed the economy. With respect to your "pluses," Houston is indeed better off for being strong in those industries, but isn't it somewhat outlandish that there's so few to note given the size of this market? Every economic forum or market outlook lunch I go to I hear the same refrain as speakers count them out on their fingers..."energy, aerospace, and medical"...as though these negate the weakness in other sectors like tech, finance or tourism. What's additionally perplexing to me is that aerospace (aka NASA) is so often spoken of as a pillar of the economy when it's job contribution is a fraction of other hard sciences...representing only 3% of the engineering jobs in town. In some respects it almost seems like "Space City" is hanging its hat on a by gone day. Houston has incredible neighborhoods and arguably a higher capacity to be a regional capital for business for the gulf coast states and yet we never see anything marketing why financial institutions, tech firms or new industries should plant roots here...let alone an attempt to counter the national narrative that Houston is an ugly industrial afterthought. Why? Energy will forever be a volatile marketplace and yet there seems no earnest public effort to plan for the future and really diversify the economy. Why?
  4. Amazon HQ2

    I think your number one location will be an excellent site for an urban campus if the university line is built I see this area having more desirability than downtown. I think downtown will improve once the near neighborhood are integrated more. Being surrounded by highways and homeless gives it an isolated feel. UHD expansion, the post office site, 45 removal, revitalized theater district and the EADO projects will make downtown more integrated. I don't see Dallas street developing as a viable retail district until the near neighborhoods are tied in better. Your number 2 would be an excellent suburban choice. The West side is highly populated, it has access to a variety of housing stock, lots of doing and entertainment options and closer to more business then generation park. I am not too familiar with the Bellaire transit center area.
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  6. Amazon HQ2

    Because I got in a lot of pointless arguments with Slick Vik which dealt with almost the same talking points and more recently a discussion regarding the Galveston rail (especially if the argument was both "before its time" and "instant economy just add rail"). Also, I noticed that you changed your argument ("add rail" -> "more density" to "more density" -> "need rail").
  7. Amazon HQ2

    I think the main think for these cities is guaranteeing themselves a future in the 21st century. Pittsburgh was relevant in the 20th century because of industry, but industry is gone. They need something new to be relevant. Newark is doling out more than anyone because they are a hellhole. They need to put themselves on the map again. The intoxicating thing about HQ2 is that it's a magic bullet - you can instantly go from irrelevant to relevant. It's like hitting a grand slam when you're down 3-0. If you have 50,000 Amazon jobs, no one can say you're not a relevant city for tech. And more jobs will follow these. Houston also needs to worry about its future post-oil, but the first thing we need to worry about now is flooding. Nothing else we do really matters if that fear is hanging over us. We might just need to exit these beauty pageants for awhile and get back to fundamentals.
  8. Amazon HQ2

    There are people who have no other way of getting around than mass transit and for them every little bit helps. You don't have to ride it. Others will and will take cars off the streets. Its about options and great cities have them. We don't. Your right traditional rail wasn't meant for commuter lines, but how do you create commuter lines that take everyone to all of the different centers of commerce. Galleria, Med center, downtown, energy corridor, greens point, and the woodlands. Houston is almost too disjointed for commuter lines but by first building a rail system that connects all centers of commerce to each other allows for more of the commuter lines to help. You could build a commuter line to Sugarland and Rosenburg that carries much of the med center that could connect to the red line. Same for Katy freeway or 290 that could connect to the bus hub at old katy. and so on. Your own statement about the density is just the reason it will be more useful and help take cars off the streets. I don't know anything about you but a lot of the young people that I talk to don't necessarily care about cars and would prefer to take the rail when convenient. Thats one of the selling points for all of the new development along the rail. You have to be more open to the future. If you wait until then its too late to build the infrastructure. I don't understand your why this again. Its a fundamental issue that people like Amazon, Apple and the high tech industry are looking for.
  9. 40-story High-Rise for Block 98, Behind Hess Tower

    Mods... save this thread.
  10. Amazon HQ2

    Not this again. I'm not going to break down everything but... - A lot of the Inner Loop has densified in the last 10 years without rail - Traditional METRORail wouldn't have worked at all outside the Inner Loop, Dallas-style commuter hybrid rail would struggle to gain ridership due to the slow speed, and either way the street-running rail system would be dog slow - Even as it is, the Red Line is highly successful but it takes nearly an hour to go from Northline to Fannin (52 minutes according to METRO's schedule) whereas the equivalent drive is about 20 minutes in non-peak freeway times
  11. Amazon HQ2

    It may be semantics, but IMO, the core issue for non-inclusion was the site. We shouldn't have presented a "please help us make our city better" location (east side)... we should have presented a "this is what Houston is all about and it's AWESOME" location. Generation Park would have been ok, though it's damn far to town, and it's green-field. There are lots of great big empty lots in this country, and we didn't need to show Amazon an empty lot, we needed to show them something that would have fit into the fabric, culture, and excitement of our town. Trying to think of sites that I would have presented (and ignoring who owns them), I offer three options. 1. The Rice-owned property on Main where the old Sears is going to close (in town, transit, colleges, area is dynamic and building, plenty of apartments and a good scene) 2. The Energy-Corridor at I-10 and HW 6 where plans show a campus similar to what this would become (bus transit, good highway connections, access to suburban homes and great schools, planned dense developement, Top Golf) 3. Around the future Bellaire transit station (transit, access to Uptown, 'relatively' convenient to areas out west) These sites are true Houston, fit into an existing fabric (rather than trying to make something from scratch), and cater to the demographic of the Amazon workforce. We shouldn't have put the success or failure of a neighborhood on the company, we should have invited them to participate in the ongoing success of an area.
  12. Amazon HQ2

    When the congressman from our district squashes future projects which would compliment our existing rail lines its pretty hard to work around it. Especially when he is one of the players on the transportation committee and has written into the transportation bills that Houston will not receive any money for rail along Richmond or Post Oak, due to a very small handful of his constituents. Half of the properties along Richmond who had tenants that were negative about the rail aren't even there anymore and quite a few of the properties have been bulldozed and major mid rise apartments have been built in their place. Which would seem to provide riders for said line. It would also be the final piece that would connect pretty much every major cultural, university, medical, sports, business districts and residential areas in the city. When you have two dodards Delay and Culbertson in charge of transportation plans consecutively that are against mass transit it kind of puts you in a hole. No telling how large a mass transit system we might have now if they hadn't got in the way. There is a solution coming up this November and you need to do your homework and find the alternative to John Quack Culbertson.
  13. Amazon HQ2

    It does make me think why Amazon was even looking for large A-class cities to begin with (Houston, Philadelphia, NYC, Chicago, etc.), which already have big problems with housing prices, homelessness, and traffic. That's why I think they should be looking for B-class cities that have good connections with A-class cities but aren't connected, like Pittsburgh, places in Ohio, etc. (I would consider Detroit and Austin to be B-class but not good candidates but different reasons).
  14. 40-story High-Rise for Block 98, Behind Hess Tower

    Southampton uses parking permits due to the fact so many Rice students were using their streets for parking it left no room for guests or residents who needed curbside access.
  15. Amazon HQ2

    I think Dallas and Austin are consistently regarded as more attractive than Houston for 3 reasons: 1. Complacency. To me Houston is the most complete city in Texas. We know it but we often assume respect but never demand it. Our attitude is often " we will definitely get the bid because Dallas had nothing on us and let's not even talk about Austin." Where we often fail is that we don't show how good we are we just lay there and hope for the best. Which brings me to #2. 2. Marketing. Dallas and Austin know they lack the resources that Houston has, but they never let that bring them down. While Houston is bragging about how they are better than DFW and Austin, DFW and Austin are putting out lists of reasons why they are great fits. We do not market ourselves enough. Out shining fellow cities is not marketing. It's just bragging. 3. Perception. Putting the first two together it seems we have a perception problem and we are to blame. Dallas and Atlanta grow because they see a value in a new job no matter what that might be. It's great to be the capital of am industry but even better to have that an be attractive in other areas. When I graduated from school in San Antonio and I told my neighbors I was moving to Houston everyone kept saying why Houston and that Austin would be much better for young people. When asked why all they could say is that it just is. Even Texas leaders when there is talk about corporate relocations they immediately think Dallas. Why? Because that's where companies relocate. 4. Weak proposals. We know we are great but we need to start doing a better job at going after things more forcefully by showcasing our strengths. If we do not believe that we are a good fit and Texas leaders don't see us as a good fit what makes you think companies would see it as a good fit to move here? We are just as liberal as Austin but we are not Austin and should not be compared to Austin. We are just as business friendly as Dallas but we are not Dallas. We are Houston and should show off Houston and it's amenities instead of bringing down or neighbors. The two choices floated around were week in my opinion. And I didn't really hear much incentives that were ear pulling. The KBR site is an awesome piece of real estate but weed poorly packaged with transit and residential. I know you are all going to talk about all the nearby new builds but how it was packaged was lackluster. The other site in the Northeast was even worse in terms of promotion. Again the other cities put out a site and they say if you come we will do this and that and you will enjoy his this related to that and we will make it so that you will live how this interact with that. For us we say look how awesome this plot is. Or "look how ready this site is" Anyway, on a more positive note. My city is resilient. We will diversity. We will continue to attract lots of new jobs. We just need to realize that the big ones get away mainly because we have a more lukewarm approach to attracting them.
  16. 40-story High-Rise for Block 98, Behind Hess Tower

    It's a legitimate tool many cities use to help maintain pleasant residential neighborhoods.
  17. 40-story High-Rise for Block 98, Behind Hess Tower

    Residential permits should be banned by the Legislature. All taxpayers pay for public streets, why should only nearby residents get to use them?
  18. Amazon HQ2

    Why You Shouldn’t Wish for Amazon’s HQ2 in Your Town
  19. Very cool place and it sounds like the owners have some exciting plans for adjoining parcels.
  20. Raising prices as a reaction to not being busy anymore does not strike me as a sound business practice and I doubt that (even if it's true) has anything to do with it.
  21. Amazon HQ2

    How exactly can Houston's leaders diversify the economy? Are you suggesting some sort of state owned/controlled industry? Hysteria aside, Houston will be just fine. Fortunately Houston's leaders are pretty rational. If you want to see a case study on how local leaders can cause a mass exodus of citizens from a region, just look at the failed polices of Chicago's mayors and alderman. My two cents: Long term pluses for Houston: Johnson Space Center. NASA really put Houston on the map. Unfortunately the previous administration ended man space exploration. However the current administration is reversing that policy. That can only be good for Houston. Bush Airport. Not really reported much but yesterday/today IAH launched a new route to Sydney. It's currently the second longest route from the US. Cities would kill for the amount of international routes Houston has. Energy: Again, favorable policies on energy will only help Houston. Health Care: Baby boomers are getting older every day. Port of Houston: Etc,...I could keep going but you get the picture. Long term challenges: Image problem: Houston is an ugly spread out city. It just is. Houston's 600 sq miles is half of the state of rhode island. It's pretty much the worst laid out city in the world for mass public transportation. But if the image of mass transpiration is really that import then maybe Houston can spend a few billion on a vanity project. Like that maglev to Shanghai's airport that operates at a deficit, transports very few people and provides no viable market solution for travelers, yet is very "cool". Universities: Rice is top notch, but is way too small and pumps out way too few graduates. I was surprised at how many people had never heard of Rice up here in Chicago. I know that Rice prefers to be the Princeton of the south instead of the Harvard of the south, but on a few key majors/disciplines they need to greatly expand for the betterment of the region.
  22. Seems more likely that participation was very strong and they realized they may not need to give that much of a discount to drive business on Monday nights. It was almost to good to be true. It has been very busy every time I've been there for Montfose Monday.
  23. Development in east montrose (fairview & mason)

    Will the restraining order placed on the MMD have any affect on this project?
  24. Amegy Bank HQ to Replace Micro Center [24-floors]

    Bullets found inside Amegy Bank building on West Loop after windows shot out https://www.click2houston.com/news/bullets-found-inside-amegy-bank-building-on-west-loop-after-windows-shot-out
  25. 628 E 11th St

    Yeah, but what actually matters more to you, what local residents want out of their community, or your idea of a master-planned community? Like what Houston19514 already said, I have nothing against the latter (several unbroken blocks of shops and buildings would be nice) but do be honest with yourself instead of hiding behind buzzwords.
  26. I didn't read the invite as limited to RE business folks only, just to provide your employer if you are.
  27. Amazon HQ2

    There are plenty of reasons the UT campus should not have moved forward. Don’t jump topics.
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    • Enjoyed the article. You mentioned Austin and Dallas as better fits for Amazon. Speaking on Dallas only, why do you believe it’s a better fit for Amazon? I’m asking because I really don’t know. What doesn’t Dallas have that we don’t? Does Dallas have a better reputation than Houston outside of Texas?
    •   You don't need a state to own or control an industry to diversify your local economy... you need a good municipal / regional recruiting agency and to be able to market your area's assets. The Greater Houston Partnership is notably weak on this subject and was very probably a contributing factor in a weak pitch to Amazon. What surprises me is for such a large MSA, there's notably very little ambition to be better, or to think big. HoustonIsHome nailed it on the head - there's complacency in the status quo.
        Houston's biggest regional competition, Dallas, used to have a terrible reputation as dysfunctional city government and is often lambasted as the home of the "$30,000 Millionaire"...but even it's biggest detractors can't accuse Dallas of being small minded or complacent in not being a Tier 1 city. Correspondingly, city leaders in North Texas have made dedicated efforts in attracting new blood to the economy by selling the attractiveness of the school districts, high living standards and inland port. As a result, in the last handful of years MSA has seen Toyota totally relocate from California, and new offices for Liberty Mutual, State Farm, JP Morgan, and others...all solid, high paying, jobs that feed the economy.    With respect to your "pluses," Houston is indeed better off for being strong in those industries, but isn't it somewhat outlandish that there's so few to note given the size of this market? Every economic forum or market outlook lunch I go to I hear the same refrain as speakers count them out on their fingers..."energy, aerospace, and medical"...as though these negate the weakness in other sectors like tech, finance or tourism. What's additionally perplexing to me is that aerospace (aka NASA) is so often spoken of as a pillar of the economy when it's job contribution is a fraction of other hard sciences...representing only 3% of the engineering jobs in town. In some respects it almost seems like "Space City" is hanging its hat on a by gone day.    Houston has incredible neighborhoods and arguably a higher capacity to be a regional capital for business for the gulf coast states and yet we never see anything marketing why financial institutions, tech firms or new industries should plant roots here...let alone an attempt to counter the national narrative that Houston is an ugly industrial afterthought. Why?    Energy will forever be a volatile marketplace and yet there seems no earnest public effort to plan for the future and really diversify the economy. Why?
    • I think your number one location will be an excellent site for an urban campus if the university line is built I see this area having more desirability than downtown. I think downtown will improve once the near neighborhood are integrated more. Being surrounded by highways and homeless gives it an isolated feel.  UHD expansion, the post office site, 45 removal, revitalized theater district and the EADO projects will make downtown more integrated. I don't see Dallas street developing as a viable retail district until the near neighborhoods are tied in better.   Your number 2 would be an excellent suburban choice. The West side is highly populated, it has access to a variety of housing stock, lots of doing and entertainment options and closer to more business then generation park.    I am not too familiar with the Bellaire transit center area.
    • Because I got in a lot of pointless arguments with Slick Vik which dealt with almost the same talking points and more recently a discussion regarding the Galveston rail (especially if the argument was both "before its time" and "instant economy just add rail"). Also, I noticed that you changed your argument ("add rail" -> "more density" to "more density" -> "need rail").
    •   I think the main think for these cities is guaranteeing themselves a future in the 21st century. Pittsburgh was relevant in the 20th century because of industry, but industry is gone. They need something new to be relevant. Newark is doling out more than anyone because they are a hellhole. They need to put themselves on the map again.   The intoxicating thing about HQ2 is that it's a magic bullet - you can instantly go from irrelevant to relevant. It's like hitting a grand slam when you're down 3-0. If you have 50,000 Amazon jobs, no one can say you're not a relevant city for tech. And more jobs will follow these.   Houston also needs to worry about its future post-oil, but the first thing we need to worry about now is flooding. Nothing else we do really matters if that fear is hanging over us. We might just need to exit these beauty pageants for awhile and get back to fundamentals.  
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