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ArchFan last won the day on June 17 2014

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  1. Amazon HQ2

    Re Compaq: my recollection is that the guys who sketched the original design on a paper napkin were (or had been) TI employees at the Stafford plant. It's a shame that Houston lost one of its largest companies, which also happened to be a nationally important tech company for a number of years. Re Amazon: OK, I won't mention that the TMC was built on land that was (or could have been) part of Hermann Park. However, when 610 and 10 were built, they took a lot of land from Memorial Park. Supposedly the Hogg Family that donated Memorial Park to the CoH did so on the condition that the land would revert to them if it was every used for any purpose other than as a park. So ... I'm not sure on the details of how that transfer was done in accordance with that ... perhaps eminent domain?
  2. AT&T Building

    I'm old enough (unfortuately ;-) to remember the original shorter building that had windows. I don't remember exactly when (probably late 60s or 70s), but they added a bunch of floors above, with fewer windows.
  3. Memorial Hermann Hospital

    Frank Lloyd Wright was quoted as having used profanity when expressing his opinion of the Shamrock Hilton (now long since demolished). I didn't like that building either, but at least it had some interesting and over-the-top history associated with it. The MemorialHermann Tower is way worse. I see it every day from my balcony near Uptown and it annoys me every time. It's an embarrassment to Houston. MetroNational has put up a bunch of ugly buildings in their big patch of land out there. Makes me wonder if the family that owns it all has a child that they gave the design contracts to, without concern for aesthetics.
  4. Defunct Houston Restaurants

    About Las Alamedas: the one in La Centerra is owned by the same man who had the one on Katy @ Voss. His son (I think) has a similar restaurant, called Las Ventanas, in the old district of Addicks on Katy and Hwy 6.
  5. Defunct Houston Restaurants

    I remember most of those places, too. The Boston Sea Party was great, but I tend to doubt that an all-you-eat buffet with similar choices could operate today without having to charge exorbitant prices. At Good Time Charlie's (a better-than-average food court), I vaguely recall several good places ... one was a shwarma place. The giant antique music player (can't recall what it was called) was a gem. After they sold it, I hope it went to some place where they maintain it and people can still enjoy it. There is still a Christies at 6029 Westheimer, by the way.
  6. Hotel Zaza Memorial City — Katy FWY and Bunker Hill

    BTW, I grew up (and spent most of my life) nearby and I'm really disappointed with MetroNational's design choices for most of this property. As a child, my sister rode her horse on this property. I liked it better the way it was back then. (I'm reminded of an architecture prof's comment on a building in Austin: "This obviously wasn't designed by an architect ... at least, I hope not."
  7. Hotel Zaza Memorial City — Katy FWY and Bunker Hill

    Well, on the bright side: the new ZaZa may be ugly, but at least it serves to hide the even uglier condo building they built to the south of it. I also don't care for their lame idea to prettify the 2 big parking garages (S and SE from Zaza) by painting their north sides with forest scenes. Looks cheap and tacky when new ... and do they plan to repaint them as they weather? A more attractive and less temporary approach would have been to put actual real, green plants on trellises covering the garage (as is being done a lot more in other cities).
  8. Marlowe: 20-floors, Downtown Condo Tower

    Randall D would (well, might) earn my undying gratitude if he would join the ranks of developers who mitigate the visual impact of their parking podiums by incorporating cascading vines or other greenery onto their facades. I don't expect it to happen, especially in Houston, but one can hope ...
  9. New Dallas Development

    I particularly like the design of AMLI's building. I think maybe part of that is because it draws a bit of attention away from Pei's design next door, which always struck me as being somewhat "wrong" in the massing of shapes. I generally like his work a lot -- not so much the brutalist stuff, but the things he did after that.
  10. Franklin + Milam: 10-Story Garage

    Yuck! I know that Houston developers, in keeping costs down, tend to build the cheapest garages possible. However, I wonder if they overlook possibilities to distinguish their product that don't add much to the budget. Like the vine-covered trellises I've seen on garages in other cities. Perhaps there are one or two here that I can't recall?
  11. I remember riding the DART red line from downtown Dallas to Plano. I was impressed when I looked to the west and noticed that we were passing cars on North Central Expressway (which wasn't particularly clogged at that time).
  12. China Eastern

    This is good news. Shanghai (and places nearby) are interesting to visit. Moreover, the route would provide a shorter connection to other places in S and SE Asia than via Tokyo or Beijing. I've used Taipei in the past, which is fine, but it would be nice to have some additional price competition, also.
  13. I'm really looking forward to having decent sidewalks along Post Oak. Hopefully, Westheimer and San Felipe east of 610 will also be improved. Of course, there will still be the Russian Roulette of walking under 610 to get there ...
  14. Pre-AIDS Houston

    I remember some of those places. The original JCI on Walker (I think where the new Aloft Hotel is going in) was iconic. We would drive all the way from west Houston to eat their chili/cheese dogs (with real sliced cheese, not the squirt kind) and take home a few "bricks" of frozen chili. Eating in, one sat in wooden desk chairs, like in old public schools. I remember eating at the Athens Bar & Grill on Clinton Drive near the port. I think the other Greek place nearby was called The Parthenon. Supposedly they both existed because at one time there were many Greek sailors arriving at the port. Lyndon Johnson did my mom's hair for a while, but unfortunately I never heard any fun stories about him. I met Mama Ninfa a few times at her restaurants. She was always very kind and friendly. Shanghai Red's and Brady's Landing were part of the development planned on Brady Island by the company that developed Ports O' Call Village in San Pedro CA (near the Port of Los Angeles). I think the latter still exists, tho' it was rather shabby the last time I visited there. Shanghai Red's was a fun place and had a nice boiled-shrimp platter while it existed.
  15. One Shell Plaza, 910 Louisiana St.

    Can you give any detailed info on how fast the new apartments are being rented? I'd love for that to be true, but I haven't seen any info -- anecdotal or otherwise -- for a long time. Despite all the gloom-and-doom in the air, doesn't downtown still have something like 150,000 daytime workers? Seems like it would only take 2-3% of those people wanting to swap their commute for downtown living to fill up the rental units coming on line.