ChannelTwoNews

609 Main at Texas: Hines Next Downtown Tower

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H-Town Man    1934
In regards to the old CityCentre Building...I received confirmation that it was a little more than a wetdream...I might be telling soemthing that people already know, but it did involve the Madrian Oriental, Residential component and office component, but I heard that it went bust when they couldn't close on any major corporation signing a lease for the office component.

That's pathetic.

Downtown's office market is doing so well that rents have shot upward. Land prices have gone up, reflecting the higher and better economic use, and in so doing, made it effectively impossible to develop residential unless it is paired as condos within a five-star hotel...but even those are tricky to pull off, and they are ultimately relatively few in number.

So much for a boom economy bringing innovative residential developments to downtown.

I'll echo shasta's comments... this is the most important undeveloped block downtown, at the city's most historically prominent intersection. This should have gotten premier treatment. Instead we get a tasteful but banal glass box, the best facade of which does not face onto Main our signature street, or onto Texas where it would add to the north view of our skyline, but Capitol! The ONLY reason I can think why they would put the best facade on Capitol is so it will look nice from their other development, MainPlace!

I say we create a HAIF Cinder Block Award for insensitive development and present the first one to Hines.

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Trae    101
Yep, well that idea didn't exactly fly, and like I had already said, if any kind of new-build residential can work, that'd have been it. Why do you think that Hines (or anybody) ought to continue persuing a concept that couldn't even pass the sniff test?

First, Mandarin is having financial problems in many cities. Second, this thing wasn't even marketed. Just a rendering someone found on a architect's website.

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Triton    8809

The link for this project has been taken off the original website that was posted. Check the LEED section. It's not there anymore.

What does that mean?

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TheNiche    969
So much for a boom economy bringing innovative residential developments to downtown.

That's pretty much what it comes down to (in Houston).

But strangely enough, Austin has a percentage growth rate that is even faster than ours, and their downtown area is growing by leaps and bounds, with most of it being residential/hotel/retail. There really isn't much in the way of new office space being built downtown; it's all out in the suburbs. Worse still is Dallas, where their downtown office market keeps on getting new supply but can't quite seem to fill it.

Personally, I strongly perfer our urban growth model. It draws a greater number and diversity of people downtown, as Red pointed out, and as our region grows, having a strong central business district in the context of an urban core with a dense residential population will make developing effective local and regional transit much easier than will be the case in a place like Austin.

I'll echo shasta's comments... this is the most important undeveloped block downtown, at the city's most historically prominent intersection. This should have gotten premier treatment. Instead we get a tasteful but banal glass box, the best facade of which does not face onto Main our signature street, or onto Texas where it would add to the north view of our skyline, but Capitol! The ONLY reason I can think why they would put the best facade on Capitol is so it will look nice from their other development, MainPlace!

Which is the best facade? It's not as though we know what it'll look like at street level, and it frankly doesn't matter which street its facing, per se, if you're looking at the tower as part of the skyline from a mile away.

First, Mandarin is having financial problems in many cities. Second, this thing wasn't even marketed. Just a rendering someone found on a architect's website.

That's kind of my point. It didn't even pass the sniff test.

The link for this project has been taken off the original website that was posted. Check the LEED section. It's not there anymore.

What does that mean?

It means that somebody at Wylie breached their CA, and Hines found out and got all pissy.

TOO LATE!!! They've already been scooped. :)

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H-Town Man    1934
Which is the best facade? It's not as though we know what it'll look like at street level, and it frankly doesn't matter which street its facing, per se, if you're looking at the tower as part of the skyline from a mile away.

I assume it's the one shown in the rendering. As to your second point, who said I was looking at the tower as part of the skyline a mile away? For pedestrians at most places pedestrians would be, having your best facade on Capitol does not help the effect much.

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TheNiche    969
I assume it's the one shown in the rendering. As to your second point, who said I was looking at the tower as part of the skyline a mile away? For pedestrians at most places pedestrians would be, having your best facade on Capitol does not help the effect much.

For pedestrians at most places pedestrians would be, the facade of the tower doesn't really matter so much. Most people don't walk around downtown with their head held back at a 90-degree angle to the ground. With that in mind, it matters less which way the tower is facing, and more whether the building is articulated at street level and how the retail and lobby entrances are situated...but that's something that the rendering doesn't resolve at all, which is why I think that your comment may have been made prematurely.

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rsb320    114
The link for this project has been taken off the original website that was posted. Check the LEED section. It's not there anymore.

What does that mean?

I saw the link earlier on the City Centre blog. If CC and Mandarine were the same project - I don't know. Nice building (rendering) though.

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lockmat    1854
The link for this project has been taken off the original website that was posted. Check the LEED section. It's not there anymore.

What does that mean?

You're right, it's not listed under the LEED link, but it still comes up when you click on the link that channel2news posted. That's interesting. You'd think they would have taken that one down too.

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BigSky    7

I think Finger Development has the correct model of renting units in Downtown once you have critical mass, then the market will appear that is willing to purchase a unit in the downtown market. If OPP is already 20% leased, then it tells you that their is a market for rentals, not purchases yet, and once that market hits compacity, then he can look at selling the units once he has recouped some the cost of his investment. Rental Towers for residential development is the way to go, until the residential market is strong enough to support some of the commercial entities that you need for a neighborhood.

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CALMSP    1
bingo.

wouldnt be so many foreclosures if people were smart and realize that having an adjustable interest rate is the most idiotic thing i have ever heard of!!

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Triton    8809

The page is officially gone. Check the original website now and the project is no longer listed... haha... looks like someone wasn't supposed to announce that yet. :lol:

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shasta    143
The page is officially gone. Check the original website now and the project is no longer listed... haha... looks like someone wasn't supposed to announce that yet. :lol:

Hopefully, Hines is reading the posts about its building getting bashed and is reconsidering the program, scope, and the design for this one. Houston deserves better than the sterile, unwelcoming skyscrapers we got from profit hording developers in the 70's and 80's. This is a new Houston and the architecture, both from the skyline and from the connectivity at the street, should reflect that. Of course you can make a profit but try to be sensitive to the complexities that make a project a success. Understanding the lot and the character of the surrounding buildings is a first step.

Sometimes I wonder if Hines has anyone with even a remote understanding in Architecture working for them. An adviser ...anyone?

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RedScare    1636
Houston deserves better than the sterile, unwelcoming skyscrapers we got from profit hording developers in the 70's and 80's. This is a new Houston and the architecture, both from the skyline and from the connectivity at the street, should reflect that.

Could you point me to a few clues that distinguish this new Houston from that 70s and 80s profit hording (sic) Houston? I only ask because I have been a resident of Houston during the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s, and it seems to be as profit hording (sic) as it ever was. Perhaps I have missed something groundbreaking.

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TheNiche    969
wouldnt be so many foreclosures if people were smart and realize that having an adjustable interest rate is the most idiotic thing i have ever heard of!!

Its a catch-22. If you have ARMs, you have sales and homeowner foreclosures. If you have no ARMs, you don't have sales, and the whole project gets foreclosed. Downtown residential, for the most part, simply isn't viable at this time.

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TheNiche    969
Sometimes I wonder if Hines has anyone with even a remote understanding in Architecture working for them. An adviser ...anyone?

You know, I once had an economics professor that lamented that he couldn't go to a cocktail party and not have some layman ask what he does, and thereafter not be assaulted with a hairbrained lecture in his own subject from someone who has no idea what they're talking about. I guess that anecdote applys to architecture, too.

I hope Hines doesn't see your comment. Associating it with your name devalues their perceived worth of my alma matter.

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lockmat    1854
The page is officially gone. Check the original website now and the project is no longer listed... haha... looks like someone wasn't supposed to announce that yet. :lol:

Well in case anyone still wants to look at it, it's still available inside this presentation: http://recenter.tamu.edu/speeches/TXDev08FrankMuller.pdf

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H-Town Man    1934
For pedestrians at most places pedestrians would be, the facade of the tower doesn't really matter so much. Most people don't walk around downtown with their head held back at a 90-degree angle to the ground.

Um, yes Niche, the facade of a building does matter to the pedestrians on the street. Architects don't just design facades for distant skyline views... if that were the case, then every building in Midtown Manhattan would have a banal, minimalist facade, since they aren't visible from a distance anyway.

With that in mind, it matters less which way the tower is facing, and more whether the building is articulated at street level and how the retail and lobby entrances are situated...but that's something that the rendering doesn't resolve at all, which is why I think that your comment may have been made prematurely.

If they do a good job at street level, then I'll be pleasantly surprised. But it still won't make up for putting the best side of their main facade on Capitol. Hopefully I'm wrong, but that's sure what it seems like from the rendering.

You know, I once had an economics professor that lamented that he couldn't go to a cocktail party and not have some layman ask what he does, and thereafter not be assaulted with a hairbrained lecture in his own subject from someone who has no idea what they're talking about. I guess that anecdote applys to architecture, too.

I hope Hines doesn't see your comment. Associating it with your name devalues their perceived worth of my alma matter.

lol, so only developers understand architecture? That's kind of like saying that only music producers understand music, and shouldn't have to worry about the opinions of listeners. Silly.

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lockmat    1854
lol, so only developers understand architecture? That's kind of like saying that only music producers understand music, and shouldn't have to worry about the opinions of listeners. Silly.

He may have been speaking to Architects, not developers.

But I agree with him to a certain extent. Most people see architecture and like it or they don't. They don't put much thought into it and normally can't put a good argument together for why they do or don't like it. Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Maybe. But I think an architect can usually better explain the significance of a design than can a layman. Doesn't mean a laymen or others have to like it b/c they said so, but at least they have a technical knowledge for what and why they did it.

-----------

edit: how far up in the public eye will this Hines Tower leak to? swamplot posted the photo on its website today. this is kind of funny. any chance our making it public will hurt the chances of it going up?

http://swamplot.com/the-secret-new-downtow...5-08/#more-1941

Edited by lockmat

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H-Town Man    1934
He may have been speaking to Architects, not developers.

But I agree with him to a certain extent. Most people see architecture and like it or they don't. They don't put much thought into it and normally can't put a good argument together for why they do or don't like it. Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Maybe. But I think an architect can usually better explain the significance of a design than can a layman. Doesn't mean a laymen or others have to like it b/c they said so, but at least they have a technical knowledge for what and why they did it.

He was referring to shasta's comment above. It doesn't matter how much thought people put into it. The point is that you don't have to be knowledgeable about real estate to say that a certain developer could do better with his architecture.

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lockmat    1854
He was referring to shasta's comment above. It doesn't matter how much thought people put into it. The point is that you don't have to be knowledgeable about real estate to say that a certain developer could do better with his architecture.

And shasta's comment was about architecture:

Sometimes I wonder if Hines has anyone with even a remote understanding in Architecture working for them. An adviser ...anyone?

Regardless. Some people want flash and glitz in their architecture with spires and crazy angles. I think a 30 story L-shaped tower is a subtly bold statement.

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totheskies    159
It does to me, as well. And, just to throw in my $0.02, a proposal to build a several hundred million dollar tax producing building in the Central Business District is not only not a HUGE loss, it isn't a loss at all, but rather a gain for the city in general, and downtown specifically. With new residential construction occurring immediately south and east of downtown, it is in no danger of withering away. For upwards of 25,000 residents, downtown attractions and amenities are no more than a railstop or $4.00 cab ride away....cheaper than valet parking.

I've read all of the same new urbanism articles that you all have, filled with all of the trendy buzzwords. The fact is, none of this hoped for residential development in downtown will be attainable for 95% or more of the population. And, if you can't live in it, who cares what is inside it? Amenities located in downtown, such as the theatres, stadiums, parks and convention centers....all things that draw consumers looking to be entertained....are going to put far more feet on the ground for people watching than a couple of 200 unit condo towers with 1.5 persons residing in each unit. Think about that. 600 rich people who you'll never see, versus 43,000 Astros fans, 18,500 Rockets fans, 5,000 convention attendees or 3,000 concert goers....and possibly 20,000 soccer fans. ALL of these events flood downtown with consumers. Rich condo owners do not. For proof, check out that WFAA "Victory Cam" that constantly shows the empty Victory Plaza....EXCEPT when American Airlines Center is in use.

I agree 110%. We have vast swaths of undeveloped land that surround DT in every direction, and yet everyone is crying about more retail in DT proper. Isn't it nice enough that the fast-developing midtown and East End will have downtown as their main entertainment venue, AND that it will be easily accessible by public transit. I am absolutely in support of the uber-rich young office upstarts having luxury living near their office, but downtown's health will not be affected by them at all.

Its a catch-22. If you have ARMs, you have sales and homeowner foreclosures. If you have no ARMs, you don't have sales, and the whole project gets foreclosed. Downtown residential, for the most part, simply isn't viable at this time.

Yep, let's keep celebrating the townhomes and midrises that are popping up all around DT, and then lure those residents in to hang out at Discovery Green and HP.

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