Nole23

Retail District Planned, to be Centered Around Dallas St.

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IronTiger    721
4 hours ago, samagon said:

 

The tunnels are for people working downtown just like the restaurants above ground are for tourists.

 

It's goal post moving to try and prove a point that has already been proven wrong.

 

I work downtown. Every day I see families (and more-so during the summer, or other school breaks) visiting downtown at lunch time. Their question: How do I get in the tunnels?

 

So no, the tunnels are not for the people working downtown only.

 

The only way the tunnel restaurants aren't a fair comparison to the street level restaurants is because they can only operate during specific times and access to them, unless you know how to access them, is pretty hard.

 

I live in the east end, but I spend a lot of my time downtown after work and weekends (someone pays for my parking garage access, so why not?)... Does that make me a tourist?

 

First of all, who cares whether tourists or residents are the main proprietors of the restaurants? A: Money in the doors is money in the doors. B: The discussion is staying open for dinner, not for whom they stay open for dinner.

 

Second of all, there is no second of all.

"Not designed for tourists" and "not for tourists" are very different things. Even at 3:45-4 pm on a weekday, the tunnels are mostly devoid of people with only a few small groups hanging out in food courts where the food establishments are closed. I was there last Thursday, and I saw not one food court place open. Either employees were still cleaning up or they were already shut down for the day and everyone was gone. They are also, as far as I know, closed on Saturday, which is when people that work Monday to Friday might want to come down to the Houston downtown for whatever reason. Whatever tourist traffic they get during the week is not enough to justify opening Saturdays and evenings, which is why the tunnels are still thought to be primarily for downtown workers.

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samagon    1995
2 hours ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

The issue is the people who work downtown and who utilize the tunnels are part of the downtown neighborhood fabric (which is why it is relevant to this subforum). Although they do not live in downtown (most of them anyways) they do however rent office space, pay property taxes, have employees, etc. They have a stake in the downtown neighborhood. They and their workers also, mostly interact with downtown eateries via the tunnels.

 

Tourists on the other hand have no stake in downtown other than to visit the venue they are patronizing that night. They are drinking near Minute Maid, drinking near bowling at Lucky Strike, catching a bite before a theatre district performance. To them downtown is not really their neighborhood, instead it is just a means to go drink or entertain themselves at night and then exit back to their respective neighborhoods.

 

I could see how you think those street level restaurants that cater to the entertainment/tourist crowd add to the downtown neighborhood, but they really don't. What we need more of, and what downtown lacks is restaurants that cater to the locals of downtown. But as I mentioned earlier, food eating trends will make more of those type of eateries less economically feasible.

 

Just because you don't value what you qualify as a tourist as part of the fabric of the neighborhood does not mean that they are not.

 

Besides, I'm curious now. At what point does an office worker become a tourist? Let me run you through a scenario of a person working downtown:

 

Person leaves work at 4:30pm.

Person enters Biggio's at 5:00pm.

Person goes to baseball game at 6:45pm.

 

At what point does this person cease to be a contributing fabric member of downtown and begin being a tourist? When they walk out of their office to walk to Biggios? When they get to Biggios? When they leave Biggios? When they get to the game? Do they cease being a tourist immediately when they leave the stadium to go get their car from where they parked that morning to go to work in their office downtown? How does this work?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, samagon said:

 

Just because you don't value what you qualify as a tourist as part of the fabric of the neighborhood does not mean that they are not.

 

 

 

They are part of a fabric, just not the downtown fabric. They are really part of the entertainment fabric that just happens to intersect parts of downtown. Accordingly, those restaurants cater to patrons of their respective entertainment venues first, and then to local downtowners second, if at all.  For example's Irma's restaurant hours based on Astros home games. Artista hours based on performance nights, etc. I lived in downtown and there were very few street level restaurants that i could count on to be open most evenings and weekends. The rest i had to look at my Astros calendar, Hobby Center calendar, etc. Not saying there weren't any open, because there were/are some, but just not as many as you would like to believe.

Edited by 102IAHexpress

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cspwal    1801

I would say a tourist is someone who rarely comes to downtown.  you wouldn't call someone going to first colony mall in sugar land a tourist just because they don't live in the immediate neighborhood around it - they drove there to buy some overpriced clothes, just like they did 2 weeks ago.

A tourist to me would be someone who genuinely is only downtown for something out of the ordinary.  They're from out of town, or at least from the suburbs and never come downtown except for this one occasion.  

I live downtown; am I a tourist when I go to an Astros game?  If not, then why would someone living in midtown? When does this definition start - how far do they have to come to be defined as a tourist?

 

A downtown is a collection of people doing stuff.  There will be the residents, the workers, the regulars, and the "tourists" who aren't always there.  It's all downtown activity.  The downtown activity in Houston is changing, and I would say for the better.  Last month, I had 4 people from out of town come up to me and ask for directions.  Before the Super Bowl, I had never had anyone come up to me and ask for directions.  There's people on the streets, there are places open after dark, and even the train seems to have more people waiting at the stations.  All this has happened in the last few months, like the super bowl was some sort of tipping point that turned downtown from Sleepy Downtown into Small Downtown.  It still won't rival Chicago or NYC or DC, but it's livelier than the downtown of Louisville or Lexington (where I'm from) even though those places have more stuff to do concentrated in downtown.

 

tl;dr - Downtown has a new, different feel in the last few months.

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UtterlyUrban    1376

Cspwal:

 

its interesting that you sense a difference in downtown pre and post Super Bowl.  Personally, I don't.  I do sense a difference around the GRB but that vision wasn't fulfilled because of the Super Bowl.  Otherwise, in the rest of downtown, I just see a steady march of new residential coming online and some new entertainment venues.  Again, nothing to do with the Super Bowl IMO.

 

that said, in light of your thoughts,  I am going to reassess my thinking.  You may well be correct and I just don't see it.

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samagon    1995
Posted (edited)

disco green is absolutely different from pre-sb. there are people walking the avenida, there are people sitting on the patios in the restaurants. This is in the evenings.

 

some of it, I'm sure, is the astros winning and people coming to games when they are in town. I wonder how attendance is this year compared with previous years, even last year, or the year before?

 

but yeah, whether the people there are genuinely tourists from different cities only here for a convention, or whether they are people who have lived in OPP for 8 years, it doesn't matter one bit. They are all walking 98.6's fulfilling someone's vision. Is it a flash in the pan that goes away after a year? Who can tell, but I doubt it.

 

The real question is, when does the retail district on Dallas kick into gear? Is the city going to offer incentives for buildings to find tenants? I wouldn't mind.

Edited by samagon
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Houston19514    2162
Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

They are part of a fabric, just not the downtown fabric. They are really part of the entertainment fabric that just happens to intersect parts of downtown. Accordingly, those restaurants cater to patrons of their respective entertainment venues first, and then to local downtowners second, if at all.  For example's Irma's restaurant hours based on Astros home games. Artista hours based on performance nights, etc. I lived in downtown and there were very few street level restaurants that i could count on to be open most evenings and weekends. The rest i had to look at my Astros calendar, Hobby Center calendar, etc. Not saying there weren't any open, because there were/are some, but just not as many as you would like to believe.

 

I don't know when you lived in downtown Houston, but if it wasn't in the past six months, it's almost irrelevant. You clearly do not know downtown Houston.

 

And your attempts to draw imaginary lines around what is and is not part of the downtown fabric is ridiculous.  What sense does it make to claim that tourists, convention goers, visiting business people, Astros fans, Rockets fans, etc etc. are not part of the downtown fabric?  Of course they are part of the downtown fabric. That is what makes a vibrant, active downtown so compelling (and worth a little extra effort to create and nurture).

 

 

Edited by Houston19514
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42 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 What sense does it make to claim that tourists, convention goers, visiting business people, Astros fans, Rockets fans, etc etc. are not part of the downtown fabric?  Of course they are part of the downtown fabric. That is what makes a vibrant, active downtown so compelling (and worth a little extra effort to create and nurture).

 

 

 

Obviously they are not. You remove those entertainment venues and you also lose those visitors. Or better put, when those entertainment venues are not operating (game nights, performance nights) the immediate area is no longer filled with visitors. You may not like to hear that, but that's just a reality. Don't like it?  Then change it. Convince your fellow citizens to patronize Irma's year round. Should be easy right?

 

And It makes sense because to some citizens, downtown is an actual neighborhood where they live and/or work, pay taxes, etc. Thus, If you want to have a serious discussion as to how make the downtown neighborhood better then perhaps you should actually speak to people who have a stake in the neighborhood, and not just people drinking tequila shots and beer, throwing up then going home to Sugar Land.

 

If however the goal is to make downtown like a Times Square entertainment venue and to push out the local residents that live there then by all means lets add more bars for Astros games.

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Houston19514    2162
Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

Obviously they are not. You remove those entertainment venues and you also lose those visitors. Or better put, when those entertainment venues are not operating (game nights, performance nights) the immediate area is no longer filled with visitors.

 

And, if you remove the apartments, we'll lose those residents. If we removed the office buildings, we'd lose those office workers.  So what?  That doesn't make any of those people or businesses any less a part of the downtown fabric.  And the fact we'd lose visitors if we removed entertainment venues doesn't make those visitors any less a part of the downtown fabric.  (BTW, You exaggerate the impact of the Astros schedule on Irma's hours; perhaps it has changed since you lived here. She is open every Thurs-Fri-Sat night until 10 pm.  M-W only for lunch, but stays open until 7 if there is an Astros game. Even then, so what?)

 

Quote

You may not like to hear that, but that's just a reality. Don't like it?  Then change it. Convince your fellow citizens to patronize Irma's year round. Should be easy right?

 

You clearly have not noticed, but we are changing it. As the new residential developments fill up (and as we add more in future years), ballpark area bars and restaurants will not be as dependent on Astros games, and more bars and restaurants will be able be developed, stay open nights and weekends and benefit from business from the residents, entertainment venues, and office workers, all part of the downtown fabric. (See, e.g., Osso-Kristalla: M-Th 7am – 10pm; Fr 7am – 11pm; Sat 10am – 11pm; Sun 10am – 9pm

Potente:  M–Th 5-10pm; Fr & Sat 5-11pm )

 

Quote

And It makes sense because to some citizens, downtown is an actual neighborhood where they live and/or work, pay taxes, etc. Thus, If you want to have a serious discussion as to how make the downtown neighborhood better then perhaps you should actually speak to people who have a stake in the neighborhood, and not just people drinking tequila shots and beer, throwing up then going home to Sugar Land.

 

If however the goal is to make downtown like a Times Square entertainment venue and to push out the local residents that live there then by all means lets add more bars for Astros games.

 

Nice strawmen. And four of them in only 2 sentences.  Good work.  Where did anyone suggest that we should speak only to people drinking tequila shots and beer, throwing up then going home to Sugar Land?  Where did anyone suggest we want to make downtown like a Times Square venue, push out local residents or add more "bars for Astros games"?  Anyone wanting to have a serous discussion about how to make the downtown neighborhood better must speak to everyone who is part of the downtown fabric.  That includes residents, potential residents, patrons of entertainment venues (even those who do tequila shots), office workers, visiting business people, convention goers, tourists, church-goers, etc., etc., etc.

Edited by Houston19514
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7 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

You clearly have not noticed, but we are changing it.

 

You clearly have not noticed that Chipolte can't even sustain itself on a Saturday or Sunday. Get back to me when that's changed. It has everything you would need according to HAIF, ground level retail below a huge apartment building, on the light rail line, in the center of downtown Houston. Yet there are just not enough people to be profitable on the weekends.

 

 

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Nole23    1325
2 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

I don't know when you lived in downtown Houston, but if it wasn't in the past six months, it's almost irrelevant. You clearly do not know downtown Houston.

 

And your attempts to draw imaginary lines around what is and is not part of the downtown fabric is ridiculous.  What sense does it make to claim that tourists, convention goers, visiting business people, Astros fans, Rockets fans, etc etc. are not part of the downtown fabric?  Of course they are part of the downtown fabric. That is what makes a vibrant, active downtown so compelling (and worth a little extra effort to create and nurture).

 

 

 

I completely agree with this and just gave up on the discussion because I don't feel like going back and forth. Like someone mentioned earlier, if we focus on the trend of downtown and compare where it was a few years ago, where it is now, and where we are projected to be over the next few years then it is obvious we are heading in the right direction. I currently live downtown and there are no shortage of restaurants open and things to do after work hours and weekends. This was not the case a few short years ago.

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Houston19514    2162
Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

You clearly have not noticed that Chipolte can't even sustain itself on a Saturday or Sunday. Get back to me when that's changed. It has everything you would need according to HAIF, ground level retail below a huge apartment building, on the light rail line, in the center of downtown Houston. Yet there are just not enough people to be profitable on the weekends.

 

 

 

ROFL.  Actually, I have noticed.  I'm not sure what difference it makes.  Can we not be a successful downtown until each and every restaurant is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week?  Or is it just Chipotle we need open on Saturday and Sunday in order to be successful?  Or is it every retail business on the ground floor of The Rice?  In any case, neither I nor anyone else I'm aware of has claimed our work is done or that we have a perfect downtown (as if there is such a thing). We are just now beginning to populate the thousands of new residences; those residents will no doubt have a good effect on the restaurant and bar scene.  Keep on eye on that Chipotle! If the whole chain doesn't go out of business first, you might be surprised!  ;-)

 

I'm not sure what your point is, and judging by your accelerating descent into fallacious arguments, neither do you.

Edited by Houston19514
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urbanize713    811

Mods, @Urbannizer or who ever else, can we have the discussion from the previous pages moved to more appropriate forums?  Perhaps a portion into a transportation forum and the other into downtown restaurant sub forum?

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KinkaidAlum    2094

Y'all, downtown is dead. Chipotle isn't open on Saturday night. Light rail killed it.

 

Seriously, stop feeding the troll overstuffed burritos. 

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36 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Keep on eye on that Chipotle! If the whole chain doesn't go out of business first, you might be surprised!  ;-)

 

 

ROFL. Typical fall back position, it's the fault of the business. Do you really want to pursue that failed argument? What is your argument for Cafe Express?, Jason's Deli? Lone Star Taco? Why do they not open on the weekends? According to you they must also be on the brink of failure.

 

The point is that many on this forum attribute without evidence the success of one thing to something totally unrelated especially when it comes to downtown.

 

New office tower in downtown; Great it's because of the light rail. huh?

New bar across from the GRB and Minute Maid; Great it's because downtown is growing like wildfire with new residents! Huh? what about all the restaurants that are literally closed more than they are open in downtown?

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, KinkaidAlum said:

Y'all, downtown is dead. Chipotle isn't open on Saturday night. Light rail killed it.

 

Seriously, stop feeding the troll overstuffed burritos. 

 

Actually downtown is alive. All the restaurants in the tunnels are really open in the evenings and weekends and they are making a ton of money after hours, it's just nobody knows about it. The light rail is also bringing in tons of passengers to Cafe Express and Chipolte on the weekends but we can't actually see them that's why they appear closed. And the city didn't have to offer tax breaks to developers to build new construction in downtown. Based on all this lets go ahead and fund a tax subsidized retail district in downtown as well, the reports of traditional retail dying because of online shopping is clearly fake news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Avossos    877

Any way to clean this thread up mods?

 

It has become an awful vent session.

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Houston19514    2162
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

Actually downtown is alive. All the restaurants in the tunnels are really open in the evenings and weekends and they are making a ton of money after hours, it's just nobody knows about it. The light rail is also bringing in tons of passengers to Cafe Express and Chipolte on the weekends but we can't actually see them that's why they appear closed. And the city didn't have to offer tax breaks to developers to build new construction in downtown. Based on all this lets go ahead and fund a tax subsidized retail district in downtown as well, the reports of traditional retail dying because of online shopping is clearly fake news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry dude.  You seem to have slipped from fallacious arguments right into total irrational incoherence.   Your time might be better spent getting away from the keyboard and out of the house so you can get to know the city in which you live.  Buh-bye.

Edited by Houston19514
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53 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

Your time might be better spent getting away from the keyboard and out of the house so you can get to know the city in which you live.  Buh-bye.

 

This from the guy who has over 5K posts on an internet forum! Come back to the forum when you have something useful, like evidence and logic.

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IronTiger    721
1 hour ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

All the restaurants in the tunnels are really open in the evenings and weekends.

Are you really serious right now? Last week (nay, less than a week ago) I walked from Hess Tower to Travis Place Garage through the tunnel system at maybe 3:30 pm and everything was closed up for the evening. I hardly saw anyone at all except for a small group of employees hanging out in one of the food courts, and every place I remember seeing was closed (except for maybe one) or in the process of closing (kitchen already shut down, employees cleaning up).

 

I don't go to downtown all that often and can't speak on improvements over the recent months/years but I can call out BS when I see it. <_<

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13 minutes ago, IronTiger said:

Are you really serious right now? Last week (nay, less than a week ago) I walked from Hess Tower to Travis Place Garage through the tunnel system at maybe 3:30 pm and everything was closed up for the evening. I hardly saw anyone at all except for a small group of employees hanging out in one of the food courts, and every place I remember seeing was closed (except for maybe one) or in the process of closing (kitchen already shut down, employees cleaning up).

 

I don't go to downtown all that often and can't speak on improvements over the recent months/years but I can call out BS when I see it. <_<

 

Not at all. I was being sarcastic in response to Kinkaid's silly post. In all sincerity you are correct, the tunnels are dead/closed on the weekends and the afternoons. However in the mornings and lunch time they are very popular. During those hours it's one of the few things that has mass appeal in downtown, and the only downtown corridor without the need of government help. If the city is going to get involved at all in a retail district ( i don't think it should in downtown) perhaps it should expand on what currently works. The tunnels. Perhaps build a public tunnel where one is not developed yet. Create an access point from the street and operate it for longer hours and give tax breaks to retail shops that wish operate there.

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KinkaidAlum    2094

Are you in the restaurant business? I am. I'm a partner in a group with 9 locations and two more on the way. Each of our locations is different. Trust me, if there was a way for us to have a place be profitable enough to be open only M-F during work hours, we'd do it. Have you ever thought of that? Chipotle makes money in that location. If they didn't, it would have closed. They tried different hours and it wasn't worth it so they went back to what worked. Why do more than you need only to eat into profits?

 

Downtown is more of a special events market or bar market when it comes to food service. It's why the majority of steak houses have done well or the restaurants tied-in to the hotels. It's why Batanga (with their killer patio) kills it and the restaurants with full service bars and themes also do well. 

 

We opened a Katy location 2 years ago. It was our first venture into the suburbs. We opened with hours more similar to our inner loop locations but quickly realized the Katy market was family oriented. Within 5 months we started closing at 9 instead of 12-2 am because we could save enough money on staffing, insurance, and alcohol purchases to make the balances work. Our Heights location continues to stay open until 2 am because it is worth it there. 

 

It really is that simple. Markets are different and it is the business' responsibility to figure what works. Chipotle/the franchisee has figured out what works for them at the Rice. Kudos to them. 

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10 hours ago, KinkaidAlum said:

It really is that simple. Markets are different and it is the business' responsibility to figure what works. Chipotle/the franchisee has figured out what works for them at the Rice. Kudos to them. 

 

Thank you. That is exactly my point. In general i call them fabrics in more specific terms you call them markets, we both agree there are essentially two restaurant markets in downtown. The market that caters to the entertainment venues and the market that caters to downtown neighborhood locals. Accordingly, restaurants in downtown have to choose which market or fabric they want to do business with. Chipolte, perhaps because of their lack of alcohol can't successfully do businesses with the entertainment market, and perhaps because of lack of local customers can't do business on the weekends. Same is true with Cafe Express, Jason's Deli, Lone Star Taco, La Palapa, etc..

 

All I'm saying is that there are not that many restaurants for downtown locals in the evenings and weekends. And like an airline that operates a route only 3x a week or 5x a week instead of daily, yes It can operate a profit on just a few flights a week, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, although locals may not need to fly into market everyday, they do need to eat everyday.  Again, I'm not saying there arn't any restaurants open for locals in the evening and weekend because there are some, but not as many as everyone thinks.

 

So lets just taper down the talk that the neighborhood restaurant scene is growing in downtown.

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