cloud713

Post Office Site Mixed-Use Redevelopment

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cloud713    3536

forgive my ignorance but it seems like i recall people talking in the past about a potential redevelopment of the Post Office site? is there a thread on this? i tried searching but couldnt find anything on it. are there plans for the post office site to be redeveloped? if so what are the plans?

i came across this site somehow and thought it was kind of interesting. i never knew the Post Office site sits on top of what used to be Central Station and Hotel for the rail road and the city of Houston back in the day. it makes me wonder if the site could be redeveloped into an Intermodal Terminal type site with mixed use Transit Oriended Development.

http://www.epperts.com/lfa/BB67.html

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cloud713    3536

actually nevermind. i wish i could delete the post. lol, i was just storming up ideas after i read that link without really giving to consideration where the post office site is. although it is on the rail line that runs out along hempstead hwy/290 which could make for a good high speed rail link toward Austin/SA to complete the texas triangle high speed rail network, its not really near any of the light rail lines and is kind of isolated in the north west corner of downtown, across the bayou. it would make for a great site for a large mixed use development though. if only it had a street car system that linked it up with the light rail system and rest of downtown.
after pondering the idea, i think the Hardy Rail Yards are still the best location for the Intermodal Terminal/grand central station/mixed use development.. i was imagining bringing back the grand central station in Houston with a hotel/residential tower and TODs around it. i just didnt realize the rail lines at the post office site dont connect with the lines that run north down the Hardy Toll Road which would make most sense for the Houston-Dallas high speed rail line.

Edited by cloud713

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cloud713    3536

looks like Hines and ULI were doing some studies/trying to get some ideas on what to do with the site last year.. is the site for sale/projected to be for sale in the near future or why have there been so many proposals for what to do with the site?

dki52jzf2ig0nady.jpg

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Houston19514    2110

The site was officially for sale back around 2008'ish.  I think they pulled it from the market after the financial crash in late 2008.  Presumably, if someone came along with a good offer, it would be for sale...  I keep hoping Hines is working a deal behind the scenes.

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cloud713    3536

What is the old awning looking thing along one of the tracks just north of the post office site, running under 45? Surely it wasn't an old passenger terminal or something. I know their used to be a "grand central station" at that site but thought that was like a century ago and everything was long gone.

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little frau    51

The Post Office sits on the old Southern Pacific Grand Central Station, not to be confused with the old passenger station where Minute Maid is now.

 

The current Amtrak Station is still right off Washington Ave., very near I-45. 

 

Don't know about the awning you're seeing.

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cloud713    3536

wow.. that is still being used? Houston severely needs to step it up in the rail department... we should have a nice (not necessarily $180 million nice, or w/e) intramodal transit center or some central station type thing instead of that rickety old awning under an overpass.

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IronTiger    698

I read somewhere that the post office was designed to BE a train station. Would've been pretty sweet when they did the Red Line to make that a transit terminal (bus/METRORail/Amtrak) but alas...

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cloud713    3536

For sure. That or commuter rail. It would be cool to bring back the idea of a grand central station but I always envisioned the hsr station being at the hardy yards site/Burnett station, but apparently they may run the line down 290/highway 6 through college station instead of down the hardy toll road and 45N. Either way rail lines from both 45 and 290 can go through both sites so either one would work, the hardy site just has direct access to the light rail. This site would need a spur over to UHD or something, unless the basement of UHD turned into the main rail station/transfer hub.

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bachanon    398

in response to a thread about the police department building on the post office site: "the post office site needs to be treated as the "gateway" (for lack of a better term) to the city of houston.  the last thing we want is a quickly aging police headquarters fronting downtown with 24 hour activity surrounding law enforcement; let them build under the elevated section of 59 by the elysian viaduct or north of u of h on the bayou side.


 


i want.....yes, i'm stomping my feet like a two year old....i want a monumental structure on the post office site that implies "welcome to oz (not the prison reference, the over the rainbow reference)/space city/the city of possibility/the city where dreams come true/the most diverse up and coming city in the country".  while i'm on my soapbox in dreamland......i want a frank gehry or a morphosis or a renzo piano...i want something that is bold yet restrained; it doesn't turn it's back to the freeway or the bayou; it is beautiful from 360 degrees; it is mixed use, pedestrian friendly and connected to mass transit......


 


i know i'm not asking much......i just watched the secret life of walter mitty and feel like i need to go jump out of a helicopter and just freakin' go for it!!  sorry...i digress.


 


NO!  XENOS!!! (channeling toula's father in "my big fat greek wedding"...possibly incorrectly) XENOS to more police structures on the bayou or in desirable locations!"


 


big, i'm sayin' BIG!  for instance:


 


580_Image_shard_london_1.jpg


 


Oriente-Station-by-Santiago-Calatrava-8.


 


Azure-Future-Projects-2014-05.jpg


 


Azure-Future-Projects-2014-01.jpg


 


Azure-Future-Projects-2014-21.jpg


 


i understand it's easy to google for cool images and tack them onto a thread, but this is an important location; if it isn't a monumental development then it should be something completely public.


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bachanon    398

Azure-Miami-Perez-Art-Museum-Brings-The-

 

this concept from herzog & de meuron for miami's art museum has an understated design; an example such as this, when thinking of the post office site, shows how a structure might reference the underside ugliness of the nearby freeways and redefine the area continuing the efforts of the buffalo bayou project.  looking at this pavilion type structure immediately reminds me of the structural pillars holding up the freeways on either side of the post office site.  blowing out the space underneath the post office site and opening it to the other side of the freeways would reduce the claustrophobic feeling of this area and add pedestrian connections to underutilized greenspace (at least on the elder street artists lofts side).  i need to check google earth and the renderings for the proposed projects for this site, i think everything designed stops at the freeways.

i think there are so many opportunities for something truly amazing here, and not just the outward appearance but more options for pedestrian/bike/transit connectivity, mixed use, public spaces, etc. etc....

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monarch    2732

bachanon, my pal, please allow me the opportunity to start out by articulating.. i openly applaud your direct enthusiasm as per opposing any incorrect usage, of such a vital, as well as all important property of downtown houston.. the old post office site.  please relax a moment, take a deep breath, and allow yourself to reminisce about the big macy's department store, located downtown, directly upon main street.  this particular edifice, was centered upon one of the most highly regarded blocks in the entire state of texas.  macy's is now long and gone.  and now currently arising upon this most anticipated sites...  the phantom menace.  a building that is so very non inspiring, that we all really still cannot believe that it is actually being established upon what i consider the most holistic site in all of texas.  nonetheless, we are all just happy to see something actually ARISE upon main street...  am i correct?

 

houston, imo, is now fast becoming one of the most magnificent, diverse, as well as highly regarded world class cities in all of these united states.  houston, is BIG, BODACIOUS, and just not afraid of anything!  however, our fair city has all but one main drawback..  we are cursed with far too many conservative mindsets, located throughout our city government, county wide government, and even city wide representatives located upon austin, tx.  WE JUST CANNOT GET THINGS DONE.  need an early example..  the astrodome!  i felt absolutely disgusted, to learn later after the official vote had taken place, that thousands of citizens as per fort bend county, actually voted to defeat the dome amendment.  get that, fort bend county....

 

i for one, may assure anyone that reads this posting, that i have become so very sick and tired of reading from others upon this great forum, the same old worn out excuse vs crutch, that "houston is now arising as per it's depression of the 80's energy burst".  well, imo, the entire state of texas has certain segments that are still suffering to some degree or another, and yet they were still able to meet their area's demand and grow.  let us take a quick visit to san antonio.  they are always held upon very high regard nationally, they are always building and growing their city's infrastructure, they don't make silly excuses, they plan very well.. and they make things happen.  let us now visit austin.  need i say anything more?  austin, tx., has now become just one of the very fastest growing metropolis's in all of america.  vitality, gentrified, musical, and just basic fun times.  austin, received the XGAMES so very fast.. that i'm actually a little afraid that they may not be ready lodging wise in time.  now let us arrive in dallas, tx.  are you now nervous?  we really do not like to refer to dallas to much now do we?  we love to pick out certain aspects of the metroplex, to pick on, as well as try and play the oneupmanship game with..  simply because we no within our heart of hearts, that although houston, tx., is officially listed as the "fourth largest city within the confines of the united states"..  dallas, tx., for no unknown reasons, seem to constantly outshine us, upon many regards.  (glamour, espn, bigger and far better stadiums, gleaming victory plaza, neiman marcus located downtown, ritz carlton, w hotel, barney's new york) get the picture.  you name it, they have it.  if they don't yet have it..  they will soon devise a plan to get it..  and trust me, it will be well done.  i for one, would never ever say that dallas does not make mistakes.. they do indeed.  but god only knows that houston does as well.

 

now bachanon, let us revisit your gracious illustrations below:  

 

1.  this particular illustration is soft and graciously beautiful.  one main drawback, it just reek's of the san francisco landmark pyramid edifice.  houston, certainly shall become the "laughing stock of the nation" should we construct an edifice that closely resembles another town's landmark building.

 

2.  what in god's name is that?  whatever it is, let us keep it there, and not let it loose.

 

3.  beautiful, and yet quite fun.  but this particular attraction, belongs upon abu dhabi, dubai, or maybe even doha, qatar.  simply brilliant design, and yet mucho costly.

 

4.  far too boring, non original.

 

5. ghastly!

 

6.  illustration miami, an instant classic.  a modernistic landmark design, that simply reek's of miami's very liberal minded momentum.

 

to date, what houston really requires at this point in it's history bachanon, is more citizens like yourself.  citizens, that not only love and appreciate our fair city, but citizens that are openly striving as per this city's overall well being, as well as excellence.  once we are able to achieve this all important aspect.. LOOKOUT NEW YORK! 

 

 

in response to a thread about the police department building on the post office site: "the post office site needs to be treated as the "gateway" (for lack of a better term) to the city of houston.  the last thing we want is a quickly aging police headquarters fronting downtown with 24 hour activity surrounding law enforcement; let them build under the elevated section of 59 by the elysian viaduct or north of u of h on the bayou side.

 

i want.....yes, i'm stomping my feet like a two year old....i want a monumental structure on the post office site that implies "welcome to oz (not the prison reference, the over the rainbow reference)/space city/the city of possibility/the city where dreams come true/the most diverse up and coming city in the country".  while i'm on my soapbox in dreamland......i want a frank gehry or a morphosis or a renzo piano...i want something that is bold yet restrained; it doesn't turn it's back to the freeway or the bayou; it is beautiful from 360 degrees; it is mixed use, pedestrian friendly and connected to mass transit......

 

i know i'm not asking much......i just watched the secret life of walter mitty and feel like i need to go jump out of a helicopter and just freakin' go for it!!  sorry...i digress.

 

NO!  XENOS!!! (channeling toula's father in "my big fat greek wedding"...possibly incorrectly) XENOS to more police structures on the bayou or in desirable locations!"

 

big, i'm sayin' BIG!  for instance:

 

580_Image_shard_london_1.jpg

 

Oriente-Station-by-Santiago-Calatrava-8.

 

Azure-Future-Projects-2014-05.jpg

 

Azure-Future-Projects-2014-01.jpg

 

Azure-Future-Projects-2014-21.jpg

 

i understand it's easy to google for cool images and tack them onto a thread, but this is an important location; if it isn't a monumental development then it should be something completely public.

 

 


 

Edited by monarch

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cloud713    3536

I dig this station. Imagine it overlooking the bayou.

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/zaha-hadid-melbourne-transportation-center

This sounds like a really cool project similar in scope to what the post office site could be

http://www.dezeen.com/2012/10/17/high-speed-train-station-in-logrono-by-abalossentkiewicz-arquitectos/

And I agree, there should be something tall and architecturally striking from all directions at that site, a la the shard, maybe around 5-600' tall.

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cloud713    3536

i was going to sketch out a new proposal/fantasy utilizing a new Washington Ave configuration and getting rid of Franklin, but it looks like this proposal hits that along with most of the other ideas i had (like converting the odd offshoot "Smith St" bridge to the northwest, over the bayou, to pedestrian only, for better access from the site to the rest of downtown, and building tall along the back and keeping the bayou frontage low rise/park space). it just needs a taller signature skyscraper that stands out. and im not sure how well i like the fact they left the existing road/pier structure above the bayou on the north side and built the pedestrian promenade along that instead of creating a fluid bank down to the bayou level. those are the only things i would do differently. other then that.. BUILD IT!!!
 

looks like Hines and ULI were doing some studies/trying to get some ideas on what to do with the site last year.. is the site for sale/projected to be for sale in the near future or why have there been so many proposals for what to do with the site?

dki52jzf2ig0nady.jpg

 

Edited by cloud713

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arche_757    665

^Yeah, I thought that was interesting Hines sponsored that; though I believe they may have sponsored other similar competitions?

 

Free conceptual design.  I think the one image you posted is about as "grand" of a project that one could expect in this town for that site.  In fact I would be beyond thrilled if that's all it ended up being.  I wish we had visonaries that would produce something truly fantastic - like some of the images Bachanon posted - but I just don't see it.  To be honest if we ended up with something 1/2 as good as the above image cloud713 posted on the 13th of October 2013 then I'll be happy.

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Houston19514    2110

^Yeah, I thought that was interesting Hines sponsored that; though I believe they may have sponsored other similar competitions?

 

Free conceptual design.

 

Yes, it's an annual Urban Land Institute competition sponsored by the Hines organization.

 

This year's competition was to propose a development vision that promotes healthy living for the residents of Nashville’s Sulphur Dell neighborhood.

 

2013 was to create a practical and workable scheme for a section of the Downtown East neighborhood in Minneapolis.

 

In 2012, of course, the competition focused on creating a practical and workable scheme for the best use of approximately 16.3 acres owned by the United States Postal Service (USPS). The competition focused on the USPS property since it is considered by many stakeholders to be a key site to reconnect the theater district, the historic district, and the greater downtown to the Buffalo Bayou.

 

It's not some nefarious scheme to provide Gerald Hines with free conceptual design.

 

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arche_757    665

Never said it was nefarious.  Developers ought to attend/schedule these sort of competitions more often.  It would at least spur on more adventurous thinking for large - catalyst projects like this (or similar).

 

Still a sort of "free" conceptual design idea that proposes things developers may have thought about (not just Hines) yet been too cost conscious to inquire about.

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Subdude    1278

i was going to sketch out a new proposal/fantasy utilizing a new Washington Ave configuration and getting rid of Franklin, but it looks like this proposal hits that along with most of the other ideas i had (like converting the odd offshoot "Smith St" bridge to the northwest, over the bayou, to pedestrian only, for better access from the site to the rest of downtown, and building tall along the back and keeping the bayou frontage low rise/park space). it just needs a taller signature skyscraper that stands out. and im not sure how well i like the fact they left the existing road/pier structure above the bayou on the north side and built the pedestrian promenade along that instead of creating a fluid bank down to the bayou level. those are the only things i would do differently. other then that.. BUILD IT!!!

 

 

Interesting about removing Franklin along the stretch.  It makes perfect sense to free up space along the bayou and have the main connector street more central to the site.  Not having a taller skyscraper is fine by me - there might well be enough of a backlog of skyscrapers to preclude the idea of building one here.  If anything, I would go in the opposite direction of looking for commercial development and leave as much as the site green as possible.  Plant trees along the north, west and east perimeters, maybe build a baseball field or soccer pitch on the north segment, build a giant central fountain, and leave the rest as Houston's Central Park.  As I've said before it is the perfect location for a centralized fairgrounds, and a big green space would be a great gateway to downtown.  

 

Future generations would thank us much more for a big bayou park than they ever will for another "mixed-use" development.  If only the city had the vision....

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mollusk    1437

Future generations would thank us much more for a big bayou park than they ever will for another "mixed-use" development.  If only the city had the vision....

 

"That vision thing" is quite the question, particularly in the context of the Bush the Elder statute across the street.

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Subdude    1278

I know, but a huge plot of land right along the bayou by downtown is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (and you know I'm normally not one to get caught up in grandiose development dreams).  The idea of using the site for more jails makes me a little nauseous. 

 

 

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trymahjong    219

I heard Michael Kubosh speak last week- He mentioned the "conversations" on city council about that piece of land and the idea of putting a new municipal court there-- He told us he voiced his opinion to not buy the land and use the money to repair streets and sidewalks.

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