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Post Office Site Mixed-Use Redevelopment

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IronTiger    722

Looking at the Post Office site, Washington looks to be currently closed and converted to parking under the Interstate. Is this because of a low clearance from the descending HOV lane ramp?

 

 

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UtterlyUrban    1403

Closing Franklin and converting this area into a park along BB is a terrific idea. That would be a game changer for downtown.

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Tumbleweed_Tx    1245

Metro West.. the Bank of the Southwest Tower was a design contest winner.

 

Of course, it wasn't built in Houston, it was shortened by a few hundred feet and built in Philadelphia.

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arche_757    665

I've thought some on the park idea....  I don't think it would be as great as we think.  Discovery Green works because there is stuff around it.  Imagine a park with a Freeway on 2 sides, a railroad bisecting it, and a bayou separating it from everything else nearby.  Add to that the lack of residential that's close and I just don't see this being the "grand" park others think it may be.

 

Add a little residential and make 6-7 acres the park and you'll have a successful area with a "grand lawn" facing town that people are talking (wishing) about.

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ClutchCity    211

http://realtynewsreport.com/2014/05/07/misplaying-houstons-finest-redevelopment-site/

I would much rather have a company like Midway have the Post Office site and let them do something visionary with it rather then let the city squander a great opportunity. I don't see why the police station has to be in such a prime spot. Sure it's a central location but having it a half mile north, south, or east of downtown would still give them a central location on (probably) cheaper land, no?

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Subdude    1286

I've thought some on the park idea....  I don't think it would be as great as we think.  Discovery Green works because there is stuff around it.  Imagine a park with a Freeway on 2 sides, a railroad bisecting it, and a bayou separating it from everything else nearby.  Add to that the lack of residential that's close and I just don't see this being the "grand" park others think it may be.

 

Add a little residential and make 6-7 acres the park and you'll have a successful area with a "grand lawn" facing town that people are talking (wishing) about.

 

Maybe not as grand as Discovery Green in terms of siting, but my preferred use is for permanent fairgrounds, so I still think it could work great for that.  The surrounding freeways and railroad don't diminish its utility for that.  This is just dreaming though.  

 

If the land is auctioned off, and the city isn't interested in park, fairgrounds or other use, then who is likely to be the highest bidder?  If the basis of sale is financial only, and not the development plan, this could as easily end up as surface parking as anything else.  

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Montrose1100    2663

Metro West.. the Bank of the Southwest Tower was a design contest winner.

 

Of course, it wasn't built in Houston, it was shortened by a few hundred feet and built in Philadelphia.

The design element was used for Liberty 1 & 2, not just shortened by a few hundred feet. It's design was also recycled into the Messeturm in Frankfurt.

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IronTiger    722

I think the post office site would be a great site for an expanded aquarium, or some sort of mixed-use commercial site. A collection of restaurants and stores, all along the bayou? Sounds great.

 

Another idea would be to expand the bayou and build a permanently-moored (like, a boat-shaped building that is surrounded by water but resembles a boat) boat of some sort, preferably one of a past design (1800s river steamer?) with a restaurant or something on it. 

 

Nah...

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arche_757    665

Another idea would be to expand the bayou and build a permanently-moored (like, a boat-shaped building that is surrounded by water but resembles a boat) boat of some sort, preferably one of a past design (1800s river steamer?) with a restaurant or something on it. 

 

NO!

 

And to Subdudes idea of a permanent fairgrounds... I'm not following why you would want something like that?  I'm envisioning something tacky - can you elaborate?

 

 

I think the best idea is to let a "Midway Cos" type of developer turn it into something.  They could work in apartments, condos, retail and office space and leave plenty of room for park-scape facing town and the Bayou.

 

Is it weird if I don't really consider this a part of downtown?  Downtown to me is the area surrounded by I-45 and 59 and the Bayou.  This is some other part of town, some other "district" if you will.

 

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Subdude    1286

I'm dubious about the prospects of mixed-use developments in that area, especially with a lot of housing units coming online soon downtown.  

 

Love the idea though of turning the site into a lake!

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arche_757    665

I should add I was saying "NO!" to the idea of building a "boat-like structure"  NEVER build a fake boat.  NEVER!  How sad would it be for one of the worlds largest ports and port cities to build a fake boat?

 

And why turn it into a lake?  It would merely be a shallow basin in a part of the bayou.  Too small for real boats, it would just be a wide part of the bayou.

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cloud713    3541

I've thought some on the park idea....  I don't think it would be as great as we think.  Discovery Green works because there is stuff around it.  Imagine a park with a Freeway on 2 sides, a railroad bisecting it, and a bayou separating it from everything else nearby.  Add to that the lack of residential that's close and I just don't see this being the "grand" park others think it may be.

 

Add a little residential and make 6-7 acres the park and you'll have a successful area with a "grand lawn" facing town that people are talking (wishing) about.

agreed.. all your reasoning for why a park wouldnt do very well in that area is exactly why i figured a mixed use development wouldnt be as successful there as other locations, like the Hardy Yards or the new Buffalo Island. if HPD is about to take over the site (doubtful), then why not move the jails to that site too? (thats my only logic with putting the jails at the post office site. if HPD doesnt get the property then obviously it would be (kind of) pointless to move the jails. how many people frequent BBP along that stretch of the bayou by the post office site? im not in the area much but when i am i dont see many/if any people along that part. like you said, there needs to be a decent residential component to the post office development if people want this area to be successful. also preferably some form of entertainment and amenities that the rest of downtown doesnt have yet, like a full fledged movie theater, a roof top TopGolf, or a full scale grocery store. and converting the Smith Street offshoot bridge northwest across the bayou into a pedestrian promenade, to better connect the two areas.

as far as connectivity to Buffalo Island, you have North San Jacinto (San Jac/Fannin) connecting the island with downtown to the south, and i10 to the north. you could even extend Navigation/Runnels St. west of McKee, along the Heights Bike Trail, onto the island, ending at N San Jacinto, so the island would be accessible by vehicle on 3 sides, and currently is accessible by pedestrian bridges on two sides (more pedestrian bridges could/would be installed for even better connectivity to the island). if they built stairs/an elevator off of the MKT Trail at UH-D, on the west side of the bayou from the island, that MKT Trail pedestrian connection could even be used to connect the developments on Buffalo Island to the light rail station at UH-D on Main.

idk, i just think Buffalo Island would have much more potential than the Post Office site if we could do something about the jails.

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Avossos    886

I think the post office site would be a great site for an expanded aquarium, or some sort of mixed-use commercial site. A collection of restaurants and stores, all along the bayou? Sounds great.

 

NO!

 

The current court site would be the only realistic spot because it is already there! Take a look at google Earth or something dude...

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IronTiger    722

NO!

 

The current court site would be the only realistic spot because it is already there! Take a look at google Earth or something dude...

I'm looking at the Post Office site and some of the project renderings...if Franklin (a road AT THE WATERFRONT) was closed and traffic was rerouted to Washington (which would be reopened) and Franklin was turned into a pedestrian walkway, that could be linked in with Sesquicentennial Park, and, well, at least an expanded aquarium could go there.

 

Fake boat idea was just tossing around an idea...clearly some of you missed the "Nah..." added at the end...

Edited by IronTiger
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Subdude    1286

agreed.. all your reasoning for why a park wouldnt do very well in that area is exactly why i figured a mixed use development wouldnt be as successful there as other locations, like the Hardy Yards or the new Buffalo Island. if HPD is about to take over the site (doubtful), then why not move the jails to that site too? (thats my only logic with putting the jails at the post office site. if HPD doesnt get the property then obviously it would be (kind of) pointless to move the jails. how many people frequent BBP along that stretch of the bayou by the post office site? im not in the area much but when i am i dont see many/if any people along that part. like you said, there needs to be a decent residential component to the post office development if people want this area to be successful. also preferably some form of entertainment and amenities that the rest of downtown doesnt have yet, like a full fledged movie theater, a roof top TopGolf, or a full scale grocery store. and converting the Smith Street offshoot bridge northwest across the bayou into a pedestrian promenade, to better connect the two areas.

as far as connectivity to Buffalo Island, you have North San Jacinto (San Jac/Fannin) connecting the island with downtown to the south, and i10 to the north. you could even extend Navigation/Runnels St. west of McKee, along the Heights Bike Trail, onto the island, ending at N San Jacinto, so the island would be accessible by vehicle on 3 sides, and currently is accessible by pedestrian bridges on two sides (more pedestrian bridges could/would be installed for even better connectivity to the island). if they built stairs/an elevator off of the MKT Trail at UH-D, on the west side of the bayou from the island, that MKT Trail pedestrian connection could even be used to connect the developments on Buffalo Island to the light rail station at UH-D on Main.

idk, i just think Buffalo Island would have much more potential than the Post Office site if we could do something about the jails.

I assume that "Buffalo Island" refers to the new island that will be created by the North Canal project.  Referring to it as "Little Alcatraz" might be clearer.  I think it is unrealistic to assume anything but jails on the island for the immediate future, so I wouldn't expect much for that part of the bayou.  The post office site isn't perfect for any number of reasons, but to me the island site is just going to be a non-starter for any development other than detention facilities. 

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arche_757    665

Fake boat idea was just tossing around an idea...clearly some of you missed the "Nah..." added at the end...

 

I read that.  However, I'm so against using a "fake" anything for any site - when you can find an actual working boat (or just build a cool building over the water without making it look like a giant Captain Benny's Seafood that I responded that way.

 

 

North Canal (and South Canal - there are two remember) are probably a decade+ from happening.  In fact I would go so far to say they're the next big "boom" cycle in Houston development away.

 

This is presently an option for a great mixed-use development.  Throw in the potential to tie-into rail/transit in the future and this is a massively important site that is FAR more valuable than being the HQ of HPD (do they really need 12 acres?) and booking facilities for the city jail.

 

I agree with Subdude that it will be a long time before the big county jails are relocated.

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Subdude    1286

 

 

North Canal (and South Canal - there are two remember) are probably a decade+ from happening.  In fact I would go so far to say they're the next big "boom" cycle in Houston development away.

 

I'm not sure what the South Canal is, but on the Downtown Development Timeline graphic that was posted on HAIF North Canal construction is plotted from approx Q3 2015 through the end of 2016.  

 

 

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HoustonIsHome    1174

I'm looking at the Post Office site and some of the project renderings...if Franklin (a road AT THE WATERFRONT) was closed and traffic was rerouted to Washington (which would be reopened) and Franklin was turned into a pedestrian walkway, that could be linked in with Sesquicentennial Park, and, well, at least an expanded aquarium could go there.

Fake boat idea was just tossing around an idea...clearly some of you missed the "Nah..." added at the end...

I think you missed his point that the pace to expand is around its current location. There are parking lots just past the highway up to the court houses.

I am not a big fan if the location of the aquarium though. I always thought it should have gone near the stadiums. And with discovery green that area is even more perfect for an aquarium.

I hate the fair grounds idea for the Post office site. It won't be much to look at and it will be empty for large stretches of time.

I don't like the lake idea. Same reason, not impressive enough.

It may be unrealistic but I like the posts with grand ideas for the site. Even if it is a group of buildings surrounding a 600 ft statue of George W painting cats

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arche_757    665

I'm not sure what the South Canal is, but on the Downtown Development Timeline graphic that was posted on HAIF North Canal construction is plotted from approx Q3 2015 through the end of 2016.  

1-WATE~1.jpg

Look close you can see it just above the bottom of the page

 

On the second page of BBP Masterplan "eastern sector" is the map with the South Canal clearly labeled.  I thought this was common knowledge?  Hence why its called the North Canal and not just "the canal" ...unless I mistakenly read your post incorrectly?

 

Edited by arche_757

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cloud713    3541

the north canal actually serves a purpose for preventing downtown from flooding during freak storms. that one is moving forward. the south canal was just a fancy pie in the sky riverwalk to spur development. it would be amazing if they ever came close to seeing that vision, but as of now there are a few relatively new buildings directly in the way of the proposed South Canal.

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Subdude    1286

1-WATE~1.jpg

Look close you can see it just above the bottom of the page

 

On the second page of BBP Masterplan "eastern sector" is the map with the South Canal clearly labeled.  I thought this was common knowledge?  Hence why its called the North Canal and not just "the canal" ...unless I mistakenly read your post incorrectly?

 

That's interesting, thanks.  I can see the point - it would provide additional capacity for floodwater to be moved further  downstream.  Never seen anything about it being developed however.  Of course the North Canal was I believed proposed back in the 1930s, so who knows how long these things can take.

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urban909    156

The city of Houston has withdrawn from bidding on the downtown post office, Mayor Annise Parker wrote in a letter to City Council members Tuesday.

City officials said they wanted to keep their options open in bidding on the site, saying it could have a number of uses, chief among them as a location for the city's planned police and courts complex. Parker's letter also notes the site could give commuter rail an entry point to downtown.

 

 

 

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/City-drops-out-of-bidding-for-downtown-post-office-5475691.php

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Subdude    1286

How does the city withdrawing on bidding on the site keep their options open in bidding on the site? Doesn't withdrawing from bidding preclude bidding on the site? 

 

 

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IronTiger    722

How does the city withdrawing on bidding on the site keep their options open in bidding on the site? Doesn't withdrawing from bidding preclude bidding on the site? 

Well, the city still has a lot of power, and I imagine it has the power to squash (or at least, temper) any development that is too far outside the rim of what they'd like to see there.

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