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cloud713

Uptown - Reversing Suburbanization

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Does anyone ever see the suburban office park style developments in uptown with the large plazas being redeveloped into a more urban format? I was just looking at a satellite view of uptown and it struck me how much wasted space there was with all the plazas. Don't get me wrong, green space is great, and uptown lacks it.. But I think we can all agree the plaza spaces are generally very underutilized.

What if they built a multi level retail addition to the foot of some of these suburban style uptown office/residential towers, coming out to the sidewalk. Or a midrise apartment complex. A boutique hotel.. Or even an entertainment facility with like a movie theater and/or bowling, laser tag, miniature golf, ect. Heck, they could even maintain a plaza/green space on the roof of these new low/mid rise structures.

The plaza around Four Leaf Towers is easily 300,000-400,000 sq ft. That's like 6 or 7 football fields. A ton of potential with this one. You could put a large entertainment complex a few stories tall attached to the base of the towers. Preferably bring in Pelli to design the exterior to complement the towers.

The complex of 3 black towers with the staggered set backs just south of BLVD Place has a triangle courtyard that's a solid 125,000 sq ft.

Would be great for a boutique hotel or apartment mid rise, maybe even with GFR.

50,000 or so sq ft in the triangle in front of Hilton Post Oak.

Would be great for multi level retail/restaurants.

And the same could be said for the large surface parking lots.. Though those almost all belong to single level strip mall developments that will surely be redeveloped in the future anyways..

Do yall think the owners of these properties are going to start seeing dollar signs with these vacant plazas as real estate prices go up, and if so what do you envision/would you like to see around these towers to urbanize Uptown?

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Here are the 3 plazas I referenced.. Though I noticed the Four Leaf Towers has an underground garage, so it might not be possible to build anything on top of that plaza..?

69CA7783-5071-437F-AB97-75A1233D599E.png

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4 Leaf won't re-develop their land. That's prime dog pooping land. Plus they have a great collection of Oaks on their lawn. I actually like the break up of parking lots by these green spaces. I really hope those triplets (the ones by Phillip Johnson, that have the Christmas lights on year round), don't go ahead with a plan they had a few years back to redevelop the space, but I like the trees and the fountain. Once Post Oak is lined with towers in the next decade or so, we will appreciate these space more.

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With the exception of the four leaf towers green area, I'm not sure that the other ones that you mentioned are large enough to support that kind of development. I would much rather see the suburban strip plazas, like the ones on Westheimer and Post Oak (NW and NE, especially NE), and SE corner of San Felipe and Post Oak redeveloped before having that green space disappear.

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Much rather see the single story shopping centers redeveloped first.

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Post Oak Central (Hines) has enormous low rise parking garages that could be reconfigured to add additional buildings.

Why don't commercial properties wrap the garages with offices or something?

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The complex of 3 black towers with the staggered set backs just south of BLVD Place has a triangle courtyard that's a solid 125,000 sq ft.

Would be great for a boutique hotel or apartment mid rise, maybe even with GFR.

 

 

My wife works in one of these buildings. Surprisingly, Post Oak Central does have some GFR already. The parking garages have retail facing the interior surface parking lot (behind the middle building).

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4 Leaf won't re-develop their land. That's prime dog pooping land. Plus they have a great collection of Oaks on their lawn. I actually like the break up of parking lots by these green spaces. I really hope those triplets (the ones by Phillip Johnson, that have the Christmas lights on year round), don't go ahead with a plan they had a few years back to redevelop the space, but I like the trees and the fountain. Once Post Oak is lined with towers in the next decade or so, we will appreciate these space more.

hahaha. they need 7 football fields of land for "dog pooping"? like i said.. they could develop a green space courtyard plaza with dog park or whatever on top of the structure around the base. the real problem here is the underground garage. it would likely have to be redeveloped in order to support a structure above it. though im not sure how extensive it is across the property. interesting that you like the plazas. most people complain about uptown being one big suburban office park. i dig green space. i just think these plazas are being incredibly underutilized in such a high demand real estate market, and belong more with suburban developments. and if i had to choose between surface parking lots and these plazas id take these any day of the week. they just disrupt the flow of urbanity IMO. i had no idea of Post Oak Centrals plan to redevelop the plaza. ill have to look into it. do you know what they wanted to build there?

With the exception of the four leaf towers green area, I'm not sure that the other ones that you mentioned are large enough to support that kind of development. I would much rather see the suburban strip plazas, like the ones on Westheimer and Post Oak (NW and NE, especially NE), and SE corner of San Felipe and Post Oak redeveloped before having that green space disappear.

125,000 sq ft isnt enough for a boutique hotel, or midrise apartment building? thats over 2 football fields.. im talking build these structures right up against the towers, connecting into the lower floors, so the buildings become cohesive mixed use developments. and even the smallest plaza is still larger than a football field. compare it to the buildings around it and it has more than enough room to do something/at least put a multi level shopping structure there.

Post Oak Central (Hines) has enormous low rise parking garages that could be reconfigured to add additional buildings.

Why don't commercial properties wrap the garages with offices or something?

true.. i didnt even take into consideration the surface lot between the garages and the towers.. thats easily another 100k sq ft.

im not sure office wraps are the best plan given companies desires to have large open floor plans, but they would be great for apartments/ a residential component.

My wife works in one of these buildings. Surprisingly, Post Oak Central does have some GFR already. The parking garages have retail facing the interior surface parking lot (behind the middle building).

interesting! i had no idea. though the location of the GFR seems pretty lame if it faces the surface lot between the towers and the garage. it would be cool if they faced towards the plaza and they had a seating/hang out area there to promote pedestrian interaction in the plaza instead of it being vacant.

edit. i agree about the trees at Four Leaf Towers.. they would definitely need to be relocated and/or built around. and yeah the shopping centers are in dire need of redevelopment. agreed. i was just trying to think a little more creative than pointing out the obvious (no offense of course, lol). what if the Uptown TIRZ could come up with enough money to place a bid on one of the shopping centers and develop a full blown urban park there? think about it. those are the only properties left in Uptown that have enough land to build anything substantial. we would forget all about hese little underused plazas that used to be there if there were a big park within walking distance.

Just did the match. That shopping center across from blvd place is sitting on 400,000+ sq ft of land. That's over 9 acres. You could almost build a discovery green there. Heck, I wouldn't mind if the TIRZ built a mixed use tower in one corner of the park to offset some of the land/park costs

Edited by cloud713

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hahaha. they need 7 football fields of land for "dog pooping"? like i said.. they could develop a green space courtyard plaza with dog park or whatever on top of the structure around the base. the real problem here is the underground garage. it would likely have to be redeveloped in order to support a structure above it. though im not sure how extensive it is across the property. interesting that you like the plazas. most people complain about uptown being one big suburban office park. i dig green space. i just think these plazas are being incredibly underutilized in such a high demand real estate market, and belong more with suburban developments. and if i had to choose between surface parking lots and these plazas id take these any day of the week. they just disrupt the flow of urbanity IMO. i had no idea of Post Oak Centrals plan to redevelop the plaza. ill have to look into it. do you know what they wanted to build there?

Well since it's not really on Post Oak Blvd., They could maybe one day reconfigure their Plaza to add another Tower. I just don't see how it would be too feasible to build something additionally without completely removing the Oak Trees. I doubt the Condo owners would approve of that. I think the attraction of the property (to the buyers) is the seclusion. 

 

Post Oak Central had plans... uhh... circa 2005-7ish to redevelop their main plaza into GFR, taking away the fountain if IRC. But I think they went with what they have now in the parking garage. 

 

I'm all for the urban canyon that will eventually be Post Oak Blvd., but I think the focus shouldn't be the little patches of greenery that we have now (and hopefully keep), but instead the suburban development like the strip malls and surface lots that currently blight the boulevard. Like the Dillard's surface lot, Zone D'Erotica, Shell Station, Grand Lux - Canyon Cafe strip center, Container Store - Maggiano's strip center, Mo's, Masraff's strip center, the AT&T/Willie G's Block, The Older Condo/Apartments behind McDonald's...

 

Continue with the Homestead Suites along 610, not to mention the huge amount of strip centers along Richmond, Sage, and Westhiemer (and even down San Felipe).

 

But seriously, how much green space is there, and you want to knock off the little bit there is? Come on Cloud...

 

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I intentionally left out blocks that have plans of redevelopment (that we know of).

 

Edit: I forgot to highlight that weird strip center with the bridal shops in it above that old hotel that was knocked down.

Edited by Montrose1100
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Montrose.. See bolded text below. Oh, and the part after where I proposed to create a full blown park out of one of the strip centers in part to replace these patches of land.. Those plazas are pathetic excuses for "green space". Uptown needs a legit park.

edit. i agree about the trees at Four Leaf Towers.. they would definitely need to be relocated and/or built around. and yeah the shopping centers are in dire need of redevelopment. agreed. i was just trying to think a little more creative than pointing out the obvious (no offense of course, lol). what if the Uptown TIRZ could come up with enough money to place a bid on one of the shopping centers and develop a full blown urban park there? think about it. those are the only properties left in Uptown that have enough land to build anything substantial. we would forget all about hese little underused plazas that used to be there if there were a big park within walking distance.

Just did the match. That shopping center across from blvd place is sitting on 400,000+ sq ft of land. That's over 9 acres. You could almost build a discovery green there. Heck, I wouldn't mind if the TIRZ built a mixed use tower in one corner of the park to offset some of the land/park costs

This was supposed to be a more creative outside the box approach to creating urbanity in Uptown instead of just pointing out the sprawling strip malls everyone always talks about redeveloping.. Edited by cloud713

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Montrose.. See bolded text below. Oh, and the part after where I proposed to create a full blown park out of one of the strip centers in part to replace these patches of land.. Those plazas are pathetic excuses for "green space". Uptown needs a legit park.

This was supposed to be a more creative outside the box approach to creating urbanity in Uptown instead of just pointing out the sprawling strip malls everyone always talks about redeveloping..

How dare you belittle me on this forum!

 

I know those plazas are pathetic excuses, but it's what we currently have. I doubt developers would add some serious needed greenery. It's crazy how much potential there is for Uptown alone with all the suburban development that has held on for so long. It just seems odd to me that you would want to have these spaces redeveloped when there is an unfathomable amount of low density in all directions. I know it's all hypothetical i'm just constructively criticizing your ideas. At least I hope you take it that way (before the permanent marker & highlighter designs come out  :P).

 

Edit: I think the best place for a nice big park would be the grand lux - canyon cafe strip center. Will it ever happen? doubtful, but it would be a perfect spot.

Edited by Montrose1100
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(before the permanent marker & highlighter designs come out :P).

Edit: I think the best place for a nice big park would be the grand lux - canyon cafe strip center. Will it ever happen? doubtful, but it would be a perfect spot.

Hahaha! I don't think those professional schematics are necessary to get the point across that I'm trying to make. ;)

Interesting preference on park location. Imo there isn't enough residential/pedestrian activity in that area to warrant the park in that location. Aside from the complex to the west of Grand Lux, all the activity on the south side of uptown is in the galleria or south of it. It just seems like the norther portion is where all the action is at/the majority of the new residential projects are being built.

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Montrose.. See bolded text below. Oh, and the part after where I proposed to create a full blown park out of one of the strip centers in part to replace these patches of land.. Those plazas are pathetic excuses for "green space". Uptown needs a legit park.

This was supposed to be a more creative outside the box approach to creating urbanity in Uptown instead of just pointing out the sprawling strip malls everyone always talks about redeveloping..

It's not creative. It's actually one of the laziest ways to redevelop, and one of the worst. People have gotten into riots over losing green space (Turkey), and a hallmark of oppressive urbanism.

 

Since large open spaces in Uptown are mostly extinct now, the only way is demolition of existing buildings. Which buildings to demolish, of course, is up for debate.

 

Green spaces aren't parks--that's what Memorial is for. Could Memorial Park be better integrated with Uptown? Yes. But that's not what you're talking about, and a topic for another day.

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How dare you belittle me on this forum!

 

I know those plazas are pathetic excuses, but it's what we currently have. I doubt developers would add some serious needed greenery. It's crazy how much potential there is for Uptown alone with all the suburban development that has held on for so long. It just seems odd to me that you would want to have these spaces redeveloped when there is an unfathomable amount of low density in all directions. I know it's all hypothetical i'm just constructively criticizing your ideas. At least I hope you take it that way (before the permanent marker & highlighter designs come out  :P).

 

Edit: I think the best place for a nice big park would be the grand lux - canyon cafe strip center. Will it ever happen? doubtful, but it would be a perfect spot.

 

Less than doubtful, I'd say.  A several acre parcel, at least, on the corner of Post Oak and Westheimer?  Someone would have to give up a lot of money to make that happen.

 

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The only parks likely to happen in the heavily developed Post Oak corridor will be pocket parks eked out by developers and the uptown tirz.

 

http://www.uptown-houston.com/about/page/vision-for-the-future

 

edit: i do not think we will have to wait too long to see some of the strip centers go higher density.  the rents have to be going through the roof and just how long can properties like post oak shopping center justify the current mix of retail at current rates?  i'm not in the commercial real estate industry, maybe someone in the game could better assess what is likely to happen with the lower density shopping centers along post oak.

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4 Leaf won't re-develop their land. That's prime dog pooping land. Plus they have a great collection of Oaks on their lawn. I actually like the break up of parking lots by these green spaces. I really hope those triplets (the ones by Phillip Johnson, that have the Christmas lights on year round), don't go ahead with a plan they had a few years back to redevelop the space, but I like the trees and the fountain. Once Post Oak is lined with towers in the next decade or so, we will appreciate these space more.

The green at Four Leaf is above a parking garage. And it's private property owned by the HOA. I'm surprised it doesn't have a big fence around it, which likely will happen at some point. I remember when they built those towers. They looked huge. The big issue with the 4 Leaf has been the lack of balconies, which many Texans want in a high rise.

Edited by Dakota79

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Less than doubtful, I'd say.  A several acre parcel, at least, on the corner of Post Oak and Westheimer?  Someone would have to give up a lot of money to make that happen.

 

I know the idea is inconceivable, but I just imagined walking through that land with grass, trees, Williams Tower, BBVA (and future office/residential), and the Ethan Allen/sakowitz fur building peering above the tree line made me excited. If I were the Czar I would make it happen. But I'm not, and so it won't.

 

The only parks likely to happen in the heavily developed Post Oak corridor will be pocket parks eked out by developers and the uptown tirz.

 

http://www.uptown-houston.com/about/page/vision-for-the-future

 

edit: i do not think we will have to wait too long to see some of the strip centers go higher density.  the rents have to be going through the roof and just how long can properties like post oak shopping center justify the current mix of retail at current rates?  i'm not in the commercial real estate industry, maybe someone in the game could better assess what is likely to happen with the lower density shopping centers along post oak.

When they say "added" greenery on San Felipe, are they talking about the medians or the little park with the big mosaic tile bench? I remember switsg saying a while back (maybe the Uptown Park thread), that there are plans to completely change them into a higher density, but some of them have leases that won't go up for a very long time and/or their owners are not looking to sell in the near future.

 

The green at Four Leaf is above a parking garage. And it's private property owned by the HOA. I'm surprised it doesn't have a big fence around it, which likely will happen at some point. I remember when they built those towers. They looked huge. The big issue with the 4 Leaf has been the lack of balconies, which many Texans want in a high rise.

All this time I thought it was a naturally formed trapezoid hill... Just kidding. The lack of balconies may have been an issue in the past, but I recently read they have become quite popular (filling up quickly, when the economy started heating up).

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33yid93.jpg
So this is my hypothetical park. Obviously the retail would be booted from the Ethan Allen building, and would be turned into a venue, resteraunt for the park. Little fountain, with European palace courtyard and flower gardens surrounded by Italian cypress. The yellow clouds are supposed to be oak trees. Sorry, but they are our signature. I wasn't sure what to do with the rest of it, so use your imagination. I would like to fill it with European foliage and kinda piggy back Uptown Park in that respect.

 

Edit: I realize now the Future office is not how far back the BBVA property line goes. I guess Google maps it out of date? Aint been down dat McCue long time.

Edited by Montrose1100
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The big issue with the 4 Leaf has been the lack of balconies, which many Texans want in a high rise.

True. And they also lack fire sprinkler systems in every unit. I think I am correct when I says that They have them in the common areas but not in the units (unless an owner has retrofitted). That was the code back in 1982. A fatal fire there about a decade ago may have been avoided had there been full sprinkler coverage installed (as is the code now).

Personally, I think that the green space is welcomed.

Edited by UtterlyUrban

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On 11/11/2014 at 2:19 PM, Montrose1100 said:

How dare you belittle me on this forum!

 

I know those plazas are pathetic excuses, but it's what we currently have. I doubt developers would add some serious needed greenery. It's crazy how much potential there is for Uptown alone with all the suburban development that has held on for so long. It just seems odd to me that you would want to have these spaces redeveloped when there is an unfathomable amount of low density in all directions. I know it's all hypothetical i'm just constructively criticizing your ideas. At least I hope you take it that way (before the permanent marker & highlighter designs come out  :P).

 

Edit: I think the best place for a nice big park would be the grand lux - canyon cafe strip center. Will it ever happen? doubtful, but it would be a perfect spot.

 

 

speaking of canyon cafe...it seems they have completely gutted out all of canyon cafe and the old relax the back store...with the rug store closing up soon, does anyone know if they are knocking down the whole stand alone building those 3 are/were housed in or are they just renovating? it seems to me they are knocking it down...and if so, i wonder what is planned for that space?

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Expect some massive changes once the Post Oak BRT project is finished. Developers are just waiting. 

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27 minutes ago, Montrose1100 said:

Bus Rapid Transit

Thank you.

 

i have never understood how a bus lane on Post oak will be impactful.  Others may legitimately think that it will be.  I hope that they are right. But, to me, its a "huh"?  I see buses on Post oak more like the "Greenlink" downtown.  Every time I see those Greenlink buses, they are essentially empty.  It's good to have but really it isn't  used  much (at least when I see them).  Hopefully Post oak will be hugely better.

Edited by UtterlyUrban
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