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H-Town Man

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H-Town Man last won the day on December 15 2020

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  1. I think they found evidence of oil and gas at the construction site and are going to go ahead and frack the site before proceeding further with construction.
  2. Update from a Costar interview with Mark Cover, CEO of Hines Southwest Region: "At this point, Texas Tower will reach its TCO [temporary certificate of occupancy], its official completion, I guess, in another 60 days, and maybe a little bit sooner," Cover said. "We’re around 50% leased." As for the remaining available space at Texas Tower, Cover said prospects are interested in the high-rise for a variety of reasons. "We’ve got some great conversations going on with some companies who are looking to either make a significant upgrade in their systems and in their offering to their employees, or coming into the market who haven’t been there before, or in one case coming into the country and looking for an image that goes with that building," he said.
  3. Was the photo in the print edition? Not that it matters much.
  4. Exxon added its last highrise there in 1994 and it was a nice one, so the office district still had legs into the 90's. For the mall, the "Gunspoint" reputation had already set in by the early 90's. Whoever thought of that little nickname really did a number on the place, let me tell you. It said something when even your parents knew the slang term. The blame I've always heard is on all the cheap apartment complexes that were built around the office district. That's what brought the bus routes.
  5. I was in Greenspoint over the weekend and thought a little about this forgotten area. Driving in I noticed how nice all the lawns were around the office buildings with trees lining the roadways. My wife commented, "Houston really does have nice trees." It occurred to me what a shame it was that all of this was going to waste. Office occupancy for that submarket is about 45%. A group of office buildings sold there a couple of years ago for around $30/SF - they would have been worth more in Amarillo. The whole area kind of said "80's" to me, and of course, the 80's is pretty down right now. But it won't be forever. In 10 or 15 years, people are going to say "Ahh! The 80's!" the same way that 15 or 20 years ago they started to say, "Ahh! Mid-century!" And then Greenspoint will be a really hot commodity, assuming it's still there and hasn't been totally disfigured by renovations. The place has a pretty decent skyline for a suburban office complex, taller than most suburban skylines, thanks to the money and power of oil. If Houston could just find some office user that would look on these buildings as the gems that they are.
  6. No one has mentioned The Book Collector in Rice Village, which back in the 1990's filled the little house at the southeast corner of Morningside and University. They specialized in first editions, Civil War, and Napoleonic history, as well as very expensive toy soldiers. All over the main room were first editions of books like The Great Gatsby, The Sound and the Fury, Catch-22, Rebecca, The Old Man and the Sea, etc., priced at thousands apiece, enticingly displayed, but if you touched one of them, an alarm went off. The owner was a heavyset man named James Taylor (IIRC) who would talk your ear off if you looked like you had money and pretty much ignore you if you didn't. If you were the well-dressed wife of one of his toy soldier collectors (these miniatures ran $500-$1,000 apiece) coming to buy a gift for her husband, he would lick the bottoms of your shoes. It was difficult to browse and focus on what you were looking at with the sound of his sycophancy bellowing through the store. Then there were his declarations that he had "the best selection in the South," that he'd "pay more for your books than anyone in the South." I will give him this much credit: he was a unique person in a unique place, of a type that was disappearing from the world. I look at Google Earth and am surprised to see 1/4 Price Books still in the same location on South Shepherd that I remember visiting 20 years ago. I would not go there again but I do credit the owner for staying in business. We chatted a bit about books and then I brought to the counter a copy of The Savage Mind by Claude Levi-Strauss. He loudly remarked, "Levi-Strauss! The good stuff!" with a look of mockery, as though to question the caliber of my reading. I think he thought I was getting a book about the maker of blue jeans rather than the French anthropologist. Becker's Books is another one where my one or two visits 15-20 years ago will have to do, I have no desire to ever go back. Decent selection though, and perhaps time has mellowed the owner? There is something about running a used book shop in Houston that brings out the "big fish in a small pond" syndrome to an unbearable degree. The one place whose owner was congenial was Copperfield's on Louetta at Champion Forest Dr. He had the kindly demeanor and quiet manner that one envisions in a used book shop owner. The selection wasn't anything special - I suppose he was dependent on what people brought in - but his character sticks in my memory. The shop is long gone now; hope he came out well in the end.
  7. Since Hindesky's photo was taken, depicting a property that had been searching for a tenant for a couple years already, the pandemic landed a gutpunch to the office market and the aspirational multi-block development that was to partially surround this building declared bankruptcy.
  8. Houston isn't built on sand, it's built on clay (with some sand), which fluctuates over time and is a more serious problem for roads and building foundations. There's a reason landscapers put sand under paving stones when they want them to stay put. I think the places out west that have sand also have bedrock, which is even better. All the rainfall doesn't help either. Makes the soil expand and contract.
  9. The Cosmopolitan is like the short guy who shows up at the park to play basketball with the other guys and just won't take the hint.
  10. I agree about the Vatican (and I am Catholic), and Rome in general. The 90th baroque church with plaza and fountain in front, and statue group inside the fountain, makes you want to puke. I guess I'm trying to keep A&M from becoming its own Vatican. I do think D.C. is tasteful though, especially as there's just the one grand mall, and it's not terribly grand, in fact sort of modest and spare. I've always loved taking visitors to A&M and seeing how they react to all the symbolism and lore. It really makes an impression on people.
  11. That is an impressive list of allees you've been to. So... can an allee be overused? Like if there are half a dozen of them at the same college campus, including two crammed into a small park mostly used for tailgating? Do you really think that I'm attacking the Aggie ring and what it stands for? As for the comparison to Nuremberg, no, not pseudo-fascistic, just grandiose and overdone - which should have been pretty clear from my post. To me, the Aggie ring works just fine as simply a ring. It's quite powerful and doesn't need its own monument. Let the ring itself be the monument. You seem to interpret my criticism as antagonism for the school and its traditions. It's really the opposite. Things are cheapened by being overdone.
  12. The athletic program has an arms race for facilities and that's what this is helping. I don't know of any arms race for parks that is affecting academic rankings. The UT campus has plenty of dingy areas, in fact the whole campus has an overall dingy feel, not too different from the Berkeleys of the world, where a little dinginess almost seems like a status symbol, a "we're too great to care" attitude. This is in a part of campus that is not really visible to prospective students other than athletes. As far as Nuremberg, yeah, the grand allees of trees culminating in a giant Aggie ring or grand stadium entrance feels very Nuremberg. Not that I am against allees... the allee of trees approaching the Administration building or between the clock tower and the Academic building are properly majestic and meaningful. The allee along Military Walk with Sbisa framed at one end and Rudder staring down the other end is starting to get a little forced but the effect still works to a degree. But an allee culminating in a giant Aggie ring is just pure bathos. The device has been overused. And who is the statue in the rendering that will be staring down the other allee? Who have they not made a statue of yet? D.X. Bible? John David Crow? Gene Stallings? Sherrill? Slocum? I shudder to think - but wouldn't really be surprised - that it is part of Fisher's extension package?
  13. I guess I'm the only one who liked the place as it was. If you needed a place to go on Main Campus that was informal and low key, to have a private conversation with someone or read a book outside without a thousand people looking at you, Spence was it. I also liked the pull-up bars. I guess there is Research Park but you have to drive there and it doesn't have the same feel. I also don't think this will do anything to make us a Top 10 university. The purpose is to increase the palatial feeling around Kyle Field and it will do that. Feels like Thomas Kinkade and Albert Speer collaborated on the design.
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