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imagoman

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  1. They're offering very good deals. My partner and I just bought one with unobstructed views of the Mosaic, 535 acre Hermann Park, the TMC skyline, Rice, the Village, and even Uptown skyline from THREE balconies in the unit. Less that $400 psf, compared to the Westmore at $600. Beautiful property in the Museum Center with the Red Line a few blocks away. Downtown skyline available for us from the amenities platform. Pumped!
  2. The new retail center on Westheimer, between Mid Lane and West Lane, will see the move and reopening of LePeep Restaurant. It'll be on West Lane toward the back. Another sign of River Oaks District expansion? Perhaps, but as others have noted, it all depends on the ink drying on hotel deal and or a major office tenant to anchor. The new fusion (Asian-Mexican) restaurant in ROD is taking forever to build out, too. On Bettis in the back near the iPic.
  3. Google "Anne Fontaine" and it says (and shows, with a Google map) they're located in ROD. Look at the ROD website, under "Coming Soon," and their name has been removed. I'm betting on "if not 'no,' then definitely 'not yet'!!
  4. I went in John Hardy today. It was IMPRESSIVE. I was very surprised. FYI: The craftmanship, quality and pricing equals Christmas shopping for me.
  5. I'm betting that nothing happens to any of the buildings until they've significantly preleased the office building and /or signed up the major hotel deal they're seeking. And I'll bet it'll be 'and,' because I've heard a normally reliable source say that Equinox Hotel division is extremely interested in the location for a successor hotel to the one they are building now in LA. What is interesting to me is the tremendous amount of work that would be involved in getting all those easements going through the currently surveyed site plan moved! Gotta move em to even come close to building the necessary footprint that OM has planned. Love the gelato place, too. Pumped about going to see Magnificent Seven at the iPic this weekend, and I'm curious to see how it compares to the brilliant original with Yul Brynner and many of Hollywood's all-time stars (McQueen, Eli Wallach, Jim Coburn, Bronson, and Robt Vaughn). If you have never seen the original, do. I don't know how one does that, but it's a great classic film that I discovered on TV reruns years later. Hope it's better than the remake of Ben Hur, about which I heard so many bad reviews I decided to catch it on cable later.
  6. Monarch, my man! I couldn't agree more. And if there was a contest for ugliest highrise residential, this building would get it. Uuuugly! It could almost compete with the Federal Courthouse downtown. Why couldn't they have at least painted the concrete exterior, vs. leaving the institutional (corrections institute?) look? uggghhh! Looking at it several nights a week it looks like they've never cracked 50% occupancy, and if so not by much. WHAT were they thinking?? I'm guessing it'll make Randy Davis' schmalzy tower next door look terrific beside it, however, and the Wilshire even better.
  7. Historically, what Gene describes is, I think, the only way that an Association (whether they're condominiums or townhomes) can trigger acceptance of an offer to purchase for the whole property, only in which a prescribed majority (I've seen 70%-80% as the cutoff) of homeowners have signed off with their approval. These deals are tough to do, and even attempted rarely, in part because not all owners are close enough in the valuation of their homes, including some elderly who love their home so much they overvalue (in terms of the area market). I believe last year I had heard that one of these relatively rare sales did in fact occur across Post Oak Blvd from the McDonalds, and across from Uptown Park's Starbucks. I think that if indeed it did ever close, and I know it was attempted but not sure if it was completed, it was with an agreement for owners to continue to use their property for a modest rent until the developer is actually ready to build . My point is that it is only these types of very prime property that are generally even offered a sales contract. It seems to me that these types of high density townhomes and condos that have see land values skyrocket since first built exist in only certain areas where these buyout deals could make sense sooner rather than later. Sooner: Uptown for sure, River Oaks (see Pelican Builders recent purchases) and Medical Center probably, and mostly because of the strong employment drivers. Later on: Montrose and Kirby, Midtown, west of Uptown, and Memorial City/ Town & Country. my humble opinion. These 'teardown' developments don't even exist downtown. As for The James River Oaks, they don't look too bad to me. And imho, a lot better looking than either morgan's property on mid lane to the north of them (fronting San Felipe), or definitely Millenium fronting both Westheimer and Bettis (with its unsightly back end, now replete with a barbed wire, chain link fence storage area next to ROD. Ayyy! So awful! However, I remember reading that the developer of the James hirise apartments would put some retail on the first floor, or perhaps that was just the office buildings they have planned for the balance of the property. What is incredible and bears watching as the years go by, the James developers announced their intentions to create a nice sized park (2-4 acres) along the RR right of way, on Westheimer, as an amenity for their development and the neighborhood. Now THAT would be something considering the value of that dirt! Full grown adults developing quality stuff! Smart guys! What a beautiful amenity for all those people living and working right there, healing their Nature Deprivation Disorder! Perhaps the City will even recover from its financial weakness in a few decades, rewarding the developers with a purchase. LOL One can dream!
  8. Wow! Such high-quality developments in the few blocks around River Oaks District. The least attractive, imho, by far, are the Millennium Apartments on its east line, particularly the back end along Bettis. I understand they're kids who inherited dad's apt. development biz. Fear of failure produces 'it's ALL about the bottom line' so the quality of the architecture and building materials dropped dramatically on the side furthest from Westheimer. And now we are seeing further 'vision pollution' as they're building some sort of chain link fenced storage area on Bettis. Made me want to throw up as I drove to Hoppdoddy's today. So ugly! I hope Millenium doesn't become a ghetto if this particular apartment submarket is dominated going forward by SkyHouse, Grey House, and the fairly nice James River Oaks over on Mid Lane. We were in both Akris and Jo Malone yesterday...and they're very fine, high quality stores.
  9. Monarch, our buddy with the mostest (news scoops), you are a veritable font of information! And pretty pics, too. Thank you. I hope the brand Equinox can compete with R-C and W. I understand the company that owns the fitness centers is indeed owned by well-funded investors, and I hope it's true. I know O-M will build a great team of architects, engineers, etc. to make Phase II at least as remarkable as Phase I. As for the financing question, I don't know the answer of course, but the implication I received was that they want financing for the entire Phase II (hotel, office and retail...perhaps some highrise condos with the hotel) development. I can understand why they'd want a complete project financing vs. breaking it up. Any feedback from anyone on their experiences of the ROD restaurants, Steak 48 and Taverna? I've not tried either yet, and am curious about the quality and overall dining experience. Thanks in advance.
  10. Thanks, Urbanizzer, for some great photos of wonderful ROD! I'm guessing a droid might've been involved, or some Flash Gordon equipment. I heard a rumor from a buddy yesterday, who claims his source 'definitely knows,' that Equinox has signed a hotel agreement with Oliver McMillan for the 'LePeep / Sullivan's' tract. I think it's called ROD, Phase II. Unfortunately, the source said that like every developer (except perhaps Hines) they cannot obtain financing for the office building and the development until they get a lot more office leasing signatures, especially a chore in this economy. Equinox, the fitness club company, recently announced a hotel division, with their first project being built in LA. I guess movies and TV shows are still selling, much better than energy products and services these days!
  11. I liked this young lawyer's article (he testified for the defendant's): http://urbanedge.blogs.rice.edu/2016/07/15/3819/#.V4qpAfmPu02
  12. Someone referred to ROD coming alive (more?) with the most recent restaurant openings, and that makes sense to me even though I personally am not impressed (quite the opposite) with some of the restaurants. I love ROD, and am excited about the few stores signed and yet to open, like the gelato place, etc. What I find most interesting, however, from a business perspective is how many empty spaces still remain. If one looks at the current site plan in the brochure, there is a LOT of unleased space, much of which could be described as 'among the least attractive locations within the property." I would guess that the somewhat of a recession Houston is experiencing, or slowdown, or employment dips, or whatever a person chooses to describe our current economy, is the primary factor in what seems to me to be a dramatic slowdown and loss of momentum. Just interesting to me, and makes me wonder about the future of ROD in particular, and the undeveloped (and 'to be redeveloped someday') properties surrounding it. I hope this makes sense to you. All thoughts as always are welcome as I continue to enjoy the beauty of ROD's total experience.
  13. Friends were discussing this over lunch today, and someone has read and heard a couple of folks saying this latest court ruling was a victory for the homeowners. It was a huge loss. One person knows the developers, and their partner is so rich, it could afford to buy every home in the subdivision at 150% of value, ie, uber rich. All the delay has done is change the numbers upward, including the prices people will pay to the developers for a first class highrise. The homeowners seem to be affluent who seem to see themselves as either 'special' (entitled) OR victims who chose to make a very ill-advised decision to fight this in the City of Houston, where they never really had a chance (despite one lower court victory) to win this fight. Until huge changes in the law occur (and the City Planning Department), and not just favorable comments from one or a few city politicians, nobody could have won this fight in the Capital of Private Property rights. Sad war, and yet I feel badly for the ill-advised plaintiffs. The defendants will roll when they see a timeline to their now well-deserved profits.
  14. "Must be an Austin thing." This makes total sense to me. I wonder if the blockbuster start, and perhaps the beginning of a successful store, is due in large part to that. As a native Houstonian who has travelled the state extensively, it seems like Austin has become overly romanticized by a million or so folks, mostly UT grads, over the past 25 years or so. I think many Texans with our state pride, with the possible exception of people in and around Bryan-College Station, have always felt a warm spot in our hearts for Austin and the Capitol. But Austin's population growth and national stature has obviously boomed since the nascent days of Austin City Limits and a Chamber of Commerce that has played it smart and well since the 1970's. My love of Austin doesn't overcome by distaste for its horrible traffic and long lines for anything tasty, though as a Texan, I'll always have some warm fuzzies about the town. Hopdoddy's in ROD will continue its success, I'm guessing, and one factor will be 'Austin nostalgia.' Fuddruckers is run by the most shrewd family in the restaurant game, Houston's own Pappas family, and also will continue to succeed, no matter the competition, imho. I can't wait to try the next 3 restaurants to open in ROD this summer either!!!
  15. Okay, HAIFers. I had the Classic Burger, with fries, today. Waited 'only' 45 minutes for lunch, and my perception was except possibly for people who arrived earlier than 11:30 am others waited at least double that time. I agree with thatguysly. Hopdoddy seems like most other gourmet burgers. Certainly very good, and not bad, even for $12 including tip, and a long wait, Sorry, Monarch, though I hate to disappoint such a gentleman and a scholar, but I'll usually be sticking with Whataburger, which personally I like a lot. Especially $5 and 5 minutes. And hopefully, my addiction to In and Out (started as an undergrad at UCLA) when they come here someday will also return out of remission to compete with the King of Texas Hamburgers. :-) I'm sure I'll have a Hop once in a while if it's convenient, and assuming the lines someday return to 'normal.' How about a drive through on Bettis??? JUST kidding!
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