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MaxConcrete

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MaxConcrete last won the day on March 18 2017

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  1. In February 2018 Harris County Commissioners Court was slated to approve a consultant contract to study the project. https://agenda.harriscountytx.gov/2018/2018-02-27ag.pdf I don't know if that consultant contract moved forward to actual implementation. If it did move forward, it would be the first step in resurrecting the project, assuming that the study determines it is feasible.
  2. I count approx 40 floors in the jenga-style design and 33 floors in the sales office advertising board. In both cases I counted one floor for the penthouse, which appears to be as high as 3 regular floors in the jenga design and two regular floors in the sales office design. So assuming the sales office depiction is correct, the height appears to be downsized. Even considering the penthouse and several floors with high ceilings, the sales office design appears to have a height around 400 feet.
  3. You can find a history of Williams Brothers and its owner Doug Pitcock in the Houston Freeways book, see page 55 in the link below. http://dallasfreeways.com/dfwfreeways/pdf/CH1_building_the_system_pp1-91_150.pdf To answer your question: they win all their jobs in the competitive, low-bid-wins bidding process (usually TxDOT and occasionally toll road agencies), so they are very good. Doug Pitcock is a living legend in the Houston construction industry. He has managed the firm so that it seems like it can win any job it wants, although Williams Brothers doesn't necessarily always bid low, since they can be very busy with ongoing jobs. Pitcock will be 91 years old this year. As of around 2014 I know he was still actively running the company. I think he still has that role, but I don't know for certain. Which brings up an interesting question: what happens to Williams Brothers when Pitcock retires, dies, or is no longer able to run the company? Will Williams Brothers still keep its edge? Also, I'm thinking it would be nice if Pitcock lives long enough to see the North Houston Highway Improvement Project completed. It would be a nice crowning achievement to his life. However, the main downtown work is slated to be design-build, and Williams Brothers usually does not do design-build jobs, so WB might only bid on contracts which are not design-build (such as the IH 69 work in Midtown).
  4. My perception is that the express lanes proposal is on hold and not moving forward at this time. The project is not included in HGAC's 2045 plan, which was recently in the public comment mode. In fact, there are no improvements for the West Loop in the 2045 plan. In my opinion that omission is the worst deficiency of the plan, since the West Loop is the #1 most congested section of highway in Texas. I think it will take strong advocacy from the Uptown Houston District to get the project moving. And that could be the problem: maybe the Uptown District (or certain influential interests in Uptown, like the owners of Uptown Park) don't want it.
  5. The Chronicle recently had an extensive article about mass timber, focusing on the potential economic benefits to East Texas. https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/East-Texas-nation-s-wood-basket-13707045.php The article claims that the International Building Code now allows 18-story buildings, and local building codes are expected to be adjusted to allow 18 floors.
  6. https://communityimpact.com/houston/cy-fair/housing-real-estate/2018/12/21/102-acre-tract-containing-weiser-airpark-goes-up-for-sale-in-cy-fair/ The most recent print edition of Community Impact Cy-Fair has this story, and it is updated, stating that the asking price is $24 million, which works out to $235,000 per acre. I don't know anything about land prices in the area, but that seems high. The print article says "the land will most likely be sold to an industrial user, based on current offers". l suppose that most likely means warehouses. The property is mostly bordered by subdivisions, including a large unused peninsula-shaped section of the property on the north side of the air strip. The print article says "the Weiser family plans to maintain ownership of a separate tract of land east of Huffmeister Road, which the family uses to raise cattle." If they get anything near $235K per acre for the airport, I'm thinking they may not be running cattle for very long on the remaining tract.
  7. https://communityimpact.com/houston/cy-fair/housing-real-estate/2018/12/21/102-acre-tract-containing-weiser-airpark-goes-up-for-sale-in-cy-fair/ The most recent print edition of Community Impact Cy-Fair has this story, and it is updated, stating that the asking price is $24 million, which works out to $235,000 per acre. I don't know anything about land prices in the area, but that seems high. The print article says "the land will most likely be sold to an industrial user, based on current offers". l suppose that most likely means warehouses. The property is mostly bordered by subdivisions, including a large unused peninsula-shaped section of the property on the north side of the air strip. The print article says "the Weiser family plans to maintain ownership of a separate tract of land east of Huffmeister Road, which the family uses to raise cattle." If they get anything near $235K per acre for the airport, I'm thinking they may not be running cattle for very long on the remaining tract.
  8. My interpretation of the article in the HBJ is that the initial phase will not be 48 floors, and it sounds like they will add height as market conditions warrant, which of course could be never.
  9. A long time ago, 10 years or more, I recall seeing one or more reports that it would be toll-free. I seem to recall the connector was described as a long on-ramp to the existing toll road. But I don't know that there ever was an official plan or decision for it to be toll free. I think the cost of the project escalated substantially, and that may have contributed to the addition of tolling.
  10. CoH has the right to purchase the property before it can be offered to anyone else or put on the market. I'm not sure about this, but Harris County could also have the same privilege, after CoH. In terms of price, my understanding is that CoH would have to pay market price. Determining the market price is not an exact science and the price could potentially be agreed to be on the low end of a market range and still be in compliance with rules.
  11. I'm wondering if this will have any impact or influence on the plans for the redevelopment of the Imperial Sugar site. There was no activity at the Imperial Sugar site when I drove by a couple months ago. (I don't know if activity has started since then.) I'm thinking the competition from the Grid may make it more difficult for the Imperial Sugar project to proceed.
  12. My assumption that the old Texas Instruments building would be demolished was wrong. (But I think I expected demolition based on the original project depiction, which IIRC appeared to show a parking garage on the main building site.) So it appears the T.I. building will be renovated to become office space. https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2018/09/24/houstons-first-in-n-out-burger-coming-to-mixed-use.html
  13. Tonight's meeting for the north side was well-attended. I arrived just as the main presentation was ending. COH staff said the meeting materials are online, but I can't find anything. The big news to me was not related to the highway but was the proposed railroad consolidation. See the attached image link. (I was not aware of the railroad proposal until tonight.) In short, the proposal is to combine the two east-west railroads into one corridor by building a new section of railroad from around Main street to Houston Street. The railroad serving the Amtrack station and going through UHD would be abandoned. The railroad on the "Be Someone" bridge extending west would also be abandoned. The corridor of the "Be Someone" bridge would be replaced by a road for better neighborhood connectivity, which was listed as one of the three main objectives of COH planning. That new road appears to be part of the plan, regardless of whether or not the railroad relocation actually happens. The benefits of the relocation are huge (see items 1 through 8), and the cost should be affordable. I'm thinking that just eliminating the railroad and the need to build a shoofly where the existing railroad crosses IH-10 east of Elysian could save $15-25 million, and maybe another $10 million for the elimination of a shoofly on the "Be Someone" bridge. As listed in bullet 5, the railroad removal would make the North Canal possible. Another project in this area is the bypass canal for White Oak bayou. I think I may have heard about it previously, but it probably has a greater probability of being built post-Harvey. http://dallasfreeways.com/dfwfreeways/Houston/20180904-0013-2000.jpg http://dallasfreeways.com/dfwfreeways/Houston/20180904-0012-2560.jpg
  14. Actually, the 2017 HCTRA financial statement says $134 million in toll revenue was skimmed off for "funding a county thoroughfare program to increase general mobility." Each of the three original sections of the Sam Houston Tollway generate around $100 million year (actually $105, $89 and $103 million going clockwise from IH 69 Southwest Freeway). Toll payers on these 3 segments are basically bankrolling HCTRA's surplus and slush fund. I can assure you that there really is no realistic alternative to the Sam Houston Tollway from IH 69 to IH 10. Try taking Gessner or Willcrest. It takes a *long* time even in light traffic conditions. So when someone says "Don't use them", that person is disconnected from reality. I think it is good to ask questions about 1) If the tollpayers on the Sam Houston Tollway original 3 segments should be bankrolling these surpluses into perpetuity 2) If tolls should be removed from any or all of those sections at some point in time
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