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About SMUrban

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    San Diego, CA
  1. SMUrban

    Discovery Green

    Just looked over the final design for the park again and it is going to be amazing. Great job with the budget, limited space, etc. Truly a unique setting for this part of the country.
  2. Unfortunately your stats don't mean squat to retailers. It is a generally accepted rule of thumb that it takes a base of 10,000 residents in an urban/downtown setting to support general retail. The sad fact is that daytime population is meaningless because the people are there to work and not shop. They will eat and buy stamps and run small errands (tunnel businesses), but they do not make significant purchases such of soft goods (clothes) and certainly do not buy appliances and furniture. Everyday retail will not exist nor thrive until Houston reaches that magical number of 10,000 residents. These retailers will not (and should not from a business standpoint) take the risk of opening a store in the urban core when they can plop down a cookie cutter store with the stock design, stock sq ft and stock clientele in suburbia and make a nice profit. They only open stores in urban areas such as Chicago and NYC because that is where the population is. I don't like it, but these are the rules and Houston has to play by them.
  3. SMUrban

    Bayou Place

    I understand your point about the amusement aspects of their projects, I dislike the Disneyfication of a lot of town center type developments, but that is what Cordish is known for and this is supposed to be an amusement type property. You might as well make the project what it is intended to be. If by class you mean deserted with a constantly rotating roster of tenants, then you're right, Bayou Place does have class.
  4. Naming rights don't automatically go to the largest tenant in a building. Some landlords offer it as an incentive or perk to lure a large tenant, but in most cases when a building has low vacancy levels, the naming rights are leased or sold to the highest bidder. If the building is leased up and the landlord doesn't have to give it away to lure a tenant, it becomes a lucrative income stream for the building's owner.
  5. SMUrban

    Bayou Place

    I hope Cordish gets rid of the lease they hold from the city. Overall the projects the company has done have been outstanding, not so much in Houston. Browse their website and see how Houston got screwed. Cordish
  6. I hate to be the lone voice on descent, but I see nary a resemblance between these two "projects". First Victory is a $3 billion+ development that is in the middle of phase two. The chance that the project completes all phases is very high considering over the last year they have gained a number of financial backers that are serious players. The only similarity between the two "projects" is that they both contain a park, although the Victory one is a couple acres at best. Houston has yet to see dirt move on the park or the tower so let us all hold our comparisons for now. I do have high hopes for both the park and tower, but if that area of DT was to develop exactly as my wildest dream, it would not really compare to Victory. Victory is an amazing development that any city would be lucky to have (wish it was Houston). I think a more fair comparison would be to the Hardy Yard Project. Both the Dallas and Houston site would be considered brownfield sites and are comparable in size and pretty goddamn close in shape of the parcel. They are both also about the same distance from their respective downtowns and should have the same product mix, although I don't think Hardy Yards will be as upscale as Victory, but that's not a bad thing (better neighborhood feel).
  7. Great Photos. In your first post, 2nd photo, where is that. Looks very unique and well restored. Reminds me of old buildings in Chicago, I can practically see the Uno Pizzeria sign.
  8. My general thoughts on this project are good. It's hard to complain when you get an announcement like this for Downtown Houston. Not only is this more residential units for DT, but it is NEW construction. Even Dallas which is experiencing a major boom in both for sale and rental high rise construction, cannot claim a new residential building in the CBD, not to mention one that is 37 stories (I only use Dallas as the example because I'm very familiar with the development there and it has been a very active and hot market for new residential high rise construction, I'm not trying to start a pissing match. Also, I'm aware that the new 7-11 headquarters will have residential, but since this building will be exclusively residential that is the criteria I was using). Another huge thing for DT is getting the market. It's been said by people who know that is takes 2500 residents to support a grocer and 10,000 to support general retail. To get from one to the other you need that grocer in there. The Chron article said that DT has 3000+ residents but as far as I know there is no real grocery store. Since that is the case, the amount of residents in DT was probably not going to grow larger until that grocer moved in. It remains to be seen what kind of market will open, if it is similar to the Urban Market in DT Dallas, that would be a great step. http://www.urbanmarketdallas.com/ The negatives of this project as I see them are location and architecture. With the new park, this site becomes probably one of the top three development sites in the entire city. I say it's a negative because I wish this building was a for sale project. I realize there is a ground lease involved so ownership is out of the question, but I believe having a true condo tower in the premier part of the city would do more for DT than having a rental building. My second gripe is with the architecture. I realize Mr. Finger is taking a big risk right off the bat with this project, but I wish he took a greater risk with the architecture. A monumental building in this location as the front door to the park and with the back drop of the city, he had an amazing opportunity to create something truly unique in this city and quite frankly this country. I would have preferred something more modern in shape and material. Masonry buildings (brick) don't look right when they are built as skyscrapers. I'm all for masonry mid-rises and townhomes, etc, but I believe high-rises are the domain of steel and glass, to each his own... The two negatives are minor and one is a matter of my personal taste. I will say one more thing about the architecture though, Houston has some great buildings in the skyline and that spirit of cutting edge architecture has been lost. The last architecturally significant building built was the Enron addition and although I love it, it wasn't that risque. It simply complemented the tower that was already there. I hope the next generation of buildings in DT are more cutting edge. The positives far outweigh the minor negatives of this project. It is a great day for Houston and hopefully this will be a sign of things to come.
  9. According to the above link and article from Oct. 24 2005, construction is scheduled to start in 4Q of 2006. Has anyone heard anything? By now, or very at least soon, we should see plans or more definite plans at least.
  10. Trump said he was "scouting" locations in Dallas. This came out in the paper a few weeks before he was to speak at a motivational seminar. The general thought was that he did this to get his name in the paper and it has been documented that he has pulled the same trick in other cities before similar seminars. The condo market in Dallas is white hot, but there are no firm or even preliminary plans for a Trump branded development.
  11. Judging by the website, they don't seem to be a developer. They are more of a land investment firm so I imagine they try to flip the land for a nice profit. That's a shame because for the price the land sold for, a developer could have done something amazing.
  12. SMUrban

    Discovery Green

    It's actually a substation, and it is not owned by the city so I believe there is little they can do. I agree that it has to go. The costs associatedwith moving it under ground are probably astronomical and only work in cities like NY. The only hope of it going anywhere is when land values increase such that the company is compelled to sell and move to another location. I will say that as substations go, it is dressed up quite nice. It has decorative lighting that changes color and actually adds to the street scape at ground level.
  13. SMUrban

    Discovery Green

    You make a good point. In an ideal world we would build an amazing park in an area of town where there can be redevelopment in an unimpeded 360 degree radius around the park. However, after studying the parcels that are around the park site I think this will work well, if not better than having the park in a rundown area. You have the convention center and hotel on the front door of park which guarantees you a steady stream of built in users (assuming they venture out of their rooms, meeting and otherwise). You also have the TC which is a block away. I don't believe the TC will directly effect attendance at the park, but people going to the games will notice the park and that may translate into more users on following visits to downtown Houston. The most exciting thing about the location is the open lots around the park. If the lots surrounding the park are developed and prove to be successful, I predict that the area between the park and MMP fills up next. On the opposite side of the park in the TC, HP and Park triangle you have a very desirable area to build residential. Not only does it have the cache of being near the Four Season, but you have a nice pocket park (forgot the name, Root - Brown?) which is always nice to walk out the front door too. The amenities that developers look for when they are building in Urban areas are all there, parks (quality of life issue), entertainment (TC and HP) and you have the first substantial quality commercial downtown in HP. All developers want critical mass and traffic, even without HP this site has it. All it takes is one developer to take a leap and build a quality product and the area from Leeland to Texas could become a great livable neighborhood. I'm afraid land prices (I hate speculators) might prevent this from happening, let's hope a developer has some foresight (and some land already under his control) to start this thing off.
  14. SMUrban

    Discovery Green

    I would have liked to attend the unveiling, but I live in Dallas, if anyone could give a recap I know it would be appreciated. As for the timing of projects in Houston, for being fans of development and spending lots of time talking about it, there are a large number of clueless posters as to project costs and time lines. Just because a project is announced, doesn't mean it will break ground the next month. There are tremendous lag times involved in any development. And we are lucky in Texas, try developing on either coasts and you are in for a major shock. As for the cost, I think the park is a bargain. This park is not simply throwing out some grass seed and creating open space, there are buildings, real landscaping and water features that start adding up real quickly, especially in this day and age of sky rocketing construction materials. This is by no means the perfect park, it is however unlike anything else in the city of Houston and Texas in general.
  15. SMUrban

    Sage Place

    I did a forum search and it didn't return any hits and I haven't seen anything on this posted... Sage Place: Mixed Use 33 Story, 307 Residential units 2 levels and 88k+ sq.ft of retail 828 parking spots No location given other than Houston, TX I don't know how to post the picture, so maybe someone with more knowledge can do it, here's the website: http://www.wdg-habib.com/mixed-use.html
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