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Everything posted by TheNiche

  1. And when you respond, Plastic, can you try very hard not to mistype it? I know I'm asking a lot, but...
  2. Highway 6 and I know that -- we don't care.
  3. If this is what Coog was referencing, then he needs to remember that an office project with significant competitive advantage over another competitive groups of buildings can either charge higher rents or expect to lease up quickly and stabilize at an occupancy that is higher than the other competitive buildings. They have the locational advantage and would make for a good investment. If Coog's objective is to further development in a particular place, like the CBD, then this is bad. If you get sexually aroused, as I do , at the idea of a successful business venture (regardless of location or characteristics), then this is good.
  4. Here's my hypothetical scenario for a major (4/5) hurricane strike on the Houston area: Galveston is in very bad shape. The west end is desolate, sliced into a series of islands seperated by channels that will heal only as the tides reshape the shoreline. FM 3005 has been reduced to a few asphalt boulders, but mostly pebbles. If there is anyone left on the West End, it will likely be a few days before help arrives. The East End is somewhat better off. Flood damage is bad on just about every first and second story of most every structure. The water managed to top the seawall, but only by a few feet. Still, every retail store has been flooded and there isn't anything left worth looting, so crime really doesn't become a problem. One big problem: several barges were lashed together and to a pier at a private terminal to try and ride out the storm. They broke loose and slammed into the causeway, causing a catastrophic collapse. The rail bridge has also been damaged. It can be repaired, but will take a few days before anyone is permitted to cross in vehicles. For now, those on the island are stranded there; the only good news is that Galvestonians understood the danger, and the vast majority got out before the storm. Texas City did not fare so well. Several tank farms were severely damaged, releasing toxic chemicals into the flood waters. Oil is bad, but this stuff was worse. Despite having an excellent earthen levy system, the storm surge was high enough to enter the city from around the ends of the levies. People were less prone to evacuate, and the city and many of its residents are now bathed in a chemical soup. Galveston Bay's ecosystem will be damaged for years to come. From Tiki Island along the coast to Morgan's Point, and then back into Deer Park, Friendswood, and even towards Alvin, homes have become caked with mud and snakes. Many roofs are gone. Some neighborhoods, such as San Leon as one notable example, don't even exist anymore. Except for many broken windows, the Inner Loop area and points north and west fared well. Downtown is off limits while glass shards are cleared from the streets. It will reopen within days, although power may be off for weeks. On the whole, the Houston area takes it pretty well. We've got a lot of housing stock that had previously been unoccupied that fills up. The average household size increases by a quarter of a person overnight, as many relatives and friends from across town cluster together temporarily. Some people and companies relocate to Dallas or San Antonio, never to return, but most just relocate in the massive chunks of vacant office or flex/office warehouse space over the course of several months. For the white collar worker, life returns to normalcy within a couple months. Blue collar labor sees an economic boom. Housing repairs/reconstruction commences en masse, as Federal disaster relief and insurance flows into the Bayou City. That is pretty much that. The Houston area will absorb most of its own losses, but will perservere and overcome the challenge. We'll probably also drain many nearby metropolitan areas of their illegal immigrants for the span of about a year, so their cost of living may rise a little, too.
  5. My understanding from various people in the insurance business is that attempting to insure coastal properties at low elevations is essentially impossible, as high as the premiums are. If you're in an area covered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you're a little better off, but are still in a pretty precarious spot. I'm not sure if the NFIP applies to Galveston's west end, and when the big one (or even the moderate one) hits, it is going to be ugly. As for the interstates as evacuation routes, bear in mind that they were originally built under the guise of civil defense so that people could evacuate cities prior to aircraft dropping nuclear bombs. But cities were less populous then, and the rationale is obsolete. The only reason freeways have gotten wider inside metropolitan areas is to accomodate commuters. These things are not evacuation-friendly anymore. It would be wonderful if we could expand I-45 and I-10 to three continuous lanes connecting the 'Asphalt Triangle' in Texas, if only for the benefit of travelers and freight trucks, but I wouldn't bet on it. Also don't bet on carpooling. For a lot of people, vehicles represent a big chunk of their earnings. They aren't just going to be left at home if it can be helped...and its hard to blame people for that, either.
  6. It doesn't work that way. There is a phenomenon known as 'supply and demand'. The quantity of a good demanded (in this case parking spaces) is dependent upon the price level. If the demand is held constant and the supply is increased by building new parking garages, then there will be greater competition among suppliers for a finite number of customers. Assume that lot vacancy starts off at 95%, but we add enough spaces that vacancy goes down to 80%. One really large lot owner figures out that he can fill his lot up to 100% by charging $1 less per day than all of his competitors (the market). Suddenly, all the smaller lot owners see their vacancy rates skyrocket, forcing them to lower their prices in order to remain competitive, with their lots attempting to maximize income. The quantity of parking demanded increases because the market price has fallen. Builders of parking garages will take note of the lower revenues that can be acheived by building garages and will not be as likely to invest money in such a venture because attempting to charge more money than the market is would result in an almost completely vacant lot. This would have multiple external effects on markets beyond that for parking. For instance, by reducing the market price of parking, the quantity of spaces demanded shifts upward (again, holding the demand schedule constant). Having more spaces demanded means that there will likely be marginally less ridership of mass transit and less carpooling because the incentives are lesser, but it will also induce many people to come downtown who would not previously have done so because parking was too difficult/expensive. With more people downtown, retail businesses (wherever they are physically located) will be made better off, creating increased demand for retail space. It is difficult to add new tunnel space, but is relatively easy to add street-level space as part of new and some existing development, so that would be the likely outcome. A long-term effect of less expensive parking is that companies will be more likely to locate their firms in the CBD because the effective wage (net of parking) that they can pay labor increases when the cost of parking goes down; equivalently they don't have to pay as much to labor in order to make labor feel as though it is getting a fair deal. With more companies located in the CBD, there are more people in the CBD, resulting in greater demand for retail services, and ultimately, for retail space.
  7. I've closely watched the plans as they've unraveled for this site. Prior renderings showed considerably less ambitious plans, but these are completely new, albeit not entirely unexpected. Given the 'Grand Central Station' concept that is planned, there really couldn't be a better spot for new office space than in this development. They will have a serious competitive advantage, and the renderings that they show appear to incorporate a central corridor through the middle of the whole development that could provide a great ease of pedestrian movement. If they work it well, they'll be in an excellent position to capture major office tenants that otherwise would have located in the CBD. In fact, this is one case where (of all people) Plastic's ideas would be well-suited. The pedestrian transport system that he'd come up with a few months ago could easily connect the transit hub with the further-reaches of this development without the pesky issues related to its implementation in existing areas of the city. The only downside here is that financing could be difficult to obtain if they were trying to go forward with the whole project at once. From the looks of the renderings, it can easily be segmented into phases, which would likely be built out over the course of many years. Of course, that's just my speculation. If I had a billion dollars to throw around, I'd put it all up at once, betting that I could establish a critical mass of density that would have a synergistic effect on the lease-up process.
  8. Down here, the most of the hardwoods have just let out vividly-colored green leaves and the rain that we received this morning should hasten the process of removing leafless trees from our roadsides. Wildflowers are also in bloom, although they're far from their peak. It is only unfortunate that gas is as pricey as it is...this is almost the perfect time of the year to take day trips.
  9. Agreed. Perhaps more importantly, by increasing the inventory of available parking spaces, they are cannibalizing demand from the market for other parking spaces. With less demand, the revenue stream from parking lots on vacant blocks is reduced, which makes surface parking more difficult to justify as the highest and best use of land in the CBD. It also removes a substantial chunck of vacant office space from the CBD market; a tighter market makes development more palatable. The bottom-line result is a higher probability that nearby blocks will be developed in the nearer future.
  10. Fat is an odd issue. Too much or not enough of it can be an indicator of an unhealthy population. Of course, in my mind, the word "healthy" can be taken a couple different ways: physical and psychological. Having too little fat, controlling for genetic factors, would be an indicator that a given individual (and I hate to talk about whole cities without being provided a complete demographic breakdown of each marginal degree of fatness) is either critically poor and not receiving social services or that the individual is not eating enough of their own free volition (i.e. anorexia). Having too much fat can have any number of subtle causes, but typically only becomes a really critical issue where people are economically well-off enough to be able to make the lifestyle choices that lead to fatness. To the extent that people can choose what they want to eat and what they want to do, and are also educated as to the potential risks of obesity, I do not see fat as a problem. Fat can be an indicator that individuals are able to 'eat, drink, and be merry', so to speak, without necessarily caring what the rest of the world thinks about them. In my mind, that is a healthy attitude as long as they understand the physical risks that are inherent to that set of choices. For example, I have a fabulous metabolism, and do not have to be concerned about weight so much, but given what I eat on a day to day basis, regarding an analogous peril, I'm probably going to have heart problems relatively early in life. That's something that I accept as a future cost opposing the aggregate series of benefits that I receive from my consumption of burgers, chicken fried steaks, fried chicken, fries, fried okra, fried shrimp, fried oysters, fried catfish, and the fried lesser-grade cuts of meat from unidentifiable portions of animals used in Americanized Chinese food. The policy implications of this stance are that I'd like to see improved dietary education, and absolutely no governmental attempt at coercing/forcing decisions out of people. The Canadian journalist responsible for that article needs to get over it.
  11. You make a lot of comments...but a million monkeys typing at a million typewriters will eventually type out the works of Shakespeare, just as you eventually make intelligent comments. EDIT: You'll have to excuse me. I made the above comments in a brief moment of weakness. Though truthful, they are without taste.
  12. Costs to investors ALWAYS get passed on to renters in the long term. Its just built into the market price, so that the renter will never see it, but that doesn't mean that it's not there.
  13. so i guess my questions would be: current HAIF folks, why do you post here,? what do you get from HAIF? how did you discover HAIF? I post here for reasons that are beyond my ability to answer...it would seem to be a complete waste of valuable time that could be better spent doing things like WORKING...but it is an addiction of sorts. I discovered it because it kept coming up in Google.
  14. Of Texas cities only: Houston: oil & gas, downtown skyline, Port of Houston, the gulf freeway, Galveston Dallas: lawyers, investment bankers, and accountants (a.k.a. lions, tigers, and bears) Ft. Worth: Abandoned grain silos, buildings rendered useless by tornadoes, Marvin's Electronics Austin: south Austin, Congress Ave., and the view of the capitol building from S. Lamar Blvd. San Antonio: tourist traps of every sort, military bases, and a Taco Cabana on a street that i cannot remember the name of Corpus Christi: naval bases, an odd sense that their bay was less green than our bay, and the lack of any traffic whatsoever Beaumont: Sardi's and I-10 Waco: an odd sense that it shouldn't exist as it does Temple: amazing economic development program Palestine: pine trees, red dirt, railroads Jasper: surprise that such an otherwise pleseant town could have managed to create such a horrible reputation for itself Kountze: inexpensive mom & pop buffet Victoria: who was the genius to order the construction of what had to be a prohibitively expensive barge canal? Rockport/Fulton: this will one day be big-time real estate Aransas Pass: mid-century-blue-collar-vacations, the Tarpon Inn, tiny cinder-block single-room motel units Kingsville: also shouldn't exist as it does McAllen: complete lack of freeways within the city, sitting through four cycles of stop lights on Nolana at a single intersection in normal traffic, the anxious need for a desperate escape, and congestion in a mall parking lot after a family of Mexican nationals parked their car in front of an entrance, turned on the blinkers, and went inside for over three hours (by the time I left, their car was still there). At the risk of making careless religious references, I'd have to say that even though satan may not live there, he bought himself a condo. South Padre Island: causeways hit by barges, wealthy Mexican nationals, and helping a cop get unstuck from the sand in implicit exchange for overlooking the fact that all of my friends were high off their asses...it worked. Brownsville: Never been there; "Smoking in the Boys' Room" by Brownsville Station. Laredo: drugs, border patrol, vomit Del Rio: McAllen's local culture without the other stuff, planned parenthood and other pregnancy-related NGOs Sabinal: Pay phone Rock Springs: the next Kerrville Kerrville: paradise lost Fredericksburg: paradise lost San Marcos: the most annoying kind of college students Georgetown: slightly less annoying college students New Braunfels: Gruene, the memory that it was somehow becoming more like Old Town Spring in that it's just going to get swallowed by San Antonio and become another tourist trap Three Rivers: Valero refinery Copperas Cove: the thought "I didn't know the Hill Country came this far north!" Belton: "Damn their multiple business parks!" Bastrop: SH 71 bridge over Colorado River, quaint and active downtown, Home Depot, the road between Bastrop and Buscher State Parks La Grange: paradise lost, ZZ Top, and a diner off the old highway and near the Colorado River Columbus: the many bridges over the Colorado River, live oaks Navasota: Ruthie's BBQ Taylor: Mueller's BBQ and abandoned buildings fronting an overpass Longview: The best cajun I've ever had (and I'd just spent several days eating nothing but seafood in several Louisiana cities). Jefferson: alligator on a stick Dumas: communicable skin disease
  15. Plastic, that's the most brilliant remark you've ever made...sadly.
  16. Plastic brought up the concept of a toll road. I'm trying to distance myself from just about anything he says.
  17. Easily. Downtown is the CBD in the traditional sense, but the Galleria area is more geographically central to the distribution of Houston's population. In truth, the notion of CBD vs. Edge City is just a matter of semantics. Downtown is just a relatively large employment center, one of many similar such employment centers.
  18. For your information, we WERE the capitol of a nation at one point...our very own nation. And even after Austin stole that title from us, we would have become the capitol again if it hadn't been for that sniveling bastard, Capt. Mark B. Lewis. You need to broaden your horizons. When was the last time you ate at an ethnic restaurant along Bellaire Blvd.? I think we come from all walks of life, but I'd imagine that there are a disproportionate number of folks in some way connected to the real estate industry.
  19. There doesn't exist a smiley for the thought that I wish to express. It's kind of a cross between and . You're terriffic Plastic...don't ever change.
  20. I want to know what Red wants to know.
  21. No, but if there is a sufficient tax base and they want a freeway and can pay for a freeway...then let them pay for it. I just don't see what's so bad about giving the greatest number of people what they want.
  22. I don't know. Why did you respond?
  23. No, even with zoning, there would likely have been neighborhoods very close to one another with widely varying prices. It has less to do with land use controls than with the characteristics of the improvements (age, land value at time of construction, buildout quality, etc.). For instance, the condos that this person was looking at were built in the 60's, when the concept of an upscale Galleria area did not yet exist. Land prices were relatively low, so the complex was built to the market of the day. Then the market changed and the product that is currently there became obsolete. Prices are high relative to condos of similar quality in other parts of town, but that's just a matter of present-day land values.
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