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Everything posted by MyEvilTwin

  1. So it's maybe just delayed then, I guess. Oh well. I have to say that some of the little things they've been doing on 290 lately (extending some exit lanes, mainly) have made a noticeable improvement in traffic. And the extension of the 4th lane west of Beltway 8 to just past Jones Road (westbound) that opened up yesterday has had the biggest impact of them all, at least so far. It's really helped ease the biggest Westbound bottleneck (the BW8/290 interchange).
  2. Last night KHOU mentioned that the Toll Road Authority said "No" to TXDOT on toll roads for both the 290 and 288 corridors. I can't find any links (quickly). Back to the drawing board, I guess?
  3. Indeed. The atmosphere is electric. No, wait, that's just the substation. Shame about that...!
  4. Well that seems like a pretty weak analogy IMHO. I don't think anyone said that the big white cross should be illegal. Of course we're "free" to burn a flag, but any business owner who paints a big burning flag up the side of a 15-story building and light it up with red neon at night would be rather naive to think that wouldn't generate a little internet forum discussion... to say the least. (And I don't think it would be legal to go to the St. Joseph's lobby and burn a cross. They're legal, but not on other people's property.)
  5. I'm not generally a big fan of loud religion, but from a marketing perspective I don't really object to this. With the prominence of the Med Center, it's tough for other inner-loop hospitals to attract attention to themselves, and St. Joseph's has been struggling to survive over the years. Somehow I see this more as an attempt to draw attention to its differentiating characteristic (its Catholic affiliation) than to blast Houston with religious symbols. What has always seemed strange to me about St. Joseph's is that its professional building is across the Pierce Elevated from the hospital. It's not exactly a dense section of downtown today -- when it was built, were all the blocks north of I-45 occupied?
  6. That's interesting. Continental Center I (also a Brookfield property), when viewed from the on-ramp to the Pierce Elevated SB from Memorial, looks two-dimensional because of its angles. That's one of the cooler downtown building views, IMHO. It would be pretty neat if you could get odd views like that of two buildings from about the same location.
  7. Holy crap, the woman in that picture wants to build a fashion museum? Hmm... The Joanne King Herring Museum of New-Money Fashion?
  8. Well, you CAN see the Methodist building behind the MDACC building. Not a lot of it, but enought to tell if it's lit up at night or not. BTW, the "Time Lapse" feature on that construction cam is awesome -- especially because you can see both the MDACC and the Methodist buildings going up in parallel!
  9. Hmm, I'll beg to differ on that point... The section of Westcreek Apts. that faces either side of Westcreek Lane is courtyard-style, basically several rectangular apartment buildings, each surrounding a pool area; the side with the entrance on Westheimer (Formerly Avalon Square) is not -- more of a snake of building(s). There were other differences too (the actual units are quite different), but that's the main one. I lived on the former Avalon Square side back in the mid-'90s, my wife then lived on the Westcreek side. There was even a fence between the two (though the fence was opened to connect the two parking lots). Maybe we're talking about two different things? Could Westcreek actually be three complexes now?? (To clarify -- I'm not talking about the east side of Westcreek Ln. versus the West Side... The old Avalon Square is behind the apartments that line the East side of Westcreek Ln.)
  10. I don't think that's exactly correct... Westcreek started as two separate complexes (Westcreek and... Avalon Square, I think?), which were later merged (maybe in the early '90s?) and more recently re-split. I was also including the Park at Westcreek (a third complex, developed later) in the Westcreek set. But I can't argue with most of your points. Your characterization of the current Westcreek crowd seems about right... but was the original Westcreek tenant base something more like today's Midtowners? I don't know -- that predates me. At least one of the complexes in Midtown (Post?) brought street-level retail with it. That's a plus for the neighborhood. It's too bad more didn't do so.
  11. Maybe Westcreek? At least in relation specifically to the "Northwest quadrant of Midtown" I'd guess the complexes centered around Westcreek Ln between San Felipe and Westheimer seem fairly comparable in units. Keeping in mind that much of the development in that area of Midtown was or became Condos... If what you're referring to as the Northwest quadrant is strictly west of Brazos, there aren't all THAT many units there, really. My office looks right over it. Anyhow, the apartments themselves in the Westcreek area may have declined in value over time -- seems like just part of the natural process in our non-bubble Houston economy -- but they haven't exactly turned into a neighborhood of blight, nor have they pulled down the property values at Afton Oaks (right across Westheimer) with them, have they? Not that I'd be all that comfortable investing in Midtown property myself... But my fear there wouldn't be the "lemming yuppie" apartments so much as the fact that it's been booming for a full economic cycle and there are still too many run-down / undeveloped areas to make me comfortable. I'm no real estate pro, but if I were hypothesizing, I'd worry as much about the long-term viability of key businesses like the midtown Randall's as the abundance of apartments in the area if I were considering a Midtown investment. Not that they're unrelated... Randalls needs the "lemming yuppies". (Feel free to correct me if I'm overlooking anything obvious!)
  12. Anyone know if this is a net gain for downtown or just a move? I'm guessing the latter... from the Reliant Energy building?
  13. When the HEB at 290 & Barker Cypress opened up, I said the same thing about the Randall's across the street -- I'd never go back. But those opening-day crowds at HEB never really went away -- it's always packed, and the Randall's is always nearly empty. So I go to Randalls just to avoid the hectic crowds. They can't possibly keep this going for ever... But until they board up the place, I'll pay a little more and live with a little less produce selection in exchange for some peaceful shopping.
  14. I keep seeing the billboards with water-skiers... But really?? I mean, I used to water-ski a lot, and 2 things about this are hard for me to believe... 1, you kind of need a fairly long lake/river with decent width, and 2, generally as you approach a residential area you get strict no-wake rules. Is the lake in Towne Lake (is it called... Towne Lake?) really going to have the kind of size you need to enjoy skiing in? (I mean, other than a quick up & down for a photo op!). I've driven through the development a couple of times, and I'm not seeing it...! (Granted, they still have a long way to go)
  15. The HAIF really ought to have a running countdown of CBD surface parking lots on its home page. Granted, the countdown has slowed considerably in the last year or so... And the raw number would probably be depressingly high. But it'd be neat. I wonder how many there really are? Could be some room for subjectivity in any count, I suppose (half-blocks, blocks connected to freeways, etc.)
  16. Went to the Rice baseball game last night and had beautiful sunset views of this building. The crown (well, in this case it's a bit more like a tiara) is taking shape, and really enhances the look. The new Rice Collaborative Research Center is nearly complete too -- and it's looking much better to me than it did in renderings (IMHO). Both make attractive additions to the Med Center skyline!
  17. The memorials & such sound nice. But I'm a little curious about the idea of zoning off a section of town for veterans. By and large, wouldn't it be better to integrate than to isolate veterans returning home? I'm not a veteran, and I know nothing about this topic. I'd be interested in hearing the opinions of a few vets. I guess the other side of the coin may be that you'd have a readily-available support group all around you? Seems a bit artificial though... Maybe this is just one project, but if ideas like this catch on, then it seems like over time those of us who AREN'T vets would be less likely to have neighbors who ARE vets, which doesn't seem particularly good for either group in the long run...? Seems like you could accomplish most of what this project envisions without the housing component (although the "you" here wouldn't be the Harris County Housing Authority then, I guess!). And then (maybe?) you help the veterans out with housing via tax breaks & the like, regardless of location. Just thoughts, not judging.
  18. The top two aren't really floors, they're just walls built around the utilities. You can see them in the renderings as well. I was just looking over it today from the Scurlock Tower across the street. It's looking a bit better than I expected.
  19. That's what I thought when I heard about it... $10M seems like a drop in the bucket. But do you think the city would really be pushing for this deal publicly if they didn't already have some kind of tacit agreement that it would make a difference? There'd be egg on their face if they approve it but the developers still walk away, no? (I'm asking... I'm not expressing an opinion.)
  20. Very interesting development. This gutted church is visible from my office, and any of the west-facing offices at the edge of downtown. It's surrounded by Larry Davis townhomes (the metal ones). I think this park idea is a pretty neat way to preserve what's left of it. Needless to say, it'll do wonders for the property values of the surrounding townhomes. If I had one of them I'd be doing cartwheels. When these homes were under construction, this was an abandoned, decrepit church. Then it was a burned-out, eyesore of a safety hazard. Now it'll be a very unique park. What better turnaround could the homeowners have hoped for? Somebody must have a friend on the city council!
  21. Are they still around? Could we get them to build it behind the Mercer?
  22. Interesting... I didn't realize that. Well, I guess it could have been worse (I'm thinking of Mercer I, where we never got II ).
  23. Yeah the bigger factor of the two (for me) is hiding the Wedge parking garage. That ugly wall was clearly not built for public viewing -- I assume (?) it was put up when there was something else on this spot that was shielding it from view. To me it gives the impression that whatever was torn down on this surface lot was actually attached to the garage. It will be nice to have what looks like an attractive hotel blocking this from view! (Keeping fingers crossed that it doesn't turn into another recession victim)
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