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strickn

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strickn last won the day on October 31 2012

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  1. Going from postmodern architecture in Houston to postvernacular now? I wonder what our city would look like, if that were to become a wave as widespread as the earlier ones.
  2. There's not a lot of space to buy low and sell high when a field is already as superheated as life sciences has gotten. This literal field owned by 2ML, can still sell higher, yes; but the industry itself? TMC is great, but as an industry cluster, if you look at the burn rate required of the top ten areas just to stay in the top ten, Houston has almost no shot to ever break into the top six or eight, let alone five. So is rising from third tier to second tier in a currently important prestige niche actually important enough to justify the opportunity cost? The cost of not putting that toward an area that is more distinctive to our local character and would make us more headway? IMHO no. Life sciences are just something like "cyber" that seems totally investable and inevitable -- that is to say, lucrative without the risk of looking professionally foolish that, say, going to bat for something more creative but less recognizable would carry. In that sense, this highly costly upside opportunity is the functional equivalent of what mixed use development itself suddenly became for the commercial real estate and institutional investment fields of business.
  3. I still hope William S Transco doesn't have to hang out on the skyline with such a square.
  4. From other threads, Brookfield is the owner who has been renovating Total Plaza, Allen Center and Heritage Plaza (though that one's not quite along Louisiana & Smith) too.
  5. TMC's monetary orientation (in 2017 the State Senate got upset at them for seeking to extend tax exemption to purely private for-profit land leases) means that the innovation flagship TMC3 is going to be looking to the participating institutions for a whole lot of funding. If TMC3's costs were to go up by the time it opens, would TMC plan on passing some of that increase on to the participating institutions? I don't know, but having McNair Campus next door (across Staffordshire, but broadside for the length of both campuses) means that Baylor St. Luke's will already enjoy close proximity to the facility even if it isn't onboard -- which is not true of the other participants. Colorado-based CHI promised to contribute over $1 billion toward an Episcopal health foundation when it acquired St. Luke's in 2013. It took on too much debt to expand (within five years its bond rating dropped five notches from Aa2 to Baa1) and it has since merged with another Catholic hospital group and decided to move their administration to Chicago. Instead of investing in both the central and McNair Campuses, as originally planned, it was then decided that the old complex along Bertner will be left behind by CHI when they move the Duncan Cancer Center, the medical center, and ultimately the Texas Heart Institute to the McNair Campus. If TCH, Methodist, and UTMDACC are interested in purchasing some or all of those older buildings adjacent to them, and the Catholic group could defray its costs with a sale, then I wonder whether TCH and MDA can reach an agreement to extend the MDA skybridge level across Bertner and along the north side of Bates Avenue. Because if they found a mutually agreeable way to connect to TCH Feigin Tower (the center for their pediatric cancer research, so not out of place) and cross Holcombe to the Mays Clinic complex, then there would be a complete circuit for MDA's patients and workers to circulate -- something most of them have wanted for as long as there has been a Mays Clinic. Plus the Prudential teardown land would then no longer be so far by skybridge from the Main Building.
  6. http://offcite.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2010/03/NeverMindTheBollards_Barna_Cite371.pdf Great title, author, and article, which I found in making a timeline of all Greater Houston mixed-use development
  7. when people need to detour off of Gray to get around something, it really helps to have Webster and Hadley intact. These streets don't go all the way from Fourth Ward over across 288 like it does, but connect almost as well. The city or the management district should recognize, especially if Whole Foods has made this the development epicenter, that they don't need to give up streets here to help Midtown develop anymore. After Rosalie, we'd have only Anita and McGowen for cross-street rights of way to serve as grid distributors. That holds true all the way from Elgin to Hadley-Webster-Gray, because too many have been severed already.
  8. I imagine among the priorities on the list, they just couldn't stand the popcorn ceiling. Not hifalutin enough for their Houston on the world stage. I think it grounds the proceedings more than a timely attempt to be timeless does. That way, unlike the classy new Drawing Institute, they aren't trying so hard to out-Architecture the current anodyne institutional fashion in Los Angeles.
  9. Silly and out of left field is different than being genuinely difficult to piece together. Are you really confused or just being silly back to a post posted in a silly tone? The featured link to the map of the TxDOT project scope for the Elysian Viaduct rebuild shows that it comes down to the corner of Commerce and Crawford from well north of the bayou. This thread is about the block at the corner of Commerce and Crawford and asked "What would you do [with this place]?" Anyone imagining a high speed rail line accessing downtown from Dallas down part of a new multi-level infrastructure corridor in this alignment will not have any trouble realizing that Minute Maid is two blocks further down Crawford from the end of the existing infrastructure rebuild and picturing the passenger trains terminating there. The surrounding parking lots would redevelop to TOD high-rises quite readily when the Astros are ready to move elsewhere, which has happened in other big city baseball markets already, like Atlanta, and will happen here before too much longer. I didn't go so far as to say what I would do on this particular site, just that it would orient to the new transit access and mention that the project actually being built has little special intention about it. But I think it's all in line with the original thread, Luminare, and loses some brainstorming zest in the process of making it a spelled-out proposal instead of an informal brainstorm. Houston wheelers and dealers do all sorts of behind the scenes horse-trading that the public can't figure out; I would have thought it would be worth it for downtown's longterm convenience not to settle for Northwest Mall rail stations in the name of short-term convenience.
  10. Urban economists say that the pay is priced into the region -- firms entering the labor market and recruiting nationally pay less when recruiting to desirable areas. Even if the costs of living are higher and the offers are lower (Austin) or the costs and salaries are both high (New York), the firms are bidding less than they would have to otherwise, because people are amenable to the location and its amenity package. The fact that the bump exists "even at a Senior level" says that the real explanation has to go deeper than a lot of youngsters willing to work for peanuts. Having to pay higher wages to get talent to move here makes Houston region firms less nimble and competitive in the free market than if they could bid less and still get the same talent, no? More resources that could be going to innovation going instead to overhead. Maybe we would have even more than 47,000,000 square feet of vacant office space to start 2019 if we had no medical industry here, but for all its press coverage the TMC knowledge industry niche has still failed so far to show signs that it will longterm do very much to diversify Southeast Texas' economy. If the new medical school in Austin writes a new playbook, I hope we use those lessons to our ultimate benefit here. While I still think it's regrettable for Austin that FAANG are not making as many interfirm decisions *in* Texas as local owners would, there seems now to be a lot of potential for people that move to the state for FAANG jobs to soon begin to moonlight and form lively new firms that *are* exporting and importing based on specific opportunities sensed from being locally based. Block 185 (601 W. 2nd) near Northshore has been preleasing a tower designed by Pelli with STG, and it may soon announce being preleased for another Google office. Pics here: https://austin.towers.net/at-last-heres-our-first-look-at-the-block-185-office-tower/
  11. Have to get these details right because TxDOT's favor will be extremely important when it comes time in 2061 to start to build Astrodomain III outside Rosharon.
  12. This block garnered a mention today in the very centrally located Downtown subforum:
  13. Someone over on the Northwest Mall (commonly referred to as either "Levcor's Post Oak Market", "What?", "potential Japanese passenger train terminus," or, "Much too far from downtown") thread on HAIF remarked that there was no viable corridor into downtown for HSR anyway. Something tells me that if our engineering city is really as no-holds-barred as we like to proclaim, someone could have used The Houston Way of opaque negotiations to find a deal that would accommodate the Hardy extension *and* elevated passenger HSR -- or elevated HSR *and* a surface boulevard many stakeholders proposed -- in the Elysian Viaduct (commonly referred to as "a trusty way to get out of downtown with zero traffic," "that ugly eyesore," and, "Obviously doomed") right of way while it's under total replacement. Due to some right-of-way acquisition delays, TXDoT didn't issue the final contract for Elysian Viaduct work until summer of 2016 anyway, which was plenty recent to know that Texas Central was on the move. http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/get-involved/hou/elysian/030917-projectmap.pdf Think about it: The Ballpark at Union Station Enron Field Astros Field Minute Maid Park... It's only six years younger, to the month, than the ballpark in Arlington that's about to be replaced. By the time Texas Central Railway construction is complete, we could just be renovating that superblock back into union station, with high-speed trains sailing above the verdant lawn into the middle of the civic space.* Meanwhile, this block, on HCAD as** 101 Crawford rather than 1601 Commerce, got a new thread on the forum as 100 Crawford, which was merged with another while this thread was forgotten. A Miami group has excavated the full city block after tearing down the humane but crumbled old architecture, and plans to build a six-floor apartment product: https://www.houstonarchitecture.com/haif/topic/39116-the-regalia-at-the-park-100-crawford/?do=findComment&comment=584208 * The vast cancelled UT data institute landholding for sale would obviously suit the MLB team's new Astrodomain Part II, no? ** Parcel 0011070000001
  14. In a year when Dallas became the largest datacenter market other than global leader Northern Virginia, Houston did get an interesting investment. While everyone was watching the Aussies do residential construction in Midtown, a group from Perth has shot for the moon out in the Energy Corridor. Despite some early computation sites like JSC Building 12, Exxon's fourteenth (really thirteenth) floor downtown, and the Welton Becket-designed Shell Information Center, Houston is not one of the Southwest's biggest data center markets, but in the last decade there have at least been more and more colocation options for users that don't want to build and operate their own facilities. Now the Dallas investors behind Skybox Datacenters have signed a contract to host DownUnder GeoSolutions' second local supercomputing cluster at Skybox's existing six-inch-thick-concrete-roofed site on the Katy Prairie. The 40,000 servers will be submerged in fluid instead of running cooling fans and will be supplied with 15 MW of power to run oil & gas exploration imaging services for hire. DownUnder projects that it will be up and running in February and will become the world's fastest computer. Not that the NSA hasn't been running something for more than five years which draws 65 MW...
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