Jump to content


Full Member
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by ToryGattis

  1. Response to Jeff Speck's anti-45N expansion op-ed http://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2019/09/response-to-jeff-specks-anti-45n.html
  2. Amazon HQ2 winners vs. Houston http://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2018/11/amazon-hq2-winners-vs-houston.html
  3. Well, AF certainly has the stronger position, as I'm sure much more of their Paris feed is interested in going to Houston than UA's Houston feed is interested in going to Paris, mainly because of geography. Houston's logical draw zone from the southwest to go on to Paris is pretty weak - mainly Mexico (which would prefer not to connect in the USA) - and there are more logical hubs than Houston to go through from the western USA. I can see why UA couldn't support the flight. I'll bet it also filled up with reward tickets, and they might as well send reward fliers from Houston through Chicago, DC, or NYC hubs.
  4. Well, they both had it for many years just fine. My understanding is that AF is pretty safe because they have the Schlumberger corporate contract. Here's what I think it comes down to, once you get beyond European cities in the oil business: which Europeans are doing business in Mexico and Central America? Because Houston is the ideal connecting hub for that from Europe. There are some car plants in Mexico (inc. VW), but I don't know what else beyond that.
  5. Lol. The logical ones would be Paris, Vienna (Star Alliance partner Austrian hub), Zurich (partner Swiss hub), and Brussels (partner hub).
  6. Again, the ad hominem is unnecessary. Culberson is an elected rep, and did what he thought his constituents wanted, which was block that line. You may disagree, but that is what elected reps are supposed to do. If constituents didn't want a freeway built or expanded, I would fully expect them to lobby their reps to block it.
  7. Well, most medical tends to be local, but we do have such highly reputable specialties that people come from all over the world - cancer treatment at MD Anderson, for example. My thought has always been that the US only has 7 truly global cities: NYC, LA, SF, DC, Chicago, Miami, and Houston. United's most recent investor presentation backs it up - see the chart on page 11, 12th slide in the pdf.
  8. Possibly. They had money, voter authorization, and contractors itching to build. I understand why they did it. And I suppose it's possible at the time they genuinely thought they'd have enough money to finish everything eventually (the cost overruns killed that fantasy). But all logic would argue when you have limited resources, you should build your lines in order from highest to lowest projected ridership (the original Red line was the perfect first-route choice). Can you imagine if 70 years ago TXDoT had said "we know everybody wants a freeway to Galveston from Houston, but that's got a few problems to overcome, so we're going to just go ahead and build 59 or 288 out to some sugar and rice paddies instead and circle back to 45S in a decade or two"?!
  9. New thought this morning: Amazon's rejection of Houston for HQ2 could have been as simple as bad PR optics: it just looks bad to squeeze a city for big incentives that just went through one of the most expensive natural disasters in history. They probably imagined future nightmare stories in the media: "well, we would have spent all this money on new flood control infrastructure, but we had to give it to Amazon instead."
  10. Sorry, but ad hominem attacks on the arguer is a sign you know you can't win on the facts or logic. Keep it respectful and argue on the merits, not personal attacks. As far as myself, I've always argued *METRO* (not opponents) made a massive error of judgment when the used limited resources to build the green and purple lines when they should have prioritized the much more useful University line. But when Culberson blocked them, I'm guessing they figured they'd build what they could (ridership be damned) and just keep pointing to the network hole hoping to get another round of funding and authorization to build it.
  11. Because of all the local passengers in the Greenspoint area (lots of low-income apartments), which slows down the route incredibly for airport travelers (few to none). I'm talking about when they ran the express bus from the transit center downtown directly to and from IAH.
  12. Some coincidental timing from the WSJ! Sounds like they would like to be growing more like Houston is than how they are currently... Forget the Midwest. Minnesota Casts Itself as the North It won’t help the Vikings but to solve its population problem, the state is branding itself as ‘the North’; ‘Sick of being this afterthought in this afterthought called the Midwest’ ...Convincing people to move to Minnesota is “the most important work we can do in terms of growing our economy and staying competitive for the future,” said Michael Langley, chief executive of the regional economic development group Greater MSP and an executive board member of the Super Bowl host committee.
  13. I'm calling BS on this. Half of the finalists they picked don't have rail to the airport! We once had fast express bus service from downtown to IAH and it attracted less than 2 riders per bus - how could we support (slower!) rail on that route!? DART's airport service has pathetic ridership. This is classic: everybody who has a pet issue in Houston is coming out to claim it's the reason Amazon didn't put us on the short list. Don't believe it.
  14. Good one. I see the appeal of their model. From an Opportunity Urbanism perspective, I'd guess they're very appealing for college-educated whites (except for the winters!), but I doubt there's as much opportunity there for immigrants, minorities, or people with less education. I think we're more vibrant in industries that employ more of those people - home building, restaurants, industrial/mfg, port trade. I could be wrong, but that's my impression.
  15. I feel like Chicago's set of big companies is more domestically oriented than Houston's, but I might be wrong about that. Chicago has probably the best global aviation hub in the country because of geography - more Asian connections than the east coast, more European connections than the west coast, and total domestic coverage (better than either coast). That really gives it an edge despite massive financial problems, horrible winters, crime, population loss, high taxes, corruption, and dysfunctional state government. There is a bubble at the core of Chicago that is doing quite well despite all the drags around it. We'll see how long they can keep it up. Texas has a pretty strong position in the American economy right now, and I'm not sure that will shift soon the way it did for the Midwest. I'm not saying we don't have challenges, but I feel like ours are more manageable than those in much of the country.
  16. Still curious if you see any cities out there doing it right?
  17. But can you name any substantial companies that have relocated to either LA or NYC? (LA has almost no F500 HQs) Chicago has had some wins lately, but mostly executive HQ's for companies located in smaller towns in the Midwest (i.e. I feel like Chicago is the "winner" of the Midwest and consolidating HQs there into a regional capital, but they do seem more domestic in orientation rather than global, with the exception of Boeing). Houston has Dallas beat for global city, but you're right we're dependent on the energy industry for that, with stronger ups and downs than diversified Dallas. I think Texas can support two global cities long-term, just as CA supports both LA and SF. They have different niches.
  18. From that description, it sounds like your model city is something like Cleveland, Buffalo, or Detroit - low or no growth, lower income inequality, high housing affordability. Or do you have examples of cities you think are following more ideal models/approaches?
  19. I think you raise some fair points, but you're missing the positive side of growth, described on my blog here: http://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2007/02/size-matters.html
  20. I totally second this. If you look at any top-tier major global city, they usually have at least one industry cluster that is a world leader - finance in NYC, entertainment in LA, tech in SF - and the economics of those industries drive their city. Houston is no different with energy. Diversification is not bad, but if you look at typical diversified cities - Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Philly, etc - they're not usually considered top-tier global cities.
  21. Your "instant relevancy" reminds me of desperate sports teams that overpay for veteran free agent talent - it's a shortcut that almost never works out. Better to build a foundation over time with young talent at affordable prices (like the Astros!). This is a tricky one. Of course I think Houston is better than Dallas - more global, more diverse, more authentic and organic (from the lack of zoning). But outsiders just see "ugly" (we're not a tidy hyper-planned Disneyville) with a bunch of ethnicities and cultures they're not very comfortable with. And the reality is that we're also more industrial with more hurricane and flooding risk (and summer humidity) than Dallas. Dallas is better at the tidy planned bland suburban corporate office park HQ, esp. for more tech-type companies like TI, AT&T, telecoms, and Toyota. They are a safe, comfortable choice with a fantastic airport and lots of flights to everywhere. But we also have to accept the reality that the energy industry is a two-edged sword: it provides lots of high-paying jobs, but that's also why companies in other industries don't want to locate here and compete with energy for talent - especially when oil might spike to $100+ a barrel at any time (btw, for the same reason I would be stunned if Amazon ended up in NYC competing with Wall Street for tech talent). In Austin, tech competes with govt and the university - pretty easy. In San Antonio, Toyota competes with tourism and the military - also pretty easy. Dallas doesn't have any companies that might suddenly be swimming in cash and poaching your talent. In fact, it has plenty of talent you can poach! (although not as much as DC, which I think will be the ultimate winner). Put simply, Amazon wants to be the big fish in their new pond, and there's a definite risk that might not be the case in Houston (depending on energy prices).
  22. Why You Shouldn’t Wish for Amazon’s HQ2 in Your Town
  23. My blog post on the topic. Why Amazon's HQ2 rejection is good for Houston (plus a winner prediction)
  24. It's not much of an issue is a company is in a single major line of business, like most are. Very few companies are so large as to have multiple large business units operating independently.
  25. The way I've heard it, if they're in the same city then they're mixing at events and on the golf course and meeting at restaurants. The people in that business unit get undue influence on the HQ staff, which are supposed to be making objective investment and promotion decisions. Personal relationships undermine that. Distance makes it much easier. But you're also partially right about small/thin executive HQs moving to bigger cities with more global nonstop flights and service firms (accounting, consulting, etc.).
  • Create New...