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ArchFan last won the day on June 17 2014

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  1. Monarch's comment prompts me to consider what I've noticed, as someone who enjoys all people. At ROD, the crowd I've seen (and I walk through there almost every day) is overall affluent looking. Even within that complex, different establishments seem to draw a different mix of demographics. Amorino and HopDoddy seem to be the most diverse ... a lot of folks of middle-eastern or far-eastern descent. A fair number of hispanics and african-americans ... as at The Tuck Room. The fancier restaurants, more anglo-americans or wealthy latin-americans, but not exclusively. If we were to focus the conversation on AA's, its interesting to me that some restaurants in the Galleria and inside-610 area draw a lot of upscale AA folks, but others are very white. It's curious ... sometimes I think its different tastes in food, other times it just seems that people feel more comfortable patronizing places where they feel like they don't stand out. Anyway ... feel free to comment, these are just my impressions.
  2. The former "tallest Holiday Inn in the world" may be there until it collapses under the weight of so much concrete and oxidizing rebar. Unfortunately for me, I won't live long enough to enjoy that sight :-)
  3. Another big building is nice, but I wish developers in the TMC area (as well as the rest of Houston) would lean more toward yielding facilities with more attractive designs, especially from a pedestrian's viewpoint. I am left feeling that the prevailing opinion is that the market here won't support anything better than the bland designs that are utilitarian, but also generally uninviting. I suppose I'm in the group of people that feels that the motivation to support innovative design in Houston died off after the oil bust of the 80s. Hines and a few other developers continue to do better-than-average stuff, but that is few and far between.
  4. I walk through ROD almost every day and I see more empty storefronts now. Which I expected. I want the project to succeed, but i think the path forward is more difficult than it would have been if the original developers had brought it to market earlier without scaling it back as they did. I am not privy to how the various business are doing, but it's obvious that some of the restaurants are drawing almost all the customer traffic. The high-end clothing and jewelry shops always look empty.
  5. I think the Downtown Living Initiative was (and is) a really good idea. A question in my mind regards whether it has built up the resident population downtown enough to support a lot of the things many of us would like to see created. In view of that, I think it would be risky to build tourist attractions too early in the overall process of reconstructing a vibrant downtown for Houston. People who visit one tourist attraction will want to have others easily accessible nearby, plus interesting places to eat that are open after the downtown workers get off work. We've improved in that regard, but downtown Houston (to me) doesn't offer as much to do as it did when I was a kid here in the 50s and 60s. I think the "Mercado del Sol" project east of downtown is an example of investing public + private money too early in a particular sector of the process. Perhaps the re-use of the Albert Thomas Convention Center is another example, but it does have a few surviving businesses. Discovery Green has been rather successful and (I think) hasn't been completely leveraged yet.
  6. I agree, it is nice to see an attractive replacement for a very ugly parking garage ... which IIRC replaced some cool old buildings that were there before. Also, its nice to see that Harvey is the general contractor for the new project, I've heard good things about them.
  7. I am glad to see that at least some developers are choosing designs that prevent otherwise-hideous parking structures from overwhelming the appearance of their projects. My local poster child for the opposite approach is the Aloft Hotel on Westheimer. Perhaps there are worse examples, but I drove by it again today and was still annoyed by it - the ugliest Aloft I've seen.
  8. Thanks for the additional information. I was just passing along a tidbit that a local developer mentioned to me. I think the article you linked was from 2016 and $550 million is a lot more than I would have guessed. In any case, I think that in the long run, this development will be good for Houston, especially if the 1 or 2 high-end hotels adjacent get built. However, I think it would also benefit by addressing one of my pet peeves, which is improving pedestrian access from the other side of 610. Better sidewalks on the inner-loop side would help, but the death-defying trek across 610 is daunting.
  9. ROD is nice and since I live nearby, I walk there a lot. It seems to be drawing more people now than it was initially, but mostly because of the restaurant business. The high-end clothing shops still look pretty empty. I was told that Chase Bank took ownership a while back after the original developer from San Diego exited. My gut feeling is that the whole project would have been more successful if the developers had completed it a couple of years earlier, so it would have gotten established before the local economy slowed down. Since Houston's economy has been going up and down with the price of oil, timing is important.
  10. It's not one of I.M. Pei's most eye-catching buildings, but it's nice. (Earlier on, didn't he design the Brutalist Boston City Hall?) Perhaps the people who don't like the Houston building would prefer one of his group's later buildings in Dallas, which I think is/was named Fountain Place -- more glass and a non-flat top. I always rather fancied his building in Hong Kong that (I think) was named after the Bank of China, at least for a while. I was told that it was designed with Chinese feng shui principles in mind ... i.e., glass facing both the mountainside and the ocean, such that (supposedly) a dragon could pass through it coming down to the ocean.
  11. I'm reminded of the old Wizard-of-Oz tune that began with the words "Ding-dong, the wicked witch is dead". :-) But ... upon reflection it may be that greater damage was done by Bob Lanier, who as mayor, raided the giant nest egg Metro had accumulated by the early 90s. I don't recall the exact amount, but I think it was in the neighborhood of $700-800 million. What would that be worth today? A lot!
  12. I like the design, but there is something that bugs me ... which is very common in Houston. The first two pics show what I think is mildew, which is surprising for a new building. I have my own ongoing battle with mildew on the concrete balconies of my condo. Chlorine bleach applied with a stiff brush is the best solution I've found for the smooth surfaces at my place. I suspect that solution is a bit more difficult for some of our older buildings that have facades of fossiliferous limestone (e.g., City Hall and older ones at UH). As I recall, the facade of City Hall was cleaned by power-washing (or maybe even sand-blasting) years ago. That's very destructive to the surface. My place has some exterior surfaces that are artificial stone (actually cement) that some guys cleaned by power-washing, but it was obvious that the process eroded the surface and left it less smooth.
  13. I have lived as high as the 25th floor in a building and worked as high as the 22nd floor in another. I now live on the 8th floor of yet another building, which is about as high as I'd like to be. That's high enough to have a view, but still low enough that its not too bad taking the stairs to go down when the fire alarm goes off. What I really hate is that when the fire alarm goes off, its usually in the middle of the night. The alarms have all been either malfunctions or due to the smoke detector going off in someone's kitchen.
  14. I wondered about this too, since they seem to have disappeared from Houston. Turns out there is a Wikipedia entry for "Tony Roma's" that tells the history. Also, their company website lists the US states and countries they currently operate in: USA LOCATIONS California Florida Hawaii Illinois Iowa Nevada New Jersey Texas [in Laredo and McAllen; one in San Antonio is listed as temporarily closed] WORLDWIDE LOCATIONS Aruba Australia Bahrain Bangladesh Brazil Canada Chile Costa Rica Dominican Republic El Salvador Germany Guam Guatemala Indonesia Ireland Japan Malaysia Mexico CuraƧao Panama Peru Philippines Saipan Singapore Spain Thailand United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Venezuela
  15. I don't know enough to judge how racist he was in private words or actions. Regardless of how bad he was in that way, he did publicly say and do some good things. Some people evolve over time ... perhaps he did, too. I dunno. As president, at the signing ceremony for the Higher Education Act of 1965 in 1965, Johnson reminisced: BTW, after finishing his teaching degree, he went on to teach public speaking at Sam Houston High School, here in Houston.
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