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Angostura

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Angostura last won the day on July 7 2010

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  1. This is considerably less ambitious than earlier renderings. Some skylights and grass on the roof, but no new footprint, and no engagement with the bayou.
  2. I think that project is the connection between the bike path on the north bank of White Oak bayou to the MKT trail near Studewood.
  3. The "Future Apartment Development" looks to be where the the warehouse tromp l'oeil painted façade is currently. I'll be kinda sad to see that building go.
  4. There is an off-street bike trail in the Houston Bike Plan that would run from the current end point of the MKT trail (White Oak bayou near TC Jester), along Southern Pacific right-of-way, past this site, then on to Memorial Park and beyond (the map shows it connecting to a planned off-street trail along Sims bayou, 6+ miles south of this site). While this is in the bike plan for eventual construction, this answer seems to imply it's already underway.
  5. We currently have a property tax, not a land-value tax. That is, we tax a dollar's worth of land at the same rate as a dollar's worth of improvement. I'd prefer we lower the burden on improvement and raise it on land, but keep the total tax the same. I don't think I'm along in thinking that having a lot of vacant lots in the CBD is not ideal. And there have been enough land transactions in the CBD to indicate that land there is pretty valuable. $15 to 40M per block, it seems. Maybe more in some parts of downtown. (The Chronicle building apparently went for north of $50M.) Our current tax regime has actually been pretty effective at shifting some land in some neighborhoods to higher-value uses. The de-industrialization of the outskirts of the Heights in the last 5-7 years is an example, but the fact that there are so many surface parking lots downtown indicates that we can do better. An office tower on a full city block downtown might be assessed at $300M or so, while the surface lot across the street is assessed at less than a tenth of that. If we assessed both at (the equivalent of) $160M, many of those lots would cease to be vacant. BTW, a lot of those empty lots are owned by a single entity connected to a Taiwanese oil company that seems perfectly content to sit on the land indefinitely. Click around the HCAD parcel map and look for land owned by "Golconda Venture". It's the equivalent of about 11 blocks, all vacant. (W/r/t to demolition of "historic" areas... moo. With a few notable exceptions, most of what we currently call historic preservation is really just density prevention by other means. But that's a discussion for another thread.)
  6. From the description, I think this is the 600 block of W 19th. The Greystar project is on the 500 block (former Chase building). West of the parking lot on the SW corner of 20th and Lawrence (which was part of the Chase property), there are five properties which, together make up just under an acre (39,300 sf): #608: A bungalow (possibly subdivided) with garage apartment in the back #616/618: Two bungalows #620: A small, older multi-family building #624: A bungalow #626: A bungalow #620 and #624 share the same owner, as do #608 and #626. None of the properties are owner occupied. The other two proposed Highline-branded projects (one near White Oak, one in Montrose) are similar in size. Both of these were 3 stories over a single parking level, which required a parking variance as the ratio was under CoH requirements. In order to add retail to this site, the developers have three choices: 1 - Double down on the parking variance, requesting a variance for the apartments AND the retail 2 - Go to two levels of parking, enough to accommodate the retail and the apartments without a variance 3 - Use surface parking (like the lot right next door on the corner of 20th and Lawrence) to meet part of the requirement. I'd prefer #1 (however unlikely it is to be approved), would be happy with #2, but expect #3.
  7. It's not about forcing anyone to do anything. It's about aligning the incentive structure to favor things we want and disfavor things we don't. Taxing improvements and land equally disincentives investment, and encourages land speculation. As long as land appreciation exceeds the taxes, it can be profitable to sit on vacant land. Even more so if you get some parking revenue on it, which is why so much of the most valuable land in the city (downtown) is used for surface parking.
  8. Apparently they weren't high enough. Our valuation system fails to discourage under-development. If instead we had a land-value tax, sites like this would be developed a lot faster (and we'd have a lot fewer surface parking lots downtown). Also, looking for the parking in the rendering and I can't find it.
  9. The demo WAS permitted, but not as Fitz's original address (2706 White Oak), but rather as 615 Studewood. Permit was issued in April.
  10. Those will be parking spots until they get their occupancy permit. What happens after that... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  11. Unless things have changed since we went through the process several years ago, siblings of current students have priority for admission to magnet schools (i.e. zoned, then siblings, then lottery). Either way, both schools are fine.
  12. If it's in the plans as a patio, any area in excess of 15% of the total area of the building (which in this case is basically the entire patio) counts as built-out area for parking minimums.
  13. Quality can vary widely. I've lived in large buildings (where you can definitely hear your neighbors) and smaller 4 to 20-unit buildings with only one or two apartments per floor. The latter are a LOT better. Apartments in them can be quite large (1500 to 4000 s.f.) and you might forget you even HAVE neighbors above and below you. Unfortunately not many of those buildings get built any more.
  14. You're probably right (revealed preference, etc. etc.), but I wonder if it's just a reflection of what's available. I mean, do people really love 3-story townhouses with the 3rd BR on the ground floor, or do people buy them because that's the only layout anyone builds? I've found living without a car (albeit not in Houston) to be great, and it's especially easy now that there's ridesharing and microtransport available, but not many people get an opportunity to experience it. People moved to the suburbs in the 20th century because cities were loud, filthy and dangerous (they've since gotten better), and stayed there because city schools got terrible. Currently, if you want decent schools and enough living space for a family on a middle class income, I'm afraid you don't have a lot of choice with respect to lifestyle.
  15. Last I checked, square footage in European city centers was still a lot more expensive than square footage in suburban areas. That said, you can do car-compatible without doing car-centric. And if a place isn't car-centric, you can get away without needing a place for a car. And it's perfectly possible to get around with a baby without a car. I know because I've done it. My son's first car ride was coming home from the hospital. His second was 7 months later to go the airport for our flight to Houston. Anyway, not saying that we should re-make Houston into Siena. But it's nice to see at least some developers re-discovering traditional forms of urbanism.
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