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Angostura last won the day on July 7 2010

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  1. I think cities should preserve a certain (small) number of these kinds of buildings so we don't forget just how ugly they are, lest someone someday decide it's a good idea to build in this style again.
  2. Something like 3300 parking spaces. Seems like a lot. Looks like they're not leveraging the mix of uses in the parking calculation.
  3. I suspect the reason for the delay was to make sure it passed once it came up. They've carved out the eastern half of Midtown (the area originally extended to 59), which was probably the price for someone's support.
  4. Expansion to the Market Based Parking area (the parts of the city exempt from parking minimums) is on the city council agenda for next week.
  5. I think the reason the setback requirements haven't been revised/eliminated is so that the Planning Department can use the variance process to extract improvements to the pedestrian realm. A very high percentage of setback variances get approved, almost always accompanied by wider sidewalks, landscape buffers, etc. not otherwise required. There are two kinds of people: those who think it's a question of WHETHER homes will be built, and those with understand it's a question of WHERE. In places where building activity is well-controlled, density prevention results in sprawl. In places where building isn't well-controlled, it results in favelas and shantytowns. (BTW, aside from a lack of adequate wastewater infrastructure, favelas are an urbanists wet dream: low-rise, high-density, mixed use development; zero setbacks, narrow streets, and entirely pedestrian oriented.)
  6. The most predictable majority in American local politics is incumbent residents opposing any new development with a density higher than their current home.
  7. This will look great until the back lights start burning out. It doesn't appear to be designed for easy maintenance.
  8. It all comes down to (a) land costs and (b) what market segment these are aimed at. This project probably has a floor area ratio (total square footage divided by total land area) of 2-3x a typical TH project. That makes a lot less difference at a land cost $30/sf than it does at $100/sf. In this neighborhood, at an FAR of, say, 4.0, even with higher construction costs (steel or concrete vs wood frame, elevators, etc.), it should be possible to hit a price point similar to that of townhouse at FAR of 1.5. In cities with very high land values, townhouses are prohibitively expensive for all but the highest end of the market. Again, depends on the target market. A building without that many amenities and limited common areas can be pretty competitive. Recall that the condo fee is paying for lights, climate control and maintenance of the exterior and common areas (including elevators), usually water and sewer, and a significant chunk of your homeowner's insurance costs. And your utility bills will generally be lower on a per-sf basis, since these buildings tend to be more thermally efficient than standalone houses. If you actually compare apples to apples, it's not that different. That said, I'd expect these to be marketed at a much higher price than the current Houston TH market.
  9. A lot of what was built in the 70s and 80s was built where and how it was built due to the sewer moratorium in force at the time. From 1974, the by-right limit on density for restricted areas (essentially all of the inner loop) was 15,000 sf/acre commercial, 7 DU/acre residential. Anything larger needed administrative review and assembly of sewer rights. As a result, a lot of development got pushed west, and a lot of what was built inside the loop was built at a much lower density than would otherwise make sense. As those properties are getting to an age where they must be either re-habbed or demo'd, we are just now starting to unwind a lot of that mal-investment. This article from 1982 makes for an interesting read on the subject.
  10. People will and do walk if the built environment is conducive to it, even in Houston. Distance from origin to destination isn't the only factor. Places that are pleasant to walk in tend to have a few things in common: - Enclosure: the place is visually defined by vertical elements (trees, buildings, etc.) - Transparency: there's stuff to see beyond the enclosure (i.e. windows in street facing facades) - Scale: there are details that are visible/interesting to a person on foot moving at a walking pace - Isolation from (fast) vehicle traffic: either a landscape buffer or significant traffic calming By building wide roads with building set far back from the right of way, most streets in Houston lack pretty much all of these elements.
  11. So, no retail. The other Highline projects have all requested parking variances to come in a few spaces below CoH minimums and keep parking to one level. Assume this will do the same.
  12. Will probably depend on whether or not they can do so safely, which will depend on more protected lanes/bikeways. E-scooters and bikes are a non-option on our sidewalks, and would be scary on a lot of our streets. Saw it here:
  13. It looks... not terrible? At least the eastern half. Looks like the freeway frontage is just parking, not residential. A pseudo street grid with relatively narrow RoWs, structured parking. The surface parking dominating the western half isn't great, and it looks like there'll be zero integration with the MKT trail (in fact, it may be actively isolated from the trail), but it's better than the previous plans.
  14. VMT (vehicle miles traveled) in Houston has basically been flat over the last 10 years (falling on a per capita basis), and we have almost certainly seen the peak amount of lane-miles of surface streets inside the loop. Absent non-market constraints (e.g. parking minimums) It's natural to start shifting land use away from surface parking and toward more productive uses.
  15. Given what I assume is HRH's target demo, the site's main draw must be its proximity to the Men's Club.
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