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Angostura last won the day on July 7 2010

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  1. Angostura

    3540 W. Dallas St: Planned Mixed-Use by Hanover

    The plat is called Buffalo Bayou Park in the variance request. This ought to be symbiotic with Regent Square. Each within walking distance of the other, and this appears to be more office/hotel focused (with a little GFR and a lot of suburban-office-park green space) whereas Regent Square has a higher proportion of retail and residential. Both this development and Regent Square are more valuable long-term if the other is built. Someday we'll learn the real reason Regent Square was never built.
  2. Angostura

    347 W 20th

    Site layout and elevations from parking variance request. The 7 large trees are already existing on the site. In addition to parking and setback variances, the project requires a variance to Ch 28, Section VI, the ordinance regulating location of hotels, as it takes primary access from a local street (Ashland) and is within 750 feet of both a church (Baptist Temple) and Hospital. Both have written letters of support.
  3. Angostura

    347 W 20th
  4. Angostura

    347 W 20th

    Some additional details on the project are in this week's planning commission agenda. The property will have a gift/floral shop at the corner of Ashland & 20th, accessible from both 20th St and the hotel lobby. They are requesting a reduced setback on 20th for this part of the building. The pool/courtyard will be along the 20th St frontage, parking in the rear. 4 floors of rooms, 5 stories total. Most of the existing live oaks will be preserved.
  5. Angostura

    3540 W. Dallas St: Planned Mixed-Use by Hanover

    More detail in this weeks Planning Commission agenda. 6 buildings, including a hotel (23 stories), office (21 stories) and residential (7 stories w/ GFR). No details on the other 3. Two N-S streets will run through the site, between Dallas and Allen Pkwy.
  6. Angostura

    Randall Davis Condo 3723 Westheimer Road

    It's worse than that. Remember that, when it comes to housing, it's not a question of whether it gets built, it's a question of where. The residents of this building would generate a whole lot less impervious cover per resident (and square foot of built area) than almost any other type of development, with the exception of house boats in the ship channel. If housing doesn't get built here, it (and a lot more impervious cover in the form of roads and highways) is going to get built further north and west of here, which is to say, upstream. If nearby residents are TRULY concerned about drainage issues affecting their neighborhood, they should send RD a thank-you note.
  7. Angostura

    347 W 20th

    The theater has a parking variance, and doesn't need those spaces to meet its minimum. The cost of an externality should be borne by the party that generates it. In this case, the development isn't the externality, cars are. So the cost of the externality should be borne solely by the people who drive to the destination in question. As far as the people making piles of money are concerned, if the change in my property tax bills over the last several years are any indication, nearby homeowners most certainly belong in that category. That said, if by "the burdens of over-development" you mean that someone might park in front of my house, I feel like I've been fairly compensated. With respect to the city imposing a parking district, I'd be interested in hearing how exactly it would work. Aside from there being no mechanism in the code of ordinances for the city to do it, I don't see a way for it to be done with (a) eminent domain (which the city has no money for) and (b) a lot of work (which the city has no appetite for). Besides, I imagine if the city announced a plan to buy up a bunch of Heights parking lots so that surrounding property owners could more profitably develop their land, there'd be mobs with pitchforks and torches marching down Bagby St. Seems far simpler to just eliminate the parking minimums, and if there's any fallout over "spillover parking," allow streets to petition for (meter-less) metered parking. Go somewhere where parking is truly scarce, and you'll see that people can be pretty resourceful about efficiently allocating it.
  8. Angostura

    347 W 20th

    It means that, say, the owner of the hospital can't say that the parking lot across the street from this hotel is open to anyone who pays $5 to use it. Parking that is used to meet the minimum requirement has to be dedicated to the use that generates the requirement. There ARE rules in place that allow multiple uses to share parking in slightly more efficient ways, but only within a single development or within a single parking plan. There are also lots of pay lots unconnected to any particular development, but these aren't being used to meet someone else's parking minimum as well. And most of them are in areas that are exempt from minimum parking requirements (CBD, Midtown).
  9. Angostura

    347 W 20th

    Under-rated point. The costs of providing infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, water, sewer, etc.) scale roughly with street frontage. Tax valuation per s.f. of land is a good indicator of whether a given development is likely to be a net contributor or net cost to the city budget. A square foot of Heights land used for surface parking might have a taxable value of $70. That same sf of land with a store or restaurant on it could be valued at 3X that amount. Put a couple stories of residential over top of that retail space, and it might be 6-10X.
  10. Angostura

    347 W 20th

    There is ALREADY a 4-story parking garage 500 ft from this site. There are also already HUNDREDS of off-street parking spaces within easy walking distance of the main destinations on 19th and 20th streets. The problem isn't that there's not enough parking around 19th and 20th St, they're just very inefficiently allocated, because everyone has to provide their own exclusive parking to get an occupancy permit. The current owners of those parking spaces AREN'T ALLOWED to rent them to other people. If we de-coupled parking from the destination and allowed a market for parking to develop, the existing parking supply would be more than enough to serve current and future development nearby. Your last point is also important: currently the only way we get even halfway decent urbanism is by developing HUGE parcels of land (e.g. City Centre), which allow for enough scale to build structured parking. However, most great streetscapes are built as small parcels (20-60 feet of frontage), not monolithic block faces (see in Houston the 300 block of Main St and the good block-and-a-half of 19th). We should want to have development rules that don't make building great streetscapes illegal.
  11. Angostura

    347 W 20th

    Actually, New York (specifically Manhattan) is the unicorn. Houston hasn't really developed all that differently from most other US cities that grew during the same time period. Most cities in this country have grown out, not up, over the last 50 years. This is partly due to how we spend transportation money (we build a lot of highways into the exurbs), and partly due to building restrictions within the central cores of cities. In most cities, density restrictions are imposed by zoning ordinances, historic preservation, and other impediments to developing projects with higher densities than the surrounding neighborhood. Zoning is used, almost without exception, to limit density. In Houston, even without zoning, there was a lot that kept density low inside the loop. For much of the 2nd half of the 20th century, it was effectively illegal to build anything with more than four units inside the loop, largely due to inadequate sewer infrastructure, which drove a lot of multifamily development just outside the loop. In residential sub-divisions, deed restrictions, which the city enforces, accomplish a lot of the density restriction that zoning does in most cities. After Chapter 42 was adopted, with minimum building setbacks of 25 ft, commercial buildings could no longer be built like 19th St (with front doors on the sidewalk), so developers filled the building setback with parking, and the strip center was born. Add in parking minimums, and the traditional development pattern is largely outlawed, just like the rest of the country. Only in the last 20 years or so are we starting to see real levels of infill development. It's been hindered by our development rules, but the Planning Commission has been pretty consistently granting setback variances for projects that ask for them. And with the expansion to EaDo and Midtown of the area exempt from parking minimums, we'll see those neighborhoods become more walkable, with transit links to Downtown.
  13. Angostura

    Lower Heights District

    It looks like what would happen if Highland Village and the Central Market across the street had a baby. BTW, there's structured parking elsewhere on the site. Why separate one of your anchor tenants from the rest of the development with a sea of asphalt?
  14. Angostura

    Lower Heights District

    I was kind of impressed until I saw the last picture.
  15. Angostura

    Shepherd 10 Business Park @ 600 N Shepherd Dr

    Thanks for the pointer to CoH data. I was using the TXDoT data, which is different.