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Angostura last won the day on July 7 2010

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  1. Except where they run on dedicated ROW (and sometimes even when they do) early 20th century streetcars were actually pretty slow. During peak hours, the St Charles streetcar in New Orleans isn't appreciably faster than a brisk walker, and definitely slower than a bicycle. What really limited Houston's density were, in no particular order: The 20th century sewer moratorium, which effectively limited construction inside the loop to 4-plexes during large parts of the high-growth post-war period. Deed restrictions limited certain areas to single-family residential The 5000
  2. The concept is called a land-value tax. The idea is that, rather than base property tax valuation on the land-plus-improvements, you only tax the value of the land. So the owner of a block used for surface parking would pay the same tax bill as the owner of a block across the street used for, say, an office tower. This incentivizes landowners to more quickly develop to highest-and-best use, thereby discouraging the kind of land speculation Golconda is engaging in, and eliminates the tax penalty associated with remodeling existing structures. It also removes the tax incentive to quic
  3. Good for him. There are few enough grandfathered zero-setback buildings that every one is worth saving, and this is pretty much the only way to do it.
  4. I know what each of those words means, but I have no idea what that phrase means.
  5. I don't know if there needs to be a maximum width, but if you plat at 25-ft or 33-ft frontage and sell lots individually, a lot of development is going to happen on one or two-lot parcel. Yes, at least for uses other than single-family residential, minimum width is 50 (or 60) feet. Recall that a typical downtown or EaDo block is only 250 feet between rights of way. So you can never really have more than 5 different façades on a given block face. Add in the 5000 minimum size for non SFR reserves, and the most different façades on the block face around the corner is three.
  6. The walkability of a neighborhood is pretty tightly correlated with the average parcel size within it. Any parcel as large as a city block is as likely as not to be complete crap. Compare this streetscape: ...with this one: If this area was to have any hope of being an interesting, walkable, horizontal-mixed-use neighborhood, the plot of land that eventually became the Target would have had to be replatted, continuing the street grid from the other side of Sawyer, into parcels with, say 25 to 50 feet of frontage each, exempted from setbacks
  7. The city generally extracts a commitment to provide 6-ft sidewalks in exchange for approving things like setback variances. (Not sure if this project required a variance or not.)
  8. This is an under-appreciated fact that often goes overlooked by "new urbanists". The long-term quality/walkability of an area is to a very large extent determined by two factors: effective street width (distance between opposite façades, not just roadway width), and average parcel width. The former provides human scale and a sense of enclosure, the latter provides granularity and variety as you walk along it. This development is better than most with respect to street width, (it's probably about the minimum the city will allow), but each blockface is a single building in most cases
  9. There's a soft spot in my heart for all of Houston's legacy zero-setback buildings.
  10. Would love to see Yale redone as a 3-lane street (like Studewood) with wider sidewalks. Barring that, I'd like more people to take advantage of the fact that on-street parking is legal on Yale for most of its length during most of the day. Speed limit on Yale is 30 mph, but drivers routinely go 45. Speed limit on Heights is 35mph, but drivers routinely go 25. Road design does more to limit traffic speeds than speed limit signs do.
  11. If you have a convection toaster oven (or air fryer), throw your take-out fries in there for 3-5 minutes. They crisp right back up.
  12. Assuming steel-and-brick construction is $400/sf and stick-built SFH construction is $200/sf, you can calculate the breakeven floor-area-ratio for a given land value. For condo FAR of 4.0 and SFH FAR of 1.0, land values above $270/sf would favor condo construction. There are very few places in Houston where dirt sells for that much. Having lived in mid-rise condo buildings in a neighborhood in an (actually dense) city where that type of construction is typical, I can tell you I couldn't have afforded the same square footage in a standalone house. FWIW, I love these kinds of building
  13. I understand the dynamic, it's just the opposite of the way things work in (actually dense) cities where land value drives the economics. In places where 90% of the population lives in a multi-family building, where floor area ratios are seldom below 4.0, an apartment being more expensive than a standalone house would be unthinkable. I'm guessing the demand curve is very steep. Doing a very small number of these probably means each one is very profitable (that penthouse alone is probably a 7-figure profit to the developer), but once you get beyond the people for whom it's a lifestyle cho
  14. I know there's a market for these units at this price point, but the price per s.f. on these developments never ceases to amaze. At $4.3M for 4300 sf, you're paying almost twice the going rate per s.f. for single-family houses on generously sized lots within a couple blocks. And for the $2600/month in condo fees, you could pay someone to pick up the mail and handle the yard work.
  15. From here. "as soon as this summer" probably means, "maybe this time next year."
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