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Everything posted by Angostura

  1. Observing the income premium from having a college education and concluding that we need to send everyone to college was a very "wet streets cause rain" moment. As was observing that home ownership correlated with good economic outcomes and concluding that we need to make everyone a homeowner. The latter caused the 2008 financial crisis. The full reckoning of the former has yet to come.
  2. I think any list that doesn't have the CBD and Midtown at #1 and #2 is probably a little off.
  3. Food halls are the new food truck parks. They give aspiring restaurateurs a chance to test a concept before committing time and capital to a full build-out, and are a vastly more pleasant experience for the diner than a food truck park, which (in Houston at least) are generally in un-shaded parking lots with little to no seating, no bathrooms and lots of generator noise.
  4. I'm generally against single family zoning in cities. And the closer to the city center, the less defensible it is. As a relief valve against city-wide zoning, I suppose the minimum lot size ordinance is useful, but, yes, it's difficult to see it as anything other than exclusionary. In this case, and in the case of the MLS area application intended to block development of the Fitzgerald's site, it's been deployed as a way to block development of sites already sold or on the market. This should be a lessen to property owners: get your re-plats done as quietly as possible and BEFORE you put the property up for sale.
  5. With the possible exceptions of Medicare and Social Security, single family zoning may be the most effective form of inter-generational wealth transfer from low-net-worth millenials to high-net-worth boomers this country has.
  6. Went over the holidays, and it's quite good, especially given the size of the space and the volume they're doing. They have 5 (I think) large offset smokers in a glass-walled smokehouse next to the serving line. Brisket, pork, ribs and turkey were all very good, sides are decent, and the dining room is clean and pleasant.
  7. Agree, but the important part of this one is the first floor, not the other 5. And the Mondrian-style detailing appears to only be on that one corner.
  8. If the first post in the thread is accurate, it'll have 273 parking spaces, which is probably what the city minimums require (1.33 per 1BR, 1.67 per 2BR). If every single one of these 273 spots is filled, and they all leave for work between 6 and 8AM, that's about one car every 26 seconds. Seeing as how not all these cars will go the same direction, it's maybe an extra car per minute on surrounding streets.
  9. Housing is never a question of "whether" but rather "where". If housing isn't built close to where people want to be, it will be built FAR from where people want to be, which means they have to drive farther to get there. VMT (vehicle miles traveled) per capita decreases when population density increases (and VMT per capita has been decreasing in Houston for a while now). Also, density is upstream of transit. Transit is only successful if you have the activity density to support it.
  10. According to HCAD, it still belongs to a subsidiary of Atofina, and hasn't changed hands since 1988. (BTW, when in doubt w/r/t address, the interactive parcel map is your friend.)
  11. Yeah, calling BS on this. Those three blocks are mostly SF homes and individually owned THs (also a school), none of which have been acquired. I think this is exactly what it says it is, a concept. Also, the concept shows a zero-foot building line, which, good luck with that.
  12. I think it's less the one-way traffic and more the attempt to do patio seating 8 feet from what is essentially an 8-lane highway. I think BOB struggled to get people to put up with that in order to get a relatively undistinguished hamburger, when there is a LOT of competition nearby. I mean, anyone who wanted to eat a hamburger on a dusty patio could just go to Hubcap instead. I think that they have a more unique product, and if they do some sort of fence or landscape buffer between Durham and the patio, they could do pretty well.
  13. You know what else has a permeable surface and exhibits ponding? Ponds.
  14. I'm guessing the Ion, being developed by a university endowment rather than a typical developer, is seen as a "soft target," more likely to buy into the idea of a CBA. The coalition demanding the CBA doesn't really have anything to offer the developer other than to publicly support the project (or at least to not oppose it). In this case, since Houston's rules are generally pretty development-friendly, and this project already has the support of the mayor's office, Rice's BATNA is probably no worse than what they'd get with a CBA, depending on how much they value goodwill from this particular set of community groups. A traditional developer would probably not want to set the precedent (this would be the city's first CBA), but a university might.
  15. The PC was generally supportive of the idea of a CBA, but recognized that it's not in their remit to require one in order to grant a variance.
  16. Eventually, I can't see why not. You could see a business model where commercial property owners and/or tenants outsource the service, potentially at zero cost to themselves, much like they do with valet parking today.
  17. Let's say you have a 2500 sf restaurant on a 10,000 sf lot. The city requires you to provide 25 parking spaces, at an average of 300 sf each. Business is going well, and you decide to open a second concept so you can serve more people. You can acquire a second 10,000 sf site, and build another 2500 sf restaurant with 25 surface spaces, or you can build a 50-space automated garage on 5000 sf and build a second 2500 sf restaurant on the land you already own. Which of these options makes the most sense will depend on the relative cost of land and the parking system. (In actual reality, most restaurants lease their space, so it's the developers who are making these trade-offs, but the numbers are the same.) The more constrained the site, the less efficient they are. Here's a garage behind a retail/commercial building on Washington, with the ramp, stairways and elevators outlined in red: The footprint is a little over 25,000 s.f., and I count ~60 spaces on the top floor, which is 420 sf per space. If the site were 40 feet wider, you could fit spaces on the ramp, and the layout would be more efficient, maybe 350 s.f. per space (comparable to a surface lot). This is about as small a footprint you can do before the layout starts getting really inefficient, and it's only three levels, so this is pretty close to the minimum size traditional parking structure that's likely to be built. So you wouldn't start thinking about structured parking for anything less than, say 150 spaces, which corresponds to a 30-40k sf retail development. So unless we do away with parking minimums, the only way small developments can feasibly move away from surface parking is with automated systems.
  18. The smallest feasible size for automated systems is much, much smaller than tradition parking structures. The smaller a parking structure (in footprint) the higher the percentage of square footage taken up by ramps and aisles, so below a certain number of spaces it becomes either economically or physically impossible to do structured parking. Since automated systems have no ramps or aisles, they can be feasible at very low numbers of spaces. One of the reason we have very few standalone restaurant sites is that the parking requirement (10 per 1000 sf) results in a lot coverage ratio of around 25%, with the rest dedicated to parking, whereas a strip center (5 spaces per 1000 sf) can have a lot coverage closer to 50%, which gives the developer 2X the leaseable space for the same land cost. But if you can use an automated system to park 3X as many vehicles per s.f., you could put a 4,000 s.f. restaurant on an 8,000 s.f lot and still meet your parking requirement.
  19. If you're working within an existing building envelope and want to maximize capacity, or if you have a height restriction, then it may be worth paying a premium for a robotic system. But if, as in this case, you're building on a greenfield, without height restrictions, then the reason to go automated instead of traditional is because of construction costs, not land costs. That is, it has to be cheaper to build and operate than a traditional garage. Estimates I've seen (granted these are mostly from parking system suppliers) put the construction costs somewhere between 60 and 100% of a similar capacity traditional garage. Here's why that's interesting: Currently, a lot of neighborhoods fall into a trap where land values aren't high enough to justify the cost of structured parking, so the spaces required by the city's parking requirements get built as surface lots. The resulting low density prevents the underlying land values from increasing to the point that structured parking is viable. If the lower end of that construction cost range turns out to be true (and it should get cheaper over time as the industry matures) then the land cost at which structured parking makes sense falls from, say $100/sf to $60/sf, and there are already plenty of neighborhoods in Houston with land values in that ballpark, which means more new retail development could include structured parking instead of surface parking, which would add to density, and in turn make the land value higher.
  20. It's volumetrically more efficient, since you don't need door space, head space, turning space, ramps, etc. And the retrieval time for a single vehicle compares favorably to valet parking or a traditional garage, when you consider elevator/stair time to reach your car, then driving time to reach the exit. However, where it compares unfavorably is throughput. Assuming there are 8 drop-off/retrieval bays (not sure if that's the right number or not), and it takes 2 minutes on average to retrieve a car, that's 240 vehicles per hour. Which means it would take the better part of 6 hours to fully empty this 1400-car garage. I know it can seem like forever to get out of the Toyota Center garage after a Rockets game, but it's a lot faster than 6 hours.
  21. About that variance request: The Shepherd RoW is oddly shaped at this intersection. A 25-ft building line along Shepherd would result in a 75-ft distance from the curb to the fa├žade at W. 6th. The developer is proposing a "parklet" in the RoW at that corner.
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