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Everything posted by Angostura

  1. All the owners of 5-year-old townhouses are worried about an apartment building ruining the character of their neighborhood. How dare they build residences in the middle of a residential area. Wait. A second ago it was not close to anything, now it's in a high-traffic area. First, they'd have to get their application in before the developer replats the lots into a single reserve, which, it appears, they haven't. Second, the MLS protection would only apply to vacant and single-family tracts, which is only about 1/3 of the total area of the development. The rest, including the big lot on the corner are already in use for commercial purposes and could be developed freely. Third, the MLS ordinance requires that the block face (or multi-block area) have an "identifiable lot size character". This block clearly doesn't: ...and even if it did, it would only qualify for a minimum lot size of around 1700 s.f.
  2. This has been vacant for a long time. A request to re-plat the site south of 25th as a single reserve was submitted in 2014, but HCAD only shows ownership history on that parcel from 2017, so it may have been more recent. The plots on the north face of 25th total $10.6M in appraised value, and $7.8M on the south face, which is a lot to pay taxes on while waiting for land value to appreciate.
  3. Yeah, I imagine it'd be a mess. I think it works in a situation where valet parking works, but in a situation where everyone wants to leave at about the same time (like a baseball game, or 5PM on a Tuesday in an office building), it might not be ideal.
  4. Of the four façades, one is a blank wall, one is a mostly blank wall with a glass door to some kind of lobby, and two are not shown. Presumably there will be a place for cars to enter and exit somewhere.
  5. Kind of terrible from a street-scape point of view. I'd be interested to see how this competes with nearby non-automated garages. I wonder how quickly they can empty it out after an Astros game, for example.
  6. In the intervening two weeks, it appears staff uncovered an approved parking plan for 2805 White Oak that included three spots on the these lots to meet the minimum requirements. That parking plan pre-dates the MLS application, which means that those lots should have been coded commercial in the MLS application. As a result, the planning commission approved the replat without a variance.
  7. Houston, and the Planning Commission, have been generally pretty good at making decisions on variance requests based on the merits of the request itself, in accordance w/ city ordinances. For example, the VR for the Ion garage is perfectly aligned with the planning commission's goals for walkable places and transit corridors, and the variance is to be able to go beyond what the current ordinance requires (i.e. allowing the Fannin frontage to opt in to transit corridor standards). If the variance process becomes, as is common in a lot of cities, a method for interest groups to shake down developers, it will be a step backwards.
  8. That exchange was confusing to me. It wasn't clear if they would restrict access to the site from 6½ or restrict vehicles from accessing 6½ from Studewood. Also, there's a third lot in the re-plat, #736, which is already designated non-residential, and unaffected by the MLS application. This has been deferred twice, so the commission must either accept or reject the replat tomorrow.
  9. Turns out it's $25M Fed, matched with $25M from the TIRZ. Funds Phase I, 15th to 610. A lot of the cost is sub-surface (stormwater and sanitary sewer upgrades). More info here. H/T @HOUstreets on twitter.
  10. Not sure they know yet, at least until the MLS issue gets resolved. I don't think they can open 2805 White Oak until they provide some kind of additional parking.
  11. The center of gravity for development was closer to the Galleria than the CBD in large part because that was where you could build apartments. This probably led to some of the multi-centric development pattern we have (uptown, energy corridor, Greenspoint, etc.) rather than more jobs concentrating in the CBD. Now that the supply of central-neighborhood housing is allowed to meet demand, we've seen a LOT of densification in the last couple decades, and probably more to come.
  12. The "central laneway" is already mid-block, so it's not replacing a thru street, but from the site plan, it looks like they want to pedestrianize Eagle St as well.
  13. In the 31Oct Planning Commission meeting, the developer made mention of being willing to restrict access to the parking garage from Studewood only, not allowing access from 6-1/2 (About 33 minutes into Section D here). This indicates to me that their current plan is to place it on that corner.
  14. Funded. The project would include re-construction of Shepherd and Durham from the bayou to 610, reducing the number of travel lanes from 4 to 3, adding high-comfort bike lanes, 6-ft sidewalks and Metro shelters. Would also include reconstruction of 11th, 14th, 18th, 19th, 20th and 24th between Shepherd and Durham to facilitate turns and accommodate future Houston Bike Plan improvements.
  15. Whenever I hear people say that Houston's sprawl is a result of our lack of zoning, it drives me nuts. Our least "sprawl-y" neighborhoods are pretty much all laid out in the late 19th, early 20th centuries. The lack of density in Houston's core is almost entirely the result of regulation, not the lack of it: - sewer moratorium pushing multi-family development outside of 610 - Chapter 42's setback requirements making the strip center the most economically efficient retail format and outlawing zero-setback construction. - Chapter 26's parking minimums requiring standalone retail development to dedicate 50-75% of land area to parking. - Minimum lot sizes (only reformed in the 90's) Our lack of zoning is now allowing Houston to unwind some of these bad choices, so that we can achieve a more appropriate activity density in central neighborhoods.
  16. They acquired the Fitzgerald's lots about a year after acquiring the original lots. I think the current plan is to site the garage at Studewood and 6-1/2, but I haven't seen site plans or renderings.
  17. I think their original plan was to build the garage at 2902(?), in the space currently occupied by a small covered parking lot. At the time, though, the number of spaces was far in excess of what would be needed to serve the additional parking requirement generated by the new retail at 2805, so it seemed reasonable to speculate that 2714 would also be involved somehow. This was in 2017. In July of 2018, EZ Park acquired the Fitzgerald's properties, including the 3 lots on 6th 1/2 St (738, 742 & 746). I haven't seen site plans or renderings, but I understand that the current plan is to put the garage at the corner of Studewood and 6-1/2. I assume this is because that corner is the lowest-value frontage from a retail standpoint. However, assuming the garage occupies the three lots on 6-1/2, things could get tricky. Chapter 26 allows you to fulfill 100% of your parking requirement with off-site parking, provided that the off-site parking is within 500 feet, as measured along pedestrian walkways. My half-assed google maps measurement puts the 746 Studewood at 575 feet from 2805 White Oak (though I think they could design around this by providing public pedestrian access to the garage mid-block on White Oak).
  18. Yes, yes, I'm sure they thought about it. But all the press materials show the building as viewed by someone passing by 200 feet in the air.
  19. I would say the glass-tube façade (covering most of the raw concrete) would rule out brutalism. Maybe deconstructivist, at least in the massing and roof line. I hope I'm wrong, but I fear this building won't age well. There's still a lot of exposed raw concrete in the nooks and crannies, and these surfaces tend to stain and streak over time. It will also take a lot of maintenance to keep the backlit façade looking new. It's another example of a building designed to be striking as a model or rendering (or as viewed from a passing helicopter, I guess). This is not uncommon when the main function of the design is to convince potential donors to build it. How the building will actually be perceived by visitors and passers-by is a secondary concern at best, and entirely irrelevant if the thing never gets built.
  20. I think this is right. The sewer moratorium caused a major disruption in what would normally have been the geographic distribution of multi-family development. As a result, places like Montrose, Midtown, and the Heights were significantly under-built. This is now being corrected. W/r/t demand, about 37% of US households are 1-person, and another 31% are childless couples (both married and co-habitating). While not all of these people want to live in apartments, a lot of them are perfectly content to, at least for a number of years. BTW, only about 21% of households are married couples with children, which is probably less than half of what most people would guess.
  21. Hope they keep the grandfathered zero-setback footprint.
  22. It's 12X above CoH minimums, so presumably this has to be part of the plan. This is within the boundaries of the Montrose Special Parking Area. Businesses within the SPA can provide up to 100% of their (non-handicap) parking off-site. Alternatively, since due to grandfathering, within the boundaries of the SPA, total off-site parking is >2000 off-street spaces under what CoH would currently require, they could just charge for parking without leasing specific spots to specific developments. Parking is definitely at a premium in the area, and LOTS of people get towed for inadvertently parking on resident-only streets.
  23. I would definitely trade a reduced setback requirement (0-5 ft) for a limit on curb cuts. If you could build at a 5-ft setback, the square footage you'd "lose" doing a central driveway is about equal to what you currently lose to the front setback, and you could build about the same FAR, with better pedestrian environment and without giving up 4-5 parking spaces.
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