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Lotus

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Posts posted by Lotus


  1. This post has been edited by Editor to remove off-topic content. Please keep this thread on topic, or it will be closed.

    So back to Metro, the same analysis needs to be used? Were there kickbacks involved or simply extreme incompetence? Will there be an investigation or cliched statments like, "we need to move on" etc.?

    As people, we need to not fight with one another, but rather share facts and discuss reality, not beliefs and see who is working for the people and who is working against the people. One indicator of that is who is giving true information to the people and who is keeping that information from the people.
  2. I saw these yesterday, great infill, the place is starting to feel crowded and i like it.

    Yes, great infill indeed...get a tat, haircut and shave all within walking distance of the Hookah Bar! And such a interesting juxtapositional reuse for that building. Boy Scouts to hookahs...."Geepers, Wally, I just saw a sign on the Boy Scout building that says, Hookah Bar coming soon". What's a hookah bar? Gee, I don't know, Beav, but I think it's a place where those ladies who stand on the corners downtown can go and hang out together. Oh, I guess that's ok, Wally. Maybe they're gonna get merit badges or something". :P

    But yes, it does seem like Midtown is starting to gain steam. The place has such size and easy street grids which can give it a solid, filled feeling eventually. It's boundaries are distinct with 3 freeways and the Montrose where the streets begin to sway and stray a bit. Here's to the big rectangle!

  3. I like the analogy. I also believe that a lack of anthropomorphic love of architecture is a fatal flaw.

    Yes, romance with architecture. And this is the town to have your heart broken. I wonder if people who love architecture are somewhat non-people people. Buildings are silent and it takes a quiet mind to appreciate their finer qualities sometimes. They're a lot like trees, really. So can we call those who fight to preserve architecture building huggers? :)

    • Like 2
  4. I think that your Rockwell/Hopper analogy is absolutely 100% reversed. The only difference between a Rockwell painting and the East End is that the characters in the East End tend to be shorter, stockier, and of a darker complexion. But the warmth and family values are very much present in a way that isn't as much the case for the modern WASPy household.

    Well, you're very fixated on the people again, and their race. I was talking about the houses, and the fresh 1940s look (Rockwell) to a more melancholy, edgier, sad and dishelved look, the families and lives within notwithstanding (Hopper). And I don't know where you're coming from with the comment on the WASP household. Are you saying they're cold and lacking family values?

    So back to the EaDo topic. I see it as neither Rockwellian or Hopperian, but rather Daliesque. B)

  5. You made a mathematical error due to a social bias involving socioeconomic class and--whether directly or indirectly--race. The wood-frame houses that you characterize as "forgotten" aren't. It is the people within them that you have forgotten from your post.

    Again, you're really reading too much into what I wrote. Using "forgotten" was simply a colorful, poetic description. I visualized the old houses as if they were sentient beings, the crispness of their youthful origins now long forgotten, as they settle into old age, transformed from being like a Norman Rockwell painting to one by Edward Hopper.

    But since you mention socioeconomics, if the economy and dollar are pummeled, then those with no reserves will find it hard to buy food etc. and there are likely to be a lot of these homes for sale cheap. Enter those who are still able to buy houses, which would then create a neighborhood demographic shift, based on economics and not race, although as you pointed out, there is still a lot of relation between those two, instead of the trendy, "urban" types of neighborhood remakes that we've seen in the recent past.

  6. What happens to all the people already living cheaply and near to work in those inexpensive wood frame houses you mention?

    Or are they not entire, 100% people, if they don't have law degrees and their skin isn't on the spectrum of white and off-white color swatches at Lowe's? Are they 90% people? 80%? 60%, as the U.S. Constitution orginally specified?

    :mellow: Whaaat?

    So, don't you own Inner Loop East End? Are you a white shade too? What happened to the 100% people that owned the home prior to you? Did you burn a cross or two in their yard and run them off or did you simply respond to a real estate listing, or don't those "people" sell their homes, or maybe they don't even own homes? B)

    Were you drunk, frustrated or both when you wrote this? This racist/elitist insinuations are semi-offense but I have a thick skin and a soft heart so no hard feelings. Besides, I've been drunk and frustrated more than once myself.. :P

  7. The "EaDO" plans are mostly silly to me. An ampitheatre? For what, exactly???

    Some BudLight/Lucky's Pub themed sponsorship of some lame-ass faux event? This is more than just a playground for the those who want to live urban for a couple of years. It already IS a neighborhood. Bring in some non-trend, solid retail/grocery/restaurants, and start from there. These mixed-use pedestrian-friendly bread and circuses renderings, jesus.

    $7 gasoline and overall inflation in the near term will force people to to try live cheaply and near to work and might seek the cheaper inner loop areas where there are still a lot of small, old and forgotten wood frame houses where people can simply live simply without trying to be trendy. And rather than trendy boom/bust boulevard businesses, there will probably be just the chains and big boxes added to the landscape, as small businesses are too risky during economic upheavals, like forum faves such as CVS and WalMart... :rolleyes:

  8. A few construction photos:

    img6943l.jpg

    Nice to read http://www.hcfcd.org/trees.html that we won't be left with a linear park that resembles a suburban back yard of pure lawn, but that 1400 trees will be planted along the banks too, although I would prefer the total natural jungle approach with a trail running near the concrete bank. I go to the Willow Waterhole often and am grateful that it's there, although it's a bit minimalist at this time. This is such an amazing project and I feel fortunate to be around when while it's happening, and that the city and county as a whole are finally seeing aesthetics as something of great benefit to us all.

  9. There was a contest, however you didn't have to live there to participate and the name was decided upon arbitrarily--not by a vote. I think that it's unfair to characterize people that live there as pompous asses, either. After all, they have the balls to forsake Midtown and live on the "wrong" side of US 59. They're still pioneers in their own right.

    In fact, I participated in the contest, strongly making the case for "East Downtown" or "East Downtown Warehouse District", which is how it was widely known. I think that the downtown connection should be played up because the only thing that has ever divided it from downtown proper is a one-block-wide freeway. That's all! And I think that the barrier should be downplayed. ...apparently they agreed with me. Unfortunately, the decider was a douche.

    I have no idea whether they're pompous asses or not, how could I? I really meant to call the naming/website creator one. But they definitely are not trying to identify with the East End. So yeah, from a marketing standpoint the We Are Downtown :angry2: angle is probably the one that had the best chance of gripping people. But if a freeway is no obstacle, then Midtown should've tried for SoDo instead and maybe it would've gained traction sooner. :rolleyes: The truth is I like that neighborhood and see it as a real success, now and in the future, as far as generating interest and development in the East End area eventually, despite the silly name.

    But seriously, I have fun on this forum, fun with words and venting thoughts and ideas freely. To coin a Yogi Berraism; internet forum posts are 1) half truth, 2) half opinion masquerading as truth, 3) half entertainment.

    • Like 1
  10. Has anyone ever polled the EaDonians about what they want to name their neighbourhood?

    They had a contest as mentioned above.

    The thing that gets me about these folks who live over there is that, in their initial mission statement/neighborhood description, they never mention the East End http://www.eadohouston.com/index.html. They are clearly attempting to SEPARATE themselves from the East End (what they really mean is, "we're part of Downtown, really. That icky barrio is that-a-way <_< ), and are actually the East Downtown Management District, as opposed to the East End Management District. If they were proud of being part of the East End, they could've offered as a name Eastgate, the Gateway to the East End. But nah.

    So clearly these are the pompous asses we thought they were.

    But what they're doing will ultimately bring them what they think they want; a dense, noisy, anything goes, underground, overpriced Frankenabe.

    • Like 1
  11. I guess to really answer the topic question we would have to do some library research and check old Post or such for the first references. I would guess that East End wasn't used until relatively recently as that side of town was, as The Niche pointed out, the cities of Harrisburg and Magnolia Park and Houston 2nd Ward for many early years.

    And for some reason our main area designations are mostly generic and used in many cities;

    Downtown-universal

    Midtown-common

    Uptown-common (and ours has no directional congruency with Midtown or Downtown)

    Medical Center-generic sounding (enough that it is the name of a former TV series)

    North Side-generic

    The Wards-generic

    EaDo-contrived, so trying to sound cool and hip, wannabe NY, lame.

    East End-sort of unique and logical, although one is reminded of London.

    Our best ones come naturally; Museum District, Warehouse District, Montrose, Energy Corridor, Alief, Chinatown (or is it New Chinatown, or Little Asia, or place where you find noodle.... :huh: .

    So really, who cares. It all works as pretension is a part of life too.

  12. Really? That area seems too homey to become a Washington type destination. What makes them think that?

    They said the same thing about Washington. Nothing there but shacks and tracks. All it had going for it was location. Almeda is on "the good side of the tracks", actually the freeway, and is surrounded by money and development. The street is wide and there's really not a "destination" blvd for drinks and eatums anywhere nearby. So, I think that is the standard idea as to why it could become something one day.

    The only thing is that Washington evolved naturally with the townhouses coming first, then the retail. Almeda doesn't have a bunch of teardowns in the area allowing townhouses to get built en masse like the Wash area, so that would mean more expensive residential projects, which are far less likely to just start sprouting up in clusters. However, the pattern of retail development doesn't have to be the same for Almeda. They can start by attracting the Med Center-Museum crowd and add the condo towers down the road.

    So there, rich developers. We've done all the figuring out for you, now just get to work! :lol:

  13. It was a fool's vision from the beginning. Philips had a low basis on the land, and that was the only mechanism to obtain construction financing. Previous condo developers ran into problems when they developed too many at once, and Philips did just that...on a scale unprecedented for Houston, even going back to oil boom days. Worse still, his unit mix was extremely limited. (It's easier to sell 10 1BR, 10 2BR, and 10 3BR than 25 1BR and 15 2BR; and notice that the number of units goes up as the average floor plan gets smaller, for the same enclosed area.) The initial condos delivered at the peak of the Houston market, but pre-sales couldn't convert. If anybody in the multifamily business hadn't already concluded that this project was going to go bust, they figured it out pretty quickly...in spite of attempts by the first of several in a line of contracted listing agents to propogate false market data. The rent vs. own for Mosaic was all out of whack, with extraordinarily high prices per square foot, property taxes, maintanence fees, etc. Owners could never dream of renting out their unit and recouping a decent amount of the cost; but they could surely count on that unsold units would languish on the market for years, with a second tower possibly being built and once again flooding the market for years after that! Where's the value proposition?

    Contrast Mosaic with 2727 Kirby, which managed (to my own amazement!) to stay out of foreclosure. 2727 Kirby was well-located on justifiably-expensive dirt in a highly desirable location, included one eighth the number of total units planned to be sold, and included relatively larger units targeting a smaller market, but one for which affordability was less at issue than desirability. 2727 Kirby also suffered from its timing to market and some stiff competition; it didn't perform as well as the original investor (deceased) would have liked. But who needs a vision when you've got good sense?

    I see. Thanks for the detailed understanding. My version of "correct vision" is one of a layman, a dreamer, taking into account the area's potential, the views, the park, Med Center and the striking architecture. Apparently it sounds as if the professionals involved's collective vision was about as pie-in-the-sky "good sense" as mine. :rolleyes:

    So we are left with a couple of new towers, all by there lonesome in a part of town that is showing signs of waking from the dead and reincarnating as something entirely different. The value in these units could then rise as well and the towers become what they were originally envisioned as, just 10-20 years later.

  14. Please elaborate. Not sure I understand your point.

    Not much to elaborate on, it was simply a relatively weak attempt at humor...paying 500K for a green card when they could just cross illegally like "normal people", but there's no green card with that method. Better to invest big bucks for good return plus get green card (I think I read that on a fortune cookie once).

    And I see this already had its own topic. Next time I'll do a search first. And I misstated about Nip owning the 15 blocks according to The Niche. OK, anything else, people? :rolleyes:

  15. I have faith that these towers will one day become desirable residential icons, although I've read some anecdotes that they are somewhat cheaply built. The overall vision was correct but the timing wasn't. Too bad the creators won't enjoy the fruits.

  16. A Mr. Nip wants to build a 1000 room hotel directly across the 59 from the George R. Brown. The financing will be coming from wealthy Chinese who, by investing at least $500K, will receive green cards. It would be much cheaper to just swim the river but that method has been overdone... :P

    http://www.globalcenturydev.com/Investment.html (powerpoint by clicking "Conceptual Project Plans".

    http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/print-edition/2011/02/11/houston-backs-downtown-convention-hotel.html

    Sounds pretty ambitious but apparently the mayor is backing the idea and Lee Brown is working for the group. The rendering shows 15 contiguous blocks that Mr. Nip owns and it proposes a pedestrian bridge connecting the hotel with the Conv. Center.

  17. I'm perplexed by Mayor Parker's response.

    If you mean her comment about sueing whomever turned over the tape to the media, well it's only perplexing to me if I don't simply accept what I heard; that she's more concerned with protecting HPD's reputation than letting the people keep proper tabs on things. Our brains work best when we process exactly what we see and hear, not filter it with preconceived notions.

    This video is just a stroke of luck. It makes me wonder how many similar incidents are never seen. We can't logically imagine that this was a singular event that just happened to be captured randomly on tape. What are the odds of that?

  18. Good point. Not many years ago Washington Avenue was a forgotten street. Conventional wisdom understood that no one wanted to live (or open a business) in an ugly, failed industrial quarter near the railroad tracks. How quickly things change.

    Deja vu all over again.

    Right. I remember 10 years ago a real estate agent friend telling me that Washington Ave. was going to be hot. Made some sense but who wants to be the first to take the leap?

    A friend bought farther east a couple of years ago in an neighborhood close to Mason Park, a park I didn't even know existed, although I've lived in the Houston area for over 20 years. A 1940s home that really has potential and the price was very reasonable, relative to the west side of town. I admit to feeling at first that the area was a tad far and possibly a poor investment although I wasn't familiar with it. Once I ventured over there a couple of times, I was struck by how close it was and how "undiscovered" it seemed too. How can such cheap housing near a nice park close to town be lying fallow? Of course, it's not really lying fallow as real people actually live there... :rolleyes:. So now, thanks to her and this forum, my perception has changed and I see my friend's strategy, and also her happiness, as valid , although the home needs perhaps more work than she anticipated.

    So perceptions about areas change gradually at first, then the big wave of people come when they feel that there's enough of "their type" to make the area reach a certain level of familiarity and comfort. This area might be on the cusp of that wave. And another area goes "hip"..

  19. .........i'd still like a design committee for specific areas of town, like downtown, but nothing specifically authoritarian.

    If not specifically authoritarian then suggestarian, perhaps? I think design committees belong in historic districts to protect and guide reuse of old structures, but not as a panel of taste experts imposing theirs on those who create professionally.

    Besides, Houston already resembles a city "designed by committee". :)

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