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Downtown YMCA

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The people at the Downtown YMCA told me that they have bought a lot a couple of blocks away and will move locations in the next couple of years. It will be nice to have a newer, updated YMCA, but I wonder what will happen to the old building?

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The people at the Downtown YMCA told me that they have bought a lot a couple of blocks away and will move locations in the next couple of years. It will be nice to have a newer, updated YMCA, but I wonder what will happen to the old building?

The old building will come down, as what is the financial value of that building? The Y can't give the land away -- they need to sell the block to have $ to put into the new building. Someone could come in and buy the block, but the highest & best use is office space or office-related use.

Would be great to use it for residential, but residential can't compete with office space -- especially in this market. You'd have to have a lot of people willing to pay big bucks to live there, in the middle of office towers. A lot of engineer-types there -- KBR, Chevron -- and they're not your typical high-dollar inner city residential demographic (hey, love those engineers, but they're just not the demographic). You'd have some view, but not like many other locations.

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The old building will come down, as what is the financial value of that building? The Y can't give the land away -- they need to sell the block to have $ to put into the new building. Someone could come in and buy the block, but the highest & best use is office space or office-related use.

Would be great to use it for residential, but residential can't compete with office space -- especially in this market. You'd have to have a lot of people willing to pay big bucks to live there, in the middle of office towers. A lot of engineer-types there -- KBR, Chevron -- and they're not your typical high-dollar inner city residential demographic (hey, love those engineers, but they're just not the demographic). You'd have some view, but not like many other locations.

I agree, that area would, more than likely be office spaces for a huge tower. If they were smart, they'd build a small facility for out of town business people, as the only hotel in the area would be The Crowne Plaza. It's relative remoteness to the other city's amenities inspite of it only being a few blocks from midtown, is formidable enough to make it an island unto itself after dark.

If a new tower with some residential built inside could spur some midtown development to move a bit closer to Travis along gray, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

With Miami's economic problems looming, I wouldn't doubt if building type would shift to your typical officer towers and/or hotel combinations.

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if it comes down, that would be a shame. it is one of Franzheim's interesting smaller-scale buildings, imo :(

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I am not sure if they are building a new Y or just renovating this one. My dad's company put in a bid for a renovation of the Downtown Y.

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I live at the Downtown YMCA and rumors abound on the staus of the building. One is that an oil comany has bought the residence part for offices after they renovate it. Another is they bought the whole thing and are going to tear it down. Anhother has the y moving a few blocks south and having a residence or not having one. The building should be on the National Register. This woudl be the second historical Y6 torn down the first being the 1908 building. I know there was an even older one built in chartered in 1885. Anyone have any pics of the older ones or even the one now on Louisiana when it was newer?

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I hope they don't tear it down/close it.. I just got a membership there! :blink:

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No they would build another one a few blocks south. There are a few large tracts of land in Midtown and I have been told they own one of them just not sure which one.

I hope they don't tear it down/close it.. I just got a membership there! :blink:

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No they would build another one a few blocks south. There are a few large tracts of land in Midtown and I have been told they own one of them just not sure which one.

I had a good feeling that building was slated next for demolition. :o

With the newer and much more modern 24-Hour Fitness places being built all around its not suprising that this place will go away for good. It seems so out of date and out of place in that spot. The building is not worthy of any historical significance other than old memories. We had a family member that went there as a kid so I know its old. Good luck to you that have invested $ here.

Gyms are living hell when it comes to a refund. New topic I know... -_-

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Today we found out that the last day to live in the Downtown YMCA is going to be at the end of June 2010. There is a new one being built near Main in Midtown that may or may not have housing. This building is historic. Hiow do I go about saving it?

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Today we found out that the last day to live in the Downtown YMCA is going to be at the end of June 2010. There is a new one being built near Main in Midtown that may or may not have housing. This building is historic. Hiow do I go about saving it?

What is architecturally significant about it? I've seen it from the outside and nothing really stands out (for me) other than it is older than everything else around it.

I am not being flippant, but I've never been on the inside. Am I missing something?

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Yes the inside area is beautiful. Not the rooms per se as they have undergone renovation twice over the years.

What is architecturally significant about it? I've seen it from the outside and nothing really stands out (for me) other than it is older than everything else around it.

I am not being flippant, but I've never been on the inside. Am I missing something?

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Landmark YMCA facility to soon face demolition

Chevron to buy downtown block; nonprofit to get a greener home

Downtown's landmark YMCA building will be demolished and the land sold as the nonprofit community organization develops a new facility after more than six decades in its current home.

Chevron, one of downtown's largest corporate residents, will buy the block on which the building has sat for 67 years in a deal that's expected to close in 2011.

full article

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And let's look on the bright side,

(1) Chevron will most likely turn this into attractive greenspace until the figure out what to do with the land. I wonder if they will gate it off for employee use only?

(2) When the Y builds (the article said downtown, not midtown), then another surface lot will bite the dust. And there is plentiful street parking over there as well as the 250-space lot they will have.

I'm sad to see the building go, but this really is a net positive for that side of downtown.

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It's toast.

Terribly sad but not at all surprising.

I wanted to complain about the loss of this building, but it was immediately apparent that it was probably impossible to reasonably do anything with it. Still, sorry to see it go.

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There's been a rash of Franzheim's work demolished in Houston - Bender/San Jacinto Hotel, upcoming YMCA, and the Prudential Building.

What a waste of buildings.

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I wanted to complain about the loss of this building, but it was immediately apparent that it was probably impossible to reasonably do anything with it. Still, sorry to see it go.

Not being argumentative, but why don't you think anything could be done with it? There are already residences inside, why not turn the entire thing into a neat loft/apartment deal? You could use the existing lobby as...a lobby, use some of the existing gym space as...gym space for the residents, and turn the rest into cool apartments.

That side of downtown could use a residential space. I know; I used to work at Continental and passed the old YMCA every day on my way to work. It's a terrible shame to see it go.

I know others in the thread claim not to see the beauty in it, but I always thought (and still do think) that it's a lovely building, especially in contrast to all the modern skyscrapers that surround it. I think it's a little gem in that end of town, and it will be a terrible shame to see it go. :(

321_1024x768.jpg

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Gotta agree that there are plenty of things that could be done with the existing building. However, this is Houston and that is prime property (although there are empty blocks all around it). It is not seen as the "highest use" to save it so it will come down. It's the so-called free market at work.

I realize that not every building can be saved. But there are some that should and we are running out of those in Houston. This is one of them.

Boston's land prices are way higher than Houston but things are saved all the time. The newest is the Liberty Hotel in the old Charles Street Jail. The jail sat empty from 1990 until 2007. Now, it houses a 298 room, 5 star hotel. Clink Restaurant sits diners in the old cells. The Alibi Club is in the old "drunk tank." There's another hotel (Jury's) in the old Police Station. A local police station (D-4) was turned into Starck designed condos. Right now, the old Russia Wharf is being restored and a tower added to it.

I am just amazed that in a downtown with seemingly as many empty parcels as occupied ones, I am amazed that things keep getting torn down.

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Boston's land prices are way higher than Houston but things are saved all the time.

You don't think that the correlation might possibly mean something?

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Not being argumentative, but why don't you think anything could be done with it? There are already residences inside, why not turn the entire thing into a neat loft/apartment deal? You could use the existing lobby as...a lobby, use some of the existing gym space as...gym space for the residents, and turn the rest into cool apartments.

That side of downtown could use a residential space. I know; I used to work at Continental and passed the old YMCA every day on my way to work. It's a terrible shame to see it go.

While I agree that this building would make a great residential space, IMO we are about 2 decades from that side of downtown being able to sustain anything like that. If the northern reaches of downtown, with arguably better housing stock and retail/restaurant amenities is anemic at best, then there just isn't enough demand around the Y other than the fact that the Randall's is closer.

With all that said, I think it *would* be interesting if Chevron converted it into some sort of corporate apartments for their visiting employees. However, I'm sure it is cost-prohibitive to do so.

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With all that said, I think it *would* be interesting if Chevron converted it into some sort of corporate apartments for their visiting employees. However, I'm sure it is cost-prohibitive to do so.

I look forward to the day when Houstonians (and the rest of the country) become stewards and conservators of our history, instead of worrying so much about cost-prohibitiveness. I think it's a stage of maturity which we simply haven't reached yet. In the end, not everything is about money. :(

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My spidey-sense is saying "parking garage."

A park would be nice. If I remember correctly, that swath of real estate is kinda shielded from the sun most parts of the day...?

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It may be too late but I am in the process of getting in touch with as many preservation boards as I can in the next few days. Wish me luck.

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I disagree. Such a bold statement like "Time time is now" seems incongruous with a rendering of what looks like a middle school. If the Y is going to occupy a prominent location I'd like to see something that's a little closer to being a landmark.

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I disagree. Such a bold statement like "Time time is now" seems incongruous with a rendering of what looks like a middle school. If the Y is going to occupy a prominent location I'd like to see something that's a little closer to being a landmark.

I love and hate this thread.

I'm kinda liking the new design and am curious what the exact location will be.

I hate this thread because the song keeps going through my head every time I see or read this thread.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYZC3I8gTKk

Edited by ricco67

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According to Swamplot, it will be diagonal from the Savoy on the Pease, Travis, Jefferson, Milam block

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i rekindled this thread. so hate me.

noted. You're now hated. I dare you to click on the youtube link. I double dog dare you.

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I think the new design is terrible... and even more terrible if it is to be built downtown. Seriously.

It would work in a neighborhood much better, but all in all ... it is not bad. I like it.

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I think the new design is terrible... and even more terrible if it is to be built downtown. Seriously.

Completely agree.

On the bright side, it might make the New Firehouse look less out of place.

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Completely agree.

On the bright side, it might make the New Firehouse look less out of place.

The design is attractive enough and would be fine for Sugar Land or even Midtown, but totally wrong for downtown. Very disappointing. They should have teamed up with one of the office or hotel developers and gone into a new high-rise/mixed use development. The Y in Charlotte did that many years ago... in a then-new high-rise for First Union (now Wachovia).

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The design is attractive enough and would be fine for Sugar Land or even Midtown, but totally wrong for downtown. Very disappointing. They should have teamed up with one of the office or hotel developers and gone into a new high-rise/mixed use development. The Y in Charlotte did that many years ago... in a then-new high-rise for First Union (now Wachovia).

The new location is a stone's throw from Midtown (if you can throw a rock over or under the Pierce Elevated). I personally think that having a new, state-of-the-art facility wins over having another surface lot. If you look at it this way, this move promotes potential development on two blocks downtown.

Also, I don't know why people go all negative on a design when the renderings provided are so limited.

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It's a surface lot taken for a surface lot made (since there are no plans after the building is demolished).

Why does new development have to destroy an already developed block?

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It's a surface lot taken for a surface lot made (since there are no plans after the building is demolished).

Why does new development have to destroy an already developed block?

Because that building is falling apart and has been for years. I certainly doubt Chevron will put a parking lot there; maybe a parking garage. It would be nice to have some greenspace on that end of town also. I know, I know, the other lot they have is partially a surface lot, but I think it was purchased as such.

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The new location is a stone's throw from Midtown (if you can throw a rock over or under the Pierce Elevated). I personally think that having a new, state-of-the-art facility wins over having another surface lot. If you look at it this way, this move promotes potential development on two blocks downtown.

Also, I don't know why people go all negative on a design when the renderings provided are so limited.

Nevermind. I went back and looked at it again. It's fugly.

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Gotta agree that there are plenty of things that could be done with the existing building. However, this is Houston and that is prime property (although there are empty blocks all around it). It is not seen as the "highest use" to save it so it will come down. It's the so-called free market at work.

I realize that not every building can be saved. But there are some that should and we are running out of those in Houston. This is one of them.

I'm just wondering if any of you have actually been IN the building. I have been going there to work-out for the last year and there are soooo many times when parts of the basement (weights and cardio area) are cordoned off because pipes are leaking, buckets or trashcans catch other drips, this last week the whole office area flooded and they had industrial fans down there. Light panels spark when water drips in them. The squash courts and basketball courts have crumbling paint and walls. We just always think that something will fall on us while we're there. But yes, at the same time it'd be ideal if some millionaire could throw $$$ at it for preservation. It's so nice to see a non-giant glass covered sky-rise that preserves some of the character of early Houston. But it would need to be completely gutted. The whole infrastructure would need updating or replacing. Down to the foundation probably.

I think the YMCA deserves a new building. The new building would have spaces really built for their programs instead of trying to adapt an old building to new purposes.

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