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Posted (edited)

In my opinion, the yellow turd building has suffered a lot of what I really hate about EIFS stucco. It's just not long-term durable. It seems prone to moisture issues and staining. It looks great for about 5-8 years, and then after that it just looks cheap and tired.

Also, bold colored paint and stucco will bleach in the Texas sun. Unless you're planning on repainting every five years, neutral colors will go farther before it starts looking dingy.

I'm happy to see new paint on the place. I hope they're using a good sealer undercoat on that, otherwise that moisture staining will just bleed through. 

Edited by aachor
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, TX3G4R said:

Why do Houstonians love brown?! This is not 2007. This would have looked MUCH better with a white/gray/black color pallete 

South Park

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Edited by Tumbleweed_Tx
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They are trimming or cutting down the trees on Cleburne St. Parking garage sections have arrived but they haven't set any yet. The signage in the remote lot is being used for the construction workers parking.

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Is it just me, or is it ironic that a project that's always flogging its environmental/new energy/futurist visions in public is building a parking garage next to a light rail line?

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2 hours ago, editor said:

Is it just me, or is it ironic that a project that's always flogging its environmental/new energy/futurist visions in public is building a parking garage next to a light rail line?

I think this garage is expected to serve the several large buildings they want to build around it so it makes sense to me I feel. I don't think  metro rail is extensive enough yet to say the average person who works there can get around on it exclusively.  

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57 minutes ago, kennyc05 said:

If everything is built according to this banner and if the Central Cadillac plots are redeveloped this area is gonna be beast!

Speaking of Central Cadillac, I rode by there and talked with a guy. Asked him when they are moving out and what he thought would become of the building and land they own. He said they should move next spring and he thinks the building would likely become a nightclub. Unless and until approaches whoever owns it and decides on something grander.

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1 hour ago, hindesky said:

Speaking of Central Cadillac, I rode by there and talked with a guy. Asked him when they are moving out and what he thought would become of the building and land they own. He said they should move next spring and he thinks the building would likely become a nightclub. Unless and until approaches whoever owns it and decides on something grander.

I would think someone major would have their eyes on that land. I still don't know where the hell the new Cadillac dealership is at I get my car serviced at Nissan Central and I didn't see anything over there last week.

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^^^ i simply LOVE the idea that they are constructing such a mammoth parking structure here.  with the amount of PURE AMBITION that this ION development has in store, they are certainly going to need it...

Edited by monarch
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  • 2 weeks later...

I am probably in the strong minority on this, but I am disappointed to see a development like this with such a large parking structure. The Ion, a block from a light rail stop and once the MetroBus project is complete, probably one of the most transit accessable developments in the area, should have a plan that reflects that opportunity. More parking, more traffic, more delays and environmental issues. I was hoping for something a lot more forward thinking.

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5 minutes ago, Brooklyn173 said:

I am probably in the strong minority on this, but I am disappointed to see a development like this with such a large parking structure. The Ion, a block from a light rail stop and once the MetroBus project is complete, probably one of the most transit accessable developments in the area, should have a plan that reflects that opportunity. More parking, more traffic, more delays and environmental issues. I was hoping for something a lot more forward thinking.

It's a very large project and this garage will serve multiple buildings, and keep in mind the project is replacing what were literally 4-5 blocks of asphalted parking previously. Traffic is not bad in this area nor delays so what exactly are you complaining about? Overall Ion will lead to more people using the light rail and once it becomes convenient enough people will take it instead of paying higher fees for parking etc.  

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I get what Brooklyn is saying although it's a little like saying the very end of the tail wags the dog. We live in a climatically reactionary nation, in an oil-money town, with entrenched anti-bus/rail interests. I'm not sure the Ion has room to imagine a world where folks will be coming en masse on bikes. 

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1 hour ago, Brooklyn173 said:

I am probably in the strong minority on this, but I am disappointed to see a development like this with such a large parking structure. The Ion, a block from a light rail stop and once the MetroBus project is complete, probably one of the most transit accessable developments in the area, should have a plan that reflects that opportunity. More parking, more traffic, more delays and environmental issues. I was hoping for something a lot more forward thinking.

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^^^ first off, you are definitely in the "minority" here.  second, i thought that i should venture back and borrow @hindesky concept illustration from his prior post for your re-reference.  CAN YOU NOW REFERENCE THE OVERALL STUNNING SCOPE, SCALE, AND AMBITION IN THE ABOVE RENDERING?  not to mention, a mammoth parking structure, can very easily constitute a mammoth variety of GROUND FLOOR RETAIL for future patrons in the prospective and hugely ambitious future neighborhood.  please trust me, if all goes to plan, THIS IS GOING TO BE A GOOD THING...

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@monarchI appreciate your optimism. There's no point being a total debbie downer about this, and a parking garage won't make or break this project.

But there's also no guarantee that the surface parking lots to the south, west, and southeast will actually be developed into anything.

And while the renders don't preclude pedestrianization or non-death-trap bike lanes, they certainly don't guarantee them.

Again, I don't think a parking garage will ruin what this could be, but Brooklyn is right to say that it's not forward-thinking. 

Parking garages are better than surface parking lots and golf courses, but that only gives them the distinction of being the third worst use of urban land.

Show me a project that shrinks Fannin and San Jacinto down to two car lanes each; show me a plan to make Eagle fully pedestrianized from San Jacinto to Main, show me continuous (i.e. dipless) sidewalks and well-marked two-meter cycle tracks on both sides, pedestrian signal prioritization, protected intersections, etc., and I'll start to get excited.

It seems very likely that this project will improve the livability of the area to some degree. But if you're going to call something an "Innovation District," then that innovation should be apparent in the urban planning/infrastructure side, too.

 

I haven't seen much evidence of that here.

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1 hour ago, 004n063 said:

@monarchI appreciate your optimism. There's no point being a total debbie downer about this, and a parking garage won't make or break this project.

But there's also no guarantee that the surface parking lots to the south, west, and southeast will actually be developed into anything.

And while the renders don't preclude pedestrianization or non-death-trap bike lanes, they certainly don't guarantee them.

Again, I don't think a parking garage will ruin what this could be, but Brooklyn is right to say that it's not forward-thinking. 

Parking garages are better than surface parking lots and golf courses, but that only gives them the distinction of being the third worst use of urban land.

Show me a project that shrinks Fannin and San Jacinto down to two car lanes each; show me a plan to make Eagle fully pedestrianized from San Jacinto to Main, show me continuous (i.e. dipless) sidewalks and well-marked two-meter cycle tracks on both sides, pedestrian signal prioritization, protected intersections, etc., and I'll start to get excited.

It seems very likely that this project will improve the livability of the area to some degree. But if you're going to call something an "Innovation District," then that innovation should be apparent in the urban planning/infrastructure side, too.

 

I haven't seen much evidence of that here.

Investing that much in a garage is actually a very strong indicator that they plan to build everything.

This is a academic innovation district, not an urban planning nightmare experiment as you are describing. I would be much more inclined to support your vision if Houston was building heavy rail but without that I think destroying road capacity is a huge negative. Plus everything you mentioned is the City's responsibility and not Rice's. 

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3 hours ago, Naviguessor said:

It wouldn't be present thinking, if it did not offer enough parking spaces for the tenants and users

You are right in that assuming all of the tenants and users will drive is, indeed, "present thinking". Present thinking is exactly why we are in the disasterously car-centric mess we are in. Hence the critique.

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6 minutes ago, phillip_white said:

Placing the majority of the parking in one garage is actually extremely well thought out. Adding parking into each block is difficult to undo. However, a mammoth parking garage can be demolished if user demand shifts toward public transit, or remain if Houston continues as a car-centric city.

I hope the corridor gets like that, but it's going to take a whole lot of start-ups and incredible leasing demand. This is where the VC to turn some of those TMC spin-offs into big companies could make this a reality...

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On 7/20/2022 at 5:45 PM, iah77 said:

Investing that much in a garage is actually a very strong indicator that they plan to build everything.

This is a academic innovation district, not an urban planning nightmare experiment as you are describing. I would be much more inclined to support your vision if Houston was building heavy rail but without that I think destroying road capacity is a huge negative. Plus everything you mentioned is the City's responsibility and not Rice's. 

Being an "academic innovation district" doesn't mean cars are mandatory.  There are plenty of similar districts across America and around the world that thrive without being designed for cars. 

I find irony in equating "cars" with "innovation."

21 hours ago, phillip_white said:

Placing the majority of the parking in one garage is actually extremely well thought out. Adding parking into each block is difficult to undo. However, a mammoth parking garage can be demolished if user demand shifts toward public transit, or remain if Houston continues as a car-centric city.

That seems reasonable, if that's the plan.  But I think people in Houston are so used to seeing garage after garage after garage built, and it makes them twitchy.  It's like the vertical version of expanding the Katy Freeway to 40 lanes.

However, the Medical Center is an excellent example of a place that is a driving nightmare because of so many garages scattered about.

Still, I have to remind myself that a parking garage is better than the most evil of all urban blights: The surface parking lot.

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On 7/20/2022 at 5:45 PM, iah77 said:

Investing that much in a garage is actually a very strong indicator that they plan to build everything.

This is a academic innovation district, not an urban planning nightmare experiment as you are describing. I would be much more inclined to support your vision if Houston was building heavy rail but without that I think destroying road capacity is a huge negative. Plus everything you mentioned is the City's responsibility and not Rice's. 

Three points to quibble with:

 

1) Walkable districts are what makes rail work. 

2) I'm not as bearish on light rail or BRT as you seem to be. (Though I think the Silver line had obvious problems from the start, and then engineered in a few more.) Being right at the intersection of the red line and the university line gives this area a huge potential pedestrian catchment.

3) These are streets, not roads. The changes I suggested would reduce car throughput, but that doesn't inherently mean reduced overall capacity. If they are designed to encourage pedestrian, bicycle, and transit traffic, then their capacity as wealth-generators for the community (a metric I personally value more than their capacity to get cars past the area) will be enhanced, not degraded. This is not just postulation, by the way - we see this borne out literally everywhere that pedestrianization, road diets, complete streets, etc. are done, including here with Bagby (and, as I'm sure we'll see over the next few years, Caroline and Cleburne). What we haven't seen is any evidence that five-lane stroads even improve car traffic flow as compared with complete streets, nor (obviously) any evidence that such improvements, were they to exist, would provide any meaningful benefits to business owners on that street or the people of that community (apart from the trauma surgeons, morticians, etc.).

 

Now, again: this project is a big improvement over the wasteland the area has been for so long. And a big parking garage at the northern edge doesn't make it a bad project - in fact, it still looks to me like it's on track to be one of the city's best.

It just doesn't strike me as innovative in any way that I can think of. In fact, it seems to be mostly ignoring the last fifty or so years' worth of global innovation in urban design. 

Of course, you're perfectly right that most of that is not in the developers' hands. That's why, despite my critique, I don't really blame them.

I just find a bit of glum irony in its being called an "Innovation District" when its design reflects neither innovation nor...uh...districtyness.

But still, to borrow a phrase from Clueless:

 

"Not a total Betty, but a vast improvement!"

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12 hours ago, 004n063 said:

It just doesn't strike me as innovative in any way that I can think of. In fact, it seems to be mostly ignoring the last fifty or so years' worth of global innovation in urban design. 

 

this is Houston, we have actively ignored 50 years of innovation in urban design, as has most of the US. 

12 hours ago, 004n063 said:

But still, to borrow a phrase from Clueless:

 

"Not a total Betty, but a vast improvement!"

too right.

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I too am a big believer in Climate Change. I worry about the future. I use to say that I fear for my grandchildren, but now I've amended it to say I fear for my children. I'm torn about the new fed proposal about the wind farms, I like the idea of that resource to bring power to 2 million + homes, but I also worry about the migrating birds which would be heavily affected. Sea life would probably cluster around the platforms just like they do at the offshore rigs.

We have 5 million cars registered in the Houston Metro area. Unless the city, state, or the feds make it illegal to drive a car in the near future, people will still want to drive the car they've bought. You can't expect everyone to hop on the rail or bus tomorrow, and just give up that car and continue paying that 500.00 monthly payment. It doesn't matter if you drive a combustion engine auto or an electric car, you still have to park it somewhere. You can't get everyone on the Red line. Remember the Astros world series parade fiasco. Besides it will be a long time before people will be willing to walk to a rail station or bus stop. Most are just too lazy, stubborn or stupid.

So, for a while I think there will be a need for parking garages and hopefully they can bring these down just as easy as they put them up. It's not poured in place for the most part. 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, bobruss said:

I too am a big believer in Climate Change. I worry about the future. I use to say that I fear for my grandchildren, but now I've amended it to say I fear for my children. I'm torn about the new fed proposal about the wind farms, I like the idea of that resource to bring power to 2 million + homes, but I also worry about the migrating birds which would be heavily affected. Sea life would probably cluster around the platforms just like they do at the offshore rigs.

We have 5 million cars registered in the Houston Metro area. Unless the city, state, or the feds make it illegal to drive a car in the near future, people will still want to drive the car they've bought. You can't expect everyone to hop on the rail or bus tomorrow, and just give up that car and continue paying that 500.00 monthly payment. It doesn't matter if you drive a combustion engine auto or an electric car, you still have to park it somewhere. You can't get everyone on the Red line. Remember the Astros world series parade fiasco. Besides it will be a long time before people will be willing to walk to a rail station or bus stop. Most are just too lazy, stubborn or stupid.

So, for a while I think there will be a need for parking garages and hopefully they can bring these down just as easy as they put them up. It's not poured in place for the most part. 

 

 

You're not exactly wrong - in order for places like this to serve the greater Houston area, they need to accommodate drivers. And projects of this scale do need to think beyond the local community, because they're taking on such a gargantuan amount of debt all at once. 

But I do wish the city itself would do more to make locals-oriented development feasible. It's easy to assume that people won't walk, bike, or take the rail becaus they're "too lazy, stubborn, or stupid," but we've built most of our streets in a way that is aggressively hostile toward pedestrians and bicyclists, and our rail network really only takes a fraction of our population to a fraction of the places they want to go.

No individual developer is capable of or responsible for fixing this, but every one who doesn't is ultimately contributing to the perpetuation of the problem.

And given the ethos the Ion District seems to want to be identified with, it would have been cool to see them lean into a "yeah, you're not going to want to drive here" attitude.

The two current projects that I think do a decent job of exemplifying both sides of this are the Caroline Street redesign (as an example of a standard the city could be pursuing for street design) and the Urban Genesis project in the Warehouse District (as an example of a construction approach that doesn't appear to be prioritizing car storage or throughput).

Since the Ion is located at pretty much the exact middle of the busiest (but still under capacity) rail line, one of the busiest bus stations, and the central and key transfer point of the probable University BRT line; and since its north-south streets have huge ROWs (making an extended pedestrian realm and a high-comfort bike lane very feasible) and its cross streets have extremely limited traffic (making pedestrianization very feasible), the opportunity for transformatively human-oriented development here was enormous.

This is still going to be transformative for the area. It just could have been better, that's all.

(And honestly, I really don't care about the garage, personally - it just exemplifies the kind of "stuck" thinking we're talking about.)

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6 minutes ago, 004n063 said:

You're not exactly wrong - in order for places like this to serve the greater Houston area, they need to accommodate drivers. And projects of this scale do need to think beyond the local community, because they're taking on such a gargantuan amount of debt all at once. 

But I do wish the city itself would do more to make locals-oriented development feasible. It's easy to assume that people won't walk, bike, or take the rail becaus they're "too lazy, stubborn, or stupid," but we've built most of our streets in a way that is aggressively hostile toward pedestrians and bicyclists, and our rail network really only takes a fraction of our population to a fraction of the places they want to go.

No individual developer is capable of or responsible for fixing this, but every one who doesn't is ultimately contributing to the perpetuation of the problem.

And given the ethos the Ion District seems to want to be identified with, it would have been cool to see them lean into a "yeah, you're not going to want to drive here" attitude.

The two current projects that I think do a decent job of exemplifying both sides of this are the Caroline Street redesign (as an example of a standard the city could be pursuing for street design) and the Urban Genesis project in the Warehouse District (as an example of a construction approach that doesn't appear to be prioritizing car storage or throughput).

Since the Ion is located at pretty much the exact middle of the busiest (but still under capacity) rail line, one of the busiest bus stations, and the central and key transfer point of the probable University BRT line; and since its north-south streets have huge ROWs (making an extended pedestrian realm and a high-comfort bike lane very feasible) and its cross streets have extremely limited traffic (making pedestrianization very feasible), the opportunity for transformatively human-oriented development here was enormous.

This is still going to be transformative for the area. It just could have been better, that's all.

(And honestly, I really don't care about the garage, personally - it just exemplifies the kind of "stuck" thinking we're talking about.)

I totally agree with this, I just think its very hard to reach for this level of sophistication when bus stops here are just poles in the ground and some of the highest density areas with high public transport usage like Gulfton are totally ignored and don't even have the bare basics like crosswalks, continuous sidewalks, illumination, bus shelters etc. I think we put a lot of focus on the nicer parts of town and totally ignore places that actually have transport users.

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1 minute ago, iah77 said:

I totally agree with this, I just think its very hard to reach for this level of sophistication when bus stops here are just poles in the ground and some of the highest density areas with high public transport usage like Gulfton are totally ignored and don't even have the bare basics like crosswalks, continuous sidewalks, illumination, bus shelters etc. I think we put a lot of focus on the nicer parts of town and totally ignore places that actually have transport users.

I talked to a lot of folks from Metro about this at the University Corridor project meeting at HCC on Wednesday. If realized, that project will help a lot in and of itself, but they told me that one of the additional things they're trying to push for is better pedestrian access to the line from the abutting neighborhoods.

Right now, there are wide, barrier-protected lanes on Hillcroft from Bellaire to High Star/Westward, and then a 10-ft multiuse sidewalk on Westward and barrier-protected bus+bike lanes on High Star, but that's it.

It's frustrating, because the need in that area is arguably higher than anywhere else in the city, and while the "widewalk" on Westward is nice, the lanes on Hillcroft have a similar missing-teeth vibe as those on Lawndale.

It would have been more beneficial, I think, to 1) create a (much) more extensive network of Austin St.-style lanes that are a lot quicker and easier to build, and 2) start working on closing off some of the parking lot entrances so that the protection isn't so broken up. Right hooks are still a serious risk to anyone riding in those lanes.

Of course, I don't think there's any place in Houston that comes close to the 59/Westpark intersection in terms of desperately needed pedestrian facilities. Dozens of kids walk across that nightmare every day during the school year, and hundreds of adult laborers do the same.

Sorry, you've got me on my soapbox. I teach on that stretch of Westpark, so it's a touchy subject for me.

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