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South Main Innovation District in Midtown (Former Sears)

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36 minutes ago, Luminare said:

 

Now thats some juicy info. I'll be sure to have the popcorn ready if and when they make the announcement.

 

By the way, any way you could elaborate on these other forums? I'm genuinely interested in see what other cities got going on.

 

No problem, UrbanPlanet hosts numerous city forums, but not all are super active. I know for Texas only the Austin forum really posts anything.

 

As for Nashville, they do have a pretty active site. The link to their forum is below:

https://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/forum/250-nashville/ 

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Rice University Students to Mayor Sylvester Turner: Community Benefits Agreements Are Nothing Without a Community

 

Quote

Because the process you proposed to President Wickerson does not include this community coalition, your proposed process does not align with best practices demonstrated by CBAs across the country and cannot truly be called a CBA. If the process you have proposed continues without the HCEDD at the table, it will only further Houston’s growth as a city of haves and have-nots.

 

umm ok

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22 minutes ago, BeerNut said:

Well, that's a giant load of codswallop. The students need to get back to studying, and stay out of topics where they are clueless. I'm oppositional enough to react to those demands by buying some more land and cranking up the bulldozers.

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3 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

Now thats some juicy info. I'll be sure to have the popcorn ready if and when they make the announcement.

 

By the way, any way you could elaborate on these other forums? I'm genuinely interested in see what other cities got going on.

The forums I have popped into are Oklahoma City (OKCTalk), Detroit (DetroitYes), Dallas (DallasMetropolis), and Fort Worth (FortWorthArchitecture). Then there are the Curbed.com sites for Atlanta, Boston, Austin, Chicago, Detroit, LA, New York and San Francisco. I didn't know about the Nashville one but I'll have to check it out. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Edited by BillyBreedlove
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Microsoft’s already entered Houston with an accelerator at the Ion. This was announced way back in April 2019, Mayor Sylvester Turner was the driving force behind it. 
 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2019/04/17/microsoft-to-launch-accelerator-for-smart-city.amp.html

 

If you’re waiting for something else from them then I think it’s safe to say that it’ll lead to disappointment because I don’t think they have any additional expansion plans beyond this. 
 

Microsoft already has two offices in Houston besides the Ion. The first is near Memorial Park in Uptown Houston along I-610W. The other is inside City Centre along Beltway 8 West and I-10. 

Edited by Sellanious Caesar
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I don’t know if this has already been discussed, but does the South Baptist Church plan on staying in this location next to the Ion? That baseball field area next to the spur on-ramp seems like a complete waste of space.

Edited by clutchcity94
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35 minutes ago, clutchcity94 said:

I don’t know if this has already been discussed, but does the South Baptist Church plan on staying in this location next to the Ion. That baseball field area next to the spur on-ramp seems like a complete waste of space.

 

Why would they move? They have been there for more than 100 years, IIRC. That grass field is a welcome respite from a sea of concrete. Sometimes it's nice for kids to have a safe, grassy place to run around.

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12 minutes ago, gmac said:

 

Why would they move? They have been there for more than 100 years, IIRC. That grass field is a welcome respite from a sea of concrete. Sometimes it's nice for kids to have a safe, grassy place to run around.

 

This...as much as we complain about historical buildings being removed/replaced, why on earth would the church move?

I imagine the powers that be behind Ion may have thoughts about how they may be able to utilize the parking lot, and I'm sure the church has their thoughts about it as well.

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5 minutes ago, corbs315 said:

 

 

This...as much as we complain about historical buildings being removed/replaced, why on earth would the church move?

I imagine the powers that be behind Ion may have thoughts about how they may be able to utilize the parking lot, and I'm sure the church has their thoughts about it as well.

 

I've always had a hope that one day they would throw money at a really beautiful landmark cathedral. Just put it on that parking lot, and then you would have a great space in that entry area that is entirely pedestrian.

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I read in another thread in the Montrose forum that this part of the spur next to the church will be trenched underground. Is there any truth to that? That would essentially connect the Ion area to Montrose.

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@phillip_white didn't the Amazon crew called the NRG area a wasteland and too far from urban centers? 

 

I would think the Ion would be the spot if there is anything to the rumors. I wouldn't call the NRG area far from urban centers but the ion has downtown to the north, Eado to the North East, TSU/UH to the East, TMC/Rice to the South, and UK, Montrose, River Oaks, to the West and Washington Ave area to the North West. 

 

If true it would be nice if they pressured the city into building the blue line as PT was another weak link in Houston's bid. 

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1 hour ago, clutchcity94 said:

I don’t know if this has already been discussed, but does the South Baptist Church plan on staying in this location next to the Ion. That baseball field area next to the spur on-ramp seems like a complete waste of space.

 

The head of Rice's endowment said the church isn't going anywhere and they have been giving input during the development process, if I remember correctly. It was either during a presentation or the looped in pod. He seemed pretty pleased with, and complimented, having the church there, saying they were one of the few things that hadn't abandoned that area.

 

@HoustonIsHome the nice thing about TMC3 is that it extends the urban landscape further toward NRG, so maybe in the future NRG won't be considered too far from much?

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Land values within a half mile radius of the Ion are going to skyrocket in due time. No wonder there are so many tear down 5,000 sq ft lots near Richmond Ave, just west of the spur, on sale with asking prices of $1M. 
 

Lots of that size in other parts of Montrose are asking half that.

Edited by clutchcity94
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25 minutes ago, HoustonIsHome said:

If true it would be nice if they pressured the city into building the blue line as PT was another weak link in Houston's bid. 

 

Blue line(university line) is going be built using BRT.

 

1 hour ago, clutchcity94 said:

I don’t know if this has already been discussed, but does the South Baptist Church plan on staying in this location next to the Ion. That baseball field area next to the spur on-ramp seems like a complete waste of space.

 

South Baptist Church is in total support of the Ion.  They even went to the planning meeting in support of variances for the parking structure.  Of course people supporting the potential CBA attacked them saying they don't represent the community.

 

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I'm kinda hoping that there areas east ( Almeda area) gets revitalized. Not with towers, but an artsy, quirky neighborhood kinda like Montrose 20 years ago. Repurpose those old structures into stores and restaurants.
 

@BeerNut I'm taking about as originally planned. Lightrail instead of BRT

Edited by HoustonIsHome
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2 minutes ago, HoustonIsHome said:

I'm kinda hoping that there areas eat ( Almeda area) gets revitalized. Not with towers, but an artsy, quirky neighborhood kinda like Montrose 20 years ago. Repurpose those old structures into stores and restaurants.


I’m sure that’ll happen as well. 

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4 minutes ago, HoustonIsHome said:

 

@BeerNut I'm taking about as originally planned. Lightrail instead of BRT

 

Yeah I don't think that will ever happen.  METRO plan is to extend current LRT and all new lines will be BRT because of the cost difference.

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Seems some people at Rice thought it would have been better where some of the startups already are/where other businesses are near Galleria and/or San Filipe. 

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1 hour ago, HoustonIsHome said:

@phillip_white didn't the Amazon crew called the NRG area a wasteland and too far from urban centers?

 

No.  The Amazon crew never said anything of the sort. It's doubtful the Amazon crew ever said anything about the NRG area, since it was not even proposed to them as a possible site.

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11 minutes ago, X.R. said:

 

 

Seems some people at Rice thought it would have been better where some of the startups already are/where other businesses are near Galleria and/or San Filipe. 

The whole statement from rice  seems absolutely stupid. That corridor is from end to end is 20 mins with stop.. that downtown  to midtown to medical center.  12 by car ..I have rode this route hundreds of times if you factor in the years I had to ride the rail to work.  

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32 minutes ago, Moore713 said:

The whole statement from rice  seems absolutely stupid. That corridor is from end to end is 20 mins with stop.. that downtown  to midtown to medical center.  12 by car ..I have rode this route hundreds of times if you factor in the years I had to ride the rail to work.  

 

What statement are you referring to?

 

That study seems a bit lame; for starters, the Ion is not 4 miles long.

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52 minutes ago, X.R. said:

Seems some people at Rice thought it would have been better where some of the startups already are/where other businesses are near Galleria and/or San Filipe. 

 

They probably concentrated there because Galleria/Uptown was a much more desirable area for such a long time.  Rice made the right decision, as downtown and midtown have increased in desirability in past decade.

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2 hours ago, HoustonIsHome said:

@phillip_white didn't the Amazon crew called the NRG area a wasteland and too far from urban centers? 

 

I would think the Ion would be the spot if there is anything to the rumors. I wouldn't call the NRG area far from urban centers but the ion has downtown to the north, Eado to the North East, TSU/UH to the East, TMC/Rice to the South, and UK, Montrose, River Oaks, to the West and Washington Ave area to the North West. 

 

If true it would be nice if they pressured the city into building the blue line as PT was another weak link in Houston's bid. 

 

The previous post referenced a site close to the Med Center large enough for a Microsoft campus. That's the first chunk of land that came to mind.

 

As much as I would like Microsoft to move into the Ion, I'm hesitant to think that Rice would allow any company to put a "campus" there.

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3 hours ago, HoustonIsHome said:

I'm kinda hoping that there areas east ( Almeda area) gets revitalized. Not with towers, but an artsy, quirky neighborhood kinda like Montrose 20 years ago. Repurpose those old structures into stores and restaurants.
 

@BeerNut I'm taking about as originally planned. Lightrail instead of BRT

The Art Supply construction is coming along on Almeda.  I share your hopes for this @HoustonIsHome.   Turkey Leg Hut has done wonders to make the area livelier and show its potential, although it still has some work to do to address some of the negative externalities caused by its success.

 

With respect to the topic at hand and that Rice study, I'm curious as to how Prof. Egan developed his model.  Anecdotally, having worked in Uptown, Downtown, and now Midtown, I'd rank Uptown a distant third in terms of the "spontaneous interactions" I've had at lunch or walking about.  The area is geared toward car traffic and is an absolute nightmare to navigate at lunch.  I find that the ability to use the light-rail like a tram, which I've done to visit Downtown for lunch, is far more conducive to getting to an area to run into others I know.

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4 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

No.  The Amazon crew never said anything of the sort. It's doubtful the Amazon crew ever said anything about the NRG area, since it was not even proposed to them as a possible site.

 

 

Correction, it was not offered up to Amazon, but it was in consideration by the Mayor's Office and it was the Mayor's Chief of Staff that called it a wasteland:

 

Newly released emails show that City Hall staffers largely panned Slotboom’s article when it came out. “This article misses the mark by a lot,” wrote the mayor’s chief of staff, Andy Icken. “They haven’t even touched on the urban site we are considering [the old Sears] and the fantasy of the Astrodome is beyond absurd. The area around NRG is essentially a wasteland and about as far away from the urban environment Amazon has fostered in Seattle.”

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.texasmonthly.com/the-culture/houston-lost-amazons-hq2/amp/ 

 

That area is up and coming, it's on the trail like and close to the highway and has lots of room to grow so it is even more shocking that the Mayor's COS would refer to that area like that. 

 

I'm with him in that I like the Sears/Ion location more, but the NRG area is not a wasteland.... anymore.

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21 hours ago, HoustonIsHome said:

 

 

Correction, it was not offered up to Amazon, but it was in consideration by the Mayor's Office and it was the Mayor's Chief of Staff that called it a wasteland:

 

Newly released emails show that City Hall staffers largely panned Slotboom’s article when it came out. “This article misses the mark by a lot,” wrote the mayor’s chief of staff, Andy Icken. “They haven’t even touched on the urban site we are considering [the old Sears] and the fantasy of the Astrodome is beyond absurd. The area around NRG is essentially a wasteland and about as far away from the urban environment Amazon has fostered in Seattle.”

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.texasmonthly.com/the-culture/houston-lost-amazons-hq2/amp/ 

 

That area is up and coming, it's on the trail like and close to the highway and has lots of room to grow so it is even more shocking that the Mayor's COS would refer to that area like that. 

 

I'm with him in that I like the Sears/Ion location more, but the NRG area is not a wasteland.... anymore.

 

Yeah, but they aren't wrong when they said its a wasteland. Its just not politically correct to say so. That doesn't mean it doesn't have potential. The fact of the matter is that area is just too large in scale without the right plan to bring it all together. Most people can wrap their heads around a city block, but most can't wrap their heads around an area the size of some actual small towns. Constraints are not only necessary, but the ignition point in which creativity starts. You first have to know what you can't do before you can start asking what you can do, and once you understand what you can do only then can you start to break or bend the rules of what you can't do. A normal city block is a good enough limiting parameter to setup ones mind for what could be done and what can't be done.

Edited by Luminare
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The site I thought was well suited for Amazon were the empty lots downtown west of the Hilton. Very urban environment with the Theater district, Sports venues, rail, hotels, dining etc all nearby. Also quick access tho the airport once the Hardy toll road extension was finished. Alas Bezos thought otherwise. I think he finds NYC and DC more sexy and of course Harvey didn't help.

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18 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

Yeah, but they aren't wrong when they said its a wasteland. Its just not politically correct to say so. That doesn't mean it doesn't have potential. The fact of the matter is that area is just too large in scale without the right plan to bring it all together. Most people can wrap their heads around a city block, but most can't wrap their heads around an area the size of some actual small towns. 

 

 

You could plat it out with (mostly) narrow streets (30-ft RoW), small-ish blocks (~200-ft), small plots (mostly 25-ft frontage, with some 50 and 100-ft lots), require zero front setbacks, allow zero-ft side setbacks, institute a height limit (say, 50 ft), and exempt the area from parking minimums. Within a generation it'd be one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Houston.

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that area is a wasteland, not just because it is a huge expanse of crappy apartments surrounded by freeways.

 

number 1: the area is hard to navigate from east to west because of the NRG complex of buildings and parking lots that you can't drive through to get anywhere.

 

B: forget it if there's an event. luckily most of the time the events are on weekends. save for rodeo, then you may as well go on vacation for 2 and a half weeks if you work, or live in the area.

 

sure, you can drive a mile north and be in the thick of medical advancement, but damn, this area has some serious issues and it's not at all related to the SES of the people that live there (since a lot of the people that have leases in the apartments on Holly Hall work, or school in the medical field).

 

that area packs the worst of the suburban street grid theory and horrible peak traffic to make a perfect storm of suckage for anyone that has to work or live near the thing.

 

midtown is a great midway point to that one college in Montrose, the other one near 45 an spur 5, and then the one right by Hermann park. it's also smack dab in between downtown and the medical center. not a better infill for the area could be had.

Edited by samagon
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On 2/20/2020 at 9:26 AM, Angostura said:

 

 

You could plat it out with (mostly) narrow streets (30-ft RoW), small-ish blocks (~200-ft), small plots (mostly 25-ft frontage, with some 50 and 100-ft lots), require zero front setbacks, allow zero-ft side setbacks, institute a height limit (say, 50 ft), and exempt the area from parking minimums. Within a generation it'd be one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Houston.

 

You could build an actual mountain with a 12,000 foot summit height that would be snow-capped year round and within a generation it'd be one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Houston.

 

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5 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

You could build an actual mountain with a 12,000 foot summit height that would be snow-capped year round and within a generation it'd be one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Houston.

 

At this latitude, I think it’d have to be at least 16,000 feet to be snow-capped year-round.

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On 2/21/2020 at 4:37 PM, H-Town Man said:

 

You could build an actual mountain with a 12,000 foot summit height that would be snow-capped year round and within a generation it'd be one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Houston.

 

 

To be fair, building an actual mountain may be easier than eliminating parking minimums.

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@hindesky Guess this means the garage is gonna be starting soon, things are finally ramping up in that area. Hoping they can start on 4203 Fannin and Fiesta pretty soon, that laneway is going to be insane. 

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1 hour ago, TheSirDingle said:

@hindesky Guess this means the garage is gonna be starting soon, things are finally ramping up in that area. Hoping they can start on 4203 Fannin and Fiesta pretty soon, that laneway is going to be insane. 

I doubt Fiesta is coming down anytime soon, they just but up a privacy fence around it the last few weeks to limit the vagrants at night from using the parking lot. But I'm excited to see the parking garage going up pretty soon.

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Auto shop is about 3/4's demolished, will post a picture when I can. Had a crew out there really going at that demo earlier this morning. Seems like the next phase is under way, which is nutty since the first phase is maybe a little more than half done (I'm guessing at that part). 2020/2021 gonna be a hell of a year for midtown.

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15 hours ago, X.R. said:

Auto shop is about 3/4's demolished, will post a picture when I can. Had a crew out there really going at that demo earlier this morning. Seems like the next phase is under way, which is nutty since the first phase is maybe a little more than half done (I'm guessing at that part). 2020/2021 gonna be a hell of a year for midtown.

 

With that garage slated to house parking for the entire district, not surprised.

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1 hour ago, mkultra25 said:

It’s time for Rice Management Company to get serious about a Community Benefits Agreement

 

Good news: from all indications, it appears that Rice Management Company has gotten serious.

 

Bad news: their idea of what "getting serious" entails probably isn't going to make the author of this article and his cohort very happy.  

Yeah, that's an entitled little asshole, thinking Rice owes anyone room to participate. If the leeches that call themselves a community group had done anything in the past to make the area better, I might sympathize, but they just want something for nothing.

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14 hours ago, mkultra25 said:

It’s time for Rice Management Company to get serious about a Community Benefits Agreement

 

Good news: from all indications, it appears that Rice Management Company has gotten serious.

 

Better news: their idea of what "getting serious" entails probably isn't going to make the author of this article and his cohort very happy.  

 

 

FIFY

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