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South Main Innovation District in Midtown


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Found some recent photos of inside with the floors cut out and skylight/tarp installed.       

Fiesta to become "Greentown Labs" a green energy incubator.    

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On 11/21/2020 at 1:27 PM, Fortune said:

$33,517,144.00 seems like a nice price tag for a renovation. Maybe the renovation of the old Fiesta will be nicer than I was expecting. 

 

Yes, at $670/SF, that is pretty substantial. They could build a Fiesta from scratch for maybe a third of that. If they were just filling it with offices and some exterior cosmetics, that would cost maybe $100/SF.

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4 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Yes, at $670/SF, that is pretty substantial. They could build a Fiesta from scratch for maybe a third of that. If they were just filling it with offices and some exterior cosmetics, that would cost maybe $100/SF.

It's listed as 50,000 SF above, but the existing structure is 40,000 SF, so I wonder if they're adding on to this building?  $670/SF is extraordinarily high and far exceeds Greentown's original budget they mentioned publicly so I'm thinking something has changed... hopefully demand has been so strong it's made them rethink their original expansion plans.

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On 11/21/2020 at 1:27 PM, Fortune said:

$33,517,144.00 seems like a nice price tag for a renovation. Maybe the renovation of the old Fiesta will be nicer than I was expecting. 

 

Are we sure this isn't a clerical error? They maybe meant to say $335,171.44? Some smaller apartment building are cheaper than 33 million, aren't they? If its 33 million, they have to be adding a substantial amount of space somehow to the Fiesta. 

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2 hours ago, X.R. said:

 

Are we sure this isn't a clerical error? They maybe meant to say $335,171.44? Some smaller apartment building are cheaper than 33 million, aren't they? If its 33 million, they have to be adding a substantial amount of space somehow to the Fiesta. 

 

I doubt they would have been given a price tag that had cents, these things are rounded to the nearest dollar. I imagine they will be renovating this the way Radom renovated those warehouse buildings off Shepherd in the Heights. You won't even know it was ever a grocery store.

 

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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to South Main Innovation District in Midtown
On 12/13/2020 at 1:10 PM, clutchcity94 said:

How amazing would it be if Elon buys out all of the existing pre-leases at the Ion and turns the entire building into Tesla’s new headquarters! Smack dab in the middle of the energy capital of the world.

 

Would take some major balls, but I can see Elon doing something like that now that he has moved to Texas officially.

no thanks...

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https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Microsoft-signs-on-as-major-tenant-at-the-15811801.php

 

In another win for Houston’s technology sector, Microsoft has leased space in the Ion, the former Sears building in Midtown that Rice University is redeveloping into a collaborative hub for innovation.

“Having Microsoft as a major tenant is a huge step forward in realizing the vision for the Ion as a dynamic hub bringing together key elements of innovation in Houston,” Rice President David Leebron said in a press release.

The amount of space Microsoft will on the building’s fifth floor was not disclosed. In addition to becoming a tenant, it will play a role in professional and workforce development through community and start-up initiatives to be housed at the Ion. The Redmond, Wash.-based company will host executive forums and virtual symposiums, according to Rice Management, which manages Rice University’s $6.5 billion endowment fund and is overseeing the development.

 

 

Rice Management would not disclose how much space is being leased, but said that more than 50 percent of The Ion’s space is committed to by tenants such as Microsoft and Chevron Technology Ventures.

Once completed, the facility will host engineers that work with Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform, on data and artificial intelligence and product development, Ravi Krishnaswamy, corporate vice president of Azure Commercial Industry said in a statement. The team will focus on working with customers, partners and startups to help the energy industry’s transition to more sustainable strategies.

In August, Microsoft announced a $1 million investment into social entrepreneurship programs in partnership with the Ion. It will focus support on startups in Houston with a diversity of founders. The company is also supporting initiatives to address health disparity by informing civic and government leaders on air quality.

 

City leaders have long touted the importance of growing Houston’s technology sector.

“Over the last several years, Microsoft has made it clear it is committed to Houston,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a press release. “This news is an exciting next step in our partnership with Microsoft as we continue to grow Houston's innovation ecosystem and become a leader in the global energy transition.”

Rice announced Chevron Technology Ventures, an arm of the oil and gas giant that scouts and funds energy-related tech startups, as its first tenant for the building over the summer. The company will occupy space on the third floor.

 

 

The Ion is designed to anchor a 16-acre “innovation district” in the Midtown area that focuses on bringing together entrepreneurs, incubators, accelerators, corporations and academics, and the community at large when it opens next year.

The 288,000 square-foot building at 4201 Main will include shared workspace, prototyping and maker resources, event space, classrooms and communal areas with shared amenities.

Houston once had a thriving technology scene with Compaq Computer Corp., BMC Software and smaller companies in related industries.

Microsoft’s move is only one example of a recent win for Houston’s tech scene. Earlier this month, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s announced it planned to move it’s headquarters to Houston, which may not result in a lot of new jobs, but it could be a catalyst to bring more companies to the region.

 

There are no current plans to change Microsoft’s existing space in Houston at Town and Country as a result of this expansion.

nancy.sarnoff@chron.com

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On 12/13/2020 at 2:10 PM, clutchcity94 said:

How amazing would it be if Elon buys out all of the existing pre-leases at the Ion and turns the entire building into Tesla’s new headquarters! Smack dab in the middle of the energy capital of the world.

 

Would take some major balls, but I can see Elon doing something like that now that he has moved to Texas officially.

Musk seems to be much more interested in Austin. I guess the return of Compaq (now known as HP Enterprise) is the most Houston can expect, at least until some serious VC money starts being made available for industries outside of oil and gas...

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I drive by this east side on Caroline St. every day I go to work in order to get to the San Jacinto on ramp. I don't recall these glass blocks. I think they uncovered them.

iPICIEZ.jpg

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22 hours ago, hindesky said:

I drive by this east side on Caroline St. every day I go to work in order to get to the San Jacinto on ramp. I don't recall these glass blocks. I think they uncovered them.

iPICIEZ.jpg

The glass block windows have been there the whole time.

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The goal of Rice U. and the architects seems to be to create an active lively urban scene with amenities to attract people and promote interactions. 
Half-Price Books would fit in admirably with this scheme. Its inclusion would be mutually beneficial.

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17 hours ago, dbigtex56 said:

The goal of Rice U. and the architects seems to be to create an active lively urban scene with amenities to attract people and promote interactions. 
Half-Price Books would fit in admirably with this scheme. Its inclusion would be mutually beneficial.

Couple of problems.

1. Techies hate used books. They think they're silly. They think Steve and Jeff ended the need for books for intelligent people.

2. Used book stores generally cannot afford rent in newly constructed/renovated buildings. They like older shopping centers.

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

Couple of problems.

1. Techies hate used books. They think they're silly. They think Steve and Jeff ended the need for books for intelligent people.

2. Used book stores generally cannot afford rent in newly constructed/renovated buildings. They like older shopping centers.

I see what you're saying, and you make valid points. 
My impression is that one of the goals of this facility is to integrate it into the surrounding community, so that the developers and techies could draw inspiration from other sources. There's a tendency for people who surround themselves with others much like themselves to become stale. A couple of well-worn cliches seem applicable ("Echo chamber" and "thinking inside the box").
A bookstore would provide a break from their routine, and allow for socializing and the exchange of ideas that could provide different perspectives and lead to unexpected insights.
This is not a typical investor and developer driven project. The techies are being subsidized. Many tech companies were started literally in someone's garage, because that's all they could afford. It's not as if they're going to be paying market rates here.
This is a large project. I don't have the square footage available, but it's sizable. I'm suggesting that setting some aside for Half-Price Books is an idea worth examining.

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

Couple of problems.

1. Techies hate used books. They think they're silly. They think Steve and Jeff ended the need for books for intelligent people.

2. Used book stores generally cannot afford rent in newly constructed/renovated buildings. They like older shopping centers.

The problem is Half Price Books wants to pay Half Price Rent. Not going to work.

Edited by clutchcity94
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20 minutes ago, Texasota said:

I think Rice (or anyone really) should buy 1700 N Main, restore it, and make it a Half Price Books. 

Or how about 368 Fairview? It’s a beautiful building (albeit very dilapidated), but I could totally see a HPB in there. That way they can stay in the neighborhood (Montrose) as well.

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18 hours ago, dbigtex56 said:

There's a tendency for people who surround themselves with others much like themselves to become stale. A couple of well-worn cliches seem applicable ("Echo chamber" and "thinking inside the box").

Those of us observing the tech revolution from the outside can see this problem very well. But from inside, it's invisible/not a problem. They think they are on the frontiers of thinking, the Leonardos and Galileos of today's world, even though most of them are just finding clever ways to sell ads and keep people scrolling. 

So you're in a position of trying to give them medicine they don't think they need. And although the project is subsidized, the reason for the subsidies is Houston's desperate need for tech industry. If you're trying to get them to come to you, it's not really the moment to tell them they should try out new interests.

 

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I don't agree, I don't think the web delivery app types are what this intends to attract. Everything I've read suggests this is more about cloud and data science type stuff as applied in health care, industry, etc.

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3 hours ago, zaphod said:

I don't agree, I don't think the web delivery app types are what this intends to attract. Everything I've read suggests this is more about cloud and data science type stuff as applied in health care, industry, etc.

I was generalizing about the overall tech industry and its culture. Even if the companies we get are different, the culture follows a larger pattern for the entire industry. An example is casual dress. This was pioneered by Silicon Valley companies like Google and now any tech company in the world just about will have its whole workforce coming to work in faded jeans and t-shirts. You could offer one of them an Armani suit and they would frown and shake their head. The slouchy clothes are a symbol of elite status (because great innovators wear slouchy clothes, not suits) and indicate their membership in the guild.

 

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On 1/8/2021 at 1:32 PM, H-Town Man said:

An example is casual dress. This was pioneered by Silicon Valley companies like Google and now any tech company in the world just about will have its whole workforce coming to work in faded jeans and t-shirts. You could offer one of them an Armani suit and they would frown and shake their head. The slouchy clothes are a symbol of elite status (because great innovators wear slouchy clothes, not suits) and indicate their membership in the guild.

Counterpoint, this is because suits are expensive and uncomfortable, and are and always have been dumb.

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2 hours ago, Andrew Ewert said:

Counterpoint, this is because suits are expensive and uncomfortable, and are and always have been dumb.

Many articles of clothing that people find pleasing are expensive and uncomfortable. You are applying reason to fashion, which... well, good luck.

 

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As a lower middle class slob I wish I had more opportunities to wear a suit sometimes. I happen to think I look good in one.

But yeah, going to work everyday like that would be awkward. It's nice to look good in the office though, I have co-workers who come in with t-shirts with holes in them and I'm like, really?

Edited by zaphod
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