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South Main Innovation District In Midtown


CasaNova

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its cool that greentown labs is trying to put together a fortress of vines, saw people working on the little planters at the base of those...skinny fences (lol)?

Its going to be wild to go from all that was there before to this largely green building and the type of trees that are planted on the north side of the Ion, which I assume will be used for most of these developments. Maybe they got rid of the planters and are opting for vine fences that we see on greentown and the Skyhouse developments downtown. 🤷‍♂️

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Haven’t taken a picture yet, but the name is on the sides of the building as well as the center. They also are lit up at night. (Was concerned they wouldn’t be). I think if they could do something to the perimeter of the parking lot, this wouldnt be too bad. 

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The old Shipleys/Future Stuff’d Wings has another fence up and have blocked the view of the inside of the building by putting paper on the windows. And I drive past this every day, so I know there’s been a fence up for months, but there’s a ‘different’ fence. Nothing dramatic. It’s just the small detail I noticed. 

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11 hours ago, midtowndweller said:

The old Shipleys/Future Stuff’d Wings has another fence up and have blocked the view of the inside of the building by putting paper on the windows. And I drive past this every day, so I know there’s been a fence up for months, but there’s a ‘different’ fence. Nothing dramatic. It’s just the small detail I noticed. 

Stuff’d Wings is somehow “verified” on Instagram, so they must be a big deal. I haven’t personally tried their food truck location yet.

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37 minutes ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

Greentown Labs sounds like a weed manufacturer.

ITYM "high-volume delta-8 extraction facility". At least until the Lege tries to outlaw delta-8 again.

Maybe they should've called it "H-town Labs", where "H" = "herb".

Edited by mkultra25
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On 9/24/2021 at 2:46 PM, hindesky said:

Guys were working on adding the planters back on the parking garage mock up. Asked them why they were taken off and they didn't know. They also don't know when they will start working on the garage.

6r6uLlF.jpg

Looks like they are doing color selections to me. Seeing how each color works in the daylight.

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https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/business/2021/10/12/410697/shut-out-of-a-contract-a-third-ward-community-coalition-continues-to-fight-for-equitable-development-of-houstons-ion-district/

Im confused? I mean this in no disrespect but why should they care about 3rd ward if they're.....not in 3rd ward? 2nd ward residents seem to be more welcoming of all the projects going on in 2nd ward (EADO for example) 

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15 hours ago, Amlaham said:

https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/business/2021/10/12/410697/shut-out-of-a-contract-a-third-ward-community-coalition-continues-to-fight-for-equitable-development-of-houstons-ion-district/

Im confused? I mean this in no disrespect but why should they care about 3rd ward if they're.....not in 3rd ward? 2nd ward residents seem to be more welcoming of all the projects going on in 2nd ward (EADO for example) 

This literally the way it is stated is extortion. Disgusting 

They make it sound like Rice which is a non-profit is some sort of Fortune 500 company. 

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16 hours ago, wilcal said:

It is. Green is Third Ward. 

 YQCt9eg.jpg

 

Before TXDOT built highways that cut the Third Ward into pieces, the boundaries were Main St in Midtown and Harrisburg in the East End. Even if you don't consider anything west of 59 as being Third Ward, the effects of the development has the potential to affect the historical community in the area. 

I had no idea! I didn't even know the museum district, downtown, and EADO were all considered 3rd ward! Thanks for the explanation!

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Main Street is the divider, so the Museum District is split between the third and fourth wards. One thing to remember is that when the Ward system was made, the boundaries of Kirby and Holcombe Blvd was waaaay out in the country.

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Just now, tigereye said:

This infuriates me. As a nearby resident who’s live in the area for the last decade, Rice’s involvement has cleaned up a once seedy part of town. Where was the “The Houston Coalition for Equitable Development Without Displacement” when this area was a shantytown? This isn't about gentrification. This is a shakedown for free benefits when they haven’t done shit previously. 

Totally agree with this.

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1 hour ago, tigereye said:

This infuriates me. As a nearby resident who’s live in the area for the last decade, Rice’s involvement has cleaned up a once seedy part of town. Where was the “The Houston Coalition for Equitable Development Without Displacement” when this area was a shantytown? This isn't about gentrification. This is a shakedown for free benefits when they haven’t done shit previously. 

Especially when the very premise is a complete falsehood.  Rice's project is causing exactly zero displacement.

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It's not really Rice's project itself. It's the fact that they expect land prices across 288 to skyrocket due to the Ion, displacing people there.

Imho Rice is doing a standup job, assuming they follow through. This coalition is based on the assumption that unless an agreement is made with them and them specifically, Rice can disregard whatever agreement they made with the city and not be penalized. How that's different than Rice theoretically disregarding whatever agreement they might make with this coalition, when the city is probably going to be the one they call to enforce their agreement . . . I'm not sure really.

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On 10/12/2021 at 6:16 PM, wilcal said:

It is. Green is Third Ward. 

 YQCt9eg.jpg

 

Before TXDOT built highways that cut the Third Ward into pieces, the boundaries were Main St in Midtown and Harrisburg in the East End. Even if you don't consider anything west of 59 as being Third Ward, the effects of the development has the potential to affect the historical community in the area. 

3rd ward, the ward doesn't exist, wards were done more than a century ago in Houston. they live on as a history of the areas, but there are areas that were part of the original 3rd ward that no one would consider to be part of 3rd ward (from a historic standpoint). I mean, Lawndale and Wayside, would anyone consider this 3rd ward? Polk and Lockwood? I don't think anyone would say "yeah, that's 3rd ward". if someone asks where the soccer stadium is, is the first answer "3rd ward" and would that make any sense to anyone?

but because it fits in a narrative today, some still claim certain areas that are outside of the super neighborhood named greater 3rd ward as being part of 3rd ward, and it just doesn't fit.

the western boundary of the super neighborhood greater 3rd ward is 288, except for a small portion along Almeda south of 59. 

https://www.houstontx.gov/health/chs/Greater Third Ward.pdf

Heights is another neighborhood cut by a freeway, south of I10 isn't considered to be the Heights (well, I'm sure developers are quick to latch on for marketing purposes, but not many normal people consider south of I10 as part of the heights) but the historic start of the heights was south of I10.

anyway, this innovation thingy is part of the current Midtown Super Neighborhood. 

and the main crux, @tigereye hit above, these so called community leaders don't care about the area until there is a potential benefit.

Edited by samagon
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16 hours ago, HouTXRanger said:

How that's different than Rice theoretically disregarding whatever agreement they might make with this coalition, when the city is probably going to be the one they call to enforce their agreement . . . I'm not sure really.

The reason for doing it with the community is so the city isn't involved with enforcement. Breach of contract would be handled by a court. If the CBA is with the city, the city does what the mayor wants, so he/she can choose not to enforce it. CBAs are traditionally made bypassing the city because of this.

16 hours ago, hindesky said:

PqVV6U9.png

$6.6 million for parking garage vegetation?

$6.4 million for two "public plazas" that will be on private property?

IDK about all that. The TIRZ could do so much more with that money.

1 hour ago, samagon said:

3rd ward, the ward doesn't exist, wards were done more than a century ago in Houston. they live on as a history of the areas, but there are areas that were part of the original 3rd ward that no one would consider to be part of 3rd ward (from a historic standpoint). I mean, Lawndale and Wayside, would anyone consider this 3rd ward? Polk and Lockwood? I don't think anyone would say "yeah, that's 3rd ward". if someone asks where the soccer stadium is, is the first answer "3rd ward" and would that make any sense to anyone?

but because it fits in a narrative today, some still claim certain areas that are outside of the super neighborhood named greater 3rd ward as being part of 3rd ward, and it just doesn't fit.

the western boundary of the super neighborhood greater 3rd ward is 288, except for a small portion along Almeda south of 59. 

https://www.houstontx.gov/health/chs/Greater Third Ward.pdf

Heights is another neighborhood cut by a freeway, south of I10 isn't considered to be the Heights (well, I'm sure developers are quick to latch on for marketing purposes, but not many normal people consider south of I10 as part of the heights) but the historic start of the heights was south of I10.

anyway, this innovation thingy is part of the current Midtown Super Neighborhood. 

and the main crux, @tigereye hit above, these so called community leaders don't care about the area until there is a potential benefit.

I think the bolded statement is completely disingenuous, and really doesn't even make sense. The Fiesta was by far the most convenient grocery store for a large portion of the Third Ward (with some portions having car ownership rates in the 60%s), so it isn't just about "potential benefits". 

Some of the leaders aren't even directly affected by this, but are trying to help support voices that are typically squashed. As has been talked about earlier in the thread, Rice's interaction with the black community in Houston isn't exactly a positive history. Several of the members are Rice students that want to see more equity from their university. So yes, it is expected that there hasn't been a continuous push by some of the members in this one specific area. Sears had also been sitting on a what, 50 year lease? And that is something that did help serve needs in the community whereas the Ion might not. 

And in terms of Third Ward, yes, the highways have re-edged the borders of neighborhoods, but you have to also see that there are areas of strong black culture and residents, like along Almeda, still exist in those parts that are outside the "modern" boundaries. 

The Kwik Kopy building is up for sale at like 7-10X its appraised value. There will be ramifications felt by local residents because Rice decided to make such a significant change.

CBAs are definitely a new thing for Houston, but to claim that a grassroots org is just demanding handouts when they see their neighborhood continuing to change, and not to benefit long-term residents is not a great take imho.

 

 

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37 minutes ago, wilcal said:

The reason for doing it with the community is so the city isn't involved with enforcement. Breach of contract would be handled by a court. If the CBA is with the city, the city does what the mayor wants, so he/she can choose not to enforce it. CBAs are traditionally made bypassing the city because of this.

$6.6 million for parking garage vegetation?

$6.4 million for two "public plazas" that will be on private property?

IDK about all that. The TIRZ could do so much more with that money.

I think the bolded statement is completely disingenuous, and really doesn't even make sense. The Fiesta was by far the most convenient grocery store for a large portion of the Third Ward (with some portions having car ownership rates in the 60%s), so it isn't just about "potential benefits". 

Some of the leaders aren't even directly affected by this, but are trying to help support voices that are typically squashed. As has been talked about earlier in the thread, Rice's interaction with the black community in Houston isn't exactly a positive history. Several of the members are Rice students that want to see more equity from their university. So yes, it is expected that there hasn't been a continuous push by some of the members in this one specific area. Sears had also been sitting on a what, 50 year lease? And that is something that did help serve needs in the community whereas the Ion might not. 

And in terms of Third Ward, yes, the highways have re-edged the borders of neighborhoods, but you have to also see that there are areas of strong black culture and residents, like along Almeda, still exist in those parts that are outside the "modern" boundaries. 

The Kwik Kopy building is up for sale at like 7-10X its appraised value. There will be ramifications felt by local residents because Rice decided to make such a significant change.

CBAs are definitely a new thing for Houston, but to claim that a grassroots org is just demanding handouts when they see their neighborhood continuing to change, and not to benefit long-term residents is not a great take imho.

 

 

HEB opened much closer and is actually cheaper than Fiesta and actually had a large fresh produce section so that is not true, it wasn't even on many bus routes from actual 3rd ward like the new HEB is. I think it's crazy is the 21st century to try keep areas as ethnic enclaves etc. Shouldn't every area mirror the demographics of the city overall?

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1 hour ago, wilcal said:

The reason for doing it with the community is so the city isn't involved with enforcement. Breach of contract would be handled by a court. If the CBA is with the city, the city does what the mayor wants, so he/she can choose not to enforce it. CBAs are traditionally made bypassing the city because of this.

$6.6 million for parking garage vegetation?

$6.4 million for two "public plazas" that will be on private property?

IDK about all that. The TIRZ could do so much more with that money.

I think the bolded statement is completely disingenuous, and really doesn't even make sense. The Fiesta was by far the most convenient grocery store for a large portion of the Third Ward (with some portions having car ownership rates in the 60%s), so it isn't just about "potential benefits". 

Some of the leaders aren't even directly affected by this, but are trying to help support voices that are typically squashed. As has been talked about earlier in the thread, Rice's interaction with the black community in Houston isn't exactly a positive history. Several of the members are Rice students that want to see more equity from their university. So yes, it is expected that there hasn't been a continuous push by some of the members in this one specific area. Sears had also been sitting on a what, 50 year lease? And that is something that did help serve needs in the community whereas the Ion might not. 

And in terms of Third Ward, yes, the highways have re-edged the borders of neighborhoods, but you have to also see that there are areas of strong black culture and residents, like along Almeda, still exist in those parts that are outside the "modern" boundaries. 

The Kwik Kopy building is up for sale at like 7-10X its appraised value. There will be ramifications felt by local residents because Rice decided to make such a significant change.

CBAs are definitely a new thing for Houston, but to claim that a grassroots org is just demanding handouts when they see their neighborhood continuing to change, and not to benefit long-term residents is not a great take imho.

 

 

You do know that not everything has to be viewed through the lens of Social Justice, right?

If these ideas you propose are so self-evident and so obvious, why does it always come off as a demand with the penalty of not doing so being social retribution and social excommunication? Why does it always come off as a call for privilege when it is disguised as a right?

$6.6 million for vegetation....yeah in the manner of which they are implementing vegetation on the garage, its going to be expensive. This isn't exactly planting flowers in a small pot on a back porch. Landscaping is very expensive depending on what you plant, and how much density you plant, and in this case they are putting vegetation in suspended planters which requires its own structural support. The real question should be, what is your hypothetical dollar amount for vegetation where you think this is a too much and that money can go elsewhere. Not to mention isn't the talk that we should be making buildings and environments more green. Why does that all the sudden go out the window when so-called historically impoverished communities are involved. Do blacks and poor people not deserve to see green around them, oh thats right they are black and poor, so they must be hungry and can't find work, so we should be spending money on that, right? Because we should assume this is the default, right?

$6.4 million for two "public plazas". Again isn't the argument always that there should be more open space, and spaces for people to congregate and create a sense of community, and especially in Houston where there is so little. I many cities depending on the zoning regulation a developer will have to designate space for a public plaza. Here there is no such requirement, and so actually we should see this as an improvement that companies don't need to be forced to create public space, and instead they are seeing a market benefit to do so on their own accord. Really quite astonishing in my opinion.

This is always my issue with any argument is from the standpoint of Social Justice is that its never enough. Nobody can be Woke enough or promote Social Justice enough, and Rice University leans pretty hard into these ideas to a fault in my opinion, and again it isn't enough. In my opinion this is why they should just ignore all that crap and do what can serve their interests best, and if it helps others along the way then this will be even more of a success, and they would be smart to do so.

As far as boundaries go. History isn't something you pick off a bookshelf and say, this is when we say history begins, or we think its this, but none of the other stuff happened. The highway exists, and its ramifications exist, and we have to move on. Learn lessons on what happened and try to do better in the future. These ideas of these so called historically black communities that you have in your head aren't there anymore and have moved elsewhere. Let that go. Montrose when I was living in it was changing as well. The gay community is leaving that neighborhood, but thats also a consequence of them being generally more accepted in mainstream society which is a great thing, and now they don't have to be in the same place. Most of these historically black communities where a direct response to segregation, and segregation isn't in law anymore, so why should they all live in the same place? History changes, so do cities.

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The spending is not even about social justice. Yes, parking garages should be greener, but what do you think is more effective? Spending 6.6 million on planting more trees in the area or sticking them to the side of a parking garage?

Remember this is tax revenue we are talking about! Three TIRZ is going to be subsidizing Rice's green choices instead of Rice paying for it themselves. Is any property tax even being paid on these lots? $6.4 million could have made an actual park instead of paying for Rice to develop their own private plazas.

Gentrification and displacement are two different things. If people choose to leave then that is mostly fine. If they are forced to leave their communities then I don't think that is right. 

Significant portions of the Third Ward were redlined, people weren't able to buy property, and there are low home ownership rates as a result. Because there are a decent number of renters, they can be displaced much easier. 

I'm not saying you're wrong as I think it is a valid POV, and honestly I felt the same way about the CBA before I dug into the reasoning and looked at how these communities have basically had the rug pulled out, and what I'm hearing from you and IAH77 is that communities should be happy to become more multi-racial because segregation is over, and again that doesn't sit right with me.

 

 

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18 minutes ago, wilcal said:

what I'm hearing from you and IAH77 is that communities should be happy to become more multi-racial because segregation is over, and again that doesn't sit right with me.

 

 

ah....okay. I see. Very illuminating response. At least your are brave enough to say what most progressives and those who fight for social justice actually want, but are too insecure to actually state it. At the very least to your credit, you are honest.

Edited by Luminare
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I attended a few CBA coalition meetings...  They talk about potential harm The Ion will bring but praised all the "work" the MRA and Coleman have done for Third Ward.  Everyone was dismayed when Fiesta left but the store manager was alone at city hall begging the for help with high shrink and continuous police calls.  I thought the coalition would work with Rice on technology focused solutions but they want them to fix everything.

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3 hours ago, wilcal said:

I think the bolded statement is completely disingenuous, and really doesn't even make sense. The Fiesta was by far the most convenient grocery store for a large portion of the Third Ward (with some portions having car ownership rates in the 60%s), so it isn't just about "potential benefits". 

I say that because I see other things happening in the 3rd ward that are far more detrimental to the community, yet, I see very few stories about it, and fewer still from the community leaders.

it's a topic for another thread (and I believe it is a topic of its own thread), but midtown has been buying so much property in 3rd ward, and then just bulldozes the home and leaves the land vacant. all under the premise that some day they are going to build affordable housing. they have pockmarked the 3rd ward and done more damage to the community than the loss of Fiesta ever could. want to see what land is owned by midtown TIRZ?

in fact, a google search for news related to Houston Coalition for Equitable Development Without Displacement only brings back news related to ION, nothing else.

I will say that regarding the ION, I do hope that they engage with the community to create tech jobs for people in the local community, specifically youths, but the other stuff the HCEDD wants is pretty ridiculous when you look at this innovation district, and other players that have been taking action for more than a decade that have resulted in doing more harm to the community, well, yeah. Midtown TIRZ needs to be in their crosshairs, not Rice.

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2 hours ago, wilcal said:

Good news, I actually did my summer GIS class project on this very topic. 

On the images below, the blue census tracts are ones designated as a low-income census tract. The orange areas are designated as food deserts not because of low-income, but because of low transportation access. 

This is the before: LdtLaLd.jpg

And this is the after (current day):

KBvxmKH.jpg

The higher-end areas of Riverside Terrace did gain significantly more access because of the HEB, but it did not much for the poorer areas. Transit access to the new HEB is lower than the old Fiesta, although I do not have any visualizations to show that. Although, the HEB is a more pleasant walk because of the Columbia Tap trail that connects to the bayou. 

As I mentioned before, several of the northern census tracts don't have a car, so they did not see any improvement from the new HEB being added. 

 

Until recently, no large format grocery stores would locate in this area due to proximity to schools an churches limiting alcohol sales. 

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25 minutes ago, BeerNut said:

Until recently, no large format grocery stores would locate in this area due to proximity to schools an churches limiting alcohol sales. 

I'm not sure this is a thing. google maps shows quite a few liquor stores scattered across 3rd ward, also there are a number of convenience stores, all of which will have beer/wine for sale.

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