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The Allen: Allen Parkway/Gillette Mixed-Use 6-Acres


jmontrose

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I think one day, it's going to have to get redeveloped. The fact that it's practically in downtown, off buffalo bayou, and suburban style strongly suggests it won't sit for too long. Not saying its going to happen soon, but eventually, it's inevitable. Also, there isn't much land left to develop on this side of town, so land value is skyrocketing. That lot fits about 20 apartment buildings the size of the "Pearl" apartment buildings, and you can fit everyone in this block into 1 building lol.

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So this area is considered freedmen's town, but not part of the Historic portion.... meaning it technically does not have to be preserved. It was first built in 1944, so I don't see how it holds any historic value. If that was the case, most buildings inside the loop and off memorial would be considered historic too. I mean....theres even homes in sugar land built during the 40s....

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I mean, I'm not making this up. It was actually listed in the National Register as the San Felipe Courts historic district in the 80s. 

Here's the listing: San Felipe Courts Historic District_02/16/1988 (archives.gov)

Now, since it was listed close to half of the contributing buildings were torn down and replaced with the other lower quality stuff that's there now, so the integrity of the district has definitely been compromised. But, as I said, 18 buildings remain.

Their relationship to Freedmen's Town is... complicated, since they were pretty explicitly built as housing for *white* families, but of course their occupancy has changed significantly over time. 

Edited by Texasota
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To be fair, acknowledging a historic district can mean more than just preserving certain buildings. Freedman's town was the first area of Houston where free black people (mostly former slaves) built a community for themselves. Even if that was subsequently razed and a housing project was put in its place, that doesn't mean we should just go ahead and build out a bunch of high end shopping and condos because that history is 'done'.

I think there are much better uses for that land than the current housing development (mixed use midrise with affordable units?), but any developer should make sure they are incorporating the history in a thoughtful manner. 

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I would love to see the old public housing buildings clustered around Valentine Way retained (so 12 buildings). If you havent seen them in person (which would not be surprising because the complex is gated), they are genuinely very cool, and that core set gives you the community buildings, reasonably dense housing, and an allee of old growth oaks. 

I'd also like to see the bakery building south of that razed so Valentine Way can be extended to Dallas/reconnected. Half the land to the immediate east is part of the public housing complex; the half facing Dalla is not. Consolidate those lots and build an 18 story mixed use building with a small grocer on the ground floor. That will provide enough new housing to provide places to live while you start redeveloping the rest of the complex, re-establishing a real street grid, and removing the fencing and gates.

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1 hour ago, Amlaham said:

So this area is considered freedmen's town, but not part of the Historic portion.... meaning it technically does not have to be preserved. It was first built in 1944, so I don't see how it holds any historic value. If that was the case, most buildings inside the loop and off memorial would be considered historic too. I mean....theres even homes in sugar land built during the 40s....

 

1944 was 78 years ago. how old does something have to be to be considered historic?

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34 minutes ago, Texasota said:

I mean, I'm not making this up. It was actually listed in the National Register as the San Felipe Courts historic district in the 80s. 

I either never knew, or had forgotten (both are equally plausible), that it had once been called San Felipe Courts. I've always known it as Allen Parkway Village. 

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

1944 was 78 years ago. how old does something have to be to be considered historic?

I mean... some of our parents are around that age, I wouldn't consider that historic. The entire east end all the way out to Wayside was built way before this lot in the 1930s (I saw one home built in 1910). Even then, people are tearing them down and building newer homes (not saying I agree with it). So I don't see why anyone would advocate for this lot and not the thousands of other lots that are way older. The buildings themselves have absolutely no architectural significance, it's literally a suburban style gated apartment complex. It doesn't even hold a cultural significance, as stated above, this was built for WHITE families. Its a 32 acre lot housing 222 units, extremely inefficient use of land. If we really want to help, we can start by providing more affordable housing on this lot. 

 

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2 hours ago, MidCenturyMoldy said:

I either never knew, or had forgotten (both are equally plausible), that it had once been called San Felipe Courts. I've always known it as Allen Parkway Village. 

Depends where you are at. I  imagine in Egypt, Fertile Crescent, Turkey , China or the Indus valley 78 years isn't much. A drop in the bucket. Or for that matter Europe. Houston on the other hand.

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4 hours ago, samagon said:

1944 was 78 years ago. how old does something have to be to be considered historic?

I'm not sure about elsewhere but, in Houston, you can only call something historic if it was demolished using an antique wrecking ball.

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4 hours ago, Twinsanity02 said:

   6 hours ago,  MidCenturyMoldy said: 

I either never knew, or had forgotten (both are equally plausible), that it had once been called San Felipe Courts. I've always known it as Allen Parkway Village. 

 

Depends where you are at. I  imagine in Egypt, Fertile Crescent, Turkey , China or the Indus valley 78 years isn't much. A drop in the bucket. Or for that matter Europe. Houston on the other hand.

I think you quoted me while replying to samagon.

Edited by MidCenturyMoldy
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19 hours ago, Amlaham said:

I mean... some of our parents are around that age, I wouldn't consider that historic. The entire east end all the way out to Wayside was built way before this lot in the 1930s (I saw one home built in 1910). Even then, people are tearing them down and building newer homes (not saying I agree with it). So I don't see why anyone would advocate for this lot and not the thousands of other lots that are way older. The buildings themselves have absolutely no architectural significance, it's literally a suburban style gated apartment complex. It doesn't even hold a cultural significance, as stated above, this was built for WHITE families. Its a 32 acre lot housing 222 units, extremely inefficient use of land. If we really want to help, we can start by providing more affordable housing on this lot. 

 

I don't disagree, my mom just turned 81. my first home I purchased in the East End was built in 1933, the home I currently live in was built in 1946, a new build by all comparisons!

actually it takes you down an interesting rabbit hole, if you ignore the exterior and the flooring in the upstairs, it is a new build. HVAC is less than 10 years old, electrical and plumbing was completely redone, kitchen is fully updated (even came with induction cooktop), all the walls on the first floor are pretty much gone. so aside from the brick exterior being 75 years old, this home isn't very old at all. I mean, I guess the bathrooms and closets are very period, which is to say, tiny. I'm sure if you investigated homes with historic designations in river oaks, they'd probably have less historically accurate interiors than mine, so is historic significance only matter when you look at it from the outside?

at the end of the day, at what point is something historically significant? I like to joke that a building becomes historically significant when an owner shares their intention to demolish it.

anyway, none of this is at all relevant to the significance of the area in question. but should the historic significance of the area stop progress, or should progress continue, being mindful of the historic significance, and even referencing that history in the architectural stylings where appropriate?

going back to the East End, I think there are a lot of recent things built that reference the significance of those that helped shape the area.

Edited by samagon
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46 minutes ago, samagon said:

I don't disagree, my mom just turned 81. my first home I purchased in the East End was built in 1933, the home I currently live in was built in 1946, a new build by all comparisons!

actually it takes you down an interesting rabbit hole, if you ignore the exterior and the flooring in the upstairs, it is a new build. HVAC is less than 10 years old, electrical and plumbing was completely redone, kitchen is fully updated (even came with induction cooktop), all the walls on the first floor are pretty much gone. so aside from the brick exterior being 75 years old, this home isn't very old at all. I mean, I guess the bathrooms and closets are very period, which is to say, tiny. I'm sure if you investigated homes with historic designations in river oaks, they'd probably have less historically accurate interiors than mine, so is historic significance only matter when you look at it from the outside?

at the end of the day, at what point is something historically significant? I like to joke that a building becomes historically significant when an owner shares their intention to demolish it.

anyway, none of this is at all relevant to the significance of the area in question. but should the historic significance of the area stop progress, or should progress continue, being mindful of the historic significance, and even referencing that history in the architectural stylings where appropriate?

going back to the East End, I think there are a lot of recent things built that reference the significance of those that helped shape the area.

A structure itself can be historic because of the architectural style and still have the interior updated. In fact, most of England's listed buildings have interior updates as well as additions (e.g. the Heights historic district). I would imagine a residential property with no interior or exterior updates that is "frozen in time" would be best suited for a museum of that era.

Circling back to the listed buildings, I believe the baseline for their "historic" designation would be anything prior to WW2, depending on architectural significance.

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6 hours ago, hindesky said:

Anyone have access to the full article ?

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10 hours ago, Urbannizer said:

Anyone have access to the full article ?

 

Quote

$500M project update: DC Partners' 35-story hotel-condo tower near Buffalo Bayou Park tops out

Houston-based DC Partners has crossed a key milestone in the company’s effort to open the Allen Parkway corridor's first combination condominium-hotel tower.

The company hosted a Jan. 13 topping out ceremony for The Residences at The Allen, the centerpiece of DC Partners’ $500 million mixed-use development at 759 Gillette St.

During the ceremony, DC Partners officials signed a steel I-beam with celebratory messages to honor the occasion. The I-beam was later installed in the building as part of a tradition to bring good fortune to the project.

When it opens next year, the 35-story tower will have a 170- room Thompson Hotel occupying the first 15 floors of the building and 99 condo units on floors 16 through 35. Condo residents will have access to a private lobby, the hotel’s concierge service, an on-site restaurant and a seventh-floor amenity space and outdoor pool deck.

DC Partners hopes to offer its residents and hotel guests a lockand-leave lifestyle and luxury amenities unlike any other condo project in Houston. The company plans to start allowing residents to move in early next year, and the hotel is scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2023.

Condos in the building currently range from $800,000 to upwards of $8 million — up from DC Partners' initial asking prices. Last year, DC Partners President and CEO Roberto Contreras said the units had starting prices ranging from $580,000 to $2.4 million on the penthouse levels.

To date, 55% of the units have sold, leaving about 50 still open to purchase. The sales include the massive 12,000-square-foot penthouse on the top floor of the building, which found a buyer about four months ago. DC Partners declined to comment on the sale price of that unit.

Samuel Katz, director of sales for The Residences at The Allen, said the company has been pleased by the level of buyer interest, which remained strong throughout the pandemic.

“We opened the building to sales in 2019, and then the universe threw everything it could at us,” Katz said. “We had a good level of sales in 2020. But you could almost feel the level of interest pick up in January 2021. Now that we are vertical, it’s gotten much easier to find buyers because they can see for themselves what the views are like and what the building has to offer. The building itself is the biggest sales pitch we can make.”

Contreras added that being able to bring prospective buyers into the building has brought about a shift in which units were being sold.

In the beginning, he said, most buyers wanted a unit on the side of the building facing downtown, anticipating its unobstructed views of the downtown skyline would be unlike any other condo units in the city.

“Now, we’re seeing people buying units on the other side of the building because they can see the spectacular views of the bayou, the Galleria and all the way to Katy,” Contreras said. “There is also a significant difference in price for units on the downtown side, which has also driven that shift.”

Katz said most of the buyers have been local empty nesters looking to downsize their living arrangements while gaining access to upscale amenities. However, the building has also received interest from international buyers entering the Houston market, he said.

“We have really benefitted from our decision to invest in technology upgrades early on,” Katz said. “The same technology that allows us to show off the building to an international buyer allows us to beam into the home of people everywhere. That has been a huge help throughout the pandemic.”

But getting to this point has not been easy. Contreras said the widely reported strain on global supply chains brought on by the pandemic affected Houston-based general contractor GT Leach’s ability to obtain key building materials. DC Partners was forced to switch many of the suppliers it was working with, favoring U.S.-based companies that don’t have to deal with bringing in materials through ports of entry.

“We’ve gone with U.S. suppliers for our tile and paving stones, for example, because of how long it was taking to get the materials,” Contreras said. “Normally, we would have brought those in from places like Italy or Spain. But with the supply chains, it’s been very difficult.”

But the biggest challenge, Contreras said, was getting custommade carbon-fiber panels that encase The Allen Lifestyle Pavilion, the standalone retail and restaurant center adjacent to The Residences at The Allen, as well as parts of the hotel-condo building itself.  The silver-colored panels were provided by Australia-based Shape Shift and were manufactured at a factory in Indonesia.

“We dodged a bullet with that one,” Contreras said. “Covid shut down the factory for several months, and we weren’t sure it would reopen. When they finally reopened, they were able to make up for lost time, and we were able to obtain the material.”

It’s a good thing, too, Contreras said. The carbon-fiber skin was a key element of St. Louis-based HOK’s design for both buildings and marked the first time Shape Shift would supply a U.S. commercial development.

“It was important to us to use such a high-quality material because it shows that we aren’t cutting costs just to cut costs,” Contreras said. “We wanted to use the material to create a sculpture of a building that really paid tribute to the area and showed we were building something beautiful next to (Buffalo Bayou Park), which the city has invested so much money in.”

So, when it seemed that getting that particular product to Houston might not happen, Contreras said his team had a few sleepless nights.

“We didn’t know what we would do if the factory didn’t reopen,” Contreras said. “It was really scary for a while. But they did great work to get it here with only a slight delay.”

The supply-chain issues have added about $12 million in additional costs to the project. This phase of the project is expected to cost over $280 million.

“The cost has gone up a little bit,” Contreras said. “But the sales have been going really well, which helps to absorb some of those costs. Even with the supply-chain challenges, we’re still on schedule, which really speaks to our team, GT Leach’s team and HOK’s team.”

Contreras said he’s been pleased with the pace of construction on both the The Allen Lifestyle Pavilion and The Residences at The Allen.

The pavilion is scheduled to open later this year, and DC Partners has already lined up a company to operate its fitness center, as well as a company to run the rooftop bar.

Neither company could be named at this stage. But the bar will be operated by a “new-to-Houston company,” while the fitness center will be “run by the best fitness company in the city,” Contreras said.

Both of those tenants are waiting on permits to begin the buildout of their respective spaces. “There is a lot of momentum for the fitness center to open before the end of the year," Contreras said.

DC Partners is also looking for tenants to occupy about 11,800 square feet of retail space on the first floor of the pavilion.

The company is also moving ahead with plans to kick off the second phase of The Allen’s development. Late next year, the company plans to begin work on a multifamily project that will combine limited retail with luxury apartment living.

Contreras also hopes to land a grocery store for the next phase of the project. “We want to create an environment where everything you need is right there waiting for you,” Contreras said.

That said, DC Partners has canceled plans to include an office component as part of the project. “There is just so much availability in office product in Houston that it didn’t make sense,” Contreras said.

Edited by 79ta
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1 hour ago, 79ta said:

 

Can anyone confirm if the fitness center be an Equinox gym?

 

“The pavilion is scheduled to open later this year, and DC Partners has already lined up a company to operate its fitness center, as well as a company to run the rooftop bar.

Neither company could be named at this stage. But the bar will be operated by a “new-to-Houston company,” while the fitness center will be “run by the best fitness company in the city,” Contreras said.

Both of those tenants are waiting on permits to begin the buildout of their respective spaces. “There is a lot of momentum for the fitness center to open before the end of the year," Contreras said.”

Edited by clutchcity94
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On 12/27/2021 at 9:43 PM, Specwriter said:

I also heard Australia from a reliable source who also told me the panels are not metal but a composite material with metal pieces embedded for attachment to the building.

2 hours ago, 79ta said:

But the biggest challenge, Contreras said, was getting custommade carbon-fiber panels that encase The Allen Lifestyle Pavilion, the standalone retail and restaurant center adjacent to The Residences at The Allen, as well as parts of the hotel-condo building itself.  The silver-colored panels were provided by Australia-based Shape Shift and were manufactured at a factory in Indonesia.

Now we know for sure!

 

2 hours ago, 79ta said:

The company is also moving ahead with plans to kick off the second phase of The Allen’s development. Late next year, the company plans to begin work on a multifamily project that will combine limited retail with luxury apartment living.

Contreras also hopes to land a grocery store for the next phase of the project. “We want to create an environment where everything you need is right there waiting for you,” Contreras said.

That said, DC Partners has canceled plans to include an office component as part of the project. “There is just so much availability in office product in Houston that it didn’t make sense,” Contreras said.

2F4A4E2A-36CD-4EC9-B49B-8DA46A417E02.jpeg

Looks like the future of these other towers is in jeopardy 

Edited by freundb
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47 minutes ago, clutchcity94 said:

Can anyone confirm if the fitness center be an Equinox gym?

Per this Chronicle article: "DC Partners declined to name the retail tenants, but state permitting documents suggest New Evolution Fitness, a company started by two former 24 Hour Fitness executives, is planning to open in the project. Permits describe a roughly 37,000-square-foot fitness center opening in spring 2022."

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/Sweeping-views-unique-design-marks-35-story-16777118.php#photo-21920152

Edited by asubrt
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2 hours ago, TylerW said:

This was a laser mapping show projected from below for the topping out event. not a permanent lighting system. 

^^^ aaaahhh... makes perfect sense now.  i simply could not believe what i thought i was seeing.  props, for the clarification...

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7 hours ago, Brian Palmer said:

dang yea that makes sense sorry for the confusion

^^^ @Brian Palmer no problem whatsoever.  WE ARE FAMILY HERE.  actually, you now have us envisioning an edifice that is outlined with exterior lighting design.  this would certainly be quite beautiful within that particular development.  please post more...

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