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Would You Live Downtown?

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Central Houston is asking the public to participate in a short survey about development and the livability of downtown. The results will be used by Christopher Leinberger, a developer and visiting fellow at theBrookings Institution, who's giving the keynote speech at Central Houston's October 5 annual meeting.

http://blogs.chron.c...wntown_hou.html

We'd like your opinion: Where should we invest next as we develop Houston's central city?

Below is a quick, 3-minute survey about downtown, the results of which will be used by Christopher B. Leinberger, who will be the keynote speaker at Central Houston’s annual luncheon on October 5th. Mr. Leinberger is a noted land use strategist, developer, educator, award-winning author and Brookings Institution Visiting Fellow, and he looks forward to presenting this quantitative data in his speech, which will focus on investing in urbanism.

Central Houston's 27th Annual Meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 5th. Please

click herefor more information or to RSVP to the event.

1. Assuming there was convenient rail transit, when coming downtown would you be willing to use rail instead of driving?

2. What does downtown Houston (within I-45 / I-10 / US-59 freeways) most need over the next ten years to increase its economic and development potential?

Select in order 1 (most important) to 7 (least important):

Office jobs and development

Museums, cultural and performance space

Hotels and convention space

For-Sale housing

Regional retail (restaurants, high fashion department stores/shops, urban entertainment)

Neighborhood retail (grocery and drug stores, dry cleaners, etc)

3. Would you consider living in downtown Houston?

http://centralhousto...ing/2010Survey/

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I just submitted my comments but forgot to copy and paste them here before the disappeared. Paraphrasing:

Good wins:

- new and redeveloped parks (esp. Discovery Green)

- Pavilions (assuming it can stay above water financially)

- cheap eco-shuttles

- stadiums and convention center expansion + hotel

- residential for young professionals

- expanding theater district

Mistakes:

- driving out nightlife to Washington. DT had plenty of parking, street capacity, and few residents to upset with noise. It was perfect. Also helped support restaurants.

- trying to attract families (a goal I once saw listed for the downtown TIRZ)

- thinking high-rise residential wants to build downtown with blocked views (One Park Place being the exception because of unblocked views)

- building crossing surface-street rail lines will be a disaster for mobility and drive out jobs and residents

Overall: focus on jobs and being a destination: theaters, restaurants, sports, nightlife. Residents are secondary. Seriously rethink the crossing rail line unless they want downtown to have the same bad mobility reputation as Uptown.

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I just submitted my comments but forgot to copy and paste them here before the disappeared. Paraphrasing:

Good wins:

- new and redeveloped parks (esp. Discovery Green)

- Pavilions (assuming it can stay above water financially)

- cheap eco-shuttles

- stadiums and convention center expansion + hotel

- residential for young professionals

- expanding theater district

Mistakes:

- driving out nightlife to Washington. DT had plenty of parking, street capacity, and few residents to upset with noise. It was perfect. Also helped support restaurants.

- trying to attract families (a goal I once saw listed for the downtown TIRZ)

- thinking high-rise residential wants to build downtown with blocked views (One Park Place being the exception because of unblocked views)

- building crossing surface-street rail lines will be a disaster for mobility and drive out jobs and residents

Overall: focus on jobs and being a destination: theaters, restaurants, sports, nightlife. Residents are secondary. Seriously rethink the crossing rail line unless they want downtown to have the same bad mobility reputation as Uptown.

Why is trying to attract families a bad thing? Is it just unattainable in your opinion?

Also, how could the theatre district be expanded?

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I took this survey yesterday and i said we need RETAIL. With retail will come residential. With residential will come more night life (because there will be people around to support it). I just don't think we can get a sizeable residential population downtown if we don't bring more retail to the area. However, how do we make sure the retail is supported at first???

I would love to live downtown. Places like Disco G and the new Market Square park are spot on but we need more retail. Also Bombay Pizza, Frank's Pizza, Cabo... good places that stay open fairly late during the week.

It'd be nice if the Macy's, the Shops at Houston Center, did a trial 3 month period where they stayed open everyday till 9 pm (or whateve the Galleria hours are). I'm not saying it would work but I've never had the ability to do some shopping downtown of any kind pass 8pm on a weekday or weekend... curious what would happen. I really want to see a more liveable walkable downtown PAST work hours, not sure how many houstonians feel the same...

I just submitted my comments but forgot to copy and paste them here before the disappeared. Paraphrasing:

Good wins:

- new and redeveloped parks (esp. Discovery Green)

- Pavilions (assuming it can stay above water financially)

- cheap eco-shuttles

- stadiums and convention center expansion + hotel

- residential for young professionals

- expanding theater district

Mistakes:

- driving out nightlife to Washington. DT had plenty of parking, street capacity, and few residents to upset with noise. It was perfect. Also helped support restaurants.

- trying to attract families (a goal I once saw listed for the downtown TIRZ)

- thinking high-rise residential wants to build downtown with blocked views (One Park Place being the exception because of unblocked views)

- building crossing surface-street rail lines will be a disaster for mobility and drive out jobs and residents

Overall: focus on jobs and being a destination: theaters, restaurants, sports, nightlife. Residents are secondary. Seriously rethink the crossing rail line unless they want downtown to have the same bad mobility reputation as Uptown.

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Why is trying to attract families a bad thing? Is it just unattainable in your opinion?

Also, how could the theatre district be expanded?

I think it's a waste to try and attract that demographic, like marketing 4,000sq.ft. far suburban McMansions to young singles - it just doesn't make any sense. I'm not saying forbid them (obviously), but they're not the right demographic to target.

I was saying the theater expansion was a good win (the Hobby Center), not that it needed to be expanded more. Sorry for the confusion.

The retail can't come first. In fact, it's last. First make downtown a nightlife destination, then people will want to live there, *then* retail will come in to support them. That said, ground floor retail storefronts should be encouraged in buildings. They may start out as clubs or restaurants, but over time real retail will move in if the residents do.

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i'll agree, we need better night life first...

still want to see the Macy's, Pavilions, and the shops at houston center do that trial period...

I think it's a waste to try and attract that demographic, like marketing 4,000sq.ft. far suburban McMansions to young singles - it just doesn't make any sense. I'm not saying forbid them (obviously), but they're not the right demographic to target.

I was saying the theater expansion was a good win (the Hobby Center), not that it needed to be expanded more. Sorry for the confusion.

The retail can't come first. In fact, it's last. First make downtown a nightlife destination, then people will want to live there, *then* retail will come in to support them. That said, ground floor retail storefronts should be encouraged in buildings. They may start out as clubs or restaurants, but over time real retail will move in if the residents do.

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That's why you use the rail.... duh.

Rail is for bus transferers (they can't easily avoid it), TMC workers (it replaced lots of shuttle capacity), and infrastructural aesthetes. I don't fall into any of those categories. I just want something practical. My car is practical. Accommodate it!

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haha well then just pay 5 bucks to park at a parking garage

Rail is for bus transferers (they can't easily avoid it), TMC workers (it replaced lots of shuttle capacity), and infrastructural aesthetes. I don't fall into any of those categories. I just want something practical. My car is practical. Accommodate it!

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- building crossing surface-street rail lines will be a disaster for mobility and drive out jobs and residents

I was with you until this one. I don't think people considering moving to downtown Houston (most likely from out of town) will care about this. They'll see two rail lines on a map and think it's great to be near the center of a developing transit hub. They won't care if it's at the surface or underground or a little of each.

Intersecting surface rail lines, even in downtown areas, hasn't been a "disaster" in any other city where its done. I think using the term is just being dramatic to overstate your position.

Although I'm already on the record about this, I'll reiterate for the newcomers (there's quite a few these days, welcome everyone!), I lived in downtown Houston from 2001-2003, and before that in Midtown from 1999-2001.

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I think it's a waste to try and attract that demographic, like marketing 4,000sq.ft. far suburban McMansions to young singles - it just doesn't make any sense. I'm not saying forbid them (obviously), but they're not the right demographic to target.

Agreed. Maybe some day downtown Houston will be a good fit for families, but it has a long way to go. This isn't Central Park West. Houston will continue evolving its own definition of downtown urbanism over the next 10-20 years. Maybe then. But downtown Houston needs to learn to walk before it can run.

The retail can't come first. In fact, it's last. First make downtown a nightlife destination, then people will want to live there, *then* retail will come in to support them. That said, ground floor retail storefronts should be encouraged in buildings. They may start out as clubs or restaurants, but over time real retail will move in if the residents do.

This is how its done in every other city I've lived in. The problem with a lot of cities, neighborhoods, developments, and even individual buildings, is that too often the developers are so eager to fill an empty retail space that they put in the wrong type of business, and it fails.

For an urban neighborhood to be successful it doesn't need bars and clubs and take-away food joints that are only open 11am-2:00pm. It needs supermarkets, and drug stores, and dry cleaners, and hardware stores, and post offices, just like a suburban neighborhood does.

The last neighborhood I lived in was a very mature, urban environment that was dense and old enough that it could support families in the high-rises. The new neighborhood I'm in is another story. It's a place where developers have put up dozens of glass towers for both residents and businesses, but know nothing about how to turn them into a neighborhood. The place is overrun with high-end sushi joints and Thai bowl eateries, but you have to drive 30 minutes into the suburbs to buy a hammer. I can walk across the street and buy something fabulous at Louis Vuitton or down the street to Prada, but if I want to mail a package, it's a 20-minute bus ride. If there weren't three grocery delivery companies, the place would be absolutely unlivable.

Successful urban planning can't only be about transit and sidewalks and street-level retail. It's about all the things that make any other neighborhood a neighborhood: Gathering places, everyday shopping opportunities, public amenities, etc...

In my experience, there are certain companies that seem to "get" this. You can tell your neighborhood is going in the right direction if any other following open up or start sniffing around: Walgreens, Target, (insert regional Safeway brand here), Ace Hardware, a Starbucks open later than 6pm, FedEx Office open later than 7pm, UPS Store.

But Tory's first point is the most important one -- none of this will happen if you don't have people FIRST. It can work the other way around, but it's slow and painful, and opens many more opportunities for something to go wrong.

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haha well then just pay 5 bucks to park at a parking garage

And consider yourself lucky that you can pay only five bucks to park at a garage, since the going rate in downtown Chicago is $43/day.

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I took this survey yesterday and i said we need RETAIL. With retail will come residential. With residential will come more night life (because there will be people around to support it). I just don't think we can get a sizeable residential population downtown if we don't bring more retail to the area. However, how do we make sure the retail is supported at first???

I would love to live downtown. Places like Disco G and the new Market Square park are spot on but we need more retail. Also Bombay Pizza, Frank's Pizza, Cabo... good places that stay open fairly late during the week.

It'd be nice if the Macy's, the Shops at Houston Center, did a trial 3 month period where they stayed open everyday till 9 pm (or whateve the Galleria hours are). I'm not saying it would work but I've never had the ability to do some shopping downtown of any kind pass 8pm on a weekday or weekend... curious what would happen. I really want to see a more liveable walkable downtown PAST work hours, not sure how many houstonians feel the same...

What is the parking garage situation like at night? Maybe the city can subsidize companies with garages to allow people to park for free? It wouldn't necessarily have to last forever, but maybe for 10-15 years until retail is established? But would the subsidizes actually ever go away once established? :( Maybe Niche is correct, parking is the way to go. Looking for it can be kind of intimidating.

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I think it's a waste to try and attract that demographic, like marketing 4,000sq.ft. far suburban McMansions to young singles - it just doesn't make any sense. I'm not saying forbid them (obviously), but they're not the right demographic to target.

I was saying the theater expansion was a good win (the Hobby Center), not that it needed to be expanded more. Sorry for the confusion.

The retail can't come first. In fact, it's last. First make downtown a nightlife destination, then people will want to live there, *then* retail will come in to support them. That said, ground floor retail storefronts should be encouraged in buildings. They may start out as clubs or restaurants, but over time real retail will move in if the residents do.

A lot of people end up living in the area where the grew up, right? Well, if families were targeted, kids would grow up downtown and it'd be the norm for them and in turn they'd at least live somewhere cheaper like midtown when they become adults before graduating to downtown by the time they have families and make enough money.

Also, I'm not saying it has not happened, but are there other examples of nightlife coming first and then residential? What about Washington Ave, which came first?

What are the basic things that draw people to the suburbs? Retial? Nightlife? Cheap homes? A yard? Are the principles any different for an urban area? People in urban areas have the same necessities as those in suburbs. I say basic retail (cleaners, grocery etc) should be made at the SAME time as residential. All these condo places, with the exception of OPP don't have necesary ground floor retail, and I don't consider restaurants a necessity.

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Editor, All of your points are SPOT ON & was pretty much my responses to the survey. Retail follows Reasonably Affordable Residential Rooftops. Before I lived in Midtown Atlanta where I currently reside, I lived out in the far suburbs in Houston, Dallas, & Atlanta for years and initially had to drive 5-7 miles to get to a grocery store, drug store etc. But soon enough as housing construction exploded in my neighborhoods, there came the retail. Why developers think that urban Downtown areas will develop any differently is escapes me.

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In my experience, there are certain companies that seem to "get" this. You can tell your neighborhood is going in the right direction if any other following open up or start sniffing around: Walgreens, Target, (insert regional Safeway brand here), Ace Hardware, a Starbucks open later than 6pm, FedEx Office open later than 7pm, UPS Store.

I was going to say dry cleaners replacing laundromats, but I just realized that is when a neighborhood is being gentrified and is irrelevant to this discussion.

But chain brand dry cleaners is another good indication of the neighborhood 'going places'.

Edited by samagon

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A lot of people end up living in the area where the grew up, right? Well, if families were targeted, kids would grow up downtown and it'd be the norm for them and in turn they'd at least live somewhere cheaper like midtown when they become adults before graduating to downtown by the time they have families and make enough money.

Strategic urban planning on a multi-generational time horizon is an exercise in frustration.

Also, I'm not saying it has not happened, but are there other examples of nightlife coming first and then residential? What about Washington Ave, which came first?

Deep Ellum in Dallas comes to mind as a viable analog. The scene came first, then came townhomes, and the townhome occupants then pressured local politicians to deny renewal of licenses to the bar owners.

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The last neighborhood I lived in was a very mature, urban environment that was dense and old enough that it could support families in the high-rises. The new neighborhood I'm in is another story. It's a place where developers have put up dozens of glass towers for both residents and businesses, but know nothing about how to turn them into a neighborhood. The place is overrun with high-end sushi joints and Thai bowl eateries, but you have to drive 30 minutes into the suburbs to buy a hammer.

Depreciation is the friend of intact self-sustaining urban neighborhoods. The hammer store simply cannot afford the rents that would be necessary to entice a developer to build them new space. It probably doesn't help that fee simple owners of homes demand disproportionately more hammers than do owners or renters of multifamily dwellings.

I am surprised that you don't have some kind of post office or postal store in your area, if you've got all those office buildings around, though.

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I was with you until this one. I don't think people considering moving to downtown Houston (most likely from out of town) will care about this. They'll see two rail lines on a map and think it's great to be near the center of a developing transit hub. They won't care if it's at the surface or underground or a little of each.

Intersecting surface rail lines, even in downtown areas, hasn't been a "disaster" in any other city where its done. I think using the term is just being dramatic to overstate your position.

Although I'm already on the record about this, I'll reiterate for the newcomers (there's quite a few these days, welcome everyone!), I lived in downtown Houston from 2001-2003, and before that in Midtown from 1999-2001.

Sigh, I wish I could remember where I saw the analysis on this. But it basically noted that if you get two busy at-grade rail lines intersecting with 3-6min headways (esp. with the longer trains), you will get near gridlock in parts of downtown during the rush hours unless an amazing ballet of light timing and trains is pulled off (which I deeply doubt). I've had friends live in the museum district complain of problems getting across the Main St line where trains can keep coming and overriding your green light cycles while you wait at the red ones. Sometimes multiple cycles to get across. And that's just a single line. The Uptown line will be even more problematic...

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Depreciation is the friend of intact self-sustaining urban neighborhoods. The hammer store simply cannot afford the rents that would be necessary to entice a developer to build them new space. It probably doesn't help that fee simple owners of homes demand disproportionately more hammers than do owners or renters of multifamily dwellings.

It's not about rents. The city requires ground-level retail in all buildings, so there's scads of cheap cheap retail. It's just that there aren't enough people yet to make it worth the effort. Early Census numbers point to 7,000 residents in the zone I'm in -- roughly the same geographic size as downtown Houston.

I am surprised that you don't have some kind of post office or postal store in your area, if you've got all those office buildings around, though.

This is a region of the country where the USPS is closing offices, not opening them. Of course, the USPS is closing post offices in downtown Chicago, too. The long-term trend appears to have the USPS going the way of FedEx and UPS -- sorting hubs in the suburbs, and carriers traveling long distances to handle all customer interaction.

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It's not about rents. The city requires ground-level retail in all buildings, so there's scads of cheap cheap retail.

If retail was that cheap, more people would take the time to invest. There are numerous retail fronts that have been empty for years because prices are too high relatively. Downtown is unfortunately going back down because the club venues have left which actually drew non-residents in. Businesses are doing special deals or holding special events to draw NEW customers.

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It's not about rents. The city requires ground-level retail in all buildings, so there's scads of cheap cheap retail. It's just that there aren't enough people yet to make it worth the effort. Early Census numbers point to 7,000 residents in the zone I'm in -- roughly the same geographic size as downtown Houston.

Bastrop has 8,439 people, La Grange has 4,741 people, Columbus has 3,868 people. All have grocery stores, and they don't even have the advantage of a significant office population of high-earning adults.

Also, are there are early Census numbers? Where!?

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It's not about rents. The city requires ground-level retail in all buildings, so there's scads of cheap cheap retail. It's just that there aren't enough people yet to make it worth the effort. Early Census numbers point to 7,000 residents in the zone I'm in -- roughly the same geographic size as downtown Houston.

Bastrop has 8,439 people, La Grange has 4,741 people, Columbus has 3,868 people. All have grocery stores, and they don't even have the advantage of a significant office population of high-earning adults.

Bastrop, La Grange and Columbus are surrounded by lots of ....nothing. The stores that operate there have a captive customer base.

Editor's neighborhood is in the midst of a city already bursting with options, which makes startup for a self-contained shopping area serving a limited number of people very difficult.

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If retail was that cheap, more people would take the time to invest. There are numerous retail fronts that have been empty for years because prices are too high relatively. Downtown is unfortunately going back down because the club venues have left which actually drew non-residents in. Businesses are doing special deals or holding special events to draw NEW customers.

You'll notice that empty retail space is a rarity in the Galleria, even though it has (I imagine) some of the highest rents in Houston.

Retailers would rather set up shop where they are assured of thousands of potential customers every day instead of a slightly cheaper space and the forlorn hope that a few dozen people might wander by. There's no rent low enough to persuade people to open a business where failure is practically guaranteed.

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Bastrop, La Grange and Columbus are surrounded by lots of ....nothing. The stores that operate there have a captive customer base.

Editor's neighborhood is in the midst of a city already bursting with options, which makes startup for a self-contained shopping area serving a limited number of people very difficult.

I used small towns as an example precisely because they fit that description, as being "a self-contained shopping area serving a limited number of people very difficult." Obviously, the self-containment is not complete and total in either case, but that was going to be a better comparison case than, say, Montrose.

Thanks for strengthening my point!

Now, consider that Editor's neighborhood is larger, has more employment, and includes vastly more affluent adults as its daytime population. Clearly the retail potentials in his neighborhood would be superior to those of Columbus, TX, all other things being equal. Except...they aren't. And I'm almost positive that it has to do with the cost of the real estate.

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You'll notice that empty retail space is a rarity in the Galleria, even though it has (I imagine) some of the highest rents in Houston.

Retailers would rather set up shop where they are assured of thousands of potential customers every day instead of a slightly cheaper space and the forlorn hope that a few dozen people might wander by. There's no rent low enough to persuade people to open a business where failure is practically guaranteed.

The Galleria does not provide effective neighborhood retail, either. It is a poor comparison case.

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The Galleria does not provide effective neighborhood retail, either. It is a poor comparison case.

I disagree, if I lived in the galleria area, I would do all of my grocery shopping at Dylan's Candy Store.

Not to mention, I could go to Gifts of Texas for my home decorating needs.

Edited by samagon

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Bastrop, La Grange and Columbus are surrounded by lots of ....nothing. The stores that operate there have a captive customer base.

Editor's neighborhood is in the midst of a city already bursting with options, which makes startup for a self-contained shopping area serving a limited number of people very difficult.

I used small towns as an example precisely because they fit that description, as being "a self-contained shopping area serving a limited number of people very difficult." Obviously, the self-containment is not complete and total in either case, but that was going to be a better comparison case than, say, Montrose.

Thanks for strengthening my point!

Now, consider that Editor's neighborhood is larger, has more employment, and includes vastly more affluent adults as its daytime population. Clearly the retail potentials in his neighborhood would be superior to those of Columbus, TX, all other things being equal. Except...they aren't. And I'm almost positive that it has to do with the cost of the real estate.

I don't understand how I strengthened your point. Your theories are interesting, but I was talking about reality.

Please re-read the portion of my quote which you deleted - The stores that operate there have a captive customer base.

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The Galleria does not provide effective neighborhood retail, either. It is a poor comparison case.

The post was in response to musicman's concerns about empty retail space downtown, not neighborhood retail.

In context, it was a faaabulous comparison case.

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I'm contemplating a move downtown. I'm tiring of my Oak Forest older home and the constant maintenance that is associated with it. Waiting for the Cityview Lofts to be completed in approx 60 days. {crossing fingers}.

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I'm on the board for retail infrastructure!!!

But we need to develop a little more "common retail" first... like a downtown Target for your general items, and more cool places like Freebirds or Bullritos. We just need retail that ups the visibility of downtown, and puts it back on the map for Houston-area shoppers. That IMO is step one.

Thankfully, the increased hotel infrastructure is slowly coming on line. ES will help a bit, but we need another large hotel to really be competitive. One that's 1000 or so rooms. Discovery Green is renewing interest in our convention business quite well, but we still have to be able to house all of those visitors.

Finally the cornerstone is more residential. It doesn't make a lot of sense for us to just overload with residential if there's no interest for it. But I think as the retail and hotel scape improves, people will start to feel like downtown isn't always deserted, and they will see it as a livable area. I've been in Houston for five years, and I'm very pleased with the progress that's taken place so far.

+1 on Bombay Pizza Co... Good Stuff!! :D

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Also, are there are early Census numbers? Where!?

Yeah, it was news to me, too. They're not published. But it turns out that there are Census coordinators in most cities. I was on the phone with one recently, and a I off-handedly asked something like "How's all that going so far?" and she kind of unloaded a little about the trends that she's seeing for the area that she is responsible for. I always assumed that all the numbers got mailed back to Washington blankly and some faceless computer there did the tabulation. I don't know how the process works, but it appears that people who work at certain levels of the bureau are able to glean information as it comes in.

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i'll agree, we need better night life first...

We tried this remember? About 5-6 years ago, and now there's not much left.

What we need is retail, more food joints, and lastly SIGNAGE! That's part of the reason downtown looks so deserted and bland. The stupid sign ordinance was the dumbest ordinance and is really hurting downtown. People are attracted to signage. For instance, i always forget there's a Chipotle downtown because the only signage it has is a board sign hanging from the roof with the name painted on it. Whack! We need some flash!

Get rid of the stupid sign ordinance!

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i'm all for signage too, the ordinance really is ridiculous. We need advertising. Why not put huge advertising posters on Macy's boring walls???

we have a little retail with Macy's and Shops but they never stay open late...

That's also why i'm excited about METRO's decision to allow advertising on their bus'... i feel like every major city allows this.

It may be cluttered with signage and adertising everywhere but at least it makes the city more alive.

We tried this remember? About 5-6 years ago, and now there's not much left.

What we need is retail, more food joints, and lastly SIGNAGE! That's part of the reason downtown looks so deserted and bland. The stupid sign ordinance was the dumbest ordinance and is really hurting downtown. People are attracted to signage. For instance, i always forget there's a Chipotle downtown because the only signage it has is a board sign hanging from the roof with the name painted on it. Whack! We need some flash!

Get rid of the stupid sign ordinance!

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That's also why i'm excited about METRO's decision to allow advertising on their bus'... i feel like every major city allows this.

If you mean general advertising, I'd be interested to see your source.

METRO currently has advertising on buses and trains, but for only one client:METRO.

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We tried this remember? About 5-6 years ago, and now there's not much left.

What we need is retail, more food joints, and lastly SIGNAGE! That's part of the reason downtown looks so deserted and bland. The stupid sign ordinance was the dumbest ordinance and is really hurting downtown. People are attracted to signage. For instance, i always forget there's a Chipotle downtown because the only signage it has is a board sign hanging from the roof with the name painted on it. Whack! We need some flash!

Get rid of the stupid sign ordinance!

I agree completely. The irony of it all is that the spirit of the ordinance was to promote city beautification.

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I never saw what the city thinks is so beautiful about having a monotone and boring downtown at night. The developers of the Houston Pavilions had the city bend the rules a little bit when hanging some of the signs, but seemed to renig on the talk of the video screens they once had. Downtown has too many voids. Bayou Place and Pavilions are the only real noteworthy area sights downtown has. It's a shame that a downtown as big as Houston can't have one concentrated area where most the activity takes place. A visitor would have to really know their way around to be able to navigate from Bayou place all the way to the Convention Center.

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I never saw what the city thinks is so beautiful about having a monotone and boring downtown at night. The developers of the Houston Pavilions had the city bend the rules a little bit when hanging some of the signs, but seemed to renig on the talk of the video screens they once had. Downtown has too many voids. Bayou Place and Pavilions are the only real noteworthy area sights downtown has. It's a shame that a downtown as big as Houston can't have one concentrated area where most the activity takes place. A visitor would have to really know their way around to be able to navigate from Bayou place all the way to the Convention Center.

I'd say Discovery Green has both the Pavilions and Bayou Place beat. But you are right, it is a shame for a city of this size :(

I have lived downtown for 6 years now, I kind of love the fact that it is mostly quiet on the weekends (except when there is a convention or event going on)

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I'd say Discovery Green has both the Pavilions and Bayou Place beat. But you are right, it is a shame for a city of this size :(

I have lived downtown for 6 years now, I kind of love the fact that it is mostly quiet on the weekends (except when there is a convention or event going on)

See, even though you have the hussle and bussle 5 days a week, you really like the similar quietness that a suburb provides ;) To be honest, living in a noisy city is not that appealing. For downtown to be moderately busy would be best, I think.

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Check it out, here are the Survey results:

1. Assuming there was convenient rail transit, when coming downtown would you be willing to use rail instead of driving?

A. All of the time (24.9%)

B. Much of the time (43.2%)

C. Occasionally (19.8%)

D. Rarely (7.1%)

E. Never (5.1%)

2. What does downtown Houston (within I-45 / I-10 / US-59 freeways) most need over the next ten years to increase its economic and development potential?

Select in order 1 (most important) to 7 (least important):

A. Office jobs and development (3)

B. Museums, cultural and performance space (2)

C. Hotels and convention space (1)

D. For-sale housing (5)

E. Rental housing (4)

F. Regional retail (restaurants, high fashion department stores/shops, urban entertainment) (6)

G. Neighborhood retail (grocery and drug stores, dry cleaners, etc.) (7)

3. Would you consider living in downtown Houston?

A. I am currently living downtown/planning to live downtown (7.7%)

B. I am currently living within walking distance of downtown/am planning to live within walking distance

of downtown (i.e. Midtown, East Downtown, Near Northside, 4th Ward, etc.) (14.1%)

C. I would consider living in or near downtown if items listed in question #2 were done (58.5%)

D. I would never consider living in or near downtown (19.3%)

http://centralhouston.org/Home/AboutCentralHouston/UpdateMeeting2106/2010AnnualMeeting/2010Survey/2010DowntownSurveyResu/

I wonder if the COH sees this and makes a bigger push for their other hotel?

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To be honest, living in a noisy city is not that appealing.

Well that depends on the person. I love living in a urban, vibrant environment. But that's just me, I just like it when there's lots of people around. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

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Well that depends on the person. I love living in a urban, vibrant environment. But that's just me, I just like it when there's lots of people around. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

The only time I mind the noise is when I'm trying to sleep. Other than that, I'm cool with it.

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