Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
musicman

downtown dying

Recommended Posts

From what I understand, ICON was doing quite well with bookings, it may have more to do with bad management.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I hate to lose such a nice bookstore in downtown, but truth be told I don't think Books a Million is a good fit for downtown. It has a TERRIBLE Christian slant that's just annoying when you try to shop there (I'm a Christian btw). We need a company that's going to be more fair in its media distribution for Downtown. Borders or Barnes and Noble would have been better tenants for downtown.

Hopefully something nice will go in its place though, and we can be thankful that the coporate shifts will put more interest in HP's retail scope. I'm betting that this anchor spot won't be vacant for too long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You aren't the only one who noticed the Christian-Conservative slant of Books-A-Million. I went once to try and support a new downtown business but was rather turned off. However, I did know that if I ever wanted to buy a book "written" by Mrs. Palin in the future, that I could find one at Books-A-Million.

I'll stick with the Brazos Bookstore...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe not dying but changing, no doubt. What really might be dying is a high-consumption lifestyle. To state the obvious, folks are out of work, disposible, discretionary income has dried up and DT was never a solid retail location anyway. Books a Million seemed like a big gamble betting on the Pavilions being a draw, and they are a draw, if you're a bus passenger looking for a place to go pee.... :huh: And if/when the fake stock market rally pops, we'll unfortunately see a lot more "surprise" business failures in more established areas of town. Dollar stores, thrift shops and organized flea markets might be the new trend and I also expect to see creative new ventures. Recycled products, for example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was in a Books-a-Million last December in Florida. If what you mean by "Christian slant" as "some Joel Osteen books", that doesn't really count, as Joel Osteen is as much authentic Christian as ramen noodles are authentic Asian food.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DT was never a solid retail location anyway.

Bingo.

Musicman, downtown was never really alive to begin with. Therefore it cannot die.

I'd go even further. It's on par with claiming that a salt flat, whereupon receiving a quarter-inch of rain, is now drying up, and is therefore dying.

Edited by TheNiche

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What ridiculous commentary. It's like me ripping on some indie bookstore for being a godless commie haven filled with long-haired dope fiends.

You guys are obviously just looking for something to be offended by.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bookstore at Houston Center closed last year as well. Note to self: when thinking about opening a business in DTH skip the bookstore idea. I get a bad feeling about the viability of Pavilions. DTH just can't support it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bookstore at Houston Center closed last year as well. Note to self: when thinking about opening a business in DTH skip the bookstore idea. I get a bad feeling about the viability of Pavilions. DTH just can't support it...

Perhaps it simply is that a bookstore of that size can't be supported, but that doesn't mean another business can't make a better go at it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Downtown Houston survived the great oil bust of the 1980s, Hurricane Ike and Bud Adams' Oilers. But the closing of Books-A-Million, ICON and CIELO has finally killed downtown.

I guess it's just a matter of time before the theatre district, Hess Tower, House of Blues, and Minute Maid Park close down too. People are so stupid.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Downtown Houston survived the great oil bust of the 1980s, Hurricane Ike and Bud Adams' Oilers. But the closing of Books-A-Million, ICON and CIELO has finally killed downtown.

I guess it's just a matter of time before the theatre district, Hess Tower, House of Blues, and Minute Maid Park close down too. People are so stupid.

And Tundradome, err, Toyota Center.

And the convention center.

And Disco Green.

I heard that there are two options:

rather than demolishing everything, they're just going to call in the military to do a tactical strike and glass the place over and turn it into a large surface area parking lot.

The other option is that Walmart, Bestbuy, Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, General Bob's Army Surplus and some other big box stores are clamoring to buy the land and turn DT into 1960 central (no one has told them that it will ultimately fail because it is being put in Downtown). In true Houston fashion, there would be no access for pedestrians. I also heard they are going to install sniper towers to take out anyone planning on cycling to, or even within a mile radius of the big box stores. I think in this scenario, Cal Worthington and his dog spot would be coming back to open a new Chevy dealership.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bookstore at Houston Center closed last year as well. Note to self: when thinking about opening a business in DTH skip the bookstore idea. I get a bad feeling about the viability of Pavilions. DTH just can't support it...

That is because that chain of stores was closing numerous stores... that Borders did quite well to be honest, it was packed all the time from 11ish to 2ish.

Books-A-Million and bookstores all together aren't doing well right now with more and more people reading books off of ereaders.

That is too bad about Cielo, when they first opened they had really good food, then it just went down hill along with the service. Which is very shocking since the Bella family owns it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In order for downtown to be more vibrant, two things need to happen: (1) more residental buildings and (2) more retail. We are trying to put too much retail, without the residents to support it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In order for downtown to be more vibrant, two things need to happen: (1) more residental buildings and (2) more retail. We are trying to put too much retail, without the residents to support it.

I think the bookstore would have had more of a fighting chance if the hotel element was included in the construction, along with with the office tower being occupied.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Books-A-Million and bookstores all together aren't doing well right now with more and more people reading books off of ereaders.

...and the fact that one can buy the same generic mass-market books for less money online.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps it simply is that a bookstore of that size can't be supported, but that doesn't mean another business can't make a better go at it.

Bookstores in general are having a tough time. Even the huge chains. Brentano's is long gone. Borders is closing hundreds of stores, even profitable ones. Barnes and Noble is looking for someone to buy the whole chain. And either Borders or B&N or both are in bankruptcy. The big chains thought CDs and DVD sales were going to save them. Then iTunes and Netflix blew that out of the water.

Amazon built a coffin for bookstores. The iPad and Kindle are driving the nails into it. Opening a Books-a-Million in downtown Houston was silly to begin with.

Pretty soon there will only been neighborhood and specialty bookstores left. For Christmas I gave my wife a gift certificate to a bookstore that only sells mysteries. It doesn't look like it's doing well financially, but I think it's important to support local businesses.

In short, I don't think it has anything to do with Houston or downtown or the Pavillions. It's just a crappy time to open a buggy whip boutique.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the bookstore would have had more of a fighting chance if the hotel element was included in the construction, along with with the office tower being occupied.

The bookstore might have had a fighting chance if the proposed hotel and about ten others like it had been built within a couple of blocks distance.

The irony is that the developers of HP removed the hotel and residential components from the project when the market weakened, moved the deal significantly forward by the time that the economy began to improve again, and regretted not being able to include the additional components even as they closed the construction loan. And while the project was under construction, it looked increasingly like money had been left on the table. Then the project delivered, the economy crashed, and the retail bombed. By sheer luck, the office space filled, but a hotel and residences probably would've crashed the property anyway and resulted in rapid foreclosure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Magic Johnson's group has bought the Icon and will rebrand it with a national chain.

This is a smart move, especially if they team up with Starwood (Westin, Sheraton, W). Starwood has absolutely no presence downtown and, to me, that is insane. This would be perfect as a Westin. As a former traveling consultant, I will say that Starwood draws in a ton of business just from customer loyalty programs. I don't travel nearly as much as I used to but I still use my Starwood Amex for everything because I love their program. This would be a very underrated impact move for downtown if it happens - particularly that side of downtown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We should all do more to support this thing. Even if most of us have to drive 47 miles to get to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We should all do more to support this thing. Even if most of us have to drive 47 miles to get to it.

Are you talking about the bookstore? or HP as a whole?

I live three blocks from HP and frequent both Mia Bella and Guadalajara at least once a week, even Lucky Strikes and the Piano bar next door, as for the bookstore...well, I first joined Books-A-Millions club for $20.00 a year thinking their books would be cheaper than Amazon. They aren't... even when you join their club. Now...I have a Kindle so no reason to enter it at all, I do feel bad, but that bookstore isn't going to survive for very long, even if they have almost free rent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Magic Johnson's group has bought the Icon and will rebrand it with a national chain.

This is a smart move, especially if they team up with Starwood (Westin, Sheraton, W). Starwood has absolutely no presence downtown and, to me, that is insane. This would be perfect as a Westin. As a former traveling consultant, I will say that Starwood draws in a ton of business just from customer loyalty programs. I don't travel nearly as much as I used to but I still use my Starwood Amex for everything because I love their program. This would be a very underrated impact move for downtown if it happens - particularly that side of downtown.

I have to agree with you on this post. My favorite "chain" or "brand" of hotels is Starwood. I do belong to their program and use them when I can, but having a boyfriend who gets free hotel rooms at any Hilton, Doubletree or Waldord Astoria is hard to pass up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a growing number of empty build-outs in the tunnel system too.

I disagree. There have been some spots that have been vacant for years that are now being filled. At least on the NW side of downtown.

I can't wait for the Wich Which going in under Pennzoil to open.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with you on this post. My favorite "chain" or "brand" of hotels is Starwood. I do belong to their program and use them when I can, but having a boyfriend who gets free hotel rooms at any Hilton, Doubletree or Waldord Astoria is hard to pass up.

Whew! I thought you said you said you had a favorite "breed" of hotel.

Hotels are weird, man. They swap names easily: the Continental Inn (the ugly 1970s one) on the 59 area was a Holiday Inn Select until a year or so ago, and Holiday Inn (presumably) before that, except both Continental and Holiday Inn are the same company.

There's only been one Ramada in College Station, but they're currently on their third location, and every hotel they move out of got a different name.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cava Bistro was sharing kitchen space with Cielo, so Cava Bistro is gone too. Both were Mia Bella restaurants.

What? are they both really closed? I knew they shared a kitchen and bathroom. I loved Cava Bistro.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whew! I thought you said you said you had a favorite "breed" of hotel.

Hotels are weird, man. They swap names easily: the Continental Inn (the ugly 1970s one) on the 59 area was a Holiday Inn Select until a year or so ago, and Holiday Inn (presumably) before that, except both Continental and Holiday Inn are the same company.

Are you referring to the Crowne Plaza on the Southwest Freeway? I don't think it was ever a Holiday Inn. Prior to being Holiday Inn Select (which I always thought was the wrong badge for that hotel) it was not part of the Intercontinental Hotel Group family.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What? are they both really closed? I knew they shared a kitchen and bathroom. I loved Cava Bistro.....

Ayup, gone. Grumbar closed near here a while back too (maybe 6 months?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ayup, gone. Grumbar closed near here a while back too (maybe 6 months?)

Ya, I knew about Grumbar. I actually ate at Cielo not to long ago, around Thanksgiving, it was really good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone is missing it.

I work downtown and live nearby - downtown will never be vibrant (except for the tunnels/park shops at lunch) because of all the homeless and vagrants. At least a few times a week, I am having to push off beggers walking to lunch with co-workers.

The city refuses to deal with the problem. It's freakin unreal over near the ballpark. I've seen hundreds just sleeping on the side of the road and in every corner. There are several 1000 downtown because thats where all the handouts are located (particularly near the ballpark). What the city and all the churches that come down there to feed them dont get is that they just make the problem worse.

I wouldn't give anyone anything - they should make them earn it somehow.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I work downtown and live nearby - downtown will never be vibrant (except for the tunnels/park shops at lunch) because of all the homeless and vagrants. -----

I wouldn't give anyone anything - they should make them earn it somehow.

Excellent. I expect then you will pay some homeless people going hourly pick-up rate to work on your place, or clean up the blight in your your neighborhood, which doubtless is not gentrifying as fast as you would like it to.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone is missing it.

I work downtown and live nearby - downtown will never be vibrant (except for the tunnels/park shops at lunch) because of all the homeless and vagrants. At least a few times a week, I am having to push off beggers walking to lunch with co-workers.

The city refuses to deal with the problem. It's freakin unreal over near the ballpark. I've seen hundreds just sleeping on the side of the road and in every corner. There are several 1000 downtown because thats where all the handouts are located (particularly near the ballpark). What the city and all the churches that come down there to feed them dont get is that they just make the problem worse.

I wouldn't give anyone anything - they should make them earn it somehow.

All big city cores deal with homeless, even the most vibrant.

The high concentration by MMpark is because there is a homeless shelter really close. There's also a lot over by pierce.

Ignore them if they bother you, typically all you have to do is say no, and they move on, it's like telling someone the time.

If you don't want to deal with homeless, Irvine down in Orange County seems to ship them to other cities, so maybe that is something you should look at.

Edited by samagon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone is missing it.

Are we?

Of your 10 posts on this forum, 9 have complained about the homeless, neighborhoods not gentrifying quickly enough for your tastes, and the power company not being expert landscapers of the public right of way. Perhaps it is not us missing it at all. The 1st Ward is not the Woodlands, and Downtown is not Town Center. And frankly, most of us do not want them ever to be. Maybe someone else is "missing it".

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone is missing it.

I work downtown and live nearby - downtown will never be vibrant (except for the tunnels/park shops at lunch) because of all the homeless and vagrants. At least a few times a week, I am having to push off beggers walking to lunch with co-workers.

The city refuses to deal with the problem. It's freakin unreal over near the ballpark. I've seen hundreds just sleeping on the side of the road and in every corner. There are several 1000 downtown because thats where all the handouts are located (particularly near the ballpark). What the city and all the churches that come down there to feed them dont get is that they just make the problem worse.

Wow, that sounds just awful, how do you cope with having to tell someone no when they ask you for money, someone who might have to sleep on the streets when it's going to get down into the 40s tonight? And how dare the city and churches feed hungry people, honestly the nerve of them to help the homeless.

I wouldn't give anyone anything - they should make them earn it somehow.

It is your prerogative to give or not to give to organizations which help the homeless, but try to have some respect for the mission that they're doing. These organizations are doing what they can to help people who are suffering, regardless of who is at fault for that suffering, and it's not all about you. Downtown doesn't just belong to you and the co-workers that you walk to lunch with.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you don't want to deal with homeless, Irvine down in Orange County seems to ship them to other cities, so maybe that is something you should look at.

Some years ago, social workers here said the same thing about Dallas County. Dallas County social service agencies were reporting very few cases when contrasted with Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. Strangely, there were many people unable to support themselves showing up at the Greyhoud station in Midtown...from Dallas. Hmm...

I guess we in Harris County could provide the same service: Ship people to warmer climates. Regrettably, Corpus and Brownsville do not have the bridge infrastructure to handle what we could ship to them.

In our our current cool conditions, I encourge gifts to Star of Hope, Turning Point, Mission of Yahweh, programs like Lord of the Streets or Compass or a a shelter or a homeless program of your choice. All of them need help to serve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone is missing it.

I work downtown and live nearby - downtown will never be vibrant (except for the tunnels/park shops at lunch) because of all the homeless and vagrants. At least a few times a week, I am having to push off beggers walking to lunch with co-workers.

The city refuses to deal with the problem. It's freakin unreal over near the ballpark. I've seen hundreds just sleeping on the side of the road and in every corner. There are several 1000 downtown because thats where all the handouts are located (particularly near the ballpark). What the city and all the churches that come down there to feed them dont get is that they just make the problem worse.

I wouldn't give anyone anything - they should make them earn it somehow.

I don't think the homeless are causing downtown to decline, and I say that for two reasons.

1: I don't think downtown has declined any more than other parts of the City. We just got through a nasty recession; it was inevitable that some businesses downtown would fail. Businesses have failed all over the City.

2: downtown's lack of street-life can be attributed to many things.

- Rice Village has a lock on outdoor street-life.

- The Galleria has a lock on high-end shopping.

- Houston is frickin' HOT most of the year; and downtown is even hotter because of all the concrete. (It's a heat island)

- Downtown's tunnels keep a lot of pedestrians off the streets (a result of their being air-conditioned; see above).

That said, I share your frustration with scary street people. Nobody wants someone pissing in their doorway, trashing their lawn, or harassing kids on the way to school. Even the people who run homeless shelters don't want that. Tamela Klatt runs Star of Hope downtown - and she lives with her son out in the suburbs.

But slashing funding for the homeless or expecting them to work for it will only make the problem worse. Many of the homeless suffer from mental illness or drug addiction and won't be able to work unless those things are treated. A 'housing first' model would be better to handle Houston's homeless problem. Instead of taking the homeless in for a few hours, feeding them or letting them sleep, and then putting them back out on the streets (like they do now); "housing first" provides them with longer term housing, where they can stay and get treatment for drugs or mental illness; and then learn skills. It gets them off the streets, and the goal is that when it's done, they're not homeless any more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are we?

Of your 10 posts on this forum, 9 have complained about the homeless, neighborhoods not gentrifying quickly enough for your tastes, and the power company not being expert landscapers of the public right of way. Perhaps it is not us missing it at all. The 1st Ward is not the Woodlands, and Downtown is not Town Center. And frankly, most of us do not want them ever to be. Maybe someone else is "missing it".

RedScare - way to keep track. Obviously my opinion doesn't coincide with yours - but I must be hitting a nerve somewhere with all comments back, eh?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, that sounds just awful, how do you cope with having to tell someone no when they ask you for money, someone who might have to sleep on the streets when it's going to get down into the 40s tonight? And how dare the city and churches feed hungry people, honestly the nerve of them to help the homeless.

It is your prerogative to give or not to give to organizations which help the homeless, but try to have some respect for the mission that they're doing. These organizations are doing what they can to help people who are suffering, regardless of who is at fault for that suffering, and it's not all about you. Downtown doesn't just belong to you and the co-workers that you walk to lunch with.

How about respect for the businesses and residents that live there too. These organizations go to the same spots everytime and therefore the homeless just squat. Thus creating an envirnoment no one wants (trash, beggers, etc) - Something about teaching a man to fish, rather than just giving him one.....

Actually, I'd say downtown actually belongs more to me than the homeless. I pay taxes, where as they dont. They are just sucking from the proverbial govt teet. I know - no bleeding heart here....sorry.

Now that I've responded to a few of your personal attacks, obviously something should be done. However, conventional methods haven't worked in decades, thus my "work for it" comment.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

However, conventional methods haven't worked in decades, thus my "work for it" comment.

Thus, my question to you asking if you've hired the homeless to 'work for it.' You're a property owner, after all.

No? Then you're part of the problem, not the solution. You don't want your tax dollars spent on the homeless; and you expect other people to create the jobs that fix the problem.

Yet you attempt to take moral high ground? That's some balls.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But slashing funding for the homeless or expecting them to work for it will only make the problem worse. Many of the homeless suffer from mental illness or drug addiction and won't be able to work unless those things are treated. A 'housing first' model would be better to handle Houston's homeless problem. Instead of taking the homeless in for a few hours, feeding them or letting them sleep, and then putting them back out on the streets (like they do now); "housing first" provides them with longer term housing, where they can stay and get treatment for drugs or mental illness; and then learn skills. It gets them off the streets, and the goal is that when it's done, they're not homeless any more.

excellent goals, I think currently there are a lot of them that do not accept people for overnight stays if they are drug abusers.

what was the deal that was going on in (international!) news regarding some church coming in from the burbs to feed the homeless? I heard they got in trouble for not having the right permits, but I couldn't find a story on chron. I was just curious which of the churches it was, and which of the locations it was that got turned away. it seems like every day there are people who truck food in from the burbs that give them food for listening to their sermon.

I'm all for shelters, and especially I'm for the 'housing first' type of thing you describe, but in my opinion, the people who truck food in from the burbs aren't doing a service, other than ensuring the homeless are fed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...