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Skanska in the Energy Corridor

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The firm has picked up the old Arco building on Memorial, just west of Eldridge and southeast of the Westway Park complex. They'll demolish the structure this Summer, and are said to be considering redeveloping the plot as new Class-A office & garage space. The deal was previously teased last November.

Today's story: http://www.bizjourna...nt-site-in.html

Edited by ChannelTwoNews

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I remember going here with my dad as a small child in the 90s. Vague memories, all I remember are orange lights. He says the place used to be a petrochemical lab form what he remembers. Anyway, I've been biking by that place all the time and one day I had the urge to investigate the vacant building. There was an underground parking lot integrated into the building. The architecture was what really struck me. It was this old late 70s style that made the place look eerie but in indescribably good ways. Eventually I went in through what I guess would be the front, and I made eye contact with a lady sitting in its foyer nodding her head and pointing out. So I left, but now that I hear they're tearing it down, I wish I hadn't. Does anyone happen to have photos of the place?

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Two office buildings, both 350,000 sq feet. (Page 29). Page 22 states that apartments will be built there as well.

 

http://www.energycorridor.org/sites/ecd/media/Energy-Corridor-MD-2013_Report.pdf

 

Small rendering here, 3Q 2014 Delivery Date:

 

http://www.joneslanglasalle.com/MediaResources/AM/Email/Texas/WestHouston_Developments.pdf

 

 

There's also more info on developments planned for West Houston in those links above, but I don't know much about them.

 

Here's the site, people who live nearby aren't happy. 

 

Before:

46440_4538971372130_162824789_n.jpg

 

Now:

995736_490375007723081_2140684202_n.jpg

 

https://www.facebook.com/SaveLakeThicket

Edited by Urbannizer
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wow... absolutely WOW. (& not a good "wow").

 

Clearing that natural land/man made lake is a travesty (& I'm a pro-development guy). 

 

Bad Skanska

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Seriously, this is one of the examples of "only in Houston." A generic, boxy office complex replaces what used to be pictured above? 

 

Sad.

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Seriously, this is one of the examples of "only in Houston." A generic, boxy office complex replaces what used to be pictured above? 

 

Sad.

 

It's sad they won't retain that pond, but most of the rest of the property was already covered by a 2 or 3 story generic, boxy office complex.

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y'all are ridiculous... that "oasis" was private land sitting vacant in middle of one of the most explosive commercial real estate markets in the country. there's no lack of green space in that area and skanska develops solid, sustainable (if not always architecturally remarkable) projects.

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Seriously, this is one of the examples of "only in Houston." A generic, boxy office complex replaces what used to be pictured above? 

 

Sad.

 

I seriously doubt that "only in Houston" has a privately-owned man-made retention pond ever been removed or moved for the purpose of development.

Edited by Houston19514

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I'm not unduly concerned about the destruction of that little pond, beyond my continual amazement that people, or institutions, are so eager to waste the efforts of others -- as a rather lazy person, initiative-wise, I don't think this will ever cease to startle me, as foolish as that may be - but I do think that for every enthusiasm there is an equal and opposite indifference. So, for instance, I cannot grok at all your lively interest in what are to me completely interchangeable office towers. Even if I were perceptive of the variety that so captivates all of you -- well, I could care less about the form itself. Still, I would never suggest that your passion isn't genuine. Similarly, landscaping is 90% of my interest in urban architecture.

 

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Guest Jackwood

Those towers look cool. Much better than what was there before. I love how things never get a chance to get too stale in Houston. Houston is like a stem cell. We just keep regenerating come bust or come boom.

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y'all are ridiculous... that "oasis" was private land sitting vacant in middle of one of the most explosive commercial real estate markets in the country. there's no lack of green space in that area and skanska develops solid, sustainable (if not always architecturally remarkable) projects.

 

 

Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. It's not a "bad-looking" complex or anything (IMO)...but I damn sure wouldn't call this an "architecturally remarkable" project, either.

 

The Energy Corridor is much larger in size than downtown Houston. It has (had) MANY other options as far as locations are concerned for a project like this. Some of the most mature and naturally beautiful green space in the area just got wiped out for this.

 

Like I said, different strokes for different folks, but I seriously doubt I'm in the minority here (or "abroad" for that matter).

 

YOU'RE ridiculous...in a "but I do respect the hell out of the insight you bring to this site, though" kind of way.  B)

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I'm not unduly concerned about the destruction of that little pond, beyond my continual amazement that people, or institutions, are so eager to waste the efforts of others -- as a rather lazy person, initiative-wise, I don't think this will ever cease to startle me, as foolish as that may be - but I do think that for every enthusiasm there is an equal and opposite indifference. So, for instance, I cannot grok at all your lively interest in what are to me completely interchangeable office towers. Even if I were perceptive of the variety that so captivates all of you -- well, I could care less about the form itself. Still, I would never suggest that your passion isn't genuine. Similarly, landscaping is 90% of my interest in urban architecture.

 

There's no way I could have said that better myself. One of my favorite comments during my year or so on this site.

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The Energy Corridor is much larger in size than downtown Houston. It has (had) MANY other options as far as locations are concerned for a project like this. Some of the most mature and naturally beautiful green space in the area just got wiped out for this.

 

The Energy Corridor is essentially between two large regional parks.  It's a nice detention pond, but I think that it's a little bit of an exaggeration to call this some of the most naturally beautiful green space in the area.

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Im not concerned about that pond. It's not like we could fish there or it was home to some endangered species of fish.

What i am concerned about is the location of the project. Horrible.

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Im not concerned about that pond. It's not like we could fish there or it was home to some endangered species of fish.

What i am concerned about is the location of the project. Horrible.

 

It is a shame to build new offices in a high growth business district.  This complex is going to be so lonely with only about a half a dozen similar buildings/complexes currently under construction in the area.

 

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The Energy Corridor is essentially between two large regional parks.  It's a nice detention pond, but I think that it's a little bit of an exaggeration to call this some of the most naturally beautiful green space in the area.

 

I was just referring to the EC itself, but I'm unaware of anything nearby that most people would consider as (or especially "more") naturally beautiful or appealing as what was shown in the picture above before the bulldozers came. It wasn't just the pond...all those trees are gone now, too. I understand how people have their own taste and everything, but I don't see how anyone can honestly look at that picture and tell me with a straight face that what I said was an "exaggeration"...that is if they're considering others' "taste" for more than a nanosecond.

 

The parks are nice and spacious, but they by and large don't have the mature pines that the EC is losing on what seems to be a daily basis. That's about as far west as those pines go in Houston.

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I was just referring to the EC itself, but I'm unaware of anything nearby that most people would consider as (or especially "more") naturally beautiful or appealing as what was shown in the picture above before the bulldozers came. It wasn't just the pond...all those trees are gone now, too. I understand how people have their own taste and everything, but I don't see how anyone can honestly look at that picture and tell me with a straight face that what I said was an "exaggeration"...that is if they're considering others' "taste" for more than a nanosecond.

The parks are nice and spacious, but they by and large don't have the mature pines that the EC is losing on what seems to be a daily basis. That's about as far west as those pines go in Houston.

There's a pretty significant number of equally mature pines in both parks. It's a nice pond, but it isn't particularly unique. There are a number of equally nice areas within proximity.

It's also manmade. Its not irreplaceable.

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I was just referring to the EC itself, but I'm unaware of anything nearby that most people would consider as (or especially "more") naturally beautiful or appealing as what was shown in the picture above before the bulldozers came. .

Google Terry Hershey Park....

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In response to both livincinco and fernz:


 


For some reason, I was thinking about George Bush Park and Bear Creek Park. You're right about Terry Hershey Park...it is VERY nice, and it has some of the best trails in town right along the bayou. It's a good thing none of these areas are in jeopardy of being developed.


 


That said, I still feel the same way about this project. Do you guys agree that this area was one of the nicest in the actual EC (where land can be and is being developed) before the bulldozers took over? To develop on a plot of land like this (as opposed to a plethora of what I'd like to think we could all agree to be "less appealing areas than this" nearby) is just wasteful on at least a few levels IMO.

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In response to both livincinco and fernz:

 

For some reason, I was thinking about George Bush Park and Bear Creek Park. You're right about Terry Hershey Park...it is VERY nice, and it has some of the best trails in town right along the bayou. It's a good thing none of these areas are in jeopardy of being developed.

 

That said, I still feel the same way about this project. Do you guys agree that this area was one of the nicest in the actual EC (where land can be and is being developed) before the bulldozers took over? To develop on a plot of land like this (as opposed to a plethora of what I'd like to think we could all agree to be "less appealing areas than this" nearby) is just wasteful on at least a few levels IMO.

 

 

I agree that it's nice and that there are other less appealing areas that could have been developed, but it's pretty hard to build a building if you don't own the land.  It's great to say that they should develop on "less appealing areas", but since we don't know whether they could actually acquire that land, this becomes pretty hypothetical.

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I agree that it's nice and that there are other less appealing areas that could have been developed, but it's pretty hard to build a building if you don't own the land.  It's great to say that they should develop on "less appealing areas", but since we don't know whether they could actually acquire that land, this becomes pretty hypothetical.

 

That's 100% true...I'm not arguing that. When I said "to develop on a plot of land like this" as being wasteful, I was just speaking in general...not necessarily about this project (although I started the "paragraph" by speaking about this project). Sorry for any confusion there.

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I apologize if I'm being unusually imbecilic, but the pond was 2 acres, the trees a couple more, out of a 21-acre site, no? I am thus confused by the instant equation of "preserving the landscaping" with "not redeveloping the site." Was it such a math puzzle, on the order of sphere packing?

The neighbors must have appreciated the buffer of the maturing trees. Many (most?) nice things are insignificant. Their cumulative effect is not.

There are some places, with a vestigial sense of correctness, where the trees and pond would have been preserved as a matter of course, pretty much reflexively.

There are places where the pending destruction would have prompted a hue and cry, perhaps taken up by municipal officials, and the developer would have grudgingly yielded to local sentiment 

There are places, like Austin, where trees and pond would have been a useful point of negotiation for both sides, in a zoning battle, say.

Then there are places like Houston - I claim no exceptionalism for it - where the idea of saving the landscaping was not even entertained, except by a few hapless people; and certainly not by Skanska.

I could see where this might give rise to a heretical thought: that maybe Houston - thriving, unstoppable juggernaut - could afford to consider toning down the "We're open for business! Come ---- us six ways to Sunday!" rhetoric.

 

Edited by luciaphile

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I apologize if I'm being unusually imbecilic, but the pond was 2 acres, the trees a couple more, out of a 21-acre site, no? I am thus confused by the instant equation of "preserving the landscaping" with "not redeveloping the site." Was it such a math puzzle, on the order of sphere packing?

The neighbors must have appreciated the buffer of the maturing trees. Many (most?) nice things are insignificant. Their cumulative effect is not.

There are some places, with a vestigial sense of correctness, where the trees and pond would have been preserved as a matter of course, pretty much reflexively.

There are places where the pending destruction would have prompted a hue and cry, perhaps taken up by municipal officials, and the developer would have grudgingly yielded to local sentiment

There are places, like Austin, where trees and pond would have been a useful point of negotiation for both sides, in a zoning battle, say.

Then there are places like Houston - I claim no exceptionalism for it - where the idea of saving the landscaping was not even entertained, except by a few hapless people; and certainly not by Skanska.

I could see where this might prompt a heretical thought: that maybe Houston - thriving, unstoppable juggernaut - could afford to consider toning down the "We're open for business! Come ---- us six ways to Sunday!" rhetoric.

Interestingly enough, flood mitigation requirements by the Environmental Protection Agency often make it cheaper to bulldoze everything and start over. The culprit may be excessive regulations or even basic infrastructure requirements.

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Interestingly enough, flood mitigation requirements by the Environmental Protection Agency often make it cheaper to bulldoze everything and start over. The culprit may be excessive regulations or even basic infrastructure requirements.

 

The details are a bit vague, but it looks like the neighbors made a fatal error when they sold the land to Arco, or whomever, years ago; the homebuilder had built the pond, it seems, as a little neighborhood "amenity." This fact made the Skanska rep's job rather easy, PR-wise.

There seems to have been a dispute about whether the pond came into being because it was a spot that once naturally stored floodwater - the neighbors wanted it to be so. Whether it did or no, the re-developer will be building the standard retention feature elsewhere on the site.

And though the wording in this article is a little unclear, I believe it's saying Skanska has sold a 9-acre parcel where the trees were for apartments:

So no - the scraping of the trees wasn't the *EPA's fault*. But the suggestion had an amusing Limbaugh-esque quality, which I enjoyed.

In fact, let's go with it!

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The details are a bit vague, but it looks like the neighbors made a fatal error when they sold the land to Arco, or whomever, years ago; the homebuilder had built the pond, it seems, as a little neighborhood "amenity." This fact made the Skanska rep's job rather easy, PR-wise.

There seems to have been a dispute about whether the pond came into being because it was a spot that once naturally stored floodwater - the neighbors wanted it to be so. Whether it did or no, the re-developer will be building the standard retention feature elsewhere on the site.

And though the wording in this article is a little unclear, I believe it's saying Skanska has sold a 9-acre parcel where the trees were for apartments:

So no - the scraping of the trees wasn't the *EPA's fault*. But the suggestion had an amusing Limbaugh-esque quality, which I enjoyed.

In fact, let's go with it!

 

 

are you calling me fat?   :lol:

 

so, skanska is simply maximizing the value of the land.

 

my thoughts on the epa are purely anecdotal, stemming from a friend who worked in new home developments.  as we discussed how the woodlands planned for flood control before some of the current flood mitigation regulations, my friend described how epa regulations make it less feasible to preserve trees and natural features.  he said it is now cheaper for developers to clear cut in order to meet federal and state requirements regarding run-off.  he said the predicted run-off from the parking and structure floor plates have to be accounted for in a measured mitigation plan. also, roads have to be lower than ground level so that all run-off flows into the gutter system, which requires barriers (during construction) to be built around the places the roads are carved out because sediment cannot run from the construction site into the gutter system.  however, if they bulldoze it all and rebuild the earth where it needs to be to avoid all of these concerns, it's cheaper.  maybe someone in the industry can shed more light on the matter.

 

people like curbs, but they are part of the problem.  best scenario is to have the roads be the high point so that run-off flows into green-space.  the green-space then has forested areas and ponds to more easily absorb the run-off rather than water flowing into gutters, then bayous towards the gulf. 

 

i wasn't looking for a reason to blame the epa, but from what "i've heard", there are better ways to plan for flood mitigation than we are currently required to do under current epa regulations.  although not an exact comparison, lisa gray's article in the chronicle this week highlights the differences between environmentally sensitive planning and what government planners/regulators allow.

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I can readily believe all that you say, though ... it seems like FEMA might be more to blame: flooding concerns, more so than pollutants. I don't really know.

Where I live, the landscape is littered with retention ponds that rarely see a drop of water, taking up a truly unfortunate amount of space. I saw that some genius had made an attractive one, once; it sort of looked like a real pond, and there were bullfrogs and a heron that thought so too; so perhaps it can be done. I think they must have pumped water into it, though. It hasn't rained here in years. Usually these "ponds" are full of Johnson grass; at their ugliest they are huge concrete boxes in the ground, surrounded by chain-link fencing, so children won't fall into them. They look like they will make an excellent mass grave, at some future date. You can be a know-nothing like me and still have a sense that, this can't possibly be best practice. Perhaps the solution was less pavement, more green in the first place?

I think: it pays to heed what nature does, and then consider -- is there a compelling reason for us to do something differently, that nature will fight?

In my view, the answer is seldom yes. Your friend's comments about roads and green-space confirm me in that view; and we like to be confirmed in our views, do we not?

No offense was meant -- I don't know what Rush Limbaugh looks like. I am trying to picture him, but nothing comes. When I punch "fat man" into my mental database, for some reason Orson Welles in "The Muppet Movie" keeps popping up.

Edited by luciaphile
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Does anyone know if any of the land just off of I-10 on the north side of the freeway between Eldridge and Hwy 6 is still up for sale...or if it was in February 2012 when Skanska bought the land they're using for this project? I know MD Anderson purchased 35 acres land over there before Skanska bought their land. If there was (or possibly still is) 12 or 21 acres available on the north side of the freeway, I wonder how much more or less was (or possibly still is) being asked for it in relation to how much Skanska paid for their property?

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I can readily believe all that you say, though ... it seems like FEMA might be more to blame: flooding concerns, more so than pollutants. I don't really know.

Where I live, the landscape is littered with retention ponds that rarely see a drop of water, taking up a truly unfortunate amount of space. I saw that some genius had made an attractive one, once; it sort of looked like a real pond, and there were bullfrogs and a heron that thought so too; so perhaps it can be done. I think they must have pumped water into it, though. It hasn't rained here in years. Usually these "ponds" are full of Johnson grass; at their ugliest they are huge concrete boxes in the ground, surrounded by chain-link fencing, so children won't fall into them. They look like they will make an excellent mass grave, at some future date. You can be a know-nothing like me and still have a sense that, this can't possibly be best practice. Perhaps the solution was less pavement, more green in the first place?

I think: it pays to heed what nature does, and then consider -- is there a compelling reason for us to do something differently, that nature will fight?

In my view, the answer is seldom yes. Your friend's comments about roads and green-space confirm me in that view; and we like to be confirmed in our views, do we not?

No offense was meant -- I don't know what Rush Limbaugh looks like. I am trying to picture him, but nothing comes. When I punch "fat man" into my mental database, for some reason Orson Welles in "The Muppet Movie" keeps popping up.

. I was being a dork. I knew you weren't implying anything personal. I've been too long in my own head this weekend. Back to topic.....

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On the topic of other land available in the area, I have heard that the property just north of the Skanska project is currently for sale.

 

It is for sale that is the Exxon campus that they are selling in anticipation of the consolidation to the new campus.

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http://www.bisnow.com/commercial-real-estate/houston/2055-another-full-city-centre-tower/

 

 

63679_1403217479_SkanskaGrayco-medium.jp

 

South of Memorial and west of Eldridge, Skanska is about to top out on the first of two 350k SF buildings (1) called West Memorial Place. And construction proceeds briskly on Grayco's 379-unit apartment and townhome community immediately to the south (2).

 

 

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http://www.bisnow.com/commercial-real-estate/houston/2734-multifamily-monday-aras-three-big-deal-sweet-spots/

 

 

 

65900_1410188497_WestMemorialPlaceTwo-me
 
  Skanska Launches Second Phase

West Memorial Place isn't even delivered yet, but Skanska announced this morning that it's breaking ground on Phase 2 this month. Rendered here is West Memorial Place II, a 381k SF, 14-story office development in the Energy Corridor. It's slated to deliver at the end of next year. Like its predecessor, it's targeting LEED Platinum. Phase 1 is 50% preleased, and will complete in Q1 '15.

 

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Very ballsy move in this environment, with the first building 58% leased. That's what you can do when you go all cash!!!

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West Memorial Place

Location: Energy Corridor, south of Memorial Drive adjacent to Terry Hershey Park

Developer: New York-based Skanska USA Commercial Development

Original plan: After nearly completing the first half of a two-building office project, the developer started construction on the second in the fall, expecting to see strong demand from tenants in the energy sector.

Status: The first building, nearly 60 percent pre-leased, is expected to open next month. Construction has started on the second building, which should be completed in the spring of 2016. There are no tenants yet.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/Cracks-forming-in-commercial-real-estate-market-6037038.php#/0

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