brian0123

Camden McGowen Station + New Park (Midtown Superblock)

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3 hours ago, Brooklyn173 said:

The scaffolding has been coming down slowly the last month or more. The Main Street (light rail) side scaffolding is still up. Ii don't know about the ground floor commercial. The leasing office is open and the other spaces seem to me to be tenant areas (mail boxes, community rooms, that sort of thing) when I compared it to the apartment building across the street. The park is beautiful and the designers and buildings deserve a pat on the back for their work. Now it just needs to be maintained at a high level.

 

I'm new to Houston and originally from NYC and a big fan of street front commercial, but considering all of the vacant street front commercial around this area (and others), would it matter if there was more street front commercial added in this development? I know the area is changing dramatically with all of the new construction, but I'd like to see the existing commercial space absorbed before more is thrown on the market. But I'm new in these parts, and I've been wrong before, so maybe I am wrong again. Every market is unique.  What I'd really like is some larger commercial development added to Midtown (retail stores like Target or similar, BedBathBeyond type store, multiplex movie theaters, sporting goods, office supply, etc). That is what I think is missing now.

 

Good points Brooklyn. Here is my take as a native Houstonian and world traveler:

 

I think street front retail is always welcome if not necessary. One day in the future there will be a huge need. As bedroom density increases, there will be an increased need for stores. there will need to be a variety that maybe is not supported today. Every new development makes the need for storefronts increase. As midtown densifies, storefronts will be taken up. I rather have more now, albeit empty, so that in the near future there could be a vibrant mix of activity.

 

You reference the medium sized and large sized retailers. I agree we have a huge void in our urban environment for those stores. Perhaps it is just too soon - these stores can live and thrive in areas that are only accessible by car. Until a target or BB&B realize they are missing out on a market that is ONLY fed off of pedestrian traffic, then I can see it happening. I am pretty stoked about the urban HEB's coming, as well as the Whole Foods. Phonecia is so crowded it is uncomfortable now. As the success of these type of developments becomes harder to ignore, we will see this paradigm finally shift. The start has happened... how long it will take? Not sure, but I am excited.

Edited by Avossos
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One issue that is never brought up when it comes to GFR.

 

Retail is a multifaceted issue and you cannot Question the need for GFR based on vacant GFR in the area.

 

You may want to ask other questions such as

 

1.) Are they vacant because people just don't want to set up shop in the area

 

2.) There is no market

 

3.)  It's cost prohibitive to set up shop in that area

 

I have no idea what it costs to rent retail space in downtown but I never here it brought up.

 

I dunno but if I can get almost as many customers underground but pay half the rent I pay on ground level then I will go that route.

 

This area is not yet like main around the corner.

This area is just picking up in terms of foot traffic. Areas that are not as busy rely on people in the area to keep their business alive. Since these are people in the know, the retail does not have to be visual. 

 

But this area IS picking up. I am of the opinion that if there was much more competition for ground floor retail space, owners would have more incentive to drop prices which would make it more cost effective to set up shop at street level especially in a burgeoning corridor. 

 

More street level retail usually improves the street presence which reinforces the cycle of more pedestrian traffic which increases the need for more storefronts which means higher occupancy for owners.

 

Everyone wins.

The pedestrians get a better experience.

The stores get more options and lower rent.

The building owners get more business.

The area benefits by being more active which benefits the building owners again in terms of increased property values.

 

Again I don't know rent costs. Just a theory.

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On 3/19/2018 at 3:39 PM, HoustonIsHome said:

Interesting. Why?

 

For one thing, if you walked across the field, it opened so many opportunities to get diseases with really cool names, if you stepped on the wrong thing.

 

On the GFR thing, I do wonder if any of these buildings were designed with the potential to knock down some walls and re-purpose some of the first floor to be GFR when it becomes economically viable?

 

I'm sure they did their actuarial tables and GFR doesn't make sense at this time for their business model, and it's not just about having enough foot traffic, it's about city ordinances. There's a lot of infrastructure required for retail that adds to costs, not the least of which is parking requirements. Considering how much it costs to make a parking garage, adding enough parking for retail is very likely a huge up-front burden.

 

This city does a really good job of making GFR uninviting.

Edited by samagon

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Drove by again yesterday, and I was mistaken. It was just Camden signage. No retail signage. It was a mirage, or wishful thinking.

I fall on the side of build it in from the beginning, because once the density is there it will be too late to add it in most of these concrete parking garages. 

But all in all the Travis side really does look nice. The Caydon across the street is planning on GFR, so that's where people will go.

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Landscapers in this city need to use more exotics instead of just staying native. More palms and broadleaved evergreens, please. Spice things up around here.

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20 hours ago, AnTonY said:

Landscapers in this city need to use more exotics instead of just staying native. More palms and broadleaved evergreens, please. Spice things up around here.

 

There are tons of beautiful natives that they could also use. But it seems to me the same plants are planted over and over

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@HoustonIsHome: totally agree that there are lots of beautiful natives to use. But I also feel that they should be less conservative with their use of (suitable) exotic plants, both overseas and domestic. That will take landscaping in this city to the next level.

Edited by AnTonY

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On 3/30/2018 at 8:11 PM, AnTonY said:

@HoustonIsHome: totally agree that there are lots of beautiful natives to use. But I also feel that they should be less conservative with their use of (suitable) exotic plants, both overseas and domestic. That will take landscaping in this city to the next level.

 

 

I agree. I love Live Oaks, every street needs some but there are exotic trees and shrubs that grow really well in this part of Texas that I would like to see incorporated in parks instead of the standard fair. Kinda like Washington and the Cherry Blossoms.

 

Bottlebrush is native to Australia but grows really well here. I love the big bursts of red flowers. They are evergreen like Live Oaks and just as drought tolerate.

 

Vitex/Chaste Tree Are also drought tolerant. They are not evergreen but you cut them down in the winter and they shoot right back up in the spring and are covered in blue or red  scented flowers in the summer.

 

Jasmine/ gardenia/ Camelia I see the climbing star Jasmine and Confederate Jasmine all over town but these bloom in the cusp between winter and spring but are not really noticeable fit the rest of the year. Arabian Jasmines bloom all and they come back really quickly in the spring.

 

Butterfly Weed, a cousin of milk weed, is one of those plant it and forget it plants. They have really deep and strong roots and beautiful orange flowers. Monarch butterflies and hummingbirds love them.

 

Loropelatum/ Chinese Fringe these are over used as hedges but they do make beautiful trees. Their leaves are purple if grown in the sun and green in the shade. In the spring they are covered in bright pink flowers. They are drought tolerant too.

 

Acacia Caven/ Espino Are very drought resistant and are covered in yellow flower balls in spring and summer and pods in the fall. The flowers have a light at scent.

 

Other plants I would like to see more here are Oakleaf hydrangeas, mountain laurels, Altheas, Tree Roses, Thrallis, Sweet Almond Verbena, Saucer Magnolias, Silverberry, Cleyera, Peacock Tree......

 

 

I think when landscaping is done, the only considerations are drought resistance and will it keep it's leaves in the winter. But there are so many interesting plants that could be included in parks that would add more interest. 

 

 

 

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On 3/30/2018 at 3:21 PM, HoustonIsHome said:

 

There are tons of beautiful natives that they could also use. But it seems to me the same plants are planted over and over

I tend to agree - I have noticed too much repetition and not enough use of the various native plants that Houston has to offer.

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2 minutes ago, Haley Combes said:

I tend to agree - I have noticed too much repetition and not enough use of the various native plants that Houston has to offer.

Wish people would incorporate Eastern Purple Coneflower into properties

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11 minutes ago, Cynthia Rivers said:

Wish people would incorporate Eastern Purple Coneflower into properties

 

Yaupon Holly is another great Houston native plant that you don't see nearly enough of

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2 hours ago, kbates2 said:

Are any of those invasive?  They are trying to get rid of the invasive ones.

 

 

No they are not, although birds do tend to spread Silverberry seeds I do not see the tree growing outside of people's yards.

 

The one that seems to grow like weeds is Chinese Tallow. It grows in concrete, cracks in asphalt, salty soil, wherever. It produces massive amounts of seeds that spring up quickly. Cutting the tree down to the ground will not kill it. Even if you cut the tree and dig up the stump, each root will form is own tree. 

On top of being almost impossible to get rid of it, the leaf litter poisons the soil making it difficult to grow most plants in the soil beneath it. So it is easy to grow anywhere and once established, it spreads and choke out other plants from growing. It's a pretty tree with beautiful fall foliage but because of its growth the wood is really week and usually people who offer to cut trees for free never extend that offer if the tree is Tallow. Anyone wanna come cut down mine? 

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5 hours ago, John Shepherd said:

 

Yaupon Holly is another great Houston native plant that you don't see nearly enough of

Maybe not the city proper, but I've seen them used prominently in suburban landscaping. 

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Remember the rush to get a portion of this ready for the Super Bowl so they could host one of the TV networks in the park? After they missed that window, they have given up on finishing anytime soon.

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52 minutes ago, thatguysly said:

Remember the rush to get a portion of this ready for the Super Bowl so they could host one of the TV networks in the park? After they missed that window, they have given up on finishing anytime soon.

 

there is a difference between getting it done right and giving up. I'm assuming that after the deadline was missed (which lets be honest was next to impossible) they probably had to go over everything that was previously done to make sure it was done correctly because of the rush job. Then take into account having to rework construction schedules with the contractor and owner, and then finally settling down and getting back on the job. Its an ordeal and we should credit that they are back on the job at all.

Rushed production and construction schedules is actually a major problem in this industry right now and I can't even imagine the pressure both contractor and architect were under to meet an insane deadline. Working on such a project right now. For any future clients. Just because we work in digital software doesn't mean it requires less time to do a job. Just because contractors use better equipment doesn't mean they require less time to do the job.

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1 hour ago, Luminare said:

 

there is a difference between getting it done right and giving up. I'm assuming that after the deadline was missed (which lets be honest was next to impossible) they probably had to go over everything that was previously done to make sure it was done correctly because of the rush job. Then take into account having to rework construction schedules with the contractor and owner, and then finally settling down and getting back on the job. Its an ordeal and we should credit that they are back on the job at all.

Rushed production and construction schedules is actually a major problem in this industry right now and I can't even imagine the pressure both contractor and architect were under to meet an insane deadline. Working on such a project right now. For any future clients. Just because we work in digital software doesn't mean it requires less time to do a job. Just because contractors use better equipment doesn't mean they require less time to do the job.

 

I agree with you. I just thought it was interesting because of the rush at the time. I look forward to this one being completed as it has really been a fantastic addition to that part of town and what was there before it started.

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On 3/18/2018 at 0:02 AM, hindesky said:

The tile mural in the park is finished.

HScUKs8.jpg

Went by yesterday and it was covered.  Anyone know why?

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Has anyone heard anything further about the restaurant pad(s) for lease on the McGowen Street side? 
Also, are there manufactured buildings that would be suitable for this space, or will it more likely be site-built?

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On 5/28/2018 at 0:58 PM, BeerNut said:

Went by yesterday and it was covered.  Anyone know why?

The covering is off now and the concrete in front of it has been replaced. I only took a quick look but there appears to be lights in the sidewalk now that will shine up on the mural. At least that's my guess...

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Had a conversation with the art store owner across the street.  An artist painted this McGowen Station piece. 

 

Might try and buy it :ph34r:

YfFP2L1.jpg

 

Q9uq3Hs.jpg

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There are several little, unique looking features under construction on the north side (like a fountain, etc). Have there been any renderings that include what the finished north side is supposed to look like?

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On ‎5‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 10:59 AM, dbigtex56 said:

Has anyone heard anything further about the restaurant pad(s) for lease on the McGowen Street side? 
Also, are there manufactured buildings that would be suitable for this space, or will it more likely be site-built?

 

2 hours ago, corbs315 said:

There are several little, unique looking features under construction on the north side (like a fountain, etc). Have there been any renderings that include what the finished north side is supposed to look like?

I suppose in part the final appearance will depend on what sort of buildings are constructed on the restaurant pads. 

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The plaza on McGowen is taking forever.  They finished the park 2 years ago now

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6 hours ago, cspwal said:

The plaza on McGowen is taking forever.  They finished the park 2 years ago now

I was just thinking that but didn't want to look for this thread :)

What is taking so long? What is it even supposed to look like?

Also any ledes on what the restaurant is? I saw something about Common Bond getting a midtown location, so I was curious if that might be it

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I walk by almost every day and on most days there are contractors. But nothing ever gets finished. It reminds me of the lousy painters I had a while back. The worst part is that the sidewalks are out of service forcing people to walk in the street. Also, the new tenants have taken to slipping under the light rail divider as they rush out of the building to catch a train. An accident waiting to happen.

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2 hours ago, Brooklyn173 said:

I walk by almost every day and on most days there are contractors. But nothing ever gets finished. It reminds me of the lousy painters I had a while back. The worst part is that the sidewalks are out of service forcing people to walk in the street. Also, the new tenants have taken to slipping under the light rail divider as they rush out of the building to catch a train. An accident waiting to happen.

 

Sounds like negligence on both the part of the developer for not ensuring pedestrians have an alternate right-of-way as well as the city for allowing this to continue.  

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19 hours ago, cspwal said:

The plaza on McGowen is taking forever.  They finished the park 2 years ago now

I agree.  Honestly, it’s astounding how slowly Camden is finishing this project (maybe with the exception of the Dolce Living development on W Gray, but it’s close!).  Portions of the sidewalk have been closed on Travis, McGowen and Main forever!  Question for you experts on this topic:  Is there a financial strategy to drawing out construction soooooooo long?

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On 7/4/2015 at 1:00 PM, hindesky said:

Tower Crane base.

 

a0R24vM.jpg

 

1fUAntI.jpg

Out of curiosity, I went back to see when Camden started construction.  FOUR YEARS AGO!!!  I think Caydon (which started November, 2017) will finish before Camden.

Edited by MarathonMan
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4 hours ago, MarathonMan said:

Out of curiosity, I went back to see when Camden started construction.  FOUR YEARS AGO!!!  I think Caydon (which started November, 2017) will finish before Camden.

 

Camden McGowen Station?  I think it was completed almost a year ago.

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9 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Camden McGowen Station?  I think it was completed almost a year ago.

 

The plaza on its north end has been slowly under construction for probably 2 years.  Every once in a while they might lay one more brick, add one nail to a form, or pour a wheelbarrow full of concrete, and then take a break, as there is continuous progress, but it's extremely slow.

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4 minutes ago, rechlin said:

 

The plaza on its north end has been slowly under construction for probably 2 years.  Every once in a while they might lay one more brick, add one nail to a form, or pour a wheelbarrow full of concrete, and then take a break, as there is continuous progress, but it's extremely slow.

 

Yes, but I'm pretty sure that is separate from the apartment complex. I think the plaza is being developed/built by the Midtown Management District

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7 minutes ago, jgriff said:

You think this is slow? 1916 West Gray is 6 years into construction. Still not done!

 

Drove past there a few days ago. They have made a lot of progress since switching to a different contractor. Looks like the only thing left is site work and interiors.

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2 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

Drove past there a few days ago. They have made a lot of progress since switching to a different contractor. Looks like the only thing left is site work and interiors.

 

So...we're looking at a 2035 completion date?

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6 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Yes, but I'm pretty sure that is separate from the apartment complex. I think the plaza is being developed/built by the Midtown Management District

That would explain a lot.  Midtown Management District is anything but efficient at project management.  The Caroline St. re-do is moving along at a snail’s pace.

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On 2/11/2019 at 10:28 PM, nonenadazilch said:

 

Sounds like negligence on both the part of the developer for not ensuring pedestrians have an alternate right-of-way as well as the city for allowing this to continue.  

Reported this to 311. They forwarded to code enforcement. Doubt anything comes of it but hey what was ever wrong with complaining?

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15 hours ago, corbs315 said:

Reported this to 311. They forwarded to code enforcement. Doubt anything comes of it but hey what was ever wrong with complaining?

As inconvenient as it is to have that sidewalk closed for so long, I'm pretty sure they have a sidewalk closure permit. If not, code enforcement will just require them to apply for one or renew their expired one.

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