brian0123

Camden McGowen Station + New Park (Midtown Superblock)

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This park seems nothing like Discovery Green. It's a lot more like the bum hangout on Gray across from Buffalo Wild Wings except that the Superblock location is much worse.

That's exactly the sort of thing that was said about Discovery Green prior to its opening.

Furthermore, with regard to your concern of it becoming a bum hangout, this park will be a lot more like Discovery Green than the "bum hangout on Gray".

This park is proposed to have programming (like Discovery Green and unilke your "bum hangout"), and restaurant/retail (like Discovery Green and unlike your "bum hangout").

Bums do not tend to hang out in parks that have programming and retail/ restaurant space.

Edited by Houston19514
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That's exactly the sort of thing that was said about Discovery Green prior to its opening.

Furthermore, with regard to your concern of it becoming a bum hangout, this park will be a lot more like Discovery Green than the "bum hangout on Gray".

This park is proposed to have programming (like Discovery Green and unilke your "bum hangout"), and restaurant/retail (like Discovery Green and unlike your "bum hangout").

Bums do not tend to hang out in parks that have programming and retail/ restaurant space.

It's not the programming or the retail/restaurant space that keeps the bums out, it's the private security guards that rove around that keep the people they don't want to be there from being there.

I have a feeling if there wasn't the strong presence of security guards there'd be people camped out on park benches and asking for money.

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I think the best defense against becoming a "bum hangout" is for the park to be actively and frequently used. I've noticed the occasional bum or two at many inner-loop parks (Baldwin Park, Hermann, Eleanor Tinsley, White Oak/Stude, etc.), but these parks are all fairly active, and I wouldn't consider them bum hangouts.

I find bums to be less of an inconvenience than groups of people who walk side-by-side and block 90% of the sidewalk, even when others are trying to get by. I bet there will be more of those people using this park than bums.

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People who are scared of bums don't have Jesus in their life.

Did the Randall's employee who was forced to play tag with a bum holding a knife the other day not have Jesus in his life?

I got scared the other day when a pissing bum yelled at me that he would kill me, but that was because I didn't want to have bum aids in my life. That is one of the worst kinds of aids.

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A friend of mine got mugged at Randall's 3 years ago, I guess she didn't have enough Jesus. Personally, Im not scare of bums. But I chose to buy a home in this neighborhood and I have no problem saying that less is better, in every possible way.

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Did the Randall's employee who was forced to play tag with a bum holding a knife the other day not have Jesus in his life?

I got scared the other day when a pissing bum yelled at me that he would kill me, but that was because I didn't want to have bum aids in my life. That is one of the worst kinds of aids.

Oh your going to willfully be ignorant of what really happened there eh? Hint: the employee had it coming to him when he followed the bum to engage him after he was shoe'd off of the property. Why? B/c the bum said something about his mommy!

LOL

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A friend of mine got mugged at Randall's 3 years ago, I guess she didn't have enough Jesus. Personally, Im not scare of bums. But I chose to buy a home in this neighborhood and I have no problem saying that less is better, in every possible way.

Bums = Muggers?

Now that I've got your IP, I'll know who to send the bums to.

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Too late, my house was already broken into this year while my girlfriend and I were sleeping. Stole a bunch of things and smeared blood on my couches. But it's nice to know you are lurking the interwebs defending the bums of Midtown. How righteous you are InfiniteJim.

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Well, your GF and you sound like you're ok and it's just stuff. Most burglars are not homeless and have good, reliable transportation.

BTW I've befriended a few homeless folks in the neighborhood over the years, that's not self-righteous that's defending my friends from unwarranted demonizing.

Let's not forget this park is on private land. Fears of bums taking over (as is the actually case with Butte park) are way overblown.

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Too late, my house was already broken into this year while my girlfriend and I were sleeping. Stole a bunch of things and smeared blood on my couches. But it's nice to know you are lurking the interwebs defending the bums of Midtown. How righteous you are InfiniteJim.

 

Thats awful to hear. Glad youre okay.

 

The only crime Ive experienced in Midtown was my Yakima Roof Rack (for bikes) was crowbared off the top of my car and stolen. Middle of a Sunday. The thing had 5 locks too... I was pissed! 

 

Speaking of which, if anyone hears/sees anything in regards to this... let me know.  That thing was 700 bucks. 

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I find bums to be less of an inconvenience than groups of people who walk side-by-side and block 90% of the sidewalk, even when others are trying to get by. I bet there will be more of those people using this park than bums.

 

This is so true - especially on the weekends at DG when I am trying to walk my dog. 

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Well, your GF and you sound like you're ok and it's just stuff. Most burglars are not homeless and have good, reliable transportation.

BTW I've befriended a few homeless folks in the neighborhood over the years, that's not self-righteous that's defending my friends from unwarranted demonizing.

Let's not forget this park is on private land. Fears of bums taking over (as is the actually case with Butte park) are way overblown.

 

IJ, you've got a very tough road to hoe. 

 

pertaining specifically to this park, it's going to be bum guarded very well.

 

the overall perception of bums is at best that they are the same as those people who come knocking on your door trying to get you to read scripture, or join their church. a minor inconvenience that people sneer at. some would say it's more annoying, some would say less. I can choose not to answer my door when they knock, I can open the door and confront them (going by the theory that being of some faith they would generally choose to turn the other cheek than engage in a confrontation), on the street I can ignore them, but they can persist, I can also confront them, but who know how they would respond.

 

That the best perception that they would be offered.

 

typically though, people perceive them all to be thieves and drug addicts, and they'd just as quickly stab you as ask you for change. 

 

I'd say that it's probably somewhere in the middle. It's doubtful they'd randomly attack someone without being confronted, but if you think that they won't commit crimes of convenience, I think you're wrong. Park your car on a side street in midtown where there won't be much traffic, and make sure there's a loose rock sitting next to your car and just a single flashlight sitting in the center console where it can easily be seen. most times when you return to your car, the rock won't be sitting in a pool of broken glass, and the flashlight won't be missing, but it will happen, and I'd bet if you had a video feed, you'd see a homeless person walking away from your car with a new prize in hand.

 

It doesn't help that a very good portion of the homeless are homeless because they have mental health issues and no one cares enough about them to take care of them correctly.

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Wow. No retail under the most significant apartments on the most significant block in midtown directly on the light rail line. Epic failure.

This goes against EVERYTHING we are trying to accomplish in midtown, everything that post midtown HAS accomplished along west gray, everything the light rail was supposed to support, EVERYTHING, IT GOES AGAINST EVERYTHING.

Is it awesome theyre building something instead of leaving a gigantic empty block in midtown? Sure.

Is it what we envisioned and the best use of the superblock and up to its full potential? **** no.

If there is a way to to get at Ric Campo, email him to death, make a stink about this, do SOMETHING, we cant just accept this without a fight.

How many friggin parks do we need for christs sake?! The original project had this ENTIRE BLOCK full of apartments, then in typical houston fashion, the project is scaled back by 50% and the retail component is scrapped. Oh right, theirs gonna be "retail" in the park. Yea, like the "retail" at disco green, so cutting edge. rolleyes.gif

Son, I am disappoint.

/rant. For now.

 

I like your moxy kid but don't fear, there are plenty of of opportunities for retail alongside rail. Midtown still has lots of land to be developed, especially in the southern portion.

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Easy two-step processt to fix this.

  • Contact Camden. Use your millions to offer to buy the property from them so they make enough return on their investment that they are satisfied to move on.
  • Develop it with all the ground floor retail and complete lack of park space to your heart's content.
Voila - you have your dream!

Oh - wait. You don't have millions and you're not a developer? So you are just whining on an internet board about how somebody else is spending their own money? http://www.houstonarchitecture.com/haif/public/style_emoticons/#EMO_DIR#/blink.png

Never mind. I thought I was replying to a useful post.

Ric, is that you?

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I like your moxy kid but don't fear, there are plenty of of opportunities for retail alongside rail. Midtown still has lots of land to be developed, especially in the southern portion.

Yea I know, I'm just bummed that it was THIS block, the most high profile block in midtown that is not getting retail along the light rail.

It's all because of a vision that I, and many others have for midtown along main. If you were on this board many years ago, youll know what Im talking about, a resident poster named Adam Brackman, of Urban Deal who was working with Ed Wulfe at the time, had a huge plan and movement in place to create this vision of retail and a vibrant walkable district along main street and in midtown along the rail line. One area that is close to what the vision is is the continental club area by main @ alabama. If you stand on the train platform there and look north toward downtown, you can see where almost all the buildings for retail are already there, some old some abandoned because of rail construction, some empty blocks. But its all there, waiting to be built out and connected with this continental club area all the way up to the pierce elevated and also down main towards the museum district. Bars, clubs, restaurants, tattoo shops, clothing stores, cafes, food, drink, entertainment, shopping, all walkable/ or train hoppable. Wulfe and Brackman had even made out a master plan, with studies done, demographics, quarter mile radiii around rail stops, cold calling retailers, etc etc.

I forgot what the name of the project was but im sure there are still some threads here on haif about it. But the dream and vision are not dead, not to me, not to Brackman and UrbanDeal, and not to alot of starry eyed residents of midtown like myself who have grand dreams of what Houstons midtown could become, and in this current economic boom, IT IS becoming.

It just took the wind out of my sails a little to read that the superblock would not be getting ground floor retail all because Camdens CEO "believes" apartments over ground floor retail in Houston is a failed business model and not feasible.

Yea, tell that to Marvy Finger, or Hanover, or Post Midtown, or West Ave, etc etc etc, those people im sure will be flabbergasted to find out what Ric Campo knows and theyll probably rip out their oxymoronic, successful ground floor retail and convert them into more boring ground level apartments. :rolleyes:

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While I would like ground floor retail as muh as the next guy, I think it woul actually be cluttered with the park. The park itself is the attraction. They do plan to have a cafe or something like that right? That is a similar model to DG, which has worked, with added bonus of apartments.

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since we're playing sim city here, maybe they should at least do retail on the bottom floor facing the park? I could imagine a restaurant with a patio facing the park could do really good business.

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not putting any retail in the apartment portion of the project just reeks of what has become total conservativism in the part of Houston developers. as if sacrificing a handful of apt units in lieu of some street level retail would throw the economic feasibility of the project so out of whack as to render it unsustainable. this should be a transformative block, why are they short-changing it and the community? ric campo needs to grow a pair of balls.

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Personally, I don't really consider the retail at Post to be thriving other than the restaurants and even that is debatable.  The space at One Park Place took a while to fill in and does anyone even know how well that store is doing?  If we're just talking about restaurants to fill in the ground level, it may be more difficult in competing some of the other restaurants that is already in midtown.

 

Trust me, I am all for retail at the bottom, but I can definitely see where the developer is coming from.  I'm more happy that we can fill it fill it in with an apartment and as the population gets more dense in Midtown, businesses will follow.  

 

 

 

 

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I live at Post and all of the restaurants are always busy, especially in the evenings and weekends. 

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Personally, I don't really consider the retail at Post to be thriving other than the restaurants and even that is debatable.

One of the reasons why the Post ground-level retail has ebbed and flowed was the person/company they had managing it. I'm not sure who they are working with now, but in conversations with a few former retailers this guy drove away and turned off many a business owner. There is always going to be challenges in leasing these types of developments, it would make more sense to be less appraisive to the people who actually want to be there. Not so for Mr. P.

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 The space at One Park Place took a while to fill in and does anyone even know how well that store is doing?  

 

In my opinion the Phoenicia on the backside of OPP does pretty good business. Every time I head to Discovery Green I stop by to get some good hummus and pita and there are always a few handfuls of people in there. I think they do pretty well.

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Ive spoken with the manager at Phoenicia and according to him, that Phoenicia is the most profitable (not necessarily highest grossing) location in Houston. He said on top of it being sort of a "destination" for people outside of downtown, the store has its own built in clientele, get this, LIVING IN THE APARTMENTS ABOVE IT. LOL, derp, who woulda thunk it? Look Marvy finger is no dummy, he didnt get as far as he has by having a "failed business model". Also if youve never been to the bar/restaurant inside phoenicia I suggest you try it, they have great exotic food, live music and it almost always packed. I was amazed as to how crowded it was one Sunday night before a work week and I asked a large groupof patrons there if they lived there and they said no, they just chose to meet up there because "this place kicks ass"

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not putting any retail in the apartment portion of the project just reeks of what has become total conservativism in the part of Houston developers. as if sacrificing a handful of apt units in lieu of some street level retail would throw the economic feasibility of the project so out of whack as to render it unsustainable. this should be a transformative block, why are they short-changing it and the community? ric campo needs to grow a pair of balls.

Thank you.

And to all the people arguing "why would Campo put ground floor retail there, it would be competing with the retail at the Post, a few blocks away", not sure if you're serious.

By that logic, whoever decided to build out Hanovers Ashton in Rice village with retail on bottom must be mentally retarded, because that retail will be competing with about a thousand other retailers in the surrounding area.

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You do have a point. Since one specialty grocers on the first floor of a 37 floor building in downtown with no other grocers within the entire downtown area succeeded, that is proof that every apartment complex in the entire city would have successful ground floor retail. Well, of course, if those complexes were 37 floors, had no competition, and were specialty grocers. Other than that, yeah.

 

If the concept was as profitable as you claim, these for profit developers would put it in. You should do some research on the trials and tribulations of ground floor retail in Dallas. It may be enlightening. Oh, and you might stop having heart attacks every time a complex is announced without ground floor retail.

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Ive spoken with the manager at Phoenicia and according to him, that Phoenicia is the most profitable (not necessarily highest grossing) location in Houston. He said on top of it being sort of a "destination" for people outside of downtown, the store has its own built in clientele, get this, LIVING IN THE APARTMENTS ABOVE IT. LOL, derp, who woulda thunk it? Look Marvy finger is no dummy, he didnt get as far as he has by having a "failed business model". Also if youve never been to the bar/restaurant inside phoenicia I suggest you try it, they have great exotic food, live music and it almost always packed. I was amazed as to how crowded it was one Sunday night before a work week and I asked a large groupof patrons there if they lived there and they said no, they just chose to meet up there because "this place kicks ass"

Good to hear that Phoenicia is doing well. Of course, none of that tells us anything about whether the ground floor retail space has been profitable for Marvy Finger.

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You do have a point. Since one specialty grocers on the first floor of a 37 floor building in downtown with no other grocers within the entire downtown area succeeded, that is proof that every apartment complex in the entire city would have successful ground floor retail. Well, of course, if those complexes were 37 floors, had no competition, and were specialty grocers. Other than that, yeah.

So the only type of gfr that will succeed in houston is specialty grocery stores in downtown on the bottom of 37 story apartment buildings with no competition around them, gotcha.

If the concept was as profitable as you claim, these for profit developers would put it in. You should do some research on the trials and tribulations of ground floor retail in Dallas. It may be enlightening. Oh, and you might stop having heart attacks every time a complex is announced without ground floor retail.

Relax, no one is having heart attacks, its just the internet buddy.

And whats your obsession with my obsession of gfr? Why are you following me from thread to thread trolling my posts trying to sound like a smart ass and insulting me?

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Good to hear that Phoenicia is doing well. Of course, none of that tells us anything about whether the ground floor retail space has been profitable for Marvy Finger.

Well, I dont know if its profitable for him or not, but judging by the fact that he keeps putting it in all his new developments, I'd lean toward thinking hes not losing money on it.

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Barcadia was a pretty nice little restaurant bar located on the good side of the Superblock Park. lt had underrated food and great specials. Plus free arcade games. My gf and I went there every Monday for half price food. There was rarely anyone else there. There just was no foot traffic. No population density there. With Camden going in, it will rise but you can't blame them for not wanting to add retail right now.

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Well, I dont know if its profitable for him or not, but judging by the fact that he keeps putting it in all his new developments, I'd lean toward thinking hes not losing money on it.

 

Does it suggest anything to you that he is including less than 1/3 of the square footage of retail space in his new downtown project as compared to One Park Place?

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Does it suggest anything to you that he is including less than 1/3 of the square footage of retail space in his new downtown project as compared to One Park Place?

By saying "less than 1/3rd" you make it sound very small but its still gonna be 75,000 sq/ft., and at least he's including SOME. I would not have expected the entire 2 huge city blocks to have wraparound retail like west ave.

And thats all I'm asking, I would be happy with even 1/3rd retail at camden. Like another poster suggested, what if they just included retail on the side facing the park to add some continuity to the retail in the park?

Do you believe if they added just retail facing the park it destroy the feasability of the entire project and make the Camden superblock/park a financial failure?

Edited by Howard Huge

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By saying "less than 1/3rd" you make it sound very small but its still gonna be 75,000 sq/ft., and at least he's including SOME. I would not have expected the entire 2 huge city blocks to have wraparound retail like west ave.

And thats all I'm asking, I would be happy with even 1/3rd retail at camden. Like another poster suggested, what if they just included retail on the side facing the park to add some continuity to the retail in the park?

Do you believe if they added just retail facing the park it destroy the feasability of the entire project and make the Camden superblock/park a financial failure?

10,000 square feet, not 75,000 square feet.

Note, also, that it took Marvy Finger quite a while to lease any of his retail space in One Park Place and still has not leased all of it, nearly 4 years after the building opened (the retail space overlooking the park is still available...).

Edited by Houston19514

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10,000 square feet, not 75,000 square feet.

Note, also, that it took Marvy Finger quite a while to lease any of his retail space in One Park Place and still has not leased all of it, nearly 4 years after the building opened (the retail space overlooking the park is still available...).

Whatever the number, and Im sure its not 10,000, my point was he included retail, period.

And you didnt answer my question about camden superblock.

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Whatever the number, and Im sure its not 10,000, my point was he included retail, period.

And you didnt answer my question about camden superblock.

I don't know the answer to your question and, not to put too fine a point on it, neither do you.

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Personally, I don't really consider the retail at Post to be thriving other than the restaurants and even that is debatable.  The space at One Park Place took a while to fill in and does anyone even know how well that store is doing?  If we're just talking about restaurants to fill in the ground level, it may be more difficult in competing some of the other restaurants that is already in midtown.

 

Trust me, I am all for retail at the bottom, but I can definitely see where the developer is coming from.  I'm more happy that we can fill it fill it in with an apartment and as the population gets more dense in Midtown, businesses will follow.  

 

everything in there does amazingly well, except for Farrago. 

 

Barcadia was a pretty nice little restaurant bar located on the good side of the Superblock Park. lt had underrated food and great specials. Plus free arcade games. My gf and I went there every Monday for half price food. There was rarely anyone else there. There just was no foot traffic. No population density there. With Camden going in, it will rise but you can't blame them for not wanting to add retail right now.

 

Barcadia only advertised free games on Tuesday night. I went a few times. I never understood the layout of the place, and it was clear they weren't an 'arcade bar' but a bar with some really crappy arcade games. Their games on the patio were genius though. I think had they set up a tournament night (like Wednesday or some other dead night) on their street fighter game (winner gets a party with $100 gratis), or a 'beat this high score for beer' challenge, they'd have drawn more attention, and certainly gotten more people in there. That place was just managed fairly poorly.

 

10,000 square feet, not 75,000 square feet.

Note, also, that it took Marvy Finger quite a while to lease any of his retail space in One Park Place and still has not leased all of it, nearly 4 years after the building opened (the retail space overlooking the park is still available...).

 

maybe he's holding out for the right fit? maybe he's asking for too high of rent?

 

I mean, there's a 3000 sqft place on the corner of lamar and la branch with a lot of room for tables/chairs out front. that could be a prime location for a European style cafe, or a really huge coffee shop (that sells beer wine to pay for what would very likely be an outrageous rent). there's always a lot of foot traffic on that corner every weekend at all times of the day.

 

if I were running a ~40 story luxury condo tower with a first floor retail, I'd treat the retail as a loss situation and amenity for the residents, I'd not look for a profit on the retail because with great retail I could charge more of the people living there, but I'd not just take some random chain fast food sandwich, or starbucks, I'd hold out to fill it with high quality. This is probably why I don't run a ~40 story luxury condo.

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Farrago does pretty awesome business. I always see it full, especially on weekends.

 

Their brunch crowd is huge, but as a recent example, I went to black fin this last Saturday night and there were more staff than patrons.

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I don't know the answer to your question and, not to put too fine a point on it, neither do you.

Nice try but I didnt ask you to predict the future, I'm asking, in YOUR opinion, do YOU think a little retail facing the park would cause camdens entire superblock project to become a financial failure? Yes or no?

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Nice try but I didnt ask you to predict the future, I'm asking, in YOUR opinion, do YOU think a little retail facing the park would cause camdens entire superblock project to become a financial failure? Yes or no?

 

As I told you, I do not know.  I do not have enough information to form an opinion worth writing.  And, as I said before, neither do you.

 

Campo has been quoted by a local newspaper to have said that apartments with retail on the ground floor are much more costly to build and carry more risk.  He no doubt knows more about it than the two of us put together.

 

To paraphrase Samagon's wise closing statement, above... This is probably why none of us own a ~40 story luxury condo or other apartment development.

Edited by Houston19514

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What i don't understand is why ground level retail is not a problem in Dallas's downtown and surrounding areas? The population around downtown Dallas is actually less than or equal to Houston's surrounding downtown population.

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So, long discussion here. I'll just add that I've been thinking about San Francisco alot lately, and also visiting. Most residential buildings in SF don't have ground floor retail. Yet, it has the highest rents and is considered one of the best urban environments in the country.

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What i don't understand is why ground level retail is not a problem in Dallas's downtown and surrounding areas? The population around downtown Dallas is actually less than or equal to Houston's surrounding downtown population.

 

It actually IS a problem in Dallas. There is a Dallas Morning News article that I linked somewhere on this forum that described all of the empty groundfloor storefronts that had been required by Dallas, and some of the problems in filling them. What many people do is look at one building or one location where groundfloor retail works, and believe it will or is working everywhere, when that is not at all true. Their walkable fantasy will not allow them to consider that financial realities preclude groundfloor retail in many developments.

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It's a pretty simple formula folks, retail follows residential, not the other way around.  I think people have a utopian vision of "ground floor retail" that it will somehow transform the inner loop into Manhattan v2.0.  Not going to happen, and frankly I don't want it to, if I wanted that I'd move to NYC/Chicago/etc.  Fact is, Houston's inner loop real estate boom is already pricing many smaller retailers out of the market and the only folks who can afford it are the big chains (which everyone decries).  You can't have it both ways.  As Midtown's residential density increases, the retail WILL fill in.  Why?  Simple economics, if you have a TON of residents within a short distance of your business the higher cost of entry becomes more palatable.  Right now, the cost of entry is still high, yet the residential density is not yet at the tipping point that demands retail in fill.

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It actually IS a problem in Dallas. There is a Dallas Morning News article that I linked somewhere on this forum that described all of the empty groundfloor storefronts that had been required by Dallas, and some of the problems in filling them. What many people do is look at one building or one location where groundfloor retail works, and believe it will or is working everywhere, when that is not at all true. Their walkable fantasy will not allow them to consider that financial realities preclude groundfloor retail in many developments.

 

Agree 100%.

 

I recall there was a project that was supposed to go up on gray near la branch (seems to have stalled, but I saw a backhoe in there the other day where it looked like they were updating the board on the northeast corner of the lot), they were going to put their workout facility and some other amenities on the ground floor so that they could easily swap these out with ground floor retail when the time was right.

 

It's a good way to have the option later on.

 

I think though, the question is still a good one, even if it's just two 3000sqft spaces facing the park, 6000sqft total, the equivalent of 4 or 5 apartments, would it break the model of this complex? I doubt it, but if they think it will break the model, then they won't even consider it.

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