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Camden McGowen Station + New Park (Midtown Superblock)

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Posted (edited)

Interesting article on the viability of GFR, which I think has relevance to the area around the Mid-Main area, including Camden.  The trend to require GFR in cities like New York and San Francisco has resulted in vacant storefronts; largely due to developers holding out for tenants that can pay the higher rents.  Unconventional uses for these spaces such as pop-up shops, and programming to engage pedestrians is mentioned.  

 

Quote

“People have so many choices now, you have to have a reason to get people inside the stores,” said Morgan, who was one of the brokers that represented the landlord in the Nike deal. “There are certain things you can’t buy online. You can’t buy an experience. You can’t go to Disneyland online.” Other landlords find solutions in repositioning properties. Along Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, where more than 11 million visitors come each year, many of the retail storefronts that once lined the popular outdoor pedestrian mall have become creative offices or mixed-use properties. Such repositioning can require new conversations about what is wanted out of a property.

Read more at: https://www.bisnow.com/national/news/retail/fed-up-with-vacant-storefronts-residents-force-cities-to-punish-retail-landlords-91715?utm_source=CopyShare&utm_medium=Browser

 

Edited by quietstorm
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34 minutes ago, quietstorm said:

Interesting article on the viability of GFR, which I think has relevance to the area around the Mid-Main area, including Camden.  The trend to require GFR in cities like New York and San Francisco has resulted in vacant storefronts; largely due to developers holding out for tenants that can pay the higher rents.  Unconventional uses for these spaces such as pop-up shops, and programming to engaged pedestrians is mentioned.  

 

 

 

I think this is a good article but most relevant for areas that function as shopping districts equivalent to open-air malls. What we are hoping for in places like Midtown is restaurants and neighborhood services, stuff like nail salons, health/wellness products, barbers & styling, cell phone providers, etc. The thousands of residents moving in there will need some of that, and in the long run, you will get the apparel back, it just has to go through a paradigm shift. But this does serve as a cautionary lessen for people hoping that the downtown shopping corridor on Main Street is going to come back anytime soon.

 

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Posted (edited)

One day you might even be glad the streets of Midtown are aligned with flowers and gardens instead of a bunch of abandoned buildings and empty storefronts. Dreams are wonderful but sometimes you have to make the best out of what you've got. Damn real world! Midtown is light years better than it was in the 90s and before, but most of it still looks like it always did. These Camden thingys may not be an urbanist's dream but they are easier on the eye than what still exist on dozens and dozens and dozens of fugly blocks that still need improvement in Midtown. Given a choice of spending the remainder of my life with what already exist on most of these blocks and large apartments that fill the whole block and are built up to the sidewalk WITHOUT GFR (which is getting more irrelevant by the day), I'll take the Camden style any day. 

 

And please spare me that "but maybe somebody else might build something better on that lot in the future" argument. 100+ years of urban blight is long enough for Midtown. 
 

Edited by Response
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17 minutes ago, Response said:

One day you might even be glad the streets of Midtown are aligned with flowers and gardens instead of a bunch of abandoned buildings and empty storefronts. Dreams are wonderful but sometimes you have to make the best out of what you've got. Damn real world! Midtown is light years better than it was in the 90s and before, but most of it still looks like it always did. These Camdon thingys may not be an urbanist's dream but they are easier on the eye than what still exist on dozens and dozens and dozens of fugly blocks that still need improvement in Midtown. Given a choice of spending the remainder of my life with what already exist on most of these blocks and large apartments that fill the whole block and are built up to the sidewalk WITHOUT GFR (which is getting more irrelevant by the day), I'll take the Camdon style any day. 

 

And please spare me that "but maybe somebody else might build something better on that lot in the future" argument. 100+ years of urban blight is long enough for Midtown. 
 

 

I haven't seen anyone is objecting to the idea that "the streets of Midtown are aligned [sic] with flowers and gardens instead of a bunch of abandoned buildings and empty storefronts." 

I'm also puzzled by the statement that "most of it looks like it always did", because it doesn't.

It should also be noted that Midtown didn't suffer from "100+ years of urban blight". It was a thriving area until shortly after WWII, started losing residents and businesses to the suburbs, and was almost wiped out in the 70's when properties were bought for their sewage hookup rights, and the buildings demolished or left to deteriorate. Since rebuilding started in the 90s and took off in the 2000s, urban blight was a problem for perhaps 35 years, not 100.
The objections voiced to Camdon-style development aren't solely centered on the lack of GFR. It's also the fact that these giant fenced-off blocks destroy the free circulation of the neighborhood's residents by violating the street grid. in the "damn real world", this is a concern. 
A balance has to be achieved between short-term gains and long term negative consequences. If no one speaks up about the shortcomings of Camden style developments, the same mistakes will be repeated elsewhere. We can't learn from mistakes unless the mistakes are identified and acknowledged. And in an urban environment, these giant monolithic blocks are a mistake.

 

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Even an extra foot or so would add 20% or so and make a more inviting sidewalk, while leaving plenty of room for greenscape - however, it would also add to the flatwork bill.  That's probably a motivation, since as it is it looks like it barely meets ADA width standards. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, dbigtex56 said:

 

I haven't seen anyone is objecting to the idea that "the streets of Midtown are aligned [sic] with flowers and gardens instead of a bunch of abandoned buildings and empty storefronts." 

I'm also puzzled by the statement that "most of it looks like it always did", because it doesn't.

It should also be noted that Midtown didn't suffer from "100+ years of urban blight". It was a thriving area until shortly after WWII, started losing residents and businesses to the suburbs, and was almost wiped out in the 70's when properties were bought for their sewage hookup rights, and the buildings demolished or left to deteriorate. Since rebuilding started in the 90s and took off in the 2000s, urban blight was a problem for perhaps 35 years, not 100.
The objections voiced to Camdon-style development aren't solely centered on the lack of GFR. It's also the fact that these giant fenced-off blocks destroy the free circulation of the neighborhood's residents by violating the street grid. in the "damn real world", this is a concern. 
A balance has to be achieved between short-term gains and long term negative consequences. If no one speaks up about the shortcomings of Camden style developments, the same mistakes will be repeated elsewhere. We can't learn from mistakes unless the mistakes are identified and acknowledged. And in an urban environment, these giant monolithic blocks are a mistake.

 

I think Midtown is way better and more beautiful than it used to be and some blocks are so much better that I can hardly believe my eyes. But most of the streets (particularly east of Main) look about the same to me as they always did. A jumbled mess of parking lots, junky looking buildings, various distances from the buildings to the sidewalks, no cohesiveness, ect.  100 years? 35 years? What's the difference? Most of it has looked pretty run down in my lifetime.  My point is most of Midtown is still not that great and Camden's are FAR BETTER than what we currently have on many of those blocks. In fact, I think they have helped Midtown way more than hurt it. So no need to call for their destruction just yet. I get your concerns with Camden. They are far from ideal. But if I could replace every instance of this:

 

480614856_ScreenShot2019-08-03at11_53_03AM.png.de203ad83d2e629dc9a082c2fec778cd.png 

 

and this:

 

1778559806_ScreenShot2019-08-03at11_59_16AM.png.b4c5a4355cf8532cf78aa2ed76d92fe8.png

 

with this:

 

1446031724_ScreenShot2019-08-03at11_57_19AM.png.cde72efd0d7d3a0dd527aeab631d998e.png

 

and this:

 

imageproxy.jpeg.c58b3c574a46f743eb27b72bf44f9313.jpeg

 

I would.

 

Not saying these Camdens are making Midtown much more walkable. But at least they look better and they aren't making Midtown less walkable.  They are putting more people in the city center, so just their very existence is helping walkability. No it isn't NYC or SF, but it's not bad for Houston. Besides, there's more to life than 'walkability'.  I have a feeling that 'walkability' is on it's way out in the rest of the world anyway. It will just be turned into a novelty by the internet - like vinyl records. But please keep fighting for perfection and don't let them off the hook! Surely Midtown wouldn't be improving each and every day if it wasn't for all the complaints on HAIF. 

 

 

Edited by Response
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So in the future will people evolve with no legs? What do mean walkability is out. I thought you were spot on until you got to the walkability part.

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19 hours ago, ekdrm2d1 said:

Mulch was installed this week.

 

QNCYEr2.jpg

 

oJloCq1.jpg

 

This has to mean that they are close to done, right? Like, how long does it really take to do all this stuff. The splash pad  looking thing looks done. But still not eta, smh

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2 hours ago, bobruss said:

So in the future will people evolve with no legs? What do mean walkability is out. I thought you were spot on until you got to the walkability part.

walle_humans.jpg

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15 minutes ago, X.R. said:

 

This has to mean that they are close to done, right? Like, how long does it really take to do all this stuff. The splash pad  looking thing looks done. But still not eta, smh

 

Believe so. They were cleaning the glass on Friday.

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2 hours ago, bobruss said:

So in the future will people evolve with no legs? What do mean walkability is out. I thought you were spot on until you got to the walkability part.

 

That's right. No legs. At this rate, your iPhone will eliminate the need to get out of bed altogether, unless you're being paid to do it. Just kidding. I know there is at least a 'desire' if not a need for walkability. I prefer the residential buildings with GFR too. But the last mall I went to didn't make me feel very optimistic about the future of shops that nobody really needs anymore.

 

My only real point is why rag on Camden, when Midtown has so many genuine monstrosities to rally against. dbigtex's has every right to complain about Camden's issues. I don't really disagree with him.  But IMO there are so many more qualified structures in Midtown to call for the destruction of than Camdens. At least Camdens "look" more inviting to walk in front of than most of Midtown.

 

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On 8/1/2019 at 2:27 PM, H-Town Man said:

 

I think this is a good article but most relevant for areas that function as shopping districts equivalent to open-air malls. What we are hoping for in places like Midtown is restaurants and neighborhood services, stuff like nail salons, health/wellness products, barbers & styling, cell phone providers, etc. The thousands of residents moving in there will need some of that, and in the long run, you will get the apparel back, it just has to go through a paradigm shift. But this does serve as a cautionary lessen for people hoping that the downtown shopping corridor on Main Street is going to come back anytime soon.

 

 

There's still plenty of room for all that retail. 

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5 hours ago, Response said:

I think Midtown is way better and more beautiful than it used to be and some blocks are so much better that I can hardly believe my eyes. But most of the streets (particularly east of Main) look about the same to me as they always did. A jumbled mess of parking lots, junky looking buildings, various distances from the buildings to the sidewalks, no cohesiveness, ect.  100 years? 35 years? What's the difference? Most of it has looked pretty run down in my lifetime.  My point is most of Midtown is still not that great and Camden's are FAR BETTER than what we currently have on many of those blocks. In fact, I think they have helped Midtown way more than hurt it. So no need to call for their destruction just yet. I get your concerns with Camden. They are far from ideal. But if I could replace every instance of this:

 

480614856_ScreenShot2019-08-03at11_53_03AM.png.de203ad83d2e629dc9a082c2fec778cd.png 

 

and this:

 

1778559806_ScreenShot2019-08-03at11_59_16AM.png.b4c5a4355cf8532cf78aa2ed76d92fe8.png

 

with this:

 

1446031724_ScreenShot2019-08-03at11_57_19AM.png.cde72efd0d7d3a0dd527aeab631d998e.png

 

and this:

 

imageproxy.jpeg.c58b3c574a46f743eb27b72bf44f9313.jpeg

 

I would.

 

Not saying these Camdens are making Midtown much more walkable. But at least they look better and they aren't making Midtown less walkable.  They are putting more people in the city center, so just their very existence is helping walkability. No it isn't NYC or SF, but it's not bad for Houston. Besides, there's more to life than 'walkability'.  I have a feeling that 'walkability' is on it's way out in the rest of the world anyway. It will just be turned into a novelty by the internet - like vinyl records. But please keep fighting for perfection and don't let them off the hook! Surely Midtown wouldn't be improving each and every day if it wasn't for all the complaints on HAIF. 

 

 

 

The main reason Midtown “still looks bad” IMO is that it’s still a drive-through neighborhood with way too wide streets connecting to the Spur. “Complete streeting” the entire neighborhood would make it a much different place.

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14 hours ago, Response said:

My only real point is why rag on Camden, when Midtown has so many genuine monstrosities to rally against. dbigtex's has every right to complain about Camden's issues. I don't really disagree with him.  But IMO there are so many more qualified structures in Midtown to call for the destruction of than Camdens. At least Camdens "look" more inviting to walk in front of than most of Midtown.

 

@Response
Thank you for your thoughtful response. Your point is well taken.

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Posted (edited)
On ‎8‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 4:25 PM, kdog08 said:

 

There's still plenty of room for all that retail. 

 

We were discussing whether ground floor retail could be successful in a building; my point was that there is still demand for retail. This was in the context of Camden McGowen Station, where park land was gobbled up for pad sites for retail that should have been under the building. There is a whole discussion above the post you responded to that gives context.

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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Posted (edited)
On ‎8‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 4:08 PM, Response said:

 

That's right. No legs. At this rate, your iPhone will eliminate the need to get out of bed altogether, unless you're being paid to do it. Just kidding. I know there is at least a 'desire' if not a need for walkability. I prefer the residential buildings with GFR too. But the last mall I went to didn't make me feel very optimistic about the future of shops that nobody really needs anymore.

 

My only real point is why rag on Camden, when Midtown has so many genuine monstrosities to rally against. dbigtex's has every right to complain about Camden's issues. I don't really disagree with him.  But IMO there are so many more qualified structures in Midtown to call for the destruction of than Camdens. At least Camdens "look" more inviting to walk in front of than most of Midtown.

 

 

GFR really has very little to do with the type of shops that go in a mall; it's about being able to get your basic services without having to get in a car and drive somewhere, with a secondary purpose of having interesting walkable streets that aren't dulled by long stretches of building walls. Why rag on Camden? Because they messed up a block that serves as the focal point of the neighborhood, as explained in detail above. Nobody is calling for the destruction of anything, but if there was some way to wipe this building away and redesign this block, that would be a good thing.

 

Imagine if One Park Place had been built smack-dab in the middle of Discovery Green, dividing the park in half and blocking the views of half of it. That is what you have here.

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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10 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

 

GFR really has very little to do with the type of shops that go in a mall; it's about being able to get your basic services without having to get in a car and drive somewhere, with a secondary purpose of having interesting walkable streets that aren't dulled by long stretches of building walls. Why rag on Camden? Because they messed up a block that serves as the focal point of the neighborhood, as explained in detail above. Nobody is calling for the destruction of anything, but if there was some way to wipe this building away and redesign this block, that would be a good thing.

 

Imagine if One Park Place had been built smack-dab in the middle of Discovery Green, dividing the park in half and blocking the views of half of it. That is what you have here.

 

Also without Phoenicia and MKT bar, just a lobby for the residents

 

GFR is more about having a higher density of coffee shops, restaurants, barbershops, nail salons, and also dry goods retail.  Think about all the errands you do in a month - if you could walk a short distance to those, that would be great, but having everywhere you'd want to go within walking distance is only feasible if the places you go are close together.  Having them underneath every building, so that you have a store front of some sort every 50' or so, lets you have lots of options in a close distance.  For example, Skyhouse(s) has 2 coffee shops, a massage place, a pizza place, a burger place, and a nail salon all within walking distance.

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22 minutes ago, cspwal said:

Also without Phoenicia and MKT bar, just a lobby for the residents

 

GFR is more about having a higher density of coffee shops, restaurants, barbershops, nail salons, and also dry goods retail.  Think about all the errands you do in a month - if you could walk a short distance to those, that would be great, but having everywhere you'd want to go within walking distance is only feasible if the places you go are close together.  Having them underneath every building, so that you have a store front of some sort every 50' or so, lets you have lots of options in a close distance.  For example, Skyhouse(s) has 2 coffee shops, a massage place, a pizza place, a burger place, and a nail salon all within walking distance.

 

I've lived in Midtown for ~ 5 years, and have noticed that there seem to be fewer dry cleaners than there used to be, even as the population and density increases.
Do the newer apartment complexes feature dry cleaning pickup for residents? Are people driving out of the neighborhood to get their clothing dry cleaned? Do they wear their clothes until they stink, then throw them out?

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, dbigtex56 said:

 

I've lived in Midtown for ~ 5 years, and have noticed that there seem to be fewer dry cleaners than there used to be, even as the population and density increases.
Do the newer apartment complexes feature dry cleaning pickup for residents? Are people driving out of the neighborhood to get their clothing dry cleaned? Do they wear their clothes until they stink, then throw them out?

 

If its a recently renovated complex then they will either add washer/dryers to the individual unit or put a area for the equipment on site. Pretty much all new apartments will have washer/dryer either in individual units (at least the bigger ones) or will have onsite facilities. The equipment is getting cheap enough, and its an expected item in refurbished and new apartments. This is particular because many of the people they are advertising to are those who once lived in the suburbs where washer/dryer is something you just expect in a single family home and most won't even touch a complex now if there isn't at least a washer/dryer on site.

Edited by Luminare

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30 minutes ago, dbigtex56 said:

I've lived in Midtown for ~ 5 years, and have noticed that there seem to be fewer dry cleaners than there used to be, even as the population and density increases.
Do the newer apartment complexes feature dry cleaning pickup for residents? Are people driving out of the neighborhood to get their clothing dry cleaned? Do they wear their clothes until they stink, then throw them out?

 

Maybe people are less likely to wear clothes that require dry cleaning than they used to.

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, dbigtex56 said:

 

I've lived in Midtown for ~ 5 years, and have noticed that there seem to be fewer dry cleaners than there used to be, even as the population and density increases.
Do the newer apartment complexes feature dry cleaning pickup for residents? Are people driving out of the neighborhood to get their clothing dry cleaned? Do they wear their clothes until they stink, then throw them out?

Yes, new high-end apartments are increasingly featuring hotel-style amenities to include dry cleaning, housekeeping, and valet service. A local start-up, backed by local VC firm the mercury fund, has made great inroads with the big developers in Houston to offer these amenities.

 

https://getspruce.com/

Spruce Overview Presentation.pdf

Edited by C List
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14 minutes ago, rechlin said:

 

Maybe people are less likely to wear clothes that require dry cleaning than they used to.

 

#Bingo! 

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1 hour ago, cspwal said:

Also without Phoenicia and MKT bar, just a lobby for the residents

 

GFR is more about having a higher density of coffee shops, restaurants, barbershops, nail salons, and also dry goods retail.  Think about all the errands you do in a month - if you could walk a short distance to those, that would be great, but having everywhere you'd want to go within walking distance is only feasible if the places you go are close together.  Having them underneath every building, so that you have a store front of some sort every 50' or so, lets you have lots of options in a close distance.  For example, Skyhouse(s) has 2 coffee shops, a massage place, a pizza place, a burger place, and a nail salon all within walking distance.

 

This is basically what I meant when I said "it's about being able to get your basic services without having to get in a car and drive somewhere."

 

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3 hours ago, cspwal said:

GFR is more about having a higher density of coffee shops, restaurants, barbershops, nail salons, and also dry goods retail.  Think about all the errands you do in a month - if you could walk a short distance to those, that would be great, but having everywhere you'd want to go within walking distance is only feasible if the places you go are close together.  Having them underneath every building, so that you have a store front of some sort every 50' or so, lets you have lots of options in a close distance.  For example, Skyhouse(s) has 2 coffee shops, a massage place, a pizza place, a burger place, and a nail salon all within walking distance.

 

This is true, to an extent.

 

Most urban neighborhoods in which most people live their day-to-day lives without driving only have GFR on a small fraction of total street frontage (prob <20%), and mostly concentrated on specific retail corridors. The most desirable buildings in these neighborhoods tend to be on side streets a block or two off of these corridors: close to, but not right on top of, retail activity. 

 

 

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I would agree not every single block needs to have GFR, however the blocks fronting a light rail station seems to be a good place to have it, as you will be getting people arriving on foot or by train.  If Camden had tried to go more GFR focused, it could have been the beginings of a new activity hub like Market Square, with places on both sides of the street and fronting the park

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1 hour ago, cspwal said:

I would agree not every single block needs to have GFR, however the blocks fronting a light rail station seems to be a good place to have it, as you will be getting people arriving on foot or by train.  If Camden had tried to go more GFR focused, it could have been the beginings of a new activity hub like Market Square, with places on both sides of the street and fronting the park

 

Right, and the kicker is that this project actually includes retail, so it's not like somebody thought retail was disappearing. But it's suburban-style pad-site retail, and it's on the opposite side from the park, which kills the place-making potential. Hopefully we get a nice building on the block south of the park with GFR to give the park some energy and some urban enclosure. Drewery Place is doing its part on the east side. Sadly the park won't be visible from the rail station or McGowen Street but something is salvageable.

 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

GFR really has very little to do with the type of shops that go in a mall; it's about being able to get your basic services without having to get in a car and drive somewhere, with a secondary purpose of having interesting walkable streets that aren't dulled by long stretches of building walls. Why rag on Camden? Because they messed up a block that serves as the focal point of the neighborhood, as explained in detail above. Nobody is calling for the destruction of anything, but if there was some way to wipe this building away and redesign this block, that would be a good thing.

 

Imagine if One Park Place had been built smack-dab in the middle of Discovery Green, dividing the park in half and blocking the views of half of it. That is what you have here.

 

Again. There are more deserving buildings in Midtown to rag on. Hundreds of them. Some them didn't even bother to turn part of the land into a park at all. In fact, none of them did. Camden is the only one I can think of that did that.  Do you know how many years that 'superblock' was an empty lot before Camden turned part of it into a park? I don't know. I don't remember what was there before Camden except for a giant empty weed patch. Surely something was there before. Was it nicer than what is there now?  I wish the city or Camden had made the whole superblock a park but really, you're lucky Camden didn't turn the entire superblock in to apartments or worse. This is Houston, remember? There could have been a car dealership, strip mall, parking lot or warehouse there instead. How would that have effected the walkability of Midtown? But by all means forget where we came from and rag on. Maybe you'll get a new dry cleaners out of it.

Edited by Response
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Response said:

Again. There are more deserving buildings in Midtown to rag on. Hundreds of them. Some them didn't even bother to turn part of the land into a park at all. In fact, none of them did. Camden is the only one I can think of that did that.  Do you know how many years that 'superblock' was an empty lot before Camden turned part of it into a park? I don't know. I don't remember what was there before Camden except for a giant empty weed patch. Surely something was there before. Was it nicer than what is there now?  I wish the city or Camden had made the whole superblock a park but really, you're lucky Camden didn't turn the entire superblock in to apartments or worse. This is Houston, remember? There could have been a car dealership, strip mall, parking lot or warehouse there instead. How would that have effected the walkability of Midtown? But by all means forget where we came from and rag on. Maybe you'll get a new dry cleaners out of it.

 

There is a park there because the Midtown Redev Authority owned part of the land. There was a land swap and a drawn out negotiation with Camden over where the park should be, which ultimately Camden won, resulting in the present bad layout. The park was not a result of any generosity on their part.

 

Do I know how many years that lot was an empty lot? Well, I know that Camden sat on it for about 10 years watching development cycles come and go before they finally summoned the courage to build anything, and they're still stalling and finding the courage to complete the project. I think the Regent Square folks probably learned by watching them.

 

I "rag on" this building and not the 300 other buildings in Midtown because I think that, for its time and place, it was a bigger wasted opportunity than any of those, for reasons that I and others have articulated above.

Edited by H-Town Man
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Posted (edited)

And I guess they could have sat on that land for another 20 years if they had wanted to or sold it to another company that didn't give poo about even giving that land 'the illusion' of 'urban' or 'walkability' or park access. Camden or somebody else might have built something that looked just like the one of the 300 other buildings in Midtown you seem to have less or no problem with. 

 

I'm only asking this because I don't know. Is the MRA building the park on the superblock or is Camden?  Was Camden forced to build a park on that land?  Could Camden have built apartments on their part of the land and left the MRA side alone? Are there any other developers besides Camden building parks for or with the MRA in Midtown?

 

BTW, I don't think you are wrong to 'wish' for something better. I agree that this isn't the 'best' design that could have been implemented. When is it ever? Anything can always be better (to someone). But I think this is clearly looking like one of the best blocks that Midtown has EVER had.  So it's very hard for me to take seriously any criticism that it wasn't made perfect, at least in the here and now. I might feel different about it in the future if the rest of Midtown starts looking like San Francisco, but until then I'm going to enjoy looking at this new 'superblock'. Luckily if someone has a real problem with how the superblock is turning out, they can just wonder over a few blocks in any direction and feast their eyes on that beautiful suburban style CVS, gas station, bus terminal, tin warehouse or one of the many, many other beautiful structures that exist in Midtown. No, let's not rag on any of those. Let's just keep sticking it to the developer that built that ugly tree lined, garden filled park next to the mid rise apartment building and light rail station in the middle of what was once considered scenic Midtown.

Edited by Response
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33 minutes ago, Response said:

And I guess they could have sat on that land for another 20 years if they had wanted to or sold it to another company that didn't give poo about even giving that land 'the illusion' of 'urban' or 'walkability' or park access. Camden or somebody else might have built something that looked just like the one of the 300 other buildings in Midtown you seem to have less or no problem with. 

 

I'm only asking this because I don't know. Is the MRA building the park on the superblock or is Camden?  Was Camden forced to build a park on that land?  Could Camden have built apartments on their part of the land and left the MRA side alone? Are there any other developers besides Camden building parks for or with the MRA in Midtown?

 

BTW, I don't think you are wrong to 'wish' for something better. I agree that this isn't the 'best' design that could have been implemented. When is it ever? Anything can always be better (to someone). But I think this is clearly looking like one of the best blocks that Midtown has EVER had.  So it's very hard for me to take seriously any criticism that it wasn't made perfect, at least in the here and now. I might feel different about it in the future if the rest of Midtown starts looking like San Francisco, but until then I'm going to enjoy looking at this new 'superblock'. Luckily if someone has a real problem with how the superblock is turning out, they can just wonder over a few blocks in any direction and feast their eyes on that beautiful suburban style CVS, gas station, bus terminal, tin warehouse or one of the many, many other beautiful structures that exist in Midtown. No, let's not rag on any of those. Let's just keep sticking it to the developer that built that ugly tree lined, garden filled park next to the mid rise apartment building and light rail station in the middle of what was once considered scenic Midtown.

 

Architectural criticism points out flaws in things. It doesn't just shower gratitude whenever something gets built. This is still kind of a new thing for Houston - we're one of the only big cities not to have an architecture critic in our newspaper, and some people take it the wrong way. My criticism for this project is admittedly a little harsher than for most because I think the decisions made were stubborn and more than typically misguided (as explained in previous posts). We can agree to disagree; all our points have been made.

 

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The Midtown redevelopment authority owns the plaza part on the north end and the park itself on the south end - Camden owns only the land where the apartment building is.  Yes they made a nice looking apartment building, and I believe there is some parking garage sharing deal, but they didn't make a park, the MRA did.  They wanted to stay close to the light rail line, so rejected a land swap that would have resulted in one large park. They didn't incorporate ground floor retail spots, so having a restaurant at the park means it has to be in the park area. 

 

And people on this forum rag on the CVS all the time.  There are not one but two CVS's in midtown, both exactly the same as they would be in the suburbs. 

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On 8/5/2019 at 10:39 AM, Luminare said:

 

If its a recently renovated complex then they will either add washer/dryers to the individual unit or put a area for the equipment on site.

That explains the dearth of washaterias (laundromats). Dry cleaning (so far as I know) is still done off-site. 

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1 hour ago, dbigtex56 said:

That explains the dearth of washaterias (laundromats). Dry cleaning (so far as I know) is still done off-site. 

 

Dry cleaning isn't used as much.  Company dress code has become more casual and fabric blends are better.   My gf tries to avoid buying "dry cleaning only" clothing because of cost and chemicals.  

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Posted (edited)
On 8/5/2019 at 9:39 AM, H-Town Man said:

 

We were discussing whether ground floor retail could be successful in a building; my point was that there is still demand for retail. This was in the context of Camden McGowen Station, where park land was gobbled up for pad sites for retail that should have been under the building. There is a whole discussion above the post you responded to that gives context.

 

 

It seems the comment of yours that I replied to was about the general trend of GFR. Fair game dude.  I generally agree with you, but there's still plenty of space left for non restaurant/bar retail to develop as density increases. 

Edited by kdog08
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Posted (edited)

It does look nice - but what do you do there? There's too much stuff in the way for people to gather but no seating that looks remotely comfortable.

Edited by Texasota

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I've...never seen anything so beautiful in my life.

 

Those park benches are going to be hot though, lol. 

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I see a maintenance intensive concrete pad. Even with ping pong tables. And the sidewalk on McGowen is still closed for residents.

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They've sprayed the grren hydroseed over the proposed restaurant site. While that isn't very expensive, my guess is that development of that piece is not imminent

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Posted (edited)

I really wish someone would develop the lot with the Cadillac dealership into a open space mixed use with green space since it is also a contiguous block

Edited by ZRFkris
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2 hours ago, ZRFkris said:

I really wish someone would develop the lot with the Cadillac dealership into a open space mixed use with green space since it is also a contiguous block

 I think that everytime I drive by..That the neighborhood has outgrown  them ... Hopefully one day a developer decides to buy them out.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, rechlin said:

Looking almost complete. Sidewalk really isn't too narrow.

 

 

 

 

IMO, in a neighborhood like this, the sidewalk should extend to the curb.

Edited by MidCenturyMoldy
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