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Threw down a deposit for this place. Move in June 1st when my unit is ready. Wow this place is so nice when I went on the tour. The gym is massive and the resident lounge areas are huge with a ton of

Jonathan Cruz #MyHouston

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Yeah, did you notice the word "preferably"? LOL If you continue reading through the thread you'll see I was totally focused on Texas, Crawford and Prairie.

Preferably require is what you said. Which means that you prefer that they require.

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Because it isn't so. Picazo failed at LaBranch and Preston. More importantly, though, is that there isn't a lot that is working around here restaurant-wise, aside from V&A and Irma's.

Let them decide on their own if they want to offer retail, but let's keep our public right of way.

Again, the closer you come to the actual site we are talking about, the more successful the venues seem to have been. See, B.U.S., Home Plate Bar & Grille, Vic & Anthony's.

Sites like LaBranch and Preston, Commerce and Crawford are symptomatic of the problems with downtown. A grouping of restaurants/bars/retail has a LOT better chance of success than an individual restaurant surrounded by parking lots, with no connectivity to anything.

Generally, I am all in favor of letting developers decide for themselves. HOWEVER, in this case, the developer is asking the City for a huge favor. The City should not be abandoning streets in the downtown grid without making sure they are geting the best possible development of that space, in keeping with the city's vision for downtown. i.e., require some ground level retail in exchange.

If the city says no to abandoning Prairie, then the city has no bargaining power and it has to be left to the vision of Marvy Finger (who I am happy to say, appears to have a lot more vision than a lot of participants on this board.)

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Preferably require is what you said. Which means that you prefer that they require.

Wow. Way to misquote, dude.

"They should require ground floor retail space, preferably on all sides of the project, but most definitely along the Prairie pedestrian path and along Crawford and Texas."

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If the city says no to abandoning Prairie, then the city has no bargaining power and it has to be left to the vision of Marvy Finger (who I am happy to say, appears to have a lot more vision than a lot of participants on this board.)

I agree with you. I'm pretty comfortable leaving this to the vision of Marvy Finger. The execution of One Park Place shows that he should be given the benefit of the doubt with this development.

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Actually you know what would be awesome -- if they had a flat roof on top of the apartments, and you could have events/parties up there overlooking the game. a la Wrigley Field in Chicago. That would be cool (of course assuming you could see thought the glass wall when the roof is shut...)

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Interesing factoid: The One Park Place development planned by Trammel Crow included 17,000 squre feet of ground floor retail.

The location is pretty clearly a better location for retail now than it was 10 or so years ago (because of the addition of BBVA Compass, the addition of the new apartments across 59, the coming additional light rail stations, the fact that the GRB is now approximately 1 block closer; the fairly likely addition of a new convention center hotel 2 blocks away. . .)

Edited by Houston19514
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Actually you know what would be awesome -- if they had a flat roof on top of the apartments, and you could have events/parties up there overlooking the game. a la Wrigley Field in Chicago. That would be cool (of course assuming you could see thought the glass wall when the roof is shut...)

That's exactly what I was thinking when I sort of accidentally suggested rooftop retail. I just recently read about a new development next door to a major league stadium, I think St. Louis, that will have a rooftop venue to which they will actually sell game tickets. But that apparently couldn't work here, because, you know, a restaurant three blocks away failed. And three blocks away in another direction, another restaurant failed . ;-)

Edited by Houston19514
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I agree with you. I'm pretty comfortable leaving this to the vision of Marvy Finger. The execution of One Park Place shows that he should be given the benefit of the doubt with this development.

That was my point as well. In fact, virtually every person but one has suggested that Marvy Finger has done right by downtown and probably has a much better idea of what will be successful that a HAIF expert. Rather than have the City of Houston "require" things that might seem cool, I'd rather let a proven expert put forth his vision. Clearly, if he is already asking the City to sell him Prairie, he has something in mind. I'd like to know what it is before I demand that the City "require" something. I've had my fill of the City's requirements.

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That was my point as well. In fact, virtually every person but one has suggested that Marvy Finger has done right by downtown and probably has a much better idea of what will be successful that a HAIF expert. Rather than have the City of Houston "require" things that might seem cool, I'd rather let a proven expert put forth his vision. Clearly, if he is already asking the City to sell him Prairie, he has something in mind. I'd like to know what it is before I demand that the City "require" something. I've had my fill of the City's requirements.

As you know, the "but one" person to whom you are referring has not once suggested that Marvy Finger has not done right by downtown or that he probably has a much better idea of what will be successful than I do. But facts can get in the way when you want to activate your strawman factory to make personal attacks, can't they?

I look forward to seeing Marvy's vision. My only point all along is that the city should NOT be abandoning downtown grid streets without requiring/assuring that the resulting development fits in with the city's vision for downtown (i.e. at least substantial street level retain). That's all. Again, as I have said before, if the city does not abadon the street, then it's up to Marvy's vision, pure and simple.

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Wow. Way to misquote, dude.

"They should require ground floor retail space, preferably on all sides of the project, but most definitely along the Prairie pedestrian path and along Crawford and Texas."

It's a paraphrase, not a misquote. You think they should require ground floor retail space, and you prefer that they require it on all sides of the project. I prefer that the city not abandon Prairie at all.

Edited by kylejack
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The outcry against this perplexes me. Wouldn't it be better to reduce street traffic immediately adjacent to the ballpark and create a dense street-level pedestrian experience? I for one will miss parking in these lots for $20 and walking across the street to the ballpark, but it never really seemed like a long term situation. It would be a bonus to approach the park around or through something other than an empty parking lot with homeless dudes.

As an aside, the last game I attended I parked across the street in one of the lots taken up by this development. I showed up in the 3rd inning and there was half the lot full. Most people aren't parking here anyway, and are walking from further afield. Given the size of the ballpark and multiple entrances, I can't imagine many scenarios that would increase the walking distance more than 1/2 a block.

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Close the street, make it a pedestrian plaza between two buildings with retail and restaurants/patios on both sides. Easy choice. If the rest of the sides have no retail, whatever. One fourth of the perimeter on the right side is more than enough.

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This is great news. I was convinced that with the Penn's demise, the Milam was sure to become another asphalt lot...

Now, here's to it's success!

Well, makes me sad to quote a six year old post. But a modern 8 story 400 unit mixed use (probably) building is nicer than another boutique hotel. I'd rather see residential than hotel. Get another thousand units in the area and we might start to see a critical mass, like in Post Midtown.

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RE: A view into MMP

How tall is Union Station? It seems like with the added distance (the further away from a wall you are the taller higher you have to be to see over it), that is the absolute minimum possible height that could offer a view into MMP, and it would possibly need to be slightly taller than that.

Edited by JJxvi
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Union Station is about 5 floors

RE: A view into MMP

How tall is Union Station? It seems like with the added distance (the further away from a wall you are the taller higher you have to be to see over it), that is the absolute minimum possible height that could offer a view into MMP, and it would possibly need to be slightly taller than that.

Union Station is about 5 stories.

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The bigger question is... why would anyone go see the astros these days?

:P

I prefer the games now that the team is rebuilding, rather than when the team was good. I don't have to be bothered by overweight fair weather fans in flip flops and their fat boorish kids crawling over me in the middle of an inning to get more hot dogs and ice cream in a mini helmet.

Now I can get an entire row to myself.

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I prefer the games now that the team is rebuilding, rather than when the team was good. I don't have to be bothered by overweight fair weather fans in flip flops and their fat boorish kids crawling over me in the middle of an inning to get more hot dogs and ice cream in a mini helmet.

Now I can get an entire row to myself.

But... wouldnt you get to sit in the radio booth?

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  • 5 weeks later...

Also on Wednesday, the council approved a plan to abandon and grant a portion of Prairie Street across from Minute Maid Park, allowing developer Marvy Finger to build 380 upscale apartments there. An outside appraiser valued the portion of the street at about $2 million, Icken said.

http://www.chron.com/business/article/City-plans-incentives-for-downtown-homes-3791742.php

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RE: A view into MMP

How tall is Union Station? It seems like with the added distance (the further away from a wall you are the taller higher you have to be to see over it), that is the absolute minimum possible height that could offer a view into MMP, and it would possibly need to be slightly taller than that.

Just for reference, this is the view from the roof of Ben Milam (the current roof doesn't go too far from Texas Ave., though):

mhext009.jpg

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This is great news. Finger will definitely cause other developers to add retail to their developments. Just a giant snowball effect. Slowly but surely downtown is heading in the right direction after many years of city planning. I think once rail on the east end is complete we are going to see more of these mixed-used developments. Whats great is how dense developers are building in our city.

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Just for reference, this is the view from the roof of Ben Milam (the current roof doesn't go too far from Texas Ave., though):

mhext009.jpg

That view ....could be blocked by these new billboards.

A0dtCHNCQAAhJ_p.jpg

But with the ballpark view being a possible selling point to high end units near the top, does Marvy's project have enough clought to convince Crane to dismantle the new billboards in favor of a Wrigley Field-like neighborhood view in left?!?

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You wouldn't be able to see enough of the field to even make it worth anyone's time. Look at the outfield wall. It is roughly 30 feet above street level. However, the field is roughly 30 below street level. The apartments will be roughly 200 feet from the outfield wall arches. Even if the roof of the apartments are 80 feet above street level, they will only be 50 feet above that wall, and 200 feet from it. This would leave a viewing angle of 14 degrees to the top of that wall arch. If you extended that viewing angle down the 60 feet to the field, the wall would block the first 240 feet of the field from the outfield wall into the infield. The left centerfield wall is 362 feet from home plate, so you might see 122 feet of the field, essentially the infield and right field, but none of left field and nearly none of centerfield.

EDIT: It appears that the field is only 25 feet below street level, so this would improve sight lines slightly, but the arched walls still appear to extend 30 feet above street level. At best, 220 feet of the outfield would be obstructed.

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I am thinking that something similar to the scale and density of West Avenue would work great in this site. That would look great downtown, especially next to the ballpark and all that is going around it.

Did the abysmal failure of Houston Pavilions teach us nothing!? No, absolutely not. HP had a far superior location to this one, too.

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Did the abysmal failure of Houston Pavilions teach us nothing!? No, absolutely not. HP had a far superior location to this one, too.

Part of the reason why the Houston Pavilions underperformed is because the developers decided to pull the residential component from the project, at the last minute. They also pulled the hotel component. The city was NOT pleased with this at all. The residential component would have included a customer base and possibly would have changed the type of tenant in the complex.

This Finger's project, is in response to an initiative created by the city. They are focusing on increasing the residential presence in the city, which will lead to more residential supporting needs:

http://www.chron.com/business/article/City-plans-incentives-for-downtown-homes-3791742.php

In fact, in the last 10-15 years the city has been the major figure in charge of downtown development. They have built 3 stadiums/arenas, convention center expansions, 2 hotels (one in the works), 2 parks for its residents (DG and Market Sq.), 2 rail lines branching out, and have worked with a number other entities to improve the downtown district from a n attraction/ quality of life standpoint.

No one is expecting this thing to turn around overnight but it reassuring to see that the city has identified what ingredient is missing from downtown and are focused on how to fix it. They are focused...

So far One developer has taken the bait......let's see if other developers follow and build more residential structures in the sea of empty lots downtown.

If you know a multi-family housing developer, please make them aware of this credit. According to my calculations, Fingers could receive $5.7 if they build this project.

AS far as spending city money. the city has to make intelligent decisions on what investment would lead to further returns. Building Discovery Green created development opportunities (residential, hotel, office) bordering the park which the city can now recoup additional tax revenue form those property. they probably have already calculated how long it will take for that decision, Discovery Green, the pay for itself, while benefiting the city in return.

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Part of the reason why the Houston Pavilions underperformed is because the developers decided to pull the residential component from the project, at the last minute. They also pulled the hotel component. The city was NOT pleased with this at all. The residential component would have included a customer base and possibly would have changed the type of tenant in the complex.

This Finger's project, is in response to an initiative created by the city. They are focusing on increasing the residential presence in the city, which will lead to more residential supporting needs:

http://www.chron.com...mes-3791742.php

In fact, in the last 10-15 years the city has been the major figure in charge of downtown development. They have built 3 stadiums/arenas, convention center expansions, 2 hotels (one in the works), 2 parks for its residents (DG and Market Sq.), 2 rail lines branching out, and have worked with a number other entities to improve the downtown district from a n attraction/ quality of life standpoint.

No one is expecting this thing to turn around overnight but it reassuring to see that the city has identified what ingredient is missing from downtown and are focused on how to fix it. They are focused...

So far One developer has taken the bait......let's see if other developers follow and build more residential structures in the sea of empty lots downtown.

If you know a multi-family housing developer, please make them aware of this credit. According to my calculations, Fingers could receive $5.7 if they build this project.

AS far as spending city money. the city has to make intelligent decisions on what investment would lead to further returns. Building Discovery Green created development opportunities (residential, hotel, office) bordering the park which the city can now recoup additional tax revenue form those property. they probably have already calculated how long it will take for that decision, Discovery Green, the pay for itself, while benefiting the city in return.

The incentive seems to have followed Finger rather than the other way around, so has Finger taken the bait or has the City? Who's the cat and who's the mouse in this game?

Whatever the case, I see the most powerful application of this incentive as being the creation of more residential in that area. Only with more residents (many complexes, thousands of units) will retail ever become viable. Do not fool yourself that a stadium and one apartment project can support any significant quantity of retail. The demand is insufficient to support it. Upper Kirby, yes. Northeast downtown, absolutely not!

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The incentive seems to have followed Finger rather than the other way around, so has Finger taken the bait or has the City? Who's the cat and who's the mouse in this game?

Here's a link to the Downtown Management Districts 2011-2015 Service Plan dated November 2010:

http://www.downtowndistrict.org/Home/AboutUs/ServicePlan/2011-2015DraftServiceP/2011-2015%20Service%20Plan.PDF

On page 18 they detail their Goal #4 of (making downtown) a Vibrant Sustainable Mixed use Place with (4b) Exciting neighborhoods to live in.

They continue;

Action: Consistent with newly prepared neighborhood plans for downtown, work to

attract more residential development at various price points including finding

ways to bridge economic and physical challenges. This includes required

market research and analyses.

Operating: $30,000/ $150,000

Action: In collaboration with other entities, work to expand open space, park &

recreational offerings for downtown residents as well as addressing the

current functionality of existing spaces.

Operating: $20,000/ $100,000

Action: Working with others, pursue school/ educational opportunities in or

immediately adjacent to downtown to meet the needs of a younger

residential population.

Operating: $10,000/ $50,000

Whatever the case....its a win win because the city WANTS residential so it can further develop a mixed-use environment. before you bash understand that this is a process and compared to what this portion of downtown looked like 15 years ago (almost ALL surface parking lots) I'd say they are making progress. Let them continue to build a customer base that will make downtown attractive for outside investors and developers.

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Here's a link to the Downtown Management Districts 2011-2015 Service Plan dated November 2010:

http://www.downtownd...ervice Plan.PDF

On page 18 they detail their Goal #4 of (making downtown) a Vibrant Sustainable Mixed use Place with (4b) Exciting neighborhoods to live in.

They continue;

Action: Consistent with newly prepared neighborhood plans for downtown, work to

attract more residential development at various price points including finding

ways to bridge economic and physical challenges. This includes required

market research and analyses.

Operating: $30,000/ $150,000

Action: In collaboration with other entities, work to expand open space, park &

recreational offerings for downtown residents as well as addressing the

current functionality of existing spaces.

Operating: $20,000/ $100,000

Action: Working with others, pursue school/ educational opportunities in or

immediately adjacent to downtown to meet the needs of a younger

residential population.

Operating: $10,000/ $50,000

Whatever the case....its a win win because the city WANTS residential so it can further develop a mixed-use environment. before you bash understand that this is a process and compared to what this portion of downtown looked like 15 years ago (almost ALL surface parking lots) I'd say they are making progress. Let them continue to build a customer base that will make downtown attractive for outside investors and developers.

I'm not sure how your excerpt proves the timeline of events. The program you mentioned is clearly larger/newer than their budget. And that's okay. They're just shifting some funds around. I just want to be sure that you've got your facts straight.

I do understand that this is a process, which is precisely my point. Residential is the horse and retail is the cart. Let's not get their order confused.

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Out of curiosity. What makes that location so much more attractive?

The HP site is more attractive than northeast downtown because it is a more densely developed and more highly visible part of downtown. There is more of everything there. Right there.

By contrast, NE downtown has a baseball stadium and charitable venues, most notably homeless shelters, vast surface parking lots, and low-traffic streets. There are 81 home games per year played by the Astros, but many of those games aren't in an ideal time slot for entertainment-oriented retail; and many of their seasons suffer from droughts of wins and attendance. They aren't the White Sox.

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I mean I guess I kinda get it. Just from a personal standpoint, I have been in the area of Crawford and Texas way, way more often than I am ever in the vicinity of HP (which is only if I am actually purposefully going to HP [ie HoB] I guess), It may have to do with where I live as going to the East part of downtown to the Astros, soccer, warehouse live, or Lucky's etc takes me into the area from I10 via 59 or mckee, theres no real route or destination (besides HP itself) that I ever takes that drives me by HP, which I guess isnt necessarily the case for everyone.

Edited by JJxvi
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Wait, what? White Sox?

I think you meant Cubs, the other Chicago team that sells out despite being losers. Or, maybe you meant the Red Sox?

Or the Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Yankees, or any number of other high attendance teams. In fact, as bad as the Astros are, the White Sox are only 3 places ahead of them in attendance.

Congrats, Niche, on proving that you pay absolutely no attention to baseball. Not, that anyone would have pegged you for a baseball fan...but the White Sox? But, you DID spell SOX correctly.

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we should rename TheNiche to TheTangent

Hey now, my posts have been on topic; the responses to them have been tangential. Low-attendance baseball games adversely impact the development potentials for retail opposite a baseball stadium. That was my point.

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