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East River: KBR Site Puchased by Midway


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Phase I is underway, here's our first look:       More renderings can be found in the brochure below:   https://images1.loopnet.com/d2/2hO8ds_6cesMWwAvCHKLz8FOD

One of the buildings at KBR that faces downtown. Really visible from afar.   

Finally an update (from HBJ):   A spokeswoman for Midway said in an email that the company is in discussions with the city of Houston about how the project will be delivered over the next se

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All the "bland" (per so many comments) townhomes, apartments and office buildings in general will disappear into the ciry fabric as a whole once Houston is completely in-filled. And in 150 years that should done. Of course, it's highly unlikely I will be around to see it!

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All the "bland" (per so many comments) townhomes, apartments and office buildings in general will disappear into the ciry fabric as a whole once Houston is completely in-filled. And in 150 years that should done. Of course, it's highly unlikely I will be around to see it!

 

You're dodging my points and changing what you said. You suggested that the townhomes in Back Bay were probably received the same way today's Houston townhomes are at the time when they were built, as though it's only the passing of time which can make townhomes seem beautiful to the present crowd of critics.

 

I countered that no, the townhomes in Back Bay were not received this way at the time they were built, and that there is an objective aesthetic difference between homes that front the street with garage doors, and homes that front the street as the Back Bay homes do, with human entrances. The former will always create a more hostile and less attractive street environment, all else being equal. You are welcome to try to refute these points, but the practice of simply requoting my question without answering it leaves me to assume that you aren't able to.

Edited by H-Town Man
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It's a question between do you want something like this, with human entrances,

 

500-boston-neighborhoods-back-bay.jpg

 

or this, with car entrances

 

mLDFQzW.jpg

 

 

And just so people don't think I only like things that are old, or that I have some bias against Houston's townhome builders, I do think this is somewhat attractive:

B9jXUom.jpg

Edited by H-Town Man
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I never said I liked townhomes with front loader garages. Nor do I like Randall Davis' Renoir, Meteopolis, etc. However, many of the buildings such as the mid rises and highrises today will be ok as the city in-fills. I've walked DC, Chicago, NYC etc and they have a lot of ugly (IMHO) buildings and row houses that you don't notice as much since there are so many buildings. Look, I love Houston, and wish builders could understand that people will pay for quality. Still, Perry Homes made Bob Perry a gazillionaire, so not everyone cares about aesthetics like you or I. Some people just want location and square footage.

If you or I don't like what people are building, we either have to pony up the money and build it ourselves, or quit griping about it.

Edited by Dakota79
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I'd opt for the front loader, but with a very large 2nd story balcony.

 

Of the 3, I find the 3rd to be the most "stay off my yard" as the approach to the front door is so small (no large staircase there), and the hedges/fences are so high. It's not inviting. Not to mention the windows are small.

 

The second at least doesn't hide the first story, even though it's just a garage door.

 

The first does have a much more inviting appeal to it, big windows, big stairs leading to the entry. 

Edited by samagon
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I never said I liked townhomes with front loader garages. Nor do I like Randall Davis' Renoir, Meteopolis, etc. However, many of the buildings such as the mid rises and highrises today will be ok as the city in-fills. I've walked DC, Chicago, NYC etc and they have a lot of ugly (IMHO) buildings and row houses that you don't notice as much since there are so many buildings. Look, I love Houston, and wish builders could understand that people will pay for quality. Still, Perry Homes made Bob Perry a gazillionaire, so not everyone cares about aesthetics like you or I. Some people just want location and square footage.

If you or I don't like what people are building, we either have to pony up the money and build it ourselves, or quit griping about it.

 

I'm glad you can sort of admit that the garage front homes don't look very good. The point of my posting the original picture was to make people think about what the KBR site could look like if done right.

 

It's my conviction that many people who buy townhomes lacking in aesthetics in this town do so because they don't have a quality alternative. There is no neighborhood where all the townhomes are done in such a way as to really make a quality street atmosphere like you have in Back Bay, and so it's a case of not knowing what you're missing. This is Houston's weakness - we don't have great historical precedents for townhomes, so we're willing to accept crap, just because it's close and convenient.

 

The KBR site presents a chance for a developer to do it the right way on a massive scale, and really show the rest of Houston what it's been missing. I don't have the money to "pony up" and do it myself, but I'm definitely going to talk about what I think would look good.

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The Back Bay is an awesome neighborhood but there's no way a developer could replicate it today in Houston. Most of those buildings were built as single family homes and only later converted to condos. Several are still single family and can run $10 million plus. Heck, a nice BASEMENT studio on Commonwealth or Beacon can run you $400,000... for a studio.

 

Additionally, the entire neighborhood was built before cars were on the road. Today, parking is a major hassle and an expensive one at that. If you aren't lucky enough to have a dirt spot in an alley, then you're looking at paying $500+ a month in a restrictive garage (in and out policies enforced) or dealing with street parking, towing, street cleaning schedules, and hundreds if not thousands of dollars of parking tickets a year. 

 

Of course, that neighborhood is much more pleasant to live in without a car than anywhere in Houston. Walking in Boston is a joy compared to most of Houston. Plus, all 4 T lines are within walking distance, the Back Bay/South End Station with commuter rail and AMTRAK service is right next to Copley Square, and the Charles River has hike/bike trails that make getting to the Financial District or Cambridge a breeze. 

 

 

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The Back Bay is an awesome neighborhood but there's no way a developer could replicate it today in Houston. Most of those buildings were built as single family homes and only later converted to condos. Several are still single family and can run $10 million plus. Heck, a nice BASEMENT studio on Commonwealth or Beacon can run you $400,000... for a studio.

Additionally, the entire neighborhood was built before cars were on the road. Today, parking is a major hassle and an expensive one at that. If you aren't lucky enough to have a dirt spot in an alley, then you're looking at paying $500+ a month in a restrictive garage (in and out policies enforced) or dealing with street parking, towing, street cleaning schedules, and hundreds if not thousands of dollars of parking tickets a year.

Of course, that neighborhood is much more pleasant to live in without a car than anywhere in Houston. Walking in Boston is a joy compared to most of Houston. Plus, all 4 T lines are within walking distance, the Back Bay/South End Station with commuter rail and AMTRAK service is right next to Copley Square, and the Charles River has hike/bike trails that make getting to the Financial District or Cambridge a breeze.

Some of these differences are beside the point. I'd imagine these would be single family homes rather than condos, and it wouldn't be so expensive because it's not so famous. The parking problem could be solved by alleys with garages. No they didn't have cars when it was built, but they didn't have the T either. And Buffalo Bayou will have the hike and bike trails.

I think the comparison is apt because, just like Back Bay started, you have this vast tract of land that has opened up near the center of the city, a huge blank slate. If someone has the vision to do it right, it could be similarly renowned someday.

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It will be a few years. RIght now that area is looking to build about 600+ homes in the immediate vicentity of KBR lot over the next 3 years. Once that happens as well as continued East End expansion will cause commercial developmetn to become necessary and KBR will pounce. Thats the reason they didnt want the botanical garden on that site. Its worth way too much. The only issue with that area is 5th ward politics causing so many problems for the owner. Look no further for corrupt politicians that 5th Ward CRC and the TIRZ 18.

Edited by Mr.Clean19
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How are the 5th ward politicians hampering Cathexis (the owners)? Sounds like you've heard something.

On a side note: heard that the Buffalo Bayou Partnership was able to gain Right of way access to build/complete trails along the bayou. They will also got the right of way for trails by Clayton Home housing project and will be converting to old railway bridge into a pedestrian/bikeway...which will be very cool.

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Millions are being poured into TIRZ 18 with no economic output. They leveraged city funding with a plan to develop the lower portion of "The Bottom" yet conveniently ran out of money less that 40% of the way complete. Now they are forcing the owners of KBR lot to join their TIRZ but its becoming a major stink because they want to be separate. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Big crawler cranes. Not typical of construction cranes.

Looks like they are doing some ground work along the bulkhead along the bayou. To me it looks like they may be preparing to lift something to or from a barge. But what? Something heavy.

My guess is that whatever it is all for...it'll be heavy-hauled in or out.

Love to see the activity here though.

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Although I think this site would be prime for a nice townhome redevelopment (something along the lines of a scaled-up version of Hines' Somerset Green that's near Old Katy Road would be neat here), I've thought this site would be a neat place to try reasonably large-scale midrise condominium development. One could also mix in a couple highrises. I was thinking New Orleans French Quarter-style architecture with nice walkable spaces for shops and restaurants. Magnolia trees could be planted to add more Houston flair--as I understand it a Magnolia forest once lined Buffalo Bayou. 

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Although I think this site would be prime for a nice townhome redevelopment (something along the lines of a scaled-up version of Hines' Somerset Green that's near Old Katy Road would be neat here), I've thought this site would be a neat place to try reasonably large-scale midrise condominium development. One could also mix in a couple highrises. I was thinking New Orleans French Quarter-style architecture with nice walkable spaces for shops and restaurants. Magnolia trees could be planted to add more Houston flair--as I understand it a Magnolia forest once lined Buffalo Bayou. 

 

They should also look at the Atlantic Station development in Atlanta for inspiration.

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Noticed that the company lost it's real estate portion of its website.... anyone know what is going on with the owner or the property?

 

http://cathexis.com/

 

Does anyone have a loopnet account or know of another means to see if this land is for sale right now. It says members only and im not going to spend $79 dollars to find out.

post-12738-0-00086000-1411354766_thumb.j

Edited by Mr.Clean19
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I hope this happens! Love the design.. I was bummed when I first saw this in the thread of projects that never happened.

Just saw they plan on building it at the turning basin/using the museum as launching point for the ship channel boat tours. Maybe once buffalo bayou park east gets built out they can have boat tours from Allens Landing/downtown out to the museum. It makes for a cool waypoint/destination to boost awareness and community involvement with the museum, and of course maritime industry.

Edited by cloud713
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YESSSSS! I remember seeing this in the proposed designs! This looks awesome! Build it now!

 

Glad its the above design to and not the "previous design" That just looks kinda stilted.

 

EDIT: and after watching the video....of course the Architect is Gensler! Damn you Gensler!!!

Edited by Luminare
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Lots of guys wearing backwards ivy caps in those renderings (or a newsboy for the guy in the distance).  Interesting hat choices.  

 

Well, to keep things in check, they have a phantasmal Alanis Morissette in the library photographing what appears to be a book case.  ^_^ 

Edited by The Pragmatist
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It's a cool design but a little out of the way. I realize the location makes sense for the type of museum, but it will be surrounded by industry.

Odd they wouldn't chose close to the Monument or closer to Downtown.

I agree, but that's why I love the fact people will be brought to the museum that want to take boat tours. If we built on that with more bayou ferry boat type cruises towards downtown it could become a popular waypoint/more of a destination.

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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to East River: KBR Site Puchased by Midway

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