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East River - KBR Site Puchased by Midway

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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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Don't overlook the fact that the first floor garage and limited first floor windows adds to security at the expense of "attractiveness" - a trade off that many would take.

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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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So apparently there are 2 cranes being assembled on the Most eastern portion of the property and a new gas line being installed by Centerpoint. Signs of life?

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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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So apparently there are 2 cranes being assembled on the Most eastern portion of the property and a new gas line being installed by Centerpoint. Signs of life?

 

Cranes still hanging out near the bayou...

 

post-30-0-66367900-1406849662_thumb.jpg

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should there be public documentation online somewhere that states what they may be doing?

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They are loading big refinery towers to barges. They also did this a couple months ago. Not construction cranes. Unfortunately.

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

 

 

Closer to home, Mueller in Austin.  It used to the be airport and is gradually being converted to mixed-use.

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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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Hey Mr. Clean - When you search Cathexis Real Estate, their Real Estate page can be accessed.  But you're right...It's not on their home page. But, nothing else is either.  Cathexis is the most mysterious of companies. 

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Bear in mind that I'm also the same guy that heard HEB was looking at the kbr site too. For right now just file this one under unsubstantiated rumors. Just looking to see if anybody else had heard the same thing

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as of a year and half ago i could say with 100% certainty that the owner had absolutely no clue what to do with the site and floated around some pretty asinine ideas. HEB had been rumored back then as well.  when it was first purchased my money would've been on a significant project but it was pretty evident later on he had absolutely no idea what he was doing.

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Thereare a few hints that im investigating about someone seeing the owner of top golf out on the site looking at the land. Looking and interest are two different things though. It would be perfect for the view but a whole lot would need to be built around it to make it possible

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I heard one was coming to sugar land, but this is news to me. They did one an industrial area of Atlanta recently and have looked at some urban parts of Charlotte. I don't really know if the Houston market is large enough for 5 topgolf facilities.

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Woah.. Nice find. Interesting that there are multiple circlular targets, just like a TopGolf. And that elevated booth definitely hasn't been there long. I would hope they would face the range towards downtown though, not the ship channel..

 

I wonder if this is how TopGolf generally tests sites? I'd go back through satellite history to look at the site on i10 or Spring but Google Earth on mobile doesn't seem to have that feature..

 

26356186251_72e4981ec0_b.jpg

 

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I suspect if TG is looking, they are in a wait and see pattern before doing anything.

 

Wait and see for the oil industry, and wait and see what happens with the I-45 realignment.

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According to the Google Earth historical views, these targets first appeared 3/27/15, were still there 7/31/15, but gone by the latest update on 3/11/16.

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Maybe there's a developer considering putting a driving range in the middle of town houses?

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Alright, Perry Homes is looking pretty sweet right meow.

 

Also you know they're going to build a pedestrian bridge across the bayou. I know a HAIFer near by that will disappointed by that.

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Just now, Montrose1100 said:

Alright, Perry Homes is looking pretty sweet right meow.

 

Also you know they're going to build a pedestrian bridge across the bayou. I know a HAIFer near by that will disappointed by that.

 

Montrose, can you unpack that a little? I am a little behind on this area of town.

 

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It will be interesting to see when and how the bayou banks between there and downtown get developed now that Midway is in the game. Surely they will want walking/biking options in place before they start selling/renting homes. Perhaps they will make a nice donation to the BBP to get things underway?

 

My walking tour of that stretch of the bayou here:

 

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@H-Town Man - Perry Homes is building 20 something homes right accross the bayou from this. Not too risky in my opinion. They are selling even before this news... although the sales team over there has to feel pretty good about this new information and the potential for a pedestrian bridge between the two properties.

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Montrose, can you unpack that a little? I am a little behind on this area of town.

 

Downtown to this area along the bayou will be developed to tie into the west side. Trails cleaned up, a couple pedestrian bridges. I don't know if it will mirror the west side, but anything will be an improvement at this point. With Midway grabbing this site one of the bridges will likely go right inbetween the Jensen & Hirsch crossings. Linking the silos as well.

 

Only concerned with the big plot of land to the east of Middle. Also North of Freud. With Midway no longer a rumor, my fever to purchase is at a boiling point.

 

Plus our office is moving to Humble. Fiancé works in TMC. Apart from toxic soil, this area is looking pretty good.

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Join us 'trose.  You and the fiancé would fit right in. 

This is exactly what we've been hoping for, over here in our little neighborhood.  We heard a mention of Midway's involvement recently in a neighborhood meeting and that they were working with Buffalo Bayou Partnership, on plans for the bayou.  Anne Olsen for BBP also informs that they have been working on development plans for the Bayou east of Downtown.  All sounds good too me, so far.  Its such a huge piece of property, I am sure that it will be a work in project for the decade to come.  And we need a lot more residents...

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