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Houston Future Growth - 17 yrs +, be a part of HISTORY & Predict the Future

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Hello,

 

Want to get some thoughts on Houston in 2030.

 

17 years later; what the hell does this city look like? Hopefully not getting too side tracked w / (you name your special interest LIGHT RAIL, HEAVY RAIL, EVERYONE GET A BIKE, NIMBY)

 

I would specifically like to hear everyone opinion on future growth and DT, Midtown/Uptown, Galleria, MC, Cityplace West ect. East End

 

Maybe because I am getting older... dates like 2030 don't seem that far off, and far before HAIF or the internet people probably sat around drinking beer talking about booming cities like Houston and what might transpire with neighborhoods, growth and population boom. S

 

Most likely some had good luck & maybe they bought a bunch of houses in Midtown or an empty field of weeds near the galleria. Also, some are probably still waiting or their kids are; holding on to that old warehouse on Navigation or are you a landlord of someones future house on Lockwood.

 

I guess not to get too sappy, as long as we need oil & gas Htown seems like a good bet. People & companies will continue to move here what do you see happening and where? (i.e. Will the Astrodome ever have 25 light rail lines converging into one big Dino Amusment Park) OK that was the point of my post when can I enjoy the dino park in the loop???

 

TY * BTW buying a house in Midtown right now, love this crazy city!

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Fun topic. Here's what my crystal ball shows me...

 

Houston will continue to grow in all directions. The suburbs will expand further, the burbs and freeways will become even more clogged, way more people (esp familiies) will move into the loop to escape the traffic (or prices will be pushed up as transplants coming from other parts of the country move in). Currently nice suburbs of today will deteriorate as people chase the next new build, and existing suburban communities will struggle with higher crime rates and finding a way to provide appropriate police and fire protection over even larger expanses with lower tax revenue.

 

The city itself will still have bad mass transit... but things will be sooo bad by now that we will seriously be talking about real solutions. Inside the loop, 4-5 story apartment buildings will gooble up popular neighborhoods w/out deed restrictions. Neighborhoods with single family homes (and deed restrictions) will draw an even higher premium. The Medical Center will be booming and much larger. Places that are "ghetto" today (i.e. 3rd/4th/5th wards) will start to see more townhome builds as younger people won't be able to afford anywhere else, so these neighborhoods will become transitional at this point.

 

Just outside the loop, neighborhoods w/ single family residences will become more popular, and you'll see new builds in places like the north/west sides of Spring Branch where older homes currently stand (my grandmother's included). You'll also see more (and cheaper) apartments.

 

In summary, it will be a lot like it is today... just a ton more people, apartments, and single family lots in the loop (and just outside) will be even more expensive. The city will definitely be a fun and vibrant place to live... but I'll feel sorry for those that have to get on the freeways.

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By 2030, I believe the demographics inside the loop will change rapidly as it continues to become denser and denser developments. This change will cause voters actually passing a development similar to San Francisco's new Transbay Terminal( http://transbaycenter.org/ )  to help connect the Houston MSA and even other Texas cities. Commuter lines will be underconstruction from Sugarland, Katy, the 290 Corridor, and The Woodlands will converge in downtown between Capitol and Rusk on top of what is planned to be Light Rail's Central Station and spanning from Travis (Capitol Tower) and Caroline (HSPVA)(Sandwiched between 2 of Hines' Properties ;) ). The HSR between Dallas and Houston will also terminate in the new terminal, with a leg that follows the Purple Line then I-45 to Galveston with a stop at Kemah Boardwalk.  This will spur development downtown to stretch northward, all the way to the Bayou.

 

By then Gambling will also be legal in Texas ( http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2013/02/texas_gambling_vote_poll.php ) which will cause Kemah to become the largest gambling destination on the Gulf Coast. I wouldn't be surprised if a bunch of casinos popped up in the Galleria also as well as along the Bayou downtown (which would help create hotels for the Convention Center).

 

Katy and The Woodlands will have populations well over 500,000 as the growth in the suburbs will far outpace the growth in the intercity. Of course the Katy commuter rail will also serve the Energy Corridor because I-10 in the area will be a parking lot for a majority of the day (which will have helped change peoples moods against rail because hopefully they will stop complaining about traffic and actually vote for some transit ideas to reduce congestion). While both the Katy and 290 lines will also stop at the Northwest Transit Center near the Galleria before terminating downtown.

 

 

 

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I'm going to take a slightly different perspective here, because I think that by 2030 the transportation picture will change significantly due to the growing prevalence of self-driving cars. Growth in the suburbs will significantly outpace growth in the cities and while density will continue to increase inside the loop, it will not do so at the current pace. Rail development will cease to the point that many cities (including Houston) begin to remove existing lines in the same way that streetcars were removed in the early 20th century. Freeways will convert HOV lanes to self driving lanes to allow for the reduced distance that is required between the cars.

Surface parking lots will be reduced in many areas because of the ability of cars to be parked remotely and density will occur as those lots are redeveloped.

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Very cool answers! Thanks for the replies, never thought about self driving cars and how that might play out with rail and roads. My prediction would be areas to the East will grow too as an option for people working DT & MC who don't want to live in the crazy booming and more costly West & North.

 

Cheers!

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The self driving car scenario is definitely interesting with mass transit. My theory on them is that people will eventually not own a car, but instead schedule ahead of time to be picked up for the am commute, then picked up at work for the drive home later. The cars will then service other users during the day time.

 

Even so, traffic can still be bad even if all traffic were self driving (there is only so much space on our freeway system). They will help full growth in the burbs, but your commute time will still be annoying (I'd imagine people will say "Why should I sit in this car for 30 minutes when I can be home in 5 if I live in the loop?"). Even then, that requires all cars to be self driving... and that's not probably for another 70 years.

 

Remember that we should all be flying around in cars right now according to Back to the Future II, but alas we're still driving the same gas guzzling cars.

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There will be some increase in light and commuter rail as the Houston area gains population.  As the price of gas moves steadily upward electric cars will become more prevalent, leading to infrastructure issues for electricity delivery.  Increased congestion will prompt a larger majority of employers to revamp their operations for telecomuting and/or move employment centers to the periphery of the area (Katy, Sugarland, Energy Corridor, The Woodlands, etc.).  Life and the city will still be very recognizable for us in 2030 (17 years from now) just as it was in 1996 (17 years ago).  It will be interesting to me personally to see how the Bellaire Chinatown develops over the next decade or so given how fast it has grown in the last decade.

 

I agree that the remaining inner loop neighborhoods will start to gentrify as time goes on.  I doubt we will see mass adoption of self-driving cars in the next 17 years.  Not so sure we'll see high speed rail between here and anywhere in the next 17 years, but I'd love to be wrong on that.  I suspect we will see greater interest in local and long-distance bus service.  I also agree that we will probably have casinos by that point, with gambling becoming somewhat of major industry in the Houston-Galveston area.  I think, though, that those in our area will not be in the city limits, they may even be banned by local ordinace, but more toward Kemah and Galveston where they will be set up as resort casios.

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I think that the high density development inside the loop will continue to increase as the west side continues to fill in and the east side becomes more popular.

I think the density west of 288/59 in the loop will average out to about 10k ppsm while the East side will climb to 7000 ppsm which would eventually put the inner loop population at about 750,000 people.

The east side of midtown and East Downtown will have the biggest transformations. One by one surface lots will turn into midrise residences and towers shorter than 15 floors.

45 will be re ran underground and midtown and Allen parkway will be considered part of downtown as more development springs up around the parks to the west of downtown.

UHD will break off from the UH system and build a name for itself based on developing rigorous criminal justice, business and science programs. They will join with South T school if Law to beef up their post graduate programs, and will start adding dorm rooms north of I10 (Hardy Dorms???) Their resident popukation will increase the near DT numbers by 5000.

By then the resident population inside the highways will be 22,000. The south/East part of midtown will become so popular that the midtown population will push passed 50,0000.

The Mayor will push for more downtown development. To encourage that a large square and a large park will be built on the South east side of downtown. The square will be surrounded by retail, new hotel developments as an extention of the convention district and also a few offices. It will also feature a variety of entertainment options, bars, clubs...

The park will be mainly surrounded by hirise residences similar to Park Place. The square will be a simple concreted open air square with sculptures, fountains, trees etc, but wuth enough room for concerts, plays, rallies, etc. The park will be similar to the promenade proposed for East Downtown a few years ago.

The two miles radius around downtown will become so popular that start ups and smaller corporate transfers will cluster here instead of out west or north. Both Chevron and Exxon will have relocated to Houston by then giving Houston the 2nd, 3rd and 4th largest companies in the US.

Houston currently ranks 7th in downtown office space behind NY, Chicago, DC, Boston, SF, and Philadelphia. The current proposed buildings will already push it passed Philly. After downtown reunifies with its neighbors it will griw to become the 4th largest downtown in terms of office space. It will far surpass Sf and Boston and put it on par with DC.

Houston will continue its march to be the undisputed big boy in the south. ATL snd Miami will continue its slower pace of growth. DFW will IMPLODE on itself as the services they provide will move to Houston.

The Port of Houston will ensure that Houston's economy and population keeps growing. More warehouses will develop in the east lessoning the need for processing centers in DFW.

In terms of education, UH while surpass A&M and become the second highest ranked public university in the state. The medical center will continue to expand; eventually it will join with Binz which will join with midtown which will join with downtown forming a power arc of employment only surpassed by NY. Over 400,000 office jobs will be held along this route.

Traffic will greatly be reduced on the highways but the concentration of people in the core will warrant at least three new rail lines. The university line will be developed but as a hibred. It will run from UH, to TSU to Rice from whence it will hop unto 59 and exit in Greenway. It will revert to a light rail system along westheimer and travel on to uptown. A second rail will service Montrose, 4th ward, the heights and loop around towards 5th ward. The 3rd rail would be nice going west on Dallas but because of space constraints it will go underground. It may turn northward when it gets to downtown, ending at the aquarium.

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If what you say does happen - I don't see traffic being reduced.  Not until we have a lot more mass transit options, and some of the heavy rail stuff will take nearly 20 years to complete if they started today.  But sounds good.

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If what you say does happen - I don't see traffic being reduced.  Not until we have a lot more mass transit options, and some of the heavy rail stuff will take nearly 20 years to complete if they started today.  But sounds good.

 

Agreed.  And as long as traffic is getting worse, there will be a bias for employers to locate outside the loop.  The Energy Corridor already rivals downtown for office space and that trend is just going to continue for the foreseeable future.

 

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The Energy Corridor already rivals downtown for office space and that trend is just going to continue for the foreseeable future.

Source? I predict our metro population will surpass the DFW's in the 2030's. I also precut we will snag a couple more corporate HQ's. Local banks will grow and be bought out by international banks and we will see a retail growth of their branches versus just the business side.

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If what you say does happen - I don't see traffic being reduced. Not until we have a lot more mass transit options, and some of the heavy rail stuff will take nearly 20 years to complete if they started today. But sounds good.

Traffic will be reduced as people will have much shorter commutes to work and thus spend less time on the highways.

Many people will, walk, ride bikes, public transit to work.

The only problem will be traffic passing through on their way past downtown. I see increased traffic problems if 69 is ever completed. They should build a bypass and circle 69 farther away bypassing downtown.

That would open up downtown even more than what I mentioned earlier with I45.

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The Katy fwy, with an average commute time of 1hr 52mins into downtown is under construction again, this time to expand the freeway to 40 lines wide.

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All proposed forms of rail are continually voted down as "unneccessary" and "a waste of money", the charge being led by John Culberson junior. As Houstons burgeoning population exceeds 8 million in the metro area, we are annually ranked the nations "worst city to commute in" by far, leading Culberson to propose the "Grander Parkway", a 100 lane wide freeway that wraps around the entire Houston/Katy/Baytown/Sugarland area, with connecting spokes into the just plain Grand Parkway, Beltway 8 and hwy 6. Culbersons proposal also calls for the 610 loop to be widened to 50 lanes and to be elevated to 1,200 feet so as not to encroach on the galleria, the heights, the med center, etc...

Edited by Howard Huge
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Agreed. The Energy Corridor already rivals downtown for office space and that trend is just going to continue for the foreseeable future.

The energy corridor at 20M sq feet doesn't even rival Uptown (30M) or TMC (40M+) , let alone Downtown which has aboyt 50M sq feet.

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The energy corridor at 20M sq feet doesn't even rival Uptown (30M) or TMC (40M+) , let alone Downtown which has aboyt 50M sq feet.

No, but the combined West Side (Energy Corridor, Westchase, and Memorial City) does.

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No, but the combined West Side (Energy Corridor, Westchase, and Memorial City) does.

No it still falls short.

Memorial is already included in the EC figure. The energy corridor takes into account a huge stretch of I10. Westchase only adds 12M sq feet of space putting the tital at less than 35M sq feet. But why would you compare the 200 sq mile westside to the 2sq miles downtown area?

Putting it that way you can say that Houston rivals midtown Manhattan if...... you add Downtown + TMc+ greenway + greenspoint+ Uptown+Energy corridor + Las Colinas+ Fort Worth+.....

Pound for pound there is no way the energy corridor confess close to rivaling downtown

Edited by HoustonIsHome

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No it still falls short.

Memorial is already included in the EC figure. The energy corridor takes into account a huge stretch of I10. Westchase only adds 12M sq feet of space putting the tital at less than 35M sq feet. But why would you compare the 200 sq mile westside to the 2sq miles downtown area?

Putting it that way you can say that Houston rivals midtown Manhattan if...... you add Downtown + TMc+ greenway + greenspoint+ Uptown+Energy corridor + Las Colinas+ Fort Worth+.....

Pound for pound there is no way the energy corridor confess close to rivaling downtown

 

According to Collier's, we're both wrong.  They show downtown office space at 40.2M, the Galleria area at 20.2M and the Med Center at 11M.  Katy Freeway is at 16.8M and Westchase is at 12.6M with a combined 3.3M under construction.

 

The reason that you compare the 200 sq mile westside to 2 sq mile downtown is because the topic of the thread is Houston in 17 years.  The amount of growth on the west side exceeds the amount of growth in the Galleria which exceeds the amount of growth in downtown.  I agree that it's not correct  that the west side rivals downtown today.  I'm not so sure that it's correct to say that it won't rival it in 17 years.

 

 

 

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I'm going to take a slightly different perspective here, because I think that by 2030 the transportation picture will change significantly due to the growing prevalence of self-driving cars. Growth in the suburbs will significantly outpace growth in the cities and while density will continue to increase inside the loop, it will not do so at the current pace. Rail development will cease to the point that many cities (including Houston) begin to remove existing lines in the same way that streetcars were removed in the early 20th century. Freeways will convert HOV lanes to self driving lanes to allow for the reduced distance that is required between the cars.

Surface parking lots will be reduced in many areas because of the ability of cars to be parked remotely and density will occur as those lots are redeveloped.

 

According to that logic we should have had flying cars by now as well. I don't see rail development ceasing and tracks being ripped out either.

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According to that logic we should have had flying cars by now as well. I don't see rail development ceasing and tracks being ripped out either.

 

Yes, we all fully understand your belief that there is no incremental progress in the development of the automobile.  There are two absolutes and nothing in between - the Model T and the flying car.

 

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And yet Downtown is 1 single entity.  West Chase can already be subdiveded into 2-3 different areas within its loose framework.  The Energy Corridor is just a collection of office parks strewn about a single freeway.  The area may have a lot of square feet under construction but the total growth of the area is limited by mobility.  Downtown - for its "eastern" location within what we tend to think of as nice neighborhoods in Houston is still located in an area that is easy to access from all directions giving people a much greater (and reasonable) choice of where to live.  Downtown will always be the center of Houston.  The Inner Loop will continue to grow and gain density, and the nice/cool parts of town will continue to be those areas near the inner core.

 

As for transit, connectivity to downtown is key.  Satellite Cities - like Memorial City or City Centre will continue to "pop-up" here and there where a smatering of highrises are currently located and they will help ease the congestion around town by offering smaller (less diverse/less dynamic) places to work/live/play (kind of like they already do - but more so).

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Yes, we all fully understand your belief that there is no incremental progress in the development of the automobile.  There are two absolutes and nothing in between - the Model T and the flying car.

 

 

That's not what I said either. As far as the demise of the streetcar, I and others disagree.

 

http://nation.time.com/2013/11/13/the-electric-streetcar-makes-a-comeback/

 

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/extinct-streetcar-life-us-20862240

 

http://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2013/11/12/once-nearly-extinct-streetcar-gets-new-life-in-us

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To answer the question, I see a tale of two Houstons, inside the loop, and outside. The demand will be highest for people to live in the loop, as that's where the attractions, events, and lifestyle will be most interesting. At a speaker session I went to last week the city of houston basically admitted it's focusing all its planning resources on projects inside the loop going forward. Inner loop will see more apartments and densification, along with many more bike lanes as well to encourage density. The outer areas will keep going further and further out, but traffic will continue to get worse, and basically become like LA is today, until some solutions are put in place. Many suburbs will get more crime ridden, and the city will have major probelms providing services for a larger area.

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To answer the question, I see a tale of two Houstons, inside the loop, and outside. The demand will be highest for people to live in the loop, as that's where the attractions, events, and lifestyle will be most interesting. At a speaker session I went to last week the city of houston basically admitted it's focusing all its planning resources on projects inside the loop going forward. Inner loop will see more apartments and densification, along with many more bike lanes as well to encourage density. The outer areas will keep going further and further out, but traffic will continue to get worse, and basically become like LA is today, until some solutions are put in place. Many suburbs will get more crime ridden, and the city will have major probelms providing services for a larger area.

 

The inner loop will continue to see densification, but will continue to contain about 8-10% of the overall population of the metro.   The inner core will contain a smaller percentage of office space and overall jobs due to continued development along the beltway and the Grand Parkway as companies chase lower rents and shorter commutes for their employees.  There will be continued development of civic areas outside of the city of Houston that provide their own services to residents. 

 

The suburbs themselves will continue to evolve as amenities move outward with the continuing development of "town centers" as well as fine arts and museum "annexes" in major suburban areas.

 

 

 

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For reference, the Q2 Colliers Houston office report lists current projects under construction as:

 

Inside the loop - approx. 80,000 sq ft

Outside the loop (including uptown) - approx. 9.3M sq ft.

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^Yes but the Inner Loop (and Galleria area) is far, far more mature than anything else along the outer beltways.

 

Suburban areas will of course also densify (particularly around hub centers) but not to the extent that you're saying.  At least - not "all" surburban areas.

 

For instance:  I can see League City growing beyond the 84,000 inhabitants it has currently to something around 100-120k +/- but in doing that it will require an EXTENSIVE re-zoning of land in and around the old town (there is an old town - believe it or not) that will see the introduction of dense apartments and townhome developments centered on transit that will still move people towards Downtown and the Inner Loop.

 

Also, notice that transit in Houston is being directed towards the Inner Loop.  The city and Metro is trying to curb expansion beyond the city limits - and while it may not be noticeable now in the next 2 decades we will witness more expansion inward.  I think this is smart, since we all know fuel costs will skyrocket again sometime in the future.  The city and transit boards are trying to build a local network that will allow the Inner Loop to be much larger than it currently is.

Edited by arche_757
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Here's what I see for Houston in 2030:  The inner loop continues to gentrify.  Montrose is increasingly dominated by West U-style McMansions and townhouse developments.  The “hip” areas are now considered to be Third Ward and the East Side, while residents in those areas are bemoaning the incoming tide of new redevelopment, especially along MacGregor and Southmore.  Midtown and Fourth Ward have continued to develop but are starting to show distinct signs of scruffiness.  The Med Center has continued to expand southward.   Directly east of that, the new Reliant Stadium is under construction on the former Astrodome site.  The county has made it clear that the old Reliant stadium will be demolished as soon as the new one is completed. 

 

Downtown, after the bust following the construction boom of the mid-2010s, development is quiet but there are signs that things might be turning around after ten years of no significant construction.  The last major construction project, redevelopment of the old Exxon Building, was completed in 2018 but the building stood empty for many years and came to symbolize the economic downturn and glut of downtown office space.  Even in 2030 it primarily houses city government offices at subsidized rates.   Hines will try to be first off the block with new downtown tower with a development on the Walker-Milam-Louisiana-McKinney block.  Parts of the façade of the old downtown Holiday Inn have started to fall off so the decaying structure has been encased in giant plastic sheets to protect pedestrians and autos.

 

Suburbs are a mixed bag.  Large stretches of older developments around the Beltway have deteriorated.  On the other hand, far suburban areas continue to develop, especially along the Grand Parkway.  The Prairie Parkway outer-outer loop is under construction, although completion is not expected for another 15 years.  There is no commuter rail, although most of the originally planned light rail system has been built out.  There have been discussions about extension to the airports, but these came to nothing.  There have likewise been discussions about adapting some toll lanes for self-driving vehicles, but the technology still has a way to go.  However, new double-decked toll lanes on the Katy Freeway have been able to handle additional load.

 

Houston remains the nation’s energy capital, although that has come to be seen as somewhat of a mixed blessing.  The city prefers to publicize itself as a leader in medicine and medical research.  

 

The Galleria continues to be the city’s largest mall, although mainly by dint of chartered shopping tours from Latin America.  Other than that, shopping malls are seen as dated.  Big box retail remains dominant, but inside the loop there are more up-market retail-dominated roads.  The most of important of these is the shopping route that extends from the Galleria, inward along Westheimer, and then south on Kirby to Rice Village.  

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I can certainly see Downtown having a commercial "bust" but I think residential growth will continue to happen in and around the core.

 

And Subdude - just curious - why do you see a bust?  Not a downtown, but a bust?

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The inner loop will continue to see densification, but will continue to contain about 8-10% of the overall population of the metro.   The inner core will contain a smaller percentage of office space and overall jobs due to continued development along the beltway and the Grand Parkway as companies chase lower rents and shorter commutes for their employees.  There will be continued development of civic areas outside of the city of Houston that provide their own services to residents. 

 

The suburbs themselves will continue to evolve as amenities move outward with the continuing development of "town centers" as well as fine arts and museum "annexes" in major suburban areas.

 

Commutes aren't necessarily shorter with offices in the suburbs. Many people live relatively close to downtown specifically because their job is there. I know of one large company downtown that thought about moving that didn't in response to complaints from employees.

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Subdude, however depressingly, probably nailed it.

 

Indeed, I would only add that following the overturning of the Endangered Species Act and successful court challenges to conservation tools, amid populist hostility to environmentalism, deftly exploited by libertarian-leaning Republicans ... those parts of the Katy Prairie protected by conservation easement were developed, although some of it was turned into ball fields by the county.

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Slick Vik is correct.  I have a two good friends who commute from suburb to suburb every day, one takes 30 minutes each way the other 45.  They decided to live where they do and don't mind the drive (so far) but one of them is, if anything, positioned badly for any future job transfers anywhere but the west side of town.

Where I live (greater Clear Lake) people either commute downtown or Galveston for work, and its about equidistant to both, but the time spent getting to the island is less than getting downtown.

 

I have also lived inside the loop and commuted out to a "suburb" and that trip usually took about 35 minutes (with a stop over at Diedericks at Hazard for a coffee - I really miss that coffee shop!!)

Edited by arche_757

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People don't usually stay at jobs for long periods of time now (4 years or something?).  Buying a house close to a business center that you have no idea whether you will work at in 4 years could be considered a bad idea.  Living in the loop hedges your bet.

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I can certainly see Downtown having a commercial "bust" but I think residential growth will continue to happen in and around the core.

 

And Subdude - just curious - why do you see a bust?  Not a downtown, but a bust?

 

 

Well perhaps “bust” might be too strong a word, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect at least a significant downturn.  

 

Right now interest rates are low because the national economy remains weak.  However, economic reality is a lot better in certain spots:  Texas, particularly Houston, and for those who can afford to materially invest in stocks.  Therefore, predictably enough, cheap money is seeking returns in the stock market and in Houston real estate.  Hence the string of recent stock market highs and proposals for Houston development.   There is starting to be some concern that stock markets are getting bubbly, and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think Texas real estate might also be entering bubble territory.   Real estate bubbles are even harder to spot than stock market bubbles, but it is just as brutal when they crash.

 

Second, Houston still has large dependence on the energy industry, and that may start to be under pressure as gains from fracking start to be played out and countries start to take stronger actions to suppress consumption.

 

Finally, the national economy has been expanding (slowly) since 2009.  On historic form, it is extremely likely that there will be another recession during this decade, and that could suppress demand just as new development comes on-line.

 

Saying that in 2030 there had been ten years without significant development was actually conservative with respect to Houston’s history after the bust of the early 1980s.  That virtually eliminated new downtown development for about 15 years, and even now there are buildings downtown that have been vacant since the 1980s.  

 

I'm not wishing for a bust, but I see a lot of factors that could make one happen. 

 

 

 

 

 

(with a stop over at Diedericks at Hazard for a coffee - I really miss that coffee shop!!)

 

I used to hang out there.  Broke my heart when it closed.

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Slick Vik is correct.  I have a two good friends who commute from suburb to suburb every day, one takes 30 minutes each way the other 45.  They decided to live where they do and don't mind the drive (so far) but one of them is, if anything, positioned badly for any future job transfers anywhere but the west side of town.

Where I live (greater Clear Lake) people either commute downtown or Galveston for work, and its about equidistant to both, but the time spent getting to the island is less than getting downtown.

 

I have also lived inside the loop and commuted out to a "suburb" and that trip usually took about 35 minutes (with a stop over at Diedericks at Hazard for a coffee - I really miss that coffee shop!!)

 

I appreciate your anecdotal evidence, but if you look at the numbers, you'll see that there's pretty clear statistical evidence that large scale public transit increases commute times, it doesn't decrease it.  Do some city to city comparisons and you'll see it pretty clearly.

 

The top five metros for public transportation usage are: New York, San Francisco, Washington, Boston, and Chicago.   The top three metros for commute time are:  New York, Washington, and Chicago.  Atlanta (which is frequently held up as an example of public transit envy) is number five.

 

(#4 is Riverside, CA - which is arguably a suburban community of LA)

 

I think that we're minimizing the question of economics though.  Every business is going to consider a series of factors when determining where to locate - costs, availability of employees, amenities, amongst others.  What you're seeing right now is that a majority of companies are seeing suburban locations as more attractive than downtown when considering and increased congestion is a big part of that.  Rapidly increasing housing costs and office rents inside the loop are driving it too.

 

Average rents in the CBD are an average of $33.25/sq ft.  Average rents in suburban markets are $22.11/sq ft with a number of markets at lower rates than that.  That's a pretty powerful consideration for a business when deciding where to locate.

 

My point is that I think that this trend will continue.  The loop will continue to grow and that prices will continue to increase.  A small percentage of people and businesses that can afford to locate there will, however the overall numbers will continue to favor the suburbs for the same reasons.

 

 

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I appreciate your anecdotal evidence, but if you look at the numbers, you'll see that there's pretty clear statistical evidence that large scale public transit increases commute times, it doesn't decrease it.  Do some city to city comparisons and you'll see it pretty clearly.

 

The top five metros for public transportation usage are: New York, San Francisco, Washington, Boston, and Chicago.   The top three metros for commute time are:  New York, Washington, and Chicago.  Atlanta (which is frequently held up as an example of public transit envy) is number five.

 

(#4 is Riverside, CA - which is arguably a suburban community of LA)

 

I think that we're minimizing the question of economics though.  Every business is going to consider a series of factors when determining where to locate - costs, availability of employees, amenities, amongst others.  What you're seeing right now is that a majority of companies are seeing suburban locations as more attractive than downtown when considering and increased congestion is a big part of that.  Rapidly increasing housing costs and office rents inside the loop are driving it too.

 

Average rents in the CBD are an average of $33.25/sq ft.  Average rents in suburban markets are $22.11/sq ft with a number of markets at lower rates than that.  That's a pretty powerful consideration for a business when deciding where to locate.

 

My point is that I think that this trend will continue.  The loop will continue to grow and that prices will continue to increase.  A small percentage of people and businesses that can afford to locate there will, however the overall numbers will continue to favor the suburbs for the same reasons.

 

Have you compared the commute times when driving against taking public transit in those same corridors? Even using Houston as an example, taking any park and ride bus into the city is faster than driving. Also, the vacancy rate for office space in downtown is very low right now. And you're right, the businesses that are doing well with employees that are doing well are probably going to stay, because their workers can afford to live nearby. However, please don't make it seem like the suburbs are the only affordable area that exists in the metro area. There are plenty of areas in the actual 610 loop where a house can be easily bought for under $100,000.

Edited by Slick Vik
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Have you compared the commute times when driving against taking public transit in those same corridors? Even using Houston as an example, taking any park and ride bus into the city is faster than driving. Also, the vacancy rate for office space in downtown is very low right now. And you're right, the businesses that are doing well with employees that are doing well are probably going to stay, because their workers can afford to live nearby. However, please don't make it seem like the suburbs are the only affordable area that exists in the metro area. There are plenty of areas in the actual 610 loop where a house can be easily bought for under $100,000.

 

If you compare door to door transit time then yes, driving is faster in almost every case.

 

Regarding housing prices, you can always find exceptions, but average housing cost and average office rent are lower in the suburbs.

 

 

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If you compare door to door transit time then yes, driving is faster in almost every case.

 

Regarding housing prices, you can always find exceptions, but average housing cost and average office rent are lower in the suburbs.

 

I disagree on the door to door transit time. It's faster for most people that live on a corridor in Houston to drive to a park and ride and catch the bus than to go through absurd traffic. Also there are the additional costs of wear and tear on your car and parking fees.

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And Subdude...  I agree that there will be a slow down, but certainly not a bust like the 1980s witnessed.  And I don't think the shale play is going to slow things down here in Houston for quite a while.  And while foreign countries counteract our own use devaluing the price of oil, I don't see that hurting the home grown industry to the extent that it will harm Houston.

 

The only real concern I have is a major storm hitting Houston and hurting growth in some of the areas (remember folks - much of Houston proper floods quite regularly - not just coastal areas).  If a Hurricane Hugo/Andrew (or worse Camile) hits the greater Houston area the devistation would be unsurpased and quite alarming.  People would of course rebuild, but when something like that happens you can kiss away at least a couple of years of solid development and growth with rebuilding.

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And Subdude...  I agree that there will be a slow down, but certainly not a bust like the 1980s witnessed.  And I don't think the shale play is going to slow things down here in Houston for quite a while.  And while foreign countries counteract our own use devaluing the price of oil, I don't see that hurting the home grown industry to the extent that it will harm Houston.

 

 

I certainly hope you're right.  Again, I don't think things are necessarily that dire, it was constructing a scenario.  One thing I thought about but didn't have a feel for was how successful the efforts to create street-level retail downtown would be.  

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I disagree on the door to door transit time. It's faster for most people that live on a corridor in Houston to drive to a park and ride and catch the bus than to go through absurd traffic. Also there are the additional costs of wear and tear on your car and parking fees.

 

And that opinion is based on your daily experience commuting in from Katy?

 

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