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talltexan83

1101 Main St. - Main Food Store

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Nothing new to report unfortunately.  Just a general impression of the 1100 block of Main St. on the lightrail and across from the soon-to-be demolished Macy's. 

 

The current tenants -  Main Food Store, a beauty supply store, and the 1st floor of a parking garage -  seem to be a real impediment to growth and a quality pedestrian experience along the Main St. corridor.  Walking through the Houston Pavilions today was actually pleasant in spite of the heat and there are pockets of improvement all around downtown, but this block was full of pigeons, homeless, and lots of litter.  It just struck me a such a shame for an otherwise well shaded and central location.  Too many female office workers (walking alone) would simply take an alternate route.  Given that many pedestrians were being approached by homeless or flying birds, it’s hard to blame them.

 

Do the owners of the Main Food Store have a lease that cannot be altered?  Are there any plans to bring in a new series of tenants along that block? 

 

It may be simple minded, but I truly think that a revitilization of that one side of one block would help so much in terms of the continuity of Main St.  It would also feed nicely into planned upgrades to the Houston Pavilions and eventual development of the Macy's site.

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Pavilions is a far more hostile pedestrian experience than that corner. There are no exterior businesses at all. If you choose to walk down the center area, there is no way to cross the street without jaywalking unless you walk back to the corner. You have to zig zag your way through the complex like this if you wish to walk past the open businesses.

 

I don't condone street harassment of a "hey baby" manner, but asking for money is just free speech at work. I believe there is still a sign next to the tree on that corner saying not to feed the pigeons. Anyway, a little bit of perhaps not ideal walking retail is better than none!

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Having the old Sakowitz building turned into a parking garage didn't help much - nor did losing the old First City banking hall to a parking garage a block north, or the old Milam Hotel/movie palaces to a parking lot and then garage a block northwest of that, or the old San Jacinto hotel to a parking garage a block north of that. Main Street averages one parking garage per block along here, and making a pedestrian experience out of that is not easy.

There is apparently some kind of historic facade under the upper story panels of the Main Food Store, and some speculation a while back that they could renovate it and make it look nice, but most likely if anything were to happens there it would be a sale for land value and high rise construction. The Sakowitz could conceivably be turned back into a retail store if Greenstreet somehow took off.

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I like the guy that plays the trumpet out in front of the Sakowitz garage around lunchtime.

 

The block is pretty much tied up with whatever the owner of 1010 Lamar wants to do since they have coupled their tower with the Sakowitz garage. 

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Have to correct my post above... it was the Lamar Hotel/movie palaces across from First City that gave way to a parking lot, and that's now an office tower and garage. A block north of that the Woolworth building was demo'd for a parking garage, and a block north of that the San Jacinto Hotel demo'd for another parking garage, with also the BG Group parking garage across the street where the West Building was. Average is one garage per block on Main St. from Texas Ave. to Clay.

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1 hour ago, rechlin said:

Found on reddit today from /u/creation88, it looks like the original façade is largely intact under the cladding, at least on the second floor.  Let's hope they are taking the cladding off to restore the original appearance, rather than to put it back up again:

 

2qe3vg8jmqs31.jpg

 

Fantastic! This is why I HAIF!

 

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Good find Rechlin! This is great. I can't wait to see what it looks like with the first floor reclaimed.

Did someone purchase the building and restoring it. Does anyone know who is responsible?

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Bad news guys. Went over there just now. Owner plans to update the pannels to more of a modern look. Likely further destroying what is there now.

 

You won't see this view for long.

 

 

Edited by Avossos
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2 hours ago, Avossos said:

Bad news guys. Went over there just now. Owner plans to update the pannels to more of a modern look. Likely further destroying what is there now.

 

You won't see this view for long.

 

 

 

Unfortunately downtown still has these remnants of the people who made it a 1980's hellhole and would do so again if given the chance.

 

Next post I'll tell you what I really think.

 

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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3 hours ago, Avossos said:

Bad news guys. Went over there just now. Owner plans to update the pannels to more of a modern look. Likely further destroying what is there now.

 

You won't see this view for long.

Easily 10 times greater a revelation than when Sears lost its cladding.  This is already breathtaking, and even if it wasn't perfectly restored right away, it would still add so much to the streetscape.
Can't the Landmark Society or Downtown District (or whatever those entities are called) approach the owner? Perhaps financial incentives could be made...or, permits denied?
Seldom have I so quickly had my hopes raised, then dashed. 

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Man that building is gorgeous! WHY TF IS THE OWNER COVERING IT BACK UP!?!?!?! It looks like it will be the same facade just new panels.

Edited by j_cuevas713
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Incidentally, this is what's wrong with the idea of changing the bottom two floors of Two Shell, Houston Center, etc., to meet our current tastes.  There will come a time when 80s style will be considered chic again.  (***shudder...***):ph34r:

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Saw this on FB and thought what a gorgeous building....now seeing they are going to recover it, what a damn shame. Wish I was rich and could buy it...

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4 minutes ago, mollusk said:

Incidentally, this is what's wrong with the idea of changing the bottom two floors of Two Shell, Houston Center, etc., to meet our current tastes.  There will come a time when 80s style will be considered chic again.  (***shudder...***):ph34r:

 

We must choose between a downtown that is hostile to street life and one that encourages it. The bottom two floors of most of those 80's buildings were an afterthought. The main thing they cared about was how the whole building looked from a distance. There are a few cases where thought did go into the bottom floors or the building is simply a masterpiece from bottom to top, and in those cases I would favor preserving the bottom. I wouldn't go punching a bunch of GFR into Pennzoil or One Shell or half a dozen of the better buildings. But with Houston Center, nothing is lost preservation-wise by improving the streetscape, since they never cared about the streetscape to begin with.

 

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The first floor of this could be done like a traditional London pub, and the second floor would harmonize perfectly. The Olde Lamar!

 

pub_shutterstock_507606286.jpg

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H-Town, fair point.  However, turning the bottom few floors into something that doesn't even try to coordinate with the rest of the building is right up there with the aluminum skins that were a "modernization" fad in the 60s.  Changing the usage (and even the massing) doesn't have to mean ditching the basic design concept.   

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Amazing.  Had no idea how beautiful the original facade was underneath that awful cladding.  Classic Houston. 

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9 hours ago, mollusk said:

H-Town, fair point.  However, turning the bottom few floors into something that doesn't even try to coordinate with the rest of the building is right up there with the aluminum skins that were a "modernization" fad in the 60s.  Changing the usage (and even the massing) doesn't have to mean ditching the basic design concept.   

 

I see this point on Two Shell Plaza, although you have an issue there where the building was built to be One Shell's corporate little brother and they needed to differentiate it somehow. With Houston Center, I guess it is mainly the white color of the lower floors that looks different than the rest of those buildings. I don't know, maybe they should have kept the dark bronze color. But it is not like they tried to make the first two floors Tudor or Spanish Renaissance or something, which would really be the counter to what happened when these historic buildings were modernized in the 60's.

 

15 hours ago, jermh said:

IMG_20191015_171350.jpg

 

 

I wonder how easy it would be to find a match for the terra cotta for those places where the Visigoths or whoever it was ripped out what was there. Would take some searching and an enlightened, caring owner.

 

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A small thing, but did anyone notice if the clock still was working?

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9 minutes ago, cspwal said:

A small thing, but did anyone notice if the clock still was working?

 

I was wondering the same thing. The timestamps on my photos are between 5:12 to 5:15 pm, so if we know when other people took photos we could figure out if the hands moved at all. 

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I should just go downtown and watch it for like 15 minutes

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30 minutes ago, cspwal said:

A small thing, but did anyone notice if the clock still was working?

 

You're thinking that maybe it was under that wall telling time for 50 years?

 

43 minutes ago, Naviguessor said:

Jesus Saves 8 percent on Stationary Printing at First Baptist Church

 

Stationery?

 

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So the building is obviously being saved it just hasn't been restored. I wonder if the owner has had anyone comment on the building underneath.

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2 hours ago, EllenOlenska said:

Jesus doesn't save old buildings in Houston. 

 

Maybe not, but the ones dedicated to him seem to have unusual staying power.

 

Edited by H-Town Man

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2 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

You're thinking that maybe it was under that wall telling time for 50 years?

 

 

Stationery?

 

If it's plugged into AC power, and the mechanism still works, I don't see why it wouldn't be

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^^^ and that's how the power of the internet can be used for good. i bet someone could start a gofundme or crowdfunding campaign to help get this restored, assuming the city or someone else w the funds available doesn't simply step up to the plate. hell, if i'm an adjacent property owner i'd give consideration to this. a historical restoration would do wonders for the property and who knows could lead to a repurposing to something other than seedy convenient store (no offense to Mr. Iqbal). i'm sure the current incarnation is a cash cow for him, though, so who knows.

 

either way, at least there's some hope.

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It might be in Midway's interest to buy this since it is sort of a gateway to Greenstreet. They could make Mr. Mohammed an offer he can't refuse. Or whoever finally redevelops the Sakowitz building might want to make this a part of their development.

 

The article above references this article (link below) about slip-covered buildings on Main Street. It appears there is another treasure waiting to be uncovered at 901 Main. The building next door to it at 905 was restored to a very attractive appearance.

 

https://houstonhistorymagazine.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/unmasking-main-street-shipcovered-buidings.pdf

Edited by H-Town Man
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I believe the façade at 901 Main is heavily damaged, so it may need to be recreated out of Styrofoam like they did at 905 Main.  But I hope to be proven wrong.

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21 hours ago, rechlin said:

I believe the façade at 901 Main is heavily damaged, so it may need to be recreated out of Styrofoam like they did at 905 Main.  But I hope to be proven wrong.

 

905 Main looks pretty solid to me (Google streetview), can you give any more details?

 

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2 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

905 Main looks pretty solid to me (Google streetview), can you give any more details?

 

It may well be brick on the upper floors, but what looks like limestone on the ground floor is an EIFS re-creation like the upper floors of the JW Marriott.  There are places where the paint-like coating has broken off on the relief, exposing the Styrofoam underneath.

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1 hour ago, rechlin said:

 

It may well be brick on the upper floors, but what looks like limestone on the ground floor is an EIFS re-creation like the upper floors of the JW Marriott.  There are places where the paint-like coating has broken off on the relief, exposing the Styrofoam underneath.


you sure ALL of that is fake??

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12 hours ago, Avossos said:

you sure ALL of that is fake??

 

I'm not sure which you are referring to, but I can say that on the Holy Cross Chapel, the limestone/sandstone is fake.  On the JW Marriott, everything above the first three floors is fake except for some panels immediately below the windows on a couple floors.

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So according to a Metro post I saw on Instagram the fire has been going on the past few days. They barely got service back up and running on the Red Line today. If that’s the case, is this building still salvageable? 

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Was downtown today and I was awestruck at what is now visible!  Sadly if it is true that it will be covered up once again, any architecture buff should make the trip to see this.  The terracotta, sculptures, figurines or whatever they are called are so beautiful and seem to be pretty much intact.  Perhaps the covering actually protected it.  They were power washing it today.  This (1101 Main) is not the Dollar Store that had the fire last week, that was the Dollar Store at 901 Main.  Another clarification,  the modernization with slip covers on some of the older buildings on Main did not occur in the 80's, it was more like the late 60's/early 70's.  Examples were the original Carter Building at 806 Main (now JW Marriott Hotel).  I can remember in the 1970's the building that now houses Holy Cross Chapel (905 Main) had a godforsaken ugly, tacky gold metal cage like covering with an even tackier picture of the San Jacinto Monument plastered across it.  I believe the tenant of the building at the time could have been San Jacinto Savings or something like that?  The original Krupp & Tuffly building from 1929 at 901 Main (the Dollar store fire last week) was absolutely gorgeous before it was "modernized with the blank covering.  Check out how it originally looked: http://www.houstondeco.org/1920s/krupp.html  If it's neighbor (now Holy Cross Chapel) could have been restored then why not 901 Main (unless last week's . fire made it no longer salvageable) and of course 1101 Main which we are now seeing what is underneath.  I agree with what "dbigtex56" said - Can't the Landmark Society or Downtown District (or whatever those entities are called) approach the owner? Perhaps financial incentives could be made...or, permits denied?  Maybe if the public outcry is strong enough?  Or is this just wishful thinking of myself just like "dbigtex56"

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