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Bob Plumb

GreenStreet Redevelopment + 21-Story Hotel Alessandra

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Back in those days companies wanted to stand out from the crowd and it was more common for entire companies to be housed in one building exclusively. We are seeing more and more spec buildings than built to suit in this market specially because the current market/corporate culture in America doesn't allow for built to suit to flourish and we live in the hyper extreme of this case, Houston. Companies in the 70's and 80's were willing to take those risks because it was another way to market their company and stand out from their competitors. We live in a period of American architecture, and corporatism where instead of trying to be bold and brash, it's all about conformity, blending in, don't offend, why go for one thing when you can aim to please all.

 

You see this with everything from cable TV channels changing programming to reach everyone making them more bland in the process, or technology which tries to be the all-in-one which actually makes it less distinctive than if they were singular devices. The age of Exclusivity is gone and we have entered the era of Homogeneity. If there is anything to blame for this, blame those in charge because it really does reflect the mentality of this current generation of those in power all around. They are completely content with not advancing anything and are instead either rehashing old themes, preying on nostalgia, or flying on auto pilot. It's why I don't understand why we keep using the term "Modern" when, at least in Western culture (especially here in America), we are entirely in the Post-Modern. Everything is relative and you see it architecture today, and in every industry in general. Modern is the advancement of culture in one continuous direction where as in Post-Modern there isn't a one true path, but an infinite number which instead of leading us forward keeps us at a standstill due to either to many forces going in different directions or the inability even choose one.

 

EDIT: If I did so happen to offend anyone in that age bracket.....I don't care.

 

Its not that we (the USA) are becomming more bland... its that we're being given tv/radio/news/books/media/design/etc. etc. that has been "dumbed" down.

 

Case in point:  The History Channel.  5 years ago they had actual historical documentaries, programs exploring historical events/places/people, fast forward and today we have "Pawn Stars" and their ilk.

 

Sad.

 

Yet its a transformation we're all too happy to embrace.  I mean in 1946 we watched sporting events live, movies were only shown on theatre screens and mass media was mostly distributed in a format that HAD to be read, or at least listened to.  Also, it was societal norm for people to simply be more formal in dress, interactions, talk...  Today we have access to everything we need on a palm sized tablet.  This is moving the masses (as a whole) towards a far less formal society, and also towards one where IF you need something - there is a specialized place online where it exists.

 

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Its not that we (the USA) are becomming more bland... its that we're being given tv/radio/news/books/media/design/etc. etc. that has been "dumbed" down.

 

Case in point:  The History Channel.  5 years ago they had actual historical documentaries, programs exploring historical events/places/people, fast forward and today we have "Pawn Stars" and their ilk.

 

Sad.

 

Yet its a transformation we're all too happy to embrace.  I mean in 1946 we watched sporting events live, movies were only shown on theatre screens and mass media was mostly distributed in a format that HAD to be read, or at least listened to.  Also, it was societal norm for people to simply be more formal in dress, interactions, talk...  Today we have access to everything we need on a palm sized tablet.  This is moving the masses (as a whole) towards a far less formal society, and also towards one where IF you need something - there is a specialized place online where it exists.

 

 

Bland, dumbed down....they are interchangable. We are happy to embrace it because its easy and its familiar. Lets face it people have no idea what they want most of the time until you put it right in front of their face. All we are doing is regurgitating past styles, themes, tones, typologies, and trying to sell it as the next thing instead of charting new paths to new things or at least try new things. Modernist architecture definitely didn't solve the worlds problems as was once heralded, but at least it TRIED! It failed spectacularly, and was a beautiful mess, but at least it tried to further the discipline and further our culture.

 

I think you are misinterpreting my motives in regards to technology. The internet is increasing opportunties to create new things and create new culture and has the chance in this new digital age to create fundamentally different architecture. We are also seeing that even though the internet and increased mobility are changing old ways of doing things, it's also helping to reinforce the need for balance in others. A blend between Reality and Virtual-Reality.

 

...and wow we are getting way off topic lol. But this is getting interesting :P

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I don't think Houston has anything to do with it. Chances are this would of happened in practically any US city outside of NYC and Chicago.

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alessandra-redesign-both.jpg


so now, not only is it far uglier than anything imaginable... but it's basically three floor's shorter?


wow, what a catch!


maybe we can change the name from alessandra to alex.  straight and foreboding as an arrow... and absolutely no more curves and sensuality...


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In one weird ranking. Nobody else even ranks Sorella 5 star that I know of.

Weird ranking??? You should read up on Condė Nast.

I won't pretend to know the hotel industry well but I'd be willing to bet Hotel Sorella much prefers this ranking over an additional star.

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I don't think Houston has anything to do with it. Chances are this would of happened in practically any US city outside of NYC and Chicago.

 

I guess, Houston tends to have more boxy buildings though, Atlanta, Dallas, LA, Boston and Philly all have more "interesting" buildings, Houston really loves its boxy buildings.  

 

Downtown is full of typical buildings, the one that I like is the Bank of America building. 

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I guess, Houston tends to have more boxy buildings though, Atlanta, Dallas, LA, Boston and Philly all have more "interesting" buildings, Houston really loves its boxy buildings.

Downtown is full of typical buildings, the one that I like is the Bank of America building.

I'm not so sure. A quick glance at Emporis reveals that..

Atlanta has 366 buildings over 12 stories

Dallas also has exactly 366 buildings over 12 stories

LA has 636 buildings over 12 stories

Boston has 318

Philly has 461

You know how many buildings over 12 stories Houston has? 615. The only city comparable in that list is LA, and I think it's safe to say they have their fair share of boxes too. IMO its definitely easier for "unique" buildings to stand out amongst a small(er) skyline.. See Frost Building Austin. Houston just happens to have one of the biggrst skylines in the country. i noticed you didn't complain about the number of boxes in Chicago or NYC...

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I'm not so sure. A quick glance at Emporis reveals that..

Atlanta has 366 buildings over 12 stories

Dallas also has exactly 366 buildings over 12 stories

LA has 636 buildings over 12 stories

Boston has 318

Philly has 461

You know how many buildings over 12 stories Houston has? 615. The only city comparable in that list is LA, and I think it's safe to say they have their fair share of boxes too. IMO its definitely easier for "unique" buildings to stand out amongst a small(er) skyline.. See Frost Building Austin. Houston just happens to have one of the biggrst skylines in the country. i noticed you didn't complain about the number of boxes in Chicago or NYC...

Not trying to start a flame war here....

But, do consider that the City of Houston is probably 5 times bigger than the City of Atlanta, 10x bigger than the City of Boston, and much bigger than the City of Dallas or Philly.

While Houston may have many more tall buildings, they are spread out.(but still inside the sprawling City limits).

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Not trying to start a flame war here....

But, do consider that the City of Houston is probably 5 times bigger than the City of Atlanta, 10x bigger than the City of Boston, and much bigger than the City of Dallas or Philly.

While Houston may have many more tall buildings, they are spread out.(but still inside the sprawling City limits).

while you have a point too, Boston is the only city mentioned thats noticeably above Houstons CBD. Philly pretty much ties it. everything else is way behind.

1. Midtown Manhattan- 213,818,31

2. CBD Chicago- 130,317,15

3. CBD DC- 107,337,31

4. DT Manhattan- 76,000,76

5. MT S Manhattan- 74,577,47

6. CBD Boston- 64,407,32

7. CBD SF- 45,176,67

8. CBD Philadelphia- 44,261,375

9. CBD Houston- 43,214,941

10. CBD LA- 32,159,55

13. CBD Dallas- 26,890,00 

17. CBD Atlanta- 17,288,368

since Boston and Philly are the only ones that rank at or above Houstons CBD size, here are pictures of the 3 to compare their skylines..

with a few notable exceptions in each city, the majority of buildings are boxes in all 3.

boston-skyline-02.jpg?w=540&h=356

1361_l.jpg

5170050263_3b97cb3df1_z-640x380.jpg

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I think we all agree that we live in an amazing city and we understand and agree that we have many more buildings then any other city in the nation aside NYC. We have a few unique buildings in downtown must most are typical box looking type with nothing " unique".  My opinion is we need to be more unique or should I say some of these developers need to take consideration that some more detailing should be taking into consideration but hey i guess it's not my money. I think most of us feel that we need to be more unique specially with our downtown area, we just love Houston so much we all have many opinions. 

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Frankly, I think this design fits in well with the already boxy Green Streets. Plus it will breathe some life into that development, which is still looking for a raison d'etre. 

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Weird ranking??? You should read up on Condė Nast.

I won't pretend to know the hotel industry well but I'd be willing to bet Hotel Sorella much prefers this ranking over an additional star.

 

If they ranked it as the best hotel in the Southwest then their ranking is weird.

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If they ranked it as the best hotel in the Southwest then their ranking is weird.

 

You must have had an unpleasant experience while staying there?

 

Otherwise what basis do you have for thinking Conde Nast is wrong?

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If they ranked it as the best hotel in the Southwest then their ranking is weird.

 

if your goal in this little exercise is to confirm our suspicions that you have no idea what you're talking about i'd say you're doing a good job.

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I just thought about the rendering change and got pissed all over again, lol.  This was the one (the ONE) high-rise that had some sort of architectural significance, and now we're left with a CityCentre building in the heart of the city. 

 

I lauded Midway for their efforts prior to this, but now it's painfully clear that they'd have been better off staying in the suburbs.  GreenStreet is a dumb name (tourists are going to assume it's on Green Street and not Dallas), it has no worthwhile tenants, and now it has an ugly hotel to look forward to.  Hmph.

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I think we all agree that we live in an amazing city and we understand and agree that we have many more buildings then any other city in the nation aside NYC.

Uhhhhhhh.....you ever heard of a little town called CHICAGO?
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if your goal in this little exercise is to confirm our suspicions that you have no idea what you're talking about i'd say you're doing a good job.

 

If your goal in this little exercise is to claim that the word weird is not a subjective adjective or that publicized rankings are not the same I'd say you are failing.

 

I haven't had a bad experience there at all.  I thought it was a nice place but I didn't think it was close to the best that I have stayed at in Texas, thus I think the rankings are weird.  Carry on with being a weiner.

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If your goal in this little exercise is to claim that the word weird is not a subjective adjective or that publicized rankings are not the same I'd say you are failing.

 

I haven't had a bad experience there at all.  I thought it was a nice place but I didn't think it was close to the best that I have stayed at in Texas, thus I think the rankings are weird.  Carry on with being a weiner.

 

Please differentiate who your are calling a "weiner" when addressing two different responses from two different people.

 

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if your goal in this little exercise is to confirm our suspicions that you have no idea what you're talking about i'd say you're doing a good job.

Jeez what the hell mate? Always over-reacting and attacking people...
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Children behave or I swear I will turn this car around.

 

They are tearing the new rendering apart on swamplot. Not with any solid ground to stand on, just the usual pseudo-elitist stuff. 

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I'm not so sure. A quick glance at Emporis reveals that..

Atlanta has 366 buildings over 12 stories

Dallas also has exactly 366 buildings over 12 stories

LA has 636 buildings over 12 stories

Boston has 318

Philly has 461

You know how many buildings over 12 stories Houston has? 615. The only city comparable in that list is LA, and I think it's safe to say they have their fair share of boxes too. IMO its definitely easier for "unique" buildings to stand out amongst a small(er) skyline.. See Frost Building Austin. Houston just happens to have one of the biggrst skylines in the country. i noticed you didn't complain about the number of boxes in Chicago or NYC...

 

I'm not talking about total buildings, we just have a different style in Houston, it's not bad particularly, but it's a shame that this development was going to go against that style and now is just conforming to the norm. 

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Children behave or I swear I will turn this car around.

They are tearing the new rendering apart on swamplot. Not with any solid ground to stand on, just the usual pseudo-elitist stuff.

I read this to mean that maybe there's hope that the developer might change back to the original design due to the outcry of the swamplot comments. Wish it was enough.

I too am extremely disappointed. Such a missed opportunity and is a painful relived moment of the ES hotel. Still glad it's getting built nonetheless.

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how many 20+ story hotels arent luxury? as has been pointed out.. Hotel Sorella is way worse than this, architecturally speaking, yet it ranked as the best hotel in Texas/the southwest.

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/morning_call/2014/10/houston-hotel-tops-cond-nast-list.html

 

Well, there's always the Heaven on Earth Inn, at 30 stories...

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yay! Another thread flushed down the drain with Dallas v. Houston talk. I'm so excited!

 

No, actually this thread was flushed down the drain when Urbannizer posted the new rendering (thanks Urb  :D). How in the world did Dallas get inserted into this discussion anyway? (Monarch :angry:? strange dude, but I guess we could use a few more strange characters in the world)

 

I've never seen so much beachin and complaining over a 20-something story building's redesign in my life. There's at least 10-15 posts over the last couple days repeating the same comments, it's like you guys all just happened to post at the same exact time or didn't care to read that others had already made your point.

 

Seriously, I appreciate the passion, but the comments about no longer holding Midway in high regard are nothing more than childish temper tantrums. Grow up folks!

Edited by 'Stonian
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Hotel Alessandra will for sure start in the "3rd Quarter this year"..., reliable source.

 

I rarely have much inside information on these developments however I happen to be associated with someone who relocated to Houston specifically to work on this project.  

 

After the redesign 'delay' last summer, I was told Hotel Alessandra would start construction in September '14, but thank God it was later delayed a second time while undergoing additional re-design over the fall.

 

Let me offer some perspective. The renderings (construction drawings) I was shown in July that was set to begin construction were FAR less appealing than the rendering Urbannizer posted the other day. Picture this if you will: basically the drawings showed the square box of the lower 20 floors in the latest rendering - absent the top 3 recessed floors and without the glass corner facade on floors 4-20. The exterior materials were listed as cast-in-place concrete with stucco accents. 

 

Since last summer, additional redesign added the top 'crown' and more glass on the corner. I'm told the facade of the new hotel will now be similar to the brick textured exterior of the new Hanover Post Oak tower at BLVD Place which IMO turned out better than the renderings.

 

Although the all-glass 'conceptual' drawings with retractable roofs, curves and swoops may have been released to generate buzz, lets count our blessings this thing did not get started last year as the truly value-engineered, watered down version that I saw in July and that someone at Midway actually cared enough to go back and add extra features. The new rendering will most likely fit in more with the facade of the existing Green Street/Pavilions as others have stated.

Edited by 'Stonian
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I rarely have much inside information on these developments however I happen to be associated with someone who relocated to Houston specifically to work on this project.

After the redesign 'delay' last summer, I was told Hotel Alessandra would start construction in September '14, but thank God it was later delayed a second time while undergoing additional re-design over the fall.

Let me offer some perspective. The renderings (construction drawings) I was shown in July that was set to begin construction were FAR less appealing than the rendering Urbannizer posted the other day. Picture this if you will: basically the drawings showed the square box of the lower 20 floors in the latest rendering - absent the top 3 recessed floors and without the glass corner facade on floors 4-20. The exterior materials were listed as cast-in-place concrete with stucco accents.

Since last summer, additional redesign added the top 'crown' and more glass on the corner. I'm told the facade of the new hotel will now be similar to the brick textured exterior of the new Hanover Post Oak tower at BLVD Place which IMO turned out better than the renderings.

Although the all-glass 'conceptual' drawings with retractable roofs, curves and swoops may have been released to generate buzz, lets count our blessings this thing did not get started last year as the truly value-engineered, watered down version that I saw in July and that someone at Midway actually cared enough to go back and add extra features. The new rendering will most likely fit in more with the facade of the existing Green Street/Pavilions as others have stated.

f9f.gif

Awww, how nice of Midway.

Midway came out and promised to build a lavish modern River Oaks mega mansion with a huge pool and a grotto, and then in classic bait and switch form, changed the plans to just build a third ward row house.

And now you're basically telling us all "hey, they WERE gonna change it to just a homeless cardboard box tent, but they felt too guilty about that, so all of you little children just shut up and be thankful for the third ward row house!"

Yea, no, foh. :rolleyes:

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Yeah, I agree with Señor Huge. Not thrilled about this ol' bait and switch that Midway just pulled on us all, even if this current version is "better" than the shanty-town box they were going to build. Actually, makes it even worse that they strayed that far from the original. You've got to wonder why the original drawings were released in the first place. Is Midway that dense or did they intend to deceive. 

 

We can always write wonderfully nice things to Midway on their website: http://midwaycompanies.com/about/contact

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Call me an optimist or whatever.

But I don't see what continuing to whine and complain about what we can't change is supposed to do other than make our lives further miserable. Promises or not, in reality, Midway owes us nothing. None of us ponied up any $$$ for this so why should any of us expect anything? I'm more inclined to believe Stonian's story because at least it somewhat softens the blow, because happy or not, this is what we're getting.

Misery loves company. Am I happy with the new design? He'll no. But what I'm gonna do is kick back with my six pack beer and watch some of you all cry about whats not changing while I rejoice that we're getting a unique hotel to Houston above a mixed used development that Houston has never seen before amist much other construction and development, in a new time that also Houston hasn't seen before.

Edited by C2H
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I agree that the current design isn't bad, and I appreciate the different perspectives that some have given us since the "new" rendering came out. That said, I would personally pony up $500 to get the original design, and I don't even make close to six figures. Thanks for the link, largeTEXAS.

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Call me an optimist or whatever.

But I don't see what continuing to whine and complain about what we can't change is supposed to do other than make our lives further miserable. Promises or not, in reality, Midway owes us nothing. None of us ponied up any $$$ for this so why should any of us expect anything? I'm more inclined to believe Stonian's story because at least it somewhat softens the blow, because happy or not, this is what we're getting.

Misery loves company. Am I happy with the new design? He'll no. But what I'm gonna do is kick back with my six pack beer and watch some of you all cry about whats not changing while I rejoice that we're getting a unique hotel to Houston above a mixed used development that Houston has never seen before amist much other construction and development, in a new time that also Houston hasn't seen before.

 

Excited for mediocrity...so Houston

 

If we do not start demanding better from our development community, design professionals, management districts, elected officials, etc...and just "kick back with a six pack," as just about every apathetic Houstonian does, we'll continue to get more of these bland and predictable Hotel Alessandras...and we'll deserve it. 

 

I invite you to attend a development community board meeting in NYC, Chicago, LA, Boston, SF...anywhere good design flourishes, and see how many people "kick back with a six pack. That's precisely why so much Houston architecture and urban development is so underwhelming...no one ever speaks up about it. 

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No, actually this thread was flushed down the drain when Urbannizer posted the new rendering (thanks Urb  :D). How in the world did Dallas get inserted into this discussion anyway? (Monarch :angry:? strange dude, but I guess we could use a few more strange characters in the world)

 

I've never seen so much beachin and complaining over a 20-something story building's redesign in my life. There's at least 10-15 posts over the last couple days repeating the same comments, it's like you guys all just happened to post at the same exact time or didn't care to read that others had already made your point.

 

Seriously, I appreciate the passion, but the comments about no longer holding Midway in high regard are nothing more than childish temper tantrums. Grow up folks!

dude_clrs.jpg

dude, would you like to really know what is viewed as "strange"...

some creep that ventures forth into an ongoing open thread, and starts describing a member that he / she doesn't even know as "strange".  sounds a bit like someone else that we have all

become accustomed to upon this forum.  HAIF, harbors some very special people as per all aspects of our greater houston community.  we are here for a certain purpose.... we love our fair city upon the bayou.

yes, i am the one that brought forth "dallas" upon our ongoing alessandra discussion, and i meant every word of it.  dallas, and now the wonderful city of austin are now enjoying some of the most gorgeous

edifices of hospitality in the south / southwest.  i do not have to love the city of dallas in order to display a certain amount of respect as per it's very progressive accomplishments.  that city up north is just very glamorous!

our fair city of houston, is now on it's way in a big texas fashion.  if i may speak for all HAIFER'S here, we were all proud to feast our eyes upon that gorgeous initial rendering / concept of hotel alessandra.

i have traveled basically all over the world, lodged at some of the most beautiful hotels on the globe... so i know just what i was speaking of.  this is our time!  houston, has waited long enough... our despair is justified.

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Just sent them an email (a nice one) telling them how much I...and others...appreciate their work, and that I would personally donate money towards getting an iconic building like the original rendering suggested here. I know it likely won't mean much or change anything, but it's certainly worth 5 minutes of my time.

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The world is what's "strange" in my eyes...people are just people adapting to an ever changing world and economy. I for one am grateful for having all kinds of different styles/personalities on this board and beyond. Monarch...DUDE...you're one of my personal favorite posters on this site!

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Couldn't agree more with por favor gracias and Monarch. To also use the word of one of my favorite posters...DUDES, I don't usually get into this kind of hyperbole, especially on a website like this, but, heck, oh well. We on this board probably represent the most passionate voices on architecture and development Houston has. That's valuable and we should use it. 

 

I find it sad that C2H and others feel such powerlessness and disillusionment as to say that Midway and other developers "owe us nothing." That's simply not true. We are residents, businesspeople, students of this city. We entertain our clients, families, selves here...spend our money, make our lives here. Developers develop the buildings and spaces where we do those things - spend our money and build our lives. They sure as heck owe us, the city, and everyone who makes it possible for them to build and profit from their developments a great deal. 

 

We need to feel more empowered to make changes we'd like to see here. The faster we do, and more vocal we are, the quicker we'll start seeing really awesome s#%t! Developers do take notice of what people say. They are ultra-sensitive to the market and to their friends', neighbors', cousins', sisters' co-workers' input. 

 

On a totally different yet somewhat related topic - I happened to be in a meeting with TXDoT the other day and they have completely reimagined their plans for I-45 and 59 around downtown because of "all the uproar" residents in the surrounding neighborhoods made. It was remarkable to hear how TXDoT has changed their tune and are now considering things we'd only dreamed of a couple of years ago such as tunneling highways and creating parks on top of them. All because of the input people gave them! They actually admitted to that very thing. The only neighborhood that they said didn't create a "big stink" was the Near Northside. So, guess what, no plans to radically change I-10 there. The elevated freeway will likely remain. 

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Wha.. Wha.. What??? Tunneling the downtown freeways is being reconsidered?!? Omfg that is some of the best news ivd heard in a while. If that happens the action in downtown will start spreading in all directions!

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Excited for mediocrity...so Houston

If we do not start demanding better from our development community, design professionals, management districts, elected officials, etc...and just "kick back with a six pack," as just about every apathetic Houstonian does, we'll continue to get more of these bland and predictable Hotel Alessandras...and we'll deserve it.

I invite you to attend a development community board meeting in NYC, Chicago, LA, Boston, SF...anywhere good design flourishes, and see how many people "kick back with a six pack. That's precisely why so much Houston architecture and urban development is so underwhelming...no one ever speaks up about it.

Tell him Monte!

Im so tired of the cliché "Oh stop whining and just be happy we're getting anything at all"

What a loser mentality.

Yea sure, lets just continue to force ourselves to be happy and excited about mediocre crap being thrown up in Houston, while the same old players like New York and Chicago continue to get the architectural gems of the country.

But hey, the same old boxy, bland, cookie cutter designs we keep getting in Houston are better than a parking lot right? So whats there to complain about? :rolleyes:

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Couldn't agree more with por favor gracias and Monarch. To also use the word of one of my favorite posters...DUDES, I don't usually get into this kind of hyperbole, especially on a website like this, but, heck, oh well. We on this board probably represent the most passionate voices on architecture and development Houston has. That's valuable and we should use it.

I find it sad that C2H and others feel such powerlessness and disillusionment as to say that Midway and other developers "owe us nothing." That's simply not true. We are residents, businesspeople, students of this city. We entertain our clients, families, selves here...spend our money, make our lives here. Developers develop the buildings and spaces where we do those things - spend our money and build our lives. They sure as heck owe us, the city, and everyone who makes it possible for them to build and profit from their developments a great deal.

We need to feel more empowered to make changes we'd like to see here. The faster we do, and more vocal we are, the quicker we'll start seeing really awesome s#%t! Developers do take notice of what people say. They are ultra-sensitive to the market and to their friends', neighbors', cousins', sisters' co-workers' input.

On a totally different yet somewhat related topic - I happened to be in a meeting with TXDoT the other day and they have completely reimagined their plans for I-45 and 59 around downtown because of "all the uproar" residents in the surrounding neighborhoods made. It was remarkable to hear how TXDoT has changed their tune and are now considering things we'd only dreamed of a couple of years ago such as tunneling highways and creating parks on top of them. All because of the input people gave them! They actually admitted to that very thing. The only neighborhood that they said didn't create a "big stink" was the Near Northside. So, guess what, no plans to radically change I-10 there. The elevated freeway will likely remain.

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getting a unique hotel to Houston above a mixed used development that Houston has never seen before

Ever been to the Galleria??

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