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GreenStreet Redevelopment And 21-Story Hotel Alessandra


Bob Plumb

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Probably because one of the most glare demographic that isn't seen in downtown are families especially those families with younger children or teens. Downtown has singles, or couples, or newly married, or older professionals, but not a lot of families. Only the younger crowd shops at Forever XXI, but there is the biggest problem. There are very few people that live in downtown that are part of that younger demographic.

And unfortunately the XXL Downtown isn't anything spectacular. I went there once to check it out. Actually none of the Houston area stores are anything compared to the selection at Willowbrook (surprisingly). Even the H&M is better there than the Galleria.

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Only the younger crowd shops at Forever XXI, but there is the biggest problem.

And here is where I call bullshit.

Have you shopped there?

Me (fifty something) and my wife (fifty something) BOTH shop there. And while I would agree that the demographic is geared toward a younger crowd, MANY of the folks in the store are OVER 35 if not over 40. Older buyers need to focus on "age appropriate clothing" and hunt for it in the store. It is not always easy to find but to say that "only" a younger crowd shops there is flat wrong and speaks to someone who is more prone to write about experiences that he (or she) has never actually experienced in person (hearsay) over multiple visits over many months (or more) than someone who has actually been three dozen times.

Have you been to F21 downtown 30 times over the last 2 years? and, have you personally looked at the age of the shoppers at the downtown store? Or, are you just repeating what you have been "told"?

Edited by UtterlyUrban
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From the article:

 

"In terms of architecture, we think about context," Kifer said. "You look at the surrounding areas and look at the scale, and how the other windows and rooftops and details line up, so yours is compatible. That is what we did in the new design."

 

Hmmmmmm.  I was unaware that the scale and details of nearby buildings was of much aesthetic concern in the middle of a central business district.  

 

 

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I won't comment anymore on the actual building, since some ppl on this forum seem to bemoan criticism.  I will objectively state that this is turning into a PR nightmare for Midway.  They (and their agents/cohorts) need to just stop talking.  No more press releases and interviews.  Start building the thing and move on.

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I won't comment anymore on the actual building, since some ppl on this forum seem to bemoan criticism. I will objectively state that this is turning into a PR nightmare for Midway. They (and their agents/cohorts) need to just stop talking. No more press releases and interviews. Start building the thing and move on.

I wouldn't call it a nightmare. The average person doesn't even know it's going to be built, much less what the original design called for.

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I wouldn't call it a nightmare. The average person doesn't even know it's going to be built, much less what the original design called for.

That is sort of correct. But people living in the loop catch wind of such things on social media. I assume they didn't expect this much backlash, but the townsfolk won't be burning down CityCentre and rioting down Greenstreet.

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"When asked if cost was a factor in the redesign, Kifer referred HBJ to Midway. Midway didn't respond to multiple requests for comment"

I wonder why :lol:

 

The best indicator of cost cutting value engineering is the statement that the hotel will lose 4 floors but still have the same number of rooms. Smaller rooms, obviously; the customer experience is going to suffer. <_<

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The best indicator of cost cutting value engineering is the statement that the hotel will lose 4 floors but still have the same number of rooms. Smaller rooms, obviously; the customer experience is going to suffer. <_<

 

What are the chances that Midway caught wind of info that some other very high end hotel--as of yet unannounced but in the development pipeline--will build Downtown, and decided to aim just a bit lower than before because they know they won't be the most luxurious anyway? Speculating, but cutting your losses makes sense when you know you can't compete.

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What are the chances that Midway caught wind of info that some other very high end hotel--as of yet unannounced but in the development pipeline--will build Downtown, and decided to aim just a bit lower than before because they know they won't be the most luxurious anyway? Speculating, but cutting your losses makes sense when you know you can't compete.

 

No disrespect to you at all, but I have never heard of this scenario ever play out. I mean never. If you have the chance to build it then you build it. If they were actually worried about their competition they would build it better because that's their competition.

 

I know people are really pissed off at Midway, but it's not like someone goes into something and says, "you know what? I want to aim for mediocre!" Bullcrap. They didn't agree with the initial design and so they changed to what THEY thought would look best. You know what? They didn't have to release the new renderings, but they did so I think they are confident in their product, and were thinking about all of greenstreet instead of just one building. Like I have said before, I wish they had done the other building, but the context argument is genuine. Site and context are just as important as the building itself. If that was more important to them than having the building be all crazy looking and standout from it's neighbors then I will say they chose the better design for their purposes. One fits into it's surroundings while the other one is more bold and attention seeking.

 

Sparrow, I actually want you to ask yourself that same question that if you were in that same situation would actually DOWNGRADE your building because of competition? That makes no logical sense even in a speculative manner, but I point this out because this has become the prevailing theme in the thread as a whole in that this building is a downgrade when no one has really taken into account what Midway wanted from the very beginning. Clearly Gensler went in a different direction than what Midway wanted initially and until the pricing for the project came in they were probably ok with it, but when it came down too it they probably were at odds with the project from the beginning. They are two completely different style of buildings and should be treated as such and if the client got exactly what they wanted (which looks like they did) then this building is a success because that is the most important thing an architect is suppose to do. I champion all the time on here about architecture as an art form, but an architect is suppose to navigate the clients needs with their own desires for the project.

Edited by Luminare
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Like I have said before, I wish they had done the other building, but the context argument is genuine. Site and context are just as important as the building itself. If that was more important to them than having the building be all crazy looking and standout from it's neighbors then I will say they chose the better design for their purposes. One fits into it's surroundings while the other one is more bold and attention seeking

Uhhhh, so, since when does the original design standing out from its surroundings because its so freakin sleek and badass make it a BAD thing?

Im not buying the logic here, "Its surroundings are alot shorter and uglier so we decided to make our product shorter and uglier to match the surroundings."

Yea, no. :rolleyes:

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For me, a bold and attention seeking 25 story hotel with a sky lobby, sky pool, LED outline, and a retractable roof would have been better than the 20 story generic pile of crap we were left with.

 

I actually agree with you, but that's only because my sensibilities are more towards architecture that is very sensationalist, bold, and visually complex. However, there are times when the design calls for something more understated. If done in the right way its very elegant and seamless with the larger fabric and framework of the greater whole. Additions to existing complexes, restorations, simply building something within an already established system all call for architecture which complements whats already there to some degree. Of course sometimes those very same things can go in a completely opposite direction (or in other words a departure from the original). It all depends on the situation.

 

There have been a couple times in Architecture schoool where this was the case and it happens in actual industry. Am I happy the direction Midway took it, no. I think the property that they inherited was not very well conceived in the beginning and so they should take the complex in a new direction aesthetically. With that being said, I completely understand why they went in this direction and I think the design is rather good for the choice that they made and from a few comments before where someone actually saw the valued engineered version of the design we want, it's probably better that they took this direction.

 

Midway with this decision is clearly looking at Greenstreet as a single entity and not a collection of stuff. This means that they are more concerned with the aesthetics of the whole rather than the look of a few standout buildings. I mean think about what happens when they do build the original design. It would be such a stark contrast between the new building and the older complex that it make mean that the whole thing might need to be adjusted to flow with the hotel design.

 

What I'm saying is that most in this thread fail to see the greater implications of these decisions. Midway owns the whole thing not just the small piece of land which the building will raise from. Design is way more complicated than simply whether something looks cool/not cool, or like/not like.

Edited by Luminare
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I think the property that they inherited was not very well conceived in the beginning and so they should take the complex in a new direction aesthetically....

It would be such a stark contrast between the new building and the older complex that it make mean that the whole thing might need to be adjusted to flow with the hotel design.

Which do you think would be more prudent in the long term (keeping cost in mind) upgrading the surroundings to keep up with the hotel or downgrade plans for the hotel to keep in line with the surroundings?

Didn't GSM just get some touch up?

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sure but really when you look at it, it was just a bunch of finish changes, new paint, and pavers. Not much.

Correct.

Take a look at the original renderings for greenstreet that midway put out a couple of years ago. Look at it now. To me, they are not even close. One was a terrific vision of the future. The other is some grass and pavers.

Now midway publishes the first hotel. Then publishes a much revised hotel that is much less lofty. Then they suggest that the first hotel "did not fit the surroundings"..... Well, I agree. And, the reason I agree is because they haven't done much to greenstreet to fulfil their original vision.

Midway has only owned the property for a couple of years. That is not much time to make the changes needed to fulfill the original vision. Perhaps over the next 3 years that vision will be realized. I hope so.

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Here's one thing that gives me some support for being optimistic:  despite being unimpressed with the renderings for City Center (Centre?), as well as how it looks as realized ... it seems to be very successful and conveys a sense of energy that draws people to it.  To me, the little public plaza area is great.  I love to watch the little kids play there, whose parents come from all around the world.

 

If they can replicate that success at Greenstreet -- even with boring architecture -- I will be happy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A Lil birdie just told me they're going to implode the hotel area soon... no timetable yet.

They're still doing electrical work to move the power for Forever 21

Id presume by Spring Break as construction is supposed to start in April. As soon as I get deets on demo work, will pass along.

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I'll happily defer to someone with more knowledge on the subject, and I certainly loves me some mayhem :ph34r: , but isn't implosion a bit of overkill, as well as a pretty fair amount of risk for a two story structure that's at least somewhat attached to adjacent things that will remain?

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I'll happily defer to someone with more knowledge on the subject, and I certainly loves me some mayhem :ph34r: , but isn't implosion a bit of overkill, as well as a pretty fair amount of risk for a two story structure that's at least somewhat attached to adjacent things that will remain?

 

I think what was more overkill was Tumbleweed actually using the word "implode". I don't think they will do any "implosion". They will most likely do a very careful demolition. It's not only the stores around it they have to worry about, but also the bridge on the second floor!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Eventually, the majority will be retail.  I would bet that most of these leases are no longer than 5 years.. retail follows residents.  It makes sense for Midway to have restaurants now, because there are thousands of workers for lunch/dinner crowds throughout the week.  It also makes sense for Midway to keep these leases short-term, so in a few years they can swap in new tenants if demand is created from the influx of hotel rooms and downtown residents; barring any renewal rights from existing tenants of course.  My guess is they will start being selective for new tenants in the next 12 months as a number of units start to deliver.

 

My long-term prediction is that existing galleria-area tenants will either open second locations or close their doors and relocate downtown/midtown.  So many people (outside of millenials) are wanting to move inside the loop and be closer to the core.  The market should follow.

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Eventually, the majority will be retail.  I would bet that most of these leases are no longer than 5 years.. retail follows residents.  It makes sense for Midway to have restaurants now, because there are thousands of workers for lunch/dinner crowds throughout the week.  It also makes sense for Midway to keep these leases short-term, so in a few years they can swap in new tenants if demand is created from the influx of hotel rooms and downtown residents; barring any renewal rights from existing tenants of course.  My guess is they will start being selective for new tenants in the next 12 months as a number of units start to deliver.

 

My long-term prediction is that existing galleria-area tenants will either open second locations or close their doors and relocate downtown/midtown.  So many people (outside of millenials) are wanting to move inside the loop and be closer to the core.  The market should follow.

 

Maybe, but I just don't see retailers choosing downtown over the galleria.  The galleria is clearly the location of choice, and growing stronger.  What's wrong with a coffee shop by the way?  

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With all the development going in just south of Greenstreet (2 sky houses of residential, the existing Houston house residential, and the block 334 construction workers) a good coffee shop is a must for the area.  That being said, sometimes I do want to buy pants without driving somewhere.

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