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Bayou Place essentially does to the Theater District what GRB does to the east side of downtown, separating it in half. They want to get rid of that.. If they can achieve the same by only getting rid of the street cross over then so be it, but that's a prime location to bring residential into the theater district. Or a hotel, like someone mentioned a few posts up. Either way there would be quite a bit of room left over (~ 2 blocks) for a new venue or whatever other amenities they want to bring to the area. I'd imagine it would be easier to redevelop/demo Bayou Place, which the city already owns vs the a Chronicle property, which they would have to purchase. And idk if demo is drastically more expensive for high rises vs low rises, but that could factor into costs too?

Edit. And it was built in the 1960s.. So it's 50 years old. Not even 20 years old would make it younger than the GRB, which replaced it..

 

Thank you for pointing this out. This building is much older than one might think. Many of the recent changes were done about 20 years ago, but Bayou place has been around since the 1960s. Bayou Place btw was Downtowns original convention center until GRB was built. It was a novel idea at the time, but it has not aged very well and is the most awkward of buildings as it sort of just slumps its entire mass across several blocks and butts up against the Bayou. It has almost zero street interaction with the rest of the district and simply does not fit with the rest of the districts aims and goals. It was the perfect building for its time, but has out lived its usefulness and purpose. Its also not like its some architectural gem or anything. Its a pretty standard modern building. If you look at the theater districts presentation and look at the examples of inspiration for blocks "1" "2" and "3" holy crap they are really looking at expanding Houston's architectural palette! I'm seeing a great diversification in architecture which is refreshing and bold. This is also a wonderful chance to really bind the whole district together as one cohesive whole instead of random assortment of theater buildings that happen to be close to one another. This is a fantastic idea overall and is just another look into just how far this city is moving along and the renaissance downtown is entering.

Edited by Luminare
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Thank you for pointing this out. This building is much older than one might think. Many of the recent changes were done about 20 years ago, but Bayou place has been around since the 1960s. Bayou Place btw was Downtowns original convention center until GRB was built. It was a novel idea at the time, but it has not aged very well and is the most awkward of buildings as it sort of just slumps its entire mass across several blocks and butts up against the Bayou. It has almost zero street interaction with the rest of the district and simply does not fit with the rest of the districts aims and goals. It was the perfect building for its time, but has out lived its usefulness and purpose. Its also not like its some architectural gem or anything. Its a pretty standard modern building. If you look at the theater districts presentation and look at the examples of inspiration for blocks "1" "2" and "3" holy crap they are really looking at expanding Houston's architectural palette! I'm seeing a great diversification in architecture which is refreshing and bold. This is also a wonderful chance to really bind the whole district together as one cohesive whole instead of random assortment of theater buildings that happen to be close to one another. This is a fantastic idea overall and is just another look into just how far this city is moving along and the renaissance downtown is entering.

 

As a downtown resident, I actually really appreciate Bayou Place. I often walk to Sundance Cinema for movies and I've been to four concerts at the music venue over the past year. Plus I frequently get take-out from Blue Fish. Agree that it breaks up the Theatre District but I hope that anything that takes it place has at least the same functionality for downtown residents. 

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As a downtown resident, I actually really appreciate Bayou Place. I often walk to Sundance Cinema for movies and I've been to four concerts at the music venue over the past year. Plus I frequently get take-out from Blue Fish. Agree that it breaks up the Theatre District but I hope that anything that takes it place has at least the same functionality for downtown residents. 

 

I will definitely agree with this. I was actually surprised with just how much they have retrofitted Bayou Place with all these different amenities. But its clear that the district has outgrown Bayou Place and I think Downtown is outgrowing Bayou Place and you could probably better distribute all these various amenities throughout the district instead of housing it all in one building. It could be a way of further expanding amenities while also giving the theater district what they want

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It appears they will be keeping the front section of bayou place. . Which could actually work out for places like hard rock if they shift to say green st or along the new dallas corridor higher visbity..I never noticed how much bayou place back in broke up the flow of the street...

I always thought they should move to Greenstreet.

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btw guys, if you haven't clicked the link, what i included was definitely not everything shown in the PDF.

that annual lunar festival doesn't currently exist, right?

after the initial excitement settled down i went back and re looked at things and didn't realize the other new developments they hope to attract to the area besides the Bayou Place stuff. residential next to Lyric Center, and a few other boxes (next to Ballet venue and one by the Aquarium)

http://www.houstontx.gov/council/c/committee/20150429/PresentationTheaterDistrictMasterPlan.pdf

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The one thing I was hoping to see in the Theater District Master Plan, but do not (yet) see is a plan to demolish the Hobby Center parking garage and replace it with some site-sensitive mixed-use, benefiting from the frontage on Buffalo Bayou.  I'll continue to hold out hope since what we are seeing so far is just an overview of the Master Plan presented to a city council committee.  Hopefully, the full plan will include getting rid of that parking garage.

 

(On a related note, there was recently news that the Theater Under the Stars musical theater school (which is housed in the Hobby Center) is running out of space.  They could expand into whatever replaces that parking garage.)

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Thank you for pointing this out. This building is much older than one might think. Many of the recent changes were done about 20 years ago, but Bayou place has been around since the 1960s. Bayou Place btw was Downtowns original convention center until GRB was built.

 

The Albert Thomas Convention and Exhibit Center. There's a replica of Congressman Thomas' office at Bayou Place, across from the elevators near the Sundance Cinemas.

 

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H town man, even if the Pierce were getting removed in that section (the plan is to keep that part for downtown connectors), why would the future Bayou Place development be insufficient in 10 years? It probably won't even happen for close to that length of time (the master plan goes out to 2025). The conceptual design references include twin 750' Time Warner Center towers with a huge retail plaza at the bottom (Columbus Circle?). Hard to imagine anything near that scope being insufficient for that site in the foreseeable future.

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The remake of Jones Plaza looks like they're taking hints from Market Square. Having the Bayou Place open up that amount of space, plus the Alley Theater (Fish), Plaza revamp, plus the Postal Site, plus redoing Tranquility Park? I'm sure they could interact with Sam Houston Park and the Bayou. Seriously Triton all of these wonderful things happening and coming to light. Sensory overload. Very exciting.

Go us. We deserve it.

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i guess after the convention and retail districts finish up infrastructure redevelopment that this would be the focus? obviously lots of private development.. the main public(? not sure if thats the right word) investments i see needed would be for the infrastructure, and maybe portions of the parks, though I'm sure they are hoping for philanthropist donations for the green space renovations and new pedestrian bridge.

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Full Article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/Proposal-would-put-new-shine-on-Theater-District-6443460.php

 

Now the city's tourism arm is proposing to transform the 17-block area that includes the Alley Theatre, Jones Hall, Hobby Center and the Wortham Theater Center over the next decade into a vibrant, urban hub where inviting green space with surrounding cafes and restaurants allow patrons to wait out the grueling traffic with a post-performance drink or late-night snack.

 

Colorful lights and projections would flash across the monolithic exterior walls of the theater buildings. It would be a place for festivals, outside performances and interactive art installations.

 

The work, with a preliminary pricetag of $80 million for public infrastructure upgrades, would begin with an overhaul of Jones Plaza. Eventually, the huge concrete rectangle of Bayou Place might even be torn down to make way for a new hotel and smaller structures that wouldn't interrupt the flow of the district.

 

Ullrich of Houston First said Jones Plaza likely would be the first part of the plan the agency will tackle, as the now under-utilized park has the potential to be a focal point for the district, much like Market Square Park and Discovery Green do for other parks of downtown.

As part of the long-term vision, Done presented the committee with an admittedly controversial idea to tear down Bayou Place, a former convention center that houses a Hard Rock Cafe, Sundance Cinemas and concert space and other restaurants. Among the roadblocks, Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. has 38 years remaining on its lease with the city.

 

In statement released in response to questions Thursday, Cordish development director Taylor Gray said the company is at the "very beginning of discussions with the City."

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uhh.. what? Bayou Place/the former convention center is 50 years old...

 

 

I think what Utterly meant was the original Albert Thomas Convention Center was remodeled into Bayou Place 20 years ago. IMO it was an appropriate use of the existing space at that time. It's good that we got that much use out of this 50 year old structure just as we did with the original Sam Houston Coliseum.

 

In the case of these two I only lament their 'passing' for nostalgic reasons. Now if I could just cause myself to feel the same way about the Astrodome when it ultimately comes down. :( For me the 'dome has a lot more nostalgia than the other two even though my high school graduation was held in the Coliseum. 

 

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They need to tear down at least the back half of Bayou Place. It's literally a wall separating Wortham, The Aquarium and the northern parts of Downtown from the rest of the Theater District. And considering the Post Office site could be redeveloped into mixed use, tearing down the "Bayou Place Barrier" could transform this entire stretch of Bagby from the Post Office site to City Hall into a vibrant streetscape.

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And that's another difference (besides nostalgia) between tearing down the Albert Thomas Convention Center versus demolishing the Dome. Tear down the Dome, you likely get a parking lot that benefits only the Texans & the Rodeo. Compare that to tearing down ATCC/Bayou Place where the city possibly gets a revitalized stretch of Bagby St as part of a Theater District makeover. Same demos, far different results.

Edited by tigereye
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How much of an impact/roadblock could Cordish have considering they have 38 years left on its lease at BP? With demolition being proposed, maybe this could produce a new state-of-the-art event venue to replace the BP Live Theater? Maybe a new Hard Rock Cafe & Hotel?!?

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I don't recall what jones plaza was before the first time I saw it in the chronicle in '99? Even as a kiddo I thought it was ugly.

Anyways, they have a real vision, and I hope it all comes true. The Dead after 5 Downtown will fade into memory, if it hasn't already.

The Market Square area is such a lively area at night... Main St. too for that matter. Surprisingly difficult to find street parking.

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I don't recall what jones plaza was before the first time I saw it in the chronicle in '99? Even as a kiddo I thought it was ugly.

Anyways, they have a real vision, and I hope it all comes true. The Dead after 5 Downtown will fade into memory, if it hasn't already.

 

Jones  Plaza is the reflecting pool in front of City Hall, right? I really like the allée of trees around it but agree it could use a bit of the Discovery Green / Market Square treatment to make it more attractive.

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Jones Plaza is the reflecting pool in front of City Hall, right? I really like the allée of trees around it but agree it could use a bit of the Discovery Green / Market Square treatment to make it more attractive.

The city hall reflecting pool is fine. Tranquility is a disaster and needs cpr.
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Bravo. I almost choked and threw up.

The homeless bathe in the water, but besides that, the white pipes, weathered creepy parking entrances, it's a mess.

 

 

Which...is neither Tranquil, nor a Park.

 

Discuss...

 

I thought I'd never say anything like this, but, in the case of "Tranquility Park," I think that site would actually be better utilized as a residential tower or mixed use building. City Hall's park is close to being wonderful. Only problem is, it's only partially surrounded by activity. For urban parks to be truly wonderful, I think, they need to have great design and they need to be almost completely surrounded by users that need a green space. Otherwise, homeless are just going to hang out there.

 

I'm also never a fan of parks separated by streets. In this 17-block area, I think downtown should focus on making City Hall Park, Jones Plaza, the plaza in front of Wortham, and Buffalo Bayou and the connections from the street to it the best parks they can be. Do a PPP and sell the air rights over the garage under Tranquility and that little corner extension of Tranquility that faces the back of Bayou Place. Use the money and create even more impressive public spaces in the district; then make sure those green spaces are surrounded by active uses - the theaters (obviously), retail, residents, office users, etc. 

Edited by largeTEXAS
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Tranquillity Park is a very interesting park actually. I like how its essentially just a bunch of forms floating in a large open space separated from everything. It feels like its part of different world from downtown. At least that's how I read it. The forms represent another world (the moon) while the empty space around it is well....space. Then the rest of Downtown is Earth.

 

Problem with this site is its placement in downtown. While I like the particular statement it makes it just doesn't work as an urban park because it seems so otherworldly and out of touch with its surroundings making it very uninviting and at night its actually a really creepy place. The objects, pools and fountains in the middle can be saved, but there just needs to be more diversity and movement around it to draw people in. It should also be redesigned to help it handle traffic when it's used as a base for certain events. The first thing I would do is get rid of the grass/sod its a waste and it doesn't add anything to the park. Tranquillity park IMO has never been a sit and rest kind of park, but park where you cut from one place to another or is a centralized spot for something, but you are still walking. I would replace it all with light gravel and scatter different areas for smaller plants and different rows/styles of seating. Lots of intersecting paths because its currently very one note. Then really up-sale the fact that its dedicated to Neil Armstrong's famous words when he landed on the moon and carry that further into the park.

 

Edited by Luminare
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I thought I'd never say anything like this, but, in the case of "Tranquility Park," I think that site would actually be better utilized as a residential tower or mixed use building. City Hall's park is close to being wonderful. Only problem is, it's only partially surrounded by activity. For urban parks to be truly wonderful, I think, they need to have great design and they need to be almost completely surrounded by users that need a green space. Otherwise, homeless are just going to hang out there.

 

I'm also never a fan of parks separated by streets. In this 17-block area, I think downtown should focus on making City Hall Park, Jones Plaza, the plaza in front of Wortham, and Buffalo Bayou and the connections from the street to it the best parks they can be. Do a PPP and sell the air rights over the garage under Tranquility and that little corner extension of Tranquility that faces the back of Bayou Place. Use the money and create even more impressive public spaces in the district; then make sure those green spaces are surrounded by active uses - the theaters (obviously), retail, residents, office users, etc. 

 

They need to figure out a way to keep tranquility park. It was built to commemorate the moon landing, I'm sure you knew that, but in case you didn't: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tranquillity_Park

 

I'd rather they raze the dome than get rid of tranquility park. It's a unique park in almost any city, and needs new life breathed into it, just like what was done with market square park. 10 years ago (hell, even 5) you'd probably be saying the same thing about market square park, sell it and build a tower, it's a wonderful little park now and always vibrant/busy.

 

In fact, if that USPS building could go away (the big brown box between tranquility park and bayou place), this could very easily bring some life from bayou place and that area into tranquility park.

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They need to figure out a way to keep tranquility park. It was built to commemorate the moon landing, I'm sure you knew that, but in case you didn't: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tranquillity_Park

 

I'd rather they raze the dome than get rid of tranquility park. It's a unique park in almost any city, and needs new life breathed into it, just like what was done with market square park. 10 years ago (hell, even 5) you'd probably be saying the same thing about market square park, sell it and build a tower, it's a wonderful little park now and always vibrant/busy.

 

In fact, if that USPS building could go away (the big brown box between tranquility park and bayou place), this could very easily bring some life from bayou place and that area into tranquility park.

 

I, too, like Tranquility Park.  It just needs to be tweaked a bit.

 

The good news is, the Theater District Master Plan keeps Tranquility Park and proposes tweaking it.

 

FWIW, the building between Tranquility Park is not a USPS building.  It is the US courthouse.  But IIRC the master plan calls for incorporating the green space to the west of the courthouse more fully into Tranquility Park, providing a better connection to Bayou Place and the rest of the  Theater District.

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I, too, like Tranquility Park. It just needs to be tweaked a bit.

The good news is, the Theater District Master Plan keeps Tranquility Park and proposes tweaking it.

FWIW, the building between Tranquility Park is not a USPS building. It is the US courthouse. But IIRC the master plan calls for incorporating the green space to the west of the courthouse more fully into Tranquility Park, providing a better connection to Bayou Place and the rest of the Theater District.

A. The tweaks to Tranquility appear to follow a similar path we've previously seen with other renovated Downtown parks - adding restaurant spaces. It's worked at Disco Green & Market Square and I think they're hoping to go 3-3.

B. If they get their way and demo Bayou Place, it appears the courthouse green space will connect to an alley through the BP site to Wortham and its restaurant pad site, thus connecting Tranquility Park to Wortham.

Edited by tigereye
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With any amount of luck Jones Plaza will end up like Market Square's latest incarnation.  It had a couple of miscues that kinda made sense at the time, too - who knew that the interesting, rolling berms would end up being known as the "wino mounds," or that people wouldn't be all that thrilled to walk among long sunken benches that served a similar purpose, except that they didn't absorb what we'll just call "odor" as well as the mounds did.

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Funny, but are my eyes deceiving me. This doesn't look like the rendering. It looks like they substituted  Jasmine for much of the color and diversity of plants. Typical architectural rendering. Why can't developers get their renderers to draw what they actually plan to do? Its like the old bait and switch.

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