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POST: 401 Franklin Post Office Site Redevelopment


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18 hours ago, Timoric said:

 

How about bulldoze it all and make it the best park in Houston for 10 years for concerts, dog play, picnics, art, food trucks, and some pick up volleyball or kickball games

 

No way!  The beauty of that site is all of that indoor space just waiting to be built out.  With the realities of Houston weather, having indoor recreational space would be a great compliment to the adjacent outdoor space along the bayou.  My wife and I were at D4N and during one of the breaks we started listing some of the possibilities: indoor electric go-kart track, bowling alley, shooting range, miniature golf, pool hall, arcade, skating/hockey rinks, lawn bowling, cornhole, RC car track.  I'm sure that there are more.  Maybe carnival rides for kids that can work within the existing ceiling heights?

 

All of those other things you mention are great, but can't we do those at Eleanor Tinsley park?

 

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4 hours ago, innerloop said:

 

No way!  The beauty of that site is all of that indoor space just waiting to be built out.  With the realities of Houston weather, having indoor recreational space would be a great compliment to the adjacent outdoor space along the bayou.  My wife and I were at D4N and during one of the breaks we started listing some of the possibilities: indoor electric go-kart track, bowling alley, shooting range, miniature golf, pool hall, arcade, skating/hockey rinks, lawn bowling, cornhole, RC car track.  I'm sure that there are more.  Maybe carnival rides for kids that can work within the existing ceiling heights?

 

All of those other things you mention are great, but can't we do those at Eleanor Tinsley park?

 

 

I think this will be more of a playground for adults than a playground for kids. You basically described the old Fame City. Which is all well and good, but people looking for that usually care a lot about parking and easy access and very little about downtown location.

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3 hours ago, CrockpotandGravel said:


If you go back and read some of the more recent articles and minutes from the Downtown Houston meeting, renovations began this year. They're working on the building while leasing it and their other properties out for events.

Exactly how I understood it. It seems the renovation is happening as they lease out spacr for events like D4N.

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  • 2 weeks later...

http://www.txrfc.com/En/Post/Post.aspx

 

Assuming this was the previous plan?

 

Quote

 


COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHTS
 

Participation of the firm OMA, one of the leading architectural firms in the world.

 

Luxury apartments for rent, built by Hanover, one of the largest contractors in the United States.

 

Great location, 16 acres of land in downtown Houston, surrounded by Interstate 45 and Interstate 10.

Government and the media attach great importance to the project.

The project won the "Best Reconstruction Project in Houston, 2015" by Realty News Report.

 

 

3s.jpg

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  • Subdude changed the title to Post HTX: 401 Franklin Post Office Site Redevelopment
  • 2 weeks later...
2 minutes ago, CrockpotandGravel said:


The Post HTX video on Vimeo is no longer private (Lovett Commerical marked it private after Swamplot's report on the mixed use details with renderings)

The video is outdated and doesn't show the newer renderings from the brochure that was online last year. Outdated as it may be (I think it was from late 2016), it's similar to the newer renderings and depictions from Post HTX's leasing brochure and website design plans that hasn't been updated to show the renderings.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/201923389

I feel like this is where our tech startup district is going to be. I could be wrong, but this is one of the main reasons Houston lost the bid for Amazon. We need new ideas in this city. 

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1 hour ago, CrockpotandGravel said:


The Post HTX video on Vimeo is no longer private (Lovett Commerical marked it private after Swamplot's report on the mixed use details with renderings)

The video is outdated and doesn't show the newer renderings from the brochure that was online last year. Outdated as it may be (I think it was from late 2016), it's similar to the newer renderings and depictions from Post HTX's leasing brochure and website design plans that hasn't been updated to show the renderings.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/201923389

 

The video mentions that there will be co-working (1:35) and a food hall (1:38). I feel like downtown is already saturated with these things.

 

We already have 4 food halls open / in planning stages and there is a 10 story WeWork coming to 708 Main...

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5 minutes ago, downtownian said:

 

The video mentions that there will be co-working (1:35) and a food hall (1:38). I feel like downtown is already saturated with these things.

 

We already have 4 food halls open / in planning stages and there is a 10 story WeWork coming to 708 Main...

You can't have enough. If you want downtown to grow and densify, these types of developments can't have just 1 or 2 locations. You need lot's of these types of meeting places for PEOPLE.

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With the way they are explaining this location it just makes sense that this is going to become our SoMa SF. It's centrally located in an overall thriving area with solid infrastructure and the ability to draw some MAJOR tenants. I think the city will eventually name this our tech district which would be absolutely huge and a real game changer for this city. When a company like We Work opens offices in your city, it's because they see the potential for technology. We have to capitalize on this and keep our young talent in Houston. I work in animation and I've been waiting a very long time to see something like this happen. I just didn't know where and when it would happen. 

Edited by j_cuevas713
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 If they  can stick to that schedule, it will be a good pace to develop that large of a project.

I like the idea of it growing in stages. Give it a little time to feel things out.

Besides look how far along Regents Square is after 8 years.

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1 hour ago, bobruss said:

 If they  can stick to that schedule, it will be a good pace to develop that large of a project.

I like the idea of it growing in stages. Give it a little time to feel things out.

Besides look how far along Regents Square is after 8 years.

I guess you're right. By the time I'm 80 everything will be finished lol

Edited by j_cuevas713
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On 1/19/2018 at 0:48 PM, downtownian said:

 

The video mentions that there will be co-working (1:35) and a food hall (1:38). I feel like downtown is already saturated with these things.

 

We already have 4 food halls open / in planning stages and there is a 10 story WeWork coming to 708 Main...

 

I don't know about co-working, but food halls, with as many new residents there are in downtown, it can sustain a whole lot more than just a 5th food hall.

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1 minute ago, samagon said:

 

I don't know about co-working, but food halls, with as many new residents there are in downtown, it can sustain a whole lot more than just a 5th food hall.

I'm just glad more co-working spots are opening up. The more the better. Especially for creatives in this city.

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  • 2 weeks later...
3 hours ago, CrockpotandGravel said:

Does anyone know for sure if Rem Koolhaas OMA ( Office of Metropolitan Architecture) is designing the remodel of Post HTX? Offcite is reporting OMA is no longer involved.

Here's the excerpt:

Back in Houston, PostHTX’s emptiness is temporary, and only the result of the time it has taken to plan for the site’s reuse. Before becoming the downtown post office, the land was first Houston’s Grand Central Depot and then the Southern Pacific Grand Central Station; though the tracks are gone, their traces still remain in back of the complex. The post office, designed by the architecture office of Wilson, Morris, Crane, and Anderson, was built in 1962, and renamed to honor Barbara Jordan in 1984, a native of Houston’s Fifth Ward. Citing contractions in federal post office budgets, the building was sold in 2015 to Lovett Commercial, who is now researching how best to redevelop the campus. PostHTX already has its acronym-based rebranding, an early indicator of the redevelopment that is to come: The duality of post references the building while hinting at its future. What was a techno playground for three days will, in a few years’ time and if all goes according to the advertising, be “transformed into a fully immersive destination featuring a variety of office, retail, and culinary experiences.”

Lovett Commercial has consulted many architects, including local ones, to understand how to renovate the post office complex. Rem Koolhaas’s OMA was engaged at some point but is no longer working on the project. In 2012, Koolhaas lectured at Rice, discussing his current research project of preservation and articulating a position of “history without preservation.” The idea embraces material engagement with the past, not “preserving history” but instead “revealing history,” in a manner that invites newness. Buildings are not renovated or preserved, but instead remixed. Since then, OMA’s built work in projects like Garage Museum of Contemporary Art or the Fondazione Prada campus in Milan have shown that this theory can be translated into cultural buildings with successful results.



http://offcite.org/posthtx-as-fun-palace-a-review-of-day-for-night-and-what-happens-next/

I wonder if Koolhaas was used to help fully grasp the concept of what Lovett wants to do. Maybe they were confident he could help get that point across with the potential of the site. 

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12 minutes ago, j_cuevas713 said:

I wonder if Koolhaas was used to help fully grasp the concept of what Lovett wants to do. Maybe they were confident he could help get that point across with the potential of the site. 

 

Thats probably exactly what happened. It's the same when a company might want to develop a master plan for project, but then hire a different architect for an individual building. In this case they wanted to pick the mind of a architectural theorist like Koolhaas, but then get other architects to do more detailed parts of the project. This happens quite a lot actually.

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  • 3 weeks later...
3 hours ago, CrockpotandGravel said:

A blurb on Houston's Post HTX at 401 Franklin in Watertown Daily News:
 

Lovett Commercial, a developer in Houston, plans to turn the former Barbara Jordan Post Office near that city’s downtown into a commercial hub as well. Lovett acquired the property, built in 1962 in the Brutalist style, from the Postal Service in 2015.

The building is “sort of a relic of Houston’s golden age,” said Kirby Liu, director of development at Lovett. “That’s a heritage we wanted to preserve. It’s an orientation of the past that we want to bring into the future.”

In a former two-story warehouse on the property, Lovett wants to create spaces for shops, artists and food purveyors on the ground level and office areas geared toward creative companies on the second floor. The old 5-story office component is slated for a hotel.

“There’s a lot of quirkiness to the building,” Liu said. “It’s something that’s both extremely familiar but also extremely alien to most people in Houston, because most never realized how much stuff was behind the curtain.”

One example of that: multiple nuclear fallout shelters in the property.


http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/national/old-post-offices-have-a-timeless-allure-20180225

 

Very cool.  But "relic of Houston's golden age"????   That's a little odd.

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I'm pretty sure that Houston's "golden age" is way ahead of us, but definitely not "behind" us. LOL What a load of bollucks !  One can tell that we are destined for greatness, a lot of which we have already achieved, but so much is in the works now and well into the future.  Don't believe the b.s. from other sources.  Go outside, drive around, look around the entire city and draw your own conclusions.  As an observer from miles away, I can tell you that the big picture is even brighter for our area.  Now, if they are referring to smaller "golden ages" in the past, well I could see that, but they make it sound as if there won't be any more of that for Houston, which again is a load of b.s. !

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5 hours ago, Triton said:

It shouldn't take that much research but this article was written by a local newspaper in upstate New York (looks like they are owned by the New York Times); so, I doubt they have much experience with Houston's "golden ages."

The article was written by a NYTimes staff writer and was originally published in the Times. Here is the original link.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/13/business/post-office-redevelopment.html

 

The 'golden age' quote came from someone at Lovet (Kirby Liu). It's not an editorial comment from the Times.

 

The Watertown newspaper just carried it as a syndicated story. As far as I know, it has no other relationship with the NYT.

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I have lived in Houston since 1981. In my opinion it has vastly improved. The downtown used to be a number of impressive tall buildings , empty lots, no sports facilities, a small theater district, and many decrepit buildings. There was no George Brown Convention Center. The Rice, the old Albert Thomas, the Texaco, and numerous buildings were abandoned some with strong urine odors. The bayou downtown was an embarressment ( look up " reeking regatta") The midtown area was worse. Much worse. The Medical center was impressive but small by todays standard. 

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1 hour ago, Twinsanity02 said:

I have lived in Houston since 1981. In my opinion it has vastly improved. The downtown used to be a number of impressive tall buildings , empty lots, no sports facilities, a small theater district, and many decrepit buildings. There was no George Brown Convention Center. The Rice, the old Albert Thomas, the Texaco, and numerous buildings were abandoned some with strong urine odors. The bayou downtown was an embarressment ( look up " reeking regatta") The midtown area was worse. Much worse. The Medical center was impressive but small by todays standard. 

I agree.  Downtown was a wreck and midtown was a wreck on crack (literally).

 

By the 1980’s, I think that it is fair to say that Houston had turned its back on its downtown.  Houston was not alone in this, true. 

 

What “saved” Downtown?  What created the Downtown we have today?  A few bits of vision between 1980 and 2000 and, frankly, Millennials coming of age, asking questions about urban planning, ex-urbs, and deciding to put their vote, their money, and their persons “close in” to the city core.

 

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7 hours ago, Brooklyn173 said:

The article was written by a NYTimes staff writer and was originally published in the Times. Here is the original link.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/13/business/post-office-redevelopment.html

 

The 'golden age' quote came from someone at Lovet (Kirby Liu). It's not an editorial comment from the Times.

 

The Watertown newspaper just carried it as a syndicated story. As far as I know, it has no other relationship with the NYT.

 

Thanks for clearing that up. I'm really curious what Kirby Liu is meaning then. Wonder if we can get an AMA (Ask Me Anything) with him on HAIF. :P

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15 hours ago, UtterlyUrban said:

I agree.  Downtown was a wreck and midtown was a wreck on crack (literally).

 

By the 1980’s, I think that it is fair to say that Houston had turned its back on its downtown.  Houston was not alone in this, true. 

 

What “saved” Downtown?  What created the Downtown we have today?  A few bits of vision between 1980 and 2000 and, frankly, Millennials coming of age, asking questions about urban planning, ex-urbs, and deciding to put their vote, their money, and their persons “close in” to the city core.

 

15 hours ago, UtterlyUrban said:

 

 

to me, the first notable piece of the 'downtown revival' was the addition of the ballpark at Union Station/Enron Field/ Minute Maid Park.  There was a HUGE debate over whether the new baseball stadium should be built downtown or near the Astrodome. Pro urban renewal supporter pointed to the renaissance that Baltimore, Denver, and Cleveland experienced over their downtown location and the missed opportunity by the Chicago White Sox, who decided to build their new stadium outside of downtown.

 

I never expected it to happen overnight, but a neighborhood is forming around MMP and that piece is connected to the other pieces...Discovery Green + Convention Center upgrades + Market Square, etc.

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13 hours ago, Triton said:

 

Thanks for clearing that up. I'm really curious what Kirby Liu is meaning then. Wonder if we can get an AMA (Ask Me Anything) with him on HAIF. :P

 

I was referring to our technological achievements during the modernist era. Houston has not experienced a growth period quite like the 1960s and the 1970s since.

 

Here are the architectural, scientific and political achievements made in that era:

-- Astrodome, 8th Wonder of the World

-- Pennzoil Place

-- Galleria (first indoor ice skating rink)

-- One Shell Plaza, Texas Commerce Tower, etc.

-- Moon landing / Rapid Growth of NASA/ Received the Moniker "Space City" and "City of the Future"

-- Barbara Jordan elected to office

-- The expansion to the MFAH by Mies

-- 1971 Establishment of MD Anderson as a national cancer center

-- Construction of IAH which made Houston a major transit hub in the US

-- Population boom of the late 1970s

 

Although you guys are all right, Houston has grown by leaps and bounds since then as well with its growing immigrant communities and local businesses. 

 

Edited by ybrikuil
adding more Houston history tidbits
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I think it goes back a little further to making the call on constructing the convention center on the far east side of downtown up against 59,

followed by ballpark and Discovery Green.

There were two sides vying for the convention center. This location and the other was on the west side on the  Albert Thomas convention center site.

This has worked out so much better. Its been the driver of all things east. EADO and beyond.

The ball park opened around 2000, and it took quite a while for anything to happen until Discovery Green was added in front of GRB.

Since then it's been Katy bar the door. Its pretty remarkable how much eastward  expansion has taken place in the last 5 years.

What once was a sea of endless parking lots has now dwindled to just a few, and I bet there are people making plans as we speak to fill in more.

At least ten hotels east of main have been added and where there was once just a handful of people living there is now a huge residential block that just continues to grow.

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It's actually a warning. I used it as get out of the way the developers are coming through. 

I never knew it as much of a trouble, but more as a sense of look out somethings happening.

It's funny what one focuses on. 

My main point was its been non stop development ever since Discovery Green opened.

A great thing for that side of town but if you found the colloquialism unusual thats fine.

 

 

Katy bar the door is an exclamation that means watch out, trouble is on its way. It is an American phrase, usually heard in the southern United States. The exact origin is unknown. One possible source of the phrase Katy barthe door is a Scottish ballad called Get Up and Bar the Door published in 1776.

 

Edited by bobruss
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21 hours ago, bobruss said:

I think it goes back a little further to making the call on constructing the convention center on the far east side of downtown up against 59,

followed by ballpark and Discovery Green.

There were two sides vying for the convention center. This location and the other was on the west side on the  Albert Thomas convention center site.

This has worked out so much better. Its been the driver of all things east. EADO and beyond.

The ball park opened around 2000, and it took quite a while for anything to happen until Discovery Green was added in front of GRB.

Since then it's been Katy bar the door. Its pretty remarkable how much eastward  expansion has taken place in the last 5 years.

What once was a sea of endless parking lots has now dwindled to just a few, and I bet there are people making plans as we speak to fill in more.

At least ten hotels east of main have been added and where there was once just a handful of people living there is now a huge residential block that just continues to grow.

 

I see all the stuff happening West of GRB (baseball, basketball, parks, hotels, etc) as being things that GRB has certainly helped, rather than hindered.

 

All the progress in EADO, from my vantage point, that is in spite of GRB. As in, the GRB slowed progress, and caused a few failed starts for revitalization of the area.

 

I think the soccer stadium has been one of the bigger catalysts in the area, at least to make it known and familiar to people. developers have been building townhomes over here for as long as they've been in midtown, it's just the proximity to things is more hidden, than midtown, so midtown blew up faster, and part of midtown's success has been the rail line, and part of EADO's hindrance has been the GRB.

 

Now, if txdot just comes to their senses and doesn't realign 45 through the east side of downtown, EADO will really be able to stretch into a real growth stride.

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When I was much younger Eado was Chinatown, and it was a very vibrant community with lots of restaurants food service stores grocery stores and residents.

I've always been intrigued by the area way before it was EADO.

The freeway screwed The east side just like it did third ward. 

My original remarks were focused on Downtown and the revitalization of the east side of downtown. I mentioned EADO, because I think once GRB was built it brought attention to that area and helped bring the ball park and the soccer stadium east also.

If they bury the freeways and build the park above it will improve the EADO neighborhood and make it that much more part of the fabric of thAt side of downtown.

Right now you don't have an easily accessible park and this would give you one.

I think in the long run this will be a positive as long as they cover the freeway.

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14 hours ago, bobruss said:

When I was much younger Eado was Chinatown, and it was a very vibrant community with lots of restaurants food service stores grocery stores and residents.

I've always been intrigued by the area way before it was EADO.

The freeway screwed The east side just like it did third ward. 

My original remarks were focused on Downtown and the revitalization of the east side of downtown. I mentioned EADO, because I think once GRB was built it brought attention to that area and helped bring the ball park and the soccer stadium east also.

If they bury the freeways and build the park above it will improve the EADO neighborhood and make it that much more part of the fabric of thAt side of downtown.

Right now you don't have an easily accessible park and this would give you one.

I think in the long run this will be a positive as long as they cover the freeway.

 

you're right, eado was chinatown a long time ago, if you know that, you must certainly remember the construction of GRB effectively doing irreparable damage to chinatown. now they live in Alief.

 

hope you're right and the re-routing of the freeway doesn't end with the death of eado, but helps make it stronger. 10 years of freeway construction in a transitioning area won't be easy.

 

history isn't on the side of hope in this case, but certainly, eado is a great area for revitalization, it will work due to location, maybe people will keep this in mind and push the area through construction, certainly when construction is over the area will come on stronger than ever, maybe it'll just take a 10 year respite from growing.

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2 hours ago, samagon said:

 

you're right, eado was chinatown a long time ago, if you know that, you must certainly remember the construction of GRB effectively doing irreparable damage to chinatown. now they live in Alief.

 

hope you're right and the re-routing of the freeway doesn't end with the death of eado, but helps make it stronger. 10 years of freeway construction in a transitioning area won't be easy.

 

history isn't on the side of hope in this case, but certainly, eado is a great area for revitalization, it will work due to location, maybe people will keep this in mind and push the area through construction, certainly when construction is over the area will come on stronger than ever, maybe it'll just take a 10 year respite from growing.

I just can't believe it's going to be 10 damn years. That all by itself pisses me off. 

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Samagon,

I have more faith that the area will continue to grow and prosper in the long run. What I don't want to happen is for it to lose that  small intimate community feel. 

Look, I think the freeway really did in the east side early on. Just like third ward, Bellaire, Montrose, and  museum district. 

All of these areas suffered permanent damage to their original scope and unity. The thing I would hate is to lose the energy that pumps through the neighborhood.

If they take all of the freeways on the east side and bury them that will be a significant improvement. 

If they don't then thats a mistake. When we lived in the Wagon works I walked all over the area exploring and walking my border collie. 

There was nothing on the east side after most of the Chinatown had dissolved except vacant warehouses , a couple of Chinese restaurants and mattress and used furniture warehouses.

Everything that is over there now was started after the convention center was built.

Its a small but precious area and it will survive and continue to thrive with its proximity to downtown.

 

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make no mistake, in the long run, eado will continue to grow. unlike midtown that is used by commuters every day, eado will never have people traveling through it to get somewhere else. The railroad tracks on the east side of eado limit the area being used as through streets. It might be a hopping area, but it will always have a quieter feel that midtown, or washington corridor ever have, or ever will.

 

but in the short term, when the freeway gets built it will push people away from going there as a destination, some of the businesses that have just opened will close. Those that bought town homes won't move, they'll deal (as will people like me who own farther out in the east end and have to work through downtown freeways to get places), but a lot of places that rely on people to come to them from other areas of town will suffer as people decide it's too hard to get there. Places like Chapman and Kirby just opened, are pretty swank, and will face construction for however many years? Do you really think they will survive?

 

don't forget eado is also losing 19 blocks of real estate to this project. that will impact things in the short and long term. Some of the new businesses (and older staples) in the area will be closing or moving. Huynh, Tout Suite, Little Woodrows, Ahh Coffee, Kim Son.

 

After it's done, with better freeway access, the area will pick up again, it has to.

 

anyway, I feel we've come far afield of the downtown post office, maybe a mod will move our conversation to a more appropriate location.

Edited by samagon
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  • 3 weeks later...
4 hours ago, marstrose said:

RFQs to GC's have been released and a building permit is being filed this week. Powers Brown is the architect. They are pursuing history tax credits as a funding source for this project. 

I'm hoping that OMA is still the main design firm and Powers Brown is the local firm they are partnering up with. Powers Brown alone is not exactly impressive.

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  • Triton changed the title to POST: 401 Franklin Post Office Site Redevelopment

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