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POST: 401 Franklin Post Office Site Redevelopment


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On 3/27/2018 at 11:55 AM, 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. 

 

Application has also been filed with the National Register of Historic Places

 

http://www.thc.texas.gov/public/upload/preserve/national_register/draft_nominations/Houston Downtown Post Office SBR Draft.pdf

 

 

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Below are the most recent renderings from Lovett. 

 

The 530,000 s.f. former headquarters of the USPS sits on approximately 16 acres of downtown real estate

located at the intersection of I-10, I-45, Buffalo Bayou and the Theatre District. The 1936 Building on the

southeast corner (“1936 Building”) consists of two floors and ties to the 1960’s two story sorting facility

(“1962 Building”) which boasts almost 5 acres of rooftop. These two buildings consist of two different floor

elevations whose connection will pose an interesting design and construction challenge. A 5-story office

building located front and center on the site (“Central Office Tower”) will be updated to office or hospitality

with panoramic views of Buffalo Bayou and Downtown Houston. Currently, the site will hold close to 1,000

surface parking spaces.

5abd20555b583_ScreenShot2018-03-29at12_19_44PM.thumb.png.6ff97bf8ff58e6e8f3c2d0e01b2cb64f.png5abd205a62a83_ScreenShot2018-03-29at12_19_25PM.png.0d3be93a0ef5d5d269875174b2ac4c72.png5abd2058aff64_ScreenShot2018-03-29at12_19_31PM.png.75581542e50d601a67f45c2d171a7b8e.png5abd20572c7ac_ScreenShot2018-03-29at12_19_36PM.png.90426fdc28775074d0f942926f32acb6.png

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8 hours ago, Timoric said:

No rendering of the outside? This is starting to feel like a wasted opportunity to use the largest contiguous develop-able plot in Downtown Houston where the ugly old building stays. I would much rather see everything on the site gone and make it a park till a better idea comes along like a rail terminal for the Texas bullet train.

I, too, have fantasized about a rail terminal for the bullet train here—in particular, something akin to the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco over a transit hub.

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  • 1 month later...

Let's face it; mass transit like bullet trains work best if it is in conjunction with other transit options.

 

The biggest mistake they will make is not stopping downtown. That 290 terminal is nice in paper but less practical than a downtown location. The web of public transit from downtown is so fast it's just unimaginable that the terminal won't be in the thick of all of that. 

 

There is a reason why the word Central usually preceded the word Station in many terminal names.

 

NASA tourist numbers were never good because it is not convenient to get to via PT.

 

Getting to downtown from most areas is easy.

Getting to 610 and 290 is never easy. Not even by car.

 

The Post office site with Greyhound, MegaBus, light rail and Metro buses connections would be an awesome development for Houston.

 

Imagine you are in Dallas heading to Houston for a football game. It would be nice if you could hop on DART, zip down to Houston, hop on the Red line at UHD down to the Stadium.

 

Another thing we should consider is impression.

Stepping off a train in downtown and soaking up your first experience with Houston is a lot different than first experience being a less attractive area out of the way area.

 

Coming in from Hobby has improved but still it's horrible. Coming from IAH isn't much better either. The bus goes through greenspoint and then through billboard corridor down 45.

 

But my biggest worry is accessability. 

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18 minutes ago, HoustonIsHome said:

Let's face it; mass transit like bullet trains work best if it is in conjunction with other transit options.

 

The biggest mistake they will make is not stopping downtown. That 290 terminal is nice in paper but less practical than a downtown location. The web of public transit from downtown is so fast it's just unimaginable that the terminal won't be in the thick of all of that. 

 

There is a reason why the word Central usually preceded the word Station in many terminal names.

 

NASA tourist numbers were never good because it is not convenient to get to via PT.

 

Getting to downtown from most areas is easy.

Getting to 610 and 290 is never easy. Not even by car.

 

The Post office site with Greyhound, MegaBus, light rail and Metro buses connections would be an awesome development for Houston.

 

Imagine you are in Dallas heading to Houston for a football game. It would be nice if you could hop on DART, zip down to Houston, hop on the Red line at UHD down to the Stadium.

 

Another thing we should consider is impression.

Stepping off a train in downtown and soaking up your first experience with Houston is a lot different than first experience being a less attractive area out of the way area.

 

Coming in from Hobby has improved but still it's horrible. Coming from IAH isn't much better either. The bus goes through greenspoint and then through billboard corridor down 45.

 

But my biggest worry is accessability. 

 

I'm sure they would love to hear your proposals for raising the money to pay the additional cost to get from Northwest to downtown.

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49 minutes ago, HoustonIsHome said:

Let's face it; mass transit like bullet trains work best if it is in conjunction with other transit options.

 

The biggest mistake they will make is not stopping downtown. That 290 terminal is nice in paper but less practical than a downtown location. The web of public transit from downtown is so fast it's just unimaginable that the terminal won't be in the thick of all of that. 

 

There is a reason why the word Central usually preceded the word Station in many terminal names.

 

NASA tourist numbers were never good because it is not convenient to get to via PT.

 

Getting to downtown from most areas is easy.

Getting to 610 and 290 is never easy. Not even by car.

 

The Post office site with Greyhound, MegaBus, light rail and Metro buses connections would be an awesome development for Houston.

 

Imagine you are in Dallas heading to Houston for a football game. It would be nice if you could hop on DART, zip down to Houston, hop on the Red line at UHD down to the Stadium.

 

Another thing we should consider is impression.

Stepping off a train in downtown and soaking up your first experience with Houston is a lot different than first experience being a less attractive area out of the way area.

 

Coming in from Hobby has improved but still it's horrible. Coming from IAH isn't much better either. The bus goes through greenspoint and then through billboard corridor down 45.

 

But my biggest worry is accessability. 

Not wanting to derail(har har) the PostHTX topic even more but wouldn't direct bus transfer to a Red line stop be sufficient.  I would love a east-west rail line extension to the TCR station but that will never happen.

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They could make an east-west line starting at PostHTX on Franklin/Washington stopping at/near the Amtrak station and taking Washington (an ideal street for rail) all the way to the TCR station.

 

An alternative or additional route could head north on Yale/Heights/TC Jester then head west on 11th or 18th/20th. 

Edited by LBC2HTX
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If I travel for business to Dallas on the HSR, I would not really be up to catch a bus into town after that.  I would probably do what I already do from love and just Uber it.  Dallas travelers to Houston probably already Uber it from Hobby but I think what we are hoping for is a better form of transit.  Travelling to Dallas now will be better upon arrival than flying.  Travelling to Houston will be the same as flying.  You are in the middle of nowhere and on your own to get somewhere - unless you want to travel by city bus.  People usually don't want that.

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57 minutes ago, kbates2 said:

If I travel for business to Dallas on the HSR, I would not really be up to catch a bus into town after that.  I would probably do what I already do from love and just Uber it.  Dallas travelers to Houston probably already Uber it from Hobby but I think what we are hoping for is a better form of transit.  Travelling to Dallas now will be better upon arrival than flying.  Travelling to Houston will be the same as flying.  You are in the middle of nowhere and on your own to get somewhere - unless you want to travel by city bus.  People usually don't want that.

 

Do you imagine that anything close to a majority of travelers from Dallas to Houston are destined  for downtown Houston?  Doubtful.  Even less likely that anywhere near a majority of Houston travelers are destined for downtown Dallas.  (Just over 5% of Houston's jobs are located downtown; Less than 4% of DFW's employment is in downtown Dallas). But even for those few who are destined for downtown Dallas, how do you imagine they will get from the TCR station to their destination (the vast majority of downtown Dallas destinations will be more than 1 mile from the station)?

 

Not sure how you conclude that travel to Dallas will be better than flying but Houston will be the same as flying.  Arriving in Dallas, you're still going to need to Uber to your destination (and for most DFW destinations, the TCR station will be a longer Uber ride than an airport; many Houston destinations will be much closer to the TCR station than they are to an airport).

 

FWIW, I would have preferred our station be at the post office site (and it would have been a much better site than the Dallas station site), but it just isn't feasible, and after a closer examination of the two stations' locations, I don't think the Dallas site is much of an advantage vs. Houston's.

Edited by Houston19514
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I imagine that a larger portion of Dallas to Houston travelers are destined for downtown than 290 and 610.  For those not destined for there, the portion destined for TMC, UH, Rice, etc., would be in a much better spot.  Those going elsewhere would be more conveniently located.

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6 minutes ago, kbates2 said:

I imagine that a larger portion of Dallas to Houston travelers are destined for downtown than 290 and 610.  For those not destined for there, the portion destined for TMC, UH, Rice, etc., would be in a much better spot.  Those going elsewhere would be more conveniently located.

 

There is no question that, if cost were not a consideration, the post office site would be preferred over Northwest.  TCR has said as much themselves.  I don't think we end up in nearly as bad a position, compared to the Dallas station location, as you portray.  For the reasons I mentioned above.

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The reality is that, in a city of this size, they're both reasonable locations for stations. And that's, in a perverse way, kind of the problem. This station will be reasonably convenient for a lot of people, but it won't be very convenient for those of us who live in and support the revitalization of the old city - downtown, midtown, "EADO", the museum district, Montrose, etc, and are probably *most* supportive of transit generally. And that just sucks. That doesn't mean that this isn't still worthwhile, it just means that a lot of the people who, in an ideal world, would be the loudest defenders of a project like this are going to feel a bit let down and like this is a "compromise" in the most pejorative sense.

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I don't see why it NEEDS to be a train station or anything like that. It has parking and a tower component, maybe a supermarket that the residential component could access without even the need to go outside, and/or a bunch of similar tenants, like trying to build a more-city center version of what MARQ*E was supposed to be, or a top-notch indoor farmer's market, with eclectic places to eat inside and handmade goods.

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  • 1 month later...

Y'all are missing the point. 

 

The point is not locating the terminal at the center of population. The point is locating the terminal at the epicenter of transit so that they have immediate access to the rest of the metro. 

 

Park and Ride buses all head down town.

Metro rail branches from downtown.

The bus network webs from downtown.

 

Someone mentioned that they can just build a rail to downtown. But what if you are not heading that way?  

 

If in am going to westchase I would be highly irritated taking a rail 20 minutes east just bro hop on a bus to head back west. 

 

Now you guys will say well we can build a line from the terminal going to westchase. Ok so you are taking about a new route to down town and a new route to westchase but what if I'm going to greenspoint? Build a new route there too? The woodlands? Clear lake?  

 

I guess we are going to build a new transit system to connect this new hub? Doubt it.

The terminal is never going to be as great as you think it will be for anyone not intending to drive, get picked up, or take a cab. 

 

This Post location is good because the transportation hub is already built in

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1 hour ago, HoustonIsHome said:

Y'all are missing the point. 

 

The point is not locating the terminal at the center of population. The point is locating the terminal at the epicenter of transit so that they have immediate access to the rest of the metro. 

 

Park and Ride buses all head down town.

Metro rail branches from downtown.

The bus network webs from downtown.

 

Someone mentioned that they can just build a rail to downtown. But what if you are not heading that way?  

 

If in am going to westchase I would be highly irritated taking a rail 20 minutes east just bro hop on a bus to head back west. 

 

Now you guys will say well we can build a line from the terminal going to westchase. Ok so you are taking about a new route to down town and a new route to westchase but what if I'm going to greenspoint? Build a new route there too? The woodlands? Clear lake?  

 

I guess we are going to build a new transit system to connect this new hub? Doubt it.

The terminal is never going to be as great as you think it will be for anyone not intending to drive, get picked up, or take a cab. 

 

This Post location is good because the transportation hub is already built in

 

Great points. Also, not just the epicenter of transit, but the place that people most likely would want to visit, and the place where the most important businesses are.

 

Downtown, now that hotels have taken off and considering all there is to do (sports, conventions, nightlife, etc.) has probably passed Uptown as the place where most people would want to visit, and will only increase its lead in coming years. And downtown has the highest office rents anywhere in the city, which means that the most important firms are there. You wouldn't want the VIP types visiting those firms to have to wait for a bus or Uber in the area around Northwest Mall.

Edited by H-Town Man
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Permit was issued for a 31M conversion on 06/25

Project No: 18034577
Date : 2018/06/25 00:00:00
USE : (EPR) CONV. POST OFFICE TO MALL BLDG 1-5
Owner/Occupant : *401 FRANKLIN STREET, LTD
Job Address : 401 FRANKLIN ST 77002
Valuation : $ 31,000,000
Permit Type : 13
FCC Group : Non-Residential Alteration
Buyer : *401 FRANKLIN STREET, LTD
Address : 1520 OLIVER ST 77007
Phone : (713) 293-6900
   

 

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I think the old county courthouse renovation was $38 million, for comparison. This will likely fund some practical renovations to make the warehouse area suited for retail tenants in a very raw, industrial environment, with maybe some parking lot landscaping and signage. My guess.

 

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  • 1 month later...
Quote

Lovett will develop the 16-acre property at 401 Franklin St. into a mixed-use development with "a host of retail and entertainment spaces" including a food hall and market, a live music venue, art exhibits, restaurants, bars, coworking space and a park on the building's rooftop, a Lovett spokesperson told the Houston Business Journal.

 

Quote

A construction timeline wasn't provided, nor was information on any contractors working on the property.

 

That was all the information in the article. The rest was background we already knew

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Quote

After years of silence, Houston-based Lovett Commercial has revealed finalized plans for the former downtown Houston post office property the company purchased in 2015.

Quote

Lovett is leasing the property and there are "multiple letters of intent on the table," the spokesperson said.

Also from the article. 

 

I suppose its an announcement of finalized plans.

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I talked to a downtown retail leasing broker a few months ago who confided her concerns about this project. She said she knew the owner and didn't think he was the right person for it. Take this for what it's worth, just someone's opinion. But from what we are seeing, it looks like they are essentially trying to lease it out for whatever money they can get without investing too much into it. And occasionally putting out renderings and what not to create interest.

 

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Seems like we have had a few co-working spaces pop into the market recently, but I really don't have an idea of how much demand is out there for those things, so maybe that works.

 

I feel more confident that we can reach food hall saturation downtown without one more all the way over there.  Putting one effectively out of foot traffic range for office workers seems like an even worse idea than competing against the other three that are yet to open their doors,  one of which is not yet even actively building out. 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, Nate99 said:

Seems like we have had a few co-working spaces pop into the market recently, but I really don't have an idea of how much demand is out there for those things, so maybe that works.

 

High demand. Very high demand. Most of the coworking spaces get taken up quickly in this city and people are packed into tight office spaces. That's why there's demand for even more with several more on the horizon. Think the most recent one was announced on the west side of the Heights.

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in their report, BisNow [mis]informs us that the property opened in 1936!  SMH

 

"The property, which opened in 1936, includes a 500K SF office building and a two-story industrial building."

Read more at: https://www.bisnow.com/houston/news/mixed-use/lovett-commercial-announces-plans-for-former-downtown-post-office-91299?be=wdm5%40georgetown.edu&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tue-31-jul-2018-000000-0400_houston-re?utm_source=CopyShare&utm_medium=Browser

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3 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

I talked to a downtown retail leasing broker a few months ago who confided her concerns about this project. She said she knew the owner and didn't think he was the right person for it. Take this for what it's worth, just someone's opinion. But from what we are seeing, it looks like they are essentially trying to lease it out for whatever money they can get without investing too much into it. And occasionally putting out renderings and what not to create interest.

 

 

I totally believe this, I believed it from the moment I read Lovett had bought the complex. Lovett doesn’t have the urban density know how or track record to deal with what should obviously be a dense urban project. The fact that they’ve dwadled on this project for years now, with squat to show, further proves to me that they are the wrong developer for this property.  A company like Midway or a similar developer, who has the proven experience, would have been the right choice for this one of a kind property. Lovett’s only background is small urban strip centers, suburban strip centers, overpriced townhomes and sitting on undeveloped land for years. This project is simply too large and important for such an inexperienced developer IMO. 

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10 hours ago, BigFootsSocks said:

Uhhhhh Sawyer Yards??? They’re doing a damn fine job over there. 

 

Idk, I’m getting the feeling that some here are still a little salty about Lovett demanding their renderings be removed the site :lol:

 

To this point...

 

Sawyer Yards is turning out great. And it is taking a very long time to deliver (piece by piece). I feel like they have done a quality job.

 

I am/was hopeful that Lovett grows with this development. I would love them to start doing some mixed use / higher density stuff.

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On 7/31/2018 at 4:21 PM, Houston19514 said:

in their report, BisNow [mis]informs us that the property opened in 1936!  SMH

 

"The property, which opened in 1936, includes a 500K SF office building and a two-story industrial building."

Read more at: https://www.bisnow.com/houston/news/mixed-use/lovett-commercial-announces-plans-for-former-downtown-post-office-91299?be=wdm5%40georgetown.edu&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tue-31-jul-2018-000000-0400_houston-re?utm_source=CopyShare&utm_medium=Browser

 

There is a portion of the building towards the front that was designed and constructed in the 1930's. If you look at the curved drive-in ramp of the structure, you'll see the original 1930's portion of the structure. Ive attached a screen shot of the site from 1944 to 2017. You'll see the original 1930's building in both images. 

 

 

1944 v 2017.png

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12 hours ago, Purdueenginerd said:

 

There is a portion of the building towards the front that was designed and constructed in the 1930's. If you look at the curved drive-in ramp of the structure, you'll see the original 1930's portion of the structure. Ive attached a screen shot of the site from 1944 to 2017. You'll see the original 1930's building in both images. 

 

 

1944 v 2017.png

 

That's fascinating.  I never realized that.  It would have been behind and  to the east of the old Southern Pacific train station.

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13 hours ago, Purdueenginerd said:

 

There is a portion of the building towards the front that was designed and constructed in the 1930's. If you look at the curved drive-in ramp of the structure, you'll see the original 1930's portion of the structure. Ive attached a screen shot of the site from 1944 to 2017. You'll see the original 1930's building in both images. 

 

 

1944 v 2017.png

 

LOL  I'm sure that's what the "reporter" was referring to.  ;)

 

Interesting information.  Thanks for posting. (But it doesn't justify the journalist's misinformation.)

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

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