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POST: 401 Franklin Post Office Site Redevelopment


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2 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

As the value of the site grows, discussions will follow about transit. I think Amtrak will be first to get attention though. 

I agree. This area would be fantastic to place a metropolis-worthy transit node. Texas Central + Amtrak + Light Rail + Commuter Rail + BRT would make for a nice dream. Its stops there for now though; not sure the long-term vision and intent are there yet.

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On 7/16/2021 at 12:13 PM, Triton said:

Like I said, we need a commuter rail connection from IAH to Post just like Denver.

This is going to be so packed so often that I think it will eventually make a case for incorporating the Amtrak station and building a new one

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@j_cuevas713 One would hope.

I still have reservations about just how successful this thing will be once the newness wares off.  The one way to ensure it is a hub of activity is to make it a transit hub.  If that happens then hospitality would be a logical add for phase 2, but you still have the problem that it isn’t really in downtown.  But it would be worth a shot!

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5 minutes ago, arche_757 said:

@j_cuevas713 One would hope.

I still have reservations about just how successful this thing will be once the newness wares off.  The one way to ensure it is a hub of activity is to make it a transit hub.  If that happens then hospitality would be a logical add for phase 2, but you still have the problem that it isn’t really in downtown.  But it would be worth a shot!

Aside from the food hall, there's going to be more to explore. People are going to want to just chill on the roof and relax. And let's not forget about the concert venue The Terminal that will constantly draw crowds. When I went to the Ferry Building in SF, it wasn't exactly packed. They had a farmers market set up outside but most of the indoor crowd just wanted to grab coffee and sit and relax by the bay. I think it's going to have a very similar vibe.

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The "it isn't really downtown" argument seems pretty weak to me. The area isn't really downtown currently, but that's because there isn't really anything there.

It's a 7 minute walk from Market Square. That's plenty close enough to start at Post and then walk to the bars around Market Square and Main Street. Also plenty close to the new residential buildings. 

I think this is offering more than enough stuff to entice people to make a 7 minute walk. Replacing the drive-through bank, doing something better with the Congress bridge (elevated plaza anyone?), narrowing Franklin, and building on the parking lots next to the Ballet and flanking the post office plaza would all strengthen that connection substantially, but we are talking about a 7 minute walk here. 

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I hope so.  I think the vast majority of people who will visit this thing will largely just mill about, maybe spend a few dollars.  Office workers from DT will make the trek on a nice Friday from Oct-April, but it’s too far from most offices for casual visits.  You could UberEats, but then you could do that anywhere, and not just the food hall.  And there are other food halls closer to offices.

How many concerts will it take for OMA’s fee alone?  Probably a lot.  Particularly “post-Covid”.  I think the mix of uses is great.  I like the idea of the project, I just think it’s literally an island alone with a river, 2 interstates, a heavily used train track and several blocks of undeveloped/vacant land between it and… the back side of the theatre district.  I hope it’s wildly successful.  I truly do, but I’ve also got my Pessimist Hat on really tight.

Its good folks like you @j_cuevas713 are excited and plan to visit early and often.  I hope there are far more of you than curmudgeons such as myself!

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30 minutes ago, Texasota said:

The "it isn't really downtown" argument seems pretty weak to me. The area isn't really downtown currently, but that's because there isn't really anything there.

It's a 7 minute walk from Market Square. That's plenty close enough to start at Post and then walk to the bars around Market Square and Main Street. Also plenty close to the new residential buildings. 

I think this is offering more than enough stuff to entice people to make a 7 minute walk. Replacing the drive-through bank, doing something better with the Congress bridge (elevated plaza anyone?), narrowing Franklin, and building on the parking lots next to the Ballet and flanking the post office plaza would all strengthen that connection substantially, but we are talking about a 7 minute walk here. 

@Texasota Yes and no.  It is not downtown.  You’re correct though in that IT CAN BE.  It should be - or godhelpus it’ll become NoWoDo or some nonsense! 😬 

I hope it’s very successful, but some of that success is out of the hands of folks developing it.  The city really has needed to address the aforementioned streets/bridges for some time.  It’s ridiculous what exists there now.  Maybe we will all have to attend council meetings.  To that end is there an official HAIF shirt @editor

[edit: I don’t want to come across as disliking this project, I don’t!, i just think it’s alone; and in real estate it’s always location, location, location.  It’s a lovely re-use, and I hope it works wonders for the area!  So I will refrain from coming across too negatively about it by arguing more.  — the better question, which @j_cuevas713 raises is what could be done to make it more successful, and attract developers to the other nearby land ripe for the taking.]

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1 minute ago, Houston19514 said:

This thread reminds me of the Discovery Green thread.  Thank goodness there are developers and others in this city with more vision than the average HAIFer.

I'm telling you! The same has been said about so much in this city and it continues to surprise us. 

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On 7/16/2021 at 10:58 AM, Montrose1100 said:

This is like the Ferry Terminal Building in San Francisco or Auckland, or the WTC station in New York.

In a ideal world, of course, this would be our HSR/Amtrak/transportation hub. The real entrance to our City.

Don’t mean to be a Debbie downer but I sent the Post HTX folks this idea back in April (see below) and never heard back. I even sent them my post from this thread and the follow up responses. It makes too much sense not to do it. We all can see it, they apparently don’t have the vision or foresight to think that far ahead…

On 4/14/2021 at 5:22 PM, tigereye said:

Since Amtrak might be increasing service to Houston and we all now this city needs a better train station, with Post HTX being located close by, it lead me to an obvious idea: 

I’d like to see the Amtrak station moved to PostHTX, which would be a nicer location (compared to under a freeway overpass) and could still use the existing heavy rail tracks. Since the loading dock is being transformed into covered patio spaces, convert the loading dock area behind Post HTX into a European style train shed that can support Amtrak operations and connect directly to the food hall/shopping and collaborative areas of Post HTX, adding a new audience to help support Post HTX growth and success. This provides vendors at Post HTX with more sales opportunities in the form of train travelers and gives the city better gateway to welcome train travelers to and from Downtown. And if the city eventually uses the existing heavy rail tracks for commuter rail, this could be the station connection to downtown. Think Denver’s Union Station. 

 

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1 hour ago, tigereye said:

Don’t mean to be a Debbie downer but I sent the Post HTX folks this idea back in April (see below) and never heard back. I even sent them my post from this thread and the follow up responses. It makes too much sense not to do it. We all can see it, they apparently don’t have the vision or foresight to think that far ahead…

 

They probably didn't respond because it's not really up to them. There has to be partnership between multiple entities; the CoH, Amtrak, the developers, etc. I'm sure the discussion will be brought up at some point because the CoH's long term plan was to relocate the Amtrak station before this renovation started. All in all the developer is def carrying their fair share of the responsibility simply by renovating the building. Now it's up to the CoH to talk to all parties. 

Edited by j_cuevas713
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2 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

This thread reminds me of the Discovery Green thread.  Thank goodness there are developers and others in this city with more vision than the average HAIFer.

I mean, I guess if you want to use disco green as an example that works, and may actually be a bad comparison, because 5 days out of the week it's pretty ghost-townish during normal business hours.

speaking of things with green in the name, why use discovery green as the example, and not green street (is that still the name?).

this spot though, I can completely see this place being a busy place after work, and absolutely on the weekends. 

for me, I'd have to walk about 10 minutes to get there from my office (well, from front door to front door, not including elevator time), from late June through early October, that's a no-go, especially if a customer is going to visit. not to mention, I am only going into the office once a week in this brave new pandemic world.

but yes, after work, and on weekends, I'm sure the wife and I will plan some trips to come and wander around for the morning, maybe even do some impulse buying at the random shops in which we may stop. if we have to pay $10 for parking though, will it be worth it for us to come here vs the Houston Farmers Market on Airline, or Rice Village?

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9 minutes ago, samagon said:

I mean, I guess if you want to use disco green as an example that works, and may actually be a bad comparison, because 5 days out of the week it's pretty ghost-townish during normal business hours.

speaking of things with green in the name, why use discovery green as the example, and not green street (is that still the name?).

this spot though, I can completely see this place being a busy place after work, and absolutely on the weekends. 

for me, I'd have to walk about 10 minutes to get there from my office (well, from front door to front door, not including elevator time), from late June through early October, that's a no-go, especially if a customer is going to visit. not to mention, I am only going into the office once a week in this brave new pandemic world.

but yes, after work, and on weekends, I'm sure the wife and I will plan some trips to come and wander around for the morning, maybe even do some impulse buying at the random shops in which we may stop. if we have to pay $10 for parking though, will it be worth it for us to come here vs the Houston Farmers Market on Airline, or Rice Village?

Are you really trying to claim that Discovery Green has not been successful?    FWIW, I was not comparing the projects, but the comments/complaints/criticisms from HAIFers.  We were treated to the same arguments against Discovery Green as we're hearing about Post.  Bad location. People won't venture over there. No one will drive in from outside downtown to go there because of parking/traffic/bad location, etc etc.  It's too far from everything else downtown. It's not on the way to or from anything else.

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18 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

Are you really trying to claim that Discovery Green has not been successful?    FWIW, I was not comparing the projects, but the comments/complaints/criticisms from HAIFers.  We were treated to the same arguments against Discovery Green as we're hearing about Post.  Bad location. People won't venture over there. No one will drive in from outside downtown to go there because of parking/traffic/bad location, etc etc.  It's too far from everything else downtown. It's not on the way to or from anything else.

not at all. it has been widely successful, and has events that draw crowds on weekends because the conservators format things and it has things that make it unique compared with other parks that might have free parking, or are closer to the people that go.

just not a huge hit on weekdays during business hours.

since post HTX isn't a public park, that is a pretty big difference between this place and disco, so it can't be a 1/1 comparison on what constitutes 'success'.

for the record, I never thought disco wouldn't be a success, I always thought it would be, and I do think it is a great success. that being said, there aren't many parallels that can be drawn between it and post.

let's look at other things that are comparable, like green street. did you think that would be a success? do you think it is currently a success? will post be different, and how?

Edited by samagon
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43 minutes ago, samagon said:

I mean, I guess if you want to use disco green as an example that works, and may actually be a bad comparison, because 5 days out of the week it's pretty ghost-townish during normal business hours.

This is not true. There is always people there now unless its its a bad weather day.

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I don’t think anyone wants this project to not be a wonderful catalyst for the area.  I hope it’s very successful, and I also hope the governmental entities (local, state and federal) can work towards solidifying the Postal Bend?  (Maybe we can get a Kevin Costner statue to go along with the quirky development?)

Reworking the roads would be huge to making an big impact here.  Additionally, reworking heavy rail to shift a station element into this project (or a future phase) would be great.  

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

I mean, I guess if you want to use disco green as an example that works, and may actually be a bad comparison, because 5 days out of the week it's pretty ghost-townish during normal business hours.

I walk across Disco Green several times a week during the early afternoon hours (usually between 1pm and 4pm) and there are always people there ... especially now that more and more people are vaccinated and back to pre-covid life.  Of course on weekends it's much more crowded but even during weekdays there are people walking around and kids enjoying the playground and fountains. 

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56 minutes ago, samagon said:

not at all. it has been widely successful, and has events that draw crowds on weekends because the conservators format things and it has things that make it unique compared with other parks that might have free parking, or are closer to the people that go.

just not a huge hit on weekdays during business hours.

since post HTX isn't a public park, that is a pretty big difference between this place and disco, so it can't be a 1/1 comparison on what constitutes 'success'.

for the record, I never thought disco wouldn't be a success, I always thought it would be, and I do think it is a great success. that being said, there aren't many parallels that can be drawn between it and post.

let's look at other things that are comparable, like green street. did you think that would be a success? do you think it is currently a success? will post be different, and how?

For the record, you're the only one suggesting that we compare Discovery Green or any other project to Post.  If you want to do that, have at it.  

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13 hours ago, HtownWxBoy said:

I walk across Disco Green several times a week during the early afternoon hours (usually between 1pm and 4pm) and there are always people there ... especially now that more and more people are vaccinated and back to pre-covid life.  Of course on weekends it's much more crowded but even during weekdays there are people walking around and kids enjoying the playground and fountains. 

 

13 hours ago, staresatmaps said:

This is not true. There is always people there now unless its its a bad weather day.

success for a park is not the same as success for business. civic projects can't be compared to what would be needed to sustain retail.

13 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

For the record, you're the only one suggesting that we compare Discovery Green or any other project to Post.  If you want to do that, have at it.  

you, sir, invoked disco:

17 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

This thread reminds me of the Discovery Green thread.  Thank goodness there are developers and others in this city with more vision than the average HAIFer.

the only comparison I made was that disco doesn't have numbers I'd think might sustain as much business as any mall like thing that needs retail in a really high rent district needs to survive. I even tried to reference green street as a much better example in the same post that I responded to your quote above.

can we talk about the wild success of green street as a direct comparison, or are you going to continue to hone in on the one sentence I had about disco in response to your post about disco, before having many other things to say that have nothing to do with disco, and continue to put words in my mouth? 

I do apologize to all for even stating one sentence about discovery green in response to someone else bringing it up, and then for continuing to talk about discovery green when it was suggested that I didn't think it is a successful park.

further, @Houston19514 I also apologize for misunderstanding your original post. we both probably could have saved a lot of typing if you had told me your intention wasn't to build a comparison between the two, no matter how obvious you might have thought that was, I did misunderstand it to be a comparison, so again, apologies for my misunderstanding. 

Edited by samagon
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Post will sink or swim regardless of what anyone on here wants or thinks.

I do think that OMA has done a tremendous job with what was a very nondescript building.  I actually find it a much better repurposed building (overlooking projected uses) than what is happening in Midtown with sHoP at the ion.  (Obviously I love that the old Sears is being turned into something for the greater good, and I’m thrilled to see what will come from ion… just architecturally they’re not really equal.)

In fantasy world: I think I kind of would rather have seen Post & ion swap places…?

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