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POST HTX: 401 Franklin Post Office Site Redevelopment

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Just for reference, Market Square Tower is a seven minute walk to POST. Lyric Market is a five minute walk.

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It is a shame this project doesn’t have multi family. In an ideal world, this project would include a couple of apartment towers and turn the warehouse into an HEB and maybe a small office component.

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7 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

Another good reason to wait on other phases. The reroute needs to get finalized. The possible realignment of the railroad needs to get finalized. Lots of moving pieces beyond this projects control, but could affect it later. No doubt they pursue whatever surrounding land will be available after theses move pieces settle down.

 

I am still so excited for this realignment and hope the city makes it a reality. We really need to move that railroad track as the Planning Commission proposed.

 

 

HTX.PNG

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1 hour ago, Triton said:

 

 

I am still so excited for this realignment and hope the city makes it a reality. We really need to move that railroad track as the Planning Commission proposed.

 

 

HTX.PNG

There is definitely space for residential fronting the freeway behind the post office 👀

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7 hours ago, ZRFkris said:

There is definitely space for residential fronting the freeway behind the post office 👀

 

It is hard to sell apartments next to a freeway. Witness the failure of the converted highrise on Bagby and Congress two blocks south of the post office. As far as I'm aware, no one has since tried to revive it in 15 years despite its great views of the skyline. It is smarter to wait until the freeway is moved and build a higher quality product.

 

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15 hours ago, ZRFkris said:

I have faith, some people knocked the idea of discovery green at first, this could be another jewel for downtown. I wonder how long this development will take.

it will be complete by next summer

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Am I missing something?

Can't there be multiple phases to this property?

I mean there is significant surface lot space that can one day be turned into multi-story residential / office / hotel, etc.

I know it's not in the plan now, and a KBR-site-like complete redesign would be nice.... but what's being proposed is actually WAYYYYYY better than post office.

 

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20 hours ago, urbanize713 said:

Yes it is something new and hopefully it succeeds but this is terribly underwhelming. 

 

I say this for 3 reasons. 

1. Hanover Buffalo Bayou

2. The Allen

3. Regent Square for god sake!

 

Like the three projects above, this fronts the bayou/park and is actually in downtown. In my humble opinion, I would prefer for Lovett to sell (at a profit) and for a developer with a bigger vision(and pockets) to come along. Even if it sits vacant for a couple more years. 

 

This has an access problem those places don't have. Casual shoppers will think of driving to this location next to downtown and all the freeway spaghetti and get psyched out. They need to look into putting some really good directional signage on Washington Avenue, Houston Avenue, maybe even Memorial Drive/Texas coming into downtown to make it easy for westsiders to get here. Not sure what is possible with the signage laws.

 

I got a little pessimistic thinking about this last night. There needs to be some kind of exclamation point to draw people in, so that it doesn't just seem like a larger food hall with a rooftop garden next to a freeway. I wonder if building an observation tower here is feasible. It's a perfect location and would draw people from all over the city, who will then stop by the market hall and rooftop garden.

 

 

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To me, Lovett is trying to make a quick buck by doing a quick-turnaround, relatively cheap warehouse makeover and selling it as a state-of-the-art pushing-the-envelop urban space.  It is typical for Houston developers.  Safe, unimaginative, and unmemorable.  I think it’s comical (or sad, depending on how you look at it) that the most aggressive innovator in this city is from Australia!  

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16 hours ago, talltexan83 said:

So no planned interaction with the bayou or bike path? As is,  I have a hard time seeing a casual visitor to Market Square making the (short) walk to this site.........not a very pedestrian friendly environment.  

 

I've made that walk before when it was a post office, and it feels about as unfriendly as a downtown street with sidewalks can - there's no shade, multiple wide streets with a lot of cars, and not much on the way.  The large parking lot just makes it worse than it would already be if it was right against Franklin

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2 hours ago, MarathonMan said:

To me, Lovett is trying to make a quick buck by doing a quick-turnaround, relatively cheap warehouse makeover and selling it as a state-of-the-art pushing-the-envelop urban space.  It is typical for Houston developers.  Safe, unimaginative, and unmemorable.  I think it’s comical (or sad, depending on how you look at it) that the most aggressive innovator in this city is from Australia!  

How I see it is safe keeps the lights on.

Houston got to how it is over 200 years; it is not going to be how many of us want it to be over 20 years. Give it time. If this phase takes off we can definitely go further.

 

Sometimes we have to think big and other times we have to think smart. A development like Greenstreet did neither.

 

In these times a downtown doesn't mean the same as it did when cities were cities. We have a constant population density 20+ miles in every direction from this thing. A fraction of the population will ever do more than drive past it on the highway. Yes more people are moving to downtown and around it, but we don't have that active core that we all dream about.

 

We need more of a collaboration of developers and encouragement from the city to tie it all together. Hoping that one developer gets out and the others follow is a risk that is kind of unfair to expect one developer to carry. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Let's hope that that Australian is super successful. 

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3 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

There needs to be some kind of exclamation point to draw people in, so that it doesn't just seem like a larger food hall with a rooftop garden next to a freeway. I wonder if building an observation tower here is feasible. It's a perfect location and would draw people from all over the city, who will then stop by the market hall and rooftop garden.

 

 

 

Now thats an idea!

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1 hour ago, Timoric said:

I would put this old used stuff here.

 

1. Blimp and Garage

2. Scoreboard

3. Space Needle

4. Saturn V Rocket but have it standing up

5. Battleship Texas (drydocked)

 

Problem Solved

 

 

 

 

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2.jpg

 

You joke, but f.u.c.k. it. Lets upright the ole saturn v and really go all space city! That would be awesome to have an observation deck in the apollo capsule.

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8 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

It is hard to sell apartments next to a freeway. Witness the failure of the converted highrise on Bagby and Congress two blocks south of the post office. As far as I'm aware, no one has since tried to revive it in 15 years despite its great views of the skyline. It is smarter to wait until the freeway is moved and build a higher quality product.

 

 

Not here.

 

hamilton-midtown.jpg

 

 

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2 hours ago, invisibletrees said:

 

Not here.

 

hamilton-midtown.jpg

 

 

Hard, not impossible. Easier when they are low budget rather than high quality.

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1 hour ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

this site floods, so this is the best you'll get here.

 

Site work can just raise the elevation.

 

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On 6/28/2019 at 5:12 PM, invisibletrees said:

 

Not here.

 

hamilton-midtown.jpg

 

 

They can build residential towers with garage on the bottom floors and apts above which won't be right at freeway level but above it.  

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55 minutes ago, htownbro said:

They can build residential towers with garage on the bottom floors and apts above which won't be right at freeway level but above it.  

 

It's still a stigma. You'll have a hard time renting the lower floors above the freeway. And people walk the dog, etc., so outside environment matters.

 

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On 6/29/2019 at 9:02 AM, Fortune said:

This is a renovation. Why is it in the Going Up section?

 

More phases to come. This was recently confirmed via their Facebook page.

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Just now, Urbannizer said:

 

More phases to come. This was recently confirmed via their Facebook page.

 

hope those phases include residential!

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3 hours ago, Luminare said:

This project was published on Archdaily this morning. This town still doesn't get that much onto Archdaily so its great that this project is up there. I consider this website to be "architectures front page" in the internet space. If its published here then it means people think it has great value that the mainstream should pay attention too. Link below:

 

https://www.archdaily.com/920159/oma-reveals-new-design-to-convert-historic-houston-post-office

 

Of course partly its here because OMA is involved, but thats also something to take notice. If its seen that OMA is putting effort into a big project in Houston then hopefully it pulls other big names to get involved in the city as well. I think with it being published in a very prolific high profile site we should take a step back for a moment and try to look at this project with fresh eyes. We seem to be missing in our discussions that this will be one of the largest green roofs / farms in this country and the world in fact. Thats something that we didn't think would happen here nor would others. This project highlights that Houston is ready to reengage with mainstream trends in architecture again. Lets take it easy with the crits a tad. This is going to be a really great project for this city.

 

Have we not been engaged with mainstream trends in architecture? I'm not disagreeing, just wondering. All the buildings of the past five years? The MFAH addition? Or are you thinking more in terms of pushing the envelope of these trends?

 

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I don't think they need to make it pedestrian only, just work on improving the sidewalks - you could remove one lane of traffic and widen the sidewalks enough to included benches and trees.  Something like that could make a real difference to the walk

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If they really want to have 4 entries from downtown, they're going to have to make the front of the site more inviting than a parking lot

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I wish they would build a few high rises on the parking lots around the building they are remodeling. That would make this project so much more interesting. A hotel and a couple of residential high rises. If Lovett/Intown Homes can't do it they should partner with a developer that can like Weingarten did with Hanover or La Colombe d'Or did with Hines or Midway.

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On 7/6/2019 at 7:04 PM, mattyt36 said:

Now those are some bizarre conceptual drawings. Or maybe they want to make Houston’s new icon the world’s largest rake ... 😂

 

I was lukewarm on the whole thing before rake. 

 

This one is in a very visible, but weird spot. It's not actually that far, but practically speaking, it's too much of a walk from the bulk of the offices to be something that the lunch crowd will frequent, so it needs to either be a destination, or origination point.  By the big freeway interchange isn't the best for residential, but I'd like to see that ideally, maybe reach back and spur development behind it to bridge into UH-D.

 

Or now that I think of it, why couldn't this have been part of UH-D to begin with? 

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I was thinking that part of this land could be student housing as well as standard residential. I feel that the retail market would do well and bring more of the campus towards it. 

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14 hours ago, Amlaham said:

I know I'm gonna get a lot of comments like "anything is better than nothing," but I really do wish this gets put on hold until something better comes along. This is literally one of the most visible part of Downtown Houston, especially coming from I-10/45/59. I respect everyone's opinion but wow....this "Redevelopment" is not it. The inside looks like an 80s mall and the outside looks.....the same. They threw on some grass and some bushes and called it a rooftop park, don't get me wrong I LOVE that idea, but they did NOT execute it AT ALL. Pictures for what it should have looked like. Also, I LOVE Houston sooo much, thats why I get so frustrated about this project, because we deserve better!    

image.png

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THIS! ^^^

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Now on the HAIF Development Map under the layer "Proposed". Proposed renovations are in pink. The future phases are also in "Proposed" as blue. For any updates on the status of this project. Please DM me.

Things to keep an eye on include (but not limited to):

-updated renders (will be adding pics to all projects later)
-project name changes

-changes in use or additions of uses

-changes in number of stories

-changes to Developer or additional Developers

-changes to Architect or additional Architects/Designers

-announcements or changes to construction dates / finish dates

 

If any of the above is missing in the project info already then please assist clarifying any missing info to me.

Edited by Luminare

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Didn't see this posted, it has a bit more information that the HChron article:

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/cynthialescalleet/2019/06/27/from-mail-to-mixed-use-in-downtown-houston/#7f92b5605da7

 

I didn't realize that because they utilized the tax credits or what not, they can't do the residential stuff: 

 

A residential component is not part of the mix, he said, because it is a landmark historic building and the project incorporates state and federal tax credits: “We were restricted from making large façade modifications which would have made it impossible to place residential units in the existing building.”

 

At Preservation Houston, an advocacy organization, Executive Director David Bush said this property and project have been on the organization’s radar. “It would have been very easy to lose the post office," he said in an email. "These buildings are an age when they’re typically threatened. There are a lot of them, they don’t look modern anymore and they aren’t what most people think of as historic.

“So we’ve got two challenges: Helping people understand that buildings from this era are architecturally and historically significant. And getting owners and investors to look at historic preservation as a viable alternative to Houston’s typical scrape and rebuild history of development.”

 

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1 hour ago, X.R. said:

Didn't see this posted, it has a bit more information that the HChron article:

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/cynthialescalleet/2019/06/27/from-mail-to-mixed-use-in-downtown-houston/#7f92b5605da7

 

I didn't realize that because they utilized the tax credits or what not, they can't do the residential stuff: 

 

A residential component is not part of the mix, he said, because it is a landmark historic building and the project incorporates state and federal tax credits: “We were restricted from making large façade modifications which would have made it impossible to place residential units in the existing building.”

 

At Preservation Houston, an advocacy organization, Executive Director David Bush said this property and project have been on the organization’s radar. “It would have been very easy to lose the post office," he said in an email. "These buildings are an age when they’re typically threatened. There are a lot of them, they don’t look modern anymore and they aren’t what most people think of as historic.

“So we’ve got two challenges: Helping people understand that buildings from this era are architecturally and historically significant. And getting owners and investors to look at historic preservation as a viable alternative to Houston’s typical scrape and rebuild history of development.”

 

From the very same article: “Instead, the company has plans to collaborate with other developers and explore the possibility of future residential complexes “in the medium term.””

 

I believe this statement conforms with earlier information in this thread about the developer utilizing the parking lot(s) at the site for the construction of additional structures after the initial redevelopment of the existing structure.

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m.e.h........another mall....

 

Houston Center ----> Sucks

Bayou Place ----------> Sucks

Houston Pavilions/GreenStreet -----> Sucks but getting better very slowly

Downtown Tunnels ------> Single worst development in Downtown Houston history.

 

Was really excited to see what was going to happen with this site but not anymore...The city should've gave the building to University of Houston-Downtown and just let the school

expand its footprint...but they decided the building is better off being an indoor mall straight from 1977.

 

This project should be called PreHTX...because its everything lame Houston developers are known for.

Edited by Elseed
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1 hour ago, Elseed said:

m.e.h........another mall....

 

Houston Center ----> Sucks

Bayou Place ----------> Sucks

Houston Pavilions/GreenStreet -----> Sucks but getting better very slowly

Downtown Tunnels ------> Single worst development in Downtown Houston history.

 

Was really excited to see what was going to happen with this site but not anymore...The city should've gave the building to University of Houston-Downtown and just let the school

expand its footprint...but they decided the building is better off being an indoor mall straight from 1977.

 

This project should be called PreHTX...because its everything lame Houston developers are known for.

 

It's a market, not a mall. I was at Dallas Farmer's Market last weekend. They've got one open-air building where fresh produce is still sold, essentially what the Houston Farmer's Market is, but the main attraction is a big climate-controlled building that has food vendors and shops. That's basically what this is, only this is way bigger and of solid construction. More solid than pretty much any modern industrial building.

 

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13 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

 

It's a market, not a mall. I was at Dallas Farmer's Market last weekend. They've got one open-air building where fresh produce is still sold, essentially what the Houston Farmer's Market is, but the main attraction is a big climate-controlled building that has food vendors and shops. That's basically what this is, only this is way bigger and of solid construction. More solid than pretty much any modern industrial building.

 

 

Market? Arent we already getting a brand new redeveloped yuppified Farmers Market with the Caninos Redevelopment? 

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7 hours ago, Elseed said:

 

Market? Arent we already getting a brand new redeveloped yuppified Farmers Market with the Caninos Redevelopment? 

 

I didn't say farmers market. Comparisons have been made on this thread to Reading Terminal in Philadelphia and Pike Place Market in Seattle. Not farmers markets and not malls either. There will likely be some overlap with the redeveloped farmers market on Airline since that one will not just be fresh produce anymore, but a city can have more than one, just like cities have multiple food halls and multiple farmers markets. This is like a cross between a farmers market and a food hall, with some tchotchkes vendors thrown in.

Edited by H-Town Man
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13 hours ago, X.R. said:

Didn't see this posted, it has a bit more information that the HChron article:

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/cynthialescalleet/2019/06/27/from-mail-to-mixed-use-in-downtown-houston/#7f92b5605da7

 

I didn't realize that because they utilized the tax credits or what not, they can't do the residential stuff: 

 

A residential component is not part of the mix, he said, because it is a landmark historic building and the project incorporates state and federal tax credits: “We were restricted from making large façade modifications which would have made it impossible to place residential units in the existing building.”

 

At Preservation Houston, an advocacy organization, Executive Director David Bush said this property and project have been on the organization’s radar. “It would have been very easy to lose the post office," he said in an email. "These buildings are an age when they’re typically threatened. There are a lot of them, they don’t look modern anymore and they aren’t what most people think of as historic.

“So we’ve got two challenges: Helping people understand that buildings from this era are architecturally and historically significant. And getting owners and investors to look at historic preservation as a viable alternative to Houston’s typical scrape and rebuild history of development.”

 

 

I'm all for historic preservation, but the old post office hardly strikes me as architecturally or historically significant.  

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21 minutes ago, Subdude said:

 

I'm all for historic preservation, but the old post office hardly strikes me as architecturally or historically significant.  

 

It does not have red brick, arched windows, keystones, wood timber beams, or detailed stonework. However, the giant concrete columns will be a sight to behold in our era of cheap disposable construction. I know, I know - concrete. Not the most poetic material. But think of the cistern on Buffalo Bayou. It has a certain "pillars of the earth" quality. The fact that this thing is strong enough to hold a rooftop garden with public gathering is pretty remarkable - no modern distribution center roof is built so strong. They didn't mess around when they built post office buildings. Even neighborhood post offices are a nightmare to tear down. There was a certain "we are the new Rome and we're going to build like Rome" mindset in the USPS in the 20th century. This may not have the Beaux Arts classicism of the Farley building in NYC but where it counts, in durability and utility, it evokes something of a classical spirit.

 

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4 hours ago, Subdude said:

 

I'm all for historic preservation, but the old post office hardly strikes me as architecturally or historically significant.  

 

3 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

It does not have red brick, arched windows, keystones, wood timber beams, or detailed stonework. However, the giant concrete columns will be a sight to behold in our era of cheap disposable construction. I know, I know - concrete. Not the most poetic material. But think of the cistern on Buffalo Bayou. It has a certain "pillars of the earth" quality. The fact that this thing is strong enough to hold a rooftop garden with public gathering is pretty remarkable - no modern distribution center roof is built so strong. They didn't mess around when they built post office buildings. Even neighborhood post offices are a nightmare to tear down. There was a certain "we are the new Rome and we're going to build like Rome" mindset in the USPS in the 20th century. This may not have the Beaux Arts classicism of the Farley building in NYC but where it counts, in durability and utility, it evokes something of a classical spirit.

 

 

There is still an older 1930's era post office at the site. Go back to my comments in May 2018 and you'll see the aerial shots of it. 

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12 minutes ago, Purdueenginerd said:

 

 

There is still an older 1930's era post office at the site. Go back to my comments in May 2018 and you'll see the aerial shots of it. 

 

I couldn't find your comments in May 2018. But I'm not sure how it affects the issue of whether the main 1960's building is preservation-worthy.

 

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