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Post HTX: 401 Franklin Post Office Site Redevelopment

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Posted (edited)
On 8/1/2018 at 7:41 PM, 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

 

 

Sorry @H-Town Man,  I was off by a few months. 

Edited by Purdueenginerd
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12 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.

 

I think Tadeo Ado and probably Luis Barragan would like to have a word with you regarding concrete not being the most "poetic material" (not the only good examples too).

 

On 7/3/2019 at 2:10 PM, cspwal said:

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

 

On 7/3/2019 at 12:42 PM, H-Town Man said:

A thought occurs to me while Google Earthing this. They should petition the city to make the Congress Street bridge pedestrian-only. It seems like a redundant bridge. Turn it into a park/promenade with brick paving and trees and gardens, with stairs down to the bayou. Brick-pave the intersection with Franklin and then continue the promenade up to Post. They can offer to pay for it in an agreement similar to how Main Street Square was done. This will tie the development in with downtown and make it a lot more comfortable, even enjoyable for people to walk there and back.

 

 

While doing some digging in the Downtown subforum for things to put on the development map I ran into this. Seems like we completely forgot that Bagby street is suppose to get a make over, and this upgrade will revamp that bridge to make it more pedestrian friendly. Presentation in the link:
http://www.downtowntirz.com/downtownhouston/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/180507_Bagby-Street-Improvment-Plan-FINAL-Report-Web.pdf

I'm sure they took this into account at some point when deciding to pull the trigger on this. This soon to be beautified street is basically going to lead straight to this developments front door.

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1 hour ago, Luminare said:

I think Tadeo Ado and probably Luis Barragan would like to have a word with you regarding concrete not being the most "poetic material" (not the only good examples too).

 

I thought I was being pretty generous to concrete. If only a few architects have realized its possibilities as a poetic material, then it is probably not the most poetic material. Still a poetic material in certain hands.

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23 hours ago, Subdude said:

 

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

 

23 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.

 

 

 

I think cities should preserve a certain (small) number of these kinds of buildings so we don't forget just how ugly they are, lest someone someday decide it's a good idea to build in this style again.

 

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While this building hasn’t been recladded, its exterior style is reminiscent of the architecturally beautiful buildings that were “modernized” with recladding of ugly sheet metal in the 50’s/60’s. Regardless of its supposed concrete structural integrity, I don’t think its facade is architecturally or historically significant. It’s mind boggling that the city sees some kind of historical significance in this plainly put, beige warehouse and not in the many historically beautiful buildings that have since been torn down and still are to this day. Very backward priorities. 

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Wasn't up to the city. This is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so it's historic-ness was determined by the Texas Historical Commission (and the feds agreed.)

 

 

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3 hours ago, Texasota said:

Wasn't up to the city. This is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so it's historic-ness was determined by the Texas Historical Commission (and the feds agreed.)

 

 

Is there some private entity that has to request that a building be deemed historically significant and, thus, protected?  Or, does the Texas Historical Commission move on its own?

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2 hours ago, Texasota said:

Wasn't up to the city. This is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so it's historic-ness was determined by the Texas Historical Commission (and the feds agreed.)

 

 

 

Well no wonder. Thanks for the clarification. The feds probably only approved the listing since it was a historically government owned building.  Regardless what the commission/feds think on its “historic-ness”, I have to disagree on this one. Maybe I can see the listing for the administration building only, even as butt ugly as it is (really? facade modifications aren’t allowed?!), but not for the surrounding distribution warehouse portion. That’s purely ridiculous if so. Guess this means I am not as pro-preservation of “historic” buildings as I thought I was. Lol. Oh well. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MarathonMan said:

Is there some private entity that has to request that a building be deemed historically significant and, thus, protected?  Or, does the Texas Historical Commission move on its own?

 

Basically that determination is made any time there's a federal "undertaking." That could include federal funds, but in this case it probably happened when the property was tranferred out of federal ownership. I *believe* that selling a property (in particular a post office) to a private entity also includes a covenant which requires the new owner to adhere to federal guidelines for the treatment of historic properties.

 

Most of the time, a National Register-listed property *doesn't* have a covenant, so restrictions would only come in to play if the owner was applying for grants or tax credits. If he used private funds he could do whatever.

 

Otherwise a private entity can always submit a nomination to THC, which could result in listing but typically not a covenant.

Edited by Texasota
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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, CrockpotandGravel said:

Also on the Loopnet listing is a site plan showing the location of the hotel and other portions for Post. This isn't in the marketing brochures. From the site plan, the  boutique hotel will be 52,000 sf.
 

oEDym70.jpg



 

 

I would have thought that a lot of the white area on Level I would have been retail. Do we know what it is, exactly? The areas devoted to retail don't seem that big, considering the grand market hall concept. Maybe they are just doing it in phases since that is a lot of retail space to fill all at once.

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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I think a lot of it is the market hall itself. This listing seems to be for more permanent separate spaces.

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

 

I would have thought that a lot of the white area on Level I would have been retail. Do we know what it is, exactly? The areas devoted to retail don't seem that big, considering the grand market hall concept. Maybe they are just doing it in phases since that is a lot of retail space to fill all at once.

 

 

Also the portion on the right/east on level 1+2 is the proposed concert venue, I believe. 

Is the basement usable space? 

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6 minutes ago, Texasota said:

I think a lot of it is the market hall itself. This listing seems to be for more permanent separate spaces.

 

Yes, I'm seeing that now. The white section next to the blue section on the left looks like it has a lot of kiosks and small vendor spaces, while the central section where you enter seems like it has maybe larger vendor spaces. You can also see the skylights outlined, which are really like wells going through all floors of the building. The office people will be able to look down and see the market hall below. I'm looking forward to this!

 

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We have gone from having relatively few public recreational areas to having so many on the drawing board that I shudder to think of the long-term implications regarding upkeep. (Not necessarily with this one, as it will be privately operated, but in the same vein I question their business model.)

 

With all that is conceptual on the drawing board for downtown and environs, I hate to say it but it seems like total overkill. Some concepts include cap parks from 45-10/59 interchange to the Spur, along with a “High Line” on the Pierce Elevated. And the downtown master plan includes the “Green Necklace” (or whatever it’s called) circling the inner core of downtown. And whatever East River is going to try to do. Certainly looks beautiful on paper but good Lord (1) how will such acreage be “populated”; and (2) who the hell is going to maintain it?

 

I guess, though, if I had to choose between this and how things were 20 years ago in re lack of imagination, I’d choose now. 

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While we have a number of parks, many of them are over-programmed as is and so adding more could spread that programming around.  Market Square Park basically only opens their lawn for events now which sucks if you want to just enjoy it as a neighboring resident.  With a few less events (and maybe smarter programming) they could leave it open more of the time.

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There is plenty of room to build dense and any development that embraces green space is planning for the future and trying to set a better example. I want a couple of world class green spaces to add to downtown area. 

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On 8/14/2019 at 11:26 AM, H-Town Man said:

 

I think this is only an issue if they are all developed too quickly, i.e. if the whole Pierce Elevated were torn down today and made into a park, you would definitely have some homeless inhabitation. But as a longterm vision I do think we need lots of green around downtown, esp. as Houston is perceived as such a "concrete" city. Chicago, Boston, and Austin are examples of cities where the parks really grace and enhance the center city. Houston needs it all the more due to the lack of a waterfront.

 

 

May have a waterfront in about 10 years lol jk

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A bunch of content, posts, renderings posted in this thread from me over the years were removed in the mass deletion of over five years worth of content from me. I wasn't able to save much from this thread, but did save this post I made back in March.


The post speculated  a restaurant from Paul Qui is likely opening at Post HTX or Post Houston ( or maybe  it's  Post). This is the site of the former Barbara Jordan U.S. Post Office at 401 Franklin St in downtown Houston. I later posted in May about a Qui & Kirby Lui (developer with Lovett Commerical) out together and it could be a sign Qui is signing on for a spot at Post HTX (a post Eater Houston picked up and reported):


jfm79m1.jpg


9AgelzI.jpg


KoR2Ecw.jpg


 



Well, I was right. Qui announced on Instagram yesterday of plans to open a new restaurant at Post.




Here's more from Eater Houston this morning:

 

After months of rumors that Paul Qui’s had a comeback in the works, the embattled chef has officially announced that he’ll open a new eatery at the forthcoming Post HTX food hall.
 

Qui made the announcement on Instagram on Thursday, but didn’t provide a whole lot of insight into what the restaurant will look like. At this point, all that’s known is that he’s working on a concept for the forthcoming 550,000 square foot Post HTX food hall project that’s currently under development inside the Barbara Jordan Post Office building in the Theatre District. That said, when Qui closed his Montrose restaurant Aqui in December 2018, the chef promised that he’d be back, and announced plans for a forthcoming restaurant that will serve “Filipino bites to be shared among friends.”

Back in May, Qui was spotted dining around Houston with superstar chef Alex Atala and developer Kirby Liu, whose company Lovett Commercial is helming the Post HTX project. When Post HTX was announced in June, Lovett Commercial didn’t share any details on which chefs would be involved, but rumors that Qui was involved with the project persisted. 


...Beyond “coming soon,” Qui hasn’t announced a timeline for the new restaurant’s arrival. 


https://houston.eater.com/2019/11/15/20966040/paul-qui-opening-houston-restaurant-post-htx-food-hall


 

Edited by CrockpotandGravel
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I don't know that there's much new here, but it gives some info on the funding mechanisms used to do this project:

 

https://ntcic.com/news-blog/post-houston-closing/

 

Quote:

To capitalize the development, which anticipates completing construction in late 2020, the project sponsor used a variety of financing tools, including $23.7 million in federal HTC equity supported by NTCIC, additional state tax credits, Opportunity Zone equity, and low-cost EB-5 debt. Project financing also included NMTC allocation provided by Capital One Community Renewal Fund, PeopleFund, MBS Urban Initiatives CDE, and Prestamos with Capital One, N.A as NMTC Investor.

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Insane to think my father in law as many others walked these halls for many years sorting mail now this will be happening. Cant wait to see it once it is complete.

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On 8/1/2018 at 7:41 PM, 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

 

Found this old aerial of Grand Central. I can't make out that old post office building in this photo. If it was built back in the 30s, it should be visible in this picture, slightly to the east and right behind that other building. 

 

3kufSF7.jpg

 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Sunstar said:

 

Found this old aerial of Grand Central. I can't make out that old post office building in this photo. If it was built back in the 30s, it should be visible in this picture, slightly to the east and right behind that other building. 

 

3kufSF7.jpg

 

 

 

It would be far enough to the right to be off of the picture.

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