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Post HTX: 401 Franklin Post Office Site Redevelopment

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How does the city withdrawing on bidding on the site keep their options open in bidding on the site? Doesn't withdrawing from bidding preclude bidding on the site? 

 

It doesn't and the article didn't say that.  The City bid on the site in order to keep its options open.

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When are they expecting to merge the jails?

 

The city jail will be eliminated when the county completes the jointly-funded Processing Center.  In November, when we voters approved the new processing center, it was said that the new center would be open in 3 years, so roughly November 2016.

 

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The city jail will be eliminated when the county completes the jointly-funded Processing Center.  In November, when we voters approved the new processing center, it was said that the new center would be open in 3 years, so roughly November 2016.

 

 

Oh ok, so this sounds like a new structure / facility needs to be built. Do we have a location on that new center?

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Oh ok, so this sounds like a new structure / facility needs to be built. Do we have a location on that new center?

 

N. San Jacinto and Baker St., I believe.

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Downtown Post Office Building Likely To Become Mixed-Use Development

By: Andrew Schneider, May 15th, 2014 06:00 AM The old Post Office at 401 Franklin Street occupies 16 acres of prime real estate near Buffalo Bayou. The land is now likely to be turned into a mixed-use development -- combining high-rise office and residential buildings with retail space.

“The Post Office site is a gem,” Ralph Bivins, editor of Realty News Report, says. “It’s a jewel. It’s waiting to happen. It’s going to be the cornerstone of what’s going to make Buffalo Bayou a great place.”

Bivins says that any redevelopment would almost certainly have some tie-in to the wider renovation of the waterfront by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership.

 

http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/news/downtown-post-office-building-likely-to-become-mixeduse-development/

 

 

 

 

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1-WATE~1.jpg

Look close you can see it just above the bottom of the page

On the second page of BBP Masterplan "eastern sector" is the map with the South Canal clearly labeled. I thought this was common knowledge? Hence why its called the North Canal and not just "the canal" ...unless I mistakenly read your post incorrectly?

1 observation and 1 idea.

Observation: Rendering shows what appears to be the elimination of Franklin St bridge over Buffalo Bayou by rerouting Washinton Ave over some of the Post Office site, then through the middle of North Canal Island to an eventual connection to Runnels/Navigation. Considering the revitalization efforts on both Washington Ave & Navigation Blvd, I'd love if this were to happen and they be connected.

Idea: Since land next to County Jail on Alcatraz Island would be a hard sell to any developer, how about HPD build it's new headquarters and support buildings there. They'd have quick access to 10, 45, and 59 and be next to Criminal Courts as well. And maybe HPD's presence on Alcatraz Island would make it somehow ...less seedy.

Edited by tigereye
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That's a decent idea.  Since that land is already sullied by the jails being there, why not attempt to at least make it somewhat better by adding HPD?  Plus, like you mentioned there is decent access to area freeways from that location.

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I know this rendering is from 2004, so I'd assume some of the ideas might have changed seeing how they didn't incorporate the stage by Eleanor Tinsley. 

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Well, sounds like Midway and Lionstone were selected to develop the site. At least 1 hotel, office buildings, residential buildings, and some retail. 

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You didn't hear it from me and deal isn't finalized, but the City has chosen Midway and Lionstone over the other groups. Details are being ironed out and some of the other groups might be included in parts of the overall development. Similar to how the Sears/Fiesta site is being handled in Midtown. 

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Right. Just like how Sears/Fiesta site is being handled.

Refresh my memory about that, if you would.

Lol, at first I was super excited but then I read this part and was bummed.. Fortunately it's midway apparently behind this deal, who has a track record of mixed use developments. Look forward to hearing more!

Edit: I wonder if they'll push for a HSR or commuter rail terminal here. IMO it would be ill advised to develop both the post office site and the hardy yards site without leaving anywhere for a station/terminal.

Edited by cloud713

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dang, i cant edit my post. i just noticed one of the founding partners of the Lionstone Group is a Chairman for the Houston Parks Board. this could be excellent news in getting some real/cohesive bayou connectivity with this site.

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first of all.. WELCOME BACK largeTEXAS!  been keeping up with you upon the HBJ.  however, do you have any insight upon the proposed hotels (ritz carlton - w hotel - etc..)  no one, can seem to present anything thus far that is a bit concrete.  everything to date, seem speculative.  

 

any updated info, shall be appreciated. 

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You didn't hear it from me and deal isn't finalized, but the City has chosen Midway and Lionstone over the other groups. Details are being ironed out and some of the other groups might be included in parts of the overall development. Similar to how the Sears/Fiesta site is being handled in Midtown. 

 

I don't understand how the city can award the property to anyone since I thought it belongs to the usps, Wouldn't they be the ones to award the property to someone?

I hope they do away with Franklin and reroute Washington to allow the bayou to come into play

with this property. Although it is on the opposite side of the bayou from sesq. park, they could always add more pedestrian bridges. What this would do is open up the hike and bike trails farther east, and create a frontlawn for that development. The views from this property are the best. Sorry about the pigeons.

 

 

post-7092-0-31936000-1406058088.jpg

Edited by bobruss

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I don't understand how the city can award the property to anyone since I thought it belongs to the usps, Wouldn't they be the ones to award the property to someone?

I hope they do away with Franklin and reroute Washington to allow the bayou to come into play

with this property. Although it is on the opposite side of the bayou from sesq. park, they could always add more pedestrian bridges. What this would do is open up the hike and bike trails farther east, and create a frontlawn for that development. The views from this property are the best. Sorry about the pigeons.

photo.JPG

Great points.. And I agree about ditching franklin ave and connecting Washington all the way through instead. Otherwise there isn't much bayou frontage that's not under Franklin.

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When this Post Office closes, where will be the closest "full service, full hours" post office near downtown? I think tat it is terrific that this prime property is potentially subject to redevelopment but...... Where is the next best alternative for all the new downtown residents?

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There's one in the Customs House in the 700 block of San Jacinto, across from the former Texaco Building, another on Richmond west of Montrose and a third on Almeda just south of the Southwest Freeway.

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Dunno if this actually means anything, but I haven't seen this before.

 

http://www.munozalbin.com/62-houston-post-office.html

 

15534444318_06ccd61192_b.jpg

 

Went to the website and there doesn't seem to be anything else, but this master plan. To be perfectly honest, firms are hired to do master planning all the time without there being a project afterwards. Many times it's simply to theorize what could be done to the potential site and generate ideas for a future development. Once they get their ideas then they hire another firm to develop the full project. From their collection of projects in their portfolio it seems they have done a lot of master planning projects including one for Galveston.

 

I don't know how old this one is though because they don't really give any info. This master plan is pretty standard. Like very very very mediocre. It's not very inspiring at all and if this did become what would go at the post office site this would be quite the disappointment. I mean it does nothing with the surrounding area, it doesn't interact with the bayou, and it doesn't leave anything open for future growth especially in terms of mass transit which with the movement of TCR now full steam ahead into their environmental process I think that any plans for this site are on hold.

 

Good find though Urbannizer!

Edited by Luminare

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There have been rumors that midway will develop the post office project and Midway uses Munoz Albin for several projects including CityCentre

Edited by Mab
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Dunno if this actually means anything, but I haven't seen this before.

*Edit* I see that Midway has been selected to redevelop the site, so it's 100% likely they would choose Munoz Albin as the architect lol. I guess this is our first look at the plans.

http://www.munozalbin.com/62-houston-post-office.html

15534444318_06ccd61192_b.jpg

While I'm bummed by the lack of bayou integration (can't say I'm overly surprised though), the rest of the plans seem nice. And some high rises! Heh.. I still think this site is too isolated from the rest of downtown to be much besides a stand alone development though.. Too bad. I had hoped that midway might come up with something creative.

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There have been rumors that midway will develop the post office project and Midway uses Munoz Albin for several projects including CityCentre

 

Rumors are rumors :P I don't believe anything until I see a Press Release, a statement from the city of Houston (since this is city property), or more details (renderings, etc...).

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I thought this was the United States post office property. Did the city lease this land to the post office?

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Rumors are rumors :P I don't believe anything until I see a Press Release, a statement from the city of Houston (since this is city property), or more details (renderings, etc...).

 

This is not city property.  It's US Postal Service property.   So I guess you'll be needing a statement from the USPS.  ;-)

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It would be nice if we could get a highrise of 50 or more stories on this site. Such a tower would extend the skyline, as Howard Huge has pointed out, quite nicely. An open plaza to the north of the Theater District would be a welcome addition.  

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It would be nice if we could get a highrise of 50 or more stories on this site. Such a tower would extend the skyline, as Howard Huge has pointed out, quite nicely. An open plaza to the north of the Theater District would be a welcome addition.

Yes!

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You can somewhat tell how tall the buildings are by the shadows, so the two southern ones look decently tall.

I'm a little disappointed there's not at least a right turn only onto Smith.

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while I don't know the reason these were drawn -- could be a simple "what if" exercise and nothing real -- this strikes me as underwhelming. There is no connection to the water. Open space exists but it also feels disconnected. The three northern buildings fell like something out of midtown.

I am thrilled that this site has redevelopment potential and I am hoping like heck that the city and the developers make it a signature development. A statement. Only going by what I have here, This feels bland to me. Hopefully it will evolve and morph and become something that other cities tey to emulate.

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It even has pretty much the same internal traffic circulation as the current post office, save for one extra block of east-west across where the post office plaza is now.  Looks like three buildings about the same height as the Tennyson (which barely pokes above I45), one about 2x taller, and then the center building on Franklin coming in at about 3x.  

 

giphy.gif

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While I'm bummed by the lack of bayou integration (can't say I'm overly surprised though), the rest of the plans seem nice. And some high rises! Heh.. I still think this site is too isolated from the rest of downtown to be much besides a stand alone development though.. Too bad. I had hoped that midway might come up with something creative.

It does not look like they're going to modify the existing streets.

 

Highrises on the site might be nice, especially residential, but we need to avoid the Jersey-City-across-the-Hudson-from-Manhattan look and feel.

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·        Low-rise Wrap building type

·        Podium Mid-rise building type and High-Rise towers.

·        The plan proposes a restaurant destination plaza next to downtown with rental and for sale residential units.

 

 

 

1,867 Residential Units

 

Edited by Sky-guy

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· Low-rise Wrap building type

· Podium Mid-rise building type and High-Rise towers.

· The plan proposes a restaurant destination plaza next to downtown with rental and for sale residential units.

1,867 Residential Units

Official???

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I think it would be pretty cool if they could build something like the Canton Tower in Guangzhou on top of a high speed rail station, along with some hotels and high rise residential. I think the views from an observation tower would be amazing from this area.

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It does not look like they're going to modify the existing streets.

 

Highrises on the site might be nice, especially residential, but we need to avoid the Jersey-City-across-the-Hudson-from-Manhattan look and feel.

yeah.. bummer. i had hoped they would get creative and/or copy the plans below to reroute Washington through the site and eliminate Franklin along the bayou. with Franklin running across the south side of the development it kills any connectivity with the bayou. oh and the Smith(?) St bridge offshoot.. turning that into a pedestrian promenade/bridge to connect the post office site to the rest of downtown was a great idea.

i wish they could dredge out a little inlet under Franklin, jutting into the Post Office site for direct bayou/trail access from the site without having to cross any streets. 

 

looks like Hines and ULI were doing some studies/trying to get some ideas on what to do with the site last year.. is the site for sale/projected to be for sale in the near future or why have there been so many proposals for what to do with the site?

dki52jzf2ig0nady.jpg

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the more i look at the site plan the more disappointed i am. its cool we are finally/possibly getting a first look at the Post Office redevelopment plans, and its awesome there seems to be a couple buildings with some height. but its completely disjointed from the rest of downtown. it even has little trails that run through the site, forming a big loop around the development, when there are miles of bayou trails right across the street.. they didnt even bother putting linkages into the bayou trails/park.. they could at least throw a few pedestrian bridges up over Franklin and Smith/Louisiana/Washington. im a little disappointed in midway. hopefully this is in its infancy and more detailed renderings prove they have done more to integrate with the bayou and the rest of downtown.

Edited by cloud713

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that info is straight from Munozalbin's site..

almost 2,000 more residential units for downtown..

the risk with this is that the developer needs to consider if this nook will feel like a vibrant PART OF downtown, connected to trails and designations or, is it going to feel like a little island ghetto surrounded by freeways and DISCONNECTED FROM the "real" downtown.

This property has incredible potential. The right developer with help from the City (likely needed) will be able to find a way to get all those terrific new residences to be able to connect to downtown seemlessly.

If all they do is bulldoze the lot flat, dig some holes, pop up some fancy buildings from those holes, and install some landscaping, this project will not fulfill its promise. If they do all of that AND solve connectivity issues, this project may become known globally as something to emulate.

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