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Camden Conte: 21-Stories x2 (2 Phases) - Downtown

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But downtown???

 

Well, it's still half parking lots. As it is, downtown is competing for the types of businesses (and lately residents) that can afford premium priced real estate with several different places in the metro area. 

 

I'm all for pretty buildings, but that's not exactly our bread and butter. Once things fill up and values rise, then we can be afford to be ultra-choosy about what things look like. 

 

Downtown has development momentum, but how much of that would get squashed if a third party had more power over the designs is anyone's guess. I don't think the answer is zero. As a city, we're filling in where there is nothing, that's a good first step in creating value that has to be there as an antecedent to any aesthetic restrictions that are never costless.  Maybe these types of restrictions would be worth it in the long term, maybe not, but that's not a simple equation to solve in any case. 

 

The progress happening all over downtown is astounding; matters of minor design preference seem marginal and miss what (if it all goes as rendered with many imperfections) would still turn out to be something of a miracle in such a concentrated market.  

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To add some context to Houston filling in, consider this newsbit.

 

The Houston Metro area had the largest numeric population increase from 2012 to 2013, 130,000 residents. 

A few years before that, we passed Philadelphia as the nation's 5th largest metro area with 6.3M residents (2013 estimate) 

Now if we could just chip away at the DFW 500K population lead and take #1 in Texas I would be pumped. 

DFW usually grows just slightly slower than Houston but because they have Ft. Worth too, they beat us. 

Also, Maricopa county, Phoenix, is pretty close to Harris County in Population 3.9M vs 4.2M (and also grows fast), so I watch that one too to see if they will pass us, which is unlikely soon with our boom town status.

 

Article on the 130,000 increase: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/032714_Census_Philadelphia_population_grows_again_but_rate_slows.html

 

Maricopa County 3.9M

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/04/04013.html

 

Harris County 4.2M

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/48/48201.html

 

 

 

 

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To add some context to Houston filling in, consider this newsbit.

 

The Houston Metro area had the largest numeric population increase from 2012 to 2013, 130,000 residents. 

A few years before that, we passed Philadelphia as the nation's 5th largest metro area with 6.3M residents (2013 estimate) 

Now if we could just chip away at the DFW 500K population lead and take #1 in Texas I would be pumped. 

DFW usually grows just slightly slower than Houston but because they have Ft. Worth too, they beat us. 

Also, Maricopa county, Phoenix, is pretty close to Harris County in Population 3.9M vs 4.2M (and also grows fast), so I watch that one too to see if they will pass us, which is unlikely soon with our boom town status.

 

Article on the 130,000 increase: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/032714_Census_Philadelphia_population_grows_again_but_rate_slows.html

 

Maricopa County 3.9M

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/04/04013.html

 

Harris County 4.2M

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/48/48201.html

 

Interesting. I'm not that familiar with metro Phoenix, but it would seem to me that expansion outward would be more difficult there than here. We have Ft. Bend, Montgomery, and Galveston counties that are also growing right along with Harris. 

 

DFW is geographically huge and has two of the top 20 discrete cities with their respective metropolitan areas merging over the last century with suburbs to the West, East and in between. Houston is one city with an exurban ecosystem developing in several different directions pretty much from scratch, unless you count 19th century Galveston, which I don't given that it was wiped off the map in 1900. No two cities or areas will develop the same way or for the same reasons, so comparisons and duplication of efforts only go so far, but interesting all the same. 

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Maricopa County is over 9,000 square miles and their population has slowed.  DFW almost includes all of north Texas I'm sure Fort Worth hates being second fiddle.  Yes the latest census just see our metro area closing the gap.  But we know how better and bigger we are.  It is getting crazy here.  Everybody we meet going out are somewhere else. 

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Just check census.gov and DFW is at 6,810,913 and Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land is at 6,313,158 with Houston the largest increase in the U.S.  Harris grew by 83,000 and Maricopa added 69,000.  And this from July 2012-July 2013.  Sorry moderator get back to the topic.  These apts. downtown I'm sure they will fill up quickly. 

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Well, it's still half parking lots. As it is, downtown is competing for the types of businesses (and lately residents) that can afford premium priced real estate with several different places in the metro area.

I'm all for pretty buildings, but that's not exactly our bread and butter. Once things fill up and values rise, then we can be afford to be ultra-choosy about what things look like.

Downtown has development momentum, but how much of that would get squashed if a third party had more power over the designs is anyone's guess. I don't think the answer is zero. As a city, we're filling in where there is nothing, that's a good first step in creating value that has to be there as an antecedent to any aesthetic restrictions that are never costless. Maybe these types of restrictions would be worth it in the long term, maybe not, but that's not a simple equation to solve in any case.

The progress happening all over downtown is astounding; matters of minor design preference seem marginal and miss what (if it all goes as rendered with many imperfections) would still turn out to be something of a miracle in such a concentrated market.

Im not even talking about pretty buildings. Im talking about fitting into the place.

I would expect downtown the apartments would look less like a suburban fortress and more pedestrian Friendly. That's my main issue with the building. I would take a ton of ugly buildings if the street facing areas are not all... STAY AWAY looking

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Looking at the building, I wouldn't even say it is ugly. Just the bottom floor is so Dairy Ashford. Lol

Is it just me or did the project sink 4 floors?

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at least it represents more residents in the city's core, even though i hate the walled off sidewalks.  when i see new structures in houston i do not like, i simply think of detroit.

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Looking at this I wonder if it was an intentional design decision to give it somewhat of a blocked off from the street fortress appearance.  People do value security, and given that the area is mostly new to development they might well have wanted to impart a feeling of safeness. 

 

 

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Maybe they are trying to market their downtown project to people coming from Dairy Ashford, who would otherwise be skeert of all the "yucky" (i.e., somewhat different) people they might otherwise feel that they would have to interact with.  cf., some of the trolling over at Swamplot anytime rail gets mentioned.

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Looking at this I wonder if it was an intentional design decision to give it somewhat of a blocked off from the street fortress appearance. People do value security, and given that the area is mostly new to development they might well have wanted to impart a feeling of safeness.

It's interesting that you say this because I see it exactly opposite.....

I see a parking structure that is seemingly unsecured, open to the street and with the vegetation on the walls (not sure if the wells are solid or those are just vines on some sort of mesh), totally blocked off from view from the street. To me, that spells: "criminal's dream".....

Funny how different people can interpret the same structure completely differently!

Either way, I really hope that this project is successful as that part of downtown would be terrific to have lots of new residents in! 5 more projects like it in the immediate area would be even better!

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It's interesting that you say this because I see it exactly opposite.....

I see a parking structure that is seemingly unsecured, open to the street and with the vegetation on the walls (not sure if the wells are solid or those are just vines on some sort of mesh), totally blocked off from view from the street. To me, that spells: "criminal's dream".....

Funny how different people can interpret the same structure completely differently!

Either way, I really hope that this project is successful as that part of downtown would be terrific to have lots of new residents in! 5 more projects like it in the immediate area would be even better!

 

The garage doesn't appear to be open to the street though.  Notice the sliding metal doors at the garage entrances.  I'm not sure what the green is.  Certainly not live vegetation.  Painted fence?  

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The garage doesn't appear to be open to the street though.  Notice the sliding metal doors at the garage entrances.  I'm not sure what the green is.  Certainly not live vegetation.  Painted fence?  

 

I'm with Triton, I assumed ivy. 

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The garage doesn't appear to be open to the street though.  Notice the sliding metal doors at the garage entrances.  I'm not sure what the green is.  Certainly not live vegetation.  Painted fence?  

 

Why is it "certainly not live vegetation?"

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Why is it "certainly not live vegetation?"

 

Well I thought that because of the funky color and the consistent CGI patterning.  I hope I'm wrong.

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Well I thought that because of the funky color and the consistent CGI patterning.  I hope I'm wrong.

The rendering doesn't look like the highest quality, I'm sure it was a lot easier to copy & paste. My first thought was flora. It's better than a solid wall.

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Plans have changed, now a 21-story high-rise. 580 units, up from 518.

 

Wow, this is a game changer. Is it still being built in two phases? If it is, has the second phase increased in height as well?

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ahhh, so much good news in this new development map! this went from 8 stories to 21, the Hess Garage residential tower increased in height, Hilton Garden Inn is back on the board, Hilcorp grew a floor, and International Tower isnt dead!

Edited by cloud713

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Just to play devil's advocate here: I think the original height for one of the buildings was 12 stories, and it would be a pretty simple for a map editor to accidentally type 21...

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Just to play devil's advocate here: I think the original height for one of the buildings was 12 stories, and it would be a pretty simple for a map editor to accidentally type 21...

 

If this would in fact be true, would you think it would be possible to have 580 units in two 12 story buildings?

 

To me that seems highly unlikely, but two 21 story buildings, more likely.

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I too thought "hmmm maybe it's a typo", but then I looked at the number of units, it rose to 580 - up from 518. Me thinks the developer decided to increase the height and number of residential units now that the DT Living Initiative cap was raised from 2,500 to 5,000.

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I think you guys are confusing the half or quarter lot buildings like skyhouse or block 98 with the full lit buildings like this 500 Crawford or alliance.

Perspective:

500 Crawford is half the floor count and is slated to house 397 units that is about 56/57 units per floor for the two block project.

Alliance has 207 over 5 floors which confess to about 40 units per floor per block.

Using 500 Crawford would be the more closely alligned situation we get 672 units when we multiply by 56 by 12.

Using Alliance we get (40 x 12) = 480 per building or way more than needed when you take into account the second building.

So yeah, unless they completely change up the rendering, the 21 floor figure should be a typo. 12 floors is more than enough to house 580 units if the entire lot is taken up

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So yeah, unless they completely change up the rendering, the 21 floor figure should be a typo. 12 floors is more than enough to house 580 units if the entire lot is taken up

I just asked, and was told it's not a typo. The new plan calls for a 21-story tower for phase one.

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I think you guys are confusing the half or quarter lot buildings like skyhouse or block 98 with the full lit buildings like this 500 Crawford or alliance.

Perspective:

500 Crawford is half the floor count and is slated to house 397 units that is about 56/57 units per floor for the two block project.

Alliance has 207 over 5 floors which confess to about 40 units per floor per block.

Using 500 Crawford would be the more closely alligned situation we get 672 units when we multiply by 56 by 12.

Using Alliance we get (40 x 12) = 480 per building or way more than needed when you take into account the second building.

So yeah, unless they completely change up the rendering, the 21 floor figure should be a typo. 12 floors is more than enough to house 580 units if the entire lot is taken up

 

Using the 500 Crawford as the model, 21 stories actually looks pretty close for 580 units on one block.  500 Crawford will house 397 units on 7 floors covering 2 full blocks plus the street/sidewalk right of way between the 2 blocks, so approximately 2.2 full blocks.  397/15.4 full block floors = 25.8 units per floor per block.  580/25.8 = 22.5 floors.

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In the existing footprint with two floors of parking included in the height, the two buildings had 16 occupied floors at 32.37 units per floor. If both buildings are 21 floors now, it's 38 floors at 15.26 units each. Even if they only bump the 12 story up to 21, that drops the units per occupied floor down to 23.2. So there are 3 options for what is happening: 1) a typo 2) a MAJOR increase in square footage per unit 3) a skinny tower slapped on top of one of the buildings. I'm hoping for #2, but #1 seems most likely.

Edit: just saw that Urbannizer confirmed. Mea Culpa for the cynicism and here's hoping for#2!

Edited by Alec

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I assume it is probably closer to #3.  Most of the highrises we have seen going up cover the full block for a number of levels and then have a skinny portion rise up higher.  If they decided to go from 12 stories to 21, they probably are not going up with the full block.  They may have even lowered the full block portion to the 8 levels we heard of earlier.  I could see an 8 story pedestal with the taller portion going up 21.

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Using the 500 Crawford as the model, 21 stories actually looks pretty close for 580 units on one block. 500 Crawford will house 397 units on 7 floors covering 2 full blocks plus the street/sidewalk right of way between the 2 blocks, so approximately 2.2 full blocks. 397/15.4 full block floors = 25.8 units per floor per block. 580/25.8 = 22.5 floors.

You need all that calculation and can't up with the same theory that I did. 25.8 units x 12 floors = 309 units per lot or 618 total units. MORE THAN ENOUGH. That extra math only served to give me head ache. Fact of the matter is two 12 story buildings, Or a 12 and a 10 is more than enough to house the proposed 580 units

Either way it is moot now. Urbanizer verified. So the discussion now is are they changing the building style to occupy more of a skyhouse mold or are they gonna offer palatial sized units. At 21 floors that comes out to less than 14 units per floor per lot. That is a third of alliance

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Who knows.. Two 21 story towers is all I care about. Heh

I wonder why they released that hideous 6 floor rendering one month then the next they say they are going for two 21 floor buildings. That's a huge change. A total of 42 floors instead of 20 is a huge difference.

Hopefully it means they are moving away from the garden style look that they previously released to a style more in line with what Hines/ Trammel Crow/ Marquette is building in downtown.

I hope Alliance would change their mind too. Right in the shadow of Houston House and skyhouse they are building that?

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We all know the height can drop back down as fast it rose. These are a long way from breaking ground and lots can happen. Stinks, wish they were breaking ground tomorrow.

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I wonder why they released that hideous 6 floor rendering one month then the next they say they are going for two 21 floor buildings. That's a huge change. A total of 42 floors instead of 20 is a huge difference.

If memory serves me, they announced the second tower the day after City council voted to extend the tax credits. Seems like developer always wanted two towers but only IF the credits were available.

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Is 5,000 the right number or should they go even higher?  I gotta think there is a possible glut of all these units coming on board in the next few years so I guess stop and see.

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......Camden and the Chronicle are sitting back watching HAIF.....one says to the other "I love messing with HAIFers.....make the next press release 18 stories"

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No no no, you got it wrong... theyre planning on a press release for a supertall 110 story apartment building, followed by weekly press releases of height reductions. 

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Funny how Ric Campo, Chairman of Houston First, was also quoted saying, "There's really sort of an urbanization that's been going on across the country for the last 10 years that has finally caught up in downtown Houston."

 

In that case, shouldn't he propose changing Houston First to...Houston Last? 

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Funny how Ric Campo, Chairman of Houston First, was also quoted saying, "There's really sort of an urbanization that's been going on across the country for the last 10 years that has finally caught up in downtown Houston."

 

In that case, shouldn't he propose changing Houston First to...Houston Last? 

 

Yeah, it's actually kind of sad how far behind Houston's Downtown development is compared to its competitor cities :(. There are a lot of projects planned, which is very encouraging, but I want to see even more because Downtown Houston has a lot of catching up to do.

Edited by fkp5

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