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This is a few years away as of now. They also didn't mention where these would be built. In the same spot or a different location?

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/City-plans-hugely-important-new-justice-complex-5094942.php?cmpid=albtfp

You think they'll chop that old jail next to the Civil & Criminal Courthouses? I kind of like the current HPD Building, it's like Exxon's in NYC but on a much much smaller scale.

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My opinion . . .  They should have a private firm build it as suggested in the article and lease out.  They should relocate all of those facilities to the North or East of Downtown while that land is still relatively cheap.  Then once it is all built and everything is relocated and operational, they should doze the old site on Riesner and sell that land.  It is far more valuable for residential multi-family or commercial and could help service a portion of the debt on the new facility.

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My opinion . . . They should have a private firm build it as suggested in the article and lease out. They should relocate all of those facilities to the North or East of Downtown while that land is still relatively cheap. Then once it is all built and everything is relocated and operational, they should doze the old site on Riesner and sell that land. It is far more valuable for residential multi-family or commercial and could help service a portion of the debt on the new facility.

To me this makes the most sense - moving it. I live right down the street to this court house and I cannot stand the traffic and crowd it brings. I hope the new designs are top notch, and I think they can really start the gentrification momentum off the north line or east line. In its current location, a multistory mixed use space would be amazing. I'm thinking / hoping a nice grocery, high rise residential, some small office space, retail - restaurants, combination would be perfect for that spot.

First post btw. I think I have a crush on urbanizer because of his wealth of knowledge. -Kai-

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  • 3 months later...

Looks like this is going to get reversed pretty quickly, but it's still a good indicator that lots of very important people in this town simply don't get it; they don't realize that the banks of Buffalo Bayou facing downtown Houston have a higher and better use than a police headquarters. I'm not sure how close the police need to be to downtown, but would the Hardy Yards site work? Or perhaps somewhere on the other side of 59 behind the Toyota Center.

 

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City will likely be outbid if their not gonna pay more than its worth.

I would like to see the city move HPD & Municipal Courts from Reisner though. That land could be a prime spot for more residential development and coupled with potential development at the post office site next door, could really turn around the near Washington/Franklin corridor. Of course, all that hinges on what happens with I-45 and it's future. As for the new Municipal Courts, I'd like to see it replace the run down block in between the Civil Justice Center & Family Law Center (San Jac, Fannin, Franklin, & Commerce), which would mean rail access. HPD's new headquarters could go on one of the nearby parking lots east of the Civil & Criminal Center, which would mean easier freeway access to them via 59/10/future Hardy Toll Road ramps.

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I think the problem is that all the cool stuff that could go into these three sites (61 Riesner, the DT post office, or Hardy yards/ Burnett TC) are no where close to being finalized or even conceptualized. How do you complain when everything you point out as a negative is all just 'pie in the sky' ideas?

The property that the police station / courts sit on at 61 Riesner will be instrumental when expanding LR west of downtown. IT's outside the boundaries of DT... but not by much. It's expensive to tear down all the old buildings and serve the public at the same time.

The post office is a large site that has existing rail access and is within the freeway boundaries of DT. No LR stop but w/in a resonable walk from UH downtown stop. Development of the site can mitigate the 'walking problem. It's on the bayou too. That's good and bad. Good b/c it can be a transformative project / bad b/c of the same reason (people won't really except anything less).

The Hardy yards / Burnett TC has lots of vacant land and a LR stop. This, however, seems to be the choice of a high speed rail train station if that thing ever happens.

So there's a lot up in the air here.

Not to mention that we've got a huge problem with I45 affecting all these locations. It's redesign is also a crucial element no taken into consideration. Hell, I'd be surprised if the council members were even aware of all of TxDOT's potential plans for I45. 

IMO, the best solution is to go by my plan and hold ppl to this:

A) Re-route 45 along I10 and 59 east of DT. 

B.) Re-build 61 Riesner property w/ light rail ROW preserved w/in courts / police station footprint

C.) Privately develop the Post office 

D.) Use Hardy yard site for the HSR station if that happens

That's my hope.

 

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What is wrong with the existing Reisner Street location?  Why does the city think the Post Office site is better - just because it's available?  

 

 

 

 

Looks like this is going to get reversed pretty quickly, but it's still a good indicator that lots of very important people in this town simply don't get it; they don't realize that the banks of Buffalo Bayou facing downtown Houston have a higher and better use than a police headquarters. I'm not sure how close the police need to be to downtown, but would the Hardy Yards site work? Or perhaps somewhere on the other side of 59 behind the Toyota Center.

 

Very true.  I was hoping, probably in a deluded way, that the Post Office site would be developed into something special for the city to take advantage of the bayou location.  My preference has always been for it to become a fixed fairgrounds/festival location, with light rail and eventually heavy rail nearby.  I wish this city would show more vision sometimes.

 

 

 

 

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I'd most like to see 45 tunneled; however, I'd rather it stay in its current alignment and elevation than rerouted to 10/69.  

 

If everything snakes around via 10/69, we'd end up with our own version of Atlanta's Central Artery (now that is a jewel during a peak traffic time that seems to last all day), and no alternative limited access routes in the event of an accident or other major tie up. 

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I saw this. I love that they are already talking about the alternate site for this. The current location (near aquarium) is terrible for the area.

 

moo, its a lot of nothing right now - I'd rather move city buildings there and free up the more interesting parts of downtown.  But I think city dollars would be better spent on cheaper land.

 

Cheaper land is important. The thing is, this piece is cheaper than the value of the justice center's current spot. As someone who lives in the area, I would like to see this moved. I think that area could be developed into something very very cool. I would be happy just knowing the possibility of that staying in it's current location is OFF THE TABLE...

 

Rail access for the CityCourts would be pretty smart. Up by (or near) the Hardy Yards would make sense.

 

I was thinking East or North along the lines. It all comes down to how close to downtown HPD wants / needs to be. I am thinking they might need to be close, which is why they are going for this site.

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Note:  My first post on here that said "M O O" was supposed to read: "M E H"  it auto-corrected some how!  Dastardly Editor (and/or his minions) and their internet-wizardry must'a changed it!

 

 

I absolutely agree that the justice center should be moved.  Though I don't see the jails moving, just HPD HQ and other auxiliary buildings.  Unfortunately most of the county buildings will remain where they are for who knows how long... until their lifecycle is over.  2030?  Maybe?

 

Would like to see a dense development with residential (maybe a boutique hotel - though its on the fringe of DT) and perhaps even a few 100k of office space on this "Island" of land.  Maybe nothing much taller than 8-12 floors.  Just density with perhaps a signature tower with a hotel component.   Obviously some sort of large public space with a cool bridge between the arts center and this would be nice (make that odd 1/2 angled lot useful for people who want to cross the bayou).

Edited by arche_757
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Note:  My first post on here that said "M O O" was supposed to read: "M E H"  it auto-corrected some how!  Dastardly Editor (and/or his minions) and their internet-wizardry must'a changed it!

 

 

I absolutely agree that the justice center should be moved.  Though I don't see the jails moving, just HPD HQ and other auxiliary buildings.  Unfortunately most of the county buildings will remain where they are for who knows how long... until their lifecycle is over.  2030?  Maybe?

 

Would like to see a dense development with residential (maybe a boutique hotel - though its on the fringe of DT) and perhaps even a few 100k of office space on this "Island" of land.  Maybe nothing much taller than 8-12 floors.  Just density with perhaps a signature tower with a hotel component.   Obviously some sort of large public space with a cool bridge between the arts center and this would be nice (make that odd 1/2 angled lot useful for people who want to cross the bayou).

 

So I may be wrong here... But I think the jail will move too! An architect friend of mine is nervous because she wants to see that freeze on that building saved. I read and spoke to  someone about this, and I think they spoke about it being a city / county partnership.

 

But honestly, its all a little confusing, due to many moving parts. But I'd prefer the jail move and take along all their bail bonds with them.

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So I may be wrong here... But I think the jail will move too! An architect friend of mine is nervous because she wants to see that freeze on that building saved. I read and spoke to  someone about this, and I think they spoke about it being a city / county partnership.

 

But honestly, its all a little confusing, due to many moving parts. But I'd prefer the jail move and take along all their bail bonds with them.

 

The city jail will move in the sense that it will no longer be at its present location.  But it will not move in the sense of being relocated elsewhere.  The City will no longer have its own jail.

 

I think Arch_75 was referring to a hope of moving the county jails.  I don't see that happening... ever. 

 

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Where is the city jail - @ Police HQ? / where is the county jail - Off Bayou near downtown?

 

EDIT: So, is it a done deal that the city will forgo having the jail? I am so curious about this subject... The county jail that is near the downtown courts will be also used for city purposes in the future?

 

My motivation here is having the bail bonds that liter the Old 6th Ward, go away...

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The city jail will move in the sense that it will no longer be at its present location.  But it will not move in the sense of being relocated elsewhere.  The City will no longer have its own jail.

 

I think Arch_75 was referring to a hope of moving the county jails.  I don't see that happening... ever. 

 

 

Yep.  I was referring to the county jails that hold something like 8-9,000 inmates!  I doubt they'll move in the next couple decades?  Too bad they now occupy such a prime section of realestate.  Oh well.  Poor long-term planning = a mess down the road.

 

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Yep.  I was referring to the county jails that hold something like 8-9,000 inmates!  I doubt they'll move in the next couple decades?  Too bad they now occupy such a prime section of realestate.  Oh well.  Poor long-term planning = a mess down the road.

 

 

At least the county jail looks nice-ish from the outside?

 

Will there be a need for bail bonds then near / off Houston avenue as they are now (when the jails are combined)?

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Note:  My first post on here that said "M O O" was supposed to read: "M E H"  it auto-corrected some how!  Dastardly Editor (and/or his minions) and their internet-wizardry must'a changed it!

 

I've had the same problem.  "Feh," however, somehow stays in place.  I suppose utter indifference is simply unacceptable - we have to have at least some minor degree of contempt.

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^Will there be a need?  Heck if I know!  I would guess so?

 

lol, ok. i will do more research.

 

EDIT: If/when the city jail goes away (at that location) the demand for those nearby bail bonds will diminish. If the courthouse also moves, the need for the surrounding parking lots will go away. For this area, I expect to see some major changes, especially if the entire complex is moved.

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I think the county jail building used to be dorms for the junior college that is now UHD. I dunno if the stigma of the jail would ever allow a reversion to that use.

How I heard it was that the building was in disrepair and it would cost the school more to renovate it than build new so they sold it. They haven't built dorms since then but they did expand by building the Academic, Commerce and Shea buildings. There has been talk of a 6 building for over ten years. The building was supposed to be a science wing on that lot between Milam and the Post Office site.

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I think the county jail building used to be dorms for the junior college that is now UHD. I dunno if the stigma of the jail would ever allow a reversion to that use.

How I heard it was that the building was in disrepair and it would cost the school more to renovate it than build new so they sold it. They haven't built dorms since then but they did expand by building the Academic, Commerce and Shea buildings. There has been talk of a 6 building for over ten years. The building was supposed to be a science wing on that lot between Milam and the Post Office site.

 

Uh...

 

I think the existing jail buildings were purpose built that way.  Pretty sure. 

 

Any one else want to chime in?

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I think the county jail building used to be dorms for the junior college that is now UHD. I dunno if the stigma of the jail would ever allow a reversion to that use.

How I heard it was that the building was in disrepair and it would cost the school more to renovate it than build new so they sold it. They haven't built dorms since then but they did expand by building the Academic, Commerce and Shea buildings. There has been talk of a 6 building for over ten years. The building was supposed to be a science wing on that lot between Milam and the Post Office site.

 

I don't know which building you think was formerly a dormitory.  The 1200 Baker Street Jail was new construction, built to be a county jail.  The San Jacinto annex was formerly a cold storage warehouse, converted by the county to be a jail.  The 1307 Baker Street Jail was built as and has always been a jail.  The Franklin Street jail was built by the county as a jail (it is no longer used as a jail).

 

As far as I know, the only dormitory UH/D ever had was the former hotel at Main and Commerce (where the Commerce building now stands).  UH/D demolished that building and in the early 90s.

 

Edited by Houston19514
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lots of very important people in this town simply don't get it; they don't realize that the banks of Buffalo Bayou facing downtown Houston have a higher and better use than a police headquarters.

I like how in Paris and London how major tourist attractions are along the water: the gardens in paris, the louvre, tower of London, Westminster Palace, Hampton Court Palace, London Eye, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Shakespeare Theater, Tate Galleries, Lambeth palace, Victoria gardens..... with other landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Kensington Palace,etc just blocks away
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The post office is a large site that has existing rail access and is within the freeway boundaries of DT. No LR stop but w/in a resonable walk from UH downtown stop. Development of the site can mitigate the 'walking problem. It's on the bayou too. That's good and bad. Good b/c it can be a transformative project / bad b/c of the same reason (people won't really except anything less).

The Hardy yards / Burnett TC has lots of vacant land and a LR stop. This, however, seems to be the choice of a high speed rail train station if that thing ever happens.

So there's a lot up in the air here.

Not to mention that we've got a huge problem with I45 affecting all these locations. It's redesign is also a crucial element no taken into consideration. Hell, I'd be surprised if the council members were even aware of all of TxDOT's potential plans for I45.

IMO, the best solution is to go by my plan and hold ppl to this:

A) Re-route 45 along I10 and 59 east of DT.

B.) Re-build 61 Riesner property w/ light rail ROW preserved w/in courts / police station footprint

C.) Privately develop the Post office

D.) Use Hardy yard site for the HSR station if that happens

That's my hope.

Sounds like were on the same page! Those are my hopes as well, though I thought they wanted to make the post office site the HSR terminal. I guess time will tell. Aren't they supposed to come out with a plan soon for the HSR project? They said the rail line would be on a map within 90 days a few months ago...
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Uh...

I think the existing jail buildings were purpose built that way. Pretty sure.

Any one else want to chime in?

I don't know which building you think was formerly a dormitory. The 1200 Baker Street Jail was new construction, built to be a county jail. The San Jacinto annex was formerly a cold storage warehouse, converted by the county to be a jail. The 1307 Baker Street Jail was built as and has always been a jail. The Franklin Street jail was built by the county as a jail (it is no longer used as a jail).

As far as I know, the only dormitory UH/D ever had was the former hotel at Main and Commerce (where the Commerce building now stands). UH/D demolished that building and in the early 90s.

Calm down. I didn't say the jail wasn't built. I said I dunno if the stigma of the jail would allow sorms to be there. That is where I was Told the previous dorms were.

If you read my post I said the school couldn't afford a reno so went for new construction. I never said what the New owners of the site did with the building.

The historian may have mixed up buildings but sheesh don't get so twisted. He said the old Dorms used to be a hotel. Uhd owns lots of plots in the area. THEY also own that little pump on Willow street near the jail

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Calm down. I didn't say the jail wasn't built. I said I dunno if the stigma of the jail would allow sorms to be there. That is where I was Told the previous dorms were.

If you read my post I said the school couldn't afford a reno so went for new construction. I never said what the New owners of the site did with the building.

The historian may have mixed up buildings but sheesh don't get so twisted. He said the old Dorms used to be a hotel. Uhd owns lots of plots in the area. THEY also own that little pump on Willow street near the jail

No one is upset.  Just trying to figure things out.  Baker Street was purpose built.  Could have been other buildings there used as dorms, but I don't know?  South Texas JuCo was only 2,100 students?

 

Either way, the jails are there now.  Unfortunately!

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No one is upset. Just trying to figure things out. Baker Street was purpose built. Could have been other buildings there used as dorms, but I don't know? South Texas JuCo was only 2,100 students?

Either way, the jails are there now. Unfortunately!

What does purposely built have to do with anything? All buildings were purposely built, but that doesn't mean something wasn't there before.

Whats so difficult about accepting that a school may have owned the land before the county? Again if the historian is mistaken about the location of the dorms I don't know, but she seemed pretty certain that the school owned that lot

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As I recall, the first dorms set up for UH-DT were in the building that was formerly the Travelodge Hotel at Main St. at the SE corner of its intersection with Buffalo Bayou.  Travelodge was a chain that I saw all over the western US in the 60s ... and had a sleepy bear in a sleeping gown as it's logo mascot.

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What does purposely built have to do with anything? All buildings were purposely built, but that doesn't mean something wasn't there before.

Whats so difficult about accepting that a school may have owned the land before the county? Again if the historian is mistaken about the location of the dorms I don't know, but she seemed pretty certain that the school owned that lot

 

The school did not own the land before the county. The only dorm was as mentioned previously at the base of the Main Street Bridge. One of the jail buildings was indeed a cold storage place, and the announcement that it would become a jail mightily peeved the student body at UHD (I was going there at the time)

 

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I think those of you who want the post office site to be privately developed and not the courthouse/police site are not really thinking big picture. One has absolutely superior accessibility and that's the police hq. I don't think that should be wasted. Move the courts wherever, but please don't leave them here

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The school did not own the land before the county. The only dorm was as mentioned previously at the base of the Main Street Bridge. One of the jail buildings was indeed a cold storage place, and the announcement that it would become a jail mightily peeved the student body at UHD (I was going there at the time)

Oh ok. I guess the historian was mistaken then

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I wasn't able to see all of the Chron article, but if the administrative HQ of HPD is moving, what will they do with the building in Downtown which is the HPD HQ? (That would be considered in addition to the courthouse/central police substation site northwest of Downtown)

 

Also I know UHD is set as a commuter school, but do you think UHD should lease from an existing building and establish dormitory facilities in it for a few students who may live far away (Someone in resident Hockley or Galveston)?

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I wasn't able to see all of the Chron article, but if the administrative HQ of HPD is moving, what will they do with the building in Downtown which is the HPD HQ? (That would be considered in addition to the courthouse/central police substation site northwest of Downtown)

 

 

They would sell the current HPD HQ building.

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Also I know UHD is set as a commuter school, but do you think UHD should lease from an existing building and establish dormitory facilities in it for a few students who may live far away (Someone in resident Hockley or Galveston)?

That's what I was hinting at before the discussion sidetracked. My question was would the stigma of it previously being a jail prevent students from wanting to stay there

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That's what I was hinting at before the discussion sidetracked. My question was would the stigma of it previously being a jail prevent students from wanting to stay there

 

I see, so you were considering turning a current jail facility into UHD housing. They'd also have to move the headquarters of the county sheriff and a TDCJ state jail for men.

 

Anyway, I was thinking if there was an existing downtown building with space available, UHD would just rent space in that building and turn the area it leased into dormitories and/or family apartments.

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I see, so you were considering turning a current jail facility into UHD housing. They'd also have to move the headquarters of the county sheriff and a TDCJ state jail for men.

Yeah, apart from the stigma, I would think it would be an easy conversion to dorms considering the spacing of plumbing and stuff.

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What does purposely built have to do with anything? All buildings were purposely built, but that doesn't mean something wasn't there before.

Whats so difficult about accepting that a school may have owned the land before the county? Again if the historian is mistaken about the location of the dorms I don't know, but she seemed pretty certain that the school owned that lot

 

I never said the school didn't own the land.

 

Well, a purpose built jail is built just for the use of housing inmates.

 

Let's move on shall we?  You are making an argument out of nothing.

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I think those of you who want the post office site to be privately developed and not the courthouse/police site are not really thinking big picture. One has absolutely superior accessibility and that's the police hq. I don't think that should be wasted. Move the courts wherever, but please don't leave them here

 

I don't understand.  Isn't accessibility a good thing for those functions?  I'm struggling to understand what is so suboptimal about the current Riesner Street location for the police/muni courts, or why the Post Office would be a better site for them.  

 

 

Actually as I said I don't want the Post Office site privately developed; I'd like to see it owned by the city.

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Actually as I said I don't want the Post Office site privately developed; I'd like to see it owned by the city.

Any reason why?

I dunno, seems the city spends money but things still come out cheap looking.

I just think the location is a major asset and if something is put up it should engage the area. Scary thing would be the city throwing up a cheap looking building with a massive surface lot and the area remains pretty much the same looking

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I don't understand. Isn't accessibility a good thing for those functions? I'm struggling to understand what is so suboptimal about the current Riesner Street location for the police/muni courts, or why the Post Office would be a better site for them.

Actually as I said I don't want the Post Office site privately developed; I'd like to see it owned by the city.

I think direct light rail and easy road access will help developers invest more to the current court site. The post office is less optimal in my opinion ( location and train tracks). So my thought is that the city would invest to use this less optimal space and we would net better developments elsewhere. Kind of like what the city did with the permitting office - off the tracks and yet a well done spot that I doubt would have the same function without the city's input.

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I think its a shame that some of Houston's most historic and  unique landscapes are devoted to the housing of criminals and courthouses. The beauty of the area is totally lost to Houstonian's, so that our justice and penal system can operate. Surely there is a more suitable location for all of this to be carried on somewhere else. I mean what were they thinking when they decided to locate everything on the bayou. And not just on one side but both sides are now heavily influenced by the courts and housing of criminals.

Most of them are owned by the county and I think they could find somewhere farther west to create a new court and jails center. Since everyone likes to proclaim that the new center of Houston is somewhere west of the galleria lets move it out there. That way it would be more convenient for all of the citizens of west Harris county. Then we could repurpose all of that property along both sides of Buffalo and White Oak bayous downtown for residential, retail and recreational uses closer to the city center. It would also make it feasible to continue Buffalo bayou park east thru downtown to the larger tracts of land along the Bayou that could eventually become the foundation for future growth on the East side of downtown.

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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to HPD Headquarters & Municipal Courthouse

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