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New Park for the Southern Area of Downtown

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This is Caddy Corner to the Uhaul site.

Taking bets on how long the Book Shop will last.

 

But seriously the good year center has a really suburban feel to it. I would sometimes walk by this area on my lunch break so a park in this area is an awesome addition. 

 

Would have been awesome if they could have had the entire lot for use and built parking underneath.

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21 hours ago, EllenOlenska said:

I was briefly stoked about TWO new parks in south downtown. 

Ellen,

I Was curious why the word, briefly stoked, was used. Is it because of the proximity to Root park or the scale that made you sound a little disappointed.

Or the fact that they actually considered Root park new?

Any time we can get a new park downtown is a good thing.

I think the Movers and Shakers and developers now know that the key to successfully developing new areas downtown involves a park. 

And remember there will be some kind of new greenway that will fill the old pierce elevated spaces.

Edited by bobruss

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1 hour ago, HoustonIsHome said:

But seriously the good year center has a really suburban feel to it. I would sometimes walk by this area on my lunch break so a park in this area is an awesome addition. 

 

That Goodyear center's probably been some sort of automotive place since that block was in the suburbs. :ph34r:

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I got my last set of tires at that Goodyear, and have had a couple of puncture repairs done under warranty since then. I like Goodyear Eagles, and it seems that Goodyear service centers are about the only places that carry them anymore locally. None of the other locations are nearly as close or convenient as this one, so I'll be sorry to see it go. 

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4 hours ago, mkultra25 said:

I got my last set of tires at that Goodyear, and have had a couple of puncture repairs done under warranty since then. I like Goodyear Eagles, and it seems that Goodyear service centers are about the only places that carry them anymore locally. None of the other locations are nearly as close or convenient as this one, so I'll be sorry to see it go. 

I always seem to head to NTB in midtown.  That’s said, I agree with you.  The park IS a better use for the burgeoning neighborhood.  However, I do hope that is all of the lots across Downtown fill up over the next 15 years, that we are able to keep some of the “context” of urban life in place.  That “context” includes places to repair your car, wash your car, store your processions, get a cheap hamburger or a cheap haircut, etc.  Without these, IMO, you are left with Disneyland.

 

 

Edited by UtterlyUrban
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6 hours ago, bobruss said:

Ellen,

I Was curious why the word, briefly stoked, was used. Is it because of the proximity to Root park or the scale that made you sound a little disappointed.

Or the fact that they actually considered Root park new?

Any time we can get a new park downtown is a good thing.

I think the Movers and Shakers and developers now know that the key to successfully developing new areas downtown involves a park. 

And remember there will be some kind of new greenway that will fill the old pierce elevated spaces.

I was excited--or I don't think I ever really believed it--but I was excited because someone posted a second thread that there was going to be a new downtown park. So there were two threads and I thought, maybe there are two different new parks. But of course it was a duplicate thread. 

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Goodyear seems unaware that they're going to become a park, or misheard - they just resealed the parking lot.

39994481825_5f9d70d8b7_k.jpg

 

40900060561_c9130c2970_k.jpg

 

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Once there were parking lots, now it's a peaceful oasis.  I can't get used to this lifestyle.

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15 hours ago, bobruss said:

Pave paradise, and put up a parking lot !

don't it always seem to go.

 

The Houston-specific version is "they unpaved paradise, and took away my parking lot". 

 

It's funny to see Joni's timeless "Big Yellow Taxi" lyric popping up here, as that song has been an earworm for me all week long. I thought I knew all of the best "mondegreens" (aka "misheard lyrics"), until a few days ago I ran across someone who swore they had always heard it as "a gay pair of guys put up a parking lot".

 

I am now unable to get the butchered lyric out of my head, and many questions have arisen, such as "why a parking lot? Shouldn't they be restoring a neglected Craftsman bungalow or mid-century mod and canvassing estate sales to outfit each room with the perfect mix of vintage furniture instead?" 

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We covered several Joni Mitchell songs including Paradise. One of my favorites was She Comes For Conversation, which we played on Austin City Limits the first year it was on in 1975.

I purposefully put the lyrics backwards because your right it is backwards.

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3 hours ago, mkultra25 said:

 

. I thought I knew all of the best "mondegreens" (aka "misheard lyrics"), until a few days ago I ran across someone who swore they had always heard it as "a gay pair of guys put up a parking lot".

 

 

“A Gay Pair of guys
put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot”

 

I mean, who else, in the box of stereotypes that was 1970, would build this?

 

 

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On 3/21/2018 at 7:17 PM, bobruss said:

We covered several Joni Mitchell songs including Paradise. One of my favorites was She Comes For Conversation, which we played on Austin City Limits the first year it was on in 1975.

I purposefully put the lyrics backwards because your right it is backwards.

I do the same thing to Guns and Roses, Paradise City.

 

Take me down to the paradise city, where the girls are green and the grass is pretty.

 

it works much better than the other way around.

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That Goodyear was a handy place to have downtown when you had a screw in your tire and you are down to 12 psi before the slog back home.  

 

With respect to Ms. Mitchell's lamentations, in a city where folks are putting up a swimming pool/night (day?) club next to a cement plant,  I think we have proven that paradise and pavement can coexist. 

 

 

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So they had the planning meetings this Thursday and Saturday, and I went to both.  It is very much still in the planning stages; the Saturday session was a full on brainstorming session with the 21 people who showed up.

 

A few details that I learned:

  • They were only able to acquire a 30 year lease on the good year property and the parking lot at the corner of Leeland and San Jacinto.  The land is owned by a trust that won't let them sell it but they can do a lease.
  • The Southern Texas College of Law didn't want to give up their parking lot to let this be a full block park - the current plan is a fence between it and the park.
  • The project is already fully funded by the Downtown Redevelopment Authority
  • Goodyear's lease is up in March, and they expect construction on the park to start in April.
  • They're targeting a Summer 2020 opening date.

Here are the boards from the happy hour with the categories they're looking at.  I couldn't figure out how this broken forum software could let me embed the photos.

 

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/928/29833049758_609bf90afd_k.jpg 

 

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/934/29833051638_dd53b58186_k.jpg 

 

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/857/43656374522_78fddc6f41_k.jpg 

 

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/859/29833051348_756790e647_k.jpg 

 

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/862/43656371632_d549f53e73_k.jpg 

 

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/860/29833050268_82c6d5236d_k.jpg 

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Don’t bother putting a Park here when in 30 years it will be demolished..

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10 hours ago, cspwal said:

So they had the planning meetings this Thursday and Saturday, and I went to both.  It is very much still in the planning stages; the Saturday session was a full on brainstorming session with the 21 people who showed up.

 

A few details that I learned:

  • They were only able to acquire a 30 year lease on the good year property and the parking lot at the corner of Leeland and San Jacinto.  The land is owned by a trust that won't let them sell it but they can do a lease.
  • The Southern Texas College of Law didn't want to give up their parking lot to let this be a full block park - the current plan is a fence between it and the park.
  • The project is already fully funded by the Downtown Redevelopment Authority
  • Goodyear's lease is up in March, and they expect construction on the park to start in April.
  • They're targeting a Summer 2020 opening date.

 

Thanks for the report.  When it was first announced, it was reported they had a ground lease with option(s) to renew.  Do you know if the 30 years is just the initial term?

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They didn't get into the terms.  I'm sure they'll have an option to extend the lease

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That comes out to a total of approximately 12,100,000 dollars in total payments. The year 30 rent is around 450,000. To my poor self sounds like a lot of dough. What would it cost if it were bought outright ( if he were willing to sell)?

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I think the market is ~$100psf (~$4M) for a partial block in this part of downtown (full block gets higher premium), but there are plenty of owners who wouldn't sell no matter what price you offered them.

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21 minutes ago, Twinsanity02 said:

That comes out to a total of approximately 12,100,000 dollars in total payments. The year 30 rent is around 450,000. To my poor self sounds like a lot of dough. What would it cost if it were bought outright ( if he were willing to sell)?

At the meeting a few weeks ago, the downtown management people said that the land is owned by a trust that is forbidden from selling the land

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3 hours ago, cspwal said:

At the meeting a few weeks ago, the downtown management people said that the land is owned by a trust that is forbidden from selling the land

 

That seems like it might be an unenforceable restraint on alienation.

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21 hours ago, Twinsanity02 said:

That comes out to a total of approximately 12,100,000 dollars in total payments. The year 30 rent is around 450,000. To my poor self sounds like a lot of dough. What would it cost if it were bought outright ( if he were willing to sell)?

 

Umm, don't forget the taxes. If this is privately owned, there will be taxes to pay, and usually on ground leases the taxes are passed through to the tenant. So the downtown management district is on the hook for quite a bit more than $12 million.

 

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23 minutes ago, cspwal said:

The taxes could be part of those lease payment numbers quoted

 

The article quoted "$355,992 in annual rent," so it sounds like that's the base rent, not including taxes. Unless it is a gross rent, which would be unusual for a ground lease.

 

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2 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

The article quoted "$355,992 in annual rent," so it sounds like that's the base rent, not including taxes. Unless it is a gross rent, which would be unusual for a ground lease.

 

 

Since this is being leased by an arm of the City to be made into a public park, it will surely be tax exempt.

Edited by Houston19514

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7 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Since this is being leased by an arm of the City to be made into a public park, it will surely be tax exempt.

 

I'm not familiar with how it works. So even though a private owner is making money off this land, they don't owe any real estate tax?

 

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10 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

 

I'm not familiar with how it works. So even though a private owner is making money off this land, they don't owe any real estate tax?

 

 

I'm not sure.  It just seems there must be a way for the city to not pay property taxes on public park land.

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48 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 

I'm not sure.  It just seems there must be a way for the city to not pay property taxes on public park land.

 

It's kind of like, if the city leases space in a shopping center (as often happens in smaller cities), the landlord is paying normal taxes on the shopping center, and the city pays reimbursements if that is the lease structure. Same thing here but with land.

 

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They've already closed and moved to Pearland (which seems a bit far to move from downtown - I guess they didn't want to stay in the city)

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There's a public meeting on 4/30 to present the park design.  Starts at 5:30 pm on the 9th floor of Houston House; the renderings presented there will be up at http://www.downtowntirz.com/projects/ on May 1st

 

Of course I misread it and tried to go both last Tuesday and yesterday.  Yesterday made it to the 9th floor before realizing it was next week

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Here's some tidbits I picked up from the meeting

- The park has a 30 year lease, with 2 10 year extension options.  

- They will be redoing the sidewalks on the whole block, including the sidewalks in front of the South Texas College of Law's parking lot

- Apparently a 2 way bike lane is planned on Bell street; that's why they're including the bike repair station

- They are talking to B-Cycle about getting a station there, but nothing definitive yet

- Restaurant RFP asks for one that is open breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week

- Apparently there's a TxDot project to redo all the sidewalks downtown.

 

Timeline they had in the presentation:

Start Demolition - May 2019

Design Phase - Jan 2019 - Nov 2019

Select restaurant - July 2019

Permitting - Nov 2019 - Feb 2020

Construction - March 2020 - March 2021

Grand opening - March 2021

 

They said that "Southern Downtown Park" is a placeholder name, so what names can we come up with?

 

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14 minutes ago, cspwal said:

Here's some tidbits I picked up from the meeting

- The park has a 30 year lease, with 2 10 year extension options.  

- They will be redoing the sidewalks on the whole block, including the sidewalks in front of the South Texas College of Law's parking lot

- Apparently a 2 way bike lane is planned on Bell street; that's why they're including the bike repair station

- They are talking to B-Cycle about getting a station there, but nothing definitive yet

- Restaurant RFP asks for one that is open breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week

- Apparently there's a TxDot project to redo all the sidewalks downtown.

 

Timeline they had in the presentation:

Start Demolition - May 2019

Design Phase - Jan 2019 - Nov 2019

Select restaurant - July 2019

Permitting - Nov 2019 - Feb 2020

Construction - March 2020 - March 2021

Grand opening - March 2021

 

They said that "Southern Downtown Park" is a placeholder name, so what names can we come up with?

 

 

Southern Downtown Park Presented by Goodyear?

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37 minutes ago, cspwal said:

- Apparently a 2 way bike lane is planned on Bell street; that's why they're including the bike repair station

 

That would be news to me, as I haven't heard any of the planners talk about that being an upcoming project, but if park opening is 2 years away, then they could certainly make that happen (certainly if Downtown District is paying).

 

Here is the park location on the "updated" (it's not really) bike plan map.

 

hJRuC50.png

 

Blue = dedicated on-street.

Fuschia = shared on-street (sharrows/signage only)

 

The two blue north/south lines just to the east of the park are Caroline and Austin, and they've decided to run a bi-directional lane only on Austin due to construction on Caroline in Midtown that is going to last another 1.5 years. 

 

I think that's the timing for the Bagby redesign in the Theater District, so maybe they could time that portion to wrap from Bagby down and around?

 

 

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10 minutes ago, nate4l1f3 said:

I can’t stop looking at the parking lot 

It's a shame the college of law wouldn't sell or at least sign a ground lease.  I can see their point of view - they would need to find replacement parking, maybe even have to build a small garage on a different lot, while this park will only make their parking lot more valuable for when they do want to sell

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, wilcal said:

 

That would be news to me, as I haven't heard any of the planners talk about that being an upcoming project, but if park opening is 2 years away, then they could certainly make that happen (certainly if Downtown District is paying).

 

Here is the park location on the "updated" (it's not really) bike plan map.

 

hJRuC50.png

 

Blue = dedicated on-street.

Fuschia = shared on-street (sharrows/signage only)

 

The two blue north/south lines just to the east of the park are Caroline and Austin, and they've decided to run a bi-directional lane only on Austin due to construction on Caroline in Midtown that is going to last another 1.5 years. 

 

I think that's the timing for the Bagby redesign in the Theater District, so maybe they could time that portion to wrap from Bagby down and around?

 

 

 

Bell has dedicated in-street ROW in the Interactive Bike Plan Map. It is in the "Potential Short Term Implementation Opportunities" layer. 

 

Edit: I buried the lede here; the relevant info is that this section is relatively high on priority list for bike infrastructure. I agree that this is a very realistic addition in the next few years.

Edited by Alec
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