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The Menil Collection Developments


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Ah, sweet! Perhaps they need to add a P.J. inspired addition to the Renzo Piano designed Menil to house this new collection! :P

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  • 7 months later...
Do they own all the houses around their Museum? The grey colored ones? That would be a great place to buy a house.

The Menil Foundation owns the majority of them, and they are picky about who they rent them out to.. like only artists, photographers, archi students, writers....

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  • 1 year later...
  • 3 months later...
The Menil Foundation owns the majority of them, and they are picky about who they rent them out to.. like only artists, photographers, archi students, writers....

We are renting one now, nice place, NO insulation = huge electric bill from heating and A/C. i dont know if all of the places are like this, but since they are from the same era i wouldnt doubt that a majority were without major insulation. Weird layout with two bathrooms upstairs right next to each other, one of which is a half bath. They allow you to paint and stuff inside which is nice. Good neighbors and it is routinely patroled by St. Thomas Police. I didnt know that there were any issues about who rents them out though, it is for my sister and her roomate, both students at Rice and St. Thomas. Lots of character though

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We are renting one now, nice place, NO insulation = huge electric bill from heating and A/C. i dont know if all of the places are like this, but since they are from the same era i wouldnt doubt that a majority were without major insulation. Weird layout with two bathrooms upstairs right next to each other, one of which is a half bath. They allow you to paint and stuff inside which is nice. Good neighbors and it is routinely patroled by St. Thomas Police. I didnt know that there were any issues about who rents them out though, it is for my sister and her roomate, both students at Rice and St. Thomas. Lots of character though

We found the same thing when we lived in one--huge electric bills. Not all the houses have been kept up very well, so there are lots of gaps around windows and doors, letting air out and critters in. All that aside, though, lots of charm and lovely neighbors. Not to mention the best neighborhood in Houston for walking.

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  • 10 months later...

Little-known fact to some, Menil owns many of the houses surrounding Menil. For example, I used to live at a house on the corner of W. Main and Mandell (across from Cafe Artiste) and my landlord was Menil. They have a property management office across Mandell from the museum. I always thought owning all those houses was part of a long-term expansion plan. No need for any mess when they want to expand. Just let all the leases expire and then bulldoze the houses. Incidentally, they already have a minor presence on Richmond Drive that they can use, Richmond Hall, a 1930s grocery store that now houses a light installation by Dan Flavin. Furthermore, there is already a Menil-owned path that leads between some houses from Branard to W. Main @ Loretto.

I see nothing but potential for Menil.

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Little-known fact to some, Menil owns many of the houses surrounding Menil. For example, I used to live at a house on the corner of W. Main and Mandell (across from Cafe Artiste) and my landlord was Menil. They have a property management office across Mandell from the museum. I always thought owning all those houses was part of a long-term expansion plan. No need for any mess when they want to expand. Just let all the leases expire and then bulldoze the houses. Incidentally, they already have a minor presence on Richmond Drive that they can use, Richmond Hall, a 1930s grocery store that now houses a light installation by Dan Flavin. Furthermore, there is already a Menil-owned path that leads between some houses from Branard to W. Main @ Loretto.

I see nothing but potential for Menil.

I think they also own that industrial building on the corner of Richmond and Mandell; used to belong to the power company, I believe? The white building with the ugly fence around it. It will improve that block of Richmond tremendously if/when they do something with that property.

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I think they also own that industrial building on the corner of Richmond and Mandell; used to belong to the power company, I believe? The white building with the ugly fence around it. It will improve that block of Richmond tremendously if/when they do something with that property.

You're probably right. At W. Main and Loretto there's an abstract sculpture in an empty field. At one point I saw a similar abstract sculpture being stored inside that gate at the white building.

Menil was a great landlord. The museum security guard would cruise my street and the other streets where they owned properties, and they were always a phone call away if there was someone suspicious and you wanted them to make a pass.

For anyone who hasn't been to see the Menil main museum (which has some surprisingly famous painters' work in it) and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel (which has a fascinating origin story) you don't know what you're missing, they're a real treat (and free).

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Feh. I like the current size. Why does it need to be bigger or more visible?

Me too, but also it might be nice for them to make it more obvious to the Richmond line riders that they are there. I'm sure Lucky Burger and Cafe Artiste would like it. And replacing the vacant white building with something useful could be nothing but good.

They could always cannibalize the under-utilized Cy Twombly gallery! ;)

Gosh I hate that place. Rotho Chapel too.

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They own and use the building for storage that was once the Parade Disco. Maybe that's the same as the Richmond Hall/Grocery store. So, it would appear that they own everything between W. Alabama and Richmond, west of St. Thomas.

I did not know this.

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Feh. I like the current size. Why does it need to be bigger or more visible?

I'm curious to know if they intend on building more space for the art etc? It seems like the article said the new space would be for other functions that would create income.

Those facilities include the Menil Drawing Institute and Study Center, an auditorium, a caf
Edited by lockmat
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Me too, but also it might be nice for them to make it more obvious to the Richmond line riders that they are there. I'm sure Lucky Burger and Cafe Artiste would like it. And replacing the vacant white building with something useful could be nothing but good.

Gosh I hate that place. Rotho Chapel too.

I think Cafe Artiste is closed now.

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They also own the giant apartment complex Richmont Square.

HCAD shows ownership of Richmont Square changing in '88 from Menil to Richmont Corp... Is Richmont Corp a menil-owned land holding company?

Also.. HCAD shows UST as owning some of the land the Menil is on. Is Menil-owned land and UST-owned land one and the same ?

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HCAD shows ownership of Richmont Square changing in '88 from Menil to Richmont Corp... Is Richmont Corp a menil-owned land holding company?

Richmont Corporation's President is Elsian Cozens who was apparently a long-time assistant of Dominique de Menil, so very possible that its all the same family of companies.

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HCAD shows ownership of Richmont Square changing in '88 from Menil to Richmont Corp... Is Richmont Corp a menil-owned land holding company?

Also.. HCAD shows UST as owning some of the land the Menil is on. Is Menil-owned land and UST-owned land one and the same ?

Nothing named Richmont Corp shows up in the state of Texas corporation search..

Plus, why's the address on HCAD 400 Richmond (shouldn't it be 1400?)

...i just google mapped 400 Richmond and it put it at Loretto St. :huh:

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Nothing named Richmont Corp shows up in the state of Texas corporation search..

Plus, why's the address on HCAD 400 Richmond (shouldn't it be 1400?)

...i just google mapped 400 Richmond and it put it at Loretto St. :huh:

Probably a typo on HCAD. Not sure about your Google Maps issue, because it puts it at Bute St (E of 59) for me.

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HCAD shows ownership of Richmont Square changing in '88 from Menil to Richmont Corp... Is Richmont Corp a menil-owned land holding company?

Also.. HCAD shows UST as owning some of the land the Menil is on. Is Menil-owned land and UST-owned land one and the same ?

Yes, Richmont Corp. is controlled by the Menil. The income from the apartment complex provides some revenue for the Menil operations.

Menil has been quietly acquiring property over a number of years such that they now own close to 100% of the land in the area bounded by Mandell, Richmond, Yupon, and W. Alabama. Likewise, UST has been steadily trying to acquire as much land as they can in the area bounded by Yupon, Richmond, Montrose, and W. Alabama. It is the intent of both of these institutions to expand and enhance the visual appeal of their respective campuses.

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Feh. I like the current size. Why does it need to be bigger or more visible?

Rather than expanding the main building, I believe their intent is to add other facility buildings, as they have done with the Twombly and Byzantine Chapel buildings, while maintaining a park-like setting for the campus.

Something else appears to be opening up in the Cafe Artiste building. I hope it's another coffee shop.

It is now Sophia, owned by the former sous chef of Shade, David Alvarado: http://www.sophiahouston.com/index.htm

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This will show how old I am, but I remember when Cafe Artiste used to be Chicago Pizza. Loved that place, only because they served beer to an under-aged me!

I loved it because they were close to Rice and had really good pizza. Back on topic, I'm glad they want to maintain a "park-like setting" but that rendering looks a whole lot less park-like than the setting does now.

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I'm glad UST can't buy anymore land to expand. Great architecture happens where there are boundaries. Eventually they'll have to infill their campus instead of having it spread out. My one gripe about UH is that its got the case of urban sprawl. They need more infill projects. Heck you almost have to sprint across campus to make it to classs with the 10 minutes they give you in between!

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This expansion news bothers me, especially the remark about the surrounding bungalows being at the end of their useful lives.

One of the main reasons behind the Menil Collection's "architectural success" has to do with how well it is integrated into the surrounding neighborhood fabric. You could easily miss the buildings if you weren't looking out for them, and the museum is meant to be somewhat hidden. The buildings are to be seen as a backdrop for the art, not self-conscious landmarks. It is for this reason that neighboring bungalows were purchased and left in place - to preserve the context of the neighborhood. Painting everything the same colors was an afterthought meant to further drive home the point that the museum is part of the surrounding neighborhood.

I feel that demolishing a large section of the adjacent neighborhood to erect a big new building would totally destroy this effect, and go against Renzo Piano's and Dominique deMenil's original plans for the museum. If space is needed for expansion, it should be located somewhere else.

Why isn't Renzo Piano involved in this planning process? He's still alive, and he gave a lecture at the museum 2 years ago...

Edited by Dan the Man
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Feh. I like the current size. Why does it need to be bigger or more visible?

Menil has a huge collection that is not on display and the addition of the Whitney collection would justify more gallery space. What I have always respected about Menil is that it has significant works by well known artists, that would draw people to the museum, that it doesn't display unless it fits in with the rest of an exhibition. I'm all for adding space so that more of the collection can be exhibited in a sensible way.

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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to The Menil Collection Developments

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