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Sparrow

Solero at the Park

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New residential development coming to northeast downtown, Solero at the Park. Block bound by Crawford, Commerce, Jackson, and Ruiz. Block 107.

Edited by Sparrow
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Tearing down the existing structures?

 

It's a shame that they picked one of the few blocks that aren't surface parking lol. 


 

Edited by mfastx
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I think that place is boarded up and looks like something straight out of Detroit. Isn't the building directly south residential? They're cool

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I've always thought that area has tons of potential! Any idea on size of this thig? I'm hoping it will be at least 6 stories

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I started a thread about this building in downtown

From my boy

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Luminare

Saturday, May 17, 2014

unfortunately the architecture of it really isn't all that unique. It's really just a simple warehouse with loading docks for trucks and nothing more. If you really wanted to save this then you would really have to do a lot to it! I'm talking like knocking down some walls to place some much needed windows and completely overhauling the exterior. I'm surpised with the revitalization of the bayou and downtown that this area hasn't been touched at all. It all depends on what the city wants as the feel for this area. If they want an older feel then they will find some way to keep it. If they want a more contemporary setting then this one is as good as gone as it really doesn't and a lot to the community. I'm all for preserving our past, but it has to be stuff that adds to the narrative. but idk maybe someone will do something good with these old warehouses.

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Too bad. Always thought those warehouses were very cool. The offices on the SW corner have amazing ceilings. The other structures are pretty incredible inside as well. It's a shame they'll be torn down. 

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They will have picturesque views of jail island immediately to the west. I've always thought these blocks were prime spots for high-rise development as an entrance to Downtown from the Hardy Toll Road.

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I worked with a developer back in 2000 who was looking at converting those buildings into condos. It just wasn't viable back then.

The buildings don't seem like much, but the interior spaces have lots of potential for cool redevelopment.

Glad to see more residential coming to this part of DT though.

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Could this be redevelopment of the existing structure (hopefully)?  Or, will it be new construction?  The old loading docks are cool. 

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I worked with a developer back in 2000 who was looking at converting those buildings into condos. It just wasn't viable back then.

The buildings don't seem like much, but the interior spaces have lots of potential for cool redevelopment.

Glad to see more residential coming to this part of DT though.

 

Why was it not viable?  Something about the building or just the market at the time?

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When we lived in the building across the street known as the wagon works complex, I used to walk our dog around the area and always thought that this would be the perfect place for residential growth. We were there for 7 years and got to watch Minute Maid get built. We actually lived in the Pittsburg Plate Glass building on the south side of the Wagon Works, and I can tell you our view to the west was incredible especially at sunset. Sure we did have a jail one block west but big deal. We had the top floor of the building and fifty feet of eight foot windows to the west. The 14' ceilings  made it difficult to keep the space cool with the summer sun. I eventually put up some thick opaque vinyl that I salvaged, over the windows during the summer months, which helped the heat factor, but during tropical storm Alison, when we got 35" of rain we were awakened by our downstairs neighbor at about 2:30 in the morning, complaining about  water  leaking through a hole in our utility area into his apartment. When I went in to check I found a waterfall cascading down the entire  southern brick wall, flooding our kitchen and living room area. When he saw the situation he realized it wasn't our fault and we all started bailing. Apparently the flat roof became a retention pond and it decided to drain through the inside of our loft. Fortunately they were concrete floors and we just mopped until it quit. The funny thing is I was more worried about the rising water of Buffalo bayou flooding our car and instead it came through the roof.

I imagine the building which is being torn down to the north is not nearly as sound as ours was. Although I love to see quality old buildings  saved, sometimes its best to start over. I know there was a restaurant in it for a while.

The most amazing space in the area was the top floor of the National Biscuit company building a couple of blocks to the east and north. That building is now lofts I believe. It was being remodeled when we were there and I was able to get inside of it. It was one large floor almost three stories tall with amazing steel beams and brick walls. You could have put a gymnasium in there. A beautiful space. Apparently they had large ovens or some kind of equipment which required the high ceilings. I don't know what happened to that space but it was remarkable. Unfortunately everyone that lived and worked in our buildings were forced to leave in less than a week by order of the fire marshall, and the city inspectors, two weeks before Christmas. Now that was a nightmare!

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unfortunately everyone that lived and worked in our buildings were forced to leave in less than a week by order of the fire marshall, and the city inspectors, two weeks before Christmas. Now that was a nightmare!

 Why?  Please explain.  If you had not left within the 2 week time frame would they have arrested you "for your own safety?"

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It was a Thursday afternoon when I got a call from my brother in law worried about the red tags that had been slapped to the glass doors by the fire marshall giving us initially through the weekend to be out. There were some tenants who had friends in high places with the city and the owner of the building along with quite a few of the tenants who went to the meeting with the fire chief and chief inspectors attended by a very high city architect who set up the meeting for us. There were several fairly large companies in our buildings including architects design firms lawyers even some downtown cops had an apartment there. Many didn't trust the owner so we all went for our own concerns of hearing the story from the horses mouth. They ended up giving us two weeks to get out but they performed inspections on each space individually and wrote tickets to the owner for any violations. Some disgruntled renter had tipped off the fire marshalls to some exit issue in one of the last building he was remodeling and that set off the alarms. In the meeting the Fire Chief said that even though it was just before christmas he couldnt let us stay since there had been a rash of fire deaths in just the few weeks before this came up. one including 3 children in an apartment fire and over his dead body was he going to let anyone stay there overnight. We could only be in the units from 8 am until 5pm and then the police would kick us out. There was a manned police car there every afternoon and if anyone stayed past 5 he would make them leave.

To make things even worse they condemned the freight elevators and all of this was happening in the middle of the Cotswold project and they had just torn out Commerce street behind our building and so you couldnt even park where the elevators were,  and due to the construction there was only room on Crawford with afternoon commute over Elysian Viaduct that forced us to cue up with trailers one at a time.

You can imagine just trying to find somewhere to live before christmas but also to have to move 30 years of accumulated stuff from a third story loft made it kinda tuff. Fortunately we along with the lawyer below us were one of the last to leave and  by the time we were getting out the attorney paid for the inspection of the elevator and it was cleared for service and we used it. 

The most incredible thing that came out of the meeting was the most damning thing the city building inspectors informed us of.

The owner had not ever obtained a certificate of Occupancy which as you can imagine had us all scratching our heads, So for over seven years of working and living in a building not even having a certificate and all of the violations made it very easy for them to kick us out. It made front page of the Chronicle.  We still loved the 7 years experience living in an old warehouse downtown. Since we practically paid nothing for the space and built it out ourselves we had an idea things were a little dicey, but when you are adventurous and its on your bucket list you go for it, which is what we did. The short amount of time in December to exit on such short notice was the only aggravating thing, besides dealing with the unscrupulous owner. He was forced to sell and the building is full again. I think Bucek & Sterns offices are still in the Northeastern corner of the block. I would sit in the living room and watch the sunset over the buildings and the sun come up on the east side and just be hypnotized. Great times!

 

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Ahhhh. I've always thought this was a cool warehouse. Hopefully it is redeveloped. It has so much potential. The one huge problem it will have is the amount of homeless people in this area. If you think the Greyhound area is bad, you haven't been to James Bute Park. It is a nesting ground for drug swaps. Plus, many of them sleep under 59 right there. There's also a Star of Hope nearby which makes the situation worse since they have a good supply of whatever they need there.

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Demolishing the jail would do wonders to lift the overall area (sadly, I do not see that in the near future). I do think the other residential developments near Minute Maid (as well as the myriad of hotel developments) will give the area a nice boost and, hopefully, a critical mass similar to what happened in Mt. Vernon Triangle in D.C.

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Ahhhh. I've always thought this was a cool warehouse. Hopefully it is redeveloped. It has so much potential. The one huge problem it will have is the amount of homeless people in this area. If you think the Greyhound area is bad, you haven't been to James Bute Park. It is a nesting ground for drug swaps. Plus, many of them sleep under 59 right there. There's also a Star of Hope nearby which makes the situation worse since they have a good supply of whatever they need there.

all the more reason to trench 59 between GRB and Commerce St and build a deck park over it! connect the east end and downtown, and get rid of the mixed use overpass/homeless shelter.

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Demolishing the jail would do wonders to lift the overall area (sadly, I do not see that in the near future). I do think the other residential developments near Minute Maid (as well as the myriad of hotel developments) will give the area a nice boost and, hopefully, a critical mass similar to what happened in Mt. Vernon Triangle in D.C.

true, but i dont see any attraction/venue north of MMP to attract people to walk to that end of downtown. i think all the foot traffic will be heading south towards Discovery Green. unless they make some awesome entertainment or mixed use development over there it seems like it will be pretty desolate/homeless haven for a while. maybe build another large park over there to spawn development near the bayou?

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Triton,

 

I was worried when they first built the Star of Hope. Like I said we were there for 7 years and I was never approached day or night by one homeless person. Never had anything taken or broken into. Remember this was before the stadium was even built so it was less well lit and the Cotswold project hadn't even started yet, which really changed the feel of the area with lighting, trees, signage and art. Before they moved to the underpass a lot of them had built a makeshift shanty town under the Elysian viaduct on the southwest side of the bayou on Crawford. I would take my border collie over there to exercise and do her business. Not one time did I feel in harms way.

Until you are living day to day in this environment you really can't understand their habits. if I was walking down the street and they happened to be on the same side they would usually switch sides of the street. For the most part they were anti social.  Now I'm not saying they were all angels, I just think a lot of people judge situations they have never experienced close up  from a distance too far away to get the true perspective.

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Demolish the jail, add a nicer path along the bayou to utilize it as a focal point along with supporting amenities, pair those with the redevelopment of the post office site further west (whatever that turns out to be) and we just might have a reason to head to that part of Downtown. A long narrow park stretching east toward the former KBR site would be very nice.

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Demolish the jail, add a nicer path along the bayou to utilize it as a focal point along with supporting amenities, pair those with the redevelopment of the post office site further west (whatever that turns out to be) and we just might have a reason to head to that part of Downtown. A long narrow park stretching east toward the former KBR site would be very nice.

 

Demolishing the jail is not going to happen.  I don't know why people keep wasting time and energy typing about it.  Further, the importance of the jail to the future or lack of future of that area is wildly overstated.  There is no reason a jail cannot peacefully co-exist with nearby mixed uses, including residential.  (To the extent it really is a problem, it would seem that putting them on an island is the perfect solution.)  We have a jail on San Jacinto at Texas that has condos across the street, and 2 apartment projects currently under construction and 2 more under development within 3 blocks, plus 2 new office buildings, a high school and a couple new hotels are under development, all within 3 blocks of the jail.

 

As to the idea of a long narrow park stretching east... Here you go.  As to the idea of a better path along the Bayou... take a look.

 

Edited by Houston19514
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I believe this "Bayou and Beyond" initiative, was developed about 10 to 12 years ago. Its an amazing plan that is finally coming to fruition on the west side of town unfortunately because of all of the county, city, and industrially owned properties on the east side and just in downtown alone, it will take a lot longer to pull off, but hopefully somehow it will happen. As you can see by the improvements and success already on the western side this would be a great thing to happen for the city of Houston and no telling how it would change both the east side and north side of Houston. I hope they can do it. They have to. The only thing is after 10 to 12 years they are still short $150,000. dollars to finish the western improvements to this date. We need someone like the Duncans, The Lesters, and the Arnolds, the Wyatts, the Cullens,  to name a few, to come together and do something special for the city that helped them achieve their wealth as a civic gesture. Now wouldn't that be nice.

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^Good information Houston19514. Both concepts look pretty neat. I like the new north canal in the Downtown rendering. The dates on both brochures go back to 2002--are you aware by chance of any movement on the proposed redevelopment. I know there has been an expanse of development further west along Buffalo Bayou (nearer to Allen Parkway and Memorial) but am unfamiliar with progress on the east side.

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this initiative was brought together by the Bayou Conservancy under the leadership of Anne Olsen. She has been running this for as long as I can remember. if you go to their website they have all kinds of information and updates. You might find someone to contact about the plans for the eastern side and where they stand in bringing them to fruition. When the coffee building is finished being restored,  their office will be housed in the top floor, just on the edge of Allens landing

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Thanks. It is somewhat heartening to see that some of the design elements of the Western portion of Buffalo Bayou have been incorporated into the development. I am not certain of the engineering that would be required to develop the northern canal portion of the Downtown segment (although I do recall reading about that at another forum here). It would be nice to see the bayou redeveloped as a signature for the city.

 

 

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Anne Olsen actually came for a neighborhood meeting in the East Bayou District to fill in some details for their plans.  Buffalo Bayou Partnerships has been busy securing rights-of-way on the East Side for quite some time and will be linking the downtown trails to existing and new trails on the north and south side of the bayou, at least as far as Lockwood.  Trails are currently under construction on the south bank under 59 and south of Clayton Homes on the South Bank.  These will connect from downtown to existing trails, at Guadalupe Plaza Park @ Jensen Dr.  These trails currently continue all the way to Lockwood.  It's a little hit and miss along here, as most of the property along the bayou is in Private hands, but you can see the work that has been done is significant. Under 59 just east of DT is an old derelict railroad draw bridge.  Anne said that this will be repaired and used as a pedestrian crossing between the North and South Banks.  There are trails here that already lead from DT to Bayou St, in the KBR Site.  Anne also said that a Right-of-way had been granted to BBP by Cathexis (new owners of the KPR Site) to build trails along the bayou.  BBP has been busy and doing great things.  But, unlike the on the West side, the property along almost all of the bayou on the East side is privately owned.  This make comprehensive plans difficult.  But, the owners can also do great things, the BBP cannot.  So...it will be interesting to watch.  There is LOTS of land for development.

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I like the plans for the east it is a chance for Houston to do something similar to the river walk but on a much larger scale. If Houston want to be taken serious as a international city we will need to think like one.By that I mean we can not continue to neglect our core and expect people to be impressions when they visit Houston.Houston is a great city that suffering outdated views from people who last visit was like a decade ago..

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Why was it not viable? Something about the building or just the market at the time?

A little bit of both. But I think mostly there wasn't much demand at the time.

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We need someone like the Duncans, The Lesters, and the Arnolds, the Wyatts, the Cullens, to name a few, to come together and do something special for the city that helped them achieve their wealth as a civic gesture. Now wouldn't that be nice.

Right, because they haven't given back to the city yet...

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Right, because they haven't given back to the city yet...

 

It doesn't have to be any of those mentioned but perhaps one or more of the newly minted multi-millionaires in the city could step up.

 

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We actually lived in the Pittsburg Plate Glass building on the south side of the Wagon Works, and I can tell you our view to the west was incredible especially at sunset. Sure we did have a jail one block west but big deal. We had the top floor of the building and fifty feet of eight foot windows to the west.

 

Wow, living there must have been amazing! I have always wanted to live in a loft space like that. Houston has been notorious for having an "out with the old, in with the new" attitude when it comes to construction - neglecting old buildings and opting to demolish verses preserve. I hope we can continue to refurbish more of these old buildings that still exist for offices, lofts, etc.

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Houston is ranked as the ugliest city in America according to this and one of the 10 ugliest cities in the world.

 

Ouch!

 

http://www.ucityguides.com/cities/10-ugliest-cities-in-the-world.html

 

ucityguides is worth $1,645 and receives 750 hits/day per domaintools.com; their opinion doesn't really count.  

 

on another note: who is this newbie "sparrow"?  curious who he/she might be.  positively curious.  ;)

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It doesn't have to be any of those mentioned but perhaps one or more of the newly minted multi-millionaires in the city could step up.

Or, it could be just $100 dollars from you and $100 from me and a million other houstonians who can equally afford to give $5 or $100 but don't. This isn't about the rich, per se, needing to "step up". It's about all of us stepping up. There are far too many folks who will suggest that they could never afford to make a $100 donation. Unfortunately, they will say it whilst slurping their daily $5.00 mocha-flippin-chino and carrying their Burberry breifcase.

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Or, it could be just $100 dollars from you and $100 from me and a million other houstonians who can equally afford to give $5 or $100 but don't. This isn't about the rich, per se, needing to "step up". It's about all of us stepping up. There are far too many folks who will suggest that they could never afford to make a $100 donation. Unfortunately, they will say it whilst slurping their daily $5.00 mocha-flippin-chino and carrying their Burberry breifcase.

 

Good point, UtterlyUrban. All of us who support this need to step up at whatever level we can. The great thing about grass-roots support is that philanthropies recognize it and add their support as well. The vice president for development at my alma mater repeatedly reminds the alumni that those numerous $50 and $100 dollar contributions are a major part of what influences foundations to make those $100,000 and $500,000 grants.

 

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We need someone like the Duncans, The Lesters, and the Arnolds, the Wyatts, the Cullens,  to name a few, to come together and do something special for the city that helped them achieve their wealth as a civic gesture. Now wouldn't that be nice.

 

Maybe I should send a note to Steve and Doug... :rolleyes:

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