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Urbannizer

The Cosmopolitan of Houston: Block 166 - Downtown

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Its funny, I was just commenting last week about the number of parking lots on the North side of Minute Maid. Its nice to see things starting to happen there. When we lived a block northeast of that in the Wagon Works bldg.,  it was pretty quiet and dark all the time, but once they started building the stadium it started to change. Then all of those parking lots just sat there, except for the Cotswold improvements which did bring better lighting and landscaping to the area, but no other development.

Maybe this will get the ball rolling on this less developed section of downtown.

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Any added density is definitely welcome downtown. I'm excited for all these residential projects to get started!

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it's a bit far away from everything.. but hey, happy to have it!  props for sharing urbannizer.

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Will be good to have some more moderately priced downtown living. Broadens the market.

 

Agreed. Plenty of folks with decent jobs that still can't afford rent at the high end stuff popping up recently would like the option, I would guess.

 

The drunk tank isn't the easiest neighbor to sell, but such a compromise could keep rent down if/until people figure out that it is no big deal.  I always liked that converted building on Chenevert right by the 59N entrance ramp, but it is even closer to the "Sobering Cener".

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So the design was so underwhelming they refused to disclose it?

 

I sense another five-level stone-faced apartment block wrapped around a garage. <_<   

 

Baby steps.  Another five-level stone-faced apartment is a huge step up for this part of downtown.  To me it's actually really interesting to see how residential types are developing around downtown now that residential development has (finally) begun in earnest.  I think if you came back in 20 years the residential high-rises will primarily be at Market Square and north of Discovery Green, with five-story apartments dominating in the rest of downtown. 

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Even a bland cookie cutter five story apartment wrap is better infill than a surface parking lot.

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Mollusk beat me to it. :) It will be nice to have additional folks Downtown to support various types of retail. I tend to think additional residential development creates a sort of critical mass that will make Downtown attractive to everyone as additional cafes and shops can follow.

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It will be nice to have additional folks Downtown to support various types of retail. I tend to think additional residential development creates a sort of critical mass that will make Downtown attractive to everyone as additional cafes and shops can follow.

They're going to need groceries. The whole swath from MacGregor all the way up to Northside and beyond is regarded as a "food desert", so it could definitely support something along the lines of WinCo, Aldi or Market Basket. Trader Joe's could also make a go of it down there. DC has done a lot with apartment blocks atop grocery stores, so it can work in any urban setting.

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If they continue to add residents to the east side of downtown they will eventually get to a point where they can justify building a

supermarket. Its desperately needed on that side of town.

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If they continue to add residents to the east side of downtown they will eventually get to a point where they can justify building a

supermarket. Its desperately needed on that side of town.

Phoenica is generally packed to the gills.

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They're going to need groceries. The whole swath from MacGregor all the way up to Northside and beyond is regarded as a "food desert", so it could definitely support something along the lines of WinCo, Aldi or Market Basket. Trader Joe's could also make a go of it down there. DC has done a lot with apartment blocks atop grocery stores, so it can work in any urban setting.

 

I lived near Mt. Vernon Triangle in DC during law school. My first thought is of the Safeway located there below the City Vista apartments. I have stated before that a similar arrangement could work here in Houston (although my preference is for an HEB). Glad to see I am not the only one.  :)

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Houston did not get Harris Teeter, which became a major fixture in DC (the Teeter in Shirlington is a great example of mixed use combining residential, shops and even a theater and library). Sadly Teeter's been gobbled up by Kroger, so no chance of seeing them in Texas. :angry:

Edited by toxtethogrady

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Driving around this morning I saw a team doing soil samples on the block bound by Commerce, Chenevert, Franklin and Hamilton (aka block 166).  It is currently all surface parking.  I did minimal digging but couldn't find any mention of this.  Does anyone have any info?  If not, I think it's safe to assume this is preliminary work for that 100+ story building...

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Did it change names? It was last called Solero at the Park.

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Different project. Solero at the Park is proposed for block 107.

 

http://www.houstonarchitecture.com/haif/topic/30533-solero-at-the-park/

 

Here's a look at other projects by the developer, gives us an idea of what to expect.

 

10644594_730408203662597_545649288553306

 

is this one in downtown Waco? 99% sure i watched this complex get built over the course of a year or so through one of the windows in my loft..

edit.. just dug through some old photos.. i definitely watched this get built (i should have realized from the 7th street sign) its nothing amazing, but it was a big deal for Downtown Waco to get a new complex this large. most of the residential units have been smaller, old warehouse conversions to lofts. not full blown complexes.

F5E676CA-88A4-4428-B43E-BB7CC26FF6FB_zps

Edited by cloud713
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The one in Corpus Christi looks cheesy IMO

Yeah it looks like a cross between the Lowes hotel in Miami and the JAX brewery in New Orleans.

81223_160_z.jpg

5624762230_f529a893aa_z.jpg

Edited by cloud713
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If it came out looking like JAX in NOLA... I wouldn't be that upset... even though it is cheesy. The one in Waco is soooo awful.

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i caught a rendering of this - imagine something similar to Alexan midtown with beige/brown brick. GFR seemed like a distinct possibility on one corner.

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Nifty. It would be nice to have GFR facing MMP (aside: I miss calling it the "Juice Box"). Given the proximity to MMP, I wonder if the colors are similar to those of the ballpark, which tends to have shades of taupe/beige and brownish red.

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assuming this project gets off the ground i do like how many of the developments in the area are taking or have taken cues from MMP - 500 crawford, the westin/vic & anthony's, nau museum, and this one... our own little ballpark district.

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Personally, I would like to see something that looks like the Woodlands Gate development. I doubt that one will ever be built, but it looks nothing like any other development in this city - or elsewhere in the country. It would add some spice to Downtown.

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Personally, I would like to see something that looks like the Woodlands Gate development. I doubt that one will ever be built, but it looks nothing like any other development in this city - or elsewhere in the country. It would add some spice to Downtown.

Seriously.. I would love to see some woodlands gate esque developments in the inner loop

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The massive parking lot, which I think is for Astro's games, would be perfect for an inner loop woodlands gate. That one across 59 from minute maid.

 

Would compliment the Dynamo stadium nicely, take full advantage of the light rail station right there, and make EaDo (such a cheesy name) a serious player.

 

 

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The massive parking lot, which I think is for Astro's games, would be perfect for an inner loop woodlands gate. That one across 59 from minute maid.

Would compliment the Dynamo stadium nicely, take full advantage of the light rail station right there, and make EaDo (such a cheesy name) a serious player.

Ive always thought that, what a HUGE waste of prime A1 real estate, those MMP parking lots.

Whats the story with those, do the Astros own the blocks, or are they signed to a long term lease with the land owner?

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It would be nice to see a garage placed over the big parking lot, along with additional office and retail/residential. I agree the space could be better used. To be fair, the lots were, as I recall built with MMP, which was initially opened back in 2000. The area has changed substantially, and it would seem a good time to begin to repurpose those lots.

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The massive parking lot, which I think is for Astro's games, would be perfect for an inner loop woodlands gate. That one across 59 from minute maid.

 

Would compliment the Dynamo stadium nicely, take full advantage of the light rail station right there, and make EaDo (such a cheesy name) a serious player.

 

They could build a massive underground parking garage for ball games, similar to the Theater District parking garage, and then develop the land on top of it. Probably have to wait 5-10 years though for the land value to justify it. They could do a similar garage on the blocks north of the ballpark. This is a bit farfetched right now, and lots of suburban baseball fans wouldn't like it, but if we continue growing and densifying, it starts to make sense.

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Ive always thought that, what a HUGE waste of prime A1 real estate, those MMP parking lots.

 

 

Yeah, but people coming to the games have to have some place to park.

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The massive parking lot, which I think is for Astro's games, would be perfect for an inner loop woodlands gate. That one across 59 from minute maid.

 

Would compliment the Dynamo stadium nicely, take full advantage of the light rail station right there, and make EaDo (such a cheesy name) a serious player.

  

Ive always thought that, what a HUGE waste of prime A1 real estate, those MMP parking lots.

Whats the story with those, do the Astros own the blocks, or are they signed to a long term lease with the land owner?

  

Yeah, but people coming to the games have to have some place to park.

I discussed this extensively in the "parks district" thread for revitalizing that area between Dynamo stadium and mmp in the off topic subforum. They should build a garage next to mmp and develop the other parking lots

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Office buildings seem to do a decent job opening up their garages for Astro game parkers. A ten minute walk would get you to the Four Seasons area from the ballpark. I actually think driving in/parking/driving out is much easier downtown than it ever was at the Dome, so long as you avoid the Toyota Center garage, never park there. Really big garages need a ton of exit routes and traffic coordination, but if everyone just walks another five minutes, they save themselves 10 minutes of waiting in the backup.

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Parking downtown for sporting events is comically easy still. We have 150,000 downtown workers 56.8drive to work alone. There are total of 82,500  parking spots in Downtown Houston (in a 2000 report). Minute Maid parks has a capacity of 40,000. So even if it was filled, and every single person drove to the game--- we'd likely still have plenty of left over parking. In 2010, total parking in the CBD was nearly 100,000 spaces.

 

 

 

Source: http://www.downtownhouston.org/site_media/uploads/attachments/2014-04-08/2013_Commute_Survey_Report.pdf
http://www.downtownhouston.org/site_media/uploads/attachments/2010-04-19/7-Parking_Management_Planning_Study.pdf(2000 parking report)

 

http://www.downtownhouston.org/site_media/uploads/attachments/2010-07-13/Republic_Parking_CBD_Rate_Survey_2010_Garage.pdf(2010 parking report)

 

 

 

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Parking downtown for sporting events is comically easy still. We have 150,000 downtown workers 56.8% drive to work alone. There are total of 82,500 parking spots in Downtown Houston (in a 2000 report). Minute Maid parks has a capacity of 40,000. So even if it was filled, and every single person drove to the game--- we'd likely still have plenty of left over parking. In 2010, total parking in the CBD was nearly 100,000 spaces.

Source: http://www.downtownhouston.org/site_media/uploads/attachments/2014-04-08/2013_Commute_Survey_Report.pdf

http://www.downtownhouston.org/site_media/uploads/attachments/2010-04-19/7-Parking_Management_Planning_Study.pdf(2000 parking report)

http://www.downtownhouston.org/site_media/uploads/attachments/2010-07-13/Republic_Parking_CBD_Rate_Survey_2010_Garage.pdf(2010 parking report)

All of this is true.

But do you really expect Sam and Sally Suburban and their Kids to actually WALK 7 blocks to go to a ballgame after driving 30 miles from the 'burbs? Oh, the horror! The inconvenience! Dear God, think of the children!

It is a basic human right to have parking right there on the property. On-site event parking is what defines America as American. 7 blocks? What are you, some kind of Communist or something?

Holy cow. If Americans wanted to walk, they would live in India or something. damn it man, this is America and we demand 100,000 parking spaces within 10 feet of the ballpark! It's a fitness thing: it is a key ingredient in how we all stay in the shape we are in. And, darn it, as Americans, we really don't want to engage in physical activity, we just want to watch other people do it from section 826 row 5 seat 4. Simple. And anyone who suggests otherwise is fundamentally against America, Texas, and the American way.

There, I said it.

Edited by UtterlyUrban
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All of this is true.

But do you really expect Sam and Sally Suburban and their Kids to actually WALK 7 blocks to go to a ballgame after driving 30 miles from the 'burbs? Oh, the horror! The inconvenience! Dear God, think of the children!

It is a basic human right to have parking right there on the property. On-site event parking is what defines America as American. 7 blocks? What are you, some kind of Communist or something?

Holy cow. If Americans wanted to walk, they would live in India or something. damn it man, this is America and we demand 100,000 parking spaces within 10 feet of the ballpark! It's a fitness thing: it is a key ingredient in how we all stay in the shape we are in. And, darn it, as Americans, we really don't want to engage in physical activity, we just want to watch other people do it from section 826 row 5 seat 4. Simple. And anyone who suggests otherwise is fundamentally against America, Texas, and the American way.

There, I said it.

 

Agree with everything you said. But there is no section 826 at Minute Maid Park.

 

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Section 405 might as well be 826. I remember having to hike down to check the scoreboard at Astros-Rockies back in 2004 when the 'Stros needed the Giants to lose for the NL Wild Card. Long ways up.

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The last Texans game I attended required about 30 minutes worth of sitting, not moving to clear out the lot next to the stadium where we parked.  I recall similar backups for Oiler and Astro games at the Dome. Event parking at NRG park is more expensive than lots/garages that put your car closer to TC or MMP than you would be to NRG stadium/center. I don't think anyone is really complaining about the downtown parking situation for evening events, or if they are, they shouldn't be. It is tailor made to host them without the monopoly effect of the captive lots around a 350 acre dedicated stadium site. That situation here is far better than events I have attended at Yankee Stadium, Petco Park (San Diego), the old Veterans Stadium in Philly. Don't even get me started on A&M football games in College Station, it is essentially the same situation as NRG, but with an entire city monopolized by the same pay to park cartel.    

 

It would be interesting to overlay a map of NRG park over downtown separately putting NRG stadium centered on TC and MMP. The lots that are over near South Main/McNee would be like parking at Bayou Place or the big Allen Center garage.

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I agree with all of you about downtown parking ease, however the issue with losing those big surface lots around Minute Maid is not real lack of availability, it is perception. If suburban upper middle class families do not see that there are big open lots around Minute Maid, they are going to be spooked into not going to games. They aren't even going to try. And even if something incredible happened and they did all decide to try, the Astros management still thinks they are not going to try, which is why the Astros are not simply going to let those lots disappear and trust the free market to provide parking.

 

The team wants the fan base to be assured that they can, if they want to, park easily near the ballpark and only have one or two streets to cross. That's why I think the only way to get rid of those lots, particularly the giant one across 59, is to build an underground structure that the team can advertise to their season ticket holders. This will also help everyone in the long run because if the neighborhood really does fill up and become exciting, in a city without a meaningful rail system, there WILL be a serious need for parking.

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