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M•K•T, The Standard in The Heights

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There is a request for a variance pending before the planning commission for Oct 2 for the Freedman's distributor site on Waverly and W 6th down below the bike path.  8.65 acres.  Seeking a building line variance from 25 feet to 10 feet.  No indication what, if anything, is planned for the property.  Freedam's looks to have been bought out by Grocer's Supply.  The latter also has been consolidating operations into a new space in the 1st ward.  No idea whether they are going to sell, are selling or have sold or whether they will redevelop the property with modern warehouse space. 

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It's platted as a single unrestricted reserve. For some reason, HCAD only values that land at $2.50 per s.f.  On the part of W. 6th closer to Yale, HCAD believes the dirt is worth 18X as much.

 

At $2.50/s.f., warehouse makes sense. At $45/s.f., multi-family is more likely.

 

 

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It's platted as a single unrestricted reserve. For some reason, HCAD only values that land at $2.50 per s.f.  On the part of W. 6th closer to Yale, HCAD believes the dirt is worth 18X as much.

 

At $2.50/s.f., warehouse makes sense. At $45/s.f., multi-family is more likely.

 

  I think the variance is a bit of a tell.  If you are going to put in a big warehouse, the 25 ft set back isn't going to be such a big issue.  Most of the time, the need for parking/loading around a warehouse will mean that the building line will not be an issue.  But with residential, developers always want the extra 15 feet.  Given the de-industrialization and residential development replacing it between Lazybrook and 610, I would tend to think that this property might go in the same direction.  I could even see a single family development like the Somerset Green that Hines is doing on Old Katy Rd. 

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The Marsh Darcy Partners now own the 8.6 acres of land & it looks like they have hired a company called Waterman Steele according to the www.houstonplanning.com.  Judging by Waterman Steele's website it looks like some type of retail. Guess its better than warehouses. 

 

http://www.marshdarcypartners.com

http://www.watermansteele.com

 

Marsh Darcy is generally just a consulting firm that developers hire to shepherd their projects through the planning commission.  The "applicant" on the variance request does not have to be the owner and is frequently a consultant hired by the owner. 

 

Waterman Steele recently got Lance Gilliam from Moody Rambin.  Gilliam did the leasing for Washington Heights District.  They certainly are set up to help developers fill up retail pads.  But, they may also just be getting the property packaged up for sale. 

 

I struggle to see the site getting developed as retail due to the poor road access.  I just don't see people in the leasing business getting excited about traffic counts that are mostly semis.  But, who knows.  The retail rental rates in Houston have gone through the roof.  Anything is possible these days.

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So they want to claim part of the setbacks. How often is that permitted to happen?

 

 

Pretty often.

 

The issue here is with 6th St between Shepherd and Yale being on the Major Thoroughfare Plan. 6th St wasn't a through street West of Yale, and with the construction of the detention area, making it a through street becomes impossible (well, not impossible, but really improbable). Were 6th St not on the MTFP, 10-ft setbacks would be the norm.

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I mean its not even a case of "Just connect it up and you can go from Shepherd to Studewood!"  6th has access to Shepherd but not Durham, its a street that's never going to go anywhere.

Edited by JJxvi

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A street that goes nowhere is on the Major Thoroughfare Plan?

 

 

 

During the variance debate for the Alexan at 6th & Yale, there was talk of removing this part of 6th St from the MTFP, while retaining the parts East of Yale. Apparently didn't come to pass.

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Looks like this lot was also on the Planning Commission agenda today... Houston Heights Swift Replat. I'd love to see that building used in any design that's going forward. I'm sure it'd add to the value of whatever is built there. Even building around the Swift and Company building, maybe using the exposed brick walls for a courtyard would be neat.

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Sorry for bumping this, but I was running by and decided to capture its image. I think I only just realized that the plan was to knock this building down and not reformat it. I'm sure people can tell me all about how it wouldn't work as residential, but I've always been very fond of thee building. 

TgpesAg.jpg
dcMTKsO.jpg
4JUs1sn.jpg

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13 hours ago, swtsig said:

that is absolutely the type of older building that would get converted in other cities.

But here, it's just easier and probably cheaper to demolish it and build something newly designed and fit for the intended purpose, as well as designed to fit the available space instead of forcing the design into what's there. That's not a particularly special building - it's a reinforced concrete frame that has little of the old facade remaining. If the original facades were still around, it might be worth saving, but not now.

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What typically might happen in another city is that the lowrise portions would be demolished and the more interesting three-story part would be saved and converted to lofts or office/creative space. Then the remaining site built out with new apartments or retail. The three-story portion is a lot more interesting than the typical Houston Wrap or gated townhome community.

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Demo permit issued for this site.  Current owners look to be connected to residential housing developers.  

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35 minutes ago, swtsig said:

There’s a lot in store for this property. 

 

I sure hope the main building doesn’t get torn down

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17 hours ago, swtsig said:

There’s a lot in store for this property. 

 

Such a tease

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On 10/22/2018 at 11:02 PM, Avossos said:

 

I sure hope the main building doesn’t get torn down

 

it won't.

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!!!!! For real?!?! Don't just throw that out there like it's no big deal! That also says a lot about the potential quality of this development.

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The architect isnt making the structural engineer's life easy on this one. Tilt Wall construction like that and it looks like theyre cutting huge holes in it and significantly altering building profiles. I get the feeling this might be scaled back significantly once it gets to the DD issue of the drawings. Neat complex though

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I would not want to own a house on Waverly between 11th and this development.  Waverly is going to end up being the street to access this development from the north.  They really should build 6th street to go all the way through, but pylons for a bridge over the retention pond would displace too much water and require them to dig deeper into the very contaminated soil.  But I bet a bridge over the retention pond would be a great home for bats.

 

Otherwise, it is a great idea, especially the way it integrates with the hike and bike path.  People shopping/dining at this development can walk about a half mi and be over at Heights Mercantile.  

 

The only thing I wonder about is where we are on the supply and demand curve for retail space in the Heights.  Radam is a smart guy and must have a lot of leasing leads to take on 200k sq ft.  But I also feel like we are getting to the limit on the number of juice bars, pilates/yoga studios, fancy barber shops, and coffee shops you can fit into the Heights. 

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2 hours ago, s3mh said:

I would not want to own a house on Waverly between 11th and this development.  Waverly is going to end up being the street to access this development from the north.  They really should build 6th street to go all the way through, but pylons for a bridge over the retention pond would displace too much water and require them to dig deeper into the very contaminated soil.  But I bet a bridge over the retention pond would be a great home for bats.

 

Otherwise, it is a great idea, especially the way it integrates with the hike and bike path.  People shopping/dining at this development can walk about a half mi and be over at Heights Mercantile.  

 

The only thing I wonder about is where we are on the supply and demand curve for retail space in the Heights.  Radam is a smart guy and must have a lot of leasing leads to take on 200k sq ft.  But I also feel like we are getting to the limit on the number of juice bars, pilates/yoga studios, fancy barber shops, and coffee shops you can fit into the Heights. 

 

you bring up some very salient points and i too wonder when we'll become oversaturated on the retail side of things but he's not moving forward on any of this without some very strong commitments. the second phase will add more office and mf than retail so it will certainly create its own sense of place that can help feed the retail and hospitality in place. it will also create amazing greenspace. ultimately he's going to knock this outta of the park.

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I live on Heights Blvd. I'll do my best to give updates. I run through this area just about every day.

Edited by j_cuevas713

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17 hours ago, Purdueenginerd said:

The architect isnt making the structural engineer's life easy on this one. Tilt Wall construction like that and it looks like theyre cutting huge holes in it and significantly altering building profiles. I get the feeling this might be scaled back significantly once it gets to the DD issue of the drawings. Neat complex though

 

If there is a significant steel structure like they are showing, then this probably isn't a tilt wall complex don't you think? (as an architect asking an engineer). From the renderings its possible that they will strip the building to the bear structure (which in this market will save millions on steel costs) and just redo the envelope and roof. Thats just from a first pass at looking at this.

 

EDIT: Upon doing a second pass and then looking at the original building, this looks like a steel structure with precast aggregate concrete panels for the exterior. I'm just not convinced this is tilt wall. Could be wrong though.

Edited by Luminare

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On 11/16/2018 at 1:38 PM, Luminare said:

 

If there is a significant steel structure like they are showing, then this probably isn't a tilt wall complex don't you think? (as an architect asking an engineer). From the renderings its possible that they will strip the building to the bear structure (which in this market will save millions on steel costs) and just redo the envelope and roof. Thats just from a first pass at looking at this.

 

EDIT: Upon doing a second pass and then looking at the original building, this looks like a steel structure with precast aggregate concrete panels for the exterior. I'm just not convinced this is tilt wall. Could be wrong though.

 

I could be wrong as well as I have not seen the interior framing. But if I had to guess, I would opine that its steel frame for the center columns and beams to support the roof bar joists however the exterior perimeter appears to me to me tilt wall with a decorative finish. That tilt wall is likely supporting the other side of the bar joists. Those exposed aggregate tilt wall buildings were really popular in the 70's and 80's. Link below with some construction details on how theyre built.

 

https://www.concreteconstruction.net/how-to/tilt-up-exposed-aggregate_o

 

I pulled an image from 1978 from when the complex was under construction. Pretty hard to tell but it looks like the walls are up and theres no roof on the building(the Center building) yet which is consistent with tilt-wall construction.

 

 

 

 

1978.png

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Related, I love/hate how Google Maps takes the MKT Trail and interprets it as "Market Trail". Same how sometimes "West Road" becomes "W Rd". Robots aren't beating that CAPTCHA soon.

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Related, I love/hate how Google Maps takes the MKT Trail and interprets it as "Market Trail". Same how sometimes "West Road" becomes "W Rd". Robots aren't beating that CAPTCHA soon.

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On 11/16/2018 at 1:49 PM, s3mh said:

I would not want to own a house on Waverly between 11th and this development.  Waverly is going to end up being the street to access this development from the north.  They really should build 6th street to go all the way through, but pylons for a bridge over the retention pond would displace too much water and require them to dig deeper into the very contaminated soil.  But I bet a bridge over the retention pond would be a great home for bats.

 

 

 

 

Access to this site is tricky for anyone actually coming from the Heights (by car). 

 

If Shepherd/Durham weren't the functional equivalent of an 8-lane highway running through the neighborhood, but were instead a pair of 3-lane two-way streets, it wouldn't be as much of a problem.

 

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Love the "BUY" and "NOSH" signs-as-imperatives in the Bldg 4 rendering. If this is an emerging trend for design placeholders, I look forward to "CONSUME" and "OBEY" in future renderings. 

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Before the Shepherd 10 Business Park was built, the site was used for low income housing. There were several two story structures, of the post WWII barracks style construction. I'm sure the lower Heights residents were glad to see them go at the time. Now we a ready for the next use of this land. MKT looks like a good fit for this site, however it appears hard to get in and out of.

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On 12/21/2018 at 6:14 PM, plumber2 said:

however it appears hard to get in and out of.

 

This is true, but easily solved: re-stripe both Shepherd and Durham from 4-lane, one-way to 3-lane, two-way, so instead of having an 8-lane highway running through the neighborhood, we have two functional commercial streets.

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7 hours ago, Angostura said:

 

This is true, but easily solved: re-stripe both Shepherd and Durham from 4-lane, one-way to 3-lane, two-way, so instead of having an 8-lane highway running through the neighborhood, we have two functional commercial streets.

Oh, hell no. That's honestly one of the stupidest ideas I've heard in a long time. Shepherd and Durham work fine as they are. You are suggesting cutting the travel lanes in half, which would result in massive traffic jams and backups trying to get out of the businesses on those streets. And, that's ignoring the costs to redo the traffic signals on both streets, and making the merge North of 610 work.

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47 minutes ago, Ross said:

Oh, hell no. That's honestly one of the stupidest ideas I've heard in a long time. Shepherd and Durham work fine as they are. You are suggesting cutting the travel lanes in half, which would result in massive traffic jams and backups trying to get out of the businesses on those streets. And, that's ignoring the costs to redo the traffic signals on both streets, and making the merge North of 610 work.

 

Shep and Durham work OK if you're in a car. They kind of suck if you're not.

 

3-lane 2-way streets have almost the same carrying capacity as 4-lane 2-way streets, since they handle left turns more efficiently. (They're also a lot safer.)  Shepherd and Durham between 11th and 20th both carry less traffic than (3-lane) Studewood between 11th and White Oak. A 3-lane configuration would reduce travel speeds to a safer level, discourage cut-through traffic, and allow space for wider sidewalks or bike lanes. Reducing average travel speeds from 40 mph to 25 mph along this corridor would add all of 2 minutes to a trip from I-10 to 610.

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