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Nau Center for Cultural Heritage


j_cuevas713

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I wonder if this will only highlight the historical sites of the region or also focus on some of the cultural centers as well. I'm thinking they have the chance to make tourists aware of the museums, or theaters, and then send them on the light rail to these destinations.

There is great potential to highlight many of the city's features if the all work together. Hopefully it is not just the historical markers.

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This seems really cheesy. For $32 million to expound upon culture, we could've purchased...more culture.

Imagine if the funds were used to purchase a single lot in each inner city neighborhood for a pocket park built around a sculpture comprised of defunct oil & gas scrap metal, welded together (or some such other unifying theme). There you have it. Culture. Something worth exploring Houston's nooks and crannies to see. It'd be the sort of thing that can be sold in miniature at an airport gift shop. "Collect them all!"

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No we couldn't, because we don't control the assets of this Silver Eagle benefactor and his rich friends.

We could, though. All it takes is an organized effort, coupled with the sale of naming rights to the pocket parks. Give them a little plaque and some bricks with donors' engraved names in them. Publicize it well. The program would easily make national news if done properly. Then turn around and solicit old people and their estates for donations of land; give naming rights there as well, where appropriate. Pick up some of the lots from out of tax auctions and constables' sales to stretch the budget.

The name of the game is organization. It would take the right person. Someone like myself, properly compensated.

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We'll give you 5% of whatever you collect, get to it!

Is that a contract? For 5% of the take, I'd quit my job today.

Hey, but you know this was only the first alternative idea for $32 million that come to mind. It took me maybe three minutes, and it's way better than this cultural center idea. I'm sure that there are even more and even better ideas. We need ideas. Ideas are the cure to dull fuddy-duddy expenditures such as are proposed.

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In my eyes, any development replacing crappy surface lots in east downtown is a good one. Judging by the renderings, it looks pretty cool. So, along with the new hotel, and the Finger apartments next ot Minute Maid, thats 6(!) surface lots gone.

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No contract needed, just collect what you can and forward 95% to the city.

Or hell, just use the 95% to start a non-profit, buy the land, and hire a contractor to build the parks.

Uh yeah, actually I would need a contract in order to take on that kind of a project myself. Someone willing to pay compensate me on a 5% match on total donations would be very much encouraged to step forward.

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In my eyes, any development replacing crappy surface lots in east downtown is a good one. Judging by the renderings, it looks pretty cool. So, along with the new hotel, and the Finger apartments next ot Minute Maid, thats 6(!) surface lots gone.

With $32 million, someone could buy up just about as much acreage as is comprised in Discovery Green, all over the south, southeast, and east part of downtown where there are so many surface lots, and donate them to the Parks Board. I'd rather they do that.

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This is exactly what I've been hoping Houston would do... develop a center for Heritage Tourism!! This will be a cornerstone for downtown and the region, just like George R. Brown and Discovery Green have become. Look at all of the economic indicators... heritage tourism is a rapidly growing field. Good for Houston that they are being proactive to take advantage of this coming opportunity. Kudos to Mayor Parker and the business leaders on this one!

$55 million is a big investment, and I hope they don't skimp.

I think I'm going to call them and ask about patents for the gift shop. I already have some ideas!!

Edited by totheskies
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I wonder if this will only highlight the historical sites of the region or also focus on some of the cultural centers as well. I'm thinking they have the chance to make tourists aware of the museums, or theaters, and then send them on the light rail to these destinations.

There is great potential to highlight many of the city's features if the all work together. Hopefully it is not just the historical markers.

The Swamplot article says that is precisely their goal.

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This is exactly what I've been hoping Houston would do... develop a center for Heritage Tourism!! This will be a cornerstone for downtown and the region, just like George R. Brown and Discovery Green have become. Look at all of the economic indicators... heritage tourism is a rapidly growing field. Good for Houston that they are being proactive to take advantage of this coming opportunity. Kudos to Mayor Parker and the business leaders on this one!

$55 million is a big investment, and I hope they don't skimp.

I think I'm going to call them and ask about patents for the gift shop. I already have some ideas!!

Is that sarcasm? I can't tell.

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With $32 million, someone could buy up just about as much acreage as is comprised in Discovery Green, all over the south, southeast, and east part of downtown where there are so many surface lots, and donate them to the Parks Board. I'd rather they do that.

I realize how hard it is for you to be in favor of something, but... there are already lots of parks downtown. Market Square, Discovery Green, that park by Toyota Center (don't remember the name). What is the Parks Board gonna do? They would have to raise money, and that could take many years for such a large project. Unless I'm mistaken (?).

Anyway, Discovery Green isn't that big. How many surface lots would that take out? I for one am happy about any development replacing surface lots/abandoned buildings so it's really hard for me to be against something like this.

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I realize how hard it is for you to be in favor of something, but... there are already lots of parks downtown. Market Square, Discovery Green, that park by Toyota Center (don't remember the name). What is the Parks Board gonna do? They would have to raise money, and that could take many years for such a large project. Unless I'm mistaken (?).

Anyway, Discovery Green isn't that big. How many surface lots would that take out? I for one am happy about any development replacing surface lots/abandoned buildings so it's really hard for me to be against something like this.

Fine, then the land could be bought and then given away to developers in return for them building something that people want more of. Whatever. I'm just giving a bunch of alternatives, of which all of the alternatives are better than a fuddy duddy cultural center.

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In my eyes, any development replacing crappy surface lots in east downtown is a good one. Judging by the renderings, it looks pretty cool.

I'm that possibly rare specimen, a repeat Houston tourist. When I am there I am regularly taken to Astros games, once in a while to a Rockets game, Rice baseball game; Bayou Bend for the azalea trail and the decorative arts, the art museum (especially for traveling Tut/Pompeii, and that tunnel), and the natural history museum (especially for anything terra-cotta warrior/Titanic, and the minerals and the malacology). I go to the zoo every two or three years. I feel sure I've been to the planetarium more recently than any of you. I saw some smashed-up cars in the Menil one time. I used to walk around the Arboretum until all the privet began to oppress me. I have toured the Heritage Society homes downtown. I have actually attended the quilt show. I've seen the Houston Ballet dance "The Nutcracker" at least five times. I've been dragged to the Alley Theatre ("You're not even dressed yet?!") I've watched the rodeo and been to the fat stock show much more often than I really deserved to. I'm pretty sure I've eaten lunch next to a shark tank in a downtown "aquarium." Yes, I have trod the Discovery Green. I also go to the dentist.

When I saw those renderings, I felt that coldness Harry Potter experienced when the Dementor attacked him. Pretty much drained of all hope, as if there were no light in all the universe, and the possibility of happiness closed off forever.

(When I looked away, it was fine.)

Dead-zone surface parking lots are pregnant with possibility by comparison.

And, oh yes, The Niche, I have even attended a flower show at the fuddy-duddy garden center you don't like in Hermann Park!

Edited by luciaphile
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Is that sarcasm? I can't tell.

Of course not. These are types of investments that our community needs to be making... not just to educate visitors residents alike about our past, but also to build for a better future. Like it or not, tourism is a very real and lucrative industry. Houston is making the right move by placing a keystone of opportunity in downtown.

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Of course not. These are types of investments that our community needs to be making... not just to educate visitors residents alike about our past, but also to build for a better future. Like it or not, tourism is a very real and lucrative industry. Houston is making the right move by placing a keystone of opportunity in downtown.

I do not disagree with anything that you've said except that I do not know what a "keystone of opportunity" is. Does it have anything to do with the wholesale distribution of Keystone beer? I am in favor of the distribution of beer downtown. That would aid our efforts to attract tourists. Why Keystone, though? There is better beer to choose from.

In all seriousness, since a bunch of the money is coming from the hotel tax, I am not at all opposed to efforts that would enhance tourism. I just happen to think that these funds could be better spent on other projects, even on projects within the downtown area if that is what concerns you the most.

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We could, though. All it takes is an organized effort, coupled with the sale of naming rights to the pocket parks. Give them a little plaque and some bricks with donors' engraved names in them. Publicize it well. The program would easily make national news if done properly. Then turn around and solicit old people and their estates for donations of land; give naming rights there as well, where appropriate. Pick up some of the lots from out of tax auctions and constables' sales to stretch the budget.

The name of the game is organization. It would take the right person. Someone like myself, properly compensated.

So we're talking about $27,900 a year then, right?

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design? not too bad? A privately funded cultural center is the perfect opportunity to produce something architecturally significant, because the risk is much lower than it would be with most development. Look at Asia Society- at $50 million it was more expensive than this, but much of that is because of program, the initial cost of a huge geothermal system, high-end materials etc.

This is a very high profile site- the perfect opportunity to make an architectural statement. If this thing is trying to help "sell" the city and region, a piece of recognizable and distinct architecture would be a lot more useful than this historicist crap.

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  • 5 months later...

http://www.bisnow.com/commercial-real-estate/houston/houstons-oldest-buildings/

 

Houston First is also working on the Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage. The 60k SF facility will include the Foley and Cohn homes, the only two remaining structures from Houston's original Quality Hill neighborhood. The homes were built in 1904 in 1905, respectively. The center will be located between the George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green, and Minute Maid Park and is slated to break ground later this year.

Edited by DrLan34
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Love how it interacts with the historical houses. But please don't tell me that says "parking garage" across the street on the site plan.

Since you pointed that out I also noticed that the Hilton Garage mushroomed to encompass 4 blocks... That's gigantic. I just hope we get more information from the "Proposed Mixed Usage" block that has disappeared in the last few downtown development maps.

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Love how it interacts with the historical houses. But please don't tell me that says "parking garage" across the street on the site plan.

Since you pointed that out I also noticed that the Hilton Garage mushroomed to encompass 4 blocks... That's gigantic. I just hope we get more information from the "Proposed Mixed Usage" block that has disappeared in the last few downtown development maps.

Isn't that part of the grb expansion plans?

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Isn't that part of the grb expansion plans?

I was under the impression that they would be expanding exhibition space, while the diagram labels the entire 4 block area as the Hilton Americas Garage. I think you can also see a sky bridge to the Toyota Center although it's very small.

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I was under the impression that they would be expanding exhibition space, while the diagram labels the entire 4 block area as the Hilton Americas Garage. I think you can also see a sky bridge to the Toyota Center although it's very small.

 

I think it's mislabeled.  In the GRB Master plan that includes the north-end garage shown, the Hilton garage is replaced by the 4-block addition to the GRB that is mislabeled here as Hilton parking garage.

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Doesn't look too bad.  I'm wondering if they will hold lectures/symposiums and the like on different urban/historical topics?

 

I'm pleased that John Nau is forward thinking enough to want to do this.  Very pleased.

 

And to think 20 years ago this part of Downtown was just horrible.  The turn around is immense.

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Am I alone in the thought that it looks like it belongs in that terrible texas themed park going up in New Caney?

 

I'm totally unimpressed. But, I guess people with kiddos and who are easily entertained will enjoy it.

 

It is far from being an architectural masterpiece, but it doesn't need to be.

 

It reminds me of the Bob Bullock State History Museum in Austin.

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Wonderful gift. Needed concept. The architecture? ...moo! Follows the phony domes and influences seen in the courthouse district... Rather than district modern architecture for which Houston (used to be anyway) is known for. No Astrodome comparisons please! Some large cantilevers to provided relief from Houston Sun & Rain would be appreciated.

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