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Nicholson @449 W 19th by Alliance Residential Heights Waterworks Reservoir, 2 Tracts)

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I'd like also to note that the chase bank lot directly east of the Chase building and south of the apartment building going up, now doesn't have any drive through ATMs. 
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19 hours ago, EllenOlenska said:

I'd like also to note that the chase bank lot directly east of the Chase building and south of the apartment building going up, now doesn't have any drive through ATMs. 

 

So they removed the ATMs entirely? Can't imagine who thought that would be a good idea, as they are the only Chase ATMs within a reasonable distance of that area.

 

Or, since you specified "drive-through", were they replaced with walk-up units?

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There's a few in the area. There's one in the Bank, a walk up. I think there's one on eleventh in front of Republic Diner. But, yeah I think they've been totally removed. 

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Ellen, loved the images. Especially the one with the dissolving car in the third picture on this page.

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22 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

Everything west of Ashland on 19th is a traveshamockery.

 

 

Everything west of Ashland on 19th complies with our current regulations (Ch 42 and Ch 26) regarding setbacks and parking minimums. The good parts of 19th would be illegal to build today.

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1 hour ago, Angostura said:

 

Everything west of Ashland on 19th complies with our current regulations (Ch 42 and Ch 26) regarding setbacks and parking minimums. The good parts of 19th would be illegal to build today.

 

Yep, those are a problem. The stuff everybody likes and that makes for a natural urban neighborhood is forbidden by law. Of course, variances are obtainable. 

Edited by H-Town Man

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18 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Yep, those are a problem. The stuff everybody likes and that makes for a natural urban neighborhood is forbidden by law. Of course, variances are obtainable. 

Certainly the charm is attenuated, atomized (west of Ashland). There are still a few cool buildings west of there. I kind of hope this apartment adds toward the urban vibe. Though I was really disappointed to see the sea of parking they had planned in front of the water works buildings. 

Edited by EllenOlenska

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On 5/3/2018 at 3:35 PM, Angostura said:

 

Everything west of Ashland on 19th complies with our current regulations (Ch 42 and Ch 26) regarding setbacks and parking minimums. The good parts of 19th would be illegal to build today.

 

On 5/3/2018 at 4:56 PM, H-Town Man said:

 

Yep, those are a problem. The stuff everybody likes and that makes for a natural urban neighborhood is forbidden by law. Of course, variances are obtainable. 

 

Its not forbidden or illegal per say. If that were the case then variances would not exist. The point of illegality is that...its illegal and you can't go around it. That would be the opposite of what our law system is for (which is that its universal and it applies to everyone). Regulations are not laws that say if something is illegal or not. Its more in line with "standards", "guidelines", "rules of the road", "best practice". A variance to a regulation or ordinance is essentially a person saying, "I know that normally this ordinance governs best practice, and that I'm doing something that is against convention, but I have a very good reason, or I'm an exception to the rule." That's basically it.

Something that should be reminded of is that just because people did something different back then and now we want to do something different doesn't mean that they were backwards or didn't understand "what obviously everyone naturally likes about urban neighborhoods". In fact, many of the current ordinances and regulations in the books were put in place by people who really thought they were building a better environment and world. Up until the 1950's, and modernism in general, cites where actually not very great places for people to live. They were incredibly noisy, congested, the buildings being close together meant it felt like (or literally) people were falling on top of each other, they were fire hazards, and because of the car now you have to add smog, Sewage was terrible, etc... etc... The urban environments we want to live in today are only achievable because we have been able to find ways to better control those problems or at least know they can exist (or you wouldn't want to live in the city at all with those problems). While these older regulations need to be changed to better reflect our desired urbanism of today, I think it wise that we don't romanticize the past, but learn from it. Understand they did the best they could do in their time. Take the best things they got right, and move forward. 

Edited by Luminare
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14 hours ago, Luminare said:

I think it wise that we don't romanticize the past, but learn from it. Understand they did the best they could do in their time. Take the best things they got right, and move forward. 

 

You mean we shouldn't judge the past by the standards of the present? That's crazy thinking. It could cause the entire Internet to shut down. Or at least put a serious damper on the recommended daily allowance of hot takes. 

Edited by mkultra25

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18 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

 

Its not forbidden or illegal per say. If that were the case then variances would not exist. The point of illegality is that...its illegal and you can't go around it. That would be the opposite of what our law system is for (which is that its universal and it applies to everyone). Regulations are not laws that say if something is illegal or not. Its more in line with "standards", "guidelines", "rules of the road", "best practice". A variance to a regulation or ordinance is essentially a person saying, "I know that normally this ordinance governs best practice, and that I'm doing something that is against convention, but I have a very good reason, or I'm an exception to the rule." That's basically it.

Something that should be reminded of is that just because people did something different back then and now we want to do something different doesn't mean that they were backwards or didn't understand "what obviously everyone naturally likes about urban neighborhoods". In fact, many of the current ordinances and regulations in the books were put in place by people who really thought they were building a better environment and world. Up until the 1950's, and modernism in general, cites where actually not very great places for people to live. They were incredibly noisy, congested, the buildings being close together meant it felt like (or literally) people were falling on top of each other, they were fire hazards, and because of the car now you have to add smog, Sewage was terrible, etc... etc... The urban environments we want to live in today are only achievable because we have been able to find ways to better control those problems or at least know they can exist (or you wouldn't want to live in the city at all with those problems). While these older regulations need to be changed to better reflect our desired urbanism of today, I think it wise that we don't romanticize the past, but learn from it. Understand they did the best they could do in their time. Take the best things they got right, and move forward. 

 

No, it is fine to use the terms "legal" and "illegal" when discussing setback laws and parking minimums, hence the thousands of cities that say that something is "legally conforming" when it follows such laws. Nor is it a contradiction to say that variances can be made to legal development restrictions.

 

As to the people who passed these laws, I did not say anything about their character and am familiar with the history. 

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2 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

No, it is fine to use the terms "legal" and "illegal" when discussing setback laws and parking minimums, hence the thousands of cities that say that something is "legally conforming" when it follows such laws. Nor is it a contradiction to say that variances can be made to legal development restrictions.

 

As to the people who passed these laws, I did not say anything about their character and am familiar with the history. 

 

See I actually don't think its fine to use terms like that so freely. Especially when its really important whether something is "illegal" or "not in compliance". Two completely different definitions. Two completely different things.

To start, I should have probably put something at the beginning stating that this wasn't a question of whether you know these things or not, but merely a general theme that I notice with others.

Before going into my line of thinking on this though, by all means correct me if I'm wrong or incorrect here. I might be completely wrong in my assessment on all of this. However, I have done quite a bit of thinking on this lately and would like to share some conclusions that I have reached on this that I also think would be well supported by others. I do very much respect your opinions though since I know you do seem to carry a wealth of knowledge in these areas, and I welcome your input on this.

With that being said, I place a high importance on diction, definition, and nomenclature in a conversation like this, because its not just semantics here, but something that does actually matter in whether we can work this through or not. There is a distinct difference in breaking a "law" which means you have done something "Illegal" and you in return receive enormous consequences for, and a "regulation", "ordinance", "rule", or "code" where if you break one of those then you are "not in compliance" or "noncompliance" and in return you lose recognition, or status, or qualification in some manner.

An example I could give is something that just happened last week on a project of mine. Last week, I got a notice in a plan review (on a project which I won't disclose), that we were "not in compliance" for a single door which had a side light that didn't meet the necessary requirements and would be in violation of TAS (the actual decision was that it was deemed "unacceptable"). So for that one single door we currently would not meet code if we don't fix the issue before construction. Now lets say, hypothetically, we didn't pick up that comment, either we forgot, etc... The project gets built and then the plan reviewer does his inspection and finds that we are still in "noncompliance". Just because I'm in "noncompliance" doesn't mean I'm going to jail for it though, or get fined for it or face harsh penalties by the state. Instead, I get dinged by the institution with a loss of status in some way (now all of this is if I'm caught and never complied at all...very harsh though really). Now lets say the plan reviewer, hypothetically, misses the door violation and says that I'm correct and everything is supposedly alright. Down the road a month a person (who is very well understood about TAS code and regulation) goes up to the door and can't see out the side light. He/she is disgruntled and thinks that whoever built this building clearly didn't think about people disabilities and thinks I'm being dismissive against him/her. Then that person sues me as being discriminatory against people with disabilities. NOW I have done something "illegal" because I have supposedly broken a federal law (the ADA) protecting those peoples rights and then go to court.

That is the difference. To relate back to setback ordinances and parking minimums, etc... Lets say in a project I don't comply with the setback ordinances. We both know why those are in place. They were enacted to make sure that fires that start in a building next door or across the street or something that is on fire on the street doesn't reach the building and catch it on fire. Me not complying with a setback ordinance is not "illegal". I'm merely "noncompliant". If I'm caught being "noncompliant" then I receive something that lows my status, recognition, standing, etc... I don't get thrown in the brig! Now if don't get caught and then my building catches fire because I didn't comply with regulations and this resulted in lose of life then I have commited murder and broken a "law" which is "illegal" and now I go to jail for the rest of my life.

These thought experiments that I'm presenting here highlight why its important to make that distinction between something being "illegal" and "noncompliance". We should use these definitions correctly. The reason these institutions exist and why regulations exist is to protect us from ourselves and unburden us with the hyper details that we can't possibly think about all the time, and basically what these codes say are "look you better just follow this because experience has shown that if this isn't followed something might happen and THEN you might break a law and you will have done something ILLEGAL.....so you better just trust us and follow it".

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At a recent continuing education class I was at, the instructor referred to violating the drawing standards as "illegal" so I suspect that the word has a lot less meaning to some people.

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5 minutes ago, cspwal said:

At a recent continuing education class I was at, the instructor referred to violating the drawing standards as "illegal" so I suspect that the word has a lot less meaning to some people.

 

haha I mean there is being figuratively "illegal" and literally "illegal". I'm hoping this guy is using the former. Unfortunately we live in a post-modern world where definitions don't have real meaning anymore. Remember, "it's all about ones interpretation".

 

EDIT: Correction. Used latter instead of former.

Edited by Luminare
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11 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

Just because I'm in "noncompliance" doesn't mean I'm going to jail for it though, or get fined for it or face harsh penalties by the state.

 

And just because you're not going to jail doesn't mean that it is not a legal matter. Zoning, as well as such things as setback and parking regulations which are typically part of zoning, proceeds from the police power of the zoning jurisdiction, in this case the City of Houston. Wherever this exists, we almost universally refer to it as zoning "laws," and developments which comply with those laws are "legally conforming." My usage in the original post reflects the near-universal terminology on such matters. It is a correct statement to say that a developer is legally forbidden to build such buildings as the existing ones on the north side of 19th Street east of Ashland, unless he/she has obtained a variance.

 

Whether this fulfills the same sense of legality as used in other areas of law going back to the foundations of the common law under Henry II in the 12th century, I am not qualified to say. I am neither a lawyer nor a legal philosopher. But it is the terminology widely used across the U.S. today.

 

To your point about setback laws being created to prevent the spread of fire, that is actually not the explanation I've heard about Houston's setback laws. From what I understand, these laws were first passed in the early 1980's to prevent buildings being built too close to major thoroughfares and thus preventing their widening. I think construction along Westheimer in the Galleria area was the immediate concern, but could be wrong about that. From what I understand it only applies to designated thoroughfare streets, not all streets. Houston 19514 could perhaps enlighten us.

 

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11 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

See I actually don't think its fine to use terms like that so freely. Especially when its really important whether something is "illegal" or "not in compliance". Two completely different definitions. Two completely different things.

To start, I should have probably put something at the beginning stating that this wasn't a question of whether you know these things or not, but merely a general theme that I notice with others.

Before going into my line of thinking on this though, by all means correct me if I'm wrong or incorrect here. I might be completely wrong in my assessment on all of this. However, I have done quite a bit of thinking on this lately and would like to share some conclusions that I have reached on this that I also think would be well supported by others. I do very much respect your opinions though since I know you do seem to carry a wealth of knowledge in these areas, and I welcome your input on this.

With that being said, I place a high importance on diction, definition, and nomenclature in a conversation like this, because its not just semantics here, but something that does actually matter in whether we can work this through or not. There is a distinct difference in breaking a "law" which means you have done something "Illegal" and you in return receive enormous consequences for, and a "regulation", "ordinance", "rule", or "code" where if you break one of those then you are "not in compliance" or "noncompliance" and in return you lose recognition, or status, or qualification in some manner.

An example I could give is something that just happened last week on a project of mine. Last week, I got a notice in a plan review (on a project which I won't disclose), that we were "not in compliance" for a single door which had a side light that didn't meet the necessary requirements and would be in violation of TAS (the actual decision was that it was deemed "unacceptable"). So for that one single door we currently would not meet code if we don't fix the issue before construction. Now lets say, hypothetically, we didn't pick up that comment, either we forgot, etc... The project gets built and then the plan reviewer does his inspection and finds that we are still in "noncompliance". Just because I'm in "noncompliance" doesn't mean I'm going to jail for it though, or get fined for it or face harsh penalties by the state. Instead, I get dinged by the institution with a loss of status in some way (now all of this is if I'm caught and never complied at all...very harsh though really). Now lets say the plan reviewer, hypothetically, misses the door violation and says that I'm correct and everything is supposedly alright. Down the road a month a person (who is very well understood about TAS code and regulation) goes up to the door and can't see out the side light. He/she is disgruntled and thinks that whoever built this building clearly didn't think about people disabilities and thinks I'm being dismissive against him/her. Then that person sues me as being discriminatory against people with disabilities. NOW I have done something "illegal" because I have supposedly broken a federal law (the ADA) protecting those peoples rights and then go to court.

That is the difference. To relate back to setback ordinances and parking minimums, etc... Lets say in a project I don't comply with the setback ordinances. We both know why those are in place. They were enacted to make sure that fires that start in a building next door or across the street or something that is on fire on the street doesn't reach the building and catch it on fire. Me not complying with a setback ordinance is not "illegal". I'm merely "noncompliant". If I'm caught being "noncompliant" then I receive something that lows my status, recognition, standing, etc... I don't get thrown in the brig! Now if don't get caught and then my building catches fire because I didn't comply with regulations and this resulted in lose of life then I have commited murder and broken a "law" which is "illegal" and now I go to jail for the rest of my life.

These thought experiments that I'm presenting here highlight why its important to make that distinction between something being "illegal" and "noncompliance". We should use these definitions correctly. The reason these institutions exist and why regulations exist is to protect us from ourselves and unburden us with the hyper details that we can't possibly think about all the time, and basically what these codes say are "look you better just follow this because experience has shown that if this isn't followed something might happen and THEN you might break a law and you will have done something ILLEGAL.....so you better just trust us and follow it".

 

So, a couple of quibbles:

 

First, in addition to civil enforcement, there are most definitely criminal penalties for violating Chapter 42 (planning) and Chapter 26 (parking). The penalties are fines, not jail time, but they are criminal penalties nonetheless.

 

Second, while variances to both Ch 42 and Ch 26 ARE possible, I can't think of a single project that sought and received variances allowing for zero setbacks and zero parking minimums outside the CBD (where no such restrictions are imposed).

 

Third, EVEN IF variances were occasionally granted to allow zero setbacks and zero parking, the uncertainty involved would still influence the kind of development that actually happens. It's much easier, faster and lower risk to just propose a "compliant" project. 

 

Finally, the relationship between setbacks and fire safety is tenuous. Houston allows 3-ft lateral setbacks with no fire-rating, yet requires 25-ft front setbacks. And there are zero setbacks in the CBD, where, I guess, fires don't happen. In fact, planning and zoning standards are, almost without exception, tools to limit density, or at least to restrict density to certain areas, and are usually sold as such. (They are much like historic preservation in this respect.)

 

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2 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

 

To your point about setback laws being created to prevent the spread of fire, that is actually not the explanation I've heard about Houston's setback laws. From what I understand, these laws were first passed in the early 1980's to prevent buildings being built too close to major thoroughfares and thus preventing their widening. I think construction along Westheimer in the Galleria area was the immediate concern, but could be wrong about that. From what I understand it only applies to designated thoroughfare streets, not all streets. Houston 19514 could perhaps enlighten us.

 

 

I've been told it was a reaction to the "canyon-ization" of Woodway, but I have no actual evidence of this. I, for one, find Woodway delightful, and would like more of our major thoroughfares to look like Woodway does.

 

 

Oh, and while setbacks differ between MTFs and local streets, all public streets outside the CBD have a building line requirement.

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2 hours ago, Angostura said:

 

I've been told it was a reaction to the "canyon-ization" of Woodway, but I have no actual evidence of this. I, for one, find Woodway delightful, and would like more of our major thoroughfares to look like Woodway does.

 

 

Oh, and while setbacks differ between MTFs and local streets, all public streets outside the CBD have a building line requirement.

Yes, the setbacks were in response to the Woodway situation.

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Back on topic: demo permits issued today for the Chase bank drive-thru and the two small buildings in the middle of the 500-block of W 19th. 

 

My understanding is that Chase will build on the NW corner of 19th and Nicholson and sell the remainder of the block for development. 

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16 hours ago, Luminare said:

Lets say in a project I don't comply with the setback ordinances. We both know why those are in place. They were enacted to make sure that fires that start in a building next door or across the street or something that is on fire on the street doesn't reach the building and catch it on fire.

How does this apply to situations such as the expansion of River Oaks Plaza a few years ago?
IIRC, the overhang on America's (facing S. Shepherd) did not comply with the setback ordinances (there's probably a thread somewhere about this on HAIF). The conventional wisdom seemed to agree that this was another example of "It's easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission."
Is the architect reprimanded, or is one of those wink-and-a-nudge "Don't do that again, haha" situations?

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https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2018/06/04/developer-new-heights-waterworks-apartments-will.html

 



Phillippi expects leasing on the 309-unit apartment building near the Heights hike and bike trail to start in the third quarter of 2019, with the building completion date set for 2020. 

 

“We are really aiming to have a building that goes with the spirit of the Heights,” Phillippi said. To achieve that look, Phillippi said the building’s exterior will use brick to be in line with the older commercial buildings in the area. A large tree will remain on site with an outdoor seating area next to it.

Houston-based EDI International is the architect while Alliance is its own general contractor. The project is financed through a mix of equity and debt, Phillippi said, with a construction loan through Cadence Bank and Great Southern Bank. Building permits for $38.2 million were recently filed with the city of Houston.

 

Phillippi said final design choices are still being decided, but overall the building will have “high-end, condo quality-like finishes” such as 10-foot ceilings, likely either plank or laminate flooring, quartz-type countertops and possibly vintage-looking tile in the bathrooms. Building amenities will include a large fitness center, pool, sky lounge with views of downtown and the Heights, a jam room, bike storage and bike room.

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high-end, condo quality-like finishes” such as 10-foot ceilings, likely either plank or laminate flooring

 

I believe these are mutually exclusive unless there is another kind of laminate than whats in my shitty apartment. 

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It's a wood laminate flooring, which tends to be more durable and less expensive than just straight hardwood.  It's much nicer than cheap laminate from 20 years ago

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1 hour ago, cspwal said:

It's a wood laminate flooring, which tends to be more durable and less expensive than just straight hardwood.  It's much nicer than cheap laminate from 20 years ago

Yea, that's what I'm installing in one of my properties. Cost $1.49 per square foot but it's durable, pretty scratch resistant, easier to install (labor) and isn't at the cost of hardwood floors. Laminate flooring has come a long way.

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I have laminate "wood" flooring and its alright, supper slippery and loud as shit. I have to keep my dog's nails trimmed or the click clack is unbearable. It's really not that bad I'm being a bit dramatic, however if I were renting a luxury apartment I probably wouldn't be too happy with it. 

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On 1/23/2018 at 9:42 AM, CrockpotandGravel said:

Ripe Cuisine, a food truck in Houston, is opening a brick and mortar restaurant in the Heights at Heights Waterworks. From their Instagram announcement, it is under construction inside the pump station.

The restaurant is Verdine.

From Instagram:
We’re opening a restaurant!!!

ZweaUH7.jpg

https://www.instagram.com/p/BeS_mZuB4i_/

 



There's a website for Ripe Cuisine's brick and mortar restaurant at Heights Water Works. The name of the restaurant is Verdine, shared here in the forum in January.     
    
http://eatverdine.com/

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The size of that parking lot is heartbreaking.

 

You could take the middle half of that space and build enough structured parking to serve this development and the former Harold's site (also owned by Braun), then develop the 19th and 20th St frontages with additional retail or residential. Instead, you have a couple acres of concrete separating this site from the highly walkable parts of 19th St.

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Yeah, it's a sea. 

I'd like to point out what doesn't come through in the pictures (though it's there). A quarter of the chase lot has a two story steel construction. You can see it in on the right in the second and sixth pictures. 

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On 8/6/2018 at 11:19 AM, EllenOlenska said:

Yeah, it's a sea. 

I'd like to point out what doesn't come through in the pictures (though it's there). A quarter of the chase lot has a two story steel construction. You can see it in on the right in the second and sixth pictures. 

 

I understand that to be the new footprint of the bank branch. Once completed, the current Chase building will likely be demolished for whatever is going up in its place.

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On 7/10/2018 at 11:40 PM, CrockpotandGravel said:



There's a website for Ripe Cuisine's brick and mortar restaurant at Heights Water Works. The name of the restaurant is Verdine, shared here in the forum in January.     
    
http://eatverdine.com/



Verdine is opening at Heights Water Works, 449 W 19th in Houston in November.

https://www.papercitymag.com/restaurants/houston-21-best-new-restaurants-most-anticipated-openings-end-2018/

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I assume this is something they put together during the bidding process for the land a few years ago?

 

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5 hours ago, BigFootsSocks said:

Oh man that would’ve been awesome but I guess they would have had to tear down the existing buildings?

 

Nope. All three previously existing buildings are in the rendering. The taller, diagonally oriented building is where Braun is putting the surface parking lot.

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