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15 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Wow who are they kidding with that bs? Now don't get me wrong, this will still be great because it is more of a dedicated entrance but damn. Hopefully as foot traffic increases and Brookfield gets their head out of their ass, they could always upgrade the rest. 

I mean I do think the interior renovation still looks significan and it seems to open it up a lot more in their defence? I woudn't exaclty call it a light cosmetic renovation 

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Is this rhetorical question posting format a little irritating? Yes

Am I going to do it anyway? Yes

Is this renovation effort reminiscent of something you'd see in a last half-hearted attempt to save a 70's mall in Fort Wayne, Indiana? Yes

Will the building continue to look just about as ugly as it ever did? Yes

Does this signal that Brookfield does not see a bright future for Houston Center given disappointing leasing results following the last wave of money they just spent, and is deciding to shift their money elsewhere? Probably

Or could it be that they are just pulling back from office investments in general in the wake of the pandemic? Probably some of that too

Am I still glad that they hit it out of the park on the other side of the street? You bet

Will this joke of a renovation diminish the effect of the renovation across the street? Kinda, sadly

Will anyone shop here who doesn't work in Houston Center? Not likely

Am I able to end this post and just hit Submit Reply and move on? Not yet

Is there something helpful I can still add at this point? Why yes, there is. From Costar:

The developer has hired global architecture and design firm Gensler as the project architect for Houston Center’s retail space. Renovation costs were not disclosed. A permit filed with the state shows Brookfield Properties is spending nearly $26.6 million to renovate 98,427 square feet on retail levels 1-4 at 1200 McKinney.

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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No insider info but a part of me thinks the scaled back plans mean they have bigger long term plans for the 4HC site. Granted, I'm talking 10+ yrs down the road but still. The problem w the building is that as currently configured they'll never be able to maximize rents, especially on office space, without a MASSIVE capital commitment, the kind of capital commitment that would make demolishing and redeveloping a more lucrative long term investment.

 

Just my opinion.

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On 12/27/2021 at 6:24 PM, swtsig said:

No insider info but a part of me thinks the scaled back plans mean they have bigger long term plans for the 4HC site. Granted, I'm talking 10+ yrs down the road but still. The problem w the building is that as currently configured they'll never be able to maximize rents, especially on office space, without a MASSIVE capital commitment, the kind of capital commitment that would make demolishing and redeveloping a more lucrative long term investment.

 

Just my opinion.

4 Houston Center is 986,000 SF and sits on two full blocks. Using the land price per square foot from the Skanska land sale, the land is worth at least $56 million, probably a lot more given the better location. But just taking the $56 million, the building would have to be worth about $57/SF or less for them to demolish, probably more like $50/SF to cover demo cost and entrepreneurial incentive. Best comp for the building's value is probably 1111 Fannin, which sold last year for $69/SF, although this building is probably worth a bit more (but so is the land).

So... yeah. In 10 years, as the building gets more obsolete and the land value goes up, this could be a redevelopment.

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I walked through the Shops yesterday and they are full steam ahead on all the renovations inside. I will try and snap a picture the next time I am there. Wanted to let the folks know that regularly update the forum. 

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On 5/4/2022 at 12:11 PM, Eastdwntwn said:

I walked through the Shops yesterday and they are full steam ahead on all the renovations inside. I will try and snap a picture the next time I am there. Wanted to let the folks know that regularly update the forum. 

I walked through last week, and the few remaining retailers must be getting massive rent abatements.   Except for lunch hour, the place is a ghost town.  And even during lunch, in my estimation, foot traffic is 10% of what it was before construction started.

As you said, construction is full steam ahead.  It's noisy and confusing, and dark in many places.   And unless you know to go past the old entrance to the end of the block, then go back toward the old entrance and duck under the scaffolding and barriers to go through what used to be a fire exit, in order to get in — you're not going in.  I've seen several people wandering around looking for the entrance.  I don't think they ever found it. 

This project is long overdue, but man it's painful.

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Posted (edited)

Most of my networking lunches are in the Shops, so I'm glad this is getting done and hopefully it stops feeling like a run down mall from the 90s. Before the reno, it had big Almeda Mall vibes to it.

I agree with @editor. This thing will always have business because of the entities that office in the surrounding buildings, and because of STCL, but man this shoulda been done like 5 years ago. I'm not asking for anything crazy, given how long its been the same, just open up the sides a bit to provide inviting entrances, add some glass, get two bar/food places going with decent outside space and I promise you 100% those businesses would do well.

It close to the hotel, close enough to discovery green, they get tons of people walking outside of it, but it just looks like a fortress. If you gave North Italia, for example, a sweetheart deal and just put glass on a wall like the original renderings showed with some covered outdoor seating I know 50 attorneys and accountants that would be there yesterday. What a strange development. 

Edit: If they did the North Italia thing, people would definitely have their networking events there as opposed to Adairs on Lousiana or some similar place. Counterpoint is that they actually have done wonderful work in the office buildings, so they do know how to do renos right. I'm hoping for the best.

Edited by X.R.
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Today (June 13, 2022):

IMG_5125.jpegIMG_5131.jpegIMG_5126.jpegIMG_5127.jpegIMG_5128.jpegIMG_5129.jpegIMG_5130.jpeg

Nothing says "Hey, wheelchair person! Go be handicapped somewhere else!" quite like having no elevator access.  There's also no escalator access.

Even able-bodied people have to hoof it up 65 stairs (I counted) to get to the retail space. 

In some cities, that would be a big fat fine.  Imposed daily.  And eventually a "cease work" order imposed by the buildings department, and the department of civil rights until proper accommodation was made for all citizens. 

But in Houston, it's just, "Sucks to be you."

I should make a big fat political donation to Governor Abbott in order to get a meeting with him, and then ask if we can meet at the Chick-fil-a.  And when he can't get there say, "Oh, sucks to be you.  Too bad we're in Texas, or you'd have equal access rights" and then rescind my donation because he couldn't make it.

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17 minutes ago, editor said:

Today (June 13, 2022):

 

Nothing says "Hey, wheelchair person! Go be handicapped somewhere else!" quite like having no elevator access.  There's also no escalator access.

Even able-bodied people have to hoof it up 65 stairs (I counted) to get to the retail space. 

In some cities, that would be a big fat fine.  Imposed daily.  And eventually a "cease work" order imposed by the buildings department, and the department of civil rights until proper accommodation was made for all citizens. 

But in Houston, it's just, "Sucks to be you."

I should make a big fat political donation to Governor Abbott in order to get a meeting with him, and then ask if we can meet at the Chick-fil-a.  And when he can't get there say, "Oh, sucks to be you.  Too bad we're in Texas, or you'd have equal access rights" and then rescind my donation because he couldn't make it.

If you know someone who is mobility impaired, have them contact the City and make a complaint. If that fails, have them file a lawsuit against the building owners, since this looks like an ADA compliance issue. Actually, first contact the building and ask them how someone in a wheelchair can get to the retail areas.

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16 minutes ago, Ross said:

If you know someone who is mobility impaired, have them contact the City and make a complaint. If that fails, have them file a lawsuit against the building owners, since this looks like an ADA compliance issue. Actually, first contact the building and ask them how someone in a wheelchair can get to the retail areas.

Yeah, I imagine they will direct you to one of the other elevators.

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1 minute ago, Houston19514 said:

Yeah, I imagine they will direct you to one of the other elevators.

What other elevator?  Is there another elevator in the mall?  I've never seen one, and there were no signs at the existing elevator directing anyone to anything other than the stairs. 

Even if there is an elevator somewhere, it's not the responsibility of the disabled person to go hunting for it.  It is the responsibility of the property owner to make sure the public portions of the property are accessible to everyone.

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18 minutes ago, editor said:

What other elevator?  Is there another elevator in the mall?  I've never seen one, and there were no signs at the existing elevator directing anyone to anything other than the stairs. 

Even if there is an elevator somewhere, it's not the responsibility of the disabled person to go hunting for it.  It is the responsibility of the property owner to make sure the public portions of the property are accessible to everyone.

I haven't been in there recently, but there always have been multiple elevators.  At least one on each end and one or more in between.  I think even more than one set in the middle.  A quick call to the management suggesting better directions be displayed might be in order. A forum rant, let alone a call to the Governor, not so much. Judging by the signage you photographed, it looks like they are trying, but as with any large renovation project, things change from day to day and the signage may not have kept up.

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18 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

I haven't been in there recently, but there always have been multiple elevators.  At least one on each end and one or more in between.  I think even more than one set in the middle.  A quick call to the management suggesting better directions be displayed might be in order. A forum rant, let alone a call to the Governor, not so much. Judging by the signage you photographed, it looks like they are trying, but as with any large renovation project, things change from day to day and the signage may not have kept up.

I've been there about a dozen times since October, and have never seen any elevator access other than the one elevator.  I wish there was another way out, because that would be much more convenient for getting to Phoenicia, which I often do after I finish my errands at Houston Center.

You are correct, a forum rant is not productive.  But sometimes grumpy old men gotta grump. 

As for day-to-day changes, that's why you have construction planners.  If your construction plan changes so radically from day to day that it exposes your company and the building owner to legal liability, then you have failed at construction planning.

They had time to print up big fancy signs instructing people to go take the stairs.  They had time to figure the rest out, too.

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There’s an elevator to the left of the front entrance (San Jacinto) next to the former Jos A Bank store. That’s still in use fulfilling the ADA requirement. There’s also elevators on the Lamar side as well as Austin St at the back of the dining area (next to the outdoor balcony overlooking Austin St. 
 

Passing by the other day, I’m surprised how much of the old front entrance has been dismantled. The renders didn’t really focus too much on this side so I feel like we’ve missed some details on changes to the main entrance. Are they reconfiguring the escalator setup? Also, what becomes of the old Tejas Grill space. IIRC they closed up after the renovation was started. Is rehabbing this space included in the renovation plans or left up to whomever leases the space? 

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The elevators in 3HC/Fulbright Tower will get you closer to CFA if the guv takes you up on the offer, but you'll have to eat in the skybridge. 

The usability of this place is drastically reduced at the moment, the few shops hanging on there must be getting a massive rent break to bother staying open in a place that can't handle what they signed up for in terms of access to and amenities for their customers.  I'd imagine that they were pretty close to shutting everything down completely.   

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Yup, that looks about as painful a remodel as most of expected. I've been avoiding going in since this started when I'm working DT.

Not gonna lie though, despite my initial hand-wringing, from the outside this is looking like a hell of an update. They were taking even more brick off late last week. We may get the refresher we hoped for after all!

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I'm in the shops often for lunch at work and the restaurants are as busy as they were pre-construction. Yeah it looks messy but I'm still able to access all the same places and access the entrances/exits (including the elevators on the Phoenicia side). I'll be honest, the place looked pretty rough/broken down before they started on this project....

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There is an elevator facing Phoenicia that is open to get up to the Shops level.  Note that the adjacent stairs there do not work -- the door is inexplicably locked at the Shops level so you'll have to walk all the way back down again and then take the elevator if you make the same mistake as I made of trying the steps.

Unfortunately the Fulbright tower is also under renovation now, so you can't use the escalators there to get up to the Shops level either.  There's an elevator in the far back of that also, which seems to be the only way I found to get up.

Access to the Shops is just really terrible now, but there are at least two elevators to get to them.

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21 hours ago, rechlin said:

There is an elevator facing Phoenicia that is open to get up to the Shops level.  Note that the adjacent stairs there do not work -- the door is inexplicably locked at the Shops level so you'll have to walk all the way back down again and then take the elevator if you make the same mistake as I made of trying the steps.

Good to know.  I'll look for that the next time I'm there.

Too bad the people doing the construction couldn't be bothered to put up a sign letting people know about the other elevator, and instead just directed people with walkers and canes and wheelchairs to the stairs.  As I said before, this would be a big multi-agency fine in other cities.

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