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Has anyone heard anything about this?

 

Just that it's in the process of being approved.  I tried to get a copy of it, but they didn't want to give it out until it's been fully approved.

 

There's some interesting info on this website.

 

http://arup.com/~/media/Images/Projects/H/Houston_Theater_Masterplan/Gallery/Images/Houston_masterplan_streetview_900x600_c_Arup.ashx?mh=800&mw=1000

 

http://arup.com/~/media/Images/Projects/H/Houston_Theater_Masterplan/Gallery/Images/Houston_masterplan_900x600_c_Arup.ashx?mh=800&mw=1000

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Nice finds! I'll have to skim through those when I'm not on my phone. Did it say anything about potentially tearing down/redeveloping the Bayou Place property?

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Yep, I was super pleased to hear the info from a Houston First leader. He only said the Bayou Place demo was an "option" they were considering to not have a huge barrier down the middle of the theater District, so not sure that will actually end up happening. Who owns Bayou Place anyways?

Edit. Woah.. Just clicked the links. There's the pedestrian streetscape improvements they want to make to that area!

Edited by cloud713
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Nice finds! I'll have to skim through those when I'm not on my phone. Did it say anything about potentially tearing down/redeveloping the Bayou Place property?

 

It didn't say much at all.  But the renderings show at the least a massive remodel of Bayou Place, with the portion covering the Bagby Street being eliminated. 

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Yep, I was super pleased to hear the info from a Houston First leader. He only said the Bayou Place demo was an "option" they were considering to not have a huge barrier down the middle of the theater District, so not sure that will actually end up happening. Who owns Bayou Place anyways?

Edit. Woah.. Just clicked the links. There's the pedestrian streetscape improvements they want to make to that area!

 

The City owns Bayou Place.  It's operated by The Cordish Companies, on some sort of long-term lease/development contract.  Personally, I think they (Cordish) have done a pretty lame job with it...   I wouldn't mind seeing it turned over to a different developer with more exciting ideas. 

 

EDIT:  Damn.  According to Wikipedia, Cordish has a 50-year lease, beginning in 1997.  Hopefully there are some clauses giving the city some flexibility... Or they can convince Cordish that tearing down part of it will make the rest more valuable.

Edited by Houston19514
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The Houston First leader mentioned that when they were planning this plan that one of the options was tearing Bayou Place down (he made it sound like the whole complex) and redeveloping those blocks, so I guess there is some flexibility..?

Also when I mentioned the Chronicle property as a possible new venue location he kind of grinned. Not saying they're gonna build a new venue there, but they've at least considered it..

Edited by cloud713
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just had some time to do an internet search for the Master Plan and stumbled across this PDF from April 29th. must of been the most recent meeting that he referenced..

http://www.houstontx.gov/council/c/committee/20150429/PresentationTheaterDistrictMasterPlan.pdf

edit.. WOW! complete redevelopment of the Jones Plaza, Fish Plaza, Tranquillity Park, a new pedestrian bridge across the bayou, and options for a complete tear down/redevelopment of Bayou Place to name a few...

Here's a quick overview of some of the plans.

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48B525B8-6248-418E-9768-ACEDAA4E7DBD_zps

A19FA5BB-7235-43BD-8F15-B4FB39276EC5_zps

6025AB51-043B-4A38-B544-65B8A9689265_zps

B9FFBD0D-C47A-4DA5-A19F-620780A32466_zps

B1EC16C4-0D50-41C4-9609-72AC3BAF3CA9_zps

209A4A05-9FBE-45A2-9058-51CD56079A9B_zps

5CE22D55-18EF-4A23-8DF9-EFB0AA0FB0B7_zps

Edited by cloud713
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Houston is going park-crazy!!!

 

 

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It's been a huge driver for economic development (and obviously quality of life) and most developers/leaders are realizing the benefits..

I'm intrigued by the comparison of NYCs Time Warner Center to Bayou Place 3.

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just had some time to do an internet search for the Master Plan and stumbled across this PDF from April 29th. must of been the most recent meeting that he referenced..

http://www.houstontx.gov/council/c/committee/20150429/PresentationTheaterDistrictMasterPlan.pdf

edit.. WOW! complete redevelopment of the Jones Plaza, Fish Plaza, Tranquillity Park, a new pedestrian bridge across the bayou, and options for a complete tear down/redevelopment of Bayou Place to name a few...

Here's a quick overview of some of the plans.

CD373665-1C48-4BC3-9D57-C2C62CA7EEF8_zps

Looks like there'd also be a Brazos St pedestrian thoroughfare from City Hall through Tranquility Pk & behind demo'd rear half of Bayou Place, connecting to Fish Plaza restaurant pad site.

Also assuming the only the front half of Bayou Place up to Sundance Theater since they keep referencing Film Center examples. So that means the possibility of a new venue to replace the Verizon Wireless Theater. Where does the Hard Rock Cafe end up in all this?

Jones Plaza had been rumored for a renovation for some time now. Interesting to see how it Tranquility Park shape up in this.

With LED technology, the lighting plan for Alley Theater in particular could be a memorable addition... can't wait to see how that ends up.

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It appears they will be keeping the front section of bayou place. . Which could actually work out for places like hard rock if they shift to say green st or along the new dallas corridor higher visbity..I never noticed how much bayou place back in broke up the flow of the street...

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Bayou Place isn't even 20 years old.  Isn't it a bit wasteful to be considering tearing it down already?  Or is it really too low-density for the area now?  As others have said, the Houston Chronicle block seems like a better place to redevelop in the immediate future.

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Bayou Place essentially does to the Theater District what GRB does to the east side of downtown, separating it in half. They want to get rid of that.. If they can achieve the same by only getting rid of the street cross over then so be it, but that's a prime location to bring residential into the theater district. Or a hotel, like someone mentioned a few posts up. Either way there would be quite a bit of room left over (~ 2 blocks) for a new venue or whatever other amenities they want to bring to the area. I'd imagine it would be easier to redevelop/demo Bayou Place, which the city already owns vs the a Chronicle property, which they would have to purchase. And idk if demo is drastically more expensive for high rises vs low rises, but that could factor into costs too?

Edit. And it was built in the 1960s.. So it's 50 years old. Not even 20 years old would make it younger than the GRB, which replaced it..

Edited by cloud713
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Bayou Place essentially does to the Theater District what GRB does to the east side of downtown, separating it in half. They want to get rid of that.. If they can achieve the same by only getting rid of the street cross over then so be it, but that's a prime location to bring residential into the theater district. Or a hotel, like someone mentioned a few posts up. Either way there would be quite a bit of room left over (~ 2 blocks) for a new venue or whatever other amenities they want to bring to the area. I'd imagine it would be easier to redevelop/demo Bayou Place, which the city already owns vs the a Chronicle property, which they would have to purchase. And idk if demo is drastically more expensive for high rises vs low rises, but that could factor into costs too?

Edit. And it was built in the 1960s.. So it's 50 years old. Not even 20 years old would make it younger than the GRB, which replaced it..

 

Thank you for pointing this out. This building is much older than one might think. Many of the recent changes were done about 20 years ago, but Bayou place has been around since the 1960s. Bayou Place btw was Downtowns original convention center until GRB was built. It was a novel idea at the time, but it has not aged very well and is the most awkward of buildings as it sort of just slumps its entire mass across several blocks and butts up against the Bayou. It has almost zero street interaction with the rest of the district and simply does not fit with the rest of the districts aims and goals. It was the perfect building for its time, but has out lived its usefulness and purpose. Its also not like its some architectural gem or anything. Its a pretty standard modern building. If you look at the theater districts presentation and look at the examples of inspiration for blocks "1" "2" and "3" holy crap they are really looking at expanding Houston's architectural palette! I'm seeing a great diversification in architecture which is refreshing and bold. This is also a wonderful chance to really bind the whole district together as one cohesive whole instead of random assortment of theater buildings that happen to be close to one another. This is a fantastic idea overall and is just another look into just how far this city is moving along and the renaissance downtown is entering.

Edited by Luminare
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Thank you for pointing this out. This building is much older than one might think. Many of the recent changes were done about 20 years ago, but Bayou place has been around since the 1960s. Bayou Place btw was Downtowns original convention center until GRB was built. It was a novel idea at the time, but it has not aged very well and is the most awkward of buildings as it sort of just slumps its entire mass across several blocks and butts up against the Bayou. It has almost zero street interaction with the rest of the district and simply does not fit with the rest of the districts aims and goals. It was the perfect building for its time, but has out lived its usefulness and purpose. Its also not like its some architectural gem or anything. Its a pretty standard modern building. If you look at the theater districts presentation and look at the examples of inspiration for blocks "1" "2" and "3" holy crap they are really looking at expanding Houston's architectural palette! I'm seeing a great diversification in architecture which is refreshing and bold. This is also a wonderful chance to really bind the whole district together as one cohesive whole instead of random assortment of theater buildings that happen to be close to one another. This is a fantastic idea overall and is just another look into just how far this city is moving along and the renaissance downtown is entering.

 

As a downtown resident, I actually really appreciate Bayou Place. I often walk to Sundance Cinema for movies and I've been to four concerts at the music venue over the past year. Plus I frequently get take-out from Blue Fish. Agree that it breaks up the Theatre District but I hope that anything that takes it place has at least the same functionality for downtown residents. 

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As a downtown resident, I actually really appreciate Bayou Place. I often walk to Sundance Cinema for movies and I've been to four concerts at the music venue over the past year. Plus I frequently get take-out from Blue Fish. Agree that it breaks up the Theatre District but I hope that anything that takes it place has at least the same functionality for downtown residents. 

 

I will definitely agree with this. I was actually surprised with just how much they have retrofitted Bayou Place with all these different amenities. But its clear that the district has outgrown Bayou Place and I think Downtown is outgrowing Bayou Place and you could probably better distribute all these various amenities throughout the district instead of housing it all in one building. It could be a way of further expanding amenities while also giving the theater district what they want

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It appears they will be keeping the front section of bayou place. . Which could actually work out for places like hard rock if they shift to say green st or along the new dallas corridor higher visbity..I never noticed how much bayou place back in broke up the flow of the street...

I always thought they should move to Greenstreet.

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btw guys, if you haven't clicked the link, what i included was definitely not everything shown in the PDF.

that annual lunar festival doesn't currently exist, right?

after the initial excitement settled down i went back and re looked at things and didn't realize the other new developments they hope to attract to the area besides the Bayou Place stuff. residential next to Lyric Center, and a few other boxes (next to Ballet venue and one by the Aquarium)

http://www.houstontx.gov/council/c/committee/20150429/PresentationTheaterDistrictMasterPlan.pdf

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The one thing I was hoping to see in the Theater District Master Plan, but do not (yet) see is a plan to demolish the Hobby Center parking garage and replace it with some site-sensitive mixed-use, benefiting from the frontage on Buffalo Bayou.  I'll continue to hold out hope since what we are seeing so far is just an overview of the Master Plan presented to a city council committee.  Hopefully, the full plan will include getting rid of that parking garage.

 

(On a related note, there was recently news that the Theater Under the Stars musical theater school (which is housed in the Hobby Center) is running out of space.  They could expand into whatever replaces that parking garage.)

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Hopefully whatever is built will not need to get torn down again in 10 years when the Pierce Elevated is gone and the whole world over there changes.

 

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Thank you for pointing this out. This building is much older than one might think. Many of the recent changes were done about 20 years ago, but Bayou place has been around since the 1960s. Bayou Place btw was Downtowns original convention center until GRB was built.

 

The Albert Thomas Convention and Exhibit Center. There's a replica of Congressman Thomas' office at Bayou Place, across from the elevators near the Sundance Cinemas.

 

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H town man, even if the Pierce were getting removed in that section (the plan is to keep that part for downtown connectors), why would the future Bayou Place development be insufficient in 10 years? It probably won't even happen for close to that length of time (the master plan goes out to 2025). The conceptual design references include twin 750' Time Warner Center towers with a huge retail plaza at the bottom (Columbus Circle?). Hard to imagine anything near that scope being insufficient for that site in the foreseeable future.

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This city just amazes me. We can look back and say we lived during the Houston transformation.

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The remake of Jones Plaza looks like they're taking hints from Market Square. Having the Bayou Place open up that amount of space, plus the Alley Theater (Fish), Plaza revamp, plus the Postal Site, plus redoing Tranquility Park? I'm sure they could interact with Sam Houston Park and the Bayou. Seriously Triton all of these wonderful things happening and coming to light. Sensory overload. Very exciting.

Go us. We deserve it.

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What would the funding mechanism for this be? That is a lot of money to spend in just 10 years!

 

The magic money fairy of course :P

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i guess after the convention and retail districts finish up infrastructure redevelopment that this would be the focus? obviously lots of private development.. the main public(? not sure if thats the right word) investments i see needed would be for the infrastructure, and maybe portions of the parks, though I'm sure they are hoping for philanthropist donations for the green space renovations and new pedestrian bridge.

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Great find cloud713. This is great information and my only hope is that they are serious, and move forward so I can see this happen in my lifetime.

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Full Article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/Proposal-would-put-new-shine-on-Theater-District-6443460.php

 

Now the city's tourism arm is proposing to transform the 17-block area that includes the Alley Theatre, Jones Hall, Hobby Center and the Wortham Theater Center over the next decade into a vibrant, urban hub where inviting green space with surrounding cafes and restaurants allow patrons to wait out the grueling traffic with a post-performance drink or late-night snack.

 

Colorful lights and projections would flash across the monolithic exterior walls of the theater buildings. It would be a place for festivals, outside performances and interactive art installations.

 

The work, with a preliminary pricetag of $80 million for public infrastructure upgrades, would begin with an overhaul of Jones Plaza. Eventually, the huge concrete rectangle of Bayou Place might even be torn down to make way for a new hotel and smaller structures that wouldn't interrupt the flow of the district.

 

Ullrich of Houston First said Jones Plaza likely would be the first part of the plan the agency will tackle, as the now under-utilized park has the potential to be a focal point for the district, much like Market Square Park and Discovery Green do for other parks of downtown.

As part of the long-term vision, Done presented the committee with an admittedly controversial idea to tear down Bayou Place, a former convention center that houses a Hard Rock Cafe, Sundance Cinemas and concert space and other restaurants. Among the roadblocks, Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. has 38 years remaining on its lease with the city.

 

In statement released in response to questions Thursday, Cordish development director Taylor Gray said the company is at the "very beginning of discussions with the City."

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Interesting. I love Houston.

20-years ago a bunch of bright, visionary urban developers decided to build Bayou Place........

Now, about 20 years later, a new group of folks, bright and visionary, might plan to tear it down!

And the cycle repeats.......

Edited by UtterlyUrban

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uhh.. what? Bayou Place/the former convention center is 50 years old...

about time the Chronicle got the scoop on this..

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uhh.. what? Bayou Place/the former convention center is 50 years old...

 

 

I think what Utterly meant was the original Albert Thomas Convention Center was remodeled into Bayou Place 20 years ago. IMO it was an appropriate use of the existing space at that time. It's good that we got that much use out of this 50 year old structure just as we did with the original Sam Houston Coliseum.

 

In the case of these two I only lament their 'passing' for nostalgic reasons. Now if I could just cause myself to feel the same way about the Astrodome when it ultimately comes down. :( For me the 'dome has a lot more nostalgia than the other two even though my high school graduation was held in the Coliseum. 

 

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The Dome is our Eiffel Tower, and if remodeled it could be a masterpiece for this city. I actually appreciate all the politics Judge Emmett is using to save the place.

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I don't recall what jones plaza was before the first time I saw it in the chronicle in '99? Even as a kiddo I thought it was ugly.

Anyways, they have a real vision, and I hope it all comes true. The Dead after 5 Downtown will fade into memory, if it hasn't already.

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They need to tear down at least the back half of Bayou Place. It's literally a wall separating Wortham, The Aquarium and the northern parts of Downtown from the rest of the Theater District. And considering the Post Office site could be redeveloped into mixed use, tearing down the "Bayou Place Barrier" could transform this entire stretch of Bagby from the Post Office site to City Hall into a vibrant streetscape.

CD373665-1C48-4BC3-9D57-C2C62CA7EEF8_zps

And that's another difference (besides nostalgia) between tearing down the Albert Thomas Convention Center versus demolishing the Dome. Tear down the Dome, you likely get a parking lot that benefits only the Texans & the Rodeo. Compare that to tearing down ATCC/Bayou Place where the city possibly gets a revitalized stretch of Bagby St as part of a Theater District makeover. Same demos, far different results.

Edited by tigereye
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How much of an impact/roadblock could Cordish have considering they have 38 years left on its lease at BP? With demolition being proposed, maybe this could produce a new state-of-the-art event venue to replace the BP Live Theater? Maybe a new Hard Rock Cafe & Hotel?!?

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I don't recall what jones plaza was before the first time I saw it in the chronicle in '99? Even as a kiddo I thought it was ugly.

Anyways, they have a real vision, and I hope it all comes true. The Dead after 5 Downtown will fade into memory, if it hasn't already.

The Market Square area is such a lively area at night... Main St. too for that matter. Surprisingly difficult to find street parking.

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I don't recall what jones plaza was before the first time I saw it in the chronicle in '99? Even as a kiddo I thought it was ugly.

Anyways, they have a real vision, and I hope it all comes true. The Dead after 5 Downtown will fade into memory, if it hasn't already.

 

Jones  Plaza is the reflecting pool in front of City Hall, right? I really like the allée of trees around it but agree it could use a bit of the Discovery Green / Market Square treatment to make it more attractive.

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Jones Plaza is the reflecting pool in front of City Hall, right? I really like the allée of trees around it but agree it could use a bit of the Discovery Green / Market Square treatment to make it more attractive.

The city hall reflecting pool is fine. Tranquility is a disaster and needs cpr.
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Which...is neither Tranquil, nor a Park.

Discuss...

Bravo. I almost choked and threw up.

The homeless bathe in the water, but besides that, the white pipes, weathered creepy parking entrances, it's a mess.

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Bravo. I almost choked and threw up.

The homeless bathe in the water, but besides that, the white pipes, weathered creepy parking entrances, it's a mess.

 

 

Which...is neither Tranquil, nor a Park.

 

Discuss...

 

I thought I'd never say anything like this, but, in the case of "Tranquility Park," I think that site would actually be better utilized as a residential tower or mixed use building. City Hall's park is close to being wonderful. Only problem is, it's only partially surrounded by activity. For urban parks to be truly wonderful, I think, they need to have great design and they need to be almost completely surrounded by users that need a green space. Otherwise, homeless are just going to hang out there.

 

I'm also never a fan of parks separated by streets. In this 17-block area, I think downtown should focus on making City Hall Park, Jones Plaza, the plaza in front of Wortham, and Buffalo Bayou and the connections from the street to it the best parks they can be. Do a PPP and sell the air rights over the garage under Tranquility and that little corner extension of Tranquility that faces the back of Bayou Place. Use the money and create even more impressive public spaces in the district; then make sure those green spaces are surrounded by active uses - the theaters (obviously), retail, residents, office users, etc. 

Edited by largeTEXAS
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Tranquillity Park is a very interesting park actually. I like how its essentially just a bunch of forms floating in a large open space separated from everything. It feels like its part of different world from downtown. At least that's how I read it. The forms represent another world (the moon) while the empty space around it is well....space. Then the rest of Downtown is Earth.

 

Problem with this site is its placement in downtown. While I like the particular statement it makes it just doesn't work as an urban park because it seems so otherworldly and out of touch with its surroundings making it very uninviting and at night its actually a really creepy place. The objects, pools and fountains in the middle can be saved, but there just needs to be more diversity and movement around it to draw people in. It should also be redesigned to help it handle traffic when it's used as a base for certain events. The first thing I would do is get rid of the grass/sod its a waste and it doesn't add anything to the park. Tranquillity park IMO has never been a sit and rest kind of park, but park where you cut from one place to another or is a centralized spot for something, but you are still walking. I would replace it all with light gravel and scatter different areas for smaller plants and different rows/styles of seating. Lots of intersecting paths because its currently very one note. Then really up-sale the fact that its dedicated to Neil Armstrong's famous words when he landed on the moon and carry that further into the park.

 

Edited by Luminare

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