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Downtown Aquarium Expansion


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Some of you sound like curmudgeons. Ease up. Children love this place. I know it looks out of place but so do many of other things in our haphazard and dynamic city.  There are few places for the  little ones in the DT. Watching the children enjoy themselves adds to the downtown.

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Some of you sound like curmudgeons. Ease up. Children love this place. I know it looks out of place but so do many of other things in our haphazard and dynamic city.  There are few places for the  little ones in the DT. Watching the children enjoy themselves adds to the downtown.

 

I, for one, am all for it, and am serious about wondering what would come post-45 downtown.  You see, people embrace the whole “Keep Austin Weird” thing, which is all well and good, but they just have a bunch of bad bands and pot smokers, which has really ceased to be anything but marketable commoditized “cool”. Authentic weirdness requires stuff like interstate-side Ferris wheels and 80’s “Hypermarkets” that become Chinatown. Fertita is a local treasure in an eccentric rich uncle kind of way and people do love his stuff.  It’s all good clean fun, if a bit gaudy. Beats pretention 10 times out of 10.  

Edited by Nate99
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Some of you sound like curmudgeons. Ease up. Children love this place. I know it looks out of place but so do many of other things in our haphazard and dynamic city. There are few places for the little ones in the DT. Watching the children enjoy themselves adds to the downtown.

The rendering threw me off, as they look like identical rides to what they already have. I don't expect them to build anything other than kiddie rides, but hopefully something different from what they already have. It's a shame the aquarium is mostly restaurant space. It gives it more of a carnival feel, like a money vacuum, rather then something educational.
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If they're going to remove this section of Preston Street, they may as well also remove the section up until Smith Street--it wouldn't really serve a purpose. 

 

Even better, don't remove the Preston Street bridge itself, keep the bridge structure, make modifications and dress it up to create the pedestrian bridge that is in the Theater District master plan between Preston and Prairie and save a few dollars.

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"I don't know much about the project, just saw it. Looks like they're trying to expand the world's finest under-freeway amusement park!"

omg that description made me laugh out loud!!! thanks! :)

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Unless it's a full fledged theme park (which I realize there isn't any space for one near downtown), then it's going to be lame.  Not to mention, this looks cheap, too kiddish and out of place near our high density downtown.  It's as if Fertitta is trying to recreate his Boardwalk/Pleasure Pier on a smaller scale in downtown Houston and that style development looks just plain wrong in an urban setting. IMO, if a developer is trying to attract a family/child demographic to their downtown attraction at least try to be aesthetically conscious of your urban surroundings in your development!  Discovery Green is a great example of doing just that and tastefully. I guess we can't expect much change from Fertitta's usual cheesy projects. 

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Actually, what I like about this concept is it brings more families downtown, diversifying the area. Although it may not draw families to LIVE downtown, at least there be some in the vicinity. I don't want a downtown made just for the childless.

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Actually, what I like about this concept is it brings more families downtown, diversifying the area. Although it may not draw families to LIVE downtown, at least there be some in the vicinity. I don't want a downtown made just for the childless.

I don't want to see, hear, or smell children. They belong in the suburbs. Unless they are well behaved. Which 99% of the time they are not.

We need a wall.

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I vote for getting rid of Preston between Bagby & Franklin....Pretty much duplicates Franklin and we could get rid of a bunch of concrete (street & bridge).  Bring a little more green to downtown (enlarge Sesquicentennial park). And this could get done much quicker than the 45 re-route which is a really long way off (if they even approve)...

 

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I also dislike the interaction with the bayou, but I guess wandering children and drifters should be separated by fence. I can agree with that, just stinks those amazing views of 700 Louisiana, best angle, are being utilized for something so cheesy. I guess we are lucky Houston doesn't allow gambling. This would be a casino. All of his big properties would.

Edited by Montrose1100
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I guess we are lucky Houston doesn't allow gambling. This would be a casino.

Are we really "lucky" this property is what it is/is proposed to become, instead of a casino? I'm not so sure?

I agree with Lockmat and the others that want family friendly/diversified demographics downtown, but is having a few kids and families on the other side of the bayou really benefitting the rest of downtown? Besides, would a real aquarium not be an even bigger family friendly attraction? One could argue an aquarium would be better off in Hermann Park next to the zoo, or down towards/in Galveston, but this already exists/could be redeveloped into more of an aquarium, less of a theme park. Just saying..

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The rendering threw me off, as they look like identical rides to what they already have. I don't expect them to build anything other than kiddie rides, but hopefully something different from what they already have. It's a shame the aquarium is mostly restaurant space. It gives it more of a carnival feel, like a money vacuum, rather then something educational.

 

A money vacuum is a very good description of the Fertitta business plan.  :ph34r:

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A money vacuum is a very good description of the Fertitta business plan. :ph34r:

Most of the carnival games are like gambling for adults, except kids win stuffed animals, dollar store toys, and candy. I guess the amount of money you spend has a similar ratio to how much you "win".
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I don't have an issue with expanding aquarium downtown but what Houston really needs is a major downtown tourist attraction like Space Needle in Seattle or Willis Tower in Chicago or Effiel tower in Paris. Also, Market Square/ historic region can be build to the level of the Strand in Galveston and area around Toyota Center can be entertainment region like LA live in Los Angeles (by Staples Center). Walkable, pedestrian destinations.

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I don't have an issue with expanding aquarium downtown but what Houston really needs is a major downtown tourist attraction like Space Needle in Seattle or Willis Tower in Chicago or Effiel tower in Paris. Also, Market Square/ historic region can be build to the level of the Strand in Galveston and area around Toyota Center can be entertainment region like LA live in Los Angeles (by Staples Center). Walkable, pedestrian destinations.

These areas aren't as clustered together for walk-ability but at least they're connected by Green/Purple train for now. But with development sprouting up on Texas Ave (along with a potential Dallas St shopping corridor), all of these districts could be well connected in the future. Exciting possibilities to think about, especially if Houston First achieves all of its plans for the Theater District.

As for your Space Needle attraction, maybe you should email that to Lovett. They have plenty of land available with no set plans. Who knows, maybe you'll get your wish lol

EDIT: Now that I think about it, it probably wouldn't happen. I could only see Fertitta building something like an observation tower and I'm not sure Id want that. Could end up looking extremely tacky...

Edited by tigereye
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These areas aren't as clustered together for walk-ability but at least they're connected by Green/Purple train for now. But with development sprouting up on Texas Ave (along with a potential Dallas St shopping corridor), all of these districts could be well connected in the future. Exciting possibilities to think about, especially if Houston First achieves all of its plans for the Theater District.

As for your Space Needle attraction, maybe you should email that to Lovett. They have plenty of land available with no set plans. Who knows, maybe you'll get your wish lol

EDIT: Now that I think about it, it probably wouldn't happen. I could only see Fertitta building something like an observation tower and I'm not sure Id want that. Could end up looking extremely tacky...

 

He tried to build an observation tower when he built the aquarium but the city denied him. Or am I remembering incorrectly?

 

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How will this project be affected by the I-45 realignment?  Isn't that section of the freeway being demolished and brought to surface level streets?  I know it is still a few years away, but it seems odd that Fertita would move forward on an expansion with so much change coming his way.

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The GRB TopGolf idea lives on!! Heh, I still think it would be a great draw for the corporate workers on extended lunch breaks or after hours, and something fun for conventioneers to do while staying nearby. Not to mention an additional entertainment attraction for the inner city residents. If only they could work out the economics to make all of that financially feasible.

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He tried to build an observation tower when he built the aquarium but the city denied him. Or am I remembering incorrectly?

A brief search shows you are correct ...back in 2002, a 200 ft observation tower was planned as part of the Aquarium.

http://m.chron.com/business/article/City-developer-Fertitta-bank-on-Kemah-theme-2122523.php

EDIT: I guess he never dropped the idea lol

454f67db788b959bf4021d12f063104b.jpg

Edited by tigereye
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Well, I guess this is trying to fill a void in Houston. Agree that we could use a real aquarium--a draw like that could be an anchor to revitalize and develop the KBR site.

 

Hate to break to all you knee-jerk Landry haters, but the Downtown Aquarium is a "real" aquarium, accredited and everything.  It may not be the world's largest aquarium, but it is indeed real and not insignificant.

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A brief search shows you are correct ...back in 2002, a 200 ft observation tower was planned as part of the Aquarium.

http://m.chron.com/business/article/City-developer-Fertitta-bank-on-Kemah-theme-2122523.php

EDIT: I guess he never dropped the idea lol

 

 

The design for the observation tower was widely criticized, so I guess they thought better of it.  I have a rendering I can post later.

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Hate to break to all you knee-jerk Landry haters, but the Downtown Aquarium is a "real" aquarium, accredited and everything. It may not be the world's largest aquarium, but it is indeed real and not insignificant.

I'm not one of the described "landrys haters", in fact I'm glad Fertitta has a small piece of downtown to call his own.. But...

Of course it's a "real" aquarium.. But that doesn't change the fact that it is first and foremost a restaurant (I won't even get into the carnival rides). It would just be nice to have it be more of a destination that people can go to to learn about and explore the underwater environment.

I'm down with the restaurant. I like that it's incorporated with the aquariums. But couldn't this expansion land be less focused on carnival rides and more focused on the learning aspect of an aquarium by building more aquatic environments/aquarium tanks? The Landrys aquarium/restaurant in Denver has twice as much tank space.. (1 million gallons vs 500,000). I know some people don't like Sea World or the idea of training animals to do things for our entertainment, but hell, Fertitta could implement some types of performances/animal shows as part of the expansion to retain his entertainment desires, while still incorporating an aquatic awareness program or something educational.

Edited by cloud713
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