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Why Is Uptown So Much Better-looking Than Downtown?

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Is it just me or does Uptown look better than downtown? The buildings are newer and there are more upscale shops. Everything looks crisp and clean, almost like a miniature downtown Dallas. They have commericial signage on the top of buildings, which looks good at night. The infrastructure, roads, overhead street signs and freeways are better as well, which helps give it more appeal than our city center. And not to mention, the residential population is like 10X larger than that of downtown which gives it more of a vibrant feel.

What do you think the deal is? Do you think downtown Houston doesn't have the money than Uptown Houston has to keep better roads, cleaner and renewing of buildings? Just something that i've always wondered about because aside from the skyline and Main Street, i think Uptown Houston should be Houston's downtown.

Edited by C2H

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Uptown is for the most part...a lot newer than downtown and a lot more "user friendly" Downtown is trying to catch up to all of this with all of the renovations and road construction not to mention light rail...im banking on the Houston Pavilions to really help bring more residents downtown and expand from there

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40 years ago, Uptown was a rural field. Everything was built from scratch since the 70s. In that sense, it is newer and cleaner.

My personal opinion is that it is "too new", in that there are no personable old buildings. But, that's my opinion. Others love the "Singapore" look, where everything is brand new. Personal taste.

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many improvements in uptown (buildings not included) are a product of the uptown TIRZ (tax increment reinvestment zone). a TIRZ is a self imposed tax on businesses in the area that goes directly to beautification and improvements (chrome arches, landscaping, lighting, etc).

there are several people on the HAIF forum who are more familiar with a TIRZ if you have questions.

.....and, welcome to the forum!

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Well, Uptown essentially developed around Hine's Galleria, which had tons of prestige(and still does), and thus, attracted many high end businesses, such as those class A offices (more space than Denver, or LA), the high rise residences, single family residences, as well as other high end retail venues. These were all built on empty fields, rather than over existing properties, which is easier, since you don't have to go through too much red tape. So, essentially, Uptown is just a suburban office development around a mall that was supremely successful. It still has many shortfalls, such as a lack of MT, or...those strip malls(and a few undesirables such as Zone d'Erotica, etc), of course. But, hopefully, downtown catches up, with new developments, despite the fact that Uptown is getting a development of its own that is as large, if not larger than the Pavilions.

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Count me as someone who tries to avoid Uptown at all costs.

The traffic is a NIGHTMARE. The West Loop is a complete guessing game as to which exits will be operable at any given time. As for the streets, downtown's are almost completely redone. San Felipe is like an off-road testing track for Hummers. AND, speaking of Hummers, try walking anywhere in Uptown. You can certainly do it, but it SUCKS compared to strolling downtown. AND, get back to me when you can ride rail from downtown to the Museum District, the Zoo, Rice U, Reliant Park, or the TMC.

Additionally, downtown is the home of the major performing arts. Performing arts in Uptown is limited to Treasures and the Men's Club.

Downtown also hosts the Rockets, Comets, Aeros, and Astros. Uptown has pick up games at the Post Oak Y.

Downtown has historical buildings and boutique hotels. Uptown has faux Manhattans and the Derek (a former Red friggin' Lion Hotel).

Downtown hosts the Thanksgiving Parade, Art Car Parade, Cinco de Mayo Parade, Juneteenth Parade and Rodeo Parade. It's also the start and finish of the Marathon not to mention the major 4th of July fireworks show. Uptown has the Holiday Lighting ceremony.

As for the Galleria, I try and avoid it at all costs. Never been much of a clothes consumer and I hate the idea of even driving anywhere close to the mall. It's also too bad that it is surrounded by a sea of surface parking lots and strip malls.

I do like uptown for the waterwall and eatzi's. That's about it.

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.....and, welcome to the forum!

i hope you weren't talking to me because i've been a casual poster here for a while. I was ComingtoHouston on the old forum before it crashed. But thank you anyway! :)

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"Additionally, downtown is the home of the major performing arts. Performing arts in Uptown is limited to Treasures and the Men's Club."

Not that there's anything wrong with that. B)

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Newer does not equal better. At least that is how I feel, but I know that there are many who would not even live in a house unless it was new. Also as for roads, I much prefer Downtown's grid to the mish mash of roads in uptown. Also in my opinion commercial signage is quite ugly, though there are a few exceptions to the height rule downtown it is sometimes down tastefully. (Continental)

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Whoah what is with the Uptown vs. downtown war I dont see how you can compare them since they serve different purposes. Uptown is Houston's Glam Zone our Rodeo,Michigan Ave,SouthCoast Plaza its a shopping district. Galleria,Uptown Park,Boulvard Place. enough said. Downtown( i like both) is a finacial power house that can offers something different nightlife an residential that everyone is clamoring for plus a train I dont know if I want rail in uptown where would it go?

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I don't think Uptown is better looking than downtown, but I would much rather live in Uptown then Downtown. Only because there is more excitment in that area. My uncle who is moving to Houston from the Boston area wants to live in the Uptown area also.

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Uptown Houston is nothing like Downtown Dallas. Downtown Houston and Downtown Dallas are far more similar.

i was talking in terms of newness and visual appeal.

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i was talking in terms of newness and visual appeal.

I used to hate Uptown, before I worked here. I thought the traffic was horrific and I neve vernture into the actual Galleria (too crowded), but since I work here now, I quite enjoy the area. In fact I am selling my midtown townhouse and me and the new wife are moving to Meyerland. Not Uptown, but closer than before.

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And again, I'd say that DT Dallas and DT Houston are far more similar than Uptown and DT Dallas. Are you saying that DT Dallas looks newer than DT Houston, if so, where?

I'm curious to know how close Uptown Houston is in total square footage to DT Dallas. Anyone know?

Also, if I'm not mistaken DT Houston is quite a bit larger than DT Dallas. The actual area size is similar but it seems to me that Dallas doesn't have close to the same infill as Houston. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

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i like both Uptown and Downtown. I can't really pic one or the other.

I just see downtown as late coming into the game of becoming more mixed-use, but it'll get there.

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Both downtown and uptown are getting to big new mixed use projects the Houston Pavillions downtown and the Pavillion on Post Oak uptown (has a new name now).

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Is it just me or does Uptown look better than downtown? The buildings are newer and there are more upscale shops. Everything looks crisp and clean, almost like a miniature downtown Dallas.

OMG, have you actually been to downtown Dallas? Most of the buildings are old, and downtown Dallas itself is like a ghost town. It makes downtown Houston feel like Manhattan.

They have commericial signage on the top of buildings, which looks good at night. The infrastructure, roads, and freeways are better as well, which helps give it more appeal than our city center.

Downtown Houston restricts signage on the top of buildings. I think that's a good thing -- we have enough billboards in this city.

Traffic flow is also much better in the downtown grid-system than the Uptown suburban-style road system. And don't forget, most of the roads in downtown have been rebuilt over the last few years as part of the Metro rail and road improvement projects.

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I just see downtown as late coming into the game of becoming more mixed-use, but it'll get there.

Something Uptown has never had, but downtown does. Just because the development is not new does not mean it is not mixed use. Commerce Tower and St German are mixed use buildings.

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Uptown is quite mixed used. Mixed-use doesn't mean pedestrian friendly urban environments. Developers invented the term mixed use many years ago with masterplanned suburban development and areas like Uptown.

Only recently had the termed mixed-use been applied by urbanist and in building new projects in cities. I would still qualify Uptown as mixed use and I'm continually seeing people walking in Uptown along Post oak.

Also, the Uptown management district is planning to slowly turn the streets in Uptown into more of a grid. The pavillions tearing down and rebuild will be a part of this when South Post Oak Lane connects to Ambassador Way.

Click on "Connecting the Community Map- Uptown Street Connectors"

Maps

This is to creat a more of a grid concept in Uptown so that key roads won't handle all the traffic.

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I think he means mixed use like office, residential, and retail all in one building. A perfect example is the John Hancock building in Chicago. Which was built in 1969, so it isn't a new phenomenon. I am not sure what mixed use means to you, but to me it means one building with multiple things, not just a strip center by a residential tower.

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Is it just me or does Uptown look better than downtown? The buildings are newer and there are more upscale shops. Everything looks crisp and clean, almost like a miniature downtown Dallas. They have commericial signage on the top of buildings, which looks good at night. The infrastructure, roads, and freeways are better as well, which helps give it more appeal than our city center. And not to mention, the residential population is like 10X larger than that of downtown which gives it more of a vibrant feel.

What do you think the deal is? Do you think downtown Houston doesn't have the money than Uptown Houston has to keep better roads, cleaner and renewing of buildings? Just something that i've always wondered about because aside from the skyline and Main Street, i think Uptown Houston should be Houston's downtown.

I looked in downtown and found that the housing(Loft etc.)was not as plentiful..live n Uptown at Dominion Post Oak. Like the area but DPO is falling in quality of residents fast. It has become a dog pound with multiple dogs per unit the size of ponies. Not enough staff...Club area pretty sloppy...see dpo2323@blogspot.com

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plus a train I dont know if I want rail in uptown where would it go?

Personally, i think putting it down richmond might be cool, but it wouldnt make a very fast route.

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I think Richmond Ave. should have more Uptown-type office buildings there if the clubs there no longer are there

What are the property values like down Richmond Ave?

Count me as someone who tries to avoid Uptown at all costs.

I do like uptown for the waterwall and eatzi's. That's about it.

I totally have to agree with the above quote

"Additionally, downtown is the home of the major performing arts. Performing arts in Uptown is limited to Treasures and the Men's Club."

Not that there's anything wrong with that.  B)

I thought there was a playhouse company who was building a theater on Westheimer and Yorktown. It is the AD players or something like that

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It's funny. Downtown Manhattan is kind of in the same boat as downtown Houston. They are trying to compete with the rest of the island for new housing and retail. If it's happening in New York...

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Makes sense - downtown Houston, Mannhatten, anywhere - were the first to develop. The first to have highrises, the first to be hit by any economic downturn as well. Uptown is new - because its just that new. The buildings are sterile and the streets conjested (since access and planing didnt ever phase into uptown's street grid). Downtown's new office buildings may be sterile to but, the density and the ability to walk past historic properties that are perhaps a little more colorful add to the whole experience. I for one cant stand the conjestion in uptown and find myself always asking why am I here? Uptown isnt better looking - regardless of the manicured lawns that are private and the acres of parking lots.

From a distance uptown is complimentary(not architecturally speaking) of downtown as the two are bookends that embrace the rest of the city (as far as Im concerned) and shelter it from the more hostile suburban praire that permiates the land beyond. Sadly uptown isnt exactly getting better - as traffic has gotten worse with little consideration to alternative transportation, public space, or amenities like playhouses, sports parks for children ect... the glistening residential highrises are if anything only helping to pollute the tolerable but sterile uptown skyline with urban clutter (save the nice buildings that Zeigler Cooper designed). Hopefully Uptown officials can negotiate with METRO to include a rail option downt Post Oak road - and mandate the design of public space that can help shape this "Second City" into a more livable and lovable space. Because as it stands Uptown is about as souless as Westchase or I-10, except the shopping is slightly more condensed and the buildings are taller.

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It's funny. Downtown Manhattan is kind of in the same boat as downtown Houston. They are trying to compete with the rest of the island for new housing and retail. If it's happening in New York...

I think in about 20 yrs we will be having this conversation about WestChase and the Galleria

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I'd like to see Uptown get a little monorail loop... something simple not unlike the People Mover in Detroit... just a loop from the shops where Champps is down Post Oak to the Galleria and back down the other side of Post Oak... this would relieve a lot of the congestion as you'd be able to park at any store/area you want and still hit all the shops... the most asinine thing about the area is that you park at the Galleria.. then wind up getting back in your car to drive over to Oshman's/Storehouse, then back in the car again to head over to Marshalls/Old Navy... then once again to hit up the stores/restaurants around Champps... (don't know the formal name for this shopping center)...

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I'd like to see Uptown get a little monorail loop... something simple not unlike the People Mover in Detroit... just a loop from the shops where Champps is down Post Oak to the Galleria and back down the other side of Post Oak... this would relieve a lot of the congestion as you'd be able to park at any store/area you want and still hit all the shops... the most asinine thing about the area is that you park at the Galleria.. then wind up getting back in your car to drive over to Oshman's/Storehouse, then back in the car again to head over to Marshalls/Old Navy... then once again to hit up the stores/restaurants around Champps... (don't know the formal name for this shopping center)...

Didn't they have a trolley that did this? I think it was like $1 a ride or something. I never used it because it only operated at lunchtime to move office workers to the restaurants and back.

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How many cites can have the "we have too many downtowns" argument?

Not many.

Just doesn't miss a beat with the "on the bright side" when talking about this town.

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Does anyone have, or know where I can see, pictures of uptown so I can compare for myself?

I love Houston, but I'm 4 hours away so I can't exactly go see for myself this weekend. :)

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Does anyone have, or know where I can see, pictures of uptown so I can compare for myself?

I love Houston, but I'm 4 hours away so I can't exactly go see for myself this weekend. :)

Houton Photos

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I'm glad we don't have both combined into one "Downtown" or one "Uptown". Think of the traffic then!

Downtown:

Theatre District

Light Rail

Beautiful foutains

Buffalo Bayou

More "Urban"

The Observation deck/s

Great Nightlife

Sport Venues

More Skyscrapers

History

Uptown:

Galleria

Uptown Park

Boulevard Place

Beautiful street scapes

High Population

Alot of A Office Space

More "Suburban"

Alot of Hotels

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I'm glad we don't have both combined into one "Downtown" or one "Uptown". Think of the traffic then!

Uptown:

Boulevard Place

didn't someone on this forum say that Boulevard Place was only going to be a shopping center? But how can you even list that place when it doesn't even exist yet?

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uptown houston is taking off with new developmints such as the granduca hotel and loft expansion. I have some family coming in from South Dakota in 2 weeks. I'm going to show them around Uptown and keep them away from doWNton. I agree, aside from the lack of urBAN/pedstrian vibe in Uptown, Uptown gives a better overall impresion than downton

downtown needs better lighting for one thing, iTS toO dark. Downtown haS plnty of resteraunts. But a visitor travling would never know because there's hardly any commercial signage to let people know the places exist. I think that is the dumbist rule where downtown restricts commercial signage on buildings. For example, The Benihana japaneze resteruant downtown is shown in tiny letters, i would have never known there was downtown if i wasnt looking 4 it specificly. I just happnd to see it in the phonebook and decided to go to that one instead of the one off Westimer.

Edited by zebra

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...and that's reason enough for staying out of Uptown Houston!

The Galleria is for people with more $$$ than sense.

Please, though it has many upscale stores there are plenty of stores for us regular folks. You can even get some Popeye's Fried Chicken there.

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Uptown is the ritzy area. It has lots of $$$ highrise condos, hotels and of course one of the largest shopping meccas in the US, The Galleria. But I prefer working downtown. Downtown is still the king. You can live in Midtown or downtown and use the rail or walk and get to things. The sports venues are there; Reliant Park is only a train ride away. Downtown has come back from the dead. This began with the Rice Hotel renovation. Lots of people I work with live there. Now a beautiful park is being constructed along with a new 37-story awesome highrise. Houston Pavilions, mixed use with condos, retail, House of Blues, Lucky Strike, and a very 21st Century design will make it the place to be. The Galleria is still growing with Turnberry looking at constructing a new 42 story luxury highrise next to the Water Wall. There is a lot to be said for having two large business districts in one city. It impresses visitors. I take them to the 60th floor sky lobby at Chase Tower and they ask: what city is that? And they are pointing to the Galleria. Then I explain that Houston is B-I-G. ;)

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Please, though it has many upscale stores there are plenty of stores for us regular folks. You can even get some Popeye's Fried Chicken there.

And downtown also has a Popeye's Fried Chicken close to Macy's. :D

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Uptown is the ritzy area. It has lots of $$$ highrise condos, hotels and of course one of the largest shopping meccas in the US, The Galleria. But I prefer working downtown. Downtown is still the king. You can live in Midtown or downtown and use the rail or walk and get to things. The sports venues are there; Reliant Park is only a train ride away. Downtown has come back from the dead. This began with the Rice Hotel renovation. Lots of people I work with live there. Now a beautiful park is being constructed along with a new 37-story awesome highrise. Houston Pavilions, mixed use with condos, retail, House of Blues, Lucky Strike, and a very 21st Century design will make it the place to be. The Galleria is still growing with Turnberry looking at constructing a new 42 story luxury highrise next to the Water Wall. There is a lot to be said for having two large business districts in one city. It impresses visitors. I take them to the 60th floor sky lobby at Chase Tower and they ask: what city is that? And they are pointing to the Galleria. Then I explain that Houston is B-I-G. ;)

I have an older cousin from the DFW area that was here in Houston during Thanksgiving. He wanted me to show him around the city. As we traveled around, he looked at our skyline in awe "This is your downtown?". He was impressed. I had to then tell him that what he was looking at was our Uptown skyline as seen from the 290/610 merger.

I then took him down Westheimer before going down Memorial into downtown...imagine his reaction then.

It's funny because while he was traveling down I-45 into Houston, he also told me that he was caught off gaurd by a random skyscraper sticking out of the Woodlands. I told him "Just wait until you see TMC and our many other skylines".

I just love showing people around town!

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It's funny because while he was traveling down I-45 into Houston, he also told me that he was caught off gaurd by a random skyscraper sticking out of the Woodlands. I told him "Just wait until you see TMC and our many other skylines".

Houston is all about "Edge Cities"!

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Is it just me or does Uptown look better than downtown? The buildings are newer and there are more upscale shops. Everything looks crisp and clean, almost like a miniature downtown Dallas. They have commericial signage on the top of buildings, which looks good at night. The infrastructure, roads, overhead street signs and freeways are better as well, which helps give it more appeal than our city center. And not to mention, the residential population is like 10X larger than that of downtown which gives it more of a vibrant feel.

What do you think the deal is? Do you think downtown Houston doesn't have the money than Uptown Houston has to keep better roads, cleaner and renewing of buildings? Just something that i've always wondered about because aside from the skyline and Main Street, i think Uptown Houston should be Houston's downtown.

it's a heck of a lot newer overall and it had some sort of plan. downtown is just now really starting to plan for it's current and future development.

Edited by houstonmacbro

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