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ew2003

Purpose of Midtown Redevelopment Authority?

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Does anyone know what the Midtown Redevelopment Authority is planning to do with all of the random lots they own?  The odd thing is none of them are actually in Midtown.  They're in East Downtown and Third Ward.  I see 457 lots on HCAD.  I'm just interested to know.  Thanks for any insight!

idtown redev.pdf

 

Edited by ew2003

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It's anti-gentrification land banking at the behest of Garnet Coleman who is bitterly opposed to redevelopment that might displace current residents of the Third Ward.

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Coleman is taking an unconventional and controversial approach to keeping the Third Ward affordable for longtime residents. Quietly, the board of a tax increment financing district that he partially controls has been buying up land in the Third Ward. Not only does Coleman want to keep the land away from developers. He also wants to saddle the property with restrictive deeds and covenants that would ensure that it could be used only for rental housing in perpetuity. 

 

(March 2006)

 

http://www.governing.com/topics/politics/Land.html

Edited by DrLan34

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I am very confused.

There are 32 pages of parcels now owned by the Midtown redevelopment authority?

Where did it get the money to buy these lots?

 

They use the increase in taxes from Midtown each year to fund it. 

 

 

The Midtown TIRZ has been responsible for physical and capital improvements in Midtown. In 1995, the TIRZ was created “freezing” the ad valorem taxes generated from the district for 30 years. From the baseline appraised value of $211 million, every increase in value and the taxes it generated is committed to the District for 30 years. Today, the appraised value of property in the district is over $1.6 billion. This gives the Authority the ability to issue bonds based on the current and anticipated increase in value.

http://houstonmidtown.com/about/mra/

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They use the increase in taxes from Midtown each year to fund it.

http://houstonmidtown.com/about/mra/

Wow!

So, property taxes are paid into the taxing authority -- a "redevelopment authority" -- and the authority is buying specific parcels of land but does not have a specific plan to "redevelop" the totality of the lots it's has purchased? That can't be correct. There must be a master plan --- some plan --- in mind for the lots that have been purchased.....

I am now even more confused!

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Wow!

So, property taxes are paid into the taxing authority -- a "redevelopment authority" -- and the authority is buying specific parcels of land but does not have a specific plan to "redevelop" the totality of the lots it's has purchased? That can't be correct. There must be a master plan --- some plan --- in mind for the lots that have been purchased.....

I am now even more confused!

 

Oh, there's a plan alright.  The plan is to deed restrict as much land as possible in the Third Ward so that it remains low-income rental housing.  Are the plots owned even in the Midtown TIRZ?

 

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Oh, there's a plan alright.  The plan is to deed restrict as much land as possible in the Third Ward so that it remains low-income rental housing.  Are the plots owned even in the Midtown TIRZ?

 

 

No, the TIRZ, unless it's boundaries have changed, stops at 59/288. The properties are on the other side of the freeway.

 

To make things even more fun, the Midtown Management District collects an 11.81 cents per $100 valuation property tax for improvements the TIRZ doesn't pay for.

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I knew that they owned land outside of Midtown but wasn't sure why.  Now that I know what's behind it I'm pretty pissed off.  I just sent an e-mail to a neighbor that's on the MRA board asking what's up.  If I don't get a sufficient answer I plan to bring this up at the next MRA community meeting.  They can't seem to afford to pay for any of their new projects but are sitting on a pile of valuable real estate that doesn't have a direct impact on the community it's supposed to be supporting.

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Chill out everyone. Midtown is required by state law to set aside 1/3 of funds collected for affordable housing since Midtown was allowed to be established under Section 311.005...

"In a zone designated under Section 311.005(a)(4) that is located in a county with a population of 3.3 million or more, the project plan must provide that at least one-third of the tax increment of the zone be used to provide affordable housing during the term of the zone."

.

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/TX/htm/TX.311.htm

No scandal here. Just a clause in state law that allowed Midtown to gentrify with thought given to those who may get displaced in the process. Midtown chose to do the affordable housing outside of their zone (which is allowed under the law).

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I mapped the properties out and added it to the original post so everyone can see exactly where this land is.  

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Chill out everyone. Midtown is required by state law to set aside 1/3 of funds collected for affordable housing since Midtown was allowed to be established under Section 311.005...

"In a zone designated under Section 311.005(a)(4) that is located in a county with a population of 3.3 million or more, the project plan must provide that at least one-third of the tax increment of the zone be used to provide affordable housing during the term of the zone."

.

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/TX/htm/TX.311.htm

No scandal here. Just a clause in state law that allowed Midtown to gentrify with thought given to those who may get displaced in the process. Midtown chose to do the affordable housing outside of their zone (which is allowed under the law).

 

That sounds good.

 

I'm all for affordable housing but I don't see much of it on those lots - but I can appreciate that I don't have all the plans in front of me.  

 

Does anyone know what percentage of those lots have been developed into affordable housing?

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Thanks for posting this.  DrLan34 definitely knows how to assemble an angry mob. :blink:

 

Follow-up questions to this new info:

 

Has the MRA been buying land INSTEAD of developing affordable housing?

What could their exit strategy be?  Increased land value is only advantageous to them before a sale because it's outside the TIRZ.

Would it be allowable for the MRA to sell the land to a developer who agrees to put a cap on home prices?

 

Chill out everyone. Midtown is required by state law to set aside 1/3 of funds collected for affordable housing since Midtown was allowed to be established under Section 311.005...

"In a zone designated under Section 311.005(a)(4) that is located in a county with a population of 3.3 million or more, the project plan must provide that at least one-third of the tax increment of the zone be used to provide affordable housing during the term of the zone."
.
http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/TX/htm/TX.311.htm

No scandal here. Just a clause in state law that allowed Midtown to gentrify with thought given to those who may get displaced in the process. Midtown chose to do the affordable housing outside of their zone (which is allowed under the law).

 

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Thanks for posting this.  DrLan34 definitely knows how to assemble an angry mob. :blink:

 

Follow-up questions to this new info:

 

Has the MRA been buying land INSTEAD of developing affordable housing?

What could their exit strategy be?  Increased land value is only advantageous to them before a sale because it's outside the TIRZ.

Would it be allowable for the MRA to sell the land to a developer who agrees to put a cap on home prices?

 

I think what they are saying is that they want to sell it, but deed restricted to be affordable housing.  Why they need so many lots, and whether they actually are affordable housing right now, is what confuses me.  Also, why not build some of this affordable housing in/near midtown?

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Thanks for posting this.  DrLan34 definitely knows how to assemble an angry mob. :blink:

 

Follow-up questions to this new info:

 

Has the MRA been buying land INSTEAD of developing affordable housing?

What could their exit strategy be?  Increased land value is only advantageous to them before a sale because it's outside the TIRZ.

Would it be allowable for the MRA to sell the land to a developer who agrees to put a cap on home prices?

 

haha naw, just tying to understand the details. I really like the MRA but this is some interesting news.

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Everyone go to the affordable housing section in their report:http://www.houstonmidtown.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Midtown-Special-Report.pdf

Yes, they've built multifamily (they even have a picture of one in doc above). Yes, they have covenants around the land if sold. They probably don't do this in Midtown since land is so expensive now, they can have a greater impact setting aside land for future housing needs instead of buying a couple Midtown lots. Remember, they buy the land at lot value... They're not Gods who can just take land. Buying land in third ward lets them accomplish more with the same resources.

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Everyone go to the affordable housing section in their report:http://www.houstonmidtown.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Midtown-Special-Report.pdf

Yes, they've built multifamily (they even have a picture of one in doc above). Yes, they have covenants around the land if sold. They probably don't do this in Midtown since land is so expensive now, they can have a greater impact setting aside land for future housing needs instead of buying a couple Midtown lots. Remember, they buy the land at lot value... They're not Gods who can just take land. Buying land in third ward lets them accomplish more with the same resources.

 

Notes from reading this:

  • They have a map of "midtown" with a big star on downtown
  • It does look like they have done 16 affordable housing projects.  This is very admirable
  • They do mention the land bank program - "$31 million of the Affordable Housing costs"  So I guess if they were getting lots in midtown it would be even more so they would have a smaller effect
  • Both multifamily and single family affordable housing
  • Looks like the super block may have been originally imagined as one large park, but they do talk about it.  

Very much worth a read even if you don't understand half of it (like me)

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Agreed cspwal. It's confusing, but everything they do is by law. People tend to think government is crooked and that Coleman is locking up votes for himself. In reality, they have to follow Texas law and attempt to save as much land as possible for current and future affordable housing. I was glad they were doing it in third ward and not Midtown because it would effectively wipe out potential tax revenues from their growth. In other words, a big Camden development increases tax revenues (so Midtown can fancy up Bagby) vs them buying land and putting a tax exempt property there and Bagby never getting rebuilt (or just a basic street overlay).

Now, newbies to the area look around at all the nice stuff and wonder why Midtown bothers with third ward. They weren't around when Midtown was a desolate wasteland and Baldwin Park had grass over your head with prostitutes and drug dealers living at it. The TIRZ law allowed Midtown to get fixed up, while allowing for affordable housing for those displaced. This avoided what happened in Freedman's Town. Third Ward (neighbor to the district) gets rebuilt as well, which in turn helps reduce crime rates in Midtown, and Midtown grows with inc. tax revenues to fund transition of both areas. Midtown TIRZ will go away in the future by law (can't remember the official date). At that point, we'll have an awesome urban neighborhood with an awesome rebuilt neighboring district that has affordable housing in the city.

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I think what they are saying is that they want to sell it, but deed restricted to be affordable housing.  Why they need so many lots, and whether they actually are affordable housing right now, is what confuses me.  Also, why not build some of this affordable housing in/near midtown?

 

Because this is a personal/political thing for Garnet Coleman.

 

 

From his fifth-floor office, Garnet Coleman can almost see the gleaming new urban lofts lapping at the edge of Houston's Third Ward. Artists began moving into the poor, largely African-American neighborhood about a decade ago, converting historic but run-down shotgun shacks into cutting-edge art spaces. Now, in the next step of an increasingly familiar cycle, blocks of new townhouses are rising over the freeway, front yards turned toward the downtown skyline just a few miles away. Yuppies, empty nesters, childless couples--mainly white and Hispanic people with enough money to drop $250,000--are starting to move in. And Coleman, an intense, chain-smoking power broker who represents the neighborhood in the Texas legislature, isn't happy about it. "You can tell a neighborhood's turning," he says with dismay, "when you see them out at night walking their dogs."

 

Coleman is determined to stop gentrification in Houston's Third Ward before it gets out of hand. "I understand how this happens," he says. "I understand how to stop it." He's also uniquely situated to do something about it. Coleman is an influential player in Houston's local politics, owing partly to his House seat and partly to his family lineage.

 

Coleman is taking an unconventional and controversial approach to keeping the Third Ward affordable for longtime residents. Quietly, the board of a tax increment financing district that he partially controls has been buying up land in the Third Ward. Not only does Coleman want to keep the land away from developers. He also wants to saddle the property with restrictive deeds and covenants that would ensure that it could be used only for rental housing in perpetuity. "Quite frankly, this is personal," Coleman says with grim determination.

http://www.governing.com/topics/politics/Land.html

 

Props to DrLan34 for the original post of this link earlier in the thread.

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First off, I'm not saying that I support Coleman, but to me this shows how artificial development is, even in Houston. It annoys me when people point to Houston as this model of free development (oddly enough, most of them seem to be pretty crummy examples—like Zone D'Erotica in Uptown, or the proposed Ashby High Rise), but to me, Coleman's anti-gentrification scheme is just as disingenuous as TIF zones that allowed areas like Midtown to come back to life. Required affordable housing aside, the whole "where does gentrification happen" thing is just politicians pushing money around.

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Did you guys not read the state law I posted above? Yes, Coleman hates gentrification in Third Ward. He has every right to feel like that when you have long time residents and people on fixed incomes being pushed out. He loves Midtown and the development there as well. Again, it's a win win for both neighborhoods. Everything he's doing is by the books and legal. I talked with him at a Midtown event once and he's a cool guy really excited about how far Midtown has come.

Personally, I think there are better ways to provide affordable housing... but Coleman is following the law and Midtown is complying with what is required of them.

All that said, it's not like Coleman's plan is stunting growth in Third Ward or hurting Midtown. Both places are hot. The only people I've seen really upset by it typically have crime concerns about Midtown and wonder why more can't be spent on police instead of buying land. Again, 1/3 of revenues HAVE to go to affordable housing.

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This will be interesting to follow going forward.  Up to this point I assumed that the Third Ward would gentrify like other near in neighborhoods.  I'm guessing not now.  Based on the map/picture in the op it looks like they've locked up quite a bit in a concentrated area.  Enough to really affect how things turn out.  I wonder if Coleman is going to be bent out of shape if it all goes hispanic at some point.

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I agree.  I was actually considering buying a property in that area, but after learning this information will be looking more at East End.  The problem with the concentration of these properties is that even if some of the properties are developed, they can't do everything at once which will lead to a prolonged (10-20 years) revitalization vs the quick growth that Midtown, Eado, and downtown have seen.

 

This will be interesting to follow going forward.  Up to this point I assumed that the Third Ward would gentrify like other near in neighborhoods.  I'm guessing not now.  Based on the map/picture in the op it looks like they've locked up quite a bit in a concentrated area.  Enough to really affect how things turn out.  I wonder if Coleman is going to be bent out of shape if it all goes hispanic at some point.

 

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http://urbanedge.blogs.rice.edu/2016/05/25/third-ward-looks-to-shift-the-gentrification-conversation/#.V0W0lvkrKUl

 

 

"Adjacent to the Third Ward, the quasi-public tax increment reinvestment zone that was transforming Midtown — an area formerly divided between the Third and Fourth Wards — was required to dedicate a portion of its revenues for affordable housing. But Coleman saw that property values there were rising so quickly, affordable housing would be a difficult pitch to developers, so he convinced a related agency, the Midtown Redevelopment Authority, to use the money to buy properties in Third Ward instead. The redevelopment authority would then sell the property to developers who were required to build affordable single-family homes and rental units.

Today, the authority owns 3.5 million square feet of land in Greater Third Ward. Coleman started banking land through the authority in the neighborhood he grew up in, hoping to buy up enough to make a sizable percentage of its future housing affordable. That scheme has already yielded a crop of single-family homes and plans for apartment complexes."

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http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/East-west-divide-becomes-an-issue-in-Midtown-7962001.php

East-west divide becomes an issue in Midtown

By Erin Mulvaney

June 3, 2016 Updated: June 6, 2016 10:11am

 

 

A slice of the area also earned the designation of an "arts district" and is home to a new theater venue MATCH, Ensemble Theater, popular music venues like the Continental Club and art galleries. A Whole Foods Market-anchored mixed-use development is under construction nearby.

 

"It's a perception thing," Thibodeaux said. "They don't have a Bagby Street on the east side. The market has been focused on this side. The new apartments. A Whole Foods store. It's a market-driven thing."

Edited by DrLan34
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As long as two rappers representing the east and west sides of Midtown don't get shot, everything will be fine in the end.

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Maybe instead of taking a good portion of the funds from the TIrz to buy homes and property in the third ward, they should use those funds to upgrade lighting, streets and landscaping and promote the east side of Midtown more.

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The east side of Midtown is definitely more low-key/long-term.

 

So many townhomes on the east side. There are some bars/clubs on the east side (the clubs don't seem to last though), and the bars are more 'chill spots' than 'let's get hammered' spots. 13 Celsius, MvC, even the new place down near Luigis, it's a chill type place.

 

The west side is all apartments and clubs and bars to go get f---ed up at. There are some obvious exceptions on both sides, but yeah. They're growing up as different sections of the same area.

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3 hours ago, bobruss said:

Maybe instead of taking a good portion of the funds from the TIrz to buy homes and property in the third ward, they should use those funds to upgrade lighting, streets and landscaping and promote the east side of Midtown more.

Why?

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Why?

It seems that they have plenty of improvement projects they could be doing to improve the east side of Midtown, rather than buying property outside the Midtown TIRZ 2. They have been buying hundreds of properties outside of the TIRZ jurisdiction whose boundaries are 59 east, 59 south Pierce elevated on the north, and the spur and Bagby on the west. At one time Midtown was part of the third ward, however this TIRZ wasn't planned for the 3rd ward. It was developed by a group who wanted to energize the Midtown area. Now they're taking part of those funds for Congressman Coleman and developer David Womack to develop 3rd ward projects. Sounds a little fuzzy.

If I lived within the Midtown TIRZ I would be asking the powers that be, why they are diverting funds to purchase these properties instead of hiring security and making lighting, landscaping and the general improvements that have been made on the west side. I would imagine the early developers owned most of their land on the west side of Main and didn't really care about the East side. Just speculating.

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3 hours ago, bobruss said:

Why?

It seems that they have plenty of improvement projects they could be doing to improve the east side of Midtown, rather than buying property outside the Midtown TIRZ 2. They have been buying hundreds of properties outside of the TIRZ jurisdiction whose boundaries are 59 east, 59 south Pierce elevated on the north, and the spur and Bagby on the west. At one time Midtown was part of the third ward, however this TIRZ wasn't planned for the 3rd ward. It was developed by a group who wanted to energize the Midtown area. Now they're taking part of those funds for Congressman Coleman and developer David Womack to develop 3rd ward projects. Sounds a little fuzzy.

If I lived within the Midtown TIRZ I would be asking the powers that be, why they are diverting funds to purchase these properties instead of hiring security and making lighting, landscaping and the general improvements that have been made on the west side. I would imagine the early developers owned most of their land on the west side of Main and didn't really care about the East side. Just speculating.

Interesting. I thought TIRZ 7 funds were primarily used for 3rd Ward redevelopment; however, I believe Coleman's legislative district extends into TIRZ 2 boundaries. 

Edited by quietstorm

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Not sure if it's been brought up in other threads but what is the timeline for developing all of this land in third ward?  There is no way possible they could cohesively develop the patchwork of land they own.

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Thats the point. They don't want large developments. They are buying it up so no developers like Larry Davis can come in and put together large scale projects, which is fine but they are taking properties out of circulation for others that want to move into the area and fix up a home. It makes it an uneven playing field, and I've seen some very shoddy construction in some of the single family homes going up and it concerns me when a politician comes in to take control of a neighborhood. I know he says he's trying to save the integrity of the ward but I haven't seen anyone in Houston ever take these measures to control large numbers of property.

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As a resident of the third ward that frequents midtown I think I'll make it a point to start going to tirz meetings.  I can't find the map now but believe there is a unkempt parcel of land they own within one block of me.

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There is a map on this thread and a list of properties owned by the Midtown Redevelopment Authority.  I'd also like to go to a meeting, since I've been trying to buy property in the Third Ward area, and am not having any luck.  The builders are receiving incentives to build "affordable" housing, but in reality, the houses are not affordable at all.  There is a lot more to the situation, but I have not been able to get to the bottom of it yet.  Anyone that would like to know more or help me dig around, please let me know!  

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, ew2003 said:

There is a map on this thread and a list of properties owned by the Midtown Redevelopment Authority.  I'd also like to go to a meeting, since I've been trying to buy property in the Third Ward area, and am not having any luck.  The builders are receiving incentives to build "affordable" housing, but in reality, the houses are not affordable at all.  There is a lot more to the situation, but I have not been able to get to the bottom of it yet.  Anyone that would like to know more or help me dig around, please let me know!  

 

 

 

I'll be attending meetings when I'm back in town in 3 weeks.  I'm not sure which is the appropriate meeting to go so I'll just attend them all.  I believe most of the properties they own are currently vacant according to HCAD.  This concerns me as a resident of third ward because vacant lots need proper attention to ensure they don't into a trash dump. This will also artificially slow down development because they can't develop properties if they're spending all the money to acquire new ones.

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20 minutes ago, BeerNut said:

I'll be attending meetings when I'm back in town in 3 weeks.  I'm not sure which is the appropriate meeting to go so I'll just attend them all.  I believe most of the properties they own are currently vacant according to HCAD.  This concerns me as a resident of third ward because vacant lots need proper attention to ensure they don't into a trash dump. This will also artificially slow down development because they can't develop properties if they're spending all the money to acquire new ones.

Looks like the next board meeting is June 30 at 12:30.  Will try to make that one.

http://houstonmidtown.com/event/midtown-redevelopment-authority-board-meeting-6/

 

 

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22 hours ago, ew2003 said:

There is a map on this thread and a list of properties owned by the Midtown Redevelopment Authority.  I'd also like to go to a meeting, since I've been trying to buy property in the Third Ward area, and am not having any luck.  The builders are receiving incentives to build "affordable" housing, but in reality, the houses are not affordable at all.  There is a lot more to the situation, but I have not been able to get to the bottom of it yet.  Anyone that would like to know more or help me dig around, please let me know!  

 

 

 

 

Maybe the Houston Chronicle will break a story on this. Don't laugh, it could happen.

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Maybe the Houston Chronicle will break a story on this. Don't laugh, it could happen.

lol the Chronicle is a joke.  The only paper that might touch this is Houston Press...maybe?

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Apart from HCC what is there in East Mid Town to attract Houstonians who do not live there to visit the area? 

 

I know there was an effort recently to revitalize Baldwin park but I have not been there in over 10 years so I don't know the vibe around that park.

 

If UH was in HCCs location downtown and the university (and of course Midtown) would have a totally different feel. 

 

Our University trifecta clustered around TMC is close to Downtown by Houston standards, but too far for the feel to carry. Don't get me wrong, the whole UH, TSU, Rice, TMC area is one of the best things about our city. However,  the devide between our urban activity clusters are either physically really wide or mentally wide. While at Rice they told us try to stay away from the areas east of TMC.

 

Can you imagine how campus life would feel if residents benefitted more from the entertainment and retail in west midtown?  Conversely,  can you imagine how much more lively Midtown would feel if it benefit from the college town feel of 3 major schools and a 100,000 person medical center.?

 

UH is less of a commuter school now because of the additional on campus residents,  but it still feels like a commuter school because of the fortress type set up.

 

Pardon my ramble but midtown location is the best in Texas. It is too good not to have a major draw like a university,  a major attraction like an aquarium,  zoo, collection of museums,  etc

 

The rail makes it convenient,  but people like stumbling from one thing to the other. Not going from isolated island to isolated island

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The MidMain area which isn't that easterly is probably the closest thing to a draw outside of the typical Midtown area.  I've gone to a few shows at MATCH and Continental club and had friends drive in from out of town to do the same.  

 

Baldwin Park is a beautiful park with old live oak trees, playground, jogging path, and baseball diamond.  I often see people there jogging, hanging out, and LARPing.  I kinda wish they would have small events there more often as Midtown Art in the Park Is the only event I've known about since moving to the area.  

 

As for the location of universities yeah it would be nice but that's not going to change.  

 

There is also the stigma about East Midtown being less safe compared to West Midtown.  Some of this probably warranted but I'm hoping with the Alameda yards(Axelrad, Luigi's, and Retrospect coffee) that other businesses realize they can be successful in East Midtown.  The best we can hope for is that money from the TIRZ is used to revitalize the Midtown East area and make all of Midtown a destination location.

 

 

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What is TIRZ #7 OST/Alameda  role in all of this if the Midtown TIRZ is buying land their zone?

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On 6/8/2016 at 9:16 PM, BeerNut said:

As a resident of the third ward that frequents midtown I think I'll make it a point to start going to tirz meetings.  I can't find the map now but believe there is a unkempt parcel of land they own within one block of me.

Speaking as a long-time Third Ward resident, I think your attending the TIRZ meetings is a good idea.  Just understand that Third Ward has an active community that is looking for a certain type of development.  I look at efforts by Garnett Coleman, who is a politician, but is also a long-time resident, as positive.  Unlike some other gentrifying areas in the city, Third Ward is still the political and financial epicenter for many African Americans in Houston.  As I've said in previous posts, efforts to significantly change Third Ward won't happen.  There is money and influence with long-time residents.  Instead of looking to recreate greater Third Ward in Midtown's image, consider how you can, as a newcomer, add to and improve what is there.   

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Exactly! All this outrage from people who aren'tfrom the neighborhood or respect the history! 

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Anybody can have outage for their tax dollars being handled in a manner they disagree with.

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