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723 Main Street to Become an AC Hotel By Marriott

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Interesting...I wonder if this will finally stem the tide of clubs dying at that corner

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This would be awesome.  It would be even better if they could do the same thing as the JW and take off the ~1960s façade to restore it to its original 1917 appearance!

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Awesome!

 

but goodness gracious please tell me there is a beautiful original facade they can return to. Just don't leave it the way it is.

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2 minutes ago, rechlin said:

This would be awesome.  It would be even better if they could do the same thing as the JW and take off the ~1960s façade to restore it to its original 1917 appearance!

I hope so. Time to start searching for those vintage photos!

 

was the address the same?

Edited by lockmat

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logo_AC.png

^^^ what an amazing idea to place a european designed AC HOTEL at this particular site.

houston has acquired it's groove back.....

 

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Are they renovating this building or tearing it down and building a new one? Their website says each of their spaces is built from the ground up, but I guess that could just mean a full gut job

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18 hours ago, tigereye said:

 

Found a pic from the 20's, 723 Main is on the right (left foreground is now JWM)

 

http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/p15195coll2/item/171

 

<img src="http://digital.lib.uh.edu/contentdm/image/standard/p15195coll2/171/393/500/6.2212268259301/0/0/0/0" alt="" />

 

Edited by lockmat
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There was a point in time a few years ago when it was sometimes very hard to get a hotel in downtown Houston on "fairly short notice".   The economy is slow now so it's not difficult to find one.  When the economy rebounds, will downtown actually be "overbuilt" with rooms?  Lots of new beds have come along(or will).

 

marriott marquee

embassy suites

W

JW marriott

humble apartment building was converted?

Aloft

Greenstreet

holiday Inn

(did I miss any?)

now the AC

 

thats a lot of new beds!  Maybe a thousand?  While it is great to think of all the visitors and infrastructure that comes with it, I am a bit concerned that the absorption of those rooms many be challenging.... A thousand new beds that need to be filled week in and week out?.  Oh well.  I know nothing of the hospitality business so I am sure that smarter people than me looked at the data and decided to launch.  Good stuff. 

Edited by UtterlyUrban

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42 minutes ago, monarch said:

^^^ @UtterlyUrban where did you acquire the W HOTEL flag?

Oooops.  My mistake.  There have been so many I can't keep them straight.  I meant to say "Le Meridian" not the W.

 

 

Edited by UtterlyUrban
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On June 10, 2016 at 4:26 PM, rechlin said:

This would be awesome.  It would be even better if they could do the same thing as the JW and take off the ~1960s façade to restore it to its original 1917 appearance!


From the picture tigereye linked, it doesnt appear to have been a reskin/cladding over top of an old facade. Looks more like they just took removed the decorative elements from the original design. But yeah, hopefully they find a way to spruce it up a little..

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The BG Group Place effect continues (though now no longer BG Group Place). Has this building been sitting vacant all this time? Are we now about done with our inventory of vacant buildings, except for the old Battelstein's???

 

I doubt there's much left of the old facade. The current one isn't bad, starting to get a nice retro vibe. It's in good condition and respectable overall, much better than the modernist skin on 806 Main pre-Marriott.

 

The main thing about this is that it gets more warm bodies on Main Street. And hotel-goer warm bodies as opposed to office, who won't just get sucked into tunnels and leave at 6 PM.

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Would be nice to have the old facade but I kind of dig the way it looks now. No harm feelings if they just polish up the current design.

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13 minutes ago, Montrose1100 said:

Would be nice to have the old facade but I kind of dig the way it looks now. No harm feelings if they just polish up the current design.

 

I don't hate the current look but Houston needs more historic facades. I would be THRILLED to get its old look back.

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38 minutes ago, Avossos said:

 

I don't hate the current look but Houston needs more historic facades. I would be THRILLED to get its old look back.

Eh, I don't know how the current facade was done, but remember, the renovation at 806 Main was not restored, but rather a completely new facade patterned after the original facade. At 806 Main, the building was gutted to the riveted frame.

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Awesome news! Also don't forget the bottom corner of the Gulf Building being converted back to retail across the street. Exciting times indeed.

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This building is currently far from vacant.  I don't know how much is occupied, but from what I can tell peeking in the windows, I'd be surprised if it's even half vacant. However, the ground floor has been vacant after that nightclub left, and a couple TABC permit request signs have popped up and gone back down over the last few years, so a hotel here would add some much-needed street presence too.

 

So if the current tenants get forced out, that will hopefully help fill some of the other vacant office space downtown.  A win for everyone!

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The landlord of 723 Main had stopped all new leasing activity about a year ago.  They've been trying to restructure this for sometime now.  Really happy to see they found a great flag for the immediate area.

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"To be sure, the estimated $44 million project will add more shine to downtown's overall revitalization, which includes new residential towers, hotels and restaurants. Yet, unlike some of the historic structures nearby, the original facade of 723 Main will remain hidden beneath cladding that was placed over it 50 years ago."

 

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/Downtown-s-Main-Street-to-see-more-upscale-changes-8214081.php?t=65f3fd172a&cmpid=twitter-premium

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I can't find a "vintage" photo of the 1966 version. What are they gonna do, put polish on it? Use soap and water on the windows?

 

If potential customers consider the outside of a building, I can't imagine anyone WANTING to stay there if they have other options and money isn't a significant consideration.

 

Unless this "restoration" is significantly better than what it is now, I'm curious what is going through this developers head.

 

Maybe I'm wrong and most hotel guests don't care about architecture that much.

 

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43 minutes ago, lockmat said:

I can't find a "vintage" photo of the 1966 version. What are they gonna do, put polish on it? Use soap and water on the windows?

 

If potential customers consider the outside of a building, I can't imagine anyone WANTING to stay there if they have other options and money isn't a significant consideration.

 

Unless this "restoration" is significantly better than what it is now, I'm curious what is going through this developers head.

 

Maybe I'm wrong and most hotel guests don't care about architecture that much.

 

I think that exterior architecture is something less considered, especially if people know it's an older building. If it looks like a flophouse from the outside, then yes, I think it would drive people away. The hotel at 59 and Kirby (Crowne Plaza River Oaks) isn't exactly a looker, but still commands high prices for a night.

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This is a very interesting article. The developer is claiming that the old facade was heavily compromised when they put up the current cladding 50 years ago, and there wouldn't be much left to restore. Then the Texas Historical Commission establishes a guideline that a building must be at least 50 years old to be considered historic, which I assume would help the developer apply for the redevelopment grant. 

 

I have an issue with taking the developers word for it, since not doing the full restoration and still getting the grant probably helps their business case quite a bit. 

Edited by Sunstar
grammatical changes

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39 minutes ago, Sunstar said:

This is a very interesting article. The developer is claiming that the old facade was heavily compromised when they put up the current cladding 50 years ago, and there wouldn't be much left to restore. Then the Texas Historical Commission establishes a guideline that a building must be at least 50 years old to be considered historic, which I assume would help the developer apply for the redevelopment grant. 

 

I have an issue with taking the developers word for it, since not doing the full restoration and still getting the grant probably helps their business case quite a bit. 

Like I said, the "restoration" at the JW Marriott wasn't a "restoration", it was a re-creation. The original facade of that building was so messed up that they had to strip it down to the frame and rebuild it to a facade similar to the original. I suppose that the Marriott could've done a full restoration without just stripping everything and starting over, but it would've been uneconomically expensive.

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1 hour ago, Sunstar said:

This is a very interesting article. The developer is claiming that the old facade was heavily compromised when they put up the current cladding 50 years ago, and there wouldn't be much left to restore. Then the Texas Historical Commission establishes a guideline that a building must be at least 50 years old to be considered historic, which I assume would help the developer apply for the redevelopment grant. 

 

I have an issue with taking the developers word for it, since not doing the full restoration and still getting the grant probably helps their business case quite a bit. 

 

I think the article states the developer went to the Texas Historical Commissikn and the State is the one who said that and recommended only restoring it to the 1966 look, not the other way around.

 

so the blame goes to the state. I guess the developer doesn't want to do what the JW Marriot did. "Restoring" it like JW did is probably more expensive than pulling the new facade off and just touching up the original, even though the 1966 look is awful, even if it is a "period piece"

 

 

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I'd imagine the state recommended against doing what the JW Marriott did, which would almost certainly be cheaper than actually restoring the building to its original appearance.

 

I actually don't think the 1966 skin is that bad, especially if they can brighten it up a bit.

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5 minutes ago, lockmat said:

 

Thanks for sharing, but can you one from 1966 or newer?

 

Isn't that what's there now?

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5 hours ago, Sunstar said:

 

Isn't that what's there now?

 

If you look at the top, you can see the old structure. It's also for the year the photo was taken.

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On 6/16/2016 at 8:43 AM, Nole23 said:

"To be sure, the estimated $44 million project will add more shine to downtown's overall revitalization, which includes new residential towers, hotels and restaurants. Yet, unlike some of the historic structures nearby, the original facade of 723 Main will remain hidden beneath cladding that was placed over it 50 years ago."

 

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/Downtown-s-Main-Street-to-see-more-upscale-changes-8214081.php?t=65f3fd172a&cmpid=twitter-premium


Also from the above article:
 

Quote

Construction will not start on the project until after next year's Super Bowl and will take about 13 months to complete. About 200 construction jobs and as many as 100 permanent hotel employees will be created by the project, Franks said.
 

The developer is planning a series of improvements in order to turn the building into "modernized" version of what it is now. Those include automatic glass entry doors, new windows on Main and Rusk, canopy replacement and repair and new lighting.
 

The hotel will have an event space able to house as many as 400 guests for weddings, conferences or civic events. It will be called the Zoe Ballroom, using the name of a silent movie theater that once operated on the block called the Zoe Theater.
 

The hotel will add to other changes happening along this stretch of Main.
 

Bright murals cover dormant building fronts and folksy paintings of downtown street scenes hang behind the windows of a CVS. Oversized images of Texas bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins have been painted on the blank space above the Main Street Market at Main and Walker.
 

The work is part of a public program bringing temporary art installations to this part of Main.The authority is spending $12.1 million on the public art, along with new landscaping and lighting.


 

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The more sq footage taken out from the commercial side and converted to hotel or residential,  then the lower our vacancy rate for office space which gives us more chances for new commercial building.

 

It's a win win.

Preservationists get to keep our history and modernist get new shiny buildings. 

 

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And we get more people downtown, even if its just visitors, which will help make it a real neighborhood and drive demand for retail.

 

That's at least two more wins.

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Hard to tell if it's just the rendering that makes it look better or what, but it looks pretty clean. The street presence seems to be improved quite a bit?

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Getting some light under the awnings and having windows with activity behind them adjacent to the sidewalk works wonders.

 

I was looking at it earlier today and noticed that the white marble looks to be in pretty rough shape.  With any amount of luck fixing that won't take as long as it took to reskin the Chron.

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http://archpaper.com/2016/09/houston-architectural-preservation-hotels/

 

 

Bar-Center-IMG_2237.jpg

 

The developers claimed to be surprised that the Texas Historical Commission recommended not to go back to the 1914 and 1916 originals, but rather to rehabilitate the 1966 curtain wall. The logic for this decision was twofold: First, the slipcover is fifty years old, a critical threshold for historic consideration, and second, the building’s original facade was so damaged during Slater’s remodeling that the missing ornament would have to be almost entirely reconstructed. According to the developer, this will be the first time that such a slipcover has been intentionally preserved in Texas. This approach has raised the ire of no less an authority than architectural historian Stephen Fox who complained that the Texas Historical Commission was using “twisted logic to preserve a mediocre exterior.”

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I can see both sides of the argument for using the bland 1960s facade or not.  As with 806 Main the original facade is probably in very bad shape.  So what would be interesting would be to remove some sections of the current facade to show the original.  Make it look like strips of the new facade have been peeled off, like peeling the top layer of wallpaper.  It would make an interesting effect.

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