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Founders District/The Cannon Mixed-Use @ Beltway 8 & I-10

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https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2017/11/03/70m-mixed-use-project-to-start-construction-near.html

 

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A new roughly $70 million, 120,000-square-foot mixed-use project is expected to break ground next January north of Interstate 10 and west of Beltway 8.

 

The space, called The Cannon, is planned to feature a co-working component along with an event center, an athletic facility, restaurant and retail and a multifamily area. Houston-based Work America Capital is behind the project, and Abel Design Group is the project's designer.

 

The Cannon is expected to be completed in late 2018.

 

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Just talking tonight to my buddy who owns 2 acres on Church Ln and Brittmoore. He told me that this project is a go... Kind of a strange place for the development seeing that it's being built in a warehouse district.

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The Esports arena is a pretty cool addition. I still think this is a strange site for this project.

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The antique mall is still there (Upland and 10), But it's pretty much a used car dealer at this point. The Cannon site is about a mile North between Brittmoore and the beltway.

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How is flooding in that area? Why is it called and Esports arena, and not s sports arena. Just curious.

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26 minutes ago, bobruss said:

How is flooding in that area? Why is it called and Esports arena, and not s sports arena. Just curious.

 

Aerials from GoogleEarth look fine in the area after Harvey. The only areas with water are two empty lots that look like they were designed to be detention basins. 

 

I assume because esports is different than sports. It is competitive video games and drone flying. This market is growing very fast so I am not surprised to see an arena be built. If done right they will be able to host events from across the state, country, and world. I agree the location could be better but the were a couple furniture stores/warehouses here so there is lot of land.

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I don't have any problem with the location in the warehouse area. My only concern was flooding. 
I wish them great success. The more the merrier!

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Why is this damn esports arena not closer to the city? Ridiculous how we want to bring entertainment to downtown yet every project is near a freeway intersection. Not saying this needs to be downtown but damn what runs thru our city planners heads? I feel like we shoot ourselves in the foot non stop. 

Edited by j_cuevas713
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22 minutes ago, Naviguessor said:

Oh, Him.  Do we think he had anything to do with the location of this development? 

No. Their job us to ensure the developers follow rules on site prrp, life safety, etc. The Houston Planning Department doesn't get to choose siting for projects, which is as it should be.

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I agree 100%. Its not the city planning department's place  to decide where things should be built in our system of no zoning. 

It's the developers job to choose what they feel is the appropriate location for their project.

The public has the opportunity to vote on the developers decision for location and whether the idea is worthwhile with their pocketbooks and their participation in these enterprises.

It's a shame that there isn't some kind of advisory board that could help these developers make better decisions.

Someone to play ideas off of.

In fairness to this site the burbs are where the majority of young people who would be more inclined to use this type of facility live.

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41 minutes ago, bobruss said:

I agree 100%. Its not the city planning department's place  to decide where things should be built in our system of no zoning. 

It's the developers job to choose what they feel is the appropriate location for their project.

The public has the opportunity to vote on the developers decision for location and whether the idea is worthwhile with their pocketbooks and their participation in these enterprises.

It's a shame that there isn't some kind of advisory board that could help these developers make better decisions.

Someone to play ideas off of.

In fairness to this site the burbs are where the majority of young people who would be more inclined to use this type of facility live.

And that's exactly MY point. I understand the planning department can't dictate where a developer wants to build, but much how the city can suggest, for example building closer to the street or parking in the back, why can't they offer an incentive of some kind to build closer or in a certain area?

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Well, thats another story, and most of what you ask are good questions. You would think that those issues would or should be an issue for planning through permitting, I guess.

I remember from my experience with Austin planning and permitting the very strict rules and regulations that were carried out to the inch. 

I don't know if the planning board has a recommended preference for developers to follow, but it would be interesting to know. . . . . if someone cares to tell us more.

 

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Structural permits for this were pulled yesterday 
 

Quote
Project No: 17144472
Date : 2018/04/23 00:00:00
USE : (EPR)CNVT TO OFFC SHELL W/2ND FLR ADDT'N
Owner/Occupant : *1334 BRITTMOORE BUILDING
Job Address : 1334 BRITTMOORE RD 77043
Valuation : $ 14,000,000
Permit Type : 13
FCC Group : Non-Residential Alteration
Buyer : *BURTON CONSTRUCTION
Address : 10550 WESTPARK DR 77042
Phone : (218) 313-5055



http://www.cohtora.houstontx.gov/ibi_apps/WFServlet.ibfs?IBIF_webapp=/ibi_apps&IBIC_server=EDASERVE&IBIWF_msgviewer=OFF&IBIAPP_app=soldpermits&IBIF_ex=sold_permit_d&CLICKED_ON=&PN=17144472&PT=13
 

Edited by AREJAY
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Mmm... this building is already in place. What is this saying?

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1 hour ago, Triton said:

Mmm... this building is already in place. What is this saying?

The permit says second floor addition. Burton has a picture on their Facebook of the bare shell 

 

 

There’s also a biz journals article from a couple of weeks ago behind a paywall with some interior renders. Can anybody access? 

 

https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2018/04/04/exclusive-150m-campus-for-entrepreneurs-breaks.html

 

 

 

 

Edited by AREJAY
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trying to imagine the nerve/gaul/ignorance required to call something Founders District thats nowhere near the founding of anything. 

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Glad this seems to be getting enough attention to become even bigger, however I'm still wondering what kind of touch is going to be applied to this look. If not done right this could easily become a bit themeparkish.

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On 9/6/2019 at 7:40 PM, crock said:

trying to imagine the nerve/gaul/ignorance required to call something Founders District thats nowhere near the founding of anything. 

 

you do realize they are calling it this because the term "founders" refers to the startup founders they are catering to, right?

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19 minutes ago, swtsig said:

 

you do realize they are calling it this because the term "founders" refers to the startup founders they are catering to, right?

Bingo. This is going to be "startup wonderland" for Houston so you'll have quite a few "founders" walking around here.

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https://www.houstonchronicle.com/techburger/article/Houston-City-Council-approves-6M-tax-break-for-14898611.php

 



Houston City Council on Wednesday approved a $6 million tax break for the Founders District, a live-work-play entrepreneurial community being built in west Houston.

 

The Founders District is a roughly $150 million project that will sit on 32 acres near the intersection of I-10 and Beltway 8. The proposed development includes 180,000 square feet of modern office space, 60,000 square feet of coworking space, 180,000 square feet of restaurants, retail and commercial space, a community events center and apartment units, according to the City Council agenda.

 

The Founders District is expected to hire at least 105 employees by 2020, and it will hire and retain 404 employees by 2023, according to the City Council agenda. And as part of the tax abatement agreement approved Wednesday, the Founders District has committed to providing 20 percent of its residential units for workforce/affordable housing. It has also committed to collaborating with Houston Community College, Spring Branch Independent School District and Lone Star College.

 

City Council on Wednesday first created a tax abatement reinvestment zone for the Founders District and then approved a tax abatement agreement. The agreement approved a 90 percent abatement rate, which is estimated to result in $6 million over a 10-year period.

 

The Founders District is being funded by Mark Toon, co-founder of Houston venture capital firm Work America Capital, which invested in the Cannon, as well as by some of Toon’s business partners.

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It's outrageous that this development gets a 90% tax abatement for basically providing market rate office facilities in a city that has a 20% + office vacancy rate downtown and nearby in the Energy Corridor.  If this project couldn't make it without a subsidy from you and me, Joe Taxpayer, then it shouldn't get built.  By giving it a tax advantage it hurts the ability of existing owners of taxable property to fill their buildings, which in turn results in  their lower tax valuation, thus a double whammy to the tax base.  Follow the money......how many of those elected reps who voted for this corporate welfare directly or indirectly received campaign funds from the developers, their attorneys and/or other interested parties or cut-outs? 

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16 minutes ago, Skyboxdweller said:

It's outrageous that this development gets a 90% tax abatement for basically providing market rate office facilities in a city that has a 20% + office vacancy rate downtown and nearby in the Energy Corridor.  If this project couldn't make it without a subsidy from you and me, Joe Taxpayer, then it shouldn't get built.  By giving it a tax advantage it hurts the ability of existing owners of taxable property to fill their buildings, which in turn results in  their lower tax valuation, thus a double whammy to the tax base.  Follow the money......how many of those elected reps who voted for this corporate welfare directly or indirectly received campaign funds from the developers, their attorneys and/or other interested parties or cut-outs? 

 

Totally fair question. I would also imagine that the funds help provide the concessions about "workforce or affordable" housing. I'm not sure how much tech companies prefer to have certain types of office space and how that compares to office space in the region. Not sure what portion of their expected tax bill they are having rebated represents, either.  Isn't it like .65%? So, a significant chunk of the expected tax bill with the benefit that their receiving is $600k/year for 10 years. 

 

12 minutes ago, Skyboxdweller said:

The Chronicle statement that the Founder's District is funded by Mark Toon is inaccurate.  At least $6M of the funding has now been provided by the City of Houston.

 

Isn't the six million coming in the form of tax rebates after it opens? I don't think you typically count future tax costs as part of the funding. 

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It's a future subsidy that substitutes for equity.  In order to give the debt capital  the required internal rate of return, if the future cash flow was burdened by a normal tax rate it would limitthe amount of debt that the project could bear. 
The sponsor could have put more equity  in order to deliver the required financial ratios ( cash flow to leverage). But instead, you and me are providing a subsidy in lieu of sponsor equity. What do we get out of it?  A suburban  Disney-land office park that will look and feel dated before the grout on the brick veneer sets. 

This is what drives me mad about "free enterprise" and "entrepreneurship:" in America. We have socialized risk and privatized gain....See financial crisis 2008 for reference.

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12 hours ago, Skyboxdweller said:

It's a future subsidy that substitutes for equity.  In order to give the debt capital  the required internal rate of return, if the future cash flow was burdened by a normal tax rate it would limitthe amount of debt that the project could bear. 
The sponsor could have put more equity  in order to deliver the required financial ratios ( cash flow to leverage). But instead, you and me are providing a subsidy in lieu of sponsor equity. What do we get out of it?  A suburban  Disney-land office park that will look and feel dated before the grout on the brick veneer sets. 

This is what drives me mad about "free enterprise" and "entrepreneurship:" in America. We have socialized risk and privatized gain....See financial crisis 2008 for reference.

 

Gee, and I wonder who was responsible for this "thing" that happened in 2008 hmmmm, I wonder who ?

I personally have no problem with RESPONSIBLE socialized risk as long as it's done fairly and evenly.  Of course, lately that is up for debate, sadly.  But, as far as this privatized gain that happened and still happens at the expense of us lowlife low wage earners, well, that's the main drawback of our economy and that is the main reason we have something known as "regulations" that are in place (or used to be in place) up until a few years ago.  Like everything in life, moderation and fairness is the key.  Not too extreme in one direction or another.  Unfortunately, Houston is at odds with most of the rest of the current trend in this country of deregulating basically EVERYTHING at OUR taxpayers' expense while benefiting the very wealthy and reducing already scare resources.  The trend has to reverse to be fair and before it's too late.  Thank goodness Houston does a pretty decent job of weighing both to it's own benefit, and to the benefit of future Houstonians.  Very commendable in this current polarized climate where one is wrong if they go towards the middle and try to work together, thereby offending the "purists" running executive government in DC and it's unreasonable hard headed following.

But, I digest...

 

We should all be a lot more grateful that wealthy developers are still investing and "bully" on development in Houston in this current economic climate of change and uncertainty and this includes the Founders District right along with all the other improvements that have been made and are being invested in for a great number of years now.  I truly see all this development as a huge plus to our fair city, with very little to complain about, at least in our city and area of the country. Visually, I see the change happening so rapidly now, it is hard to keep up with.  Unless you drive all over the city and our giant metro area each month, or even week, you are likely to miss something new and exciting in just about every zone in town.  This is another great reason that I'm thankful we have the HAIF forum to share our thoughts and updates on what we are able to find out about what is happening and changing every single day.  Thank you HAIF !

 

 

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Everything in moderation, agreed.  When I look at subsidies for any project meant to serve private interests I wonder why the project couldn't make it on its own.  This project is located amid a strip of industrial and light industrial buildings, including a waste transfer station. wedged along Beltway 8.  It's probably  less than two miles east of see-through high rise office buildings that have no tenants. The developers claim that they are constructing a walkable environment. This is pure hype. It's a parcel surrounded by industrial buildings, far from greenspace and far from shopping and anything  of interest to walk to. I walk three to four miles a day in Uptown/Galleria.  I have restaurants,supermarkets, clothing stores, and parks along my route.  There is a McDonalds on the other side for I-10 that is in walking distance from the Cannon, and not much else.  It's clear that this project can't make it on its own without subsidy, that in a city with a large office vacancy situation more office space is not a burning public need and with subdivisions built inside of reservoirs a mile or two west of this development the public would be better served with subsidies directed elsewhere.  Re 2008, which is someone what off subject, how many investment bankers, rating agency personnel, portfolio managers and others who packaged,peddled  and profited from subprime mortgage debt were brought up on criminal fraud charges?  Zero.  They are still living in Greenwich, CT. and Bel Air, CA on the proceeds of their ill gotten gain. 

Edited by Skyboxdweller
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Subsidies aside, this is an extremely impressive project.  There are a lot of start ups here, some of which are really starting to scale and getting large valuations.  The Cannon is having to expand much quicker than they anticipated.  Major Energy companies are putting teams out here (Chevron Technology Ventures, Shell Lubricants, etc) there are a lot of VC's and angel investors here, major law firms have presences out here, banks, cpa firms, etc.  It really is crazy what they've done in a short amount of time and with its proximity to the Energy Corridor, I would not be surprised if its as successful or more successful than the Ion.  Fortunately, I think it will be less of a competition, but instead have more alignment and promote one another's missions for the betterment of Houston.  It will be exciting to watch both grow over the next 3-5 years and beyond.

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1 hour ago, CREguy13 said:

Subsidies aside, this is an extremely impressive project.  There are a lot of start ups here, some of which are really starting to scale and getting large valuations.  The Cannon is having to expand much quicker than they anticipated.  Major Energy companies are putting teams out here (Chevron Technology Ventures, Shell Lubricants, etc) there are a lot of VC's and angel investors here, major law firms have presences out here, banks, cpa firms, etc.  It really is crazy what they've done in a short amount of time and with its proximity to the Energy Corridor, I would not be surprised if its as successful or more successful than the Ion.  Fortunately, I think it will be less of a competition, but instead have more alignment and promote one another's missions for the betterment of Houston.  It will be exciting to watch both grow over the next 3-5 years and beyond.


glad to hear our start ups are gaining steam. We need to continue to diversify and become strong economically on all fronts. Our city is maturing!

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On 10/9/2019 at 10:16 PM, Urbannizer said:

 

This project has grown in size, latest idea:

 

NN488Z2.jpg

 

The layout/style of this reminds me a bit of The Pearl in San Antonio.

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I hate this project.

 

6 million city subsidy is seen as a small amount, but it could pay for so much more, especially when the city's finances are suffering from the property tax revenue cap and ongoing pension debts, etc. 6 million is 10 cops making 60,000 a year for 10 years. 6 million is a community center or a library, or two swimming pools or four city parks. Or a thousand summer jobs for troubled teens.

 

Plus its ugly. What do the developers think this is, Youngstown? There ain't no red brick industrial lofts off I-10. The actual industrial heritage of that area(when there was an MKT spur track going up towards Hammerly Rd) was quonset huts and metal buildings, most of which are still there(Bison materials, Elliot Forklifts, etc). You want industrial reuse? Rent some of those old business suite centers and give them a power washing and there's your startup space right there. It was good enough for companies that pioneered the mapping of the sea floor or calculated the location of oil using seismic data and powerful computers back in the 1970s, so its certainly good enough for tech companies of tomorrow.

 

There is zero need to build this kind of thing in an area that's full of half empty high rises that are brand new. It's no mans land, I was just thinking the other day of how strange the neighborhood off Brittmore is, wedged between the beltway and the levee. Its full of unrestricted townhouse development and light industry. Just leave it alone.

 

Why do startups need some corny fake restored warehouses anyways? What they probably need is cash money and business support. It's a cargo cult IMO. Someone looked at the success of startup culture housed in adaptive reuse locations and completely missed the context and cause and effect(rust belt city with strong eds and meds legacy uses run down structures because they are cheap). Yes it must be the looks of old brick that makes people creative, its what they want! Cringey AF.

Edited by zaphod
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Don't think it's related to this project, but it was the closest one I could find a thread for: does anyone know what is going up at I-10 and Upland next door to the Grove apartments? I can't recall seeing anything about this site, but they have been working there for a few months and there are now several ~5 story elevator shafts built, looks like more apartments but wouldn't surprise me if it was another storage place or something.

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On 1/17/2020 at 8:29 PM, zaphod said:

I hate this project.

 

6 million city subsidy is seen as a small amount, but it could pay for so much more, especially when the city's finances are suffering from the property tax revenue cap and ongoing pension debts, etc. 6 million is 10 cops making 60,000 a year for 10 years. 6 million is a community center or a library, or two swimming pools or four city parks. Or a thousand summer jobs for troubled teens.

 

Plus its ugly. What do the developers think this is, Youngstown? There ain't no red brick industrial lofts off I-10. The actual industrial heritage of that area(when there was an MKT spur track going up towards Hammerly Rd) was quonset huts and metal buildings, most of which are still there(Bison materials, Elliot Forklifts, etc). You want industrial reuse? Rent some of those old business suite centers and give them a power washing and there's your startup space right there. It was good enough for companies that pioneered the mapping of the sea floor or calculated the location of oil using seismic data and powerful computers back in the 1970s, so its certainly good enough for tech companies of tomorrow.

 

There is zero need to build this kind of thing in an area that's full of half empty high rises that are brand new. It's no mans land, I was just thinking the other day of how strange the neighborhood off Brittmore is, wedged between the beltway and the levee. Its full of unrestricted townhouse development and light industry. Just leave it alone.

 

Why do startups need some corny fake restored warehouses anyways? What they probably need is cash money and business support. It's a cargo cult IMO. Someone looked at the success of startup culture housed in adaptive reuse locations and completely missed the context and cause and effect(rust belt city with strong eds and meds legacy uses run down structures because they are cheap). Yes it must be the looks of old brick that makes people creative, its what they want! Cringey AF.

I would have loved to see this built in Midtown or East End. You're right, the location is terrible. I'm a creative, and my friend has her company here. The problem is I don't see many creatives wanting to drive 30 mins from the city center just to work in a spot in the long term. I mean it's def exceeding expectations but this would have been so cool near downtown. 

Edited by j_cuevas713

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2 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

I would have loved to see this built in Midtown or East End. You're right, the location is terrible. I'm a creative, and my friend has her company here. The problem is I don't see many creatives wanting to drive 30 mins from the city center just to work in a spot in the long term. I mean it's def exceeding expectations but this would have been so cool near downtown. 

 

what these comments ignore is one itsy bitsy minor point - economics. you want to know why this is located where it is and not "near downtown"? money. go look at what dirt is trading for "near downtown" and compare it to this. it's easy to bemoan something when it isn't your money but  the cost difference is massive. and you know who would bare the brunt of those increased costs? the cash-strapped startup community this city is desperately trying to foster.

 

instead of complaining that this doesn't meet some subjective aesthetic or location criteria, how about we support our still tiny startup community? how abut applauding the fact that this 120,000 SF start up community is essentially at capacity just a few months after opening? or even acknowledging that the very fact that it is full means it met a very real market demand that may not have been met "near downtown"? and besides, in case y'all missed it, there are several startup communities, incubators and coworking concepts planting flags in and around downtown so it's not like the cannon prevented those areas from attracting those concepts anyways. these things aren't mutually exclusive and in fact that will likely work in harmony. not everyone lives or wants to be "near downtown".

 

to think that in a startup barren city like Houston someone would use the word "hate" to describe one of the most successful startup communities in the city is ridiculous. houston hasn't earned the right to admonish concepts like the cannon. get off your high horse.

Edited by swtsig
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