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Midtown Sears to Become Houston's Innovation District

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2 hours ago, BeerNut said:

So we should stop investing in mass transit?  What solutions would you propose?  

The only way mass transit will work in Houston, where most of us think the "other guy" should take it, is to make driving so miserable that people take transit instead. I doubt the populace would go for that, though.

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9 minutes ago, Ross said:

The only way mass transit will work in Houston, where most of us think the "other guy" should take it, is to make driving so miserable that people take transit instead. I doubt the populace would go for that, though.

Well, not just misery,  but expense will force individuals to look toward alternates.  Eventually we will enter into an era of pricey fuel again - this will drive investment in transportation options.

 

I think the concept of a self-driving car is novel, and sounds romantic.  That said, if I owned a car with these capabilities (even in a world where 1:6 have one) I would be hesitant to allow others to use it.  Public transit gets worn down, mistreated and generally abused - what would keep the average person from doing the same to someone else’s car?  A camera?  Maybe - would it be linked to a device that would shut the car down until the police arrive?  I can smell some constitutional lawsuits brewing already, particularly given the idea that these aren’t publicly owned but are using public row’s.  There are too many questions that start to arise regarding the problems these quasi-egalitarian billionaires think they’ll foist upon the rest of us.  Novel concepts though they may be.

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Level 5 self driving cars where no one on the road is driving themselves is decades away. We absolutely need to invest in mass transit now. 

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6 hours ago, BeerNut said:

So we should stop investing in mass transit?  What solutions would you propose?  

 

It depends on what the prerogative is, either creating a taxpayer-supported solution for the less fortunate to get around town, or reducing congestion. For the former, it would probably be best to establish some sort of "transit credit" program that would allow the user to see fit, either through ride-sharing or bus tokens. For the latter, probably something like timing stoplights better and establishing viable alternatives to existing corridors. (I've long said that one of the reasons 610 near the Uptown area is so bad is not necessarily lack of lanes, but there's no true north-south corridor in the area).

 

4 hours ago, arche_757 said:

Well, not just misery,  but expense will force individuals to look toward alternates.  Eventually we will enter into an era of pricey fuel again - this will drive investment in transportation options.

 

Trying to force additional expenses on road users only makes driving accessible for the upper class and widens the wage gap, which is a bad thing all-around, unless you particularly like dystopias.

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47 minutes ago, IronTiger said:

Trying to force additional expenses on road users only makes driving accessible for the upper class and widens the wage gap, which is a bad thing all-around, unless you particularly like dystopias.

 

It isn't "forcing additional expenses"; it's ending subsidies whose costs outweigh the benefits.

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17 minutes ago, ADCS said:

 

It isn't "forcing additional expenses"; it's ending subsidies whose costs outweigh the benefits.

Ending oil "subsidies" probably wouldn't do much except hurt the economy.

 

You could save about $10 billion by...

- not allowing oil companies (including smaller exploration companies) to write off unsalvageable wells and force them to keep an asset that produces nothing. This would de-incentivize the smaller companies from doing business entirely and become a legal challenge for the bigger ones, but it would be too late for the smaller companies.

- increasing royalty payment reductions on federal lands (wouldn't save much)

- not treating reserves in the ground as a capitalized asset that can be written down by 15% each year (wouldn't affect big oil, since those companies are not allowed the exemption).

- exempting the oil and gas industry from a 2004 subsidy that encouraged domestic production (would only mean that refineries would rely on overseas operations, which would be bad for refinery workers, not so bad for big oil and end users)

- exempting the oil and gas industry from taxes paid in foreign countries as long as the money comes back to the U.S. (all companies get this, and it's only $900M)

- ending Master Limited Partnerships which would decrease money paid out to pensioners, widows, etc. with stock in the company.

The other $90 billion comes from military and other uses, including low income households.

 

You could argue that harming the economy and driving people out of town would reduce the number of cars on the road, but I don't think that's what you were aiming for.

 

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1 hour ago, IronTiger said:

Ending oil "subsidies" probably wouldn't do much except hurt the economy.

 

You could save about $10 billion by...

- not allowing oil companies (including smaller exploration companies) to write off unsalvageable wells and force them to keep an asset that produces nothing. This would de-incentivize the smaller companies from doing business entirely and become a legal challenge for the bigger ones, but it would be too late for the smaller companies.

- increasing royalty payment reductions on federal lands (wouldn't save much)

- not treating reserves in the ground as a capitalized asset that can be written down by 15% each year (wouldn't affect big oil, since those companies are not allowed the exemption).

- exempting the oil and gas industry from a 2004 subsidy that encouraged domestic production (would only mean that refineries would rely on overseas operations, which would be bad for refinery workers, not so bad for big oil and end users)

- exempting the oil and gas industry from taxes paid in foreign countries as long as the money comes back to the U.S. (all companies get this, and it's only $900M)

- ending Master Limited Partnerships which would decrease money paid out to pensioners, widows, etc. with stock in the company.

The other $90 billion comes from military and other uses, including low income households.

 

You could argue that harming the economy and driving people out of town would reduce the number of cars on the road, but I don't think that's what you were aiming for.

 

I wasn't talking about oil.

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10 hours ago, IronTiger said:

 

Trying to force additional expenses on road users only makes driving accessible for the upper class and widens the wage gap, which is a bad thing all-around, unless you particularly like dystopias.

I am not trying to force anything.  I’m merely stating that fuel costs will increase at some point in time to levels that are too costly for us to ignore alternates.

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17 hours ago, Timoric said:

If 1/4th of cars become a service instead of owned that would require less cars (an analogy would be music subscription services vs .99 iTunes purchases access instead of ownership)

 

A well blanketed 5G infrastructure has the bandwidth, storage and speed to theoretically manage traffic for self-driving cars within centimeters vs yards with 4G and one guy can install a small box on an existing pole to implement it fast.

 

 

 

Skeptical.

 

If a significant fraction of current single-occupancy vehicle miles shift to a model where they're purchased as a service, the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) necessarily increases, since those self-driving cars need to get to the pick-up point and from the drop-off point. And since most people still want to drive at the same times, congestion will get worse, not better. (And the fleet size probably doesn't change that much, since it's determined by peak demand.)

 

There are two cases in which self-driving cars can reduce congestion. The first is that the technology allows better traffic management, closer following distances, more efficient intersections, etc., which would mean self-driving cars would need dedicated rights of way to segregate them from human-driven cars. So there is potentially a future where we have a dedicated right of way, maybe grade-separated, where a series of vehicles travel in close proximity to each other. It's basically a train, without the last-mile problem. It's also very different from what most people think of when they think of how self-driving cars will work. 

 

The second way self-driving cars can relieve congestion is that they allow cities to de-couple construction and car storage. It's no big deal for a self-driving car to store itself at a parking facility a mile or two away from it's last drop-off. If the existence (or potential existence) of self driving cars convinces cities to do away with parking requirements for every development, then cities will become denser, since people aren't separated by all that parking. The average destination gets closer, so VMT decreases, and eventually, a larger and larger proportion of trips can be accomplished by modes other than single-occupancy vehicles. If a city continues densifying, mass transit will start to make economic sense. 

 

Both of these will take a long time to materialize, and require a lot of investment to get there. In the near term, the most we can hope for are slightly cheaper Uber rides.

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Posted (edited)

Self driving cars will help traffic because they won't be a-hole drivers cutting in line or running red lights or cutting people off or swerving 3 lanes to make an exit or turning left from the right lane or blocking an intersection. All these things add up to make traffic terrible in Houston. I blame the unlicensed drivers from third world countries and then the licensed drivers following suit. I for one can't wait for self driving cars to get these terrible drivers from driving! 

Edited by texas911

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Posted (edited)
On 4/13/2019 at 6:52 PM, Timoric said:

5G make expensive rail un-necessary with the self-driving vehicles? we already have the pavement

 

there are at least 3 parts to self driving cars.

 

there's the technology piece. I'd guess we're about 5 years away from the technology being sufficient to deploy self driving cars in a sea of people, bikes, other cars, and potholes with very high success.

 

then there's the other two pieces that suck the life out of hope:

legislation and liability.

 

legislation is going to wait on technology to prove itself.

 

liability is going to slow the technology development down. after last year's death many people are asking serious questions about liability. the wheels of progress slowed way down with autonomous cars.

 

we're headed for autonomous vehicles, make no mistake, but we're probably 15-20 years from automated cars, sadly.

 

automated trains, and automated fixed guideway buses, the technology could be implemented today, but then you've got unions lobbying for the jobs of their operators...

 

all these darned words that begin with "L" slowing down progress.

Edited by samagon

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On 4/17/2019 at 11:10 AM, texas911 said:

Self driving cars will help traffic because they won't be a-hole drivers cutting in line or running red lights or cutting people off or swerving 3 lanes to make an exit or turning left from the right lane or blocking an intersection. All these things add up to make traffic terrible in Houston. [...] I for one can't wait for self driving cars to get these terrible drivers from driving! 

 

Self driving cars will obey the speed limit and stop at yellow lights. They will slow down or stop for any object they recognize as having the potential to enter the roadway. People are going to hate getting stuck behind a self-driving car.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Angostura said:

 

Self driving cars will obey the speed limit and stop at yellow lights. They will slow down or stop for any object they recognize as having the potential to enter the roadway. People are going to hate getting stuck behind a self-driving car.

 

It will be like driving in Portland.:ph34r:

Edited by mollusk

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Posted (edited)

I think what’s interesting is we haven’t even finished the building renovation for the ION and we already have huge partners in Microsoft and Mass Challenge. Imagine what this could become once the entire Innovation District is built. 

Edited by j_cuevas713
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2 minutes ago, j_cuevas713 said:

I think what’s interesting is we haven’t even finished the building renovation for the ION and we already have huge partners in Microsoft and Mass Challenge. Imagine what this could become once the entire Innovation District is built. 

 

and all done without UT's boondoggle campus!

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On 4/17/2019 at 1:52 PM, CREguy13 said:

New Microsoft accelerator program for the Ion.  From HBJ:

 

 

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is launching an accelerator aimed at growing the use of smart city technology in Houston.

The computing giant is partnering with local nonprofit accelerator Station Houston and nonprofit makerspace TX/RX Labs to create the Ion Smart Cities Accelerator program. The program will eventually be based in The Ion — the 270,000-square-foot former Sears building in Midtown that's being converted into Houston's innovation hub — when renovations are completed in late 2020. For the time being, the accelerator will be housed in Station Houston.

The accelerator will feature six months of pilot programs for companies developing smart city technology. It's a broad tech sector aimed at using data to solve problems that plague cities, like reducing traffic and congestion or improving flood mitigation. Station Houston CEO Gabriella Rowe said that the program will launch in May with the first cohort of smart city tech firms to launch in August, and will include companies with products ready for pilot testing.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the partnership on April 16 at the Microsoft IoT in Action Solution Builder Conference, but told the audience that the relationship with the tech giant formed over a year ago. Turner has become a champion of using technology to improve the city's resiliency — he formed a Smart City Advisory Council in early March to bring together community members, local government, industry leaders and academic institutions to speed up the adoption of smart city technology. Last year, Houston joined the 2018 Smart Cities Collaborative, a program with 22 cities that will meet to discuss transportation problems and solutions.

The Microsoft Ion Smart Cities Accelerator is the latest such program to become affiliated with Station Houston. In February, BBL Ventures launched its oil-and-gas-focused accelerator, dubbed BBL Labs, which is based in Station Houston.

Outside of Station Houston, accelerator programs are growing in number throughout the Bayou City. In January, another new venture capital group with an accelerator program for oil and gas startups launched in Houston. Eunike Ventures formed an alliance with major energy firms to identify promising startups in the oil and gas industry. Later in January, Boston-based nonprofit MassChallenge, a network of zero-equity startup accelerators, announced its expansion to Houston. MassChallenge will run its accelerator out of GreenStreet, the downtown complex owned by Houston-based Midway.

 

Look out Austin, here we come! 

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Posted (edited)

Rice University bought this tract in December. There’s a warranty deed to “4001 S Main LLC” dated December 12, 2018. An individual by the name of Ronald E. Long signed the associated “Notice to Purchaser” on behalf of the acquiring LLC. Mr. Long is associated with Rice Management Company.

 

Edit: Links to the notice and deed:

 

hX95MkNugEt7YjoADh3y0MfImIiGZ02205avCUTC

bPA8hHRzC0xQ95pP3GOIU9n8iVm0s8y%2B6NnLsj

Edited by houstontexasjack
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To cross reference my post in the other thread, the tract at 4001 S Main, where the Isabella was previously going to go up, was acquired by Rice University in December.

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Posted (edited)

Are these all the parcels?  Borrowed original map from Swamplot and added 4001 S Main in blue.  HCAD is still listing Sears as the owner of the large parking lots and main building. That can't be right.

.wgYLWkX.jpg

Edited by BeerNut
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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, BeerNut said:

Are these all the parcels?  Borrowed original map from Swamplot and added 4001 S Main in blue.  HCAD is still listing Sears as the owner of the large parking lots and main building.That can't be correct.

.wgYLWkX.jpg

They own all of the parking lot between Fiesta and Sears.  They also now own the parcel on the south end of Eagle at Austin, just to the east abutting the parcel in green at the right end of the image.

 

Edit: and the parking lot south of Fiesta. We might need some purple to hit the gamut of Infinity Stones. 😊

Edited by houstontexasjack
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At least Surge homes isn't going to hold on to this land without developing it

 

Of course, there's no guarantee Rice will develop it anytime soon - they might hold it for the future for the innovation hub

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Posted (edited)

I live in the apartments one block north of the Fiesta and my Landlord recently sold to Rice as well. He also said the community artist collective and one other apartment building on that block had sold to Rice although I don't know for sure if that is true.

Edited by bategeler
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Posted (edited)
On ‎5‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 12:16 AM, houstontexasjack said:

Rice University bought this tract in December. There’s a warranty deed to “4001 S Main LLC” dated December 12, 2018. An individual by the name of Ronald E. Long signed the associated “Notice to Purchaser” on behalf of the acquiring LLC. Mr. Long is associated with Rice Management Company.

 

Edit: Links to the notice and deed:

 

hX95MkNugEt7YjoADh3y0MfImIiGZ02205avCUTC

bPA8hHRzC0xQ95pP3GOIU9n8iVm0s8y%2B6NnLsj

 

They are covering a pretty wide area to be buying land this far north of the Sears. I imagine they may just want to control the area and will likely ground lease some of the land to apartment or other developers. Universities do this sort of thing - buy up everything so they can control their neighborhood and ensure nice surroundings.

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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2 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

They are covering a pretty wide area to be buying land this far north of the Sears. I imagine they may just want to control the area and will likely ground lease some of the land to apartment or other developers. Universities do this sort of thing - buy up everything so they can control their neighborhood and ensure nice surroundings.

 

 

They plan a district, not just a building; so of course they want to control the surrounding property.  To be clear, this is only 2 blocks north.

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1 hour ago, Houston19514 said:

 

They plan a district, not just a building; so of course they want to control the surrounding property.  To be clear, this is only 2 blocks north.

 

Thanks for counting the blocks. I suspect this parcel will be ground leased for residential or mixed use. Could be wrong. Improper use of semi-colon in your first sentence.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

They plan a district, not just a building; so of course they want to control the surrounding property.  To be clear, this is only 2 blocks north.

 

 

2 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Thanks for counting the blocks. I suspect this parcel will be ground leased for residential or mixed use. Could be wrong. Improper use of semi-colon in your first sentence.

 

 

 

This is some Virginia Woolf shit 

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10 hours ago, EllenOlenska said:

 

 

 

This is some Virginia Woolf shit 

 

What is the connection to Virginia Woolf?

 

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Just that Woolf loved her semicolons. "Percival has died; (he died in Egypt; he died in Greece; all deaths are one death). Susan has children; Neville mounts rapidly to the conspicuous heights." That sort of thing, she (and a lot of authors of the period) broke up what we'd think of as phrases and clauses into separate sentences (though, in my example from The Waves, those are mostly just short simple sentences.) 
 

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Hopefully there is going to be space to retain a Shipleys somewhere 😢

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The bulk of the district, save for the property with the Shipleys, is located in an Opportunity Zone. I believe Hines used a company provided investment in opportunity zones to get started on the Preston, Downtown.  Given Hines' involvement with this development, I wouldn't be surprised to see them use a similar model with Rice involving a ground lease as @H-Town Man suggests.

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1 hour ago, EllenOlenska said:

Just that Woolf loved her semicolons. "Percival has died; (he died in Egypt; he died in Greece; all deaths are one death). Susan has children; Neville mounts rapidly to the conspicuous heights." That sort of thing, she (and a lot of authors of the period) broke up what we'd think of as phrases and clauses into separate sentences (though, in my example from The Waves, those are mostly just short simple sentences.) 
 

 

Nice. I had forgotten that. More of a Katherine Mansfield fan. FYI, I would not correct any other poster besides Houston 19514 on semi-colon usage.

 

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13 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Nice. I had forgotten that. More of a Katherine Mansfield fan. FYI, I would not correct any other poster besides Houston 19514 on semi-colon usage.

 

 

Mansfield slaps. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, CaptainJilliams said:

From the Houston Reddit by DougDTX:

 

“The Midtown Sears sign is about to get hauled away. No longer on top of the building.”

 

e50hv31.jpg

 

I can make out some letters behing sears....

 

" O P E V... " maybe it said 'open'?

 

any idea guys?

Edited by Avossos
more info
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On 5/13/2019 at 4:15 PM, H-Town Man said:

 

They are covering a pretty wide area to be buying land this far north of the Sears. I imagine they may just want to control the area and will likely ground lease some of the land to apartment or other developers. Universities do this sort of thing - buy up everything so they can control their neighborhood and ensure nice surroundings.

 

Like Houston Baptist Univ. on Fondren @59 .

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2 hours ago, CaptainJilliams said:

From the Houston Reddit by DougDTX:

 

“The Midtown Sears sign is about to get hauled away. No longer on top of the building.”

 

e50hv31.jpg

Store it next to the old Dome scoreboard

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4 hours ago, Avossos said:

 

I can make out some letters behing sears....

 

" O P E V... " maybe it said 'open'?

 

any idea guys?

Yeah I think it was a just a neon "open" sign that they probably added to the original Sears sign to attract some more business in the 60s or something

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That little triangle - does Houston have a nice Mason's structure someplace?

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2 hours ago, Timoric said:

That little triangle - does Houston have a nice Mason's structure someplace?

That was the A from the original Sears sign that was originally attached to that part of the building.

 

There are Masonic lodges all over town.

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