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Dakota79

Midtown Sears to Become Houston's Innovation District

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Man - they (Surge Builders) are all over the place all of a sudden....Heights...Downtown....

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/news/2014/11/plans_for_the_controversial_freeland_district_development_are_back_sort_of.php

"Surge Homes, the company mentioned on the sign, is simply a new brand created by the same developer: Canadian firm Group LSR, known locally also as Inner Loop Condos. The same firm built the Piedmont condo building kinda near River Oaks and the Serento sorta near the Med Center."

http://swamplot.com/a-new-sign-of-future-development-appears-on-heights-hike-and-bike-trail-site/2014-11-07/

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One more vacant block on Main going away would be great, and I even don't hate the design.

 

Now if only that church across the street would sell off its enormous parking lots.

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One more vacant block on Main going away would be great, and I even don't hate the design.

 

Now if only that church across the street would sell off its enormous parking lots.

 

 

was thinking the same thing.

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@H-Town Man.  We are testing the idea of both townhomes and condos on our site, www.surgehomes.com, to see which type of product there is more interest for on this site. 

 

Thanks and welcome to the site, Surge Homes! Either option sounds great, especially for the location. However, the one thing that Midtown, especially Main Street, desperately needs is decent retail. At least 8,000 sf of retail is essential to any project being built on Main Street in Midtown. I'm sure you're aware of what's happening on the Sears site and the other surrounding sites. It would behoove you and your investors to capture that additional income stream. 

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Surge Homes, I'm loving your transparency and direct communication with the public.  Combine this with strong architecture and you'll surely develop a strong reputation in Houston.  Thanks for joining!

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Thanks and welcome to the site, Surge Homes! Either option sounds great, especially for the location. However, the one thing that Midtown, especially Main Street, desperately needs is decent retail. At least 8,000 sf of retail is essential to any project being built on Main Street in Midtown. I'm sure you're aware of what's happening on the Sears site and the other surrounding sites. It would behoove you and your investors to capture that additional income stream. 

Would you remind me whats happening on the Sears site.

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The condos that we are proposing would have ground floor retail.

Awesome.

As far as condos vs townhomes, I live across the street from the site at The Ventana, and I have envisioned the midrise condo proposal you have come up with since I have lived there.

I dont think townhomes would really fit the area, it is more of a high density, mid rise neighborhood.

You have the eight story behemoth Ventana across the street, you have two new midrises on Main across from the Breakfast Klub, then of course you have Mid-Main under construction as we speak, the entire area is becoming a 5-7 story neighborhood, like something you would see in New York.

I definitely think you would get more bang for your buck with the condos over retail, more units to sell in the same footprint, that would without a doubt fill up quickly.

Im calling it right now, the Mid-Main area (which yalls block would be a part of) is the next big thing in urban Houston development, Im talking a "Soho", "Tribeca", "Wicker Park" type area.

Give it 10 years, you will see.

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Would you remind me whats happening on the Sears site.

I second this question! I see plenty of residential and retail activity when I walk past here every night, but only of the kind that discourages new investment in the area.

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Awesome.

As far as condos vs townhomes, I live across the street from the site at The Ventana, and I have envisioned the midrise condo proposal you have come up with since I have lived there.

I dont think townhomes would really fit the area, it is more of a high density, mid rise neighborhood.

You have the eight story behemoth Ventana across the street, you have two new midrises on Main across from the Breakfast Klub, then of course you have Mid-Main under construction as we speak, the entire area is becoming a 5-7 story neighborhood, like something you would see in New York.

I definitely think you would get more bang for your buck with the condos over retail, more units to sell in the same footprint, that would without a doubt fill up quickly.

Im calling it right now, the Mid-Main area (which yalls block would be a part of) is the next big thing in urban Houston development, Im talking a "Soho", "Tribeca", "Wicker Park" type area.

Give it 10 years, you will see.

 

I think you meant condo's over townhomes....not retail >.>

 

You want condo's with retail, but just townhomes.

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I second this question! I see plenty of residential and retail activity when I walk past here every night, but only of the kind that discourages new investment in the area.

 

Rice University owns the Sears site. They currently have no plans to redevelop it as far as I'm certain. Sears currently holds a lease on the space.

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I think you meant condo's over townhomes....not retail >.>

You want condo's with retail, but just townhomes.

No.

I meant Condos over 1st floor retail, over as in "above".

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Rice University owns the Sears site. They currently have no plans to redevelop it as far as I'm certain. Sears currently holds a lease on the space.

 

Why does this myth keep getting repeated?   According to the county real estate records, Sears owns the Sears site.

 

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Regardless of who owns the property, no one including LARGETEXAS, who prompted the question I asked, about his comment to the Surge person: "I'm sure you know about whats going on with the Sears site". 

I haven't heard a thing about the Sears site except for the ongoing discussion about who owns it.

I just wanted his inside knowledge of what is happening on the Sears site.

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These new apartments look boring, nothing special about them, they lack visual vision on part of the developers. If I were in charge, I would incorporate some of the Spanish style architecture in these new apartments to fit in with its neighbor building on Isabella street.

 

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These new apartments look boring, nothing special about them, they lack visual vision on part of the developers. If I were in charge, I would incorporate some of the Spanish style architecture in these new apartments to fit in with its neighbor building on Isabella street.

Couldn't disagree more. I love how sleek these are and having an eclectic mix of styles in one area.

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I second this question! I see plenty of residential and retail activity when I walk past here every night, but only of the kind that discourages new investment in the area.

Priceless!

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http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2014/11/19/more-details-revealed-for-new-condominium-projects.html?page=2

 

The company's more ambitious plans include four midrise condominium projects, which will appeal to a wide range of Houstonians from young professionals to empty-nesters. Construction on these projects is expected to begin in fall 2015, and will start delivering the first units in fall 2016.

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Surge Homes, I'm loving your transparency and direct communication with the public.  Combine this with strong architecture and you'll surely develop a strong reputation in Houston.  Thanks for joining!

 

@Gator Purify

 

Thank you for the encouragement! Yes, transparency and direct communication with the public is a core value within our company. We've been developing homes for 25 years, and the partners have surrounded themselves with a team that knows, from the first day they start working with Surge Homes, that they have to listen to future home buyers before they finalize a product, and that they must always keep an open channel of communication with the neighbors. Please keep sending us your comments through our website and various blogs. We received many more comments than we expected, and we don’t mind working evenings and weekends to make sure we can read everyone’s thoughts and opinions, and then integrate many of the suggestions into our final product. 

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Awesome.

As far as condos vs townhomes, I live across the street from the site at The Ventana, and I have envisioned the midrise condo proposal you have come up with since I have lived there.

I dont think townhomes would really fit the area, it is more of a high density, mid rise neighborhood.

You have the eight story behemoth Ventana across the street, you have two new midrises on Main across from the Breakfast Klub, then of course you have Mid-Main under construction as we speak, the entire area is becoming a 5-7 story neighborhood, like something you would see in New York.

I definitely think you would get more bang for your buck with the condos over retail, more units to sell in the same footprint, that would without a doubt fill up quickly.

Im calling it right now, the Mid-Main area (which yalls block would be a part of) is the next big thing in urban Houston development, Im talking a "Soho", "Tribeca", "Wicker Park" type area.

Give it 10 years, you will see.

 

@Howard Huge

 

Thanks for your detailed comments and analysis. We truly appreciate your input. In 2007, when one of Surge Homes’ partners acquired the land on Main, he had the same vision as you did for seeing that the mid-main area would be the “Next Big Thing in Urban Houston Development!” When you say “bang for the buck,” please consider that the cycle of investment is much longer when we build a large condominium project than it is for townhomes. So, it’s not necessarily how many square feet you build on the same site that determines the rate of return for our investors, but it’s also how long it takes to get the capital back to our investors—and how much capital is required. Condominiums need more equity and it takes a longer time to get the investors’ money back plus a rate of return, which is required for our investors to keep trusting us. Nonetheless, your vision is good, and it’s one that’s shared by many adored Houstonians. The Insiders’ Club is filled with future home/condo owners who wish to see more density on this site. We have not finished our Insiders’ Club program, but in January 2015, we will have a clear idea of whether it will be townhomes or condominiums. Please, Howard, keep sending us your input.

 

Edited by Surge Homes
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I remember reading this thread and the discussion about who owns the Store/land. I don't know which is correct but yesterday the Chron reported this:

"The Sears, though, appears to be staying. The land is owned by Rice Management Company and the store has a long-term lease, the terms of which the company won't disclose. The store also has no plans to restore any of the building's original details, including murals by Eugene Montgomery depicting scenes from Texas history, which have been almost entirely painted over inside. All that remains is the head of Sam Houston, which has a fake frame placed around it."

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/The-Sears-That-Was-6198716.php?t=d8806196e1&cmpid=twitter-premium

Perhaps both are correct? The land is owned by Rice and the building owned by Sears? IDK.

Regardless, this Chron reporter indicates that renovation of the old bones of this building are not in the plans.

Edited by UtterlyUrban

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I remember reading this thread and the discussion about who owns the Store/land. I don't know which is correct but yesterday the Chron reported this:

"The Sears, though, appears to be staying. The land is owned by Rice Management Company and the store has a long-term lease, the terms of which the company won't disclose. The store also has no plans to restore any of the building's original details, including murals by Eugene Montgomery depicting scenes from Texas history, which have been almost entirely painted over inside. All that remains is the head of Sam Houston, which has a fake frame placed around it."

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/The-Sears-That-Was-6198716.php?t=d8806196e1&cmpid=twitter-premium

Perhaps both are correct? The land is owned by Rice and the building owned by Sears? IDK.

Regardless, this Chron reporter indicates that renovation of the old bones of this building are not in the plans.

 i would much rather have the texas history museum planned for downtown be in a renovated art deco building with a renovated texas mural.  it's right at a light rail station and closer to the museum district.  just a thought.  on the other hand, a renovated deco building with a forward thinking department store would serve the area nicely.

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I remember reading this thread and the discussion about who owns the Store/land. I don't know which is correct but yesterday the Chron reported this:

"The Sears, though, appears to be staying. The land is owned by Rice Management Company and the store has a long-term lease, the terms of which the company won't disclose. The store also has no plans to restore any of the building's original details, including murals by Eugene Montgomery depicting scenes from Texas history, which have been almost entirely painted over inside. All that remains is the head of Sam Houston, which has a fake frame placed around it."

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/The-Sears-That-Was-6198716.php?t=d8806196e1&cmpid=twitter-premium

Perhaps both are correct? The land is owned by Rice and the building owned by Sears? IDK.

Regardless, this Chron reporter indicates that renovation of the old bones of this building are not in the plans.

 

According to HCAD, it's owned by Sears.

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 i would much rather have the texas history museum planned for downtown be in a renovated art deco building with a renovated texas mural.  it's right at a light rail station and closer to the museum district.  just a thought.  on the other hand, a renovated deco building with a forward thinking department store would serve the area nicely.

 

well if the old Sears store can't be used then maybe 3712 (i think) Fannin? The old Route 66 cafe that someone is renovating? When I went to the cafe 5 years so so ago-- it had a 2 story  opening in middle surrounded on 3 sides by balconies-- Sounds just right for museum.

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Is it possible that there is a ground lease in place and Sears pays the tax per the ground lease contract?

Given the information discussed on this board, I think that this might be plausible.

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We are impossible to please on here.

We always cry: "we want retail! We want retail"

Sears has stood in that area for decades. It's surrounded by a ton of empty lots and no other similar department options for millions of miles but we are anxious to get rid of it.

When i lived in that area I would bike to Sears all the time.

I could understand if the area was filled with attractive buildings and tons of shopping options and sears was just sticking it's ugly middle finger up at us then yeah the pitchforks would be justified, but why are we so anxious to see the only major department store in both the midtown and downtown area go away?

I hope it hangs on for dear life

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We are impossible to please on here.

We always cry: "we want retail! We want retail"

Sears has stood in that area for decades. It's surrounded by a ton of empty lots and no other similar department options for millions of miles but we are anxious to get rid of it.

When i lived in that area I would bike to Sears all the time.

I could understand if the area was filled with attractive buildings and tons of shopping options and sears was just sticking it's ugly middle finger up at us then yeah the pitchforks would be justified, but why are we so anxious to see the only major department store in both the midtown and downtown area go away?

I hope it hangs on for dear life

The company's dying and the building is in bad shape...

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It strikes me as ironic that a company that got started as a mail order catalog is now getting creamed by online retailers.

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She ain't dead yet though :D

I wish Sears the best, I really do, but prognosis is still bad at this point.

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We are impossible to please on here.

We always cry: "we want retail! We want retail"

Sears has stood in that area for decades. It's surrounded by a ton of empty lots and no other similar department options for millions of miles but we are anxious to get rid of it.

When i lived in that area I would bike to Sears all the time.

I could understand if the area was filled with attractive buildings and tons of shopping options and sears was just sticking it's ugly middle finger up at us then yeah the pitchforks would be justified, but why are we so anxious to see the only major department store in both the midtown and downtown area go away?

I hope it hangs on for dear life

Because it's nasty, lifeless and brings down the neighborhood. Let it go!

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Because it's nasty, lifeless and brings down the neighborhood. Let it go!

Let what go? It is none of that. And why would a functional department store bring down a neighborhood, that is basically, a church, barber school, an okay looking apartment building, Fiesta, jack in the box, some parking lots, and a plethora of homeless people?

If you ask me, Sears and Fiesta are currently the best things in that part of midtown right now.

I wish Sears the best, I really do, but prognosis is still bad at this point.

She has lived through worse, she will hang on for some more years
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Hmmmmmm

I think there are plenty of wealthy Montrosians DIYers who would be very disappointed that the Sears Craftsmen tool department was taken away. It's always crowded down there.

How do I know these people have money? Well I'm only guessing but there always seems to be a couple of Mercedes or BMW's when I shop there.

Edited by trymahjong
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William Marsh Rice owned the land, willed it to Rice University. Sears has a 50 year lease. 

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Honestly, if there are people salivating for Sears' closure and demolition, they probably hate the Fiesta too, especially once Whole Foods gets up and running. Between Randalls and WFM, who needs Fiesta? [/Midtown yuppie]

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Well no one "needs" any particular store, but Fiesta is much cheaper than whole foods and provides items that WFs do not.

Closing Fiesta because Whole Foods opens is like shutting down a Taco Cabana because Red Lobster is opening a mile away

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William Marsh Rice owned the land, willed it to Rice University. Sears has a 50 year lease. 

 

Sears has been there more than 50 years. When was the lease renewed?

 

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William Marsh Rice owned the land, willed it to Rice University. Sears has a 50 year lease. 

 

Then why does the County show it as being owned by Sears?  We keep seeing people make this statement about Rice owning the property but nobody has ever come up with any actual evidence of it.  Meanwhile the county records say Sears owns the property.  This Rice ownership seems like an urban legend.

Edited by Houston19514

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Well no one "needs" any particular store, but Fiesta is much cheaper than whole foods and provides items that WFs do not.

Closing Fiesta because Whole Foods opens is like shutting down a Taco Cabana because Red Lobster is opening a mile away

The last sentence was supposed to be sarcasm, though sadly I'm sure there are some in Midtown who actually feel that way.

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http://www.houstondeco.org/1930s/sears.html

 

I stand corrected... Rice University now owns the land. link/ web site was year 2014. 

 

Cite 67 has a nice article on the building, as well. Says the original structure was built with a granite exterior, backed with concrete on the bottom floor, stucco exterior for the second floor.

Edited by NenaE
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http://www.houstondeco.org/1930s/sears.html

I stand corrected... Rice University now owns the land. link/ web site was year 2014.

Cite 67 has a nice article on the building, as well. Says the original structure was built with a granite exterior, backed with concrete on the bottom floor, stucco exterior for the second floor.

That's the website where the rumor started (though with the new REIT Sears spun off recently, not 100% sure). I know for a fact that they also own(ed) the land that Fiesta sits on, newspaper archives mention that it was developed as a sort of supermarket component of Sears, with the main store getting an interior facelift during that time.

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https://www.surgehomes.com/blog/surge-homes-develops-homes-near-new-midtown-park?utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20999997&_hsenc=p2ANqtz--DtuBky1NfyJGmVCcaBjJsb5ruyFzIbs5Xl2T5dgjxmCFDSazwLhL3dHYv0-sSMKkLnWIAM6ourW-FCSeKxilFolk0rQ&_hsmi=20999997

 

For residents of 4001 Main Street—which will offer new condominiums priced from $139,000 to $809,000—Midtown Park is an 11-minute walk. Main Street residents will also have the option of taking the tramway, which passes right along Surge Homes’ Main Street community.

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