Jump to content
Dakota79

Midtown Sears to Become Houston's Innovation District

Recommended Posts

More from the article:

 

Quote

Last week, Rice Management Co. bought out the remaining 28 years of Sears' lease and acquired about three contiguous acres owned by Sears.

Rice now owns 9.4 acres, including the original department store, its parking lots and the Sears Automotive Center on Eagle Street between Fannin and San Jacinto.

Now that Rice has control of the property it will begin studying options.

"Removing the long-term lease obligation from Rice's Midtown property will allow the university to initiate a process of thoughtful planning for the future use of this land," Rice President David Leebron said in a statement.

"The Rice Management Company will initiate a yearlong study to consider options that contribute to the ongoing revitalization of the surrounding community as well as the city's broader economic strength. In this process, we'll consult with many actors and experts, including the Urban Land Institute, city officials and our own Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

"This is another dimension of Rice's enthusiastic engagement with the city of Houston, while at the same time assuring a return to the university's endowment in support of our missions of education, research and community service."

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually after I think about it I’d want them to restore the original Art Deco look and the murals

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Sanjorade said:

Fiesta only has 2 years left on it's lease as well. This area is going to change dramatically!

Yes, that and with the 59 rebuild, this area is going to look quite different in the next decade.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting, agree about time.  I was aware of the  demolition of the Pierce Elevated and reconstruction of US 59 (now I-69) and I-45 in downtown but wasn't aware the 59 elevated in midtown was also going to be trenched.  And Fiesta's lease being up in a couple of years, no kidding, this area certainly is going to look different in about a decade.  So very needed.  It is quite depressing to go into that Sears and see the state it is now in.  I can remember being a kid and how it was then.  You couldn't shop there without having some popcorn.  The display windows that are now bricked up, the restaurant sitting empty and the deplorable condition of the restrooms, very, very depressing.  Good riddance to the end  of this place! 

 

Edited by EspersonBuildings
was not through typing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This Sears was my second job way back in the day, from October 1990 till May of 1995. My first job was, of course, Astroworld a few months prior. I started in the men's and later, the kids department during my senior year of High School. Lots of memories and stories from this place. Sigh. I'll admit, that even back then, it was in decline but it was still pretty popular. I remember the long lines as I operated the cash register during the holidays and trying to flirt with the optical center's manager :P. I hadn't been in the store for many years and decided to stop by last year. It was so empty and depressing. Every year, my parents would take my brother and I to the parking lot along with the crowd to see the Fourth of July fireworks downtown. It was a little tradition we had. :) Nonetheless, this news sparks so much nostalgia for me.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't help but think of the symmetry of the events that bookend the opening and closing of this store. It was opened in the wake of the previous flagship store at what is now Allen Parkway and Montrose suffering significant damage from a major flood.

 

Fast-forward almost eighty years, and here we are a little over a month after Harvey's catastrophic flooding, and the long-expected closure is finally announced. 

 

Plus ça change...

 

Sears in Houston

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can only hope that future development will re-purpose the building and remove the 1960s cladding and reveal the Art Deco underneath. As an example, the old 1926 Sears building on Ponce de Leon in Atlanta is much bigger than the building here, but after it was closed down, the City of Atlanta bought it and used it for city offices. Now, it's a mixed use development known as Ponce City Market.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Triton said:

Man they're not even trying anymore at the Chron

sears.JPG

 

Perhaps "Katherine Blunt" is Nancy Sarnoff's code name for her little green helper.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Assuming the original Art Deco structure can be salvaged it'd be awesome to incorporate it into a large scale redevelopment - perhaps as a ground floor market with a WeWork type coworking office space above. Add some green space and then some vertical component with strong activation with the rail and surrounding area. A large scale redevoplmwnt of these sites would spur a tremendous amount of additional activity in this area, particularly with proposed (approved?) 59 trenching. 

 

Very exciting news. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've belonged to the church across the street for 32 years (I'm 32 years old). Very curious to see how this all impacts the area given that we just finished an enormous renovation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, corbs315 said:

I've belonged to the church across the street for 32 years (I'm 32 years old). Very curious to see how this all impacts the area given that we just finished an enormous renovation.

 

The Baptist church? I love the collection of churches in the Montrose / Museum District Corridor. My church (Annunciation Greek Orthodox) is doubling its size.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Avossos said:

 

The Baptist church? I love the collection of churches in the Montrose / Museum District Corridor. My church (Annunciation Greek Orthodox) is doubling its size.

Yuppers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So this property will include the Sears site, the adjacent parking lots and the Fiesta property. This will be a significant parcel situated right on the rail line.

Hopefully this will spur on more revitalization of the surrounding area south of Richmond on both sides of Main and Fannin.

I'm thinking you can say goodbye to Sears and everything on the lots. This will be a master planned development and the old Sears building will be a demo project.

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rice has long fretted about their ability to attract the best and brightest out-of-state students to Houston. I imagine this project will be designed with an eye towards enhancing the image and appeal of the area. The visibility is incredible, as once the freeway comes down, views of these three blocks will be unimpeded from a wide area. This is really Rice's chance to shape its own landscape, as this area will be seen by visitors going in and out.

 

I can imagine at least one residential tower along with a substantial midrise or two, small shop retail on Main and Wheeler, maybe an urban concept Target on the ground floor of one of the buildings, maybe an entry for H-E-B into the Midtown neighborhood on a ground floor to compete with Whole Foods on Elgin. The question is timing. Will they wait until the freeway comes down to maximize potential? The apartments across Main St. next to the freeway are going to deter investors in any retail project - will they try to do something about those first?

Edited by H-Town Man
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was time, and the flooding events do provide nice bookends to its history. The Fiesta probably will close, doing archive searches reveal that the property was sub-leased by Sears and now Rice can (and likely will) boot it out. Coincidentally, Sears Canada announced closing all of its stores, but even if Sears dies as a whole, Sears Outlet and Sears Hometown are a separate company now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The corner of Wheeler and Main had gotten better for about a year, but it is now back to being a huge homeless encampment again with addicts everywhere and garbage littering the street.  An out-of-town guest drove by there over the weekend and commented that he couldn't believe the city allows a corner like that to exist.  Hopefully Rice does something with the area soon.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Something like this would be way better, and would help the people who are on that street corner as opposed to pushing them to a different street corner

 

3zLbxkg.jpg&key=1b974a0f80f607dd9d0651e0

 

 

 

  • Like 7
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think most of the people left in the Main and Wheeler area don't want to go to a New Hope type facility because of the rules imposed.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/20/2017 at 11:30 AM, BeerNut said:

I think most of the people left in the Main and Wheeler area don't want to go to a New Hope type facility because of the rules imposed.

Can't smoke crack, Kush and get sloppy drunk every night in there is the reason many won't go to housing.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/19/2017 at 9:28 AM, cspwal said:

 

Something like this would be way better, and would help the people who are on that street corner as opposed to pushing them to a different street corner

 

3zLbxkg.jpg&key=1b974a0f80f607dd9d0651e0

 

 

 

 

There's something similar proposed for the area.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/20/2017 at 11:30 AM, BeerNut said:

I think most of the people left in the Main and Wheeler area don't want to go to a New Hope type facility because of the rules imposed.

Exactly right. My gf works at the new main offices for New Hope near West Belfort and 288. She tells me every day that many of the residents simply want to use every social service possible and do absolutely nothing. I live 2 blocks from the Sears and it really pisses me off how trashed the neighborhood is because of these idiots. I'm not against someone choosing to be homeless but that doesn't mean dump your problems on everyone else. No pun intended. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still new here so I apologize if this is in the wrong forum.

 

I noticed this week that there is new fencing around the homeless "park" across from the now-closed Sears near Wheeler. In addition to that, the sidewalk adjacent to Sears is being ripped up. The link below is for a Rice study (the property owners) of the area for future development, but is anything happening now?

 

http://swamplot.com/midtown-sears-closure-nets-rice-9-acres-near-the-wheeler-transit-center/2017-10-10/

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is my dream location for what Houston needs- an observation tower ala CN Tower, perhaps not as tall because of FAA regulations. But, the views of downtown, the TMC, the galleria area, east to the ship channel would totally capture the overall vista of the cityscape. Surround the tower with another midtown park- subterranean parking- a hotel, plus retail and a rail hub. Winning.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tejo said:

This is my dream location for what Houston needs- an observation tower ala CN Tower, perhaps not as tall because of FAA regulations. But, the views of downtown, the TMC, the galleria area, east to the ship channel would totally capture the overall vista of the cityscape. Surround the tower with another midtown park- subterranean parking- a hotel, plus retail and a rail hub. Winning.

Where is the Astroworld Space Needle when you need it?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Brooklyn173 said:

It has nothing to do with what I noticed a while back around the old Sears, but more rumors for the Wheeler Station area and other sites.

 

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/Innovation-Corridor-could-be-lasting-legacy-of-12529073.php

I like all three sites. But how exactly is that a corridor?  

 

I love the idea behind it and it's catalysts like this that midtown needs to show it's true potential,  but what links the three sites?

 

Would be interesting to see what sort of link there was in the proposal. If there is none then I can see why the proposal failed to crack the top 20. I do wish that a tech corridor develops in midtown. And I do hope that that Exxon building can be repurposed as is. But three disjointed sites is not much of a corridor. It's like calling  St Thomas, TSU and UH a university corridor because they are all on Wheeler/ Richmond. I can see linking then by rail and calling the line the University Line, but what makes it a corridor?

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HoustonIsHome, I Agree.  I certainly can see how Sears and the Exxon building can book end a Midtown Corridor.  But, extending the flow to KBR, enough to call is a "Corridor", will not be easy.  However, I hope that that is just what Metro/CoH/Houston First (and/or whomever) believes needs to be done. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is enough space at both the Sears site and the Exxon location to each become a tech cluster. the KBR site is unnecessary. 

 

Exxon alone is what 1M SQ feet? Then there are about 4.5 empty lots surrounding it. You can easily house 5M sqfeet there alone. The Sears site is 9 acres not counting the big grassy triangle and the site mentioned in the OP that is fenced off. That area can easily house another 5M SQ feet. Those two sites alone has massive potential, KBR is overkill.

 

I think people keep bringing KBR up because it is huge, it is there, we want it to be utilized, but we don't know what to do with it.

 

I rather see it as something that utilises it as a whole (college campus, Theme park, Aquarium) than see it forced into some corridor worse: subdivide it like Hardy Yards.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL, who are these "people"? Oh yes, it's the city and the site's owner, Midway who corrupt everything they touch. Same people proposing a TIRZ funded trolley to their isolated site while there are literally hundreds of acres of empty lots within a block of light-rail access. Not a dime should going towards making their property easy to lease while there is so much left to waste closer to downtown on existing infrastructure investments. 

 

6 hours ago, HoustonIsHome said:

There is enough space at both the Sears site and the Exxon location to each become a tech cluster. the KBR site is unnecessary. 

 

Exxon alone is what 1M SQ feet? Then there are about 4.5 empty lots surrounding it. You can easily house 5M sqfeet there alone. The Sears site is 9 acres not counting the big grassy triangle and the site mentioned in the OP that is fenced off. That area can easily house another 5M SQ feet. Those two sites alone has massive potential, KBR is overkill.

 

I think people keep bringing KBR up because it is huge, it is there, we want it to be utilized, but we don't know what to do with it.

 

I rather see it as something that utilises it as a whole (college campus, Theme park, Aquarium) than see it forced into some corridor worse: subdivide it like Hardy Yards.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the city designating this entire area as the Innovation Corridor is huge. Midtown is PRIME to become our tech district! That would define the neighborhood completely. We need to give our tech somewhere to live. Right now it's tied up in oil & gas, that's why our young talent is leaving Houston for other cities. There's no hiding now what the city has planned for this area. This will not only draw new tech to the city but real retail with it. Think about the housing that will develop as tech industries start to cluster together. That means a more interesting, urban Houston with a better streetscape. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If this is going to be an innovation corridor, I'd like to see if developed in a more fine-grained manner, rather than one company having 5M s.f. of space.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Angostura said:

If this is going to be an innovation corridor, I'd like to see if developed in a more fine-grained manner, rather than one company having 5M s.f. of space.

The corridor is intended for many small start ups. I only threw out 5m SQ feet in relation to the Amazon bid. Was just highlighting that the bid need not have included the KBR site as this Wheeler site or the former Exxon site has adequate room. 

 

Saying this however,  a tech corridor from Wheeler to Exxon anchored by a tenant the size of Amazon would be transformative architecturally but I don't know how the smaller start ups would survive the competition.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have to remember that the med center is in the process of developing a major high tech corridor just south of the med center on Main at Brays bayou.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, bobruss said:

We have to remember that the med center is in the process of developing a major high tech corridor just south of the med center on Main at Brays bayou.

 

I believe this is the biggest thing to happen to Houston economically in years...

 

Any tech will help, but i think the distinction between bio-tech and tech start ups is important and distinguishable. TMC3 is perfect where it will go. Midtown is prime for industry. Eado can be a manufacturing and products focus (proximity to port). I want to diversify. Energy capital is great... but not enough.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that midtown and EADO are perfect for this type of centralized tech zone especially with the rail that has already been developed and covers most of all this area.

just wanted to point out that there is a tech area being developed by TMC, that could become a very important cog in the bio tech wheel.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think its a plus that the lightrail moves efficiently through Midtown.....really from Rice U to the Downtown Transit Center.  It'd be great to see further work done to improve transit times between Med Center and downtown through road abandonment, below grade crossing (I'm probably dreaming...) and a conversion of more blocks of Main St into linear parks with bike paths, etc.  Even just converting Wheeler and McGowan to below grade would be a huge improvement.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, talltexan83 said:

I think its a plus that the lightrail moves efficiently through Midtown.....really from Rice U to the Downtown Transit Center.  It'd be great to see further work done to improve transit times between Med Center and downtown through road abandonment, below grade crossing (I'm probably dreaming...) and a conversion of more blocks of Main St into linear parks with bike paths, etc.  Even just converting Wheeler and McGowan to below grade would be a huge improvement.

I always question if it's reasonable to close off a large section of Main thru Fannin for strictly light rail. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, bobruss said:

We have to remember that the med center is in the process of developing a major high tech corridor just south of the med center on Main at Brays bayou.

 

What are they developing on Main at Brays Bayou?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...