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U-Haul Moving & Storage Expansion at 1617 San Jacinto

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The first floor looks a lot like what used to be there.  It will be a good improvement on what was there

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Yes, it may look multifamily but the real question HAIF has... is there GFR?

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1 hour ago, Triton said:

Yes, it may look multifamily but the real question HAIF has... is there GFR?

Of course there will be GFR. Every U-Haul store that I've been to sells moving boxes, tape for the boxes, and locks for the storage rooms. You don't even have to be renting a space to buy this stuff. :)

Maybe it will incorporate a Starbuck's too. Folks will need a little jolt to unload all there stuff into their storage spaces.

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18 hours ago, cspwal said:

I wonder if you'll be able to rent trucks or at least return them there

 

The previous building had truck/trailer rental, with all of the inventory parked out back or on the roof. I guess the Midtown location will take most of their business during construction.

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Finishing up the pour for floor 2. Sorry about the image quality; zoom + dirty window = instant impressionism.H832oaZ.jpg

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On 9/13/2019 at 7:59 PM, hindesky said:

Better than what was there before though.

 

Better than the corny lighthouse storage facility that is in Montrose on Westheimer next door to Cane's. That thing is an architectural disgrace.

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5 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

Better than the corny lighthouse storage facility that is in Montrose on Westheimer next door to Cane's. That thing is an architectural disgrace.

I personally like the modern one in Eado.

seKBrL5.jpg

 

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I agree that other than the colors used, the architect did an extremely good job of disguising this storage building and creating a nice alternative to the more standard approach of metal siding windowless boxes, that usually crop up in the suburbs. I wish it was a residential project, but actually the downtown area with all of the growth in residential apartments definitely 

needs storage units and this is situated right in the middle of a new neighborhood in downtown. It also would have been nice if they had included some retail space on the first floor.

 

I just returned from San Francisco, where we stayed just off Columbus Ave, and Broadway. It was  delightful to experience urban life in a city that's matured and has such an incredible street life. There were hundreds of restaurants, bars, bakeries. florists, coffee shops, bookstores, you name it. It's so much more fun to be able to window shop and have so much literally, just a few steps away. I realize that the area I was in was not downtown, but we have nothing that compares. We might have one area that approaches this type of living and that would be Westheimer from Smith to Woodhead. And most of that is in the Montrose area. The Heights, EADO, and Midtown probably have the most potential for this kind of growth. Thats why Midtown really needs to help foster that kind of urban growth with the accent on the public realm.  It's not going to happen in downtown.

 

The design of our downtown and the fact that most of the skyscrapers built since the sixties have all taken up complete blocks and have no retail in them, makes it difficult to see the kind of urbanism you experience in the older well established downtowns in cities like NY, Chicago, Philadelphia. These cities were  built in a time when several projects would develop on a single block creating more diversity and urban growth. The cities that were developed with first floor retail and residential living above helped to push this much more useful development. To be honest after spending the week out there walking everywhere or using mass transit to get around, I don't know if we will ever achieve it in our downtown, ever. If it does happen, it will be in the historic district, that features more of this style architecture and diversity of buildings on each block.

It's just too hard to create that kind of organic growth. It usually comes off as antiseptic or cold and just doesn't give you that raw excitement like walking down a street in a truly urban center. Especially when all of the new developments avoid retail or provides space that is neither organic or natural, or even available to the common man on the streets. Sure they might put in a Starbucks, or an upscale restaurant and say look we have GFR. It's just not the same and never will.

If we want people to live downtown and get out of their cars you have to give them something to do other than count the stripes in the sidewalks,  and  avoiding cars whipping out of concrete parking garages. The fabric and texture of downtown has a lot of catching up to do, and I just don't know if we live in an era that can afford to create this kind of growth.

I have lived here since 1952, and I have always been a champion of Houston but I have come to the realization that my dreams of a city like the ones up east or west just cant be duplicated. Especially when you develop your city around the car.

 

 

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But it’s not just those cities.  Denver has a great walkable downtown. As does Seattle.  Austin is getting there.  We just need better developers.  We get hideous automated parking garages while other cities get great walkable developments.

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You're going to drive yourself bonkers wishing and hoping Houston will become something it is not, and likely will never be.

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I didn't feel like naming every city, but you're right there are many.

Austin has done a remarkable job in making it a pedestrian city. You can go just about anywhere in Austin and see very walkable areas with lots of people out taking advantage of it.

 

Unfortunately they have completely fallen down on mobility of other kinds.

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1 minute ago, gmac said:

You're going to drive yourself bonkers wishing and hoping Houston will become something it is not, and likely will never be.

No, I came to that realization also, and I have no doubts it won't. But I would still like to see some changes because every little bit helps some.

And as kbates 2 said Austin, has done remarkable things with their downtown to make it more appealing to walk rather than drive. 

Of course Austin isn't the typical metropolitan area, since it is a mecca for young healthy dot commers, and UT students. It's also a very popular destination for tourist who normally tend to walk a little more in accessible areas. 

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I don't share y'all's fatalism. The city is making some real progress and the Planning Department is doing some great work to move things in the right direction. These things take time, and it will never be "perfect", but I've been to plenty of cities in a much worse place than Houston and I am genuinely excited about the direction things are going here.

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19 hours ago, Texasota said:

I don't share y'all's fatalism. The city is making some real progress and the Planning Department is doing some great work to move things in the right direction. These things take time, and it will never be "perfect", but I've been to plenty of cities in a much worse place than Houston and I am genuinely excited about the direction things are going here.

Hey, I never said that Houston wasn't a great place, and I've always been very positive about what goes on here. I would have left a long time ago if I didn't like it so much. Go back and look at some of my prior posts on HAIF. My point is I don't think it's in the cards for Houston to become a truly walkable city in many of our lifetimes.  Cities grow over time and I think that when Houston abandoned downtown in the 50's for the suburbs and the freeways it sort of set the mold. I know and I'm extremely aware of just about everything thats going on in this city to make it a more attractive, desirable and walkable city, but you can't just plop down a development here and one there in large swaths of parking lots heavily trafficked roads and empty lots and expect to see the kinds of environments you have in other cities. I welcome the urban growth but we have created an incredibly large footprint as a city and its hard to overcome those kinds of issues. 

We have a city that pretty much requires a car to get around. Thats not to say that certain pockets of Houston will eventually get there like Midtown, Montrose and the Heights.

I'm sure over a long period of time it will morph into what could be considered a more pedestrian friendly place in areas, but as long as we have developers that don't care and city planners that allow sidewalks to be built with telephone poles, street lights, and utility boxes to interrupt ones walk, or not at all its hard to see it happening soon. A planning dept. that won't change parking requirements for  developments doesn't help.

I think fatalism is a very harsh word and that was not what I meant at all. Maybe frustration is a more accurate word because it is frustrating to know how much better it could be if we had a more concerted effort to do the right thing instead of accepting the status quo.

 

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But "certain pockets" could easily compare in size to the cities you're talking about. I'm not saying I expect most of the city to be particularly walkable in my lifetime, but I think a good 150 square miles or so is already most of the way there. That's part of the problem - talking about "Houston" as a single place isn't terribly meaningful. 

 

The other thing is, outer Houston neighborhoods are actually more walkable than similar neighborhoods in other cities. Houston has required sidewalks for a long time, so almost every neighborhood has them. I've been to lots of cities where, as soon as you're outside of the core grid, the sidewalks just disappear. And many of our suburban neighborhoods are actually relatively dense - one of the advantages of no zoning. Not saying they're going to compare to SF any time soon, but they at least have the potential to be substantially more walkable than the vast majority of the country with relatively little change.

 

Sidewalk standards have changed; the various disruptions that used to be allowed no longer are. Not to say that enforcement isn't an issue, and lots of sidewalks were built under the old rules. And the Planning Dept is moving toward relaxing parking requirements. The expanded "market-based parking" district, elimination of parking requirements along the transit corridors, etc. Do I wish parking requirements were just removed entirely? Of course! But politics exist, and sometimes more gradual change is the best way to make sure that change actually sticks. 

 

I agree that it's frustrating that we're not fixing the mistakes of the last 60 years faster, but I don't agree that there's no concerted effort to do so. These things take time, and even as slow moving as the City seems, it's actually quite a bit more nimble than most city governments. And the market-based parking district, walkable places ordinance, transit corridor ordinance? The city is building up a set of regulatory tools that have the potential to fix our walkability issues. They just need to be scaled. Maybe they won't be; but maybe, just maybe, as impacted neighborhoods start to noticably improve, this new regulatory framework will start to look a lot more tempting.

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Texasota, you make some valid points and I'm not trying to be a Debbie downer. I just believe its a lot more enjoyable to walk around in areas that have lots of things to do and see and unfortunately downtown decided to put all of its retail in the basement and it's not really accessible or maybe inviting is a better word. Heck a lot of people don't even know it's there. 

I don't like it at all because it just feels too much like a mall from the sixties and confining. I know it's a convenient for the workers who drive into downtown and park in the garage and go up the elevator to their floor and then go down to the tunnels for lunch. It's great when its raining or really hot and humid, but just like going to see a baseball game or football game in perfect weather in a stadium with the roof closed makes no sense at all, and spending all your spare time in a tunnel doesn't work for me.

I see much promise in the Heights.19th street has the feel I wish more of Houston had. It has that same feel that parts of Austin has with all of the shops and restaurants. Another area that has so much potential is the Rice Village. I still cant understand why someone hasn't planned a small boutique hotel or b&b in the area. It's probably got the most going for it as far as commercial density and now that they've built several multi family units in the area it seems like the perfect urban area. It just needs a grocery store. We seem to initiate good ideas occasionally but then they seem to get bogged down or no one seems to follow up. Things like  requiring a CVS to build such a large parking area for the store on Montrose?

 I haven't seen much progress on the transit walkable corridors project. Finally it might not be the number of sidewalks available. It's more about the scale of development here that leaves too much empty spaces between things and too much you have to deal with when trying to get somewhere on them. We just had too much open space to play with and just continued to build out instead of creating the kind of urban areas that are so much more fun to explore.

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13 hours ago, hindesky said:

I wish they had picked a different color combination.

nSqauVw.jpg


it’s the orange... :(

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3 hours ago, Avossos said:


it’s the orange... :(

I wish the green was red instead and the tan was blue.🤩

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"Do you have it in chartreuse and pumpkin?"  Seriously, that was my stock response to any salesman insisting that the whatzit could be configured anyway one wanted. :ph34r:

 

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16 hours ago, mollusk said:

"Do you have it in chartreuse and pumpkin?"  Seriously, that was my stock response to any salesman insisting that the whatzit could be configured anyway one wanted. :ph34r:

 

 

As Henry Ford said regarding the Model T, "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black."

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