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Urbannizer

The Herons Kingwood Marina: 300-acre Master Planned Mixed-Use Development

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You have some good opportunities here with direct water access, the golf course, and a growing community that could embrace this. Hopefully someone gets some background convo to share from the TIRZ meeting today. 

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1 hour ago, EllenOlenska said:

I know next to nothing about this project except that it should be reshaped and put in midtown. 

A marina in midtown would be easy - 288 already brings in water for the boats every rain, so all they need is some docks

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Some of the building on the floodplain looks to be offset by digging out detention/waterway where none exists currently. I don't pretend to know what is displaced or would be necessary/legal, but clearly everything of value here would need to be built way up from current grade.   I guess it's floodplain either way, but what is/was wetland probably changed in the area with the Lake Houston dam's construction in the 50's.  

 

Interestingly, there is a massive sandbar that built up through Harvey that inhibits drainage severely. One read of this implies that they would have to re-engineer the whole waterway around here, which could sound really good to the CoE. 

 

Still very skeptical, but it's an interesting idea to kick around. 

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2 hours ago, Nate99 said:

Some of the building on the floodplain looks to be offset by digging out detention/waterway where none exists currently. I don't pretend to know what is displaced or would be necessary/legal, but clearly everything of value here would need to be built way up from current grade.   I guess it's floodplain either way, but what is/was wetland probably changed in the area with the Lake Houston dam's construction in the 50's.  

 

Interestingly, there is a massive sandbar that built up through Harvey that inhibits drainage severely. One read of this implies that they would have to re-engineer the whole waterway around here, which could sound really good to the CoE. 

 

Still very skeptical, but it's an interesting idea to kick around. 

 

If COH was smart then they would halt all future development near the waterway until something could be done to future proof flooding. This area needs a serious system of levees and water detention schemes. The watershed is just too erratic and its only going to get worse from here on out. I say this because this area actually has a lot of potential. Its one of the more interesting ecological areas of the Greater Houston Area, but if they want that growth to last then they must prepare for the future.

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Real estate prices in this area don’t seem to support the economics of high rise construction. 

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On 1/11/2019 at 3:29 PM, Luminare said:

 

If COH was smart then they would halt all future development near the waterway until something could be done to future proof flooding. This area needs a serious system of levees and water detention schemes. The watershed is just too erratic and its only going to get worse from here on out. I say this because this area actually has a lot of potential. Its one of the more interesting ecological areas of the Greater Houston Area, but if they want that growth to last then they must prepare for the future.


Definitely agree, not sure there are enough collective brain cells engaged to get this right, but a well engineered large scale development like this could actually help Kingwood's neglected storm water runoff system, if you can call it that, with the portion of the work needed in the immediate area done on the developer's dime. Constructing something there doesn't automatically make things worse, but I get the impression that narrative that is forming (hope I'm wrong).  What little local chatter I am exposed to seems to be focused scary soundbite level thinking. 

 

The effort to address the flooding problem to date seems to have been spent on passing a bond deal, announcing a wish list of proposed projects and spending federally appropriated emergency funds ASAP purportedly to attempt to restore the Lake Houston area to the condition that immediately preceded the worst disaster the region has seen in a century. 

 

Doing nothing is always an option with the lack of local political consequences. You have interlocking jurisdictions here that can just point at each other when the money disappears if they bother to address it at all since neither they nor their similarly connected successors ever intend to squeeze one vote out of Kingwood. 

 

Plus, with vocal local support against development you have all the more incentive to do nothing as memories fade. The NIMBY's will try to scare each other on the internet with ever more dire warnings of calamity should things progress. The rest of Houston can contend with the very real problems of growth while Kingwood deals with the likewise very real problem of stagnation in the middle of an otherwise growing region.  Best case for the NIMBY's is that Kingwood becomes a Champions Forest with better highway access. 

 

 

Edited by Nate99

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1 hour ago, Urbannizer said:

This isn’t the first time high-rises have been proposed for Kingwood.

 

 

 

The Kings Creek idea wasn't in Kingwood proper, nor was it on the lake, though very close to the West Fork of the SJR.  That would make it less attractive in that it couldn't have the "marina" component, but it would also take far less to make it accessible and have fewer pearl clutchers trying to shoot it down.  

 

King's Creek and Kingwood Parc never progressed beyond renderings. The much less grandiose Valley Ranch is inching along up in Porter, albeit with tenants (Sam's) already bailing out. 

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https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2019/01/14/317993/kingwood-residents-mobilize-against-proposed-high-rise-development/

 

Quote

A Houston developer wants to build a marina-resort and high-rise development in Kingwood. Many residents oppose the project, alleging that it would greatly increase the risk of flooding.

Kingwood suffered some of the worst flooding in Houston during Harvey, and the proposed development by Romerica Investments sits right in the 100-year floodplain.

“We’ve had an additional six events down in River Grove Park, which is very adjacent to this development, since Harvey and the continued flooding of our streets,” said Kingwood resident Barbara Hilburn.

Hilburn fears the development would also damage wetlands, including nesting sites for bald eagles. She and other residents are pressing for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to deny permits for the development – or at least to delay them until the City of Houston and the Harris County Flood Control District have had a chance to complete their impact studies.

The video below by the architecture firm behind the design, Rome-based Torrisi &  Procopio Architetti, outlines the proposed project in more detail:

 

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27 minutes ago, AREJAY said:

 

Bald eagles?  New one for me.

 

The flooding post Harvey is alarming, but the knee jerk assumption that further development can only exacerbate the issue is precisely what informs my impression. 

 

If in fact it does, then yeah, there are a few more things to sort out, but in an emotional debate, I don't trust facts to carry the day.  There are more than a few in Kingwood that will go to their graves insisting that the release from Lake Conroe caused the flooding in 1994 and during Harvey, and all the pure mathematics in the world won't convince them otherwise.  

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9 minutes ago, Timoric said:

I always think that they raised Galveston after the 1900 storm so what can we do today?

 

Raising the grade

It's impossible to stand anywhere in the historical parts of Galveston and get exactly the same perspective a viewer would have gotten 100 years ago.

Everything is higher than it was back then, and some spots are much higher.

The feat of raising an entire city began with three engineers hired by the city in 1901 to design a means of keeping the gulf in its place.

Along with building a seawall, Alfred Noble, Henry M. Robert and H.C. Ripley recommended the city be raised 17 feet at the seawall and sloped downward at a pitch of one foot for every 1,500 feet to the bay.

The first task required to translate their vision into a working system was a means of getting more than 16 million cubic yards of sand - enough to fill more than a million dump trucks - to the island, according to McComb.

The solution was to dredge the sand from Galveston's ship channel and pump it as liquid slurry through pipes into quarter-square-mile sections of the city that were walled off with dikes.

Their theory was that as the water drained away the sand would remain.

Before the pumping could begin, all the structures in the area had to be raised with jackscrews. Meanwhile, all the sewer, water and gas lines had to be raised.

McComb wrote that some people even raised gravestones and some tried to save trees, but most of the trees died. In the old city cemeteries along Broadway, some of the graves are three deep because of the grade raising.

The city paid to move the utilities and for the actual grade raising, but each homeowner had to pay to have the house raised.

By 1911, McComb wrote, 500 city blocks had been raised, some by just a few inches and others by as much as 11 feet.

 

Pretty much what happened to the city of Chicago. They had to pretty much raise the entire inner city by 2 stories.

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2 minutes ago, Luminare said:

 

Pretty much what happened to the city of Chicago. They had to pretty much raise the entire inner city by 2 stories.

 

Seattle too at some point, right? 

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1 minute ago, Nate99 said:

 

Seattle too at some point, right? 

 

Any city which has been built on wetlands / marshes / swamps has had to deal with the same problem in the past (which is nearly every major world city i.e. London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Amsterdam, even New Orleans has significantly updated their system, etc...etc...) Now its Houston's turn. We just haven't really had to deal with the problem because its never been as dense as it is now, nor has there be a significant flow of events to raise the question and promote action.

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16 minutes ago, Luminare said:

 

Pretty much what happened to the city of Chicago. They had to pretty much raise the entire inner city by 2 stories.

 

Wow, I had never known that about Chicago.  (But after looking into it, it looks like buildings were raised 2-6 feet, not two stories.)

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2 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Wow, I had never known that about Chicago.  (But after looking into it, it looks like buildings were raised 2-6 feet, not two stories.)

 

Just remembered it was a lot haha. More from my back-knowledge than on the spot research. But yeah, many cities have evolved in this way to counter the elements. I've said it before and I'll say it again; World class cities are ones with world class infrastructure. Whether its to counter the natural or facilitate the movement of people by any means, it is a necessity that can not be placed second among priorities.

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2 hours ago, Nate99 said:

 

Bald eagles?  New one for me.

 

The flooding post Harvey is alarming, but the knee jerk assumption that further development can only exacerbate the issue is precisely what informs my impression. 

 

If in fact it does, then yeah, there are a few more things to sort out, but in an emotional debate, I don't trust facts to carry the day.  There are more than a few in Kingwood that will go to their graves insisting that the release from Lake Conroe caused the flooding in 1994 and during Harvey, and all the pure mathematics in the world won't convince them otherwise.  

 

We should just change the forum thread title to: The Bald Eagles. Instead of "The Herons". Just to mess around. Then post in here about how much we can't wait for the developers to demo the wetlands just in spite of the NIMBYS.

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https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/kingwood/news/article/Northpark-expansion-update-Kingwood-marina-13617857.php

 



Martin said developers of the controversial upscale development, the Herons Kingwood Marina, are applying for a Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will allow them to discharge dredged material into waterways and wetlands.

Due to changes implemented post-Hurricane Harvey and from personal experience, Martin said it will be a hefty task that can go on until the end of 2019.

Since he said that much disinformation is being circulated, Martin also provided a few facts about the project: It has seen “no action” since June 26, the dredge area has had no update since 2007, and the dredging area that is mapped is not within the wetlands.

The latter point means the developers don’t need to file for a Section 404 permit.

“The only dredge area they have is an excavation permit that has been approved by Harris County Flood Control and the City of Houston for excavating the area they called the marina,” Martin said.

He added that there had been a meeting between him, the city, the engineers, the developers and the public-relations firm two weeks ago and many points — the main one being impacts on flooding — were raised. The engineers said there is the potential in the Herons Kingwood Marina that the area for the boat docks will have to be dredged constantly to clear out sand.

That said, he is aware of and has notified parties behind the $2.5 billion project that it’s in an area where navigating by boats isn’t ideal, citing the river’s shallowness, lack of beauty and the West Lake Houston bridge’s low height.

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3 minutes ago, Mr.Clean19 said:

This project was doomed from the start but I appreciate their design a boldness. Move it to the East River in downtown :)

Completely agree. Good idea, wrong location. 

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On 1/10/2019 at 1:53 PM, wilcal said:

 

Yep, mentions of needing to fill in hundreds of acres of wetlands to do the project at the meeting. 

When will these developers and the jurisdictions that should be enforcing some kind of limits on development in flood plains, ever learn. 

It's not just stupid, it's insane.  Besides the fact that we need to save wetlands not destroy them. Obviously nothing sinks in with these elected officials whose palms must be greased 

to allow this type of project to go forward. Maybe they should call it Venice.

Edited by bobruss
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33 minutes ago, bobruss said:

Obviously nothing sinks in with these elected officials whose plans must be greased. 

1

 

I don't think a single elected official wants this to happen. 

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On 1/15/2019 at 6:00 AM, Urbannizer said:

This isn’t the first time high-rises have been proposed for Kingwood.

 

 

A Kingwood company is about to break ground an a 10-story building soon.

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If you look at the picture that Luminaire posted, the actual boat dock area will be, to a large extent a brand new section of the lake/river that would have to be dug out. It would actually help drainage in the immediate area, unless they were just really stupid about it, in which case they won't have much of a development for very long. 

 

Disinformation around flooding in Kingwood has its own Facebook page, and I'm not even joking. Public comment on this is going to be ridiculous. 

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, CaptainJilliams said:

I'm still very skeptical about this one, I'll believe it when I see it.

 

Likewise, this is beyond ambitious.  The developer seems enamored with the waterfront location and aware of what would need to be mitigated to make it workable though, so at least that much sounds realistic. 

 

How it would be economic for anyone to actually build, I have no idea, but I am hopeful they are more industrious and imaginative than I am. 

Edited by Nate99

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Its ambitious and a great design but in a poor location. Hopefully they build a bridge over the water there. 

Also, how much do you all think something like this will cost to build? $5 Billion?

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$20 bucks on some soil being shuffled around, a strip center being developed then abandoned, and the rest going dormant indefinitely. 

 

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58 minutes ago, Mr.Clean19 said:

Its ambitious and a great design but in a poor location. Hopefully they build a bridge over the water there. 

Also, how much do you all think something like this will cost to build? $5 Billion?

 

Hamblen Road runs basically along the river (anything south of it has flooded more times than I can count) and dead ends almost at this site, just short of what would be an intersection with Woodland Hills. It reaches all the way to the 59/69 feeder road, and would have to be made in to a major thoroughfare to accommodate this.  A bridge over the river at Woodland Hills to connect this site to FM 1960 has been kicked around in the regional mobility thought experiments, but no idea how feasible that is.   If this ever went, we'd probably need both, and KW drive would need to go to 6 or 8 lanes. 

 

Quote

$20 bucks on some soil being shuffled around, a strip center being developed then abandoned, and the rest going dormant indefinitely.

 

It's a dead end that's deep in the flood plain.   It's going to take a lot of very patient money for this to be anything at all. 

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2 hours ago, htownbro said:



 

Quote

“If you find another place with the same conditions as this one, I’d be more than happy to go [develop elsewhere], but it’s almost impossible,” Haddad said. “You’re talking about economics, you’re talking about demographics, you’re talking about proximity to an airport, … you’re talking about a lake and a river and four golf courses. … This is just an amazing place, … so we need to find a way to make it happen, but before if there is not a solution to the lake, the river and flooding, why would I [develop there]? It doesn’t make any sense.”


Still sounds like a slim chance to me. 

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It is a beautiful project indeed. But if they put something in that will increase flooding one scintilla I predict there will be a lawsuit that will tie this up for years. The folks in Kingwood, Atascocita, and other lakeside communities aren't going to sit still and put up with a developer raking in money and then leaving us to pay the consequences of their ill thought out design. Hope it doesn't come to that. 

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22 minutes ago, htownbro said:

The website is still up.  This project still has life.

 

https://theheronskingwood.com/

 

They are involved in meetings and seem willing to answer questions to keep things progressing. 

 

The scale of the thing is hard to take seriously, but they are indeed still at it. I do wish them luck. As a reluctant Kingwoodian (I am outvoted in my household), I could probably talk them into moving into a nice condo in this place. 

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1 hour ago, Nate99 said:

 

They are involved in meetings and seem willing to answer questions to keep things progressing. 

 

The scale of the thing is hard to take seriously, but they are indeed still at it. I do wish them luck. As a reluctant Kingwoodian (I am outvoted in my household), I could probably talk them into moving into a nice condo in this place. 

Even their Facebook page is up to date so I suspect this project to be picking up more steam in the near future.  If they can solve the flooding problem then let them build.

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I can't believe all that real estate has any prospective tenants. Unless the GHP is going to make an aggressive push to bring in business from out of town, it's going to be a while.

 

But you might be amused at this interesting diss in the Boston version of Bisnow, regarding our neighbors up north....
"Dallas Office Park by the Sea"

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37 minutes ago, EllenOlenska said:

Is Kingwood that dense? It reminds me of an only slightly smaller version of those Chinese ghost cities within a city. 

 

Literally, no, figuratively, it's debatable. 

 

1 minute ago, toxtethogrady said:

I can't believe all that real estate has any prospective tenants. Unless the GHP is going to make an aggressive push to bring in business from out of town, it's going to be a while.

 

But you might be amused at this interesting diss in the Boston version of Bisnow, regarding our neighbors up north....
"Dallas Office Park by the Sea"

 

Yeah, that's the really hard part. How does this compare to XOM's Springwoods campus in terms of office square footage?  You would need a lead tenant of that scope/scale to fill that space in where there would surely be city-on-city competition to bring them in. 

 

At least whatever bribe Houston might have floated to GE didn't win, that war horse pulled up lame. Looking at you Boston. 

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This should not be built. This city floods more and more each year. 

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Look at what happened in Kingwood yesterday and will probably happen again this weekend.

Someone in the government or insurance needs to stand up and say no more building in the flood plains.

They also need to start buying up properties, homes, businesses and whatever that are currently in the flood plain to be 

cleared and turned into green space. It's time to wake up and stop screwing around with all of this flood, rebuild, flood, rebuild, flood, rebuild................

 If Houston wants to get pst this stigma they need to take charge and make some serious changes, because its not getting any better and it's only going to get worse.

I'm tired of my insurance policies going up so some homeowner can rebuild 4 or 5 times in the same flood prone lot. 

This is ridiculous and after a couple time it seems like there would be a wake up call.

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45 minutes ago, bobruss said:

Look at what happened in Kingwood yesterday and will probably happen again this weekend.

Someone in the government or insurance needs to stand up and say no more building in the flood plains.

They also need to start buying up properties, homes, businesses and whatever that are currently in the flood plain to be 

cleared and turned into green space. It's time to wake up and stop screwing around with all of this flood, rebuild, flood, rebuild, flood, rebuild................

 If Houston wants to get pst this stigma they need to take charge and make some serious changes, because its not getting any better and it's only going to get worse.

I'm tired of my insurance policies going up so some homeowner can rebuild 4 or 5 times in the same flood prone lot. 

This is ridiculous and after a couple time it seems like there would be a wake up call.

 

I drove through Kingwood late last night and thought the exact same thing. The cost of irresponsible planning is immeasurable.

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1 hour ago, bobruss said:

I'm tired of my insurance policies going up so some homeowner can rebuild 4 or 5 times in the same flood prone lot. 

 

Is that even a thing still?

 

I thought if your improvement was damaged >50% of the value, even over multiple events, then you have to elevate it/etc. 

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