Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
MontroseNeighborhoodCafe

Parking Garage To Go Up On Main

Recommended Posts

Nov. 12, 2005, 9:34PM

Parking garage to go up on Main

Rubble-strewn space to become 11-story structure

By NANCY SARNOFF

Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

The lot filled with rubble at the corner of Main and Walker will soon be replaced by work trucks and a crane as a developer prepares to break ground on an 11-story parking garage on the downtown site.

Read More....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest danax

A 950 car, 11 story parking garage, replacing a 95 year old historic structure in the heart of our Downtown darling New Main St?

Good. I'm as guilty as anyone of sometimes getting too caught up in a utopian fantasy of light rail, New Urbanism, Smart Growth and walkable communities and forgetting the reality that the car is king and will continue to be king for many, many years. The risk of thinking otherwise is that we'll end up with way too few places for cars inside the loop and, instead of forcing people to get on public transit, we'll end up forcing them to decide to bypass these areas altogether and the result will be the edge cities prospering while the inner-loop stagnates.

At least they've said that the structure will be "architecturally significant". These parking garages need to go out of their way to make themselves attractive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What is the point of having all of these garages along the rail line?

Because they are surrounded by tall office buildings inhabited by thousands of people who do not live on the rail line. This garage will only take up half a city block. It will alleviate the need for 4 to 5 blocks of surface parking. It is an efficient use of valuable downtown space. Even New York City has parking garages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i am curious to see what "architecturally significant" turns out to be...it didn't say positively or negatively significant :rolleyes:

and this is classic:

Just in time for last year's Super Bowl, a tall red fence was put along the Main Street side of the site, hiding the debris of the former building.

heh...nice try

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand, but I thought the whole reason for a light rail was to decrease the need for parking structures and lots. Oh well, the building is already demolished and I guess it has been an eyesore for too long. Atleast it will have retail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah its a horrible looking site as is. I've been wondering for the last 3 months what is the deal with the site. I know we all would like either residential or an office tower, but its really not that big of a site as is. Not to mention a pile of rubble that will be replaced by a site with retail on the bottom floor is actually not bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, Hines has a good reputation for developing "architecturally significant" structures - Pennzoil Place, BOA, Williams Tower, etc. Hopefully this new building will carry on that tradition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh give me a break. Since when has any parking garage been "architecturally significant"? That's just PR on Hines' part. I can't believe that downtown really needs any more parking garages. It already has more garages than in just about any city I can think of, not to mention block after block of surface lots and the huge undground civic center garage. And it does seem odd lining up garages along the light rail line, which was supposed to help encourage better quality development downtown.

What a waste.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now where are all the naysayers who said that building a light rail line wouldn't spur new development? Come on! You know who you are! How embarrassed you must be now to see that, in just two short years after the line took off, we now have, going up in the heart of downtown on Main Street, a... PARKING GARAGE!!!!!!!!

Forget all those other projects we waited for, but didn't see. Forget the Shamrock, forget HoustonPavilions (still waiting), forget that corridor of high-density apartment projects in Midtown envisioned by the Main Street Master Plan, forget the Main@Wheeler development, forget the West Building, forget Point Center Midtown, forget Midtown Green... You can put all those disappointments to rest, for in perfect accord with the old saying, "He who has patience is rewarded," we now have A PARKING GARAGE going up on Main Street in downtown.

All right, I'll cut the sarcasm. I know this isn't what I, or any of us, wanted. Clearly, having one street that is a better candidate for urban development than any other in the city, and getting nothing after ten years of renewal but a feeble parking garage is disheartening to say the least. But hey - at least there's still hope for that sleek new urbanist building proposed for the new Midtown headquarters of Morris Architects. OH WAIT:

Morris Architects, a design firm itching to move into new digs along the rail line, has gotten its wish.

The Houston-based company has leased 22,000 square feet of space in First City Tower.

Morris was hoping to be in a new building in Midtown, but high costs kept the project from getting off the ground.

"We decided to go ahead and take advantage of today's downtown competitive rates," said Chris Hudson, president and CEO of Morris Architects.

Wow. I guess there's no hope after all. Fie on Houston developers for their brainless, gutless, ball-less approach to inner city development.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Clearly, having one street that is a better candidate for urban development than any other in the city, and getting nothing after ten years of renewal but a feeble parking garage is disheartening to say the least.

While I agree with you, we have also seen 1000 main built, Metro administration building, the cathedral (one block off), Mckinney Place (ground level retail), got rid of a suburban McDonalds, this is all stuff from about 2002 till now. I can't remember what may have happened from '95 till '02. I also think a few buildings have been redone for residential use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh give me a break. Since when has any parking garage been "architecturally significant"?

Ever since this was built:

nicegarage9hp.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
While I agree with you, we have also seen 1000 main built, Metro administration building, the cathedral (one block off), Mckinney Place (ground level retail), got rid of a suburban McDonalds, this is all stuff from about 2002 till now. I can't remember what may have happened from '95 till '02. I also think a few buildings have been redone for residential use.

Good point, but I was thinking of developments that tended towards an urban lifestyle. All of this, except for the building renovations, would have happened anyway, and haven't made Houston any more urban.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, OK, I stand corrected! :D I was just ticked off reading about a parking lot development along the light rail line. And point taken that Hines has in some cases paid more attention to design than a lot of developers. Still, I'll withhold judgement until we see what they come up with here. I don't think Houston is still a city very concerned with architecture in general, and with parking garages the economic incentives to invest in a good design are even less than with most structures.

In terms of development, I agree with H-town that it is discouraging that the best use they could come up with was parking. Ultimately downtown needs a lot bigger residential base, and I was foolishly hoping they would consider some apartments. At least Houston Pavillions is a bright spot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Come to think of it... after this gets built, how many blocks will there be of Main Street in downtown Houston that don't have either a parking garage or parking spaces fronting the street? Two?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh give me a break. Since when has any parking garage been "architecturally significant"? That's just PR on Hines' part. I can't believe that downtown really needs any more parking garages. It already has more garages than in just about any city I can think of, not to mention block after block of surface lots and the huge undground civic center garage. And it does seem odd lining up garages along the light rail line, which was supposed to help encourage better quality development downtown.

What a waste.

This garage is being built to enhance leasing opportunities for Pennzoil. Nothing more; nothing less.

B)

Edited by nmainguy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that it will end up being positive. In Charlotte, we had Seventh Street Station. It was a parking garage, but it also had retail at the bottom (one being the only grocery store in downtown for years).

828603-Seventh_Street_Station-Charlotte.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now where are all the naysayers who said that building a light rail line wouldn't spur new development? Come on! You know who you are! How embarrassed you must be now to see that, in just two short years after the line took off, we now have, going up in the heart of downtown on Main Street, a... PARKING GARAGE!!!!!!!!

Forget all those other projects we waited for, but didn't see. Forget the Shamrock, forget HoustonPavilions (still waiting), forget that corridor of high-density apartment projects in Midtown envisioned by the Main Street Master Plan, forget the Main@Wheeler development, forget the West Building, forget Point Center Midtown, forget Midtown Green... You can put all those disappointments to rest, for in perfect accord with the old saying, "He who has patience is rewarded," we now have A PARKING GARAGE going up on Main Street in downtown.

All right, I'll cut the sarcasm. I know this isn't what I, or any of us, wanted. Clearly, having one street that is a better candidate for urban development than any other in the city, and getting nothing after ten years of renewal but a feeble parking garage is disheartening to say the least. But hey - at least there's still hope for that sleek new urbanist building proposed for the new Midtown headquarters of Morris Architects. OH WAIT:

Morris Architects, a design firm itching to move into new digs along the rail line, has gotten its wish.

The Houston-based company has leased 22,000 square feet of space in First City Tower.

Morris was hoping to be in a new building in Midtown, but high costs kept the project from getting off the ground.

"We decided to go ahead and take advantage of today's downtown competitive rates," said Chris Hudson, president and CEO of Morris Architects.

Wow. I guess there's no hope after all. Fie on Houston developers for their brainless, gutless, ball-less approach to inner city development.

Whatever... I can't believe how narrow the focus is here. Take a look at the Texas Medical Center and you will see MANY projects that are being designed and developed with a complete focus on immediate access to the METRORail system. Last time I researched it (last week), I counted seven projects under construction (totaling over $1.1 billion!) along a 1 1/2 mile stretch of the rail corridor in the TMC (two for Memorial Hermann, one for Methodist, one for Prairie View A&M, one for St. Luke's, one for Texas Women's, one multi-use project being constructed by METRO and Transwestern)... with designs that focus on the rail. You know... retail at the base, hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space, new hotel and conference facilities... as well as parking facilities. I also count two major apartment complexes (over 250 units each) that have opened within immediate walking distance of light rail stations since the line was initiated in 2004. One near the Ensemble Station and one near the Smith Land's station. This does not include many townhome communities that have also been built. And I know first hand that this is the tip of the iceberg....

I grant you that Downtown/Midtown development along the rail corridor has been slow, but market conditions (for all types of real estate) in these areas has been tepid over the past few years. In case no one has checked, the Houston apartment market got severely overbuilt between '02 and '04, so, as a result, their have been much fewer announced new projects along the rail. When market conditions warrant, you will definitely see the type of development we are all awaiting. It will take a little time though. And, while I am at it, it also took Dallas a few years to start their transit oriented developments after DART initiated light rail... their first line opened in '96... Mockingbird Station didn't open until '00. Give Houston a chance... it is on the right track.

The folks at Hines are building this garage to make their property (Pennzoil Place) more competitive and ultimately strengthen leasing (and the downtown office market). The fact that they are incorporating retail along Main Street is a gain... and is better than the dilapidated and abandoned building that was there before. I think if people research redeveloped downtown areas across the country that have light rail - including such planning oriented cities as Portland and San Diego - you will find that parking garages are a vital component to the whole success of downtown. Of course, so is housing and retail... which you will see in years to come.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While the patience on this board is short, the memory may be even shorter. Does anyone remember that Main Street was the worst street in Downtown for decades prior to the rail installation? It takes time to develop, buy land and construct these projects. The rail has been open less than 2 years. In the meantime, dozens of properties have been rehabbed up and down Main Street, housing apartments, hotels, restaurants and bars.

And, why would Hines put up an 11 story garage on half a block...could it be that he knows that 3 blocks of surface parking will soon be eliminated by the Houston Pavillions? I'm not sure why the doom and gloom here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
While the patience on this board is short, the memory may be even shorter. Does anyone remember that Main Street was the worst street in Downtown for decades prior to the rail installation? It takes time to develop, buy land and construct these projects. The rail has been open less than 2 years. In the meantime, dozens of properties have been rehabbed up and down Main Street, housing apartments, hotels, restaurants and bars.

And, why would Hines put up an 11 story garage on half a block...could it be that he knows that 3 blocks of surface parking will soon be eliminated by the Houston Pavillions? I'm not sure why the doom and gloom here.

It's what we do at HAIF, Red!! :)

BTW, weren't we all alerted that the original structure was being torn down for this exact purpose? This shouldn't be a surprise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's what we do at HAIF, Red!! :)

BTW, weren't we all alerted that the original structure was being torn down for this exact purpose? This shouldn't be a surprise.

True, true. And, I'm not asking anyone to stop, either. :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
While the patience on this board is short, the memory may be even shorter. Does anyone remember that Main Street was the worst street in Downtown for decades prior to the rail installation? It takes time to develop, buy land and construct these projects. The rail has been open less than 2 years. In the meantime, dozens of properties have been rehabbed up and down Main Street, housing apartments, hotels, restaurants and bars.

And, why would Hines put up an 11 story garage on half a block...could it be that he knows that 3 blocks of surface parking will soon be eliminated by the Houston Pavillions? I'm not sure why the doom and gloom here.

Well, I think the gloom and doom is because parking garages are second-rate development. It won't really do much to help revitalize downtown, compared to some of the other develpments that people have mentioned, and especially along the rail line. There's no denying that there has been some improvement along Main, and that these things take time, but that still doesn't make this an optimal project for downtown.

I assume that more still more parking garages will be built as part of the Houston Pavillions project.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If just ONE piece of new residential construction were going up on Main Street in downtown or midtown - ONE - then I wouldn't be so doomy and gloomy.

How many buildings have been built to hold cars downtown in the last twenty years for every building that is built to hold people? Half a dozen or more?

Also, when was Pennzoil Place built? 1976? And they just now, after thirty years, need more parking to attract tenants? Where were all those people parking before? And what does it say about the prospects for downtown that building owners are having to invest money in newer, more convenient garages just to rent out the same space that they were able to rent before? The same thing has happened at First City Tower and ChevronTexaco Heritage Plaza.

Edited by H-Town Man

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Where were all those people parking before?

Back in the day, most people worked in a thing called an "office".

Today, everybody is in cube-farms. Much more people per floor today than was planned in 1976.

My building is a prime example. We ripped out 25 offices, and added 25 rows of cubes with six people per row.

150 people vs. 25. And this is not unique to my building.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There's no denying that there has been some improvement along Main, and that these things take time, but that still doesn't make this an optimal project for downtown.

It's an optimal project for Hines. It is being built to enhance leasing opportunities for Pennzoil. The more convenient the parking, the fuller the building; the fuller the building, the higher the rents.

A full Pennzoil can't be that bad for the CBD.

B)

[Oh yeah, and what MidtownCoog said]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was this parking garage designed by Phillip Johnson by any chance, perhaps along with his design for Penzoil Place and not built until serveral decades later?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Was this parking garage designed by Phillip Johnson by any chance, perhaps along with his design for Penzoil Place and not built until serveral decades later?

I highly doubt it. But I wonder what a parking garage by him would look like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I highly doubt it. But I wonder what a parking garage by him would look like.

At least we know what a parking garage by Frank Lloyd Wright would look like: :D

guggenheim-lg.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest danax

^ That's what I'm talking about. Everything built in the city should be architecturally significant at this point. Show a little creativity. People are paying attention.

The Toyota Tundra garage is an example of what not to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The building manager at Heritage Plaza says that they are going to be breaking ground on a parking garage on the surface lot across the street this December as well. This is on the lot across from the Doubletree where a high-rise condo was initially slated to go. It's not as exciting, but I think that the more surface lots that are turned into garages, the more the economics on the remaining surface lots could change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The building manager at Heritage Plaza says that they are going to be breaking ground on a parking garage on the surface lot across the street this December as well. This is on the lot across from the Doubletree where a high-rise condo was initially slated to go. It's not as exciting, but I think that the more surface lots that are turned into garages, the more the economics on the remaining surface lots could change.

Or, the more surface lots that are turned into garages, the more downtown becomes an inhuman and forbidding environment where nobody will want to go.

Back in the day, most people worked in a thing called an "office".

Today, everybody is in cube-farms. Much more people per floor today than was planned in 1976.

My building is a prime example. We ripped out 25 offices, and added 25 rows of cubes with six people per row.

150 people vs. 25. And this is not unique to my building.

That's a good point, and I thank you for calling it to attention. It really bums me out that they're able to squeeze so many people in like that, and that none of the growth in our downtown workforce is creating any need for new space. I wonder how much bigger our skyline would be if we had the same number of people per floor that we had in the seventies. On the other hand, I wonder how much smaller our skyline would have been back then if people were as compressed as they were in other parts of the country - since I hear that the oil industry was unusual in the number of independent offices it gave people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
At least we know what a parking garage by Frank Lloyd Wright would look like: :D

guggenheim-lg.jpg

...and here's what it really might have looked at-from FLW himself!

B)

feat1g.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The building manager at Heritage Plaza says that they are going to be breaking ground on a parking garage on the surface lot across the street this December as well. This is on the lot across from the Doubletree where a high-rise condo was initially slated to go. It's not as exciting, but I think that the more surface lots that are turned into garages, the more the economics on the remaining surface lots could change.

It looks like the economics are changing to favor the development of more parking garages on former surface lots.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Additional parking garages are an indicator of a healthy downtown. Adequate parking is needed for tenants and visitors in any downtown. Not every surface lot can turned into a highrise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Additional parking garages are an indicator of a healthy downtown. Adequate parking is needed for tenants and visitors in any downtown. Not every surface lot can turned into a highrise.

Yes!

Why is everyone complaining about Garages? Yes they suck, but every city needs one. Expecially with a strong Car Cultured city like Houston, Garages are key for us. I don't know about y'all, but I'll take a 13 story Parking Garage over a surface lot any day!

And Besides, if more Garages are built, and have cheaper rates (Then say the $16.50 at Central Parking behind 1 Shell Plaza). Then the Surface lots will give in easier to sell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are "nice" surface lots (like across from One Shell Plaza and Humble Lofts) and there are skany ones (like across form the Court House and Stowers).

If they could just keep them up and clean them now and then, I think you'd hear less people gripe about them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It looks like the economics are changing to favor the development of more parking garages on former surface lots.

The two companies that own Pennzoil and Heritage Plaza are building parking garages - not because the parking garage market is ripe - but because the assets they own downtown are severely "underparked". Almost to a building, the large office buildings downtown that are the poorest performers (regarding occupancies, rents, etc...) are chronically underparked. Pennzoil Place, Heritage Plaza, Wells Fargo Plaza, and the old Enron Building each have major parking issues... and have among the lowest - if not the lowest -occupancy levels in the CBD. For these buildings to start being competitive - in a CBD market that is struggling with 81% occupancy overall (thanks again, Enron!) - they must have convenient, well-designed parking facilities. Essentially, these new garages have nothing to do with what is good for the CBD or a choice between surface parking or structured facilities - they are further investments by property owners to improve the performance - and, thus, the value - of their assets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If they could just keep them up and clean them now and then, I think you'd hear less people gripe about them.

I don't know about that, just listen to what people are saying about something that will get rid of a surface parking lot and add street level retail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Additional parking garages are an indicator of a healthy downtown. Adequate parking is needed for tenants and visitors in any downtown. Not every surface lot can turned into a highrise.

I don't think anyone is saying that adequate parking isn't necessary, but that doesn't mean that downtown needs to be dominated by parking lots either. I just don't believe that parking downtown is currently adequate. As firstngoal points out, these are being developed for specific buildings just to create more dedicated spaces for tenants. They're not serving any new demand for parking, just incenting people to park in new garages instead of old ones.

It's not arguing that Houston should look like New York or London either. Of course we never will; since we don't rely on mass transit to the same degree there will always be a need for parking. But still, that doesn't imply that every new garage is necessary or the best form of development to help revitalize downtown. Other options, especially residential, would be better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The two companies that own Pennzoil and Heritage Plaza are building parking garages - not because the parking garage market is ripe - but because the assets they own downtown are severely "underparked". Almost to a building, the large office buildings downtown that are the poorest performers (regarding occupancies, rents, etc...) are chronically underparked. Pennzoil Place, Heritage Plaza, Wells Fargo Plaza, and the old Enron Building each have major parking issues... and have among the lowest - if not the lowest -occupancy levels in the CBD. For these buildings to start being competitive - in a CBD market that is struggling with 81% occupancy overall (thanks again, Enron!) - they must have convenient, well-designed parking facilities. Essentially, these new garages have nothing to do with what is good for the CBD or a choice between surface parking or structured facilities - they are further investments by property owners to improve the performance - and, thus, the value - of their assets.

I love this post :)

But, Shouldn't Enron (The entire Allen Center) have good parking because of the super garage they have along 45?

Has anyone ever parked below a building Downtown? Its like the Paris Catacombes... Scary! (Louisiana Place)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm certainly not going to argue in favor of garages over residential downtown, but I just don't think that a new garage going up means doom for our downtown. Yes, these garages are going up to make the buildings more competitive with other buildings. But I can't believe that these are cheap investments just so building owners can compete more effectively without foreseeing any future demand for parking. Surely these building owners are savvy enough to know better than to throw money at a losing venture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I love this post :)

But, Shouldn't Enron (The entire Allen Center) have good parking because of the super garage they have along 45?

Has anyone ever parked below a building Downtown? Its like the Paris Catacombes... Scary! (Louisiana Place)

The old Enron Building is not owned by the same people as Allen Center, so that parking building is not avaliable to Enron Building tenants.

And Subdude, I don't think it's quite correct to say they (Hines) are merely "incenting" (to use your made-up verb) people to just move from one garage to another. What they are "incenting" people to do is to lease office space in the Pennzoil Towers. Having dedicated parking available will make that easier.

Thus, this can help downtown by helping Hines to fill more office space, bringing more workers downtown, who will eat at the downtown restaurants and shop in the downtown retail (including the retail included in this building.) While I too would love to see someone (like Hines) announce a new 40-story residential tower, the construction of this building is NOT a bad thing. And as has been mentioned ad nauseum on this thread, there are PLENTY more surface lots available on which those much-desired high-residential structures can be placed. It's not like the construction of another parking garage makes impossible or even slightly-less likely the construction of a residential tower.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And Subdude, I don't think it's quite correct to say they (Hines) are merely "incenting" (to use your made-up verb)

:lol::lol: You're right, I'm sorry. It IS an obnoxious made-up verb! :lol:

You are right that it won't stop development of residential, but I'm just getting impatient seeing garages go up while residences are delayed. As much as I gripe about too much parking, it's easier to make an economic argument for garages than condos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah after I think about it, a residential could have went in this spot. It could have been in similar fashion to Byrd Lofts with the retail at ground level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just don't see the point right now of subjecting myself to living in downtown proper.

Why would I?

To increase my hardship? Should I be a glutton for making my life difficult?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't think it's quite correct to say they (Hines) are merely "incenting" (to use your made-up verb)

it's a real word/verb though :blink:

"to incentivize"

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...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...