Jump to content
H-Town Man

Future of Downtown

Recommended Posts

This article gives an interesting array of comments on issues that are being discussed for downtown's development. Apparently there was a Future of Downtown event at The Rice a few days ago, but this article was written prior as a kind of preview of the event. Anyone hear anything about what was said at the event?

 

https://www.bisnow.com/houston/news/retail/five-trends-to-watch-in-downtown-houston-92579?rt=62429

 

One of the more interesting bits was the discussion of two vacant blocks of land along La Branch that are owned by international companies. I assume these are the two blocks north of Root Park. I couldn't tell from the quote whether they were discussing anything with the landowners or if they are just hoping these blocks will get developed.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think hotels and residences are still the catalyst for retail and to break the 9-5 aspect of downtown. Houston's DT  hotel additions are a good sign and bodes well for tourism/visitors. Houston has steadily been getting good reviews from travel and food critics. Something not mentioned in the article are the new parking garages going up that will bring more intown visitors. 

 

It certainly doesn't hurt the Astros and Rockets have been good for the last several years, averaging 37,000 and 18,000 per game respectively.

Edited by kdog08

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I think we have more parking than any downtown that I have ever seen.  I think the addition of new parking garages is a negative and just shows poor use of our current space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/21/2018 at 11:18 AM, H-Town Man said:

This article gives an interesting array of comments on issues that are being discussed for downtown's development. Apparently there was a Future of Downtown event at The Rice a few days ago, but this article was written prior as a kind of preview of the event. Anyone hear anything about what was said at the event?

 

https://www.bisnow.com/houston/news/retail/five-trends-to-watch-in-downtown-houston-92579?rt=62429

 

One of the more interesting bits was the discussion of two vacant blocks of land along La Branch that are owned by international companies. I assume these are the two blocks north of Root Park. I couldn't tell from the quote whether they were discussing anything with the landowners or if they are just hoping these blocks will get developed.

 

I find Mr Eury’s discussion on retail enlightening but depressing.

 

this document was published 5 years ago and fully executed on by the taxpayer:

http://www.downtowndistrict.org/static/media/uploads/downtown_retail_task_force_report_sept_12_2013_online.pdf

 

yet, I read into Mr. Eury’s comments that it isn’t working:  Hard and soft goods Retail is not coming.  Heck, Mr. Eury now seems to see the tunnels as a “night time” shopping solution.  

 

Perhaps the author of the article didn’t capture Mr. Eury’s sentiments properly.  Perhaps I am interpreting the words wrong.  Or perhaps i’m not.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Retail and grocers wont come into downtown until there are more residents, which, even if there's a DTLI-redux or an oil-boom, will be another 5-10 years. 

 

More hotels are nice, but unless there's more for people to do downtown then they will really only benefit business travelers/convention-goers. Hotels in-and-of-themselves don't promote tourism unless they have world-class amenities (e.g. rooftop pools, day/night clubs, connected retail centers). The best thing Houston could do is allow casinos. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, UtterlyUrban said:

I find Mr Eury’s discussion on retail enlightening but depressing.

 

this document was published 5 years ago and fully executed on by the taxpayer:

http://www.downtowndistrict.org/static/media/uploads/downtown_retail_task_force_report_sept_12_2013_online.pdf

 

yet, I read into Mr. Eury’s comments that it isn’t working:  Hard and soft goods Retail is not coming.  Heck, Mr. Eury now seems to see the tunnels as a “night time” shopping solution.  

 

Perhaps the author of the article didn’t capture Mr. Eury’s sentiments properly.  Perhaps I am interpreting the words wrong.  Or perhaps i’m not.

 

 

I did not see where Bob Eury said in this article that retail is not coming. Granted we obviously haven't seen it, but this is also a terrible time for retail across the board, with Amazon changing everything and investors scared of physical retail. Downtown Austin has a decent amount of retail; I guess when we have as many residents/visitors as they do, we could have this as well? This is an attainable goal over the next 5-10 years.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, UtterlyUrban said:

I find Mr Eury’s discussion on retail enlightening but depressing.

 

this document was published 5 years ago and fully executed on by the taxpayer:

http://www.downtowndistrict.org/static/media/uploads/downtown_retail_task_force_report_sept_12_2013_online.pdf

 

yet, I read into Mr. Eury’s comments that it isn’t working:  Hard and soft goods Retail is not coming.  Heck, Mr. Eury now seems to see the tunnels as a “night time” shopping solution.  

 

Perhaps the author of the article didn’t capture Mr. Eury’s sentiments properly.  Perhaps I am interpreting the words wrong.  Or perhaps i’m not.

 

Yeah I don't know where you got that retail is not coming either. As downtown continues to grow and more people move in, it's only a matter of time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know which article some of y'all read. Here is the full text in context to one of the 5 topics in full:

 

"What To Buy?"

 

"One sector missing is soft goods retailers, places where residents can purchase basic apparel and fashion, home goods and other specialty items, Eury said.  The challenge of developing more ground-level retail is that many of the buildings were constructed with a large footprint not ideal for smaller stores. It is expensive to reconfigure buildings to accommodate retail. Downtown is also limited by the amount of available space for new development or redevelopment projects, he said.    Moving forward, it will be important that the city continues to embrace and promote the tunnel system, Eury said. The problem historically was the shorter operational hours due to the dependence on the workday traffic. “You could always do business during the day, [but] can you do business at night," Hernandez said."

 

I see no where in this that Eury says that retail won't work in downtown. His concern is where to expand it. That's completely different. He obviously wants retail on ground level, but there are some things that are preventing it. Until we find creative work-arounds to solve the problem, he suggests that we embrace the tunnel system more as a way to bridge the gap. The problem with the tunnel system is that its still heavily focused on the office buildings its connected too which are mainly operational from 9-5 meaning retail will only function during that time as well. Its actually an interesting situation/problem to solve. I personally think the new Captial Building is taking a good approach. its clearly an office building, but has that large inviting atrium that will guide one into the tunnel system. We just need more visible access into it.

 

As for the grocerers. Again the full quote and title for context:

 

"Grocery Shortage?"

 

"The lack of a large-scale, full-service grocer remains a concern, and is one of the most-cited needs for Downtown's future growth. It is only a matter of time before a brand like H-E-B or Whole Foods enters the corridor, Downtown District Executive Director Bob Eury said. Currently, the only grocer is Phoenicia Specialty Foods, which opened Downtown in 2006. Eury and other Downtown experts will discuss what's next for Downtown Houston at Bisnow's Future of Downtown event Sept. 18. Marcus & Millichap First Vice President Justin Miller is not totally sold that Downtown residents desire a full grocery store and would be surprised if one opened. More likely options include a smaller, specialty grocer, an urbanized, multiple-story version of a major retailer like the Whole Foods in Midtown or more mobile grocery trucks like Grit Grocer, which park at Market Square every Thursday, he said. Houstonians are accustomed to driving to a grocery store and are using ride-sharing apps more frequently. Therefore, shopping at a grocery store a few miles away will not deter families from living in Downtown, he believes. The Randalls location at 2225 Louisiana St., south of the central business district, is an option nearby.  "

 

Its actually the opposite of what some of you have been concerned about. Eury actually wants to get a HEB and Whole Foods into town sayings its only "a matter of time". Its this other guy Justin Miller (I have no clue who he is, or why he matters. It seems bisnow needed some opposite opinion to at least be fair). Justin Miller is the guy who doesn't believe its worth it and believes we already have what we need.

 

Lets be sure to be more critical with what we read. I was pleased by the article and its seems like Downtown District higher ups are doing everything they can to expand downtown and have a bigger vision. Its the current business class that has been there forever that doesn't seem to think beyond what downtown has always been (then again they probably have never lived a day in town.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/25/2018 at 5:42 AM, UtterlyUrban said:

Why would New parking garages bring more “in town visitors”?  Was there a shortage of parking that kept “in town visitors” away?

 

 

 

They make visiting downtown much easier. Perhaps we are at peak parking garages due to ride sharing, but I view parking garages as a solid investment towards a more well rounded downtown. I certainly use the parking garages when I'm visiting from Austin for an Astros or Rockets game. I've been parking near Market Square during this Astros' season and have really enjoyed how active the area has gotten. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the opportunity has come and gone for a large scale full size grocer in Downtown. Grocery delivery services are upending traditional grocery chains in urban neighborhoods. Here in Chicago, In an absolute shock, long time Chicago grocery chain Treasure Island Foods announced they are closing all their stores by next week. I think the best downtown can hope for is Peapod delivery (if it ever comes to Houston).

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michelinemaynard/2018/09/30/in-a-surprise-chicagos-beloved-treasure-island-grocery-chain-says-it-will-close/#3a952f3d11bb

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, 102IAHexpress said:

I think the opportunity has come and gone for a large scale full size grocer in Downtown. Grocery delivery services are upending traditional grocery chains in urban neighborhoods. Here in Chicago, In an absolute shock, long time Chicago grocery chain Treasure Island Foods announced they are closing all their stores by next week. I think the best downtown can hope for is Peapod delivery (if it ever comes to Houston).

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michelinemaynard/2018/09/30/in-a-surprise-chicagos-beloved-treasure-island-grocery-chain-says-it-will-close/#3a952f3d11bb

 

I honestly don't see how that means a full service grocery store wouldn't do well. I mean grocery stores are always going to do well, especially when you have a name like HEB. Treasure Island Foods sounds a mix between a strip club and a can of mini weenies. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, 102IAHexpress said:

I think the opportunity has come and gone for a large scale full size grocer in Downtown. Grocery delivery services are upending traditional grocery chains in urban neighborhoods. Here in Chicago, In an absolute shock, long time Chicago grocery chain Treasure Island Foods announced they are closing all their stores by next week. I think the best downtown can hope for is Peapod delivery (if it ever comes to Houston).

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michelinemaynard/2018/09/30/in-a-surprise-chicagos-beloved-treasure-island-grocery-chain-says-it-will-close/#3a952f3d11bb

 

 

There are plenty of other grocery delivery services beyond Peapod. I live downtown and use Instacart every week or do HEB curbside pickup. I imagine Whole Foods + Amazon will start doing an extremely efficient delivery service. Delivery is much more time efficient than grocery shopping - I have zero desire for a grocery store to be located downtown. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I kind of feel you @downtownian - i know there are constant calls for a target downtown but having just survived a quick trip to the one on Sawyer, I think the days of the big box target store's are numbered. Picking up on your comment, an Amazon GO store where there is no checkout. I will start the calls for one of these to pop up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, downtownian said:

 

There are plenty of other grocery delivery services beyond Peapod. I live downtown and use Instacart every week or do HEB curbside pickup. I imagine Whole Foods + Amazon will start doing an extremely efficient delivery service. Delivery is much more time efficient than grocery shopping - I have zero desire for a grocery store to be located downtown. 

 

I was thinking about this the other day. I think if you are at the top class when it comes to big grocer chains then they can keep going with the bigger stores, but ones that are struggling to stick at the top will probably have to adjust their business model. One model that I think needs to be cornered quickly is the sorta hyper localized grocer. One that is maybe between 5,000-10,000 sqft. Not like an Aldi, but a small to medium size that still brings in a good market for the decent food brands that is perfect for those who only need to walk 5mins to grab a few groceries. There are almost zero stores like this in town. This a concept that is very much a void in the market right now that needs filled. This is evident in more urbanized cities. The same can be said with some of these big box retailers. Gone are the days where we need a lot of stores that cater to EVERYONE. Instead to compete these stores need to scale to the local level and be more intimate with the context and the locals that are there and get street traffic moving more.

Share this post


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

Instead to compete these stores need to scale to the local level and be more intimate with the context and the locals that are there and get street traffic moving more.

We have one :D.
Your point is well-taken. Imagine if the Main Street Market started carrying less cheap beer, cigarettes, junk food, etc. and more nut milk, scallions, kale, etc.
This is one case where gentrifying the locals out of the neighborhood would be a good thing. The question is, how much density is required to make it work? Are people willing to walk two blocks? three? five?

Dollar.PNG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Chi-Char-Hou-Dal said:

I kind of feel you @downtownian - i know there are constant calls for a target downtown but having just survived a quick trip to the one on Sawyer, I think the days of the big box target store's are numbered. Picking up on your comment, an Amazon GO store where there is no checkout. I will start the calls for one of these to pop up!

 

Yeah, all physical retail is pretty much done for me. I value my time too much to deal with it. I bet 90%+ of my retail dollars go to Amazon, online grocery shopping, online clothing shopping, etc. The only time I go to a physical store is when I absolutely need something quickly and it is not available via a 2 hr Amazon delivery. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, dbigtex56 said:

We have one :D.
Your point is well-taken. Imagine if the Main Street Market started carrying less cheap beer, cigarettes, junk food, etc. and more nut milk, scallions, kale, etc.
This is one case where gentrifying the locals out of the neighborhood would be a good thing. The question is, how much density is required to make it work? Are people willing to walk two blocks? three? five?

Dollar.PNG

 

One...One! haha. A good coverage would be 1 or 2 major brand supermarkets per district and ideally a smaller local supermarket every 3-5 blocks. Some areas that haven't been revived yet not so much, but a lot of areas are getting there. You'd be surprised.

To your point about people walking. I've not seen so many people walking in this town ever. There are more people walking more than the past 30 or so years. This is also in the era of digital markets. Stores that offer a unique experience for a particular shopper that isn't like the others get the traffic they need.

 

EDIT: This is also what I see trending in interior design. If you look at the kinds of detailing and aesthetics that are going into new interiors for retail you will see exactly what I'm talking about when it comes to experience. A digital UI design doesn't hold a candle to a well designed and interesting physical space that can be explored at the leisure.

 

 

24 minutes ago, downtownian said:

 

Yeah, all physical retail is pretty much done for me. I value my time too much to deal with it. I bet 90%+ of my retail dollars go to Amazon, online grocery shopping, online clothing shopping, etc. The only time I go to a physical store is when I absolutely need something quickly and it is not available via a 2 hr Amazon delivery. 

 

When it comes to something you already want...yes digital is definitely the preferred option for me, but digital just doesn't come close when it comes to browsing retail or finding that oddity or something that you just would have never found with all the digital clutter. There will always be a place for physical retail. The thing that is dying is "one size fits all" model of retail. When ever single name brand retail store offers the same options in an era where there are more options and specialty options than ever before, of course people are going to go with digital for that. Retail that has seen renewed success? Ones that have further focused on particular styles, brands, and identities that take forever to find in the digital clutter.

 

Edited by Luminare

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, Luminare said:

 

One...One! haha. A good coverage would be 1 or 2 major brand supermarkets per district and ideally a smaller local supermarket every 3-5 blocks. Some areas that haven't been revived yet not so much, but a lot of areas are getting there. You'd be surprised.

To your point about people walking. I've not seen so many people walking in this town ever. There are more people walking more than the past 30 or so years

That would be good coverage. I'd love it, but the sort of store I assume we're talking about would deal mostly in perishables. Without a steady reliable client base there's going to be a lot of waste, which would be reflected in higher prices and/or lower profits. Or is this more the sort of establishment you have in mind? http://www.mercantilehouston.com/
Always nice to know that a $45 bottle of balsamic vinegar is just a few steps away if you're ever caught short.
As a confirmed pedestrian who moved to the Montrose 37 years ago, and currently lives on the edge of downtown/Midtown, I think you'll be surprised at my lack of surprise. There's been an uptick in the number of pedestrians in the past few years, but it's nowhere near what it was in the early 80's. [edit: this was meant to reflect the number of pedestrians in the Montrose, not downtown. I agree that downtown was a cemetery 30+ years ago. I worked the night shift at HL&P.)
We're getting there. I'm greatly encouraged to know that there are others who know the pleasure of walking simply for the sake of walking and hope entrepreneurs willing to assume the risk will reap the rewards by catering to this market.

Edited by dbigtex56
added info

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, dbigtex56 said:

hope entrepreneurs willing to assume the risk will reap the rewards by catering to this market.

An example: Central City Co-Op has a farmer's market at Kindred (formerly Grace Lutheran) Church on Waugh Drive. An individual (or group) pays a subsidy to a farmer. In exchange, they receive regular shipments of fresh produce, according to whatever agreement they have about frequency and quantity. The types of produce will vary according to the season and whatever the farmer has promised to plant. 
So. If someone wanted to invest with some friends to rent a space close (walking distance) to the market (downtown) and use the existing network of farmers and co-ops, you're halfway there. 
There's your business model. It comes down to having the time, the money, and the balls to make it work. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I had to guess at a potential grocery location downtown, I would think that Midway is working to gain control of the combined site of the Sakowitz garage and the convenience store next to it and put a grocer there, with apartments above. This would generate huge traffic for GreenStreet and increase the value of the whole development. Most retail projects would love to have a grocery anchor these days. It would be central to all downtown residents; only drawback is that it is a long walk from most residents so you would be relying on most of them to carry groceries on the rail line. Auto access right there is a non-starter.

 

 

Edited by H-Town Man

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎10‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 9:28 AM, downtownian said:

 

There are plenty of other grocery delivery services beyond Peapod. I live downtown and use Instacart every week or do HEB curbside pickup. I imagine Whole Foods + Amazon will start doing an extremely efficient delivery service. Delivery is much more time efficient than grocery shopping - I have zero desire for a grocery store to be located downtown. 

 

Instacart is not a grocery store, it's a third party delivery service. Peapod, instead is a direct supplier of online groceries that directly delivers its products. But yeah I get what you're saying. Grocery delivery to your door is the future. One other benefit, besides the time savings, is buying in bulk. In car-free urban environments, you are hindered by only purchasing the groceries that you can hand-carry with you on your walk home. 

 

You mentioned curbside pickup. Something like that could work in downtown if HEB offered it. Up here Peapod offers a pickup service too. The pickup option is still not a grocery store but allows you to pick up your order at a small Peapod distribution center. If your order is too small and not eligible for delivery then this is a good alternative. I could see HEB having a small footprint pickup center (not a store) in downtown, where downtown residents could pick up their groceries. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really think discussing the death of grocery stores is premature. Are there people who will exclusively buy groceries online to be delivered? Sure. There are also plenty of us who *like* going to grocery stores. Those of us who like to cook and prefer to pick out our own produce. Those of us who suddenly realize we're missing a specific ingredient and need to run out and get it immediately.

 

Now, I do think there will be casualties to the online revolution. I'm always amazed that Randall's is still around. But any store that has a good selection and offers somewhat of an experience (Whole Foods, HEB/Central Market, Phoenicia, 99 Ranch, etc) will be fine.

 

...they should build a 99 Ranch downtown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly.  I cannot imagine asking someone else to pick out a perfectly ripe avocado, fresh cilantro, or prime tomatoes for me.  Same goes for all my meat and seafood purchases.  This is all important and enjoyable for me, as it is for many others.  And a Ranch Market downtown, would be AMAZING.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree. Grocery shopping for some is a sensory adventure. It's interactive and very important if you like to cook.

I would not trust someone to pick out my fruit or vegetables, meat, poultry or seafood. Plus its always fun to run into old friends or find something on sale that you hadn't even thought about. For mr its something I enjoy, except on Sundays at the Dunlavy HEB.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/8/2018 at 10:20 AM, Luminare said:

 

One model that I think needs to be cornered quickly is the sorta hyper localized grocer. One that is maybe between 5,000-10,000 sqft. Not like an Aldi, but a small to medium size that still brings in a good market for the decent food brands that is perfect for those who only need to walk 5mins to grab a few groceries.

So basically to kind of fill the role bodegas play in NYC?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Texasota said:

I really think discussing the death of grocery stores is premature. Are there people who will exclusively buy groceries online to be delivered? Sure. There are also plenty of us who *like* going to grocery stores. Those of us who like to cook and prefer to pick out our own produce. Those of us who suddenly realize we're missing a specific ingredient and need to run out and get it immediately.

 

Now, I do think there will be casualties to the online revolution. I'm always amazed that Randall's is still around. But any store that has a good selection and offers somewhat of an experience (Whole Foods, HEB/Central Market, Phoenicia, 99 Ranch, etc) will be fine.

 

Yep, I've tried grocery store delivery just for "convenience" a few times, through both HEB and Randall's, and have to say I'm not a fan. First of all, you have to plan ahead, then have to schedule it in to be there during their arrival window, and then half the time they are "out" of things you know they have at the store, just not in their home delivery warehouse, and even when they attempt a substitution, it's not what I would have picked, any time I've ordered something like linguine or soba noodles they come all broken up in the package, and the produce  is usually terrible looking. I think with the pasta and produce, they deliberately send to home delivery the stuff they know would be rejected by in-store customers. When I grocery shop on my own I can more spontaneously fit it into my schedule, I'm more likely to find what I need, or if I don't I can make subsitutions that are better for my intended use, I can pick out the best produce, make sure things like pasta aren't broken up, and when I'm going through the store I often remember things I need which I forgot to put on my list. Sometimes I think grocery stores haven't thought through the fact that by pushing the home delivery they are going to really cut into their revenue in the form of impulse buys from in-store customers.

 

I have several friends who claim they never go to the grocery store anymore, rely solely on home delivery. These people claim to be foodies, and like to cook. I have to bite my tongue, because to me, if you really care about food, you want a hand in picking out the best ingredients. How lazy have we become if we can't take the time to pick out and prepare the very fuel that keeps us alive and healthy, and which forms the centerpiece of much of our coming together as families and friends? Man, I've read too much Michael Pollan. It is ironic, however, that urban hipster "foodies" have gone in about 5 short years from insisting that they have to shop at farmers' markets to have a connection with their food and the people who grew it, to having minimum-wage workers pick it out for them and deliver it sight unseen.

 

Agree about Randall's. Shoot, in the 80s, Houston was the envy of many other cities for having Randall's. Sure, it was more expensive than Minimax or Gerland's, but the quality and selection were always top-notch. Then between Kroger's and HEB upping their game in the late 90s and Randall's being bought out by Safeway after Safeway had already failed in the Houston market, Randall's has just been downhill ever since. Now after running them into the ground, Safeway sold them to Albertson's, another company that couldn't hack it in the Houston grocery market, and Albertson's is already doing their best to make Randall's worse, by closing its Houston distribution centers and serving it out of DFW. As if they weren't always running out of stuff already. I almost wish Randall's would just finally fold completely, put it out of its misery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Texasota said:

Those of us who suddenly realize we're missing a specific ingredient and need to run out and get it immediately.

This right here is why I want a downtown grocery store - the number of times I've lost 30 minutes going and getting butter or an egg or something is nuts.

 

When the shop at Houston House was still open, I went down there and bought 2 eggs from them to finish a recipe - it took maybe 5 minutes.

 

Long story short I want more late night stores open in downtown, especially south downtown which now has exactly 0 stores open after 4 pm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, cspwal said:

This right here is why I want a downtown grocery store - the number of times I've lost 30 minutes going and getting butter or an egg or something is nuts.

 

When the shop at Houston House was still open, I went down there and bought 2 eggs from them to finish a recipe - it took maybe 5 minutes.

 

Long story short I want more late night stores open in downtown, especially south downtown which now has exactly 0 stores open after 4 pm

 

Houston House is almost exactly midway between Phoenicia and Randall's and is a pretty easy walk to both (11-13 minute walks). Even in the most urban of cities, one is unlikely to find grocers or even a bodega much closer than that to every residence.  The northern end of downtown seems to be in greater need of grocers than the south end. There are and always will be inherent inconveniences to urban living.

Edited by Houston19514

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Reefmonkey said:

 

Sometimes I think grocery stores haven't thought through the fact that by pushing the home delivery they are going to really cut into their revenue in the form of impulse buys from in-store customers.

 

Heh, just 2 hours ago I said that, and then this story pops up in my browser:

 

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/03/business/hershey-virtual-checkout-counter/index.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Houston House is almost exactly midway between Phoenicia and Randall's and is a pretty easy walk to both (11-13 minute walks). Even in the most urban of cities, one is unlikely to find grocers or even a bodega much closer than that to every residence.  The northern end of downtown seems to be in greater need of grocers than the south end. There are and always will be inherent inconveniences to urban living.

 

 

 

I think a lot of the issues have to do with the Randalls' - there's both a perceived and real (lots of vacant lots, homeless people, crossing under the Pierce Elevated) barrier between Downtown and Midtown, and once you've crossed that barrier, you've arrived at ...Randall's. 

 

Not sure what "inherent inconveniences" you're talking about here. Grocery store proximity would be much worse in almost any suburban setting. That said, you would absolutely find grocery stores/ bodegas more frequently than that in the "most urban" of cities, although that would mostly be due to smaller scale stuff. If Georgia's Market had bee better (and had survived), the new CVS was more of a small market, and the little market on Main Street were improved, Downtown would be in reasonable shape I think. Oh, and if the CVS on Main Street had reasonable hours. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll continue to shop in stores because I am afraid of what our society will become without retail jobs. Plus, I like human interaction and I am picky with my produce.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, KinkaidAlum said:

I'll continue to shop in stores because I am afraid of what our society will become without retail jobs. Plus, I like human interaction and I am picky with my produce.

 

Same reason I continue to send telegraphs, travel by horse carriage and insist on having a human reset my bowling pins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still like the idea of actually grocery shopping. I am too finicky about expiration dates, freshness and substitutions to leave it up to a store clerk to pick out. Plus, ever so often new items show up. Who knows what new items I might be interested in, that I wouldn’t know about simply because I get my groceries delivered. Maybe in the future I might reconsider, but for now we aren’t completely there yet. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Produce delivery will require a certain level of trust, true. A trust that some are not ready to embrace. However, general grocery delivery does not require that

same trust factor. A box of cheerios is a box of cheerios, etc. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, 102IAHexpress said:

Produce delivery will require a certain level of trust, true. A trust that some are not ready to embrace. However, general grocery delivery does not require that

same trust factor. A box of cheerios is a box of cheerios, etc. 

 

Except, one could say the same thing about a package of linguine or soba noodles that you're saying about a box of Cheerios, yet when I have gotten home delivery, I've gotten linguine and soba noodles that looked like someone had sat on them, all broken up.  When I go to the store to pick them out, that's not a problem. And when it's my food, I've just decided I like to minimize the chain of custody. I've never done Doordash or Uber Eats because the idea of some basically gypsy cab driver carrying my food around in his car turns me off. Generally if I'm getting takeout I'd rather go pick it up myself, but at least if the delivery driver is an employee of the restaurant there is at least some accountability for food handling and quality when it reaches you.

 

I don't know, whenever I hear people justify their reliance on home delivery for everything with "my time is just too valuable to spend it in a store (or restaurant)", I just think about the high likelihood they are spending that "valuable time" bingwatching Hulu (or posting on internet forums), and getting up, getting out, getting some fresh air and exercise and interacting with people might be a more valuable use of their time. It's like we're becoming a nation of lazy shut-ins. When I lived Downtown just as it was getting cool in the early Aughts, the whole point of living downtown was to be out, to be able to walk out my door and have everything there. I rarely spent much of my waking hours in my apartment. I would have loved to have had grocery stores to walk to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This interview throws some cold water on hopes that downtown is on the verge of another sprouting of residential towers. I hope Hines gets financing soon for their Block 42 tower. The Block 98 Trammell Crow tower might be too much to hope for.

 

http://realtynewsreport.com/2018/10/08/how-to-build-a-successful-high-rise-apartment-tower-in-downtown-houston-qa-with-marvy-finger/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

This interview throws some cold water on hopes that downtown is on the verge of another sprouting of residential towers. I hope Hines gets financing soon for their Block 42 tower. The Block 98 Trammell Crow tower might be too much to hope for.

 

http://realtynewsreport.com/2018/10/08/how-to-build-a-successful-high-rise-apartment-tower-in-downtown-houston-qa-with-marvy-finger/

 

He did sound a bit negative. On the other hand he seems to say One Park Place has been and is very successful and 500 Crawford is at 90% occupancy without giving out deep concessions.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And, as he said, he's working from a different set of criteria than other developers. While it doesn't sound like he'll be putting up any more towers downtown (and to be honest, if we're talking about towers, he already stopped building towers after One Park Place), he kind of suggested others won't necessarily slow down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 

He did sound a bit negative. On the other hand he seems to say One Park Place has been and is very successful and 500 Crawford is at 90% occupancy without giving out deep concessions.  

 

"500 Crawford was a struggle from the first day and continues to be a struggle, but we are at 90% occupancy."

 

I think there are at least three things to take into account in evaluating how the new residential properties have performed: (1) Occupancy, (2) Concessions given, (3) Rent. Everything we've heard about the market is that occupancy is doing well, but concessions at most properties have been steep (3-4 months). We don't know much about rent or rent growth. If 500 Crawford got to 90% without giving deep concessions, they may have sacrificed rent.

 

The other thing he mentioned that sounded gloomy was employment growth. Not a lot of domestic in-migration or growth in white collar jobs these days in Houston. This is reflected in our office vacancy rate, which depending on which source you're watching, either finally start to improve this quarter or is still getting slightly worse.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/11/2018 at 11:02 AM, KinkaidAlum said:

I'll continue to shop in stores because I am afraid of what our society will become without retail jobs. Plus, I like human interaction and I am picky with my produce.

There is significant truth in this.  And, retail is often faster (especially for clothing) and arguably better environmentally, than shipping me 8 pairs of pants from 5 stores only for me to try them on, keep one, and ship them all back for “free”.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was doing some research and came across this very informative site presented by the Houston downtown district who provides much of the direction and steering along with funding for the future of downtown. It is thorough and presents all of the projects that will make Houston even more livable.

Here is the link

 

http://www.downtowndistrict.org/static/media/uploads/attachments/plan_downtown_report_final_spreads_sm.pdf

  • Like 6

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...