Angostura

347 W 20th

Recommended Posts

With the demolition of the white house on the NE corner of Ashland and 20th imminent, swamplot notes that permit records indicate a hotel may be built on this site.

 

The city's permitting site indicates that a parking review was submitted on 30Nov.

 

The land is currently owned by an entity called Wood Lane Partners, Ltd., whose registered agent is Robert Ackerley, one of the founders of NF Smith, a sizeable privately held electronics parts distributor. Robert Ackerley also appears to be in the pecan business. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/13/2018 at 4:58 PM, EllenOlenska said:

Nothing like knocking down a mansion to build something across from an empty parking lot. 

 

Two parking lots. http://swamplot.com/heights-hoteliers-next-teardown-target-the-florist-on-the-other-side-of-ashland-st/2018-12-18/

 

The floral shop across Ashland will be torn down to make way for (more) parking. That means the entire blockface of Ashland between 20th and 21st will be surface parking. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Angostura said:

 

Two parking lots. http://swamplot.com/heights-hoteliers-next-teardown-target-the-florist-on-the-other-side-of-ashland-st/2018-12-18/

 

The floral shop across Ashland will be torn down to make way for (more) parking. That means the entire blockface of Ashland between 20th and 21st will be surface parking. 


This is so ridiculous 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

I don't mind the demo but the amount of parking is outrageous. I will never understand this.

 

When the parking variance for the new retail on (the good part of) 19th came before the Planning Commission, only one of the speakers was in favor. Requiring businesses to provide off-street parking is still wildly popular.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, what in the world kind of hotel is needed in the Heights?  Unless there is a really huge convention or sporting event in town, you can get really cheap hotels downtown.  Aloft is often under $150.  5 star hotels downtown are usually $200-250.  Even with a charge for parking, the deals on hotels downtown are too good for any one-off boutique in the Heights to compete with.  I would have to assume that they are going for a Colombe D'Or concept where they are going to count on a significant amount of revenue from weddings and events.  But it really doesn't look like it is set up well for that as they are having to put parking on every sq ft that is not building.  

 

Second, this just shows how approaching parking as an individual obligation of each business is foolish.  This hotel is doing everything it can to keep from having to build a parking garage.  That is why the parking looks silly.  If the approach to parking was collective, you would be able to put in a parking garage on one or more of the adjacent surface lots either across the street or kitty corner to the hotel.  All the property owners and tenants should be required to pitch in to fund a garage and could recover some of their investment by charging for parking.  That would help alleviate the parking problems on 19th st as it grows exponentially with the new Waterworks development, the multifamily projects and the coming redevelopment of the thrift shop and insurance sale lots.  Instead, under the every man for themselves development paradigm, each new development will fight to put in as little parking as possible creating a big mess for the area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, s3mh said:

Second, this just shows how approaching parking as an individual obligation of each business is foolish.  This hotel is doing everything it can to keep from having to build a parking garage.  That is why the parking looks silly.  If the approach to parking was collective, you would be able to put in a parking garage on one or more of the adjacent surface lots either across the street or kitty corner to the hotel.  

 

This is correct. 32 spaces is not enough scale for structured parking to work. The proportion of space taken up by ramps, etc., makes the per-space cost really high.

 

 

16 hours ago, s3mh said:

All the property owners and tenants should be required to pitch in to fund a garage and could recover some of their investment by charging for parking.  That would help alleviate the parking problems on 19th st as it grows exponentially with the new Waterworks development, the multifamily projects and the coming redevelopment of the thrift shop and insurance sale lots.  Instead, under the every man for themselves development paradigm, each new development will fight to put in as little parking as possible creating a big mess for the area.

 

There is currently (a) no market for parking in the area (people expect it to be free) and (b) no mechanism for someone to build a spec parking structure and allow nearby developments to use it to meet their parking minimums in an efficient way. With respect to (a), the expectation that parking should be free isn't universal in the city. In areas like downtown and midtown, people expect to pay to park, and do. Not coincidentally, these are the areas of the city exempt from parking minimums.

 

With respect to (b), there IS a mechanism to establish a special parking area, but it's not a city-led process. It requires a significant amount of work to assemble the necessary documentation for the city, and unless there is strong leadership (or a large single landowner), it's difficult to overcome the collective action problem. I think the only two current SPA's are Montrose and Menil.

 

The current regulations make walkable development (i.e. development with very little surface parking) viable only for large-scale developments. Places like Highland Village and ROSC can manage to make structured parking work. The proposed automated garage on White Oak is over 200 spaces, enough to cover the new retail, existing retail, and whatever goes on the Fitzgerald's site. Braun probably had enough scale at the Waterworks to go structured, and include enough parking to also cover Harold's and whatever they want to build on what is now parking for Harold's, but chose not to.

 

If we want small-scale walkable development to be viable, the best approach is to eliminate parking minimums and price on-street parking in accordance with demand. Tenants will still want parking, but this will allow parking to be decoupled from each individual project, and make it viable for someone to provide paid structured parking.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Angostura said:

 

This is correct. 32 spaces is not enough scale for structured parking to work. The proportion of space taken up by ramps, etc., makes the per-space cost really high.

 

 

 

There is currently (a) no market for parking in the area (people expect it to be free) and (b) no mechanism for someone to build a spec parking structure and allow nearby developments to use it to meet their parking minimums in an efficient way. With respect to (a), the expectation that parking should be free isn't universal in the city. In areas like downtown and midtown, people expect to pay to park, and do. Not coincidentally, these are the areas of the city exempt from parking minimums.

 

With respect to (b), there IS a mechanism to establish a special parking area, but it's not a city-led process. It requires a significant amount of work to assemble the necessary documentation for the city, and unless there is strong leadership (or a large single landowner), it's difficult to overcome the collective action problem. I think the only two current SPA's are Montrose and Menil.

 

The current regulations make walkable development (i.e. development with very little surface parking) viable only for large-scale developments. Places like Highland Village and ROSC can manage to make structured parking work. The proposed automated garage on White Oak is over 200 spaces, enough to cover the new retail, existing retail, and whatever goes on the Fitzgerald's site. Braun probably had enough scale at the Waterworks to go structured, and include enough parking to also cover Harold's and whatever they want to build on what is now parking for Harold's, but chose not to.

 

If we want small-scale walkable development to be viable, the best approach is to eliminate parking minimums and price on-street parking in accordance with demand. Tenants will still want parking, but this will allow parking to be decoupled from each individual project, and make it viable for someone to provide paid structured parking.

 

 

 

Well said

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/20/2018 at 5:43 AM, Angostura said:

 

This is correct. 32 spaces is not enough scale for structured parking to work. The proportion of space taken up by ramps, etc., makes the per-space cost really high.

 

 

 

There is currently (a) no market for parking in the area (people expect it to be free) and (b) no mechanism for someone to build a spec parking structure and allow nearby developments to use it to meet their parking minimums in an efficient way. With respect to (a), the expectation that parking should be free isn't universal in the city. In areas like downtown and midtown, people expect to pay to park, and do. Not coincidentally, these are the areas of the city exempt from parking minimums.

 

With respect to (b), there IS a mechanism to establish a special parking area, but it's not a city-led process. It requires a significant amount of work to assemble the necessary documentation for the city, and unless there is strong leadership (or a large single landowner), it's difficult to overcome the collective action problem. I think the only two current SPA's are Montrose and Menil.

 

The current regulations make walkable development (i.e. development with very little surface parking) viable only for large-scale developments. Places like Highland Village and ROSC can manage to make structured parking work. The proposed automated garage on White Oak is over 200 spaces, enough to cover the new retail, existing retail, and whatever goes on the Fitzgerald's site. Braun probably had enough scale at the Waterworks to go structured, and include enough parking to also cover Harold's and whatever they want to build on what is now parking for Harold's, but chose not to.

 

If we want small-scale walkable development to be viable, the best approach is to eliminate parking minimums and price on-street parking in accordance with demand. Tenants will still want parking, but this will allow parking to be decoupled from each individual project, and make it viable for someone to provide paid structured parking.

 

 

There is currently no market, but there will be very soon.  Waterworks will have 4 new restaurants opening in a few months.  That for all practical purposes doubles the restaurant density on 19th.  And the parking lot for the waterworks is not going to handle all of that new demand, sending people into the streets for spaces.  The redevelopment of the two thrift stores at the opposite end of 19th will more than likely have retail/restaurant/bar and up the ante on parking pressures from the east end of 19th.  Then, you have the multifamily under construction and a potentially larger multifamily going in next to the new Chase bank building.  That will add overflow parking onto the streets as visitors and tenants with extra vehicles look to the streets for extra parking.  Add to all that "Maison Robert" and inevitable parking spill over if they are going to do weddings and special events (can't see how that is not their business model).  Once that is all built out, there will be more than enough demand for parking to put structured parking on one or more of the existing surface lots.

 

Midtown and downtown are nothing like 19th street.  Downtown has plenty of parking garages and surface lots that empty out by 6 pm.  Midtown has a tight street grid with plenty of parking a few blocks away from most everything.  On 19th St., there are a few surface lots, head in parking and then everyone spills over into the neighborhoods.  

 

SPAs should be mandated when redevelopment puts parking pressures on residential neighborhoods.  Otherwise, businesses get a free ride by dumping their patrons onto residential streets.  This "price on-street parking" thing is just a fantasy.  First, people will still drive as long as there are spaces somewhere.  This is Houston.  We suck at public transportation.  Second, you will never get anyone to agree to put meters in front of their houses in residential areas.  They will get restricted parking instead, which will just make the parking crunch even worse.  Third, no one will ever put in a garage because without parking minimums, every lot will fill with retail/residential because those make way more money than a parking garage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 12/21/2018 at 5:57 PM, s3mh said:

Midtown and downtown are nothing like 19th street.  Downtown has plenty of parking garages and surface lots that empty out by 6 pm.  Midtown has a tight street grid with plenty of parking a few blocks away from most everything.  On 19th St., there are a few surface lots, head in parking and then everyone spills over into the neighborhoods.  

 

 

Just on the 19th/20th St corridor, between Rutland and Lawrence, there are 5 large surface lots and a parking garage that are largely empty after 6PM and on weekends. That's not counting the ocean of parking in front of the Kroger, all the parking for Walgreens and CVS, or the St Andrew's lot. There is an absolute TON of parking on 19th St, but since our rules require each development to provide its own (exclusive) parking, it's very poorly allocated. You know what's great at efficiently allocating scarce resources? The price mechanism.

 

 

On 12/21/2018 at 5:57 PM, s3mh said:

SPAs should be mandated when redevelopment puts parking pressures on residential neighborhoods.  

 

SPA's generally seek to REDUCE the amount of parking for new developments by leveraging the existing, often poorly allocated, supply of parking.

 

 

On 12/21/2018 at 5:57 PM, s3mh said:

This "price on-street parking" thing is just a fantasy.  First, people will still drive as long as there are spaces somewhere.  This is Houston.  We suck at public transportation.  Second, you will never get anyone to agree to put meters in front of their houses in residential areas.  They will get restricted parking instead, which will just make the parking crunch even worse.  Third, no one will ever put in a garage because without parking minimums, every lot will fill with retail/residential because those make way more money than a parking garage.

 

By not pricing parking correctly (or at all), we're shielding people from the economic impact of choosing to drive to a location, which in effect subsidizes drivers at the expense of walkers, bikers and ride-sharers (or even car-poolers). Second, people don't own the streets in front of their houses. Before building more empty parking spaces, we can and should make more use of on-street parking, for both residential and non-residential uses. If demands exceeds supply, then the price should go up. (Also, there's no need for actual meters anymore. It can be implemented with signage and an app.)

 

Lastly, the idea that you only get structured parking if there are parking minimums is ridiculous. The area of the city with the highest density of parking structures is downtown, an area with no parking minimums. 

 

Where parking minimums exist, structured parking gets built when the cost (including opportunity cost) of providing surface parking exceeds the cost of building a parking structure. For sufficiently large developments, this happens at a land cost of around $100/s.f. For small developments, that number is a lot higher, since the cost per space of structured parking is a lot higher for small numbers of spaces. The problem is that with all the surface parking, it's hard to achieve enough density for land values to rise to a level where structured parking makes sense. So in effect, parking minimums actually discourage the construction of structured parking, especially for small developments.

 

In the absence of parking minimums, what determines whether or not it makes sense to build a parking structure is the same as what determines whether or not it makes sense to build a restaurant or retail center or apartment building: whether the investment provides enough return to cover the debt service. That means that each space needs to generate about $8/day in revenue, either directly or indirectly. Once the effective cost of the existing on-street and off-street surface parking exceeds this value, then we'd see standalone structured parking get built. Not before.

 

 

 

Screenshot (8).png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since we all pay taxes to maintain street, who exactly gets to demand parking is "spilling" onto public residential streets? Such an elitist way of thinking...

 

That area has been commercial for over 100 years and used to be denser so there is not exactly anything new under the sun here. If you want a private street where no one can park there are plenty of those in Cypress or The Woodlands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Boutique-hotel-planned-for-the-Heights

 

Quote

A developer wants to build a boutique hotel at the corner of West 20th and Ashland streets, a property where a historic 1904 home was recently demolished.

The plan for the site includes a five-story hotel catering to visiting friends and relatives of Heights residents, according to documents filed with the city of Houston's Planning & Development Department.

The group proposing the 37-room hotel -- to be called Maison Robert -- is seeking permission to build the hotel's gift shop closer to W. 20th Street than what's normally allowed.

It's also asking for an off-street parking variance, explaining that not all hotel guests will have cars and are expected to walk or bike to area shops and restaurants. The plan calls for 19 parking spaces to be provided on the same parcel as the hotel and 13 spaces across Ashland Street replacing a floral shop.

 

Large Live Oaks along Ashland and W. 20th will be preserved and new trees will be planted, according to the variance request. The hotel will have a courtyard, swimming pool and a rooftop terrace.

The 28,000-square-foot property at 347 W. 20th traded hands in May to a group called Wood Lane Partners. The variances are on the agenda for Thursday afternoon's planning commission meeting.

 

Edited by AREJAY
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/26/2018 at 9:18 AM, iah77 said:

Since we all pay taxes to maintain street, who exactly gets to demand parking is "spilling" onto public residential streets? Such an elitist way of thinking...

 

That area has been commercial for over 100 years and used to be denser so there is not exactly anything new under the sun here. If you want a private street where no one can park there are plenty of those in Cypress or The Woodlands.

 

Not once in 100 years has the area around 19th street had 700+ multifamily units and over a dozen restaurants/bars/coffee shops.  19th street was originally designed to be a commercial street that serviced the Heights with most people using the trolley or walking to get there.  It is now becoming an entertainment destination for a city of 6 million people.  19th street has never been as dense as it is going to become in the next 5 years.

 

And this is not an issue where a once dormant commercial street comes back to life in the Heights and has patrons parking on residential streets for the first time in decades.  The development on 19th street will quickly turn into another Greenville Ave where all the parking lots are packed and people are driving all around the neighborhood streets looking for parking.  There is enough land around 19th street to avoid that situation by putting in some structured parking.  But that will never happen because we make parking an individual business owner responsibility and each business owner lines up for a break on the amount of parking they are required to have on site.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, s3mh said:

 

Not once in 100 years has the area around 19th street had 700+ multifamily units and over a dozen restaurants/bars/coffee shops.  19th street was originally designed to be a commercial street that serviced the Heights with most people using the trolley or walking to get there.  It is now becoming an entertainment destination for a city of 6 million people.  19th street has never been as dense as it is going to become in the next 5 years.

 

And this is not an issue where a once dormant commercial street comes back to life in the Heights and has patrons parking on residential streets for the first time in decades.  The development on 19th street will quickly turn into another Greenville Ave where all the parking lots are packed and people are driving all around the neighborhood streets looking for parking.  There is enough land around 19th street to avoid that situation by putting in some structured parking.  But that will never happen because we make parking an individual business owner responsibility and each business owner lines up for a break on the amount of parking they are required to have on site.

 

Amen. Houston is a true oddity. If it developed in the same pattern as other cities then it would be drastically different by now. One with more density and more verticality. Its horizontal nature is like a Unicorn. It shouldn't even exist, but as the city matures properly and densifies its going to feel very rough when things get demoed or replaced (even if they should stay) because its just very difficult for small residential single family houses to survive in a vertical landscape. If we had already an established history of verticality throughout the city then it would be like New York where old buildings get torn down by the day yet nobody really bats an eye because you already have so much density around and the existing can survive longer than what is existing here.

Share this post


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

 

Amen. Houston is a true oddity. If it developed in the same pattern as other cities then it would be drastically different by now. One with more density and more verticality. Its horizontal nature is like a Unicorn. It shouldn't even exist, but as the city matures properly and densifies its going to feel very rough when things get demoed or replaced (even if they should stay) because its just very difficult for small residential single family houses to survive in a vertical landscape. If we had already an established history of verticality throughout the city then it would be like New York where old buildings get torn down by the day yet nobody really bats an eye because you already have so much density around and the existing can survive longer than what is existing here.

Why would Houston have gone vertical when there are no geographic restrictions on horizontal development that is cheaper to build, and more palatable to most folks? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

Amen. Houston is a true oddity. If it developed in the same pattern as other cities then it would be drastically different by now. One with more density and more verticality. Its horizontal nature is like a Unicorn. It shouldn't even exist, but as the city matures properly and densifies its going to feel very rough when things get demoed or replaced (even if they should stay) because its just very difficult for small residential single family houses to survive in a vertical landscape. If we had already an established history of verticality throughout the city then it would be like New York where old buildings get torn down by the day yet nobody really bats an eye because you already have so much density around and the existing can survive longer than what is existing here.

 

Actually, New York (specifically Manhattan) is the unicorn. Houston hasn't really developed all that differently from most other US cities that grew during the same time period. Most cities in this country have grown out, not up, over the last 50 years. This is partly due to how we spend transportation money (we build a lot of highways into the exurbs), and partly due to building restrictions within the central cores of cities. In most cities, density restrictions are imposed by zoning ordinances, historic preservation, and other impediments to developing projects with higher densities than the surrounding neighborhood.

 

Zoning is used, almost without exception, to limit density. In Houston, even without zoning, there was a lot that kept density low inside the loop. For much of the 2nd half of the 20th century, it was effectively illegal to build anything with more than four units inside the loop, largely due to inadequate sewer infrastructure, which drove a lot of multifamily development just outside the loop. In residential sub-divisions, deed restrictions, which the city enforces, accomplish a lot of the density restriction that zoning does in most cities. After Chapter 42 was adopted, with minimum building setbacks of 25 ft, commercial buildings could no longer be built like 19th St (with front doors on the sidewalk), so developers filled the building setback with parking, and the strip center was born. Add in parking minimums, and the traditional development pattern is largely outlawed, just like the rest of the country.

 

Only in the last 20 years or so are we starting to see real levels of infill development. It's been hindered by our development rules, but the Planning Commission has been pretty consistently granting setback variances for projects that ask for them. And with the expansion to EaDo and Midtown of the area exempt from parking minimums, we'll see those neighborhoods become more walkable, with transit links to Downtown.

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Angostura said:

 

Actually, New York (specifically Manhattan) is the unicorn. Houston hasn't really developed all that differently from most other US cities that grew during the same time period. Most cities in this country have grown out, not up, over the last 50 years. This is partly due to how we spend transportation money (we build a lot of highways into the exurbs), and partly due to building restrictions within the central cores of cities. In most cities, density restrictions are imposed by zoning ordinances, historic preservation, and other impediments to developing projects with higher densities than the surrounding neighborhood.

 

Zoning is used, almost without exception, to limit density. In Houston, even without zoning, there was a lot that kept density low inside the loop. For much of the 2nd half of the 20th century, it was effectively illegal to build anything with more than four units inside the loop, largely due to inadequate sewer infrastructure, which drove a lot of multifamily development just outside the loop. In residential sub-divisions, deed restrictions, which the city enforces, accomplish a lot of the density restriction that zoning does in most cities. After Chapter 42 was adopted, with minimum building setbacks of 25 ft, commercial buildings could no longer be built like 19th St (with front doors on the sidewalk), so developers filled the building setback with parking, and the strip center was born. Add in parking minimums, and the traditional development pattern is largely outlawed, just like the rest of the country.

 

Only in the last 20 years or so are we starting to see real levels of infill development. It's been hindered by our development rules, but the Planning Commission has been pretty consistently granting setback variances for projects that ask for them. And with the expansion to EaDo and Midtown of the area exempt from parking minimums, we'll see those neighborhoods become more walkable, with transit links to Downtown.

 

 

 

I would agree, totally on point, but in terms of the wide spectrum of what cities can be? Houston is a true Unicorn, but in the opposite direction. For instance, while I was in Europe, many people are always intrigued by the hyper verticality of New York City (and admire it), yet they see Houston as being oddly unique for a different set of reasons. It was really hard to describe just how radical the landscape is both naturally and built it is, or how large the city is yet how it can feel so empty at times. Not to mention, New York is extremely tall, but many can relate to New York in the fundamental way in that it is dense like the cities they are from. Both cities have come to truly embrace their environments in different ways. After spending so much time away from Houston and then returning I began to see why people have been so perplexed by our little big metropolis, yet at the same time I'm humbled by it because its just so odd and weird.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/26/2018 at 9:18 AM, iah77 said:

Since we all pay taxes to maintain street, who exactly gets to demand parking is "spilling" onto public residential streets? Such an elitist way of thinking...

 

That area has been commercial for over 100 years and used to be denser so there is not exactly anything new under the sun here. If you want a private street where no one can park there are plenty of those in Cypress or The Woodlands.

Demanding that parking requirements disappear and on-street parking dominate in order to create some sort of theme-park version of Manhattan is the very definition of elitism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh come on. Using "Manhattan" as a catch-all bogeyman is obnoxious, and, guess what? New York City has minimum parking requirements! 

The Heights will *never* be anywhere near Manhattan in terms of density. This is more about making better use of the existing parking we have *and* letting the market do what it does best if more is indeed necessary. 

 

Share this post


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

Oh come on. Using "Manhattan" as a catch-all bogeyman is obnoxious, and, guess what? New York City has minimum parking requirements! 

The Heights will *never* be anywhere near Manhattan in terms of density. This is more about making better use of the existing parking we have *and* letting the market do what it does best if more is indeed necessary. 

 

No one is saying that the Heights will be near Manhattan, hence the term "theme park version" (and yes, I was being obnoxious on purpose, because in too many topics I've seen this obsession with eliminating front-facing parking lots). In terms of parking garages, the only way to prevent "spillage" if that was a big problem is to build a parking garage, but parking garages are expensive to build, and no one wants to be liable for building a parking garage, unless you wanted the city to build and operate it and take a loss on it for several years (or if a developer bought up every single property to operate it in essence as a mall).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, IronTiger said:

In terms of parking garages, the only way to prevent "spillage" if that was a big problem is to build a parking garage, but parking garages are expensive to build, and no one wants to be liable for building a parking garage, unless you wanted the city to build and operate it and take a loss on it for several years (or if a developer bought up every single property to operate it in essence as a mall).

 

There is ALREADY a 4-story parking garage 500 ft from this site. There are also already HUNDREDS of off-street parking spaces within easy walking distance of the main destinations on 19th and 20th streets. The problem isn't that there's not enough parking around 19th and 20th St, they're just very inefficiently allocated, because everyone has to provide their own exclusive parking to get an occupancy permit. The current owners of those parking spaces AREN'T ALLOWED to rent them to other people. If we de-coupled parking from the destination and allowed a market for parking to develop, the existing parking supply would be more than enough to serve current and future development nearby.

 

Your last point is also important: currently the only way we get even halfway decent urbanism is by developing HUGE parcels of land (e.g. City Centre), which allow for enough scale to build structured parking. However, most great streetscapes are built as small parcels (20-60 feet of frontage), not monolithic block faces (see in Houston the 300 block of Main St and the good block-and-a-half of 19th). We should want to have development rules that don't make building great streetscapes illegal. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


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

 

There is ALREADY a 4-story parking garage 500 ft from this site. There are also already HUNDREDS of off-street parking spaces within easy walking distance of the main destinations on 19th and 20th streets. The problem isn't that there's not enough parking around 19th and 20th St, they're just very inefficiently allocated, because everyone has to provide their own exclusive parking to get an occupancy permit. The current owners of those parking spaces AREN'T ALLOWED to rent them to other people. If we de-coupled parking from the destination and allowed a market for parking to develop, the existing parking supply would be more than enough to serve current and future development nearby.

 

Your last point is also important: currently the only way we get even halfway decent urbanism is by developing HUGE parcels of land (e.g. City Centre), which allow for enough scale to build structured parking. However, most great streetscapes are built as small parcels (20-60 feet of frontage), not monolithic block faces (see in Houston the 300 block of Main St and the good block-and-a-half of 19th). We should want to have development rules that don't make building great streetscapes illegal. 

 

Seriously. Off-street parking will remain a mainstay in Houston in the absence of parking requirements—new developments in Downtown are still consistently accompanied by parking. But removing these requirements will at least give small businesses a fighting chance to participate in urban development alongside big developers, instead of being pushed out of the game by onerous parking requirements that mandate they double their land purchases just to construct a private lot.

 

It's completely absurd that we push the enormous cost of supplying parking entirely onto private landowners via legal mandate. It's an authoritarian solution to a problem best solved by the market, and it's particularly egregious in a country like the U.S. which (often smartly) prioritizes market solutions and private property rights. Minimum parking requirements also act against Houston's own interests. The city's annexation days are over—the only way to grow property tax revenue is through developing existing land. Every unwarranted parking lot created by these requirements neutralizes land which could otherwise be productive and reduces the city's tax revenue per unit area.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, lithiumaneurysm said:

 

Minimum parking requirements also act against Houston's own interests. The city's annexation days are over—the only way to grow property tax revenue is through developing existing land. Every unwarranted parking lot created by these requirements neutralizes land which could otherwise be productive and reduces the city's tax revenue per unit area.

 

Under-rated point. The costs of providing infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, water, sewer, etc.) scale roughly with street frontage. Tax valuation per s.f. of land is a good indicator of whether a given development is likely to be a net contributor or net cost to the city budget.  

 

A square foot of Heights land used for surface parking might have a taxable value of $70. That same sf of land with a store or restaurant on it could be valued at 3X that amount. Put a couple stories of residential over top of that retail space, and it might be 6-10X. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Angostura said:

The current owners of those parking spaces AREN'T ALLOWED to rent them to other people.

By that, do you mean "can't rent them out to fulfill required parking requirements", or "can't let others use it for parking"? Because the latter definitely isn't true as a whole...there are plenty of places in Houston and others in Texas are shared among tenants, or have parking lots available to rent out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Angostura said:

 

There is ALREADY a 4-story parking garage 500 ft from this site. There are also already HUNDREDS of off-street parking spaces within easy walking distance of the main destinations on 19th and 20th streets. The problem isn't that there's not enough parking around 19th and 20th St, they're just very inefficiently allocated, because everyone has to provide their own exclusive parking to get an occupancy permit. The current owners of those parking spaces AREN'T ALLOWED to rent them to other people. If we de-coupled parking from the destination and allowed a market for parking to develop, the existing parking supply would be more than enough to serve current and future development nearby.

 

Your last point is also important: currently the only way we get even halfway decent urbanism is by developing HUGE parcels of land (e.g. City Centre), which allow for enough scale to build structured parking. However, most great streetscapes are built as small parcels (20-60 feet of frontage), not monolithic block faces (see in Houston the 300 block of Main St and the good block-and-a-half of 19th). We should want to have development rules that don't make building great streetscapes illegal. 

 

The dental office leases parking spaces to the theater.

 

Decoupling parking is the right idea.  Letting a market develop for parking is economic-speak for turning what should be the responsibility of the people making piles of money off the real estate developments into a cost externality borne by the surrounding community.  If you gave the city the power to impose a parking district, you would be able to distribute the burden of parking more equitably, open the area up to more development and stop sticking the surrounding community with the burdens of over development.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, IronTiger said:

By that, do you mean "can't rent them out to fulfill required parking requirements", or "can't let others use it for parking"? Because the latter definitely isn't true as a whole...there are plenty of places in Houston and others in Texas are shared among tenants, or have parking lots available to rent out.

 

It means that, say, the owner of the hospital can't say that the parking lot across the street from this hotel is open to anyone who pays $5 to use it. Parking that is used to meet the minimum requirement has to be dedicated to the use that generates the requirement.

 

There ARE rules in place that allow multiple uses to share parking in slightly more efficient ways, but only within a single development or within a single parking plan. There are also lots of pay lots unconnected to any particular development, but these aren't being used to meet someone else's parking minimum as well. And most of them are in areas that are exempt from minimum parking requirements (CBD, Midtown).

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, s3mh said:

 

The dental office leases parking spaces to the theater.

 

 

The theater has a parking variance, and doesn't need those spaces to meet its minimum.

 

 

10 hours ago, s3mh said:

Decoupling parking is the right idea.  Letting a market develop for parking is economic-speak for turning what should be the responsibility of the people making piles of money off the real estate developments into a cost externality borne by the surrounding community.  If you gave the city the power to impose a parking district, you would be able to distribute the burden of parking more equitably, open the area up to more development and stop sticking the surrounding community with the burdens of over development.

 

The cost of an externality should be borne by the party that generates it. In this case, the development isn't the externality, cars are. So the cost of the externality should be borne solely by the people who drive to the destination in question. As far as the people making piles of money are concerned, if the change in my property tax bills over the last several years are any indication, nearby homeowners most certainly belong in that category. That said, if by "the burdens of over-development" you mean that someone might park in front of my house, I feel like I've been fairly compensated. 

 

With respect to the city imposing a parking district, I'd be interested in hearing how exactly it would work. Aside from there being no mechanism in the code of ordinances for the city to do it, I don't see a way for it to be done with (a) eminent domain (which the city has no money for) and (b) a lot of work (which the city has no appetite for). Besides, I imagine if the city announced a plan to buy up a bunch of Heights parking lots so that surrounding property owners could more profitably develop their land, there'd be mobs with pitchforks and torches marching down Bagby St.

 

Seems far simpler to just eliminate the parking minimums, and if there's any fallout over "spillover parking," allow streets to petition for (meter-less) metered parking. Go somewhere where parking is truly scarce, and you'll see that people can be pretty resourceful about efficiently allocating it.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Some additional details on the project are in this week's planning commission agenda.

 

The property will have a gift/floral shop at the corner of Ashland & 20th, accessible from both 20th St and the hotel lobby. They are requesting a reduced setback on 20th for this part of the building. The pool/courtyard will be along the 20th St frontage, parking in the rear. 4 floors of rooms, 5 stories total. Most of the existing live oaks will be preserved. 

Share this post


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

 

Some additional details on the project are in this week's planning commission agenda.

 

The property will have a gift/floral shop at the corner of Ashland & 20th, accessible from both 20th St and the hotel lobby. They are requesting a reduced setback on 20th for this part of the building. The pool/courtyard will be along the 20th St frontage, parking in the rear. 4 floors of rooms, 5 stories total. Most of the existing live oaks will be preserved. 

 

where is the latest agenda? Can't find a link for the upcoming agenda.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Site layout and elevations from parking variance request. The 7 large trees are already existing on the site. 

 

In addition to parking and setback variances, the project requires a variance to Ch 28, Section VI, the ordinance regulating location of hotels, as it takes primary access from a local street (Ashland) and is within 750 feet of both a church (Baptist Temple) and Hospital. Both have written letters of support.

 

image.thumb.png.93d5caff21e9908e74f0db2b25e61107.png

 

image.png.d0d85c60fd9877efee20db0ca30297d0.png

 

image.png.e2c2db63acb16cf5aa571590ddeb7d8b.png

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

https://theleadernews.com/contentious-boutique-hotel-a-dream-come-true-for-developer/

 

Wow.  and I thought I was a rich kid because my dad loaned by $8k for a down payment on a house.  

 

If this place has enough room to put on weddings and special events, it should do well.  I just do not see enough demand to sustain a high end boutique hotel in the Heights without revenue from weddings, etc.  But my dad is only good for about $8k.  So, I will just have to sit back and watch.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Goodnight Charlie’s is a great development so I’m expecting this to be great as well. It seems that this developer actually cares about building something with quality.

Edited by j_cuevas713

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now