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Warehouse District: Mixed-Use By Urban Genesis


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https://www.urbanoarchitects.com/work#/new-gallery-2/            

There's a lot more to this - large scale mixed-use development I imagine. Several other plats filed for nearby land. Will post later.

This is old-school Urbannizer. Just dropping a bomb on us and walking away, whatever.  

Posted Images

3 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

So has anyone fully confirmed that the last building standing is staying or being town down?

Only the Black Bodegas on the southeast corner is staying. Urban Genesis didn't buy it, everything else is coming down on that block, I asked the guys doing the demo. If you look at HCAD it is owned by someone else. Urban Genesis also owns several other plots of land in the area though.

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All coming down. I had a friend that drove by, and took this picture today. They didn't know it was coming down, and of course had to send it to me ASAP, with a text "Did you know your old building is being demolished?". It shows even more of it gone. Most of the front bldg now down.

You can also now see the concrete columns of the vault, along with the concrete floor.

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2 hours ago, astrohip said:

All coming down. I had a friend that drove by, and took this picture today. They didn't know it was coming down, and of course had to send it to me ASAP, with a text "Did you know your old building is being demolished?". It shows even more of it gone. Most of the front bldg now down.

You can also now see the concrete columns of the vault, along with the concrete floor.

vault.jpg

Why didn't you keep the building? Just curious

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12 hours ago, BigFootsSocks said:

Wasn't there a furniture store that used to be here?

Brief history: Built by Houston Sash & Door in the 1910s/1920s. Expanded over the years, that's why it looks like so many different styles of construction--brick, metal, more brick, wood floor, concrete slab, etc. They sold it sometime in the early 1970s, when they built a huge new place out near (called at the time) Beltway 8 West (now SH Tollway). They sold it to a company I can't remember the name, who I bought it from in 1976. I can't believe I can't remember their name, but time & old age will do that to you. 🙄They were only there a few years, they had some financial problems and needed to sell it & move.

At the time, I was in some leased buildings at Polk & Dowling (now Emancipation Blvd). Across from the old Houston Post bldg. We moved in 1977 to McKee St. 

I sold it in 1996 to Corporate Outfitters, a used office furniture business. They were there until they sold it to Urban Genesis. Corp Outfitters has now moved to a fancy new bldg off the South SH Tollway.

 

12 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Why didn't you keep the building? Just curious

I had a building supply business called Gulf & Basco. We sold products to home builders. Business was booming, and I needed both a larger, and a more efficient, building. Bought an old warehouse off Broad St, near Gulfgate Mall. Moved in 1994. 

I had no desire to keep this building. At the time, that area (Warehouse District) was crappy, vacant buildings everywhere, no demand for space. I could barely give the building away. It wasn't in very good shape, physically. FInally sold it in 1996.

Needless to say, the times they are a changin'.

 

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18 hours ago, hindesky said:

Looks like @astrohip safe area will be the last to come down. I'd say 99% of the blue brick building is down. Saw a truck loaded with scrap leaving when I rode up.

It was a heck of a vault!

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On 5/8/2021 at 9:29 AM, astrohip said:

It was a heck of a vault!

I think the contractor realized he's gonna need a jack hammer attachment to break up the vault area. They didn't work Saturday or Sunday.

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On 5/9/2021 at 4:04 PM, hindesky said:

I think the contractor realized he's gonna need a jack hammer attachment to break up the vault area. They didn't work Saturday or Sunday.

It's down now. Went by today, the vault is gone, it's all clear, and they're hauling off all the debris of the last week. The only thing left is the brick building in the SE corner (not the SW, that's Black's Bodegas). Demo guy said that's coming down as soon as they haul everything else off. They had three of those large semi-trailer dump trucks lined up, so it may already be gone.

 

 

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I'm honestly shocked that in an area with so many empty lots this was the most feasible for them... they wiped out like half the area.

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I talked with the worker in the orange hard hat and asked what they were doing. He said they were going to clean up the grout and waterproof it. This is the Black Bodegas building that is staying in the southwest corner of the the project. The other crew was loading out demo material and hadn't started on the last remaining building yet. I also saw them loading a desk into the SUV. I guess there is still some salvageable stuff in the last building.

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14 hours ago, hindesky said:

I talked with the worker in the orange hard hat and asked what they were doing. He said they were going to clean up the grout and waterproof it. This is the Black Bodegas building that is staying in the southwest corner of the the project. The other crew was loading out demo material and hadn't started on the last remaining building yet. I also saw them loading a desk into the SUV. I guess there is still some salvageable stuff in the last building.

 

My desk!!!! 😁

That last building left (not the Bodegas) is all warehouse, there was no office space in it. That's the one that had the wood beam floors. If there is anything left, like a desk, it was probably left behind when the last tenant, Corporate Outfitters, moved out. The office furniture people.

I would really like to walk thru that last structure one final time. I will try again when I go by Tuesday for my weekly visit.

Not only wood beam flooring, it also had wood columns holding it up. I don't think there was any steel in that building at all. There may have been some concrete columns, I'm not sure which building had them. But most of that building was wood columns. Huge, massive wood columns.

I probably have some pics, but that was pre-digital era. If any exist, they are sitting in a Kodak box in a closet.

Thanks for the pics & updates @hindesky

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, crock said:

destroying an entire neighborhood's aethestic/vibe/thing in a week, jfc.   
 

I know it's hard to be ok with this at the moment BUT when we take a look at the overall plan for the area, it's very promising. In retrospect I see what Urban Genesis is doing. They're keeping the most important parts of the Warehouse District, or what makes the most sense for what they own. That entire blue building was mostly just old rusted metal. And it's great they are going to pump more people in to the heart of the area. We also need to consider who is actually contributing the the area. There is the Dakota Lofts, William St Lofts, Theodore Rex, Last Concert Cafe, Blacks Bodega, Red Eye Tattoo, M Architects, and Sears & Crawford LLC. More residents in the area means more support for these businesses. And the North Canal will better situate and preserve this area for many years. Now I do hope the remaining owners keep their buildings, whoever they are. My BIGGEST worry are the buildings on Wood St. Does anyone know who owns them?

Edited by j_cuevas713
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Urban Genesis owns 10 other lots in the area and I bet would like to get their hands on a few more. One of their lots has already been cleared, here are 3 of them.

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, hindesky said:

Urban Genesis owns 10 other lots in the area and I bet would like to get their hands on a few more. One of their lots has already been cleared, here are 3 of them.

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Oh wow. Do you know of all 10 or a way I could look them up?

Edited by j_cuevas713
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Posted (edited)

They have started on the last standing warehouse. It still has a lot of commercial furniture left inside. Shame that wouldn't save it to donate. Freight elevator still standing. Grant MacKay is the demolition company they are also the ones demolishing the Center For Pursuit at Hanover's Autry Park. Black Bodegas in the southeast corner will remain.

https://www.grantmackaydemolition.com

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Edited by hindesky
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1 hour ago, hindesky said:

They have started on the last standing warehouse. It still has a lot of commercial furniture left inside. Shame that wouldn't save it to donate. Freight elevator still standing. Grant MacKay is the demolition company they are also the ones demolishing the Center For Pursuit at Hanover's Autry Park. Black Bodegas in the southeast corner will remain.

https://www.grantmackaydemolition.com

 

 

Commercial furniture is not worth anything these days. I bought a used Body Bilt chair 18 months ago for $250. That's a $1500 chair new. Guy at the used furniture place said less than 10% of used furniture gets sold, as there's no demand. Cubicles are worth scrap value only. Even the charities won't take used office stuff.

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1 hour ago, Ross said:

Commercial furniture is not worth anything these days. I bought a used Body Bilt chair 18 months ago for $250. That's a $1500 chair new. Guy at the used furniture place said less than 10% of used furniture gets sold, as there's no demand. Cubicles are worth scrap value only. Even the charities won't take used office stuff.

If I may ask, what's your preferred local used office furniture place? I've been needing to replace my worn-out home office chairs for quite some time, and would like to upgrade to higher-end Steelcase or Herman Miller models, but I'm not going to pay the $1000+ prices those chairs usually command new. It's been quite a while since I last priced premium office chairs, but I gather from your post that the pandemic has depressed the market sufficiently to where it's probably time for me to go shopping again. 

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5 hours ago, mkultra25 said:

If I may ask, what's your preferred local used office furniture place? I've been needing to replace my worn-out home office chairs for quite some time, and would like to upgrade to higher-end Steelcase or Herman Miller models, but I'm not going to pay the $1000+ prices those chairs usually command new. It's been quite a while since I last priced premium office chairs, but I gather from your post that the pandemic has depressed the market sufficiently to where it's probably time for me to go shopping again. 

I bought from A-Affordable on North Shepherd, but they seem to be going out of business. Try calling, since their better chairs weren't on the website. When I bought mine, they had 2 similar chairs, and several Herman Miller chairs. I tried them because I had driven by on numerous occasions. Otherwise, I would just search for Houston used office furniture. My Body Bilt chair is far better than any of the stuff Office Depot sells, and it was cheaper.

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I'm not happy about the demo of some of these buildings, but they are gone now, and (assuming this thing gets built), at least they're being replaced with something of value. Leaving the apartments vacant or, worse, not having them built at all, would just exacerbate the damage done. 

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57 minutes ago, astrohip said:

I understand the sentiment, but I would debate whether this is an "Historic Building". It was an old, decrepit warehouse, that was barely standing when I sold it 25 years ago. It would have cost a fortune to rehab, far more than it was worth, and far more than it would have been worth. It was a warehouse, not an architectural standout.

It has sentimental value to me, but little value to anyone else. Other than the location. I have hopes that whatever they build will become a centerpiece of the area. I have always thought that area was undervalued, which is why I originally bought there. So much potential, and it is only going to be realized with new projects. Some of those projects will be new, other rehabs.

Location was superb, but the building was a teardown.

I fully agree. I've had to take a step back and realize the overall impact the apartments will have on the area and businesses. The good outweighs the bad in this case. 

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11 hours ago, astrohip said:

I understand the sentiment, but I would debate whether this is an "Historic Building". It was an old, decrepit warehouse, that was barely standing when I sold it 25 years ago. It would have cost a fortune to rehab, far more than it was worth, and far more than it would have been worth. It was a warehouse, not an architectural standout.

It seems like there is a full-on meltdown here any time something old is torn down. For some reason people seem to think "old" automatically equals "historic". I can't speak on this specific building since I'm not too familiar with the area, but it certainly didn't look worth saving from an architectural standpoint based on the photos. Glad to see some reason from someone who actually knows the area and the building in particular.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/12/2021 at 8:27 AM, astrohip said:

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If this building was not historic, then no warehouse building in Houston is historic. There are probably a dozen warehouse buildings left that are brick with wooden timber beams. Then you have some with brick and concrete beams, then you have metal warehouses, which are probably 80% of Houston's warehouse stock, and concrete block or tilt wall warehouses making up another 15%.

No one thinks anything is historic until someone sees its potential and cleans it up and renovates it. Then everyone says "Wow, yeah, that is historic!", not remembering that they would have condemned it a year before. But any non-renovated buildings standing nearby, they still say, "Yeah, those aren't really historic though. Looks like they're about to fall down."

The only thing that makes this teardown palatable is the thought that this whole area is destined to be mid-rises or high-rises, so this was destined to go anyway. Or if there were like an actual engineering report showing that it was indeed about to fall down (unlikely), then it would be palatable.

Edited by H-Town Man
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Posted (edited)

I find it hard to believe that this was one of 12 buildings of that type.

in 100 years, if the Camden midtown apartments are one of 12 apartments of that style left, is someone going to stand up and say that is a significant part of the history of Houston? assume also that over the course of that 100 years that parts of the building had been remade, and added to. 

I mean, preserve history and all that, but there's a point where it's kind of is everything now a historically significant building and what's the point again?

Edited by samagon
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On 5/14/2021 at 3:10 PM, hindesky said:

Urban Genesis owns 10 other lots in the area and I bet would like to get their hands on a few more. One of their lots has already been cleared, here are 3 of them.

 

 

 

 

I spoke to one of the members from Urban Genesis and they stated that this project is expected to be 700+ units, with a portion being income restricted.

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

I find it hard to believe that this was one of 12 buildings of that type.

in 100 years, if the Camden midtown apartments are one of 12 apartments of that style left, is someone going to stand up and say that is a significant part of the history of Houston? assume also that over the course of that 100 years that parts of the building had been remade, and added to. 

I mean, preserve history and all that, but there's a point where it's kind of is everything now a historically significant building and what's the point again?

This is clearly a rare example of a large early 20th century commercial structure with a perfectly intact façade. Comparing it to cardboard structure like Camden owned by a soulless REIT clearly shows everything that is wrong with this town. This area had dozens of acres of empty lots that could have houses this ugly apartment complex. 

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14 hours ago, asubrt said:

It seems like there is a full-on meltdown here any time something old is torn down. For some reason people seem to think "old" automatically equals "historic". I can't speak on this specific building since I'm not too familiar with the area, but it certainly didn't look worth saving from an architectural standpoint based on the photos. Glad to see some reason from someone who actually knows the area and the building in particular.

Yes because old structures in this city are at a premium. If we hadn't torn down all the beautiful architecture around the old courthouse downtown or the area across from Moonshiners, which is now a parking lot, there wouldn't be as much disappointment. So saving any amount of beauty in old architecture, big or small, is important for this city. Also the charm of the era from over 100 years ago is simply worth saving. 

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

I find it hard to believe that this was one of 12 buildings of that type.

in 100 years, if the Camden midtown apartments are one of 12 apartments of that style left, is someone going to stand up and say that is a significant part of the history of Houston? assume also that over the course of that 100 years that parts of the building had been remade, and added to. 

I mean, preserve history and all that, but there's a point where it's kind of is everything now a historically significant building and what's the point again?

Samagon, I say this in all seriousness (not for the sake of argument), if you know where in Houston there is a large number of warehouses with large timber beams, please let me know. I would like to discover where such buildings are. From what I can tell, the only part of town where such buildings were built is within about a 1.5 mile radius of the center of downtown, Texas @ Main. Any further out and things were built later. Even within this area, many of the warehouses are later construction with concrete beams.

As for parts being remade and added to, you can tell by the demolition photos that pretty much the whole building was large wooden beams. And note that I am not talking about a style, I am talking about a whole type of construction. Try to think about what I'm saying instead of just inserting your standard comments about how saving old styles doesn't matter, there's always going to be new styles, etc.

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15 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

Samagon, I say this in all seriousness (not for the sake of argument), if you know where in Houston there is a large number of warehouses with large timber beams, please let me know. I would like to discover where such buildings are. From what I can tell, the only part of town where such buildings were built is within about a 1.5 mile radius of the center of downtown, Texas @ Main. Any further out and things were built later. Even within this area, many of the warehouses are later construction with concrete beams.

As for parts being remade and added to, you can tell by the demolition photos that pretty much the whole building was large wooden beams. And note that I am not talking about a style, I am talking about a whole type of construction. Try to think about what I'm saying instead of just inserting your standard comments about how saving old styles doesn't matter, there's always going to be new styles, etc.

I don't disagree that there are about 12 of these in Houston, just find it hard to believe. but then it's Houston, as we all well know, it's easy to tear something down here, which is exactly your point. 

and I am very much into preserving history when it is historically significant. the Astrodome, the Kirby mansion, etc. 

at the end of the day, is it a shame that they tore it down, I guess. is it their building to have done with as they choose, absolutely. is there enough societal pressure in Houston to create pressure on government to preserve these types of buildings? there's barely enough pressure to not turn the Astrodome into a parking lot.

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When I rode by to take pictures a guy stopped next to me and commented about how they were supposed to keep the lower section brick. I mentioned to him that it was determined the building wasn't safe to restore.

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2 hours ago, hindesky said:

When I rode by to take pictures a guy stopped next to me and commented about how they were supposed to keep the lower section brick. I mentioned to him that it was determined the building wasn't safe to restore.

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So then they aren't saving the bricks to rebuild the facade?

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46 minutes ago, j_cuevas713 said:

So then they aren't saving the bricks to rebuild the facade?

 

45 minutes ago, hindesky said:

No

Honestly!? F*ck Urban Genesis.

They are no better than the former owners of the Lancaster downtown. F*ck! We can’t keep anything historic here. We are dead set on erasing all interesting historic evidence our city isn’t built in 1965 and 2010.

 

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1 hour ago, Avossos said:

 

Honestly!? F*ck Urban Genesis.

They are no better than the former owners of the Lancaster downtown. F*ck! We can’t keep anything historic here. We are dead set on erasing all interesting historic evidence our city isn’t built in 1965 and 2010.

 

Based on their renderings of this I assumed and many others did too, that they were going to save the lower portions of the existing building. But according to @astrohip the building was not salvageable. I've never been in the building but astrohip owned and worked in there for 20 years. He said the building was beyond repair due to its construction. I hope Urban Genesis maintains the look of the building with the new construction.

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On 5/24/2021 at 11:04 AM, astrohip said:

It was an old, decrepit warehouse, that was barely standing when I sold it 25 years ago.

I think the real miracle is that it was barely standing 25 years ago, and yet somehow it stood another 25 years. And even after that 25 years, it didn't fall on its own but needed heavy equipment to tear it down.

 

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I think the real miracle is that it was barely standing 25 years ago, and yet somehow it stood another 25 years. And even after that 25 years, it didn't fall on its own but needed heavy equipment to tear it down.

FWIW, the equipment used to "tear it down" are just excavators, no heavy demo equipment was used to demo this thing as none was needed.  When we demo modern ish buildings you have to use hammers or shears on the equipment to "chew" through the structure.  Looking back through these photos is looks like they largely used buckets to process the building down.

Also salvage of brick is almost never done even in restoration projects.  The old brick is often weaker than the mortar holding it together making it almost impossible to re-use.

A few years ago Harris County did a great restoration of 5900 Canal.  This was a concrete framed building with decent bones. From what I understand it was an old canning factory.

https://www.kirksey.com/portfolio/projects/harris-county-5900-canal-renovation

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, tangledwoods said:

FWIW, the equipment used to "tear it down" are just excavators, no heavy demo equipment was used to demo this thing as none was needed.  When we demo modern ish buildings you have to use hammers or shears on the equipment to "chew" through the structure.  Looking back through these photos is looks like they largely used buckets to process the building down.

Also salvage of brick is almost never done even in restoration projects.  The old brick is often weaker than the mortar holding it together making it almost impossible to re-use.

A few years ago Harris County did a great restoration of 5900 Canal.  This was a concrete framed building with decent bones. From what I understand it was an old canning factory.

https://www.kirksey.com/portfolio/projects/harris-county-5900-canal-renovation

The shears and "chewing" is because of the amount of steel and/or rebar in modern structures, whereas this was wood and brick. But that doesn't mean that the wood and brick were about to give out. There are cities full of structures like this (everywhere in the northeast) and they are generally not tearing them down unless there are environmental issues like chemical waste or unless it is very high value land like in Brooklyn or something, and even in Brooklyn they are probably making it into creative office space, as in this case:

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I'm sure if this building had been in Houston and hadn't been renovated yet, people would have been saying, "Eww! There's cracks in the wood! It's literally falling down!"

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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