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The Future of The Market Square Area


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So this is all speculation and conjecture, but the topic came up in the Preston project's discussion, so I thought I would start a new topic.

 

With the area developing a nice, wealthy residential presence, what does the future hold for this area in terms of street life? Here are some of my thoughts:

 

- Currently the nightlife in this area is high. Tons of bars, clubs, and party people come out at night

- I see a disconnect with a renter who is paying 2K+ per bedroom and an area that is predominantly a party scene

- very few hard retail options exist (CVS and one small shop)

- very few lifestyle stores like gyms / yoga studios / coffee shops, currently exist (Boomtown I guess and Ryde)

 

Personally, I would like the area to calm down some and have a healthier mix of stores. I was hoping an apple store would come in one of the buildings downtown.

 

Do y'all thing the bar scene / nightlife scene will continue to grow? Do you think that with time there will be an eventual balance achieved? Or do you think the bar and club scene will completely shift to a new area (somewhere else downtown or midtown).

 

Interested in hearing y'alls thoughts!

Edited by Avossos
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I'm thinking it will calm down into the elegant nightlife scene - it has the high rent residents, next to Art (opera, symphony, theatre), and the downtown rents are probably more payable long-term with fancy cocktails

 

That being said, they better not touch Frank's pizza

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As I have said in the past, I think it will settle down some. The bar scene is always moving. I think the warehouse area east of Hutchins St Emauel will eventually become a

hot spot. There is such a collection of old buildings many sitting empty now but as things heat up in Eado, and especially if the freeway does come through it will have to grow further east.

I think with time more retail service type spaces will open in the Market Square area. Who knows how long it will take. This is the third time in my life that this area has been the party scene. 

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I think Main Street will remain a hive for nightlife activity regardless. I do see that Market Square will shift to higher dining experiences.

 

@Avossos I do agree with the circle on that map you showed that this will be the next landing space for most of the heavy/hardhitting club activity. More space to branch out with new concepts, and less fuss from residents in general. There was that one club, BauHaus, that just opened in Southern Downtown which is in the middle of no-mans land. Its possible that club activity could shift that direction as well. So much empty space and cheap space in older underutilized buildings.

 

As far as hard goods. Lets see what happens when Houston Center finishes their refresh. I went by the other day and it looks like they are already doing work inside The Shops. I also think that we need a couple more midrise residential before we get anything. But who knows.

 

I'll tell you what though, that block of Main, Prairie, Fannin, and Preston is a prime spot to place larger retail tenant or grocer with apartments on top. No clue why nobody has jumped on that.

Edited by Luminare
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35 minutes ago, Luminare said:

I'll tell you what though, that block of Main, Prairie, Fannin, and Preston is a prime spot to place larger retail tenant or grocer with apartments on top. No clue why nobody has jumped on that.

 

7 minutes ago, cspwal said:

Probably an issue with parking + historical district + whoever owns the land wants to sell it for more than it's worth since they probably make a killing on surface parking

 

This block and the old Mia Bella building are there for redevelopment, not sure what could push something over the top for either. If the State National/Moxy thing ever gets going, that would be yet more momentum for the area. With continued development, would tax valuations necessarily creep up for the undeveloped property and make a parking lot uneconomic?

 

The block next to the Houston Ballet building and the Chase drive-thru are two others that could turn into something else in the area.  They are relatively low, but maybe worth building something elevated.  One more big residential development might lead to a critical mass for all the other stuff mentioned. 

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15 hours ago, mollusk said:

The Mia Bella building has really difficult sewer issues.  That's why they moved.

 

I thought I remembered reading that, but wasn't sure. Even when Mia Bella was there, it was mostly vacant upstairs, or at least looked like it was.  Not sure what the best use of that would be, or if it's going to take bribing a developer into a restoration redevelopment, presuming its not a lost cause tear down.  

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That stretch of Main, as a younger Houstonian, contains the longest consistent nightlife presence I have ever experienced in the H. Meaning the same bars have stayed open through the years and maintained some semblance of who they are.  Midtown initially had that crown growing up, but then it went through its slump, and then bars were opening and closing, etc. Washington was established early, but then all those bars closed and it became nothing, and now it re-upped with Clutch Bar, Concrete, and Kung Fu. 

 

Thus, I think there is something to the magic on Main. I honestly wouldn't want much to change, other than to develop more areas on that street and around Market Square. Its that development where I think you can begin to change the fabric of the area. The places that are already there don't have to really change, there is so much space in that part of town! 

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17 hours ago, X.R. said:

That stretch of Main, as a younger Houstonian, contains the longest consistent nightlife presence I have ever experienced in the H. Meaning the same bars have stayed open through the years and maintained some semblance of who they are.  Midtown initially had that crown growing up, but then it went through its slump, and then bars were opening and closing, etc. Washington was established early, but then all those bars closed and it became nothing, and now it re-upped with Clutch Bar, Concrete, and Kung Fu. 

 

Thus, I think there is something to the magic on Main. I honestly wouldn't want much to change, other than to develop more areas on that street and around Market Square. Its that development where I think you can begin to change the fabric of the area. The places that are already there don't have to really change, there is so much space in that part of town! 

 

I agree with you completely. I think one of the best things Market Square and this stretch of Main has going for it is proximity to the light rail. Many of the people who will be moving into all of the new mid-rises and towers in Midtown and other parts of downtown skew younger and more professional and have disposable income for going out. A growing number (typically transplants) seem to be going without cars, if things I read here and on Reddit can be extrapolated. This area represents the best upscale bar experience anywhere along the light rail.

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I think that area benefits from having 4 distinct crowds:

  • office workers going to lunch
  • office workers going to happy hour after work
  • after parties from the theater, ballet, etc
  • people just going out at night

most of the other bar/club locations only have one, maybe 2 of those

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  • 7 months later...

During COVID, I've been walking around Market Square frequently.  Despite the craziness in the world, its been pleasant watching both Texas Tower and the Preston continue to rise - TT doing so at record pace.  

 

It's made me wonder what is the next MF/Condor or Hotel project we will see and where will it be?  It's unclear now when 800 Preston will breack ground, but this area will have continued demand for luxury living that I really don't see slowing compared to other parts of Houston.  I've heard from a few executives in downtown that are planning to sell their house and move to the 'North District.'  They want to keep their second homes but their primary residence in Houston will be downtown which is a very exciting trend. 

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1 hour ago, CREguy13 said:

During COVID, I've been walking around Market Square frequently.  Despite the craziness in the world, its been pleasant watching both Texas Tower and the Preston continue to rise - TT doing so at record pace.  

 

It's made me wonder what is the next MF/Condor or Hotel project we will see and where will it be?  It's unclear now when 800 Preston will breack ground, but this area will have continued demand for luxury living that I really don't see slowing compared to other parts of Houston.  I've heard from a few executives in downtown that are planning to sell their house and move to the 'North District.'  They want to keep their second homes but their primary residence in Houston will be downtown which is a very exciting trend. 

 

I would guess that the next development out of the ground in that area will be the redevelopment of the Chase drive-thru bank block, by the same people who brought us Market Square Tower. But I can't imagine that breaking ground until Hines' apartment tower is complete and on its way to filling up. I think One Market Square will be a long time. The most important thing though is for it to be done right, regardless if it takes ten years. Wait until the Hines buildings are finished, Lynn Wyatt Square is finished, and the neighborhood is humming and you will get a better building for One Market Square.

 

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Posted (edited)

How does all of this new development impact the preservation of the few remaining historic structures in this city? Will the COH ever address it's lax preservation ordinance?

Edited by j_cuevas713
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1 hour ago, j_cuevas713 said:

How does all of this new development impact the preservation of the few remaining historic structures in this city? Will the COH ever address it's lax preservation ordinance?

 

The Main Street/Market Square historic district protects contributing structures from demolition. This is absolute, "no means no" protection. Unfortunately, it does not cover a very large area and so structures like the historic mixed-use buildings on Louisiana next to the Lancaster Hotel were not protected. 

 

The only essential thing missing from the preservation ordinance at this point is for individual landmarks to become protected without needing owner consent. Right now you have to be in a historic district to be protected.

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There is an individual Protected Landmark option, but, as you mentioned, it requires consent from the property owner. Nevertheless, there are individual protected landmarks throughout the city in addition to standard Historic Landmarks (for which the Historical Commission can only impose a 90 day waiting period, not block permits entirely.)

 

 

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4 hours ago, Texasota said:

There is an individual Protected Landmark option, but, as you mentioned, it requires consent from the property owner. Nevertheless, there are individual protected landmarks throughout the city in addition to standard Historic Landmarks (for which the Historical Commission can only impose a 90 day waiting period, not block permits entirely.)

 

 

I hope at some point they change that 90 day period. You can't continue to thrive and succeed, especially in downtown, when you destroy what got you there to begin with. People love the old charm.

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I would settle for removing the 90 day waiver and giving HAHC the ability to deny demolition (and only demolition) applications, and increasing the incentives for Protected Landmark status. 

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  • 2 months later...

Just saw they are adding in a splash pad and swing set at Market Square Park.  Big statement as to the changing dynamics of the area and ENORMOUS if you have a kid and live close by.

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48 minutes ago, kbates2 said:

Just saw they are adding in a splash pad and swing set at Market Square Park.  Big statement as to the changing dynamics of the area and ENORMOUS if you have a kid and live close by.

 

Also historic when you consider that Arthur Comey recommended a splash pad at this location back in 1913.

 

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On 7/31/2020 at 2:04 PM, kbates2 said:

Just saw they are adding in a splash pad and swing set at Market Square Park.  Big statement as to the changing dynamics of the area and ENORMOUS if you have a kid and live close by.

 

Changes like this are small, but they are comforting since it shows, to me, that the City is aware of the development and trying to facilitate the transition to having people actually live in that area. I've lived in cities where this kind of stuff is an afterthought and done years after the development is done. Do we know when that stuff will be put in?

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On 7/31/2020 at 2:53 PM, H-Town Man said:

 

Also historic when you consider that Arthur Comey recommended a splash pad at this location back in 1913.

 

 

make a suggestion that it be called the Arthur Comey splash pad!

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On 7/31/2020 at 2:04 PM, kbates2 said:

Just saw they are adding in a splash pad and swing set at Market Square Park.  Big statement as to the changing dynamics of the area and ENORMOUS if you have a kid and live close by.

 

Where did you see this?  I have not been able to dig up any information about it.

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They already have equipment set up and have removed the dog statue where this will go.  I saw a neighbor post about it on Facebook.  My assumption is that she asked the construction workers.

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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to The Future of The Market Square Area

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