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Discovery West: Skanska Downtown Mixed-Use Development


Moore713

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On 7/11/2021 at 10:29 AM, jmitch94 said:

Just think of the atmosphere at the street level if all the surface lots were buildings that actually contributed to the neighborhood. 

The atmosphere would be one of people rushing past empty buildings. There's a reason there are vacant lots - there's no demand for a building on them.  And, with something like 24% vacancy, it will be a while before demand increases enough to make building anything economic.

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47 minutes ago, Ross said:

The atmosphere would be one of people rushing past empty buildings. There's a reason there are vacant lots - there's no demand for a building on them.  And, with something like 24% vacancy, it will be a while before demand increases enough to make building anything economic.

Tough crowd at times.  I think the aspiration was “imagine if there wasn’t 24% vacancy caused by yet another tumble in oil prices because of a global pandemic that has fallen directly on our heels just as we were emerging from our previous recession.  Oh, and imagine if Houston had developed like - all other cities - and the downtown was the hub of most of our urban activity, and we didn’t have 4-6 other major urban developed areas spread across 600 SqMiles of land.

I think that’s sort of what they were going for, as, reality is pretty obvious.

Of course you are correct about the current state of affairs…

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1 hour ago, Ross said:

The atmosphere would be one of people rushing past empty buildings. There's a reason there are vacant lots - there's no demand for a building on them.  And, with something like 24% vacancy, it will be a while before demand increases enough to make building anything economic.

Yeah I got that. I'm just saying imagine if our downtown was what we would love for it to be instead of acres and acres of surface parking between all of the developed areas. 

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3 hours ago, Ross said:

The atmosphere would be one of people rushing past empty buildings. There's a reason there are vacant lots - there's no demand for a building on them.  And, with something like 24% vacancy, it will be a while before demand increases enough to make building anything economic.

Downtown doesn't have to be full of offices.

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Houston is moving in a right direction with the parking lots downtown.

it doesn't seem like that long ago it was 2001 and the east of downtown was nothing but a sea of parking lots. 

the only good thing was that I could park within 3 blocks of the baseball stadium and pay $5 for parking (and get a GA ticket for $5, but that's a different discussion).

today is far cry from what it was. 20 years from now will be a whole nother thing (was 2001 really 20 years ago? ugh).

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13 hours ago, arche_757 said:

Tough crowd at times.  I think the aspiration was “imagine if there wasn’t 24% vacancy caused by yet another tumble in oil prices because of a global pandemic that has fallen directly on our heels just as we were emerging from our previous recession.  Oh, and imagine if Houston had developed like - all other cities - and the downtown was the hub of most of our urban activity, and we didn’t have 4-6 other major urban developed areas spread across 600 SqMiles of land.

I think that’s sort of what they were going for, as, reality is pretty obvious.

Of course you are correct about the current state of affairs…

Good post but a slight quibble... I read something awhile back that compared American cities by how concentrated their office space was downtown, and Houston was actually the third or fourth most concentrated. Interestingly, the cities with the largest downtowns were also the ones that were most concentrated in downtown (New York the most, then Chicago...), even though they still would have been the largest if all of them had the same level of concentration. Also, NY and Chicago were the only cities where downtown was more than a small fraction of the total office market.

 

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@H-Town Man from all of the articles I’ve read NYC downtown is exclusively the area in Lower Manhattan centered around Wall Street and the World Trace Center complex.  Is Chicago’s “downtown” considered within the Loop, or does that boundary broaden a a tad?

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1 minute ago, arche_757 said:

@H-Town Man from all of the articles I’ve read NYC downtown is exclusively the area in Lower Manhattan centered around Wall Street and the World Trace Center complex.  Is Chicago’s “downtown” considered within the Loop, or does that boundary broaden a a tad?

I was using the term loosely. "Urban core" or "expanded CBD" would be better. This would include Downtown and Midtown for NYC, and for Chicago, the Loop, River North, Greektown, etc.

 

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16 hours ago, arche_757 said:

I wonder… how much of this would be an issue if say, Houston had a zoning law?  I know…I know… but maybe there would be better planning to have located this next to the highly undesirable interstate/back-side of GRB, and not …hmm…squints… throws dart arbitrarily at a map of downtown blocks.  There!  Right within view of the big new Hilton Americas and Toyota Center.

Except of course the substation long predates any of those things.  Probably even predates the freeway.

Edited by Houston19514
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^ back in the old HL&P days.  I suspect the Houston Center development was taken into consideration if the substation was built closer to the later part of the dates @Houston19514  mentioned.  Full build out of that complex would have been something.

 

A shame the city didn’t have the resources, or clairvoyance to do something better when Toyota Center was built.

Edited by arche_757
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6 minutes ago, arche_757 said:

A shame the city didn’t have the resources, or clairvoyance to do something better when Toyota Center was built.

They may have just made the judgment that there are many better ways to spend $30 Million, especially as long as we still have many blocks of surface lots that can be developed.

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28 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

They may have just made the judgment that there are many better ways to spend $30 Million, especially as long as we still have many blocks of surface lots that can be developed.

This goes back to economics. You're not going to pay $30 million to create a block of land when a block of land is only worth $20 million. (Much less than that when Toyota Center was built.)

 

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22 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

Except of course the substation long predates any of those things.  Probably even predates the freeway.

 

22 hours ago, arche_757 said:

Does it?  When was it built?

 

22 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

It looks like it was built some time between 1953 and 1978.

The 1964 Historic Aerials image shows the block is a parking lot(as is much of downtown at the time). In the 1966 aerial, the block is cleared and the 1973 aerial shows the Western portion has stuff built on it. So, between 1966 and 1973. The block is shown in HCAD as 4 separate parcels with a total value of $6.25 million for land, and 0 for improvements. Of course, replacing it would be far more pricey. 

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3 hours ago, Ross said:

 

 

The 1964 Historic Aerials image shows the block is a parking lot(as is much of downtown at the time). In the 1966 aerial, the block is cleared and the 1973 aerial shows the Western portion has stuff built on it. So, between 1966 and 1973. The block is shown in HCAD as 4 separate parcels with a total value of $6.25 million for land, and 0 for improvements. Of course, replacing it would be far more pricey. 

A fine example of HCAD notoriously undervaluing commercial property.

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FWIW I was there walking around yesterday and didn’t even immediately notice the substation. They’ve got it pretty covered up with greenery it looked like, but in the future it’d be nice if they moved it. But as it stands it’s hardly the worst thing in Downtown. 
 

The Skanska site had equipment on it, but I didn’t get a pic because I couldn’t really see anything lol

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2 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

A fine example of HCAD notoriously undervaluing commercial property.

I would suspect that Centerpoint has sued HCAD over this property, and received a court order setting the value where it is. The Tax Code makes it pretty easy for a business to get the property values reduced by significant amounts.  The property seems to have a land value that's 20% of nearby blocks.

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7 hours ago, Ross said:

I would suspect that Centerpoint has sued HCAD over this property, and received a court order setting the value where it is. The Tax Code makes it pretty easy for a business to get the property values reduced by significant amounts.  The property seems to have a land value that's 20% of nearby blocks.

Yes, many companies routinely protest every year no matter what. But no worries. Residential homeowners are here to take up the slack.

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^indeed we are!  Amazing just how much my home had increased in value these last five years.  That would be great if we wanted to sell, but we want to stay so the increases aren’t great   

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm surprised nobody has either gone to the city or city official or planner hasn't seen that block of electrical substations and has said....you know what maybe its time we as a city move that to....i don't know maybe between Toyata and the US59? Maybe that would look better?

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1 hour ago, Luminare said:

I'm surprised nobody has either gone to the city or city official or planner hasn't seen that block of electrical substations and has said....you know what maybe its time we as a city move that to....i don't know maybe between Toyata and the US59? Maybe that would look better?

Dead horse here but that would make such a cool spot for something. 

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19 hours ago, cityliving said:

I sure wouldn’t want to stay at that Embassy Suites hotel where the construction is going on, that noise of the pile driver is pretty loud, I wonder if that hotel is loosing business because of the construction.

I don't know about you, but when I'm lounging next to swimming pool I love listening to the background noise of jackhammers, boring machines, and the rumblings of cement trucks. *sarcasm*

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Some people are going to book the hotel online and just seeing the photos they provide and the location. They will have no clue about the construction. So they will likely still get business but then have guests complain and ask for a comped night or something.

I once stayed at the Double Tree near downtown Dallas over Thanksgiving. I was thinking I got a great deal then learned hundreds of Kuwaiti college students were staying there while colleges were closed over the holidays. It was like being in South Padre for spring break. So much partying and noise. I got a free night out of it because it was so hard to sleep.

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23 hours ago, Luminare said:

Has Skanska released anything further on what they will be doing with their other holdings? I don't remember seeing anything that indicated what they are planning next.

If you look at some of the renderings shown before you can see the building across the street from the hotel and One Park Place. Whether those are the final product who knows.

 

6 hours ago, enriquewx91 said:

Does the Toyota Center own the parking lots there on the left?

 

Would se nice to develop that and make this neighborhood whole

Skanska owns the whole block across from the hotel/One Park Place/ Four Seasons, Skanska also owns 3/4 of the block south of that. A Taiwan Oil company owns the block directly west of Toyota Canter.

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5 hours ago, hindesky said:

If you look at some of the renderings shown before you can see the building across the street from the hotel and One Park Place. Whether those are the final product who knows.

 

Skanska owns the whole block across from the hotel/One Park Place/ Four Seasons, Skanska also owns 3/4 of the block south of that. A Taiwan Oil company owns the block directly west of Toyota Canter.

By your desription it appears as if Skansa owns all of block 251 and 3/4th of block 276. This is good news. Skansa seems to get things done. Hopefully it will be arrevderci to those two surface lots in the not too distant future.

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