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Skanska Downtown Mixed-Use Development

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51 minutes ago, tangledwoods said:

Could someone share some other major Skanska projects? 

 

Most of those projects were Skanska's construction arm, not development (Skanska was a construction contractor, not the owner or developer).

 

Here are links to projects on which they were/are the developer:

 

https://www.usa.skanska.com/what-we-deliver/invest--develop/commercial-development/office_mixed-use/

 

https://www.usa.skanska.com/what-we-deliver/invest--develop/commercial-development/multi-family/

Edited by Houston19514
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14 hours ago, TheSirDingle said:

 

Honestly the college would be stupid not to sell at the price Skanska is buying at. Now that you say that I could still see them getting the lot in front of the Toyota center, the power station, and the rest of block 276. But we'll have to see what happens, if the lot isn't sold now it's eventually gonna be sold later. Especially with the rising land prices in Downtown, it's just a matter of when. 

 

Also it seems like that Taiwanese oil company is starting to budge on some lots. 

 

Do we want Skanska to acquire all the land in this area? From what I can tell, the high-rises they've built in the U.S., particularly in Houston, have been on the conservative side. Having a large area developed by a single developer generally doesn't result in the most interesting combination of buildings, although it might offer certain continuities (like a line of retail shops) that are beneficial.

 

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On 10/20/2019 at 8:27 AM, Moore713 said:

Read that CVS was closing two stores in Houston...for a moment I had hope that it was the one on main.   I'm sorry but that store doesn't generate enough foot traffic to justify it huge foot print... unfortunately it will be one in spring and the one off fry rd

CVS remains on my 'naughty' list because of their inflexible approach to development.
Whether it's Main & Elgin, Gray & Brazos, or Montrose & Richmond, they slap up the same cookie-cutter building regardless of its surroundings and impact on the surrounding neighborhood. 
Good riddance. Hope more of them close.

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I agree with you dbigtex56. They have continued to create huge parking islands wherever they build in Houston, with no regard for new directions in retail and urban planning.

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They will build what city ordinance requires. Minimum setbacks and parking create the cookie cutter pad sites you referenced (and of course the infamous W Alabama & Shepherd atrocity). 

Different development requirements might produce something more like this. CVS is absolutely conservative and less than creative, but I mostly blame the city.

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Based on that Business Insider article, seems like Skanska is good to go with what they have. I'm sure they would like to secure some more land if it fell into their laps, but the tone didn't seem to reflect more stuff coming their way.

 

I'd rather STCL just build a giant ugly parking garage than have all those parking lots that don't do anything (are they available for parking during Rockets games?). I go to their library sometimes, and those lots are always mostly empty. At least put a tree or two or something in those lots. You'd think they'd want to do something nice for their students with those lots. 

 

I do agree with @H-Town Man. I am a little wary of one developer doing all of the development in that area, especially land that...could shape the weekend Houstonian's experience for years to come. I am happy they are upping the ante and putting pressure on everyone else. Rando thought: Astros announce mixed use around MMP, which makes sense because other baseball teams do it. Tilman buys the Rox, and all of sudden some of the land around the stadium that no one really thought about developing gets sold to a developer who wants to start developing pretty soon? Hmmmmmm

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2 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Most of those projects were Skanska's construction arm, not development (Skanska was a construction contractor, not the owner or developer).

 

Here are links to projects on which they were/are the developer:

 

https://www.usa.skanska.com/what-we-deliver/invest--develop/commercial-development/office_mixed-use/

 

https://www.usa.skanska.com/what-we-deliver/invest--develop/commercial-development/multi-family/

 

This one on Post Oak for example:

 

3009-post-oak

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5 hours ago, DrLan34 said:

https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2019/10/18/bank-of-america-tower-developer-buys-downtown.html?iana=hpmvp_hstn_news_headline 

 

Skanska paid $55 million in total for the properties, which were sold by a private citizen, according to an Oct. 17 press release. The parcels total around 3.5 acres, and Skanska plans to develop a mix of office, multifamily and retail on the land.

 

The press release does not identify where exactly the parcels are located, but a spokesperson for Skanska confirmed that one of the parcels is a full city block bordered by Dallas, Lamar, LaBranch and Austin streets, with another just to the south and a third just to the east, wrapping around the Embassy Suites by Hilton Houston Downtown. There's also a small parcel in another adjacent block.

 

Those four properties are all parking lots owned by MIPS Investments LLC and MIPS Parking LLC, according to the Harris County Appraisal District. Combined, they have an appraised value of nearly $30.06 million and span about 3.48 acres, according to HCAD.

 

Skanska plans to begin the master planning process for the sites by the end of the year, which will help determine a development timeline and more details about the project, a spokesperson confirmed.

 

 

^The phrase "wrapping around the Embassy Suites…" is a key thing to acknowledge.  With that verbiage, suggests the electrical yard will be re-developed/re-incorporated elsewhere, or maybe somehow on the top of new construction?   Regardless, yes:  that's such a prime block to be wasted on ground-level utility.

 


I still wish downtown would receive some sort of an indoor, ticketed attraction, or series of attractions, like our own Nickelodeon Universe (a-la the new one opening up in NY at the Meadowlands - https://www.americandream.com ), or at a smaller scale: a Legoland Discovery Center, Crayola Experience, and/or even a KidZania ( https://kidzania.com/en - the first of which in the States is of course going to the Dallas area, instead).

How neat would a conditioned, indoor park - something like Galaxy Station, but Gulf Coast Texas-themed - be? - https://berjayatimessquarethemeparkkl.com/galaxy-station/ 

 

 

Proper attraction(s) aside… at minimum, I hope a City Target concept gets developed somewhere soon 'round there.

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5 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Do we want Skanska to acquire all the land in this area? From what I can tell, the high-rises they've built in the U.S., particularly in Houston, have been on the conservative side. Having a large area developed by a single developer generally doesn't result in the most interesting combination of buildings, although it might offer certain continuities (like a line of retail shops) that are beneficial.

 

I see what you're saying, and agree with the skepticism. I honestly want to see what they have planned for the land though. I could see this going either way, they could keep it conservative like what they've done for most of their projects in Houston. They could also turn it into a special project. I would like something huge in front of the Toyota Center, but I don't know if Skanska is going to do something big with that lot (Even if they get it).

 

Overall it's a mystery what they're going to do with these lots, hopefully it's something great. Maybe Hines might be able to do something around this area in the future, or even another big developer.  

Edited by TheSirDingle
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1 hour ago, txtiger said:

I still wish downtown would receive some sort of an indoor, ticketed attraction, or series of attractions, like our own Nickelodeon Universe (a-la the new one opening up in NY at the Meadowlands - https://www.americandream.com ), or at a smaller scale: a Legoland Discovery Center, Crayola Experience, and/or even a KidZania ( https://kidzania.com/en - the first of which in the States is of course going to the Dallas area, instead).

How neat would a conditioned, indoor park - something like Galaxy Station, but Gulf Coast Texas-themed - be? - https://berjayatimessquarethemeparkkl.com/galaxy-station/ 

 

 

Proper attraction(s) aside… at minimum, I hope a City Target concept gets developed somewhere soon 'round there.

 

Agreed. My dream would be to have a new aquarium/amusement park complex built near Minute Maid/Discovery Green.

 

If the highway cap park ever happens in downtown, that would also be an excellent area to have it.

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3 hours ago, txtiger said:

 

^The phrase "wrapping around the Embassy Suites…" is a key thing to acknowledge.  With that verbiage, suggests the electrical yard will be re-developed/re-incorporated elsewhere, or maybe somehow on the top of new construction?   Regardless, yes:  that's such a prime block to be wasted on ground-level utility.

No, they mean the parking lot wrapping the Embassy Suites.

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3 hours ago, Triton said:

No, they mean the parking lot wrapping the Embassy Suites.


Ah, gotcha.  (My mind kept adding ‘full city block’ instead of ‘parcel’ after each of those notes, in-series.)

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https://bisnow.com/houston/news/mixed-use/meet-the-new-neighbors-skanska-buys-four-parcels-near-the-houston-astros-101416

 

Not much new info, but here's the latest press release.

 

Skanska purchased four parcels, including one full city block, altogether totaling roughly 152K SF adjacent to the award-winning Discovery Green park, boarded by the Houston Rockets’ Toyota Center, the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park. Skanska’s plan is to develop a mix of office, multifamily and retail for the surrounding community. 

 

Skanska confirmed that the city block it purchased was the surface parking lot bordered by Dallas, Lamar, LaBranch and Austin streets, between the Four Seasons and Embassy Suites, with three other adjacent surface parking lots included in the deal. Those four properties were all owned by MIPS Investments and MIPS Parking, according to the Harris County Appraisal District, which values the combined parcels at $30.6M. Skanska hasn't announced any specific plans or a development timeline for the site yet.  “We are excited about this next endeavor for Skanska Commercial Development in Houston. For this project, Skanska will tap our global expertise in multi-family, office and retail development as we consider the best uses for these sites advantageously located in the city’s front yard at Discovery Green,” Skanska Executive Vice President Matt Damorsky said in a statement to Bisnow. “These prime acquisitions include a full city block, which will be transformed into sustainable, high-quality space in the urban core. We look forward to advancing the master planning process so we can begin creating this dynamic community reflecting the vibrant cultural fabric of Houston.”

 

Skanska paid $55M, which comes out to approximately $361 per SF, a hefty price for downtown real estate. Just five years ago, land in Downtown Houston was topping out at $275 per SF, according to CBRE research.   
 

By the end of the year, Downtown Houston will have 8,400 hotel rooms at 28 properties, up from 4,500 in 14 properties when Houston hosted the Super Bowl in 2004, according to Eury.

Read more at: https://bisnow.com/houston/news/mixed-use/meet-the-new-neighbors-skanska-buys-four-parcels-near-the-houston-astros-101416?utm_source=CopyShare&utm_medium=Browser

Edited by DrLan34
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I am curious how they will end up developing the land around the Embassy Suites... Seems challenging and expensive...

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4 hours ago, Avossos said:

I am curious how they will end up developing the land around the Embassy Suites... Seems challenging and expensive...

 

yep, but it WILL happen. Skanska is 2 for 2 including a grand slam with the BoA Tower, so they'll be back for more in Houston.

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4 hours ago, Avossos said:

I am curious how they will end up developing the land around the Embassy Suites... Seems challenging and expensive...

In a similar way that Hines is developing The Preston around the Hogg Palace, I would think.

Look on the bright side. Maybe they'll cover up the Embassy Suites building. 

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13 hours ago, bobruss said:

In a similar way that Hines is developing The Preston around the Hogg Palace, I would think.

Look on the bright side. Maybe they'll cover up the Embassy Suites building. 

 

Maybe they can put the substation across the street inside of the Embassy Suites building.

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14 hours ago, bobruss said:

...Maybe they'll cover up the Embassy Suites building. 

I recall the original design for that particular hotel being of higher quality than the end result.  Value engineered no doubt to its current form.

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Thats why when this development group announces a new project I always cringe. They have fairly decent renderings and then in comes the changes after they receive their funding and the value engineering begins. And they're the stucco kings.

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On 10/21/2019 at 7:10 AM, dbigtex56 said:

CVS remains on my 'naughty' list because of their inflexible approach to development.
Whether it's Main & Elgin, Gray & Brazos, or Montrose & Richmond, they slap up the same cookie-cutter building regardless of its surroundings and impact on the surrounding neighborhood. 
Good riddance. Hope more of them close.

 

On 10/21/2019 at 7:32 AM, bobruss said:

I agree with you dbigtex56. They have continued to create huge parking islands wherever they build in Houston, with no regard for new directions in retail and urban planning.

 

I think it's mostly a Houston problem (setback requirements, parking minimums) than a CVS problem. CVS builds plenty of urban locations. A similar example would be the Walmart and Target in the Heights with giant parking lots. We know both big box stores build urban locations, especially Target, but City of Houston policies at the time led to what we have currently. Luckily that is all changing and pretty rapidly at that. Exciting to see what Skanska builds here. Maybe we get an urban CVS or Walgreens on a corner with this development.

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9 hours ago, Trae said:

If the original design to the Embassy was built then it would be holding up well today. The current ugly ass building gets worse with time.

 

920x920.jpg

 

versus...

 

 

Even just putting the top and spire on the building as in the original plans would of made a difference in making the building look more complete.

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The lack of the subtle setback and balconies on the penthouse levels is what kills me the most. What we got is a cheap EIFS box.

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I guess because it will be affected by the new Skanska project, and vice versa. It's  relevant to its overall look and appeal of Skanska's new development.

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If I were Skanska, I'd try to bring back some of the spirit of the originally-proposed Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage, and get some tourism-related attractions in, there along the edge of Discovery Green:

 

I'd put in a heavily-Texas-themed Flying Theater:
https://www.super78.com/flying-theaters

http://dynamicattractions.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Dynamic-Flying-Theater.pdf

 

(See also Seattle's "Wings Over Washington:"  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaMiqp3Y9kc )

 

 

And a put in a large/exploratory, adventure Mirror Maze, showcasing Houston's history:
http://mirrormazesint.com/mirror-mazes-international-floor-plans/#infinit1200  

(or even better, something more largely experiential like "Nat Geo's Encounter: Ocean Odyssey" in NYC:  https://natgeoencounter.com/experience )

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2 hours ago, Texasota said:

Hmmm, or maybe just an Alamo Drafthouse? Please?

 

An Alamo Drafthouse downtown would be a game changer. 

 

I honestly think if and when they rebuild the Bayou Center downtown, plugging in an Alamo Drafthouse in place of the AMC that is there currently.

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On 1/16/2020 at 2:16 AM, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

the finished product looks like a minecraft building

 

It is the Tesla Cybertruck of buildings.  

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6 minutes ago, Nate99 said:

 

It is the Tesla Cybertruck of buildings.  

 

Blasphemy! Bring forth the Paul Verhoven future of abstract geometry vehicles!

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2 hours ago, CaptainJilliams said:

 

An Alamo Drafthouse downtown would be a game changer. 

 

I honestly think if and when they rebuild the Bayou Center downtown, plugging in an Alamo Drafthouse in place of the AMC that is there currently.

 

My god, I haven't thought about Bayou Center in years. Remember when they would run all those lame clubs out of there? 

 

I agree, an Alamo Drafthouse downtown within a 10-15 min walk from the light-rail would destroy worlds. The market would be downtown/midtown/third ward/second ward/east downtown residents, your 100k downtown workers some of whom may want to catch a date/movie at Alamo before going home, and the constant influx of people at those hotels. The potential reminds me of the sawyer heights Target, where you go there on a Wednesday night at 8pm and you're like how are they out of dove soap (actually happened to me before). Just mind-boggingly busy.

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3 hours ago, CaptainJilliams said:

 

An Alamo Drafthouse downtown would be a game changer. 

 

I honestly think if and when they rebuild the Bayou Center downtown, plugging in an Alamo Drafthouse in place of the AMC that is there currently.

 

They opened a location in Downtown Los Angeles that is probably the nicest theater they have. Very clean, modern, and right about LA's busiest subway system. It also had only one giant restroom that was completely gender neutral. First time I've ever seen something like that. This would be better than the current AMC downtown.

Edited by Trae
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My stance has always been that the Embassy Suites is the sort of forgettable urban building that will get imploded before its 40th birthday for something bigger. Like the Crown Plaza in the Med Center. It's just filler and welcome investment at a time when downtown really needed it.

Edited by zaphod
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FWIW, the Embassy Suites itself is one of the best ones I've ever stayed in, and I've stayed in plenty.

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