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Skanska Downtown Mixed-Use Development


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2 hours ago, HoustonIsHome said:

Been saying the same thing. This area of downtown is screaming for new life and  always thought a new aquarium or other major attraction would be nice in that area. Theirs in a ton of shops and bright flasy nightlife and those hotels in the area will be constantly busy

 

I couldn't agree more. The current aquarium location has served them well, but this makes more sense on the east side / near the touristy stuff.

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Does anyone have anything on this apparently they bought a block of land in Downtown  for 55 million  Nevermind* found little more information    Skanska has purchased four land parcels

https://www.downtownhouston.org/news/article/repurposed-and-revitalized/  

I'm very wary of words like “landmark” or “game changer”. The bigger a project is, the longer it will take to improve when it turns out to be terrible. I'd much rather see a 250-ft blockface divided i

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2 hours ago, HoustonIsHome said:

Been saying the same thing. This area of downtown is screaming for new life and  always thought a new aquarium or other major attraction would be nice in that area. Theirs in a ton of shops and bright flasy nightlife and those hotels in the area will be constantly busy

 

Agreed. We need a real aquarium, not a restaurant that confuses tourists into thinking it is one.

 

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A *real* aquarium, with at least a vaguely scientific mission, would be fantastic. Maybe a partnership between the Museum of Natural Science and some other entity. Or almost a "teaching" aquarium with a university association? 

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I think the Downtown Living Initiative was (and is) a really good idea.  A question in my mind regards whether it has built up the resident population downtown enough to support a lot of the things many of us would like to see created.   In view of that, I think it would be risky to build tourist attractions too early in the overall process of reconstructing a vibrant downtown for Houston. People who visit one tourist attraction will want to have others easily accessible nearby, plus interesting places to eat that are open after the downtown workers get off work.  We've improved in that regard, but downtown Houston (to me) doesn't offer as much to do as it did when I was a kid here in the 50s and 60s.

 

I think the "Mercado del Sol" project east of downtown is an example of investing public + private money too early in a particular sector of the process.  Perhaps the re-use of the Albert Thomas Convention Center is another example, but it does have a few surviving businesses.  Discovery Green has been rather successful and (I think) hasn't been completely leveraged yet.  

Edited by ArchFan
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1 hour ago, ArchFan said:

I think the Downtown Living Initiative was (and is) a really good idea.  A question in my mind regards whether it has built up the resident population downtown enough to support a lot of the things many of us would like to see created.   In view of that, I think it would be risky to build tourist attractions too early in the overall process of reconstructing a vibrant downtown for Houston. People who visit one tourist attraction will want to have others easily accessible nearby, plus interesting places to eat that are open after the downtown workers get off work.  We've improved in that regard, but downtown Houston (to me) doesn't offer as much to do as it did when I was a kid here in the 50s and 60s.

 

I think the "Mercado del Sol" project east of downtown is an example of investing public + private money too early in a particular sector of the process.  Perhaps the re-use of the Albert Thomas Convention Center is another example, but it does have a few surviving businesses.  Discovery Green has been rather successful and (I think) hasn't been completely leveraged yet.  


Agreed. I’m a fan of incrementalism and think if we can keep improving the public spaces and streetscapes while adding residential, retail will follow. To me, a bunch of connected small places and spaces in a walkable area is better than big projects like aquariums. That said, I’d love to see one or two public squares added downtown in key places. Similar to how Mexico City and many European cities have several plazas separated by only a few blocks. 

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Posted (edited)

You know it's almost to the end of May, I wonder if we can find some schematics for this development floating online? Wonder if Skanska has any development reports coming up sometime soon? 

Edited by TheSirDingle
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On 3/4/2020 at 11:33 PM, Urban Monster said:


Agreed. I’m a fan of incrementalism and think if we can keep improving the public spaces and streetscapes while adding residential, retail will follow. To me, a bunch of connected small places and spaces in a walkable area is better than big projects like aquariums. That said, I’d love to see one or two public squares added downtown in key places. Similar to how Mexico City and many European cities have several plazas separated by only a few blocks. 

Or even NY

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On 3/4/2020 at 2:32 PM, Twinsanity02 said:

Something like the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans?  Or better.  That would be magnificent.


The aquarium of the americas is great. Something else I had considered back when I used to get a little ridiculous with ideas (I still think the topgolf on the roof of GRB idea would have been great, haha.. they could have even built the structure for the bays on the Houston first parking garage to support the weight) was a satellite campus for moody gardens in downtown.

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On 3/4/2020 at 9:31 PM, ArchFan said:

I think the Downtown Living Initiative was (and is) a really good idea.  A question in my mind regards whether it has built up the resident population downtown enough to support a lot of the things many of us would like to see created.   In view of that, I think it would be risky to build tourist attractions too early in the overall process of reconstructing a vibrant downtown for Houston. People who visit one tourist attraction will want to have others easily accessible nearby, plus interesting places to eat that are open after the downtown workers get off work.  We've improved in that regard, but downtown Houston (to me) doesn't offer as much to do as it did when I was a kid here in the 50s and 60s.

 

I think the "Mercado del Sol" project east of downtown is an example of investing public + private money too early in a particular sector of the process.  Perhaps the re-use of the Albert Thomas Convention Center is another example, but it does have a few surviving businesses.  Discovery Green has been rather successful and (I think) hasn't been completely leveraged yet.  

 

I think Post HTX is really going to help with that tourist attraction vibe.

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On 3/4/2020 at 9:31 PM, ArchFan said:

I think the Downtown Living Initiative was (and is) a really good idea.  A question in my mind regards whether it has built up the resident population downtown enough to support a lot of the things many of us would like to see created.   In view of that, I think it would be risky to build tourist attractions too early in the overall process of reconstructing a vibrant downtown for Houston. People who visit one tourist attraction will want to have others easily accessible nearby, plus interesting places to eat that are open after the downtown workers get off work.  We've improved in that regard, but downtown Houston (to me) doesn't offer as much to do as it did when I was a kid here in the 50s and 60s.

 

I think the "Mercado del Sol" project east of downtown is an example of investing public + private money too early in a particular sector of the process.  Perhaps the re-use of the Albert Thomas Convention Center is another example, but it does have a few surviving businesses.  Discovery Green has been rather successful and (I think) hasn't been completely leveraged yet.  

 

I generally agree, although I think Bayou Place (Albert Thomas) needed to happen to build some excitement for downtown in the early 00's and attract the initial phase of residents. We also have to keep in mind, a downtown does not need a ton of residents to be successful. Chicago in the 1980's did not have many residents downtown but plenty of tourism. Watch the images of it in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It had lots of tourist attractions, a huge mass transit system, and historical inertia working for it.

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7 hours ago, cloud713 said:


The aquarium of the americas is great. Something else I had considered back when I used to get a little ridiculous with ideas (I still think the topgolf on the roof of GRB idea would have been great, haha.. they could have even built the structure for the bays on the Houston first parking garage to support the weight) was a satellite campus for moody gardens in downtown.

 

I was thinking the same thing re: a TopGolf concept, but on the SE part of downtown. It would have spanned 3 empty blocks. This was year ago, btw. 

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25 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

 

I generally agree, although I think Bayou Place (Albert Thomas) needed to happen to build some excitement for downtown in the early 00's and attract the initial phase of residents. We also have to keep in mind, a downtown does not need a ton of residents to be successful. Chicago in the 1980's did not have many residents downtown but plenty of tourism. Watch the images of it in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It had lots of tourist attractions, a huge mass transit system, and historical inertia working for it.

 
i think you exaggerate the lack of residents in downtown Chicago in the 1980s.  Watch the Bob Newhart Show.  😉

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22 hours ago, DrLan34 said:

 

I think Post HTX is really going to help with that tourist attraction vibe.

Yeah for sure. People laugh but Houston needs to be more photogenic/instagrammable. Something well put together, unique features, and a skyline view will attract the type of tourists & hype we need. Plus a local yokel like myself will visit. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/25/2020 at 10:55 AM, Houston19514 said:

 
i think you exaggerate the lack of residents in downtown Chicago in the 1980s.  Watch the Bob Newhart Show.  😉

 

Apparently the greater downtown Chicago area had 18,000 residents in 1982 and about 110,000 today. The dimensions of the area they're using for downtown Chicago are roughly equivalent to downtown Houston plus Midtown and Eado. We are probably somewhere around 18,000 in those 3 areas combined.

 

https://www.brookings.edu/research/big-city-downtowns-are-booming-but-can-their-momentum-outlast-the-coronavirus/

Edited by H-Town Man
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Apparently the greater downtown Chicago area had 18,000 residents in 1982 and about 110,000 today. The dimensions of the area they're using for downtown Chicago are roughly equivalent to downtown Houston plus Midtown and Eado. We are probably somewhere around 18,000 in those 3 areas combined.

 

https://www.brookings.edu/research/big-city-downtowns-are-booming-but-can-their-momentum-outlast-the-coronavirus/

I saw another article asking the same thing. I honestly think if it did affect things, it was on a microscopic scale. People still want to be in the city. And damn Chicago has that many in their core!? My goodness

Edited by j_cuevas713
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8 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

We might have more like 25,000 in those three neighborhoods. At any rate, if we're not yet a downtown that Ferris would spend a day in, it's not for lack of residents.

 

 

I have done a Ferris Day in Houston... It honestly so much fun. French Restaurant - La Colombe D'or... baseball was awesome. The only real problem is finding a parade on a weekday that coincides with a day baseball game!!

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58 minutes ago, Avossos said:

 

I have done a Ferris Day in Houston... It honestly so much fun. French Restaurant - La Colombe D'or... baseball was awesome. The only real problem is finding a parade on a weekday that coincides with a day baseball game!!

 

I believe it could be done, but not one that people would watch a movie of. "Anything looks peaceful from 1,005 feet" just doesn't sound the same as "Anything looks peaceful from 1,453 feet."

 

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10 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

We might have more like 25,000 in those three neighborhoods. At any rate, if we're not yet a downtown that Ferris would spend a day in, it's not for lack of residents.

 

 

FWIW, the area designated as downtown by the linked Brookings study (roughly speaking, the CBD, Midtown, and Eado) had almost 41,000 people in the 2010 census.  I would venture to guess we are over 50,000 by now.

35 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

 

I believe it could be done, but not one that people would watch a movie of. "Anything looks peaceful from 1,005 feet" just doesn't sound the same as "Anything looks peaceful from 1,453 feet."

 

 

Well, they didn't exactly spend a whole day in downtown Chicago either.  For example, you can't watch a baseball game in downtown Chicago.

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14 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 

FWIW, the area designated as downtown by the linked Brookings study (roughly speaking, the CBD, Midtown, and Eado) had almost 41,000 people in the 2010 census.  I would venture to guess we are over 50,000 by now.

 

Well, they didn't exactly spend a whole day in downtown Chicago either.  For example, you can't watch a baseball game in downtown Chicago.

 

I was comparing the size of their area in Chicago with a similar size in Houston. When they measured Houston, they used a somewhat wider geographical area that pulled in a lot of East End neighborhoods that go beyond what I'd call "Eado." But if you look at their map of what they're calling "downtown Chicago," it's about 1.7 miles x 2.9 miles, which is big enough to cover Downtown, Midtown, and Eado proper in Houston.

 

Interestingly, for downtown Chicago they did not include Streeterville, the Gold Coast, or even North Michigan beyond roughly Chicago Avenue, so the population with all that is probably 150-200k. But then for Houston you'd have to add in Fourth Ward, Old Sixth Ward, and First Ward, and then maybe you're getting close to 50,000.

 

That's true, their day wasn't spent strictly in downtown Chicago. And for our Houston Ferris, I would let him go to the Museum District.

 

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

 

I was comparing the size of their area in Chicago with a similar size in Houston. When they measured Houston, they used a somewhat wider geographical area that pulled in a lot of East End neighborhoods that go beyond what I'd call "Eado." But if you look at their map of what they're calling "downtown Chicago," it's about 1.7 miles x 2.9 miles, which is big enough to cover Downtown, Midtown, and Eado proper in Houston.

 

Interestingly, for downtown Chicago they did not include Streeterville, the Gold Coast, or even North Michigan beyond roughly Chicago Avenue, so the population with all that is probably 150-200k. But then for Houston you'd have to add in Fourth Ward, Old Sixth Ward, and First Ward, and then maybe you're getting close to 50,000.

 

That's true, their day wasn't spent strictly in downtown Chicago. And for our Houston Ferris, I would let him go to the Museum District.

 

 

I used the downtown definitions used in the Brooking study. If we are going to use the Brookings definition for downtown Chicago, it only makes sense to compare it to the Brookings definition, using the same criteria, for downtown Houston.  FWIW, I too noticed that Streeterville and the Gold Coast and part of North Michigan Ave were not included. I didn't dive deep into their methodology, but I presume there was good reason for that.  I rather prefer the delineations used in the DefiningDowntown maps.

Total for Chicago in this definition (which includes Streeterville, the Gold Coast and all of North Michigan Ave), is 144,000.  Houston's is 58,500.

Edited by Houston19514
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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 

I used the downtown definitions used in the Brooking study. If we are going to use the Brookings definition for downtown Chicago, it only makes sense to compare it to the Brookings definition, using the same criteria, for downtown Houston. 

 

I would disagree. Their definition for downtown Chicago includes somewhat less than most people consider to be the downtown Chicago area (Water Tower and John Hancock Center aren't even included). Their definition for downtown Houston is not only a much larger area geographically but includes neighborhoods that no one would consider part of downtown Houston, including large portions of Fifth Ward and Third Ward. The context of the discussion is how a residential population contributes to success and vitality of a downtown area; the forest of condo towers around Water Tower certainly contribute to downtown Chicago's success, Fifth Ward and Third Ward not so much.

 

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2 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

 

I would disagree. Their definition for downtown Chicago includes somewhat less than most people consider to be the downtown Chicago area (Water Tower and John Hancock Center aren't even included). Their definition for downtown Houston is not only a much larger area geographically but includes neighborhoods that no one would consider part of downtown Houston, out along Navigation. The context of the discussion is how a residential population contributes to success and vitality of a downtown area; the forest of condo towers around Water Tower certainly contribute to downtown Chicago's success, neighborhoods of detached homes along Navigation not so much.

 

 

Your argument is with Brookings (whose study  you introduced to this conversation). They applied objective criteria to both cities and those are the results.

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Just now, Houston19514 said:

 

Your argument is with Brookings (whose study  you introduced to this conversation). They applied objective criteria to both cities and those are the results.

 

I am using a select part of the Brookings study which is not subject to the errors I mentioned in my last post. I am comparing apples to apples - the population of the section they showed in downtown Chicago in 1982 and the population in that same section of Chicago today. You are trying to make comparisons between what they chose as downtown Chicago and what they chose as downtown Houston, despite the obvious errors in such a comparison. People living in Third Ward and Fifth Ward are not a useful component of the population of downtown Houston for the purposes of discussing street life or tourism potential, whereas in Chicago, they actually left out populations that obviously contribute to downtown Chicago's vitality (e.g. the forest of condos around the water tower). It would be like me forcing you to accept any statement ever made on the Bob Newhart Show, just because the Bob Newhart Show was your source for understanding the downtown Chicago population in the 1980's.

 

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